This is the 3rd blog I’ve written about my hopes and dreams for 2020!
In my first 2020 Vision blogpost I detailed how I planned working on my business. I also stated “I still hope that regenerative culture grows exponentially. Something like the Transition movement – “communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world”. Get your community involved in climate action – start a transition initiative in your area.” and I finished with “Here’s to 2020 – the year we start to turn the ship around.” This was January 2020.
Then for my New Vision 2020 I announced that “I would be contesting for a seat in the 33rd Dail.” This was February 2020.
Now it’s March 2020 and the world is in the midst of a pandemic! It’s time for a whole new vision. There’s no way I will be working on my business for a while as we are practicing social distancing for now and may end up in lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid 19. We will undoubtedly be limiting contact with others for a few months so my climate action workshops are parked.
This health crisis has caused a LOT of change in Ireland and beyond. People are working from home. Meetings are being held online. Schools are shut and students work is being assigned through video, texts and emails. Sports are on hold. People are keeping 2 metres apart everywhere. Payments, applications, meetings, interviews and many more vital services that authorities would have refused point blank to consider without a physical presence, have all gone online. Playgrounds, gyms, libraries, pubs, cafes, restaurants and lots of places where people congregate are closed. The social fabric is being rubbed the wrong way but the obstinate systems of governance have shown they too can change when they have to.
I have a few proposals for some of these changes to continue in a way that will help us become a more sustainable country when Covid19 has abated. While we grapple with a pandemic we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we are in the midst of climate and biodiversity emergencies which also require us to change our ways. We have to. I’ll post my proposals over the coming weeks so that when the time is right I can use them. In the meantime here is a piece I wrote to address an audience a couple of years ago. It was to capture the vision often shared by communities, cities and countries in “Transition“.
I live in a town with two bakeries, a brewery, a dairy co-op, flour mill, a butcher, soap maker, technology company and numerous other businesses. We have a community farm out by the allotments. I work 4 days at CESC, the Community, Enterprise and Social Centre, so I don’t have time to grow enough food for home. I pay a set price to the dairy and farm every week then I email an order for fresh eggs, cheese, yogurt and butter. I pick up my veg whenever I need them from the farm or in their stall at the shop. I usually get to the market in town each week. With so many people working from home, or on 4 day weeks, there’s a good buzz there on Friday.
The town is powered by the solar panels on all the roofs, 3 hydro systems on the waterways, anaerobic digesters at each farm and the wind turbine behind the GAA pitches. Due to the growing export market the towns energy co-op is looking for 2 more engineers and a project manager to assess our capacity for expansion. My daughter hopes to get a job there now that she’s qualified.
My youngest is an apprentice at the joinery and my eldest son works in the community bank. I hear all the news from the primary school as my eldest daughter teaches 3rd class. The children learn in a way that suits them best so this term maths is being taught through football. Age action meet them at the community garden once a week to share skills and stories.
The repair cafe is usually hosted by the mens shed and the whole community gathers with their fixer uppers for a cup of tea. We got my radio working last week and fixed 2 bicycles for the youth club.
When the pandemic struck 5 years ago we learned a lot. We found out how much we relied on imports for most of our food and energy. We realised we were more productive working for less hours and lots of our work could be done at home. That we can’t live without the arts. That privatising essential services doesn’t work. Being at home all day isn’t a holiday. The people we relied on most during that time had been taken for granted for years. Our communities have become stronger and more resilient since.
I challenge you to imagine your own community. A place of caring, a place of sharing, a place of well being.
Then build it.
Over the coming months we have time to reimagine an Ireland where we can live happy and fulfilling lives in a system that treats everyone equally, without costing the earth.
The NGO I represent at the Environmental Pillar, Feasta, Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, issued the following press release: Radical reset of economy needed to offset effects of COVID-19.
One insightful quote “Within the crisis there is an opportunity to move to more resilient, fairer and equitable economic and community systems. The hope is once there is a good understanding of the reality of our situation, a great deal of community cooperation can be unleashed.”
March 24th 2020