Posted: November 19th, 2013 | Author: Freddy | Filed under: Art, Cool Projects, Education | Tags: access to land, climate change, eco building, education, Geodomes, projects, Squatting, sustainability, sustainable technology, transition, workshop | No Comments »
Come and help build a 17 foot (5.1816m)! Geodome at Grow Heathrow. The workshop will run for a week from Friday 6th Dec.
We’ll be using a unique design that innovates the geodome structure for ease of assembly. This design incorporates a new star connection method that enables just one person to construct. Laying out the cover over the stars means that the cover will be already in place as the geodome is erected. Possibly included in the course will be waterproof seam sewing techniques and dome canvas sewing if we have time. The course will be limited in numbers to 4 persons each day so please email in advance to let us know your availability and interest so we can maximise participants.
Geodomes are based on triangular geometry and were popularised by Buckmeister Fuller. They are predominantly used for earthquake relief due to their intrinsic strength at intersecting joints, this makes it an ideal solution for earthships, which this model is intended.
We will be using recycled metal poles from the dilapidated greenhouses we have on site. Geodomes are one of the most versatile structures available; they are scalable and can be made into any size you wish, you can use all sorts of materials available, and can be used for all sorts of applications, and they can also be joined together.
We will be using a 3V design, which means it has 3 different size pole lengths. It also has the option of a 4/9 or 5/9 variant, which alows the dome to have 2 different heights, either less than or bigger than half a sphere.
Hope to see you budding eco builders on the week of the 6th.
Posted: November 3rd, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: transition | No Comments »
I’m currently staying/participating at a squatted site called Grow Heathrow. It is proving to be quite an important time for me. Politically affirming. I came here to learn skills, connect with others who have similar ideas about how we provide for ourselves, and give my support to a cause/project I’m passionate about. The squat originated from a need to confront the proposed plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The government in the UK has been looking at airport expansion for a while now – there’s still talk as to where this expansion will take place. If they opt for Heathrow, they’ll have to remove the squatters from this land and tarmac over the village of Sipson; one of the principle aims of the project is to instil community resistance in Sipson against Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly British Airports Authority), if they come knocking.
The attitude here is great. People are focused. It’s a working squat. People arrive for many reasons. I’m here to work. That’s where my head is at the moment – I want to be productive, to be useful. Other visitors are here to enjoy themselves, relax and talk with others. This is a haven for free thought – a space to breathe for those disillusioned with materialism.
Here there’s no room for the workings of capital – no pressure to work the 9 to 5. It is a kind of political expression that directly challenges labour, the 9 to 5 grind. It is this kind of political expression that interests me at the moment, as opposed to attending the monthly anti-war protest/demonstration. Protest is important, but we must also set the agenda. ‘If all we do is oppose what they are trying to do, then we simply follow in their footsteps’. We need to carry on with our activity that isn’t determined by money. We must dedicate ourselves to what we consider necessary or desirable. We must live the world we want to create. Besides, protesting wipes me out (as I recently experienced at the protest against Fracking at Balcome). Not sure I want to devote my time and energy to protests, where we shout, confront police etc. It’s not in my nature to use physical force against other humans. Probably too middle class. It’s not in my nature to shout about things, sing chants etc. Perhaps if it’s a cause that really riles me up, then I might reconsider.
At the squat there is a non-hierarchical, anarchistic set up. No one is instructed to work. People work when they feel ready to. There are always tasks to be done. People wake up, a group gets together, starts talking – momentum starts to build and we work on a project. And we work hard. But it doesn’t feel like work. Because we’re there at our own will, because it’s a cause we believe in, there’s such comradery in our collective work. It’s fun and social. What great conversations emerge during work. Working together on something, where there’s a common goal, an objective, sometimes sparks more interesting conversations than assembling with the intention to socialise. During the summer there seems to be a huge flux of international travellers who have heard about the project. The squat reminds me of travelling in hostels – spaces to socialise, unwind and talk idealistically.
A working mind is a healthy mind. People are happy when they’re productive, when they’re being useful. Their self-esteem grows, their self-confidence and sense of value to the group benefits. During this first month, I have easily forgiven those who have not managed to work and contribute fully. There will be a long history of reasons as to why some are able to contribute more than others. Those that don’t, we should have sympathy for and try to understand why, rather than resent them. I guess I am just grateful I have this working mind, this motivation. I’ve only been here for a month, and my feelings on this may change. Without special resolve and grit, I imagine it is easy to lose patience over time.
The experience thus far is fulfilling a personal need to experiment with new forms of social relations outside capitalism. Grow Heathrow is an open project with plenty space for people to join the site. Contrary to other squats, it is the project that brings the inhabitants of the site together, rather than a group of friends. This kind of experiment in communal living has its rewards and challenges. There are those that use this space as some kind of refuge from some torment in their lives outside the squat. Although they are often unable to contribute to the collective in a variety of ways, the space must try to accommodate their distress. The community must do its upmost to prevent looking inwards. One older lady, who was previously in a mental institution, has benefitted immensely from gardening, working outdoors and being with people. She tells me how lonely she gets in the evenings on her own in her flat. Living communally trumps any discomfort from sleeping without a mattress.
The squat relies on solar panels and a wind turbine for its electricity, has no running hot water from the tap (although an impressive warm shower wood burner has been built) and there’s a compost toilet on site, minimising water usage. Almost all the food consumed is either grown on site, taken from bins outside supermarkets, or from food wholesalers giving away waste food. I must say, I do get a sense of gladness as I walk about doing my daily activity without barely any ecological footprint.
After 5 months in Salzburg (or rather a lifetime) of talking about the problems of the world, and what needs to be done, I am finally in a living and working arrangement that satisfies my political need to get to grips with the ‘doing’. When I wake up in the morning I feel as though I’m in the right place. At least for now. We’ll see how it goes this autumn.
The land that the community is occupying is up for eviction. So there is that added insecurity that for some residents makes long term-commitment/planning difficult. Indeed, their innate instability and transitory nature is a key criticism of squatted social centres. I seem to forget that bailiffs could start breaking through the gate any minute. Part of me doesn’t believe it will happen: Who would break-up such a peaceful, well-meaning, environmental project? I come across as naïve to some of the old-time squatters, who tell me I’ll soon understand what we’re fighting against when I see the State use its might to destroy any dissenting activity. Property is king. I wonder where I’ll be, what I’ll do when we’re being evicted. I probably won’t know how I’ll react until it’s happening. Can physical force ever be successful against the State? History shows that violence and aggression is what it often does best. Why play them at their own game? But if someone is evicting you from your home – if I develop some emotional attachment to this place – there’s no knowing how one might react.
Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism
. London: Pluto Press, p.3.
Holloway, J. 2010. Crack Capitalism.
London: Pluto Press, pp.3-4.
Posted: April 24th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Foraging | Tags: food, transition, wild food | No Comments »
Free wild food workshops are every Monday at Grow Heathrow. Join us on Monday 29th from 2-4pm to make capers from dandelion buds.
We’ll learn to preserve dandelion buds (taraxacum agg.) in brine, like we did with cow parsley (anthriscus sylvestris) ‘celery sticks’ last week. Dandelions’ deep reaching tap roots bring calcium and potassium up from the sub soil, accumulating health-giving minerals for us to enjoy in this wonderful spring.
So come, visit, and let’s get a-foraging together.
Posted: February 13th, 2013 | Author: mattk | Filed under: Events, Gardening Club | Tags: community, food, growing, Residents, transition | No Comments »
On Saturday the 9th Feb, Transition Heathrow, together with the Cass Project and Hillingdon Play, held an open space for discussing the potential of a community garden in Hayes.
Locals were invited to come down and meet each other at the proposed site on the Austen estate. Hillingdon Play provided games and activities for the children while we offered foraged teas at the ‘rocket stove cafe’ and music from our cycle powered sound system.
It was a fun and informal event where many people met for the first time to chat over tea and cakes.
Residents and Cass architecture students came up with ideas and improvements for five currently disused spaces on the estate.
Feedback from local people indicated that it is usual for next door neighbours not to know each other and that there is a desire for a sense of community here.
The initial interest seems to be in the creation of a children’s play area with seating, and possibly a selection of fruit trees and a herb garden as a valuable addition.
Posted: September 21st, 2012 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Art | Tags: art, transition | No Comments »
Revamped art space
After being awarded £200 for Community Engagement work, local child Olivia Howard, age 13, has donated her winnings to the Grow Heathrow community art space, stocking it up with materials and resulting in the art space re-vamp.
So now the art space needs you! Whether your in a group or by yourself, if you have an idea or want inspiration, please come round for a cup of tea and get painting, sketching, sowing and creating. CRAFTERNOONS will now run every Wednesday Afternoon from 3.30-6PM and this week we will be making lanterns and lampshades.
If you can’t make Wednesdays, you can come any other afternoon and get on with your own project, as the space is always open. Directions to Grow Heathrow can be found here: http://www.transitionheathrow.com/directions/
Art space before
Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Author: matt | Filed under: Art, Cool Projects, Events | Tags: art, community, transition | No Comments »
As part of Hillingdon Arts Week, Grow Heathrow held a performance residency; ‘Kaleidoscope – Heathrow in Transition’. The residency brought together a group of eclectic, creative individuals to collaborate in producing a forum theatre piece that highlighted the concept of peak oil, the values of Grow Heathrow and the Transition Towns movement.
We started off with concept development. This entailed taking ideas such as Peak oil, waste, Transition and community, and translating them into a script and visual performance. We wanted to get people’s attention as well as help them to question modern living habits. At the same time we were also integrating the ‘forum theatre’ model, as well as a musical back drop.
By day 3 we were moving on to the visual stage, with people from all sorts of different theatrical and performance backgrounds joining us. We then started to interpret what we had already put down in the conceptual stage to develop it theatrically. It was wonderful to see how different people responded to different themes. Each time someone came and worked on the project, it ripened the piece, until a fully formed forum theatre production emerged.
We managed to create a complete piece of forum theatre with a full cast, script, props and music in a matter of days, whilst mixing many artistic disciplines. We performed at a community fete and in the community centre centre, where we got audiences to participate in a full throttle debate about what they had seen. This included thoughts about advertising, farming, stress, wonky veg shops and more! Initiating debates and discussions like these has helped the local community ‘hear each other out’. And in the words of Audre Lorde: “Without community, there is no liberation.”
The performance was filmed and will be out soon – watch this space!
Posted: May 23rd, 2012 | Author: Amay | Filed under: Events, Residents | Tags: com.cafe, community, energy, growing, Residents, sipson, transition | No Comments »
This blog is a bit late but here goes. The rain held out and joining plenty of other stalls, including dance classes, giant jenga, gnome painting and the Com.Cafe puppet show, Transition Heathrow had a great day with Heathrow villagers at this years Sipson Spring Fair.
In the Transition Heathrow area we had a mini selection of all the spaces from the Grow Heathrow site giving residents who haven’t yet visited a peek of what goes on in Vineries Close. A growing area giving away free tomato, salad and coriander plants and wild flower seed bombs, an energy space with a bike powered phone charger, arts and crafts with face painting and mural art, bike doctor and tandem riding and information stall, plenty of new friends were made.
A big thanks to all who came out for the day, its community events like these which bring everyone together and make people value and protect what we have here in Sipson.
Have a look at some pictures from the Uxbridge Gazette. And a big thanks to Kate Birch (Heathrow Villages Community Development officer) for making it all happen.
Posted: May 8th, 2012 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Film | Tags: film showing, transition, videos | No Comments »
Here’s another date for your diary. On Thursday 7th June, as the next installment of Grow Heathrow’s first Thursday of the month off-grid film club, we will be showing the Transition Network’s brand new film In Transition 2.0
Filmmaker Emma Goude will be making the journey up here and will be taking questions after the film. We are inviting every Transition Town group across London and from the Thames Valley region to come and watch it with us so it should be a packed greenhouse.
Watch the trailer here and don’t miss out on this free film screening, starting at 8.30pm. Crash space is available if requested.
In Transition 2.0 is the new film from Transition Network, capturing inspiring stories of Transition initiatives around the world, responding to uncertain times with creativity, solutions and ‘engaged optimism’.
Posted: April 24th, 2012 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Energy | Tags: peak oil, transition | 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.
Posted: April 23rd, 2012 | Author: Joe | Filed under: Cool Projects, Events, Workers | Tags: cuts, transition | No Comments »
It’s called ‘The Climate Jobs Caravan’. It will visit over 20 towns and cities in Scotland, England and Wales in a tour organised by the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group.
The southern leg will start on the 12th May in Central London and then move onto Grow Heathrow for lunch. The northern leg starts on the same day in Glasgow. Throughout the tour, there will be meetings, publicity stunts, cycle rides and the spread of information about Climate Jobs. The message of the tour will be simple: the creation of climate jobs – in public transport, home insulation, and renewable energy – can help solve both the economic and climate crisis.
Climate change is not a distant future. Its effects are being felt today. Britain has just experienced its driest March in 59 years with nationwide drought a looming possibility. But it’s not just Britain that is being hit by extreme weather. 2010 saw the warmest summer in 500 years in Eastern Europe, killing thousands and devastating crops. That same year, the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history occurred, killing 1,500 people. According to the Nature Climate Change Journal, extreme weather events have increased over the past decade and are very likely caused by human-induced global warming.
At the same time, austerity is ripping people’s lives apart. The UK currently has its highest levels of unemployment in a generation. According to government figures, 2.67 million people are currently unemployed in Britain. This figure understates the real number. In addition, 22.2% of 16-24 years are unemployed.
The Campaign Against Climate Trade Union Group (CACCTU) believes that these two crises do not have to be understood separately. Instead, we should unite the struggles emphasising the need not only to tackle the economic crisis and get people into jobs, but also put forward a positive programme to address rising CO2 emissions and reduce the prospect of catastrophic climate change.
In 2010, the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group published the pamphlet ‘One Million Climate Jobs’. It outlines how when unemployment is at its highest in a generation and climate catastrophe is looming, what is required is a National Climate Service which could provide one million climate jobs, in particular in renewable energy, transport and housing.
At a time of rising unemployment and further cuts, the Climate Jobs Caravan could not come at a better time. Rather than asking for people to work for free doing workfare, we want to demand the government creates climate jobs that help reduce both emissions and unemployment.
Guest Post by Josh who is part of the tour organising committee