There are so many people, like me, who feel frustrated by the state of things, who wonder what they can do to make a difference, who want to do their bit. There are so many people who want to feel like an effective part of the revolution by doing something, however small, to make positive changes to their world. So surely there’s something one person can do, to make a difference, within the local community or further afield. Surely, we can all do something.
Last night I attended a film showing of Chasing Tomorrow by independent filmmakers Max and Jeremy, who travelled across the UK in search of change-makers. It was an incredible sample of entire communities who are coming together and changing the way they live. There was a community of guerrilla gardeners planting foods all over their town to share, to eat, and rarely seeking permission to do what they do; there was a bug farm and grub kitchen experimenting with edible insects as an alternative source of apparently very tasty protein, to reduce the two thirds of the earth’s surface currently used for livestock and its feed; there was a town called Ashton Hales, a completely carbon neutral town because everyone there is on board to set the example for other towns to copy; there are new monetary systems in Bristol and Brixton keeping local wealth circling within local businesses; there are entire intentional communities shaping their lives differently by living off the land and living off-grid like the one they visited called Landmatters; and we got a glimpse of what the transition town of Totnes is doing to achieve ethical and sustainable living, and learnt about their focus on ‘permaculture’.
I actually became a little tearful to see real people making real substantial change like this. I didn’t know there was so much going on.
The film showing was hosted by a local group called Transition Bournemouth, who get together regularly to discuss what we can do locally, but they are just one of dozens of groups in my area who are tackling issues and coming together to realise solutions. There was talk of planting our own foods all across Bournemouth, which led us to find out it has already begun. There are community gardens and allotments, like the one at Slades Farm, where people are invited to learn how to grow their own food, and there’s a new one planned for the top of the Sovereign Centre, as well as Community Fridges launching throughout Boscombe. There are soup kitchens, homeless support teams, a recycle and repair cafe, and so much more on our door steps.
It makes me think of the people I know from older generations who are baking at home, growing food in their gardens, collecting eggs from their own chickens, and mending their belongings. Skills as simple as these aren’t taught anymore. What does my generation, or the generations after me, know about any of these basic life skills? What do we know of the effort people go to, to put food in our supermarkets for us to just pluck from the shelves, what do we really know of what goes on behind-the-scenes? We’ve become too dependent upon our modern lifestyle and its having some devastating consequences.
Surely we can all do something, to live more simply, and make a difference.