After a busy first half of the year, setting up the East Devon branch of the Green Party then running for the General Election, I’m turning my attention to green issues on my doorstep. Although I currently live in a rural area between the small Blackdown Hills villages of Stockland and Membury, my two children go to school in the pretty village of Upottery.
They started school and pre-school there when we lived over in Luppitt and as they are very happy there and it’s a very good school, plus not affiliated to a church, we were keen for them to stay there. However, should the opportunity come up to live closer to the school again, we’d go for it – to save travelling, time, fuel and emissions. The current school run/drive takes about 15-20 minutes. I cycle back three days a week though, takes about 45 minutes over about 4 or 5 miles (must measure it!).
After getting to know a lot of people this year who are involved in admirable transition projects in their areas – for example Sidmouth and Exmouth, I am very envious and would like to see more of this happening on this side of East Devon in a bid to tackle climate change and peak oil. I don’t think there is anything of this nature currently set up in Honiton or Axminster, my two local (and quite big) towns.
I know Selina and co. are busy up in Churchinford setting up The Blackdown Hills Transition Group – a kind of transition hub (umbrella organisation) for all the local groups and community ventures to network through. Back to Upottery though, a parish of approximately 600 people. The village has an excellent primary school with about 100 pupils, a brilliant pre-school, a busy community church, a thriving village hall (The Manor Rooms) and a village pub called The Sidmouth Arms. The parish covers the villages of Smeatharpe and Rawridge.
I’m currently busy sending out press releases to all the local groups, newsletters, newspapers etc to rally some people together and get a transition group set up in the village. Transition is the process, some say “journey”, we have to embark on to shift our communities away from our current high CO2 emitting and fossil fuel addicted ways of living and being. It starts with a small initial group within a community, then builds into a broad coalition of people within the area.
If you are interested in learning more about the transition movement – you can see if there is a group in your area on www.transitionnetwork.org. If you live in or around Upottery and would like to join me (Sharon) in setting up a local transition group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07740973990.