Permaculture meeting and useful links, Mid March 2017
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Transition Liverpool Newsletter - mid March '17

Next Meetings
Meeting report for March - the Value Game
Permaculture and Incredible Edible links
Trips and Tours
Other links, news and views
Science News
Artist of the week

Our Next Meetings
Permaculture Merseyside
People, Planet and Fair Shares Gathering at Metal, Edge Hill Station, Monday 20th March, 6 to 8pm, for soup and informal discussions of local people interested in Permaculture – more training – sites - the way forward, etc. ……….. There are 4 trains an hour from Liverpool Lime Street, or visit the Metal website for more travel details.
And/or you could join the Permaculture Merseyside Facebook Group
Transition Meetups
Come along EVERY Thursday at the Brink, 21 Parr St. from 4 to 6 (that is, the 23rd, 30th March, 6th, 13th April, etc.). Pop in to connect with us, or stay for a longer open discussion, helping to develop our ideas and maybe new projects.
The Next Transition Café
What to do about Peak Stuff. Wednesday  April 12th, 7.30 for soup, 7 for meeting at Quaker Meeting House.
Many of us have stuff we never use, but, much of it is duplicated, e.g. we all have electric drills which are designed for thousands of hours of operation, but most drills are only used for 15 minutes in their entire lifetime !
We need to organise ourselves better than this, and there are two main techniques for this that we;d like to have here:-
  • To set up a Library of Things
  • To have a Repair Café
Several of the local groups involved in upcycling, making and repair will also be invited to attend to tell us what they do too.
Please let us know if you have any more ideas, or if you’d like to speak !!

Meeting Report
Erik Bichard led a very interesting session last Wednesday. I won’t tell you much about the Value Game that we all played, in case you get another chance to play in – I don’t want to spoil it for you. It demonstrated the cognitive difficulty most of us experience when trying to value subjective factors such as friendship, an ancient tree in a town centre or safety, compared to common objects such as cars and televisions. As such things that hold great social or environmental worth get sadly valued at zero by default.
However, Erik then went on to talk about the emerging field of social and environmental value (sometimes called sustainable value). He gave the example of a tree in a town square, that may only be worth a few hundred pounds as timber, but has an amenity value to thousands of people as part of the townscape, as well as value in flood prevention, as an ecosystem, and in converting CO2 to Oxygen. Placing a value on these combined factors would change the calculated value of the tree to several million pounds.
In a similar way, in new built developments, social value is added by biodiversity improvement, by atmospheric improvement from trees, flood prevention, and other amenity elements. Erik’s
company RealWorth has a method that places a monetary value on social and environmental change, and these can now be a critical factor in the approval of new projects, and a strong driver to make them more sustainable.

Erik’s book Positively Responsible – Business CAN save the Planet from Amazon (other vendors are available)
Government Cabinet Office report
available in PDF
Permaculture and Incredible Edible Links
For the meeting on Monday, I've gathered some Permaculture and Incredible Edible links,

The UK Permaculture Association has an excellent website. They have a scheme called Permaculture Ambassadors who are having a Conference in Birmingham on 21st April
You could subscribe to
Permaculture Magazine which includes using permaculture principles for designing your livelihood too
You can get a free subscription for a year if you switch to Ecotricity. I may do this !!
My friend Allan has a nice site called Diary of a Brussels Kitchen Garden  which is on Facebook  .
He specialises in growing the main summer crops in containers in his yard and patio - tomatoes, beans, courgettes, peppers. He provides 1 or 2 "do this now" recommendations if you follow him. The information is also on his website 

Incredible Edible network takes community action to provide crops which the public can take, often on railway stations and High Street planters that the council's can't afford any more  - It began in Todmorden and is very popular - there is now a national organisation
Hoylake has an active branch on Facebook

This is a nice link for a sustainable permaculture agrihood in the USA

Trips and Tours

Stuart McBain is setting off on a great adventure, driving round the coast in his Tesla car. This is partly to prove that Electric car owners don’t need to have so much “range anxiety” and don’t have to stick to very safe journeys all the time. His “Charging Around Britain” website is now up and running, and his beacon is on the site is switched on and pulsing
Stuart is a
Holistic Accountant, specialising in encouraging sustainability in Merseyside !

Brake the Cycle are offering a group cycle trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats visiting at Transition Groups, communities, etc. on the way (you have to pay for the trip)

In our Meetup group we have been talking about tours we could go on and demonstration projects that we'd like to see - here are some of them ....... (come along to the Brink any Thursday from 4 to 6 to get involved)
We all wanted to go to the Eden Project and to Totnes. The Eden Project has the world's largest indoor tropical rainforest.
Coach tours are available from many firms to the Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, etc,
Totnes is the cradle of the Transition movement and the most advanced group. One of us has a friend there, but a few more potential hosts would be handy
We'd also like to go to the Centre for Alternative Technology in mid-Wales
Incredible Edible in Todmorden (I used a picture from them above)
and the Middlewood Trust near Lancaster (pictured here)

we could also have local evening/afternoon visits, such as the Iron Men at Crosby beach, Liverpool Garden Festival site, etc.,

Other links, news and views

Metro Mayor Elections
There is also an Open meeting to discuss  the Regional Landscape Agenda organised by CPRE, 21st March - book in advance if you can
Greening the City Region Thursday  30th March at the Quaker Meeting House, 7-9pm - With the election for a new Metro Mayor looming, come and help frame a new Green Deal for our region, with a speaker from FoE
There will
MetroMayor hustings with all the main candidates at the Anglican Cathedral, Thursday 6th April - you can book in advance

Food and Waste. The Guardian (Saturday 11th March) has devoted its "Cook" section to zero food and packaging waste and a call for a circular economy of durable, mendable equipment, unpackaged local, seasonal or home grown food, and recycling/ repurposing for spent items. As well as recipes for using the whole animal, fish and vegetable the articles mentions organisations which enable us to access food directly, bypassing supermarkets.
  • We can subscribe to a local veg box/meat box scheme,
  • subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) farm, which is a form of partnership between farms and consumers
  • look out for The Real Junk Food movement, which is now taking "waste" food from grocers as well as supermarkets, and then using it
  • Farmers are routinely forced to destroy crops which are "imperfect" or excess to demand from supermarkets. We can pick these crops straight from the field through organisations like
There's a lot going on in Merseyside too - please let us know and I'll put it in the newsletter.

Live a Better Life Live a Better Life is a massive vegan fair at St George’s Hall, Saturday 25th March, £2 admission (worth it to see the hall !)
The Law & Non-Communicable Disease Unit has a lecture that looks interesting

Healthy food provision: stranded between corporate power and corporate powerlessness
by Garrath Williams of Lancaster University on Thursday 30th March 2017 from 16:00 – 18:00 in Lecture Theatre 7, Rendall Building, at the University. Please register beforehand
He is the Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Lancaster University, and Garrath Williams will present and defend the following claims: 
(1) corporations are not free market actors, but arise thanks to a specific form of state intervention; 
(2) contemporary food markets are structured by corporate activity (e.g. the well-known ‘hour-glass’ between producers and consumers); 
(3) the resulting markets are bound to promote processed foods, which are invariably less healthy than whole foods; 
(4) though very powerful in some regards, corporations are powerless to resist this logic; hence 
(5) the only tenable way to uphold public health is greater statutory regulation of corporate activity; 
(6) such regulation should not be understood as restrictive, but rather as enabling corporate actors to respect important public goods. At a more philosophical level, Garrath also wants to make this overarching argument: we should resist the careless (or disingenuous) assumption that government interventions (e.g. to create or modify corporate markets) are opposed to freedom; any sensible ‘restriction’ will uphold some sort of freedom; the crucial question is always what sorts of freedom we should value.

I wrote this on St Patrick’s Day
The Muppets do Danny Boy - video
Shaun and the Sheep do Riverdance - video

Science News
As part of a report about how a human can control a robot with their mind, a piece in the last New Scientist mentions special brain signals called “error potentials” - when we see mistake, this special error signal is produced which is relatively easy to identify with an EEG – it has a distinctive shape (p. 10, 11th March). So when an observer sees a robot making a mistake, this can be detected and fed back to the robot, which can then adjust what it was doing. People don’t need any training to produce the error potentials. Apart form the potential of training artificial intelligence, and directing autonomous cars, this might also explain why some people react so badly to mistakes !

Artist of the week
Xaviera Lopez has a wonderful (and very scary) body of work !! There is a sample image to the right, but mostly she creates short animations, such as There are many more on her website
About Transition Liverpool
The main Transition Liverpool event is the monthly “Transition Café” which is on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. We also have a Meetup every week at the Brink on Thursdays from 4pm till 6, which gives more space for discussion and connecting in a more personal way. There is an Energy Group, and every October we put on a full-day Symposium. Our main concerns are to help create a “soft-landing” rather than a crash as fuel supplies fall and demand rises, and also as the effects of climate change increase. Transition is a development model for “advanced” societies to help us create better and more fulfilled lives for all, while using less resources.
We are part of the
Transition Network, and Transition Town West Kirby are also very active. Our local Liverpool website is here, and our Facebook page is here. 
Some of the main Transition publications are available online for free download - the original Transition Handbook, and the recent Essential Guide to doing Transition .

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Best Wishes and Happy Transitions,   George

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