Thursday 11 March 2010

My first posts were about my personal life and how I’m working to live more sustainably. Today, I’m going to write about my current project. As part of this year’s Taste of Diss 2010 festival of local food, I am writing a booklet describing what a sustainable future might be like.

I’ve done a lot of writing in my career, and it is always both a creative joy and a struggle. Here I am trying to write something that will be appealing and readable to the average person in Diss who thinks about environmental issues.

I found this great cartoon that expresses the essence of it:

Here’s how I’ve described it in its Introduction:
This Guide is meant as a starting point for a community discussion of our future in Diss. We hope it will help you to clarify your views on those issues, and that you will find it enjoyable and also, perhaps, provocative!

It will present the good news and the bad news.

The good news is that a sustainable future doesn't have to be a disaster, a precarious life of struggle and material poverty.

On the contrary, it could actually be nicer in many ways. There are lots of people exploring new ways of living, less consumerist, but still comfortable, more community-oriented and sociable. Not so much stuff, but more fun, better emotionally and more stable socially.

The bad news is a review of how and why we are now coming up against the Earth's limits. It’s purpose is to clarify the reasons for believing that our current way of living is not sustainable, and will have to change one way or another.

Have a read and see if the vision presented is what you want to see happen. And, you get to vote on it!
I’m writing the vision of the future as an interview between ‘you’ (the reader) and a set of fictional residents of Diss in 2030. I have a set of great cartoon characters, who I am using to make it lively.

On the practical side, I describe a future with all the features a Transitioner would expect, revived local economy, lots of walking and cycling, local food, etc. Where I hope I am adding something new (or at least clarifying it), is in the social structure I am describing.

I describe a future community that has become very collaborative and decentralised. There is a ‘Sustainable Supermarket’ that is a partnership between consumers and producers. There is a lot of use of new forms of online but local social networking that include trading as well as reputation to help keep the local economy working efficiently and stably.

The booklet is due for release towards the end of May. I plan for it to it be distributed widely to Transitioners as well as people in Diss. I hope you will all like it, and that it will broaden the vision we are all groping towards.


  1. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts and photos this week. Good luck with the book, I think it's really important to envision the future we want and get people engaged with thinking about it. Love that climate hoax cartoon you posted as well - where did you find it? Cheers, Andy in Norwich

  2. I first saw the cartoon on Transition Culture, but think it originated with USA Today. (I'm going to need to get permission to use it.)