Latest Issue Welcome to Issue 45
This month sees the second of the community beach cleans as part of the ‘Plastic Free Hornsea’ initiative. The first beach clean attracted over 300 people and since then the campaign has gathered great momentum. It is encouraging to see such a positive response to what I believe is the most pressing issue of our time – the laying to waste of our beautiful planet. One can only hope that this is just the beginning of a new relationship with the natural world upon which we are totally dependent, since cleaning up some of the mess is barely scratching the surface of the symptoms let alone addressing the causes. We can trace the origins of the ecological crisis back to the time when we rejected the beliefs held by our indigenous ancestors that all life and everything in nature is sacred – to be respected. We came to believe instead that nature can be manipulated and abused in any way we choose to suit our immediate goals. This has culminated in the situation today in which we have contaminated the air we breathe, the waters we drink and the soils upon which we depend for our food to such an extent that we have caused rapid acceleration in the extinction of species and are endangering even our own. In doing so, however, we have extended our dominion over the earth to the point at which the resources we depend upon for our continued expansion are becoming depleted and more difficult to obtain. In a nutshell – we have reached the limits to growth. I believe that very soon (within the next decade) the financial system which demands this continuous growth for its survival will collapse and we will be plunged into a new era, very different from the current one.
It was with all this in mind that a small group of us set up the charity ‘Home Grown Hornsea’ in 2010 as a way of responding positively to these issues. The group was inspired by the ‘Transition Towns’ movement which began in Totnes and has spread rapidly to many towns around the world. Some of the more progressive town councils have embraced the concept since, whether or not they agree with the prediction of economic collapse, they recognise that it can bring significant benefits to their town. The aim is to build ‘Resilience’ by fostering community cohesion to enable us to grow our own food, produce our own energy and meet all of our other needs as much as possible within the community, thereby reducing our reliance on resources from other parts of the world. As well as greatly reducing our environmental footprint this could also provide a boost to the local economy, create employment and improve health and well-being by providing more fresh local food, exercise and social interaction.
Home Grown Hornsea has launched a number of initiatives including a ‘Visioning’ conference, films and discussion evenings, re-skilling workshops, seed, plant and planter giveaways, a shop selling local and natural foods and products and the establishment of a Community Orchard. Unfortunately, none of these initiatives appear to have captured the imagination of the community and the group has failed to make the impact that was hoped for. Recognising that we are regarded as a maverick bunch with strange minority concerns, I joined the Lets Go Hornsea and HARP meetings in the hope of bringing the issues to the attention of the mainstream movers and shakers of the town. As with society at large, of course, the ecological crisis is not considered relevant to these meetings. The assumptionis that ‘business as usual’ will continue and the priorities are to boost the status and attractiveness of the town, mainly with infrastructure projects, some of which, in my view, are symptomatic of the approach which has led us to ecological catastrophe. These organisations could be the perfect platform from which to launch strategies for autonomy (producing our own food, developing our own renewable energy supply, etc.) which would be invaluable to our future well-being. Unfortunately such strategies are simply not on the agenda at present. Short of inviting David Attenborough to live here I am now running out of ideas as to how to bring this issue to the table but persist in the hope that, as the seriousness of the problem becomes ever more evident, others will join the fray. Perhaps some more successful ‘rainbow warriors’ will emerge from the ‘Plastic Free’ initiative. In the meantime if you have any suggestions, would like to discuss these issues further or bring some fresh energy and impetus to Home Grown Hornsea please get in touch