Sunday, 28 March 2010

Coming Up For Air

It struck me as I boarded the X2 back to Beccles last night from the Norwich Bus Station that had I not listened to David Strahan talk about the role of anaerobic digestion in the future, I would not have noticed that the bus was partly run on methane from landfill sites. And that maybe we are not noticing the changes that are going all around us because we are just too one-track minded.

But my heart yesterday, it has to be said, was not with graphs and stats, it was on the evening performance. Facts are good to assemble, but they are not the whole story. You need to know about peak oil and that 95% of our transport (and the global economy) is run on oil (http://www.davidstrahan.com/). You need to know what kind of pressure farmers are under to serve the supermarket system, and how some are taking the land back into their hands and working to turn things around. Like Tim Waygood and his Agrarian Renaissance http://www.peopleandfood.org/. You need to know that in small villages in East Anglia, like Cookley and Walpole, people are coming together and erecting community wind turbines (http://www.energyaction.org.uk/). And you also need to know what part you are playing in the movement towards the future we can't always see.

After what seemed like hours on the road and listening to speakers in a school hall (I was feverish all day and not feeling good) I suddenly found myself at home drinking rosehip tea in front of Tom's fire, as we met for a last Low Carbon Roadshow rehearsal with our three Taiko drummers, Chris, Sarah and Richard. I felt at home approaching the Forum with Mark and Tom, deer skull and yew staff in hand, as we converged to perform a ceremony to open The Earth Hour. As the drums' vast rhythmic beats sounded out across Norwich. Boom, boom, boom. The future is here.

"There's always one mate, and today it's you!" said the bus driver, smiling, as Mark dropped all the money on the floor. He didn't bat an eyelid at the fact we had blue-streaked faces and were carrying a gallon of birch sap from Nigel in our hands. Like I said: you don't always notice the changes. You think life is always going to go one way (usually down, beyond our control). And then out of nowhere something surprising happens. Seeds start bursting out of their coats.

Above: Chris, Sarah and Richard on drums at The Earth Hour (photo by Lesley Grahame); Broad beans from Malcolm, ready for planting out; fennel seeds from Erik

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