Satish Kumar on Radio 3

Not being a habitual Radio 3 listener, it was by chance earlier in the week that I heard the presenter, Sarah Walker, talking with Satish Kumar (interspersed with his music choices) during her ‘Essential Classics’ programme.  Satish Kumar has been editor of ‘Resurgence’ magazine for decades.  His presence on the programme was apparently associated with the International Day of Peace on Friday 21st September.  He has been appearing on all the programmes this week, talking about his life and beliefs.  Those local to Constantine may already have heard him speak at the ‘Gather’ festival last autumn at Goongillings.  For anyone else who would like to hear him, the programmes are available on iPlayer:





Satish appears about 1 hour 30 minutes into each programme, in a half hour slot.  There’s still time to catch the live programme tomorrow!

The Rebel Brewing Company in Penryn

Coincidentally, with the most recent post being about micro-breweries, I found myself yesterday at the Rebel Brewing Company in Penryn.  I had been trying to track down a local source of malt, since stocks of homebrew were starting to reach seriously low levels.  I first tried Kernow Grow & Brew, also in Penryn, who don’t currently supply malt, but they put me on to the Rebel Brewing Company, saying that they would be happy to supply malt, yeast and hops to home brewers.  And so it turned out.

Rob Lowe at The Rebel Brewing Company

I met Rob Lowe, manager and brewer, and was interested to hear about the business and their plans for a move to a much larger unit in the Kernick Business Park in Penryn, sometime in the next couple of months. Particularly interesting (from the Transition perspective) are the plans to make the new unit as resource-conserving as possible.  Rob says they are aiming to install LED low energy lighting, make use of harvested rainwater, and use anaerobic digestion to process what might normally be viewed as ‘waste’ products from brewing, i.e. the spent grain and hops.  I’ll hope to follow up with more information on this in due course.  Before I left I grabbed the photo-opportunity with Rob, and made use of their off licence to acquire some bottles of Barrowboys Bitter and 80/- Scotch Ale.

Micro-breweries in Cornwall

I was asked the other day if I could think of any local micro breweries.  I ran through a few that came to mind straight away, but was left with the feeling that there are quite a few more that I had forgotten or didn’t know about.  Fortunately, there is a (nearly) comprehensive list of micro-breweries in Cornwall on the Cornwall in focus website.  Lots of detail there: locations, contact details, brewers, beers made, and even recommendations.  It does, though cover the whole of Cornwall.  Relatively local ones on the list are:

  • Atlantic Brewery (Newquay)
  • Blue Anchor Brewery (Helston)
  • Cornish Chough Brewery (Trethvas Farm, The Lizard)
  • Coastal Brewery (Redruth)
  • Driftwood (Spars) Brewery (St. Agnes)
  • Hogswood Brewery (St. Agnes)
  • Lizard Ales (St. Keverne)
  • The Rebel Brewing Co. (Penryn)
  • St. Ives Brewery (St. Ives)

One not on the list linked to above is the Wooden Hand Brewery, heading up towards east Cornwall at Grampound Road.

Conservative thinking

It is in the nature of the internet that one can wander far from an initial path.  I was pursuing a reported endorsement of the new Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, by Nigel Lawson (now Baron Lawson of Blaby).  I was somewhat disturbed by that, given that Nigel Lawson has a reputation as a climate sceptic.  He is a founder and chair of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, whose tag is “Restoring balance and trust to the climate debate”, though the organisation seems primarily engaged in sowing doubt and distrust about climate science.  It was news to me, though obviously well known generally, that (a) Nigel Lawson is the father of Dominic Lawson (a columnist for The Independent and The Sunday Times) who writes from a similarly sceptical perspective, and (b) Dominic Lawson is married to Rosa, sister of Christopher Monckton (who has also become prominent as a climate change sceptic).  All this is really a by-the way to the fact the these enquiries led me to the DeSmogBlog (dedicated to “clearing the pollution that clouds climate science”).  This site has some interesting mini-bios of both Nigel Lawson and Christopher Monckton (amongst many others!).

I discovered on DeSmogBlog a number of articles by Chris Mooney on the question of why there is a tendency for conservatives to be anti-science and distrustful of scientific evidence.  He has explored this theme in recent books: ‘The Republican War on Science‘ and ‘The Republican Brain’.  These draw on recent psychological research to suggest that conservatives have different personality types and psychological needs compared with those identified as ‘liberals’.  Grossly simplifying, he suggests that conservatives resist scientific evidence not because they are stupid, but rather because they are psychologically unable to accept ideas that conflict with deeply held prior beliefs.  A rich vein to explore.

Chough, Chough

Not really Transition-related, this one, apart from being a symbol of ‘localness’!  Walking from the Lizard lighthouse yesterday towards Housel Bay, I passed a couple of Choughs foraging in the field, and couldn’t resist the photo.

Lizard Choughs
Choughs near the Lizard lighthouse

Charles Secrett: UK green groups must go on the offensive

Another piece in the recent Resurgence & Ecologist worth noting.  Charles Secrett (former Director of Friends of the Earth) feels that “the UK’s green groups have hit a new low: virtually invisible, largely ineffective and mostly ignored by both government and the electorate.”  He expresses frustration that the major organisations (CPRE, FoE, Greenpeace, RSPB, WWF, etc.) have major resources in term of income, membership, skilled staff and so on, yet they operate in an uncoordinated way and seem to have lost their campaigning edge.

“Campaign staff are no longer community organisers.  They sit in offices.  They are expert researchers who write elegant press releases and reports that 99.99% never read.  They are policy wonks, tweeters, media commentators and lobbyists, happiest in front of a computer, and only ever leave their desks for conferences, interviews or internal meetings”.

He draws attention to the impact on government plans when the National Trust mobilised its membership in opposition to plans to ease planning restrictions.  He proposes that the green NGOs must forge alliances, pool skills and resources, develop a shared agenda with inspiring, convincing and practical policies for reforming the economy.  All this coupled with jargon-free positive messages about how life could be different and better in a sustainable world (a recognition that doom and gloom scenarios may well be accurate but they tend to provoke fingers in the ears rather than inspire positive action).  But above all, his priority is for NGOs to “Get out of the office and hit the road”.  His conclusion:

“Most importantly of all, it’s time for NGOs and activists to move from the defensive to the offensive and collectively promote a compelling vision about what life can be like, with wealth created and shared, markets working for people and Nature, communities empowered, and politicians honest and capable.”


EV Charging Stations in Cornwall

Having personally sighted only one electric vehicle charging point in Cornwall (at the Eden Project), I picked up on an article in the most recent West Briton (6/9/2012).  It reported how a B&B at Penhallow (Homestead Farm) had installed a charging station for guests – and the equipment had been given to them by Zero Carbon World.  This organisation is a registered charity that donates charging stations to hotels, B&Bs, and other leisure oriented businesses.  Any business that takes up the offer must still pay for the installation, but all the equipment is free of charge.  Zero Carbon World’s website has a searchable map giving access to a national database of charging stations.  Nearest one to Constantine appears to be on the Trelowarren estate.

Zero Carbon World, founded by Kevin Sharpe, states that it aims ” …to clear the confusion, bureaucracy and profiteering surrounding decarbonisation.  It is our vision to live in a sustainable and equitable decarbonised society.”


Adelaide heading for sustainability

After the sober content of the last post, some good news from the latest issue of Resurgence (now Resurgence & Ecologist).  In one article, Herbert Girardet describes the steps the Australian city of Adelaide has taken towards becoming a sustainable city.  In 2003 he was invited by the city to be a ‘thinker in residence’ focusing on the ‘greening’ of Adelaide. He and colleagues produced a report detailing a number of recommendations.  In November 2011 he returned to see what had happened as a result of the proposals made.  He says that Adelaide City Council “had taken many truly remarkable initiatives in the previous nine years”.  Picking a few plums from the list of achievements:

  • Over 26% of electricity is produced by wind turbines and solar PV panels
  • Of 600,000 houses, 120,000 have been fitted with PV panels
  • Solar hot water systems are manadatory for all new buildings
  • 15% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2000
  • 3 million trees planted
  • 20,000 hectares of land near Adelaide used for vegetable and fruit crops

The full report on his Adelaide visit can be downloaded from here.