We're grassroots Heathrow residents proving that communities less dependent on oil can be more resilient, stronger and happier. We take direct action on climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy by transitioning to a post-oil, community-led future for the Heathrow villages.

Self Empowered Energy Revolution – Part 1

Posted: April 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects, Education, Energy, Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

GeneratorFocus

The Energy Group at Grow Heathrow is kicking of a series of Sustainable Technology training days with a workshop on how to build your own generator from scratch – Saturday 27th April at 11am – 6pm

The small Wind Turbine that was kindly donated by one of our supporters isn’t quite up to scratch for our battery bank. We need to make some new windings, so what better opportunity to share our knowledge than by inviting people to come and share in the experience.

We’ll be going through winding our own coils with ceramic coated wire, setting the magnets in resin and then configuring the coils to produce energy as the magnets pass.

The workshop will be accompanied by a delicious lunch.  Donations gratefully accepted where possible. Check out our Facebook event or email us at info@transitionheathrow.com for more information.

Come on down to Grow Heathrow to get skilled up for the Self Empowered Energy Revolution!


Frack free February

Posted: February 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Action | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

no-fracing-protest

Frack Free February is a Month of Action in Somerset with public meetings, talks, stalls, workshops, actions and more all raising awareness about the threats to our communities and the bigger picture of extreme energy.

The Frack Free February Month of Action is an opportunity to:

  • Systematically raise awareness about fracking & extreme energy to communities at risk in Somerset – we will be distributing 50,000 leaflets across towns & villages in the PEDL licensed areas
  • Create a wide variety of opportunities for participation and action to anyone moved by the literature and outreach activities & the thought of fracking taking place locally – see the list of actions below
  • To generate momentum for the campaign in 2013 and significantly increase planning application response capacity across the county e.g. starting more local groups, increasing the number of newsletter sign ups and so forth, so that when applications are submitted, we can best respond and support each other across the county.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

  • Organise a public meeting or event in your town or village – email us & we can support with any aspect, whether that’s graphic design, providing speakers or helping with the costs of hall hire
  • Help us doordrop over 50,000 leaflets
  • Got skills to share? Offer to lead, or participate in a workshop
  • Get postering! Help us get posters up in every local shop in Somerset
  • Ask your local groups to sign up to the coalition, we have a target of at least 50 new groups joining the coalition in February
  • Help us make this happen – Donate!

For any of the above, please email info@frackfreesomerset.org

WHAT IS TAKING PLACE?

Click here to see an overview of all that is going on in February, click here for that list in chronological order.

 Reblogged with love from frackfreesomerset.org and frack-off.org.uk

 


Donate to get people building hobbit holes

Posted: January 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Projects, Education | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Straw bale building at HeathrowTransition Heathrow / Grow Heathrow

Here’s an appeal from our friends at thePOOSH.org, an inspiring grassroots movement that’s supporting people to learn and try out green building for free. They’ve helped us roof our straw bale house, and engineered us a fuel efficient rocket stove that reduces wood consumption by burning secondary wood gases. Now they need some money to keep doing what they’re doing:

In September, thePOOSH team started a four month tour of the UK–travelling, speaking in Universities, helping at build sites and just spreading the word of sustainable building and the organisation. For now we have completed the tour and have in total of 14 build sites registered on our website in the UK.

Well a bit about thePOOSH. Our vision is to someday see a world where community-driven sustainable construction simply will be known as construction, and we want to inspire and empower people to build economical, sustainable, and community created structures by creating a network of volunteers that exchange knowledge, labour, and experiences!

At the end of the year we wrapped up the tour in Scotland where we spent a week intensively planning the future of thePOOSH: our goals, dreams, roles, responsibilities and about a thousand (+/-) future projects!

Well, we are growing fast, and as of today we have over 500 users and 41 build-sites (and at least one build-site on each inhabitable continent!) Today alone 20 new users joined our ranks! But we want to be even more constructive and we want to continue building the movement! Read the rest of this entry »


The economic impact of high oil prices

Posted: April 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Energy | Tags: , | No Comments »

As the developed-world economy tries to gain momentum, it faces a persistent headwind. The oil price remains stubbornly over $100 a barrel, acting like a tax on Western consumers. Some blame the high price on evil speculators—Barack Obama unveiled plans to increase penalties for market manipulation on April 17th. But there is a simpler explanation: that supply is inadequate to keep up with rising demand.

The concept of peak oil—the idea that global crude production may be at, or close to, its limit—is far from universally accepted. One leading asset manager talked recently of the world being “awash with energy” because of the exploitation of American shale gas. Nevertheless, oil is still the main fuel for cars and trucks. And crude output (as opposed to alternatives such as biofuels and liquids made from gas) has been flat since 2005.

A number of countries (including Britain, Egypt and Indonesia) have turned from net oil exporters into importers in recent years. And although rich countries have curbed their energy-guzzling a little, demand continues to surge in emerging markets.

This has left the oil market very vulnerable to temporary supply disruptions, such as the war in Libya. Speaking at a conference in Dublin this week, organised by the Institute of International and European Affairs and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, Chris Skrebowski, a consulting editor of Petroleum Review, argued that spare capacity in the oil market could be eroded by 2015.

The peak-oil concept was devised by the late M. King Hubbert, who correctly predicted in 1956 that oil output in the lower 48 states of America would peak by around 1970. At the conference Michael Kumhof, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, presented the findings of a forthcoming working paper which showed that adding the idea of a “Hubbert peak” to energy production greatly improved the ability of a model to forecast oil prices. Based on an expected 0.9% annual increase in production over the next decade, the model predicts that real oil prices will nearly double over the same period.

The economic damage caused by such a rise is predicted to be modest, perhaps 0.2% of global GDP a year. In the past changes in oil prices have had a limited long-term impact, since any losses to oil importers are matched by gains by oil exporters. To the extent that high oil prices played a role in the recessions of the early 1980s and 2008-09, the main reason is that oil-producing countries tend to have a lower marginal propensity to consume their income, denting global demand.

Nevertheless, Mr Kumhof worries that if oil prices are high enough, the economic impact might increase substantially. On the most extreme assumptions, it could be 2% a year.

Even if the world can find more oil—in the Arctic or tar sands, say—the longer-term question is whether the era of “cheap energy” is over and how the world can adjust if it is. Developed economies are built on easy access to cheap energy, importing goods that are transported from around the world, with consumers driving many miles to work in air-conditioned offices and then flying off to sunny climes for their annual holidays. Persistently high oil prices would clearly lead to substitution (electric cars, natural-gas-powered trucks) but the transition costs could be significant.

Furthermore some potential substitutes for, or new sources of, oil (such as biofuels and tar sands) are a lot less efficient, in the sense that they require significant amounts of energy simply to produce. To the extent that this equation (energy return on energy invested, or EROI) is deteriorating, that must surely have an effect on economic growth.

“What is the minimum EROI that a modern industrial society must have for its energy system for that society to survive?” ask Carey King and Charles Hall in a recent paper*. The academics’ answer: “Complex societies need a high EROI built on a large primary energy base.”

This issue is not much considered by mainstream economists, who are too busy focusing on monetary policy, the impact of fiscal austerity or the need for labour-market reforms. But just as the industrial revolution was built on coal, the post-second-world-war economy was built on cheap oil. There will surely be a significant impact if it has gone for good.

This blog was taken from The Economist magazine.


At the 2011 Transition Network Gathering – Part 1

Posted: July 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Media | Tags: , | No Comments »

Last Friday 8th July, Dai and myself caught the train to Liverpool to attend the 2011 Transition Network Conference, which this year was held in the impressively tranquil grounds of Liverpool Hope University. This event provides an opportunity to catch up with recent developments from Transition Initiatives across the Transition Network, and is always well attended.

Friday evening was a chance to catch up with old friends and familiar faces. For me, one of the joys of being a transitioner (or transitionista as they say in Barcelona) is being able to pick the brains of people who are pioneering the new approaches to social change that will be needed in a future dominated by climate change and peak oil. Even though Friday was meant to be a relaxing way to break the ice and ease into the weekend, simply having a beer at the bar got me involved in a lively group discussion that managed to take in most of the hot topics that had been making noises in the network recently. One of which being the link between Transition and activism… but more on that later.

Having made sure to check the list of workshops in the program and sign up to the ones that looked most interesting, Saturday started the conference proper. A group session in the spacious University chapel started the day, with attendees treated to fine words from Peter Lipman, Rob Hopkins, and others intimately involved in the Transition Network. Lucy Neal of Transition Town Tooting told the first part of the story of the conference. Then on to the obligatory mapping exercise, which involved some tricky manoeuvring around the chairs as we tried to work out where everyone hailed from. This year, as well as the usual turnout from groups around the UK, the representation of international Transition Initiatives was notable, with visitors from as far afield as the USA, Brazil, and Hong Kong.

The first of the workshops I attended was an update on Local Currencies, with contributions from Transition Totnes, Transition Lewes and Transition Brixton, which have been leading the way with their attempts to establish local alternative currencies in their respective areas. Just the fact that the idea of a local currency could be accepted to the point where a run of banknotes could be printed and issued was impressive enough, but we heard from each speaker about the ambitious plans they were still hoping to put into practice in the near future.

Next up was the Transition and Activism ‘Hot Topic’. Both Dai and myself attended this session, since whenever this topic is discussed, Transition Heathrow is inevitably brought up as an example of a Transition Initiative that’s managed to successfully blend the usual Transition approach to social change with a strong undercurrent of confrontational direct action. At our Regional Gathering a few weeks previously we had addressed the topic in detail, so I felt that we could contribute a lot to the discussion. It turned out to be an extremely productive session where we explored what it meant to be an activist. There was input from veteran activists from the anti-roads movement, and we heard from people involved in Transition groups in Spain who had been an integral part of the recent #spanishrevolution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXBjfsECy7k

Saturday ended with a fascinating talk by Jay Griffiths who explained the links between wildness and kindness, trees and truth. Later we returned to the bar, where Moving Sounds were making music that got the audience dancing until closing time, at which point the crowd spilled out onto the grass outside to continue the party. Like Harry Potter, I’m going to leave you hanging for Part 2, which will include more from the second half of the Conference, along with some general reflections from the weekend.


The first of many film showings

Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

On a dark, cold and wet February evening underneath the roaring sound of planes taking off from Heathrow airport, about 25 residents huddled around a big screen in Harmondsworth Community centre, Harmondsworth being one of the villages directly threatened by the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow.

The film showing was organised by campaign group Transition Heathrow who have moved into the village of Harlington to implement plans that look at creating a more sustainable Heathrow that will be equipped to deal with the imminent harsh impacts of climate change and peak oil.

The evening commenced with a short 10 minute animation called Wake Up Freak Out by Plane Stupid’s Leo Murray which delved into the science behind climate change and what a future in 10/20 years time could look like.

After a short break involving lots of cake and tea the audience were shown the film The End Of Surburbia. This film looks at the dwindling supplies of oil and starts to address the concept of peak oil, this concept is very simple – it refers to the idea that the world has a finite reserve of oil and that it is running out. Some believe that global oil production will reach its peak during this decade and then fall forever into a state of decline. Although fairly long and involving lots of interviews, what most engaged everyone in the room was the last 10 minutes of the film which starts to to look at how local communities will be affected and ways in which to tackle these massive issues, at a local level.

Once the film was over everyone gathered in a big group to voice there concerns and ideas for the future. Everyone was keen to discuss these issues and will be looking to facilitate these exciting ideas and plans through Transition Heathrow and other local groups.

Transition Heathrow will be holding a massive ‘open space’ meeting probably on Saturday the 13th March and everyone from the film showing will hopefully be attending along with many more local people. The open space meeting is for anyone that may be interested in looking into and implementing local transition plans on anything from transport and food growing to education, direct action and transition justice.