Wednesday 27 June 2012

Treehouse Festival: A demonstration of alternative lifestyle

It's the third day of The Treehouse Festival, during which we've been experiencing communal living and pondering and discussing everything from religion to ant farms.

Each morning we have a fun activity (like yesterday's trip to the beach) and each afternoon we have a seminar/talk. Monday's was from professor Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre at the UEA. It was on the (broad!) subject of climate change. She reminded us of the overwhelming evidence of global warming, it's causes (including anthropogenic greenhouse gases), and the effect that that it is having on extreme weather events and changing ecosystems.

What I found fascinating, however, was where this all points; what does the future hold? Yes, her predictions suggest increases in consumption (and therefore carbon emissions) in the short term, but the further future is a lot less predictable than anyone can really reasonable assume, and depends so much on how we choose to live our lives over the next few decades. She showed a graph of world population over the past 3000 years, and although exact population was not know for much of that, one thing is clear, and that is that we have very suddenly had an increase in population. We are in a transition already, between a sparsely populated world to a denser one. Many things will have to change for us to support our population, whether we do it consciously or not!

Although Corinne was talking in terms of technological fixes, I was painting my own idea of corrective measures. They were mostly tackling behavioural change: a renewed respect for nature, lifestyle changes that are more about local cooperative community than keeping up with the Jones's, and ceasing the distribution of absurd subsidies for our highest polluting industries.

I'm glad that The Treehouse Festival can give such an idea of the lifestyle possibilities that will lead to a more sustainable future, whilst continuing to be an open and fun environment for those who attend!

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