Co-operative Pub for Local Community
The Star Inn in Salford was given three weeks’ notice of closure, but, after locals clubbed together, the pub is back in business as a community-owned co-operative. The new pub coincides with the launch of a report, ‘Calling Time on Pub Closures – The Co-operative Answer’, by Co-operatives UK which documents trends in pub closures and sets out advice on creating co-operative pubs.
Ed Mayo said: “Pub closures can be like pulling the plug on local communities. It is scandalous that pubs like The Star Inn are being closed at three weeks’ notice and it is a tribute to the community in Salford that they responded in an innovative answer to the threat of closure.”
“The Star Inn has been part of the community since 1867,” said Margaret Fowler, a local resident. “People really missed it when it was closed down and that brought us all together to invest our own cash to re-open the pub. It really was easy to set it up as a co-operative and now we have got our pub back, it’s the most fantastic feeling in the world.”
Julian Ross added: “We have shown that by working together, we can preserve something that is very important for the community. As a group, we believed we could safeguard our pub’s future and turn it into a co-operative, and I want to help encourage other communities to try what we have done.”
For more info, visit www.cooperatives-uk.coop
Mama Amma to the rescue
Many of you may remember hearing about Amma’s charitable donation of $23 million towards Tsunami relief and rehabilitation in India and Sri Lanka. But, in truth, altogether the value of the project has doubled as it has taken so many new dimensions in terms of adding fully equipped communities to the housing project with community halls, parks, healthcare centres, schools and also so much of the work is being done by volunteers.
You’ll be glad to know that she has announced a plan to provide relief in response to the crisis in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Amma has directed Br. Dayamrita Chaitanya to travel to Haiti with a small team of medical advisors to assess conditions on the ground. Br. Dayamrita’s team will explore avenues to make a meaningful long-term contribution to the recovery effort.
In Amritapuri, Amma led several thousand people in a prayer for the peace of the departed souls, for those who have suffered injuries and devastating material losses, and for the mental strength and peace of mind of those who have lost their loved ones.
For more info, visit www.amritapuri.org
“We can be sure of one thing: the revolution that we are now entering – the sustainability revolution – will be like no other. For the first time, the future will not just be an improved version of the past.” Michael Pawlyn
Michael Pawlyn is a pioneer in the field of biomimetic architecture, responsible for some of the world’s most intriguing designs. In 2007, Michael founded Exploration Architecture to focus exclusively on sustainable design inspired by the natural world. Respecting nature as our Elder, whom we turn to for solutions, can, he believes, reduce our impact on the earth and slow the effects of climate change. “Nature has an amazing storehouse of ideas,” he says, “and it has had a long research and development period – 3.8 billion years in fact, so most of its faulty products have already been withdrawn from the market place.”
Currently, Michael is working on the Community Ecology Centre, inspired by Amsterdam’s De Kas restaurant. At the heart of the complex, a greenhouse will grow fruit and vegetables for the guests. Food waste will go to feed a wormery. The worms are fed to Tilapia fish, and the fish are then served fresh to diners.
Micro-organisms will break down the centre’s rubbish in an anaerobic digester, producing biogas to heat the greenhouse and generate electricity for the site. Meanwhile, a ‘living machine’ will mimic the filtration process that occurs in natural wetlands to turn sewage into clean water.
“By accommodating all these activities in one building, it’s possible to get the benefit of a closed-loop design that mimics the remarkable efficiencies of ecosystems,” Michael explains.
“Although there are some worrying times ahead in terms of climate change and so on,” he adds, “for every problem that we face, whether it’s creating energy, finding fresh water, or manufacturing in a benign way, there’ll be examples from nature that we can follow – and I bet you, that all those examples will be closed-loop, solar powered and non-polluting.”
For more info, visit www.exploration-architecture.com
All Aboard for Europe
An adventurous family from the Forest of Dean have set out on the trip of a lifetime in their 30-year-old double-decker bus. Peter Kramer and Cristina Solana, have spent many years working within Camphill Villages around the UK and want to explore similar pioneering communities being set up across Europe.
Camphill communities are inspirational places enabling vulnerable adults and young people with learning difficulties to live and work side by side with adults without special needs. Together, they build rich, inclusive and fulfilling lives.
Peter and Cristina have two children, 5-year-old Inka and 3-year-old Rowan, who will be travelling with them. The couple have trained in the principles of organic and biodynamic farming and are hoping to pick up new ideas while sharing their experience and skills along the way.
Peter has also been a master baker for six years and the family will have a mobile wood-fired bread oven in tow, which they will use to bake delicious breads and pizzas. “Today wood-fired ovens can be run very efficiently and cost-effectively compared to those that use other fuels,” Peter reveals.
Cristina has often thought of herself as born to travel. She longed for the road, “to experience a sense of freedom in discovering what else is out there, to find out what other ways of life people have followed and to get to know places of outstanding beauty.”
We know a couple of Camphill communities here in Ireland also, so if you keep your eyes out, you may just meet them.
You can follow their progress online at: www.doubledeckerfamily.co.uk
For further information about Camphill: www.camphill.org.uk
A New Generation Shifts into Gear
There is a shift taking place. Against the odds, climate change is being treated, by an increasing amount of people, as something that can be turned into a positive opportunity.
This became visible when hundreds of young adults and teenagers, from across the UK, converged in London last autumn for Power Shift ’09. The aim was: “To connect young people and inspire and equip them to organise in their local communities, raising the youth voice on climate change,” explained Amy Mount, the event’s media officer.
The event culminated with a ‘flash-mob dance’ next to the London Eye and then outside Parliament. Waves of young people suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, to perform a co-ordinated routine. With a public display of solidarity and celebration, they injected a note of creativity and passion into the climate change debate.
“Doing the dances was amazing,” said participant, 24 year-old Rosie Sullivan. “You’ve got to have fun together and celebrate the fact that we are alive and live in a beautiful world, right now. It’s not completely dysfunctional.”
“I think we live in a really exciting moment. We have the opportunity to do fantastic things. Because we have to. How often do we see people flourish in such a way because there’s a need for it to happen?” – Emma Biermann
For more info, visit www.ukycc.org and www.think2050.org