Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our presentation to the Councillors

It was a little intimidating to sit at a table facing all the Shire Councilors, the CEO and various other high-ranking officials. I was just there to support Peter who did a great job, plowing on manfully through the piece that he'd written giving an outline of the dangers facing us with peak oil, with both of us unable to read the reaction of the councilors who were not on "our" side. I handled one question from Cr Mimmie Jackson — not particularly well as I strayed a bit off topic, but Peter was better with his responses.

After our five minutes we stayed on to listen to the other people there to present their various cases, then at the end we went out to have our pictures taken by the reporters covering it. We were joined by our three Councilors who reassured us that it had gone well and that we must keep it up in future!

If any article about it comes on line I'll link to it in a future post.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Preparing to Ride the Whirlwind

Next week one of my fellow transitioners and I are going to do a presentation to our local Shire Councilors. It is our first and so it will be an interesting exercise in doing a pitch, so to speak, to group of average politicians. We already know three are on our side — they come to our meetings — so we won't be aiming at them. Instead it will be a case of persuading the skeptics, or maybe just the indifferent. How to do this?

There has been a very interesting post on The Oil Drum's Campfire discussion in the past few days entitled Dear Candidate - What Will You Do if Growth Is Over...?. I read the whole thing — all the comments, which is the point of the exercise — the other night. I was struck by the general gloominess of outlook from most commentators. I wonder if it is a reflection of the disengagement of people from their communities and from politics or whether it reflects a different political scene in the USA. Or maybe I'm a little naive. But it seems to me that it should only be a matter of casting the situation in the right light.

Politicians must read the future with some degree of accuracy if they're to succeed. I see our function as letting them know what they're facing. After all, in ten years time when we will be in the very eye of the storm which is now breaking over us, there will still be Shire Councilors in South Gippsland. The more accurately they have gauged the situation, the better I think our situation down here will be. Yes, there will be some terrible economic times ahead. But these times are going to also allow opportunities which the clever and energetic can seize. Whether good or harm comes from this depends very much on our preparation now.

Our transition group is focused necessarily on issues which mean most to our members now. These issues are generally focused on food security which is something individuals and families can take care of. The bigger picture is very important though. How does South Gippsland support itself now and how will that change in the future? This is what I'm thinking about.

Talking of the big picture, today I listened to a talk by Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth to a transition group in the UK. It's quite long but it gives the clearest picture of what is about to befall us all that I've heard lately, so if you can, give it a listen.