Elliot Coleman Visit January 2019
On hearing Elliot coming to the UK and then that he was visiting our old site. We were at first elated (he's our most influential growing mentor) but then began thinking he is bound to fly over (he's from Maine USA and everybody "does"). Having confirmed this with his publisher we then emailed him directly to ask tht he at least considers not flying (you can travel by ship reasonably practically,and comfortably). We haven't at time of writing received a reply.
He is a great teacher and innovator who we continue to recommend but could he justify the trip? He is promoting the 30th anniversary update to The New Organic Grower, the classic market gardening text, one of the events is indeed at our old Sale site hosted by our successors Glebelands City Growers. Can the carbon hit be justified by the benefits? We don't think so because it is a big hit, the biggest any activity can create and while efficient growing may lock some carbon up in soil, it isn't in the same league. More critically if we can't get figureheads and influential people to show good example why should the wider world behave?
Many people think they deserve a break in the sun and flying gets you there, on budget. Westerners are all familiar with this but it is hard now to pretend unawareness of the climate deterioration already underway, but also the dire predictions for the not so distant future. A wrecked planet is not a legacy to look forward to. Flying is not our only climate/carbon problem but it is the heaviest impact and usually hardest to justify .A case perhaps of rationality trying to overcome culture. Some progress on it might inspire confidence to get on with everything else Eg sustainable food production.......
The Spider's Web; Britain's Second Empire
A film based on the book Treasure Islands covering UK tax havens and off shore cash. A clear story of how the post-Empire UK retained control over financial resources in many places but also used British protectorets to offshore dodgy money and business. The connections between a public school elite and widespread speculative finance look fairly obvious from the film and the need to get it all back under basic democratic control. It is also funny looking at the absurdity of Dave Hartnett a recent head of HMRC, personally supervising dodgy/no tax deals with Vodaphone type companies and seemingly hollowing out HMRC as a functioning dept.