Tuesday 21 June 2011

Low Carbon Celebrations 2 - Solar Power

Up before 4 this morning and on our bikes to the beach for the solstice sunrise. It had rained in the night and the air was soft and warm and filled with birdsong.

Besides one other person further down the beach with a dog, we were alone with the sea, the land, the sky and the morning.

We weren’t going to see the sun rise over the sea because there was a layer of cloud. But if you’re still and attentive you can feel the shift as the sun comes up. Then there’s an increase in light, the gold lining around the clouds intensifies, and you know that the star that powers our planet and makes life possible is there.

Anyone who gets involved in Transition becomes aware of the mighty subject of energy. We talk about it all the time. We look at where it comes from and ask how are we going to save it. What are we going to do about rising costs of food, heating, transport? Where does the food I eat and and the fuel I use originate? Who works to provide them? In what conditions? How much energy is needed to provide for our basic needs? How much as individuals and as a society do we waste on what we don’t need?

And what about that society? In our hearts we know that to continue the current consumerist and individualist lifestyle, fuelled and propelled by the availability of vast quantities of fossil fuels over the past 150 years is a logical fallacy – because, to quote Make Wealth History, “the earth can’t afford our lifestyle.” And those resources are physically limited.

But what does this mean for us as those very individualists? What do we each have to do to become the people we need to become for a fair, liveable future with the inevitable energy-constraints? What do I have to do?

How are we actually going to learn to share space, time, skills, food, ‘resources’? How do we drop centuries-old antagonistic, competitive ways of being in the world with our fellow humans? Those jealousies and envies which plague social interactions from the most intimate of friendships and relationships, to the most well-intentioned groups, because they are there, and have been for what seems like forever? How do we let go of our need to grasp, cling and be proprietorial? To own things and people all the time? How do we let go of I want what you’ve got? And move to how we make the best of what we've got - fairly, and before it's gone?

I’m not saying I have the answers to these questions. But I think to ask them is important. And then to pay attention to what comes up when we do give them time and space.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll be reporting on Sustainable Bungay’s midsummer Green Drinks which takes place tonight. The subject in honour of National Bike Week is Community Transport.

Pics: Before Summer Solstice Sunrise Southwold 2011; After Summer Solstice Sunrise Southwold 2011; In the Path of the Risen Solstice Sun; Low Carbon travel

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