Tag: Dartmoor

A life on the commons.

The message of common land.

I am far from certain but I have this notion in my head that ‘Common Land’ is an English thing. Here’s a Wikipedia extract:

Common land is land owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel.[1]

A person who has a right in, or over, common land jointly with another or others is called a commoner.[2]

This article deals mainly with common land in England, Wales and Scotland. Although the extent is much reduced due to enclosure of common land from the millions of acres that existed until the 17th century, a considerable amount of common land still exists, particularly in upland areas, and there are over 7,000 registered commons in England alone.[3][4]

Common land or former common land is usually referred to as a common; for instance, Clapham Common or Mungrisdale Common.

Despite the idea of common land having an English ‘ring’ to it common land is also found in the USA. Back to that Wikipedia reference:

Common land, an English development, was used in many former British colonies, for example in Ireland and the United States. The North American colonies adopted the English laws in establishing their own commons. A famous example is the New Haven Green in New Haven, Connecticut.

When I was living in Devon it was not unusual to take a walk with Pharaoh on some very famous open access land: Dartmoor.

Dartmoor: English countryside at its best.

So where the devil am I going with today’s post?

Last Thursday week, the 12th, I published my review of George Monbiot’s valuable book Out Of The Wreckage.

This book struck me as the most important book I have ever read in my lifetime. Why? Because it gets to the heart of what is happening today. But it offers even more than that. For instead of a shrug of the shoulders or eyes turned skywards from a friend when one mutters about the fact that we are living in ‘interesting times’, George Monbiot offers hope and guidance.

The day after I published my review George Monbiot published an article in The Guardian newspaper that threw more light on the commons philosophy and why, as in his book, he “offers hope and guidance”.

It is republished here with Mr. Monbiot’s generous permission. Yes, the focus is on British politics but GM’s core message applies equally to the USA and other countries.

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Labouratory

13th October 2017

We should use the political space being opened by the Labour resurgence to develop a new, participatory economy

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th October 2017

We are still living in the long 20th Century. We are stuck with its redundant technologies: the internal combustion engine; thermal power plants; factory farms. We are stuck with its redundant politics: unfair electoral systems; their capture by funders and lobbyists; the failure to temper representation with real participation.

And we are stuck with its redundant economics: neoliberalism, and the Keynesianism still proposed by its opponents. While the latter system worked very well for 30 years or more, it is hard to see how it can take us through this century, not least because the growth it seeks to sustain smacks headlong into the environmental crisis.

Sustained economic growth on a planet that is not growing means crashing through environmental limits: this is what we are witnessing, worldwide, today. A recent paper in Nature puts our current chances of keeping global heating to less than 1.5°C of at just 1%, and less than 2° at only 5%. Why? Because while the carbon intensity of economic activity is expected to decline by 1.9% a year, global per capita GDP is expected to grow by 1.8%. Almost all investment in renewables and efficiency is cancelled out. GDP, the index that was supposed to measure our prosperity, instead measures our progress towards ruin.

But the great rupture that began in 2008 offers a chance to change all this. The challenge now is to ensure that the new political movements threatening established power in Britain and elsewhere create the space not for old ideas (such as 20th Century Keynesianism) but for a new politics, built on new economic and social foundations.

There may be a case for one last hurrah for the old model: a technological shift that resembles the Second World War’s military Keynesianism. In 1941, the US turned the entire civilian economy around on a dime: within months, car manufacturers were producing planes, tanks and ammunition. A determined government could do something similar in response to climate breakdown: a sudden transformation, replacing our fossil economy. But having effected such a conversion, it should, I believe, then begin the switch to a different economic model.

The new approach could start with the idea of private sufficiency and public luxury. There is not enough physical or environmental space for everyone to enjoy private luxury: if everyone in London acquired a tennis court, a swimming pool, a garden and a private art collection, the city would cover England. Private luxury shuts down space, creating deprivation. But magnificent public amenities – wonderful parks and playgrounds, public sports centres and swimming pools, galleries, allotments and public transport networks – create more space for everyone, at a fraction of the cost.

Wherever possible, I believe such assets should be owned and managed by neither state nor market, but by communities, in the form of commons. A commons in its true form is a non-capitalist system, in which a resource is controlled in perpetuity by a community, for the shared and equal benefit of its members. A possible model is the commons transition plan commissioned by the Flemish city of Ghent.

Land value taxation also has transformative potential. It can keep the income currently siphoned out of our pockets in the form of rent – then out of the country and into tax havens – within our hands. It can reduce land values, bringing down house prices. While local and national government should use some of the money to fund public services, the residue can be returned to communities.

Couple this with a community right to buy, enabling communities to use this money to acquire their own land, with local commons trusts that possess powers to assemble building sites, and with a new right for prospective buyers and tenants to plan their own estates, and exciting things begin to happen. This could be a formula for meeting housing need, delivering public luxury and greatly enhancing the sense of community, self-reliance and taking back control. It helps to create what I call the Politics of Belonging.

But it doesn’t stop there. The rents accruing to commons trusts could be used to create a local version of the citizens’ wealth funds (modelled on the sovereign wealth funds in Alaska and Norway) proposed by Angela Cummine and Stewart Lansley. The gain from such funds could be distributed in the form of a local basic income.

And the money the government still invests? To the greatest extent possible, I believe it should be controlled by participatory budgeting. In the Brazilian city of Porto Allegre, the infrastructure budget is allocated by the people: around 50,000 citizens typically participate. The results – better water, sanitation, health, schools and nurseries – have been so spectacular that large numbers of people now lobby the city council to raise their taxes. When you control the budget, you can see the point of public investment.

In countries like the UK, we could not only adopt this model, but extend it beyond the local infrastructure budget to other forms of local and even national spending. The principle of subsidiarity – devolving powers to the smallest political unit that can reasonably discharge them – makes such wider democratic control more feasible.

All this would be framed within a system such as Kate Raworth’s doughnut economics which, instead of seeking to maximise growth, sets a lower bound of wellbeing below which no one should fall, and an upper bound of environmental limits, that economic life should not transgress. A participatory economics could be accompanied by participatory politics, involving radical devolution and a fine-grained democratic control over the decisions affecting our lives – but I will leave that for another column.

Who could lead this global shift? It could be the UK Labour Party. It is actively seeking new ideas. It knows that the bigger the change it offers, the greater the commitment of the volunteers on which its insurgency relies: the Big Organising model that transformed Labour’s fortunes at the last election requires a big political offer. (This is why Ed Miliband’s attempts to create a grassroots uprising failed).

Could Labour be the party that brings the long 20th Century to an end? I believe, despite its Keynesian heritage, it could. Now, more than at any other time in the past few decades, it has a chance to change the world.

http://www.monbiot.com

ooOOoo

Muddy rambles by Dartmoor Cross on Dartmoor.

The above photo was first seen on the South Downs Walking website.

All of you and all of your dogs have a wonderful weekend.

A Hop, Skip and a Jump!

Actually it’s just about skipping! A dog skipping!!

This was seen on the BBC News website yesterday and I am delighted that the video clip is on YouTube.

Here’s how the story was reported by the BBC.

Devon dog sets skipping world record

3 April 2017 Last updated at 12:17 BST

A skipping Jack Russell and her owner have set a new world record.

Eight-year-old Jessica and her owner Rachael Grylls, from Lewdown in Devon, clocked up 59 skips in one minute.

The owner of a skipping Jack Russell dog says she is “really, really, really pleased” she and her pet have set a new world record.

Rachael said: “It’s quite hard to keep jumping, talking and rewarding her at the same time. I think I’m more unfit than Jessica!”

Lovely to see this news item from my old County of Devon.

You see, I used to live just a few miles out of Totnes in Devon; in the village of Harberton. Lewdown is also in Devon, as the news item reported, but it is the other side of Dartmoor. In other words, North-West of Dartmoor as opposed to Totnes being to the South-East of Dartmoor.

But if any of you dear readers fancy a vacation in the UK you should make a point of going to see Dartmoor. It’s a very beautiful place. (Sue, you have probably been to Dartmoor? Yes?)

Classic Dartmoor view

 

I love this dog so much!

Dearest Pharaoh.

As I explained yesterday, I am distracted from all things blogging right through to the end of this week-end.

So I’m republishing a post from June, 2013 that, hopefully, will be a fresh read for many of you.

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More on Pharaoh’s life.

First published June 4th, 2013.

What a wonderful relationship it has been.

Years ago if I was ever to own a dog, it had to be one breed and one breed only: a German Shepherd Dog.

The reason for this was that back in 1955 my father and mother looked after a German Shepherd dog called Boy. Boy belonged to a lovely couple, Maurice and Marie Davies. They were in the process of taking over a new Public House (Pub); the Jack & Jill in Coulsdon, Surrey. My father had been the architect of the Jack & Jill.

Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey
Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey

As publicans have a tough time taking holidays, it was agreed that the move from their old pub to the Jack & Jill represented a brilliant opportunity to have that vacation. My parents offered to look after Boy for the 6 weeks that Maurice and Marie were going to be away.

Boy was the most gentle loveable dog one could imagine and I quickly became devoted to him; I was 11 years old at the time. So when years later it seemed the right time to have a dog, there was no question about the breed. Boy’s memory lived on all those years, and, as this post reveals, still does!

Pharaoh was born June 3rd, 2003 at Jutone Kennels up at Bovey Tracy, Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor, South-West England. As the home page of the Jutone website pronounces,

The Kennel was established in 1964 and it has always been the aim to breed the best German Shepherd Dogs for type and temperament. To this end the very finest German bloodlines are used to continue a modern breeding programme.

and elsewhere on that website one learns:

Jutone was established by Tony Trant who was joined by Sandra Tucker in 1976. Sandra continues to run Jutone since Tony passed away in 2004. Both Tony and Sandra qualified as Championship Show judges and Sandra continues to judge regularly. Sandra is the Secretary and a Life Member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Devon.

Turning to Pharaoh, here are a few more pictures over the years.

Pharaoh, nine months old.
Pharaoh, nine months old.

oooOOOooo

One year old: June 3rd 2004.
One year old: June 3rd 2004.

The next picture of Pharaoh requires a little background information.

For many years I was a private pilot and in later days had the pleasure, the huge pleasure, of flying a Piper Super Cub, a group-owned aircraft based at Watchford Farm in South Devon. The aircraft, a Piper PA-18-135 Super Cub, was originally supplied to the Dutch Air Force in 1954 and was permitted by the British CAA to carry her original military markings including her Dutch military registration, R-151, although there was a British registration, G-BIYR, ‘underneath’ the Dutch R-151. (I wrote more fully about the history of the aircraft on Learning from Dogs back in August 2009.)

Piper Cub R151
Piper Cub R151

Anyway, every time I went to the airfield with Pharaoh he always tried to climb into the cockpit. So one day I decided to see if he would sit in the rear seat and be strapped in. Absolutely no problem with that!

Come on Dad, let's get this thing off the ground!
Come on Dad, let’s get this thing off the ground!

My idea had been to fly a gentle circuit in the aircraft. First I did some taxying around the large grass airfield that is Watchford to see how Pharaoh reacted. He was perfectly behaved.

Then I thought long and hard about taking Pharaoh for a flight. In the Cub there is no autopilot so if Pharaoh struggled or worse it would have been almost impossible to fly the aircraft and cope with Pharaoh. So, in the end, I abandoned taking him for a flight. The chances are that it would have been fine. But if something had gone wrong, the outcome just didn’t bear thinking about.

So we ended up motoring for 30 minutes all around the airfield which, as the next picture shows, met with doggie approval. The date was July 2006.

That was fun!
That was fun!

What a dear dog he has been over all the years and, thankfully, still is!

As if to reinforce the fabulous dog he still is, yesterday it was almost as though he knew he had to show how youthful he still was.

Because, when I took his group of dogs out around 7.30am armed with my camera, Pharaoh was brimming over with energy.

First up was a swim in the pond.

Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!
Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!

Then in a way he has not done before, Pharaoh wanted to play ‘King of my Island’, which is in the middle of the pond.

Halt! Who goes there!
Halt! Who goes there!

ooo

This is my island! So there!
This is my island! So there!

Then a while later, when back on dry land, so to speak, it was time to dry off in the morning sunshine.

Actually, this isn't a bad life!
Actually, this isn’t a bad life!

Long may he have an enjoyable and comfortable life.

ooOOoo

Long may we all have enjoyable and comfortable lives!

Synchronicity!

Two very different expressions of hope and sense about the present era of change.

First off, up until yesterday morning at 6am, I had completely different ideas for today’s post.  But sitting up in bed yesterday morning reading my emails, I saw there was an email from Jon Lavin that included a link to this: Hope for the New Year: some thoughts on emergence, evolution, freedom, love and choice, by Bronwen Rees. Dr. Rees describes herself, as:

Bronwen is a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist with nine years experience and a practice in Cambridge, Suffolk and Hungary. She is trained in the Karuna Institute in Devon in core process psychotherapy, which was the first mindfulness-based therapy in the UK. She adds to this her unique understanding of western and eastern spiritual traditions, combined with findings in new science – to find ways of helping individuals align with their true destiny. She runs retreats and workshops and group work at different times of the year.

I was vaguely aware of the name. Perhaps unsurprisingly as I was familiar with the work of the Karuna Institute at their beautiful location at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor, Devon, some eighteen miles from where I used to live in Harberton, Devon.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor
Widecombe-in-the-Moor

Anyway, back to the theme of today’s post. Back to Jon Lavin’s email with the link. This is how that essay from Dr. Rees opened:

by Bronwen Rees on January 1, 2015

In the face of the on-going and now undeniable social, economic, environmental and political crises, there are plenty of seeds of ‘emergence’ that point to a new way forward. These are flowering in the area of sustainability, spirituality, and the reworking of ancient systems of wisdom. They point to a new way of being and relating where, it is implied, one can manifest at will one’s desires.

Whilst there is a distinct truth in much of this, and many examples where this can obviously work (vis the outpouring of new technological companies providing ever more zany products), they are very early developments fostering to individual satisfaction rather than being consciously channeled into the benefits of the collective. The scale of change in terms of consciousness has largely not yet been realized. One of the main reasons for this is the as yet imbalance in the relationship between the collective and the individual, and the lack of a conscious ethical foundation.

I sort of understood the central message but the words were getting in the way.  Take this later paragraph, for instance:

Humanity is at a bifurcation point – a point of irreversible change – where conscious choice determines the future that is created. Neo-Darwinian theorists would argue that this is merely a point of survival, and given the current scientific data about the material conditions – peak oil, energy, economic chaos, severe mental health issues, the conditions would suggest that we are as a species heading for disaster. Balanced between over-population and yet greater and greater individualization with more and more apparent choice – how can the two perspectives be reconciled on this seemingly increasingly small planet?

Indeed, my email reply to Jon, having struggled through the full essay said: “Good day to you, Jon, Yes, what a fascinating essay albeit written in a manner that makes it a very tough read! Nevertheless, I have no doubt that the good Dr. is spot on in her analysis.

The very next item opened in my email inbox was notification of a new post from Sue Dreamwalker: My Dream ∼ Translated I just had to share. Let me, in turn, share Sue’s post with you; with her kind permission, I should add.

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My Dream ∼ Translated I just had to share

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven

On Jan 3rd I had a Dream.. Please click on the music video below so you can get a sense of some of my experience.. .. Sunday I tried to capture some of the images I had in the dream… So I painted.. But I saw Oh so so much more………

In the beginning of the dream.. She was Me.. As I began to sing.. but then I became the observer.. This has to be the best Dream experience ever… .. So I had to share.. I heard the Music… Music like I have never heard upon this earth… the video music is about as close as I can get to that feeling of being exalted to a higher place.. I am still so excited I cannot tell you the Love I felt within this experience.. If this is the beginning of 2015.. Whoooooh… Let it roll……..

My Dream..

“She stood in a gown that was a rich golden brown. Its fabric shimmered catching the light that reflected from the crystals of natural quartz that sprang up around her. The gown was long and flowing not only did it reach the floor, but it spiralled out around her in a never ending dance as it became one with the sphere of the Earth.

dream-love-song-_thumb
Sue’s painting.

 

She took a deep breath; here she stood in the centre of the globe called Gaia.

Her hair was so long the wind picked it up to billow out behind her in long tresses. Birds flew in and amongst her strands of hair, Insects and butterflies danced within making it their home.

With breath still poised, she raised her arms like a conductor of an orchestra. She expanded her lungs and she began to Sing…. Her Soprano voice was pure. The moment her voice vibration raised higher the spiral of her gown buried deeper into the Earth. The Grass became part of her gown. Trees sprang forth from the folds of it swaying to her melody of love; Flowers opened their blooms, each petal giving separate notes in a wonderful exotic dance of harmonic ripples.. Love notes rippled like the keys of the piano. The buds on the trees open their leaves their notes sounded deeper like a million cello’s. Birds sang their flute like songs and the butterflies wings danced lighter than bell chimes.

Water trickled into streams, clear and sparking like the strings of the violin.. They swelled in a crescendo in waves that beat the rocks crashing in like kettle drums smashing like symbols into glistening spray..

The Whales joined in her song a mournful lament, while deep in the jungle the elephants gave a low rumble to acknowledge they had heard.. The roar of the Big Cats were heard above the cries of the orangutan’s

As the Thunderous machines of man cut swaths leaving deep scars that screeched like vultures circling over head, to give way to silence………. as they circled over the corpses of everything left dying in its wake..

She paused……………. ready to continue…….. Her arms raised high above her head, she Sang.. her voice becoming a crescendo with the Earth, her breath became the Spiral.. Her Hair became the Wind.. The notes she sang sprang forth from her mouth forming hearts and stars.. Every living creature now joined in her song…

She knew her Song of love was being joined by so many more.. She was ONE with ALL.. She was part of our Earth Mother..”

~~~~

I hope you enjoyed reading about this Dream and I hope you enjoyed listening to the wonderful music of the PianoGuys

See you all very soon…

~Sue~

ooOOoo

In a very strange way, I read the same messages from Dr. Rees and from Sue but presented in such opposite ways: one way so complex and one way to clear. So strongly reinforced by their respective closing words. Here’s Dr. Rees:

Whilst there is real potential for the expansion of consciousness, this does not by any means suggest that this will arise without individual effort and struggle. All the enlightened masters of the past needed to move through this gateway – the difference between then and now is that the conditions are far riper for more individuals to undergo this – and indeed can be seen as a biological necessity for the survival of the human species. Thus as individuals, we cannot avoid this, but what we can do, and indeed as a biological and spiritual imperative, we can support one another and help organize ourselves in dedication of this purpose, in a mutual recognition of each individual uniqueness yet shared destiny.

Here are Sue’s closing words: “She knew her Song of love was being joined by so many more.. She was ONE with ALL.. She was part of our Earth Mother..

However, there is one uniting theme I read from both of them: Hope!

More on Pharaoh’s life.

What a wonderful relationship it has been.

Years ago if I was ever to own a dog, it had to be one breed and one breed only: a German Shepherd Dog.

The reason for this was that back in 1955 my father and mother looked after a German Shepherd dog called Boy.  Boy belonged to a lovely couple, Maurice and Marie Davies.  They were in the process of taking over a new Public House (Pub); the Jack & Jill in Coulsdon, Surrey.  My father had been the architect of the Jack & Jill.

Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey
Jack & Jill, Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey

As publicans have a tough time taking holidays, it was agreed that the move from their old pub to the Jack & Jill represented a brilliant opportunity to have that vacation.  My parents offered to look after Boy for the 6 weeks that Maurice and Marie were going to be away.

Boy was the most gentle loveable dog one could imagine and I quickly became devoted to him; I was 11 years old at the time.  So when years later it seemed the right time to have a dog, there was no question about the breed.  Boy’s memory lived on all those years, and, as this post reveals, still does!

Pharaoh was born June 3rd, 2003 at Jutone Kennels up at Bovey Tracy, Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor.  As the home page of the Jutone website pronounces,

The Kennel was established in 1964 and it has always been the aim to breed the best German Shepherd Dogs for type and temperament. To this end the very finest German bloodlines are used to continue a modern breeding programme.

and elsewhere on that website one learns:

Jutone was established by Tony Trant who was joined by Sandra Tucker in 1976. Sandra continues to run Jutone since Tony passed away in 2004. Both Tony and Sandra qualified as Championship Show judges and Sandra continues to judge regularly. Sandra is the Secretary and a Life Member of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Devon.

93ac7d454b15519effff8014ffffffd3
Tony Trant

Turning to Pharaoh, here are a few more pictures over the years.

Pharaoh, nine months old.
Pharaoh, nine months old.

oooOOOooo

One year old: June 3rd 2004.
One year old: June 3rd 2004.

The next picture of Pharaoh requires a little background information.

For many years I was a private pilot and in later days had the pleasure, the huge pleasure, of flying a Piper Super Cub, a group-owned aircraft based at Watchford Farm in South Devon.  The aircraft, a Piper PA-18-135 Super Cub, was originally supplied to the Dutch Air Force in 1954 and was permitted by the British CAA to carry her original military markings including her Dutch military registration, R-151, although there was a British registration, G-BIYR, ‘underneath’ the Dutch R-151.  (I wrote more fully about the history of the aircraft on Learning from Dogs back in August 2009.)

Piper Cub R151
Piper Cub R151

Anyway, every time I went to the airfield with Pharaoh he always tried to climb into the cockpit.  So one day, I decided to see if he would sit in the rear seat and be strapped in.  Absolutely no problem with that!

Come on Dad, let's get this thing off the ground!
Come on Dad, let’s get this thing off the ground!

My idea had been to fly a gentle circuit in the aircraft.  First I did some taxying around the large grass airfield that is Watchford to see how Pharaoh reacted.  He was perfectly behaved.

Then I thought long and hard about taking Pharaoh for a flight.  In the Cub there is no autopilot so if Pharaoh struggled or worse it would have been almost impossible to fly the aircraft and cope with Pharaoh.  So, in the end, I abandoned taking him for a flight.  The chances are that it would have been fine.  But if something had gone wrong, the outcome just didn’t bear thinking about.

So we ended up motoring for 30 minutes all around the airfield which, as the next picture shows, met with doggie approval.  The date was July 2006.

That was fun!
That was fun!

What a dear dog he has been over all the years and, thankfully, still is!

As if to reinforce the fabulous dog he still is, yesterday it was almost as though he knew he had to show how youthful he still was.

Because, when I took his group of dogs out around 7.30am armed with my camera, Pharaoh was brimming over with energy.

First up was a swim in the pond.

Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!
Ah, an early birthday dip! Bliss!

Then in a way he has not done before, Pharaoh wanted to play ‘King of my Island’, which is in the middle of the pond.

Halt! Who goes there!
Halt! Who goes there!

ooo

This is my island! So there!
This is my island! So there!

Then a while later, when back on dry land, so to speak, it was time to dry off in the morning sunshine.

Actually, this isn't a bad life!
Actually, this isn’t a bad life!

Long may he have an enjoyable and comfortable life.

Sands of time

Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time.” Longfellow.

Longfellow, the only American writer honored in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Longfellow has been dead for 130 years, as of last March, but of his many wonderful words that have stayed with us over the last century and more, these must be some of the more familiar.  (Or am I showing my appalling lack of literary knowledge?)

Following on from yesterday’s post about the scary mathematics of climate change,  this really is the ONE thing that we have to learn from dogs; from nature.  If we don’t live in harmony with our planet pretty damn soon, then this particular civilisation is not far from extinction.  Let me remind you of a key paragraph from yesterday,

It’s simple math: we can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we rise up to stop them.

Ergo, we do not have endless time available to us!

Otherwise the footprints left on those sands of time will be nothing more than the next civilisation pondering from time to time why those Atlantacists that sunk beneath the waves were unable to do anything to save their world!

If you think I’m being a tad excitable, then see what Rob Hopkins wrote recently over at Transition Culture.

New Economics Foundation’s ’100 Months’ campaign today reaches its midway point.  It was launched in August 2008 based on the understanding that the time that remains to us to avoid the likelihood of runaway climate change is limited, and based on the science at the time, there was a closing window of opportunity to do something meaningful about it.

Then adding,

“The question here is “what should we do differently?”  The answer is “pretty much just about everything”.  Nationally and internationally, while the scale and pace of climate change are accelerating, meaningful responses are dwindling.  Part of our collective paralysis comes from the fact that we struggle to imagine a world with less energy, less consumerism, less annual GDP growth.  What will it look like, sound like, feel like?  Does it inevitably mean that you should start seeking out your cave on Dartmoor [Devon in South-West England, PH] as we speak, and developing a taste for slugs?  Of course not.

Shortly before the 100 Months campaign began, I was part of initiating an experiment to see what a self-organised response to climate change might look like, one based on rebuilding community, on the belief that what is needed is people, everywhere, making their communities happier, healthier, lower-carbon, and more resilient, in a huge variety of ways.

Rob Hopkins was also asked to write a piece for the UK’s Guardian Newspaper in recognition that we are half-way through that 100-month campaign.  Here’s how Rob concluded that piece,

Transition Bath set up an energy company which has raised £250,000 in shares from local people. Transition town Totnes’ Transition Streets programme has enabled almost 700 local householders to reduce their carbon emissions while rediscovering a sense of community on their streets. Bristol soon sees the launch of the Bristol Pound, the UK’s first citywide transition complementary currency. Transition Brixton’s Brixton Energy is installing community-owned renewables supported by local people. Check out transitionnetwork.org to get a sense of the amazing projects under way.

At its core, this is about the belief that our best way forward is for communities to build local resilience in order to be able to better face the shocks of the present and the uncertainties of the future, from economic crisis to climate change, seeing increased community resilience as economic development. It’s a process of plugging the leaks in our local economies, seeing every leak as a potential new business, new livelihood, new apprenticeship opportunity.

Of course we need government responses, and international responses, but all of those will struggle without a vibrant bottom-up movement of ordinary people showing what’s possible and how thrilled they are by those possibilities. So although the answer is “pretty much just about everything”, I would argue that seeing this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurship, vision and action is where our successful navigation of the next 50 months lies.

Think about it!  What are you doing today?

An image of the future?

German Shepherd dogs

Just a musing about this fabulous breed.

We had to put one of our dogs to sleep on Friday, not a GSD, but one of Jean’s rescued dogs from way back.  At this moment in time (11am US Mountain Time, Saturday) I’m writing a piece about this wonderful dog that will appear tomorrow.

Thus not in the mood to post my usual light-hearted item for a Sunday.  So I resorted to looking up an appropriate dog video on YouTube.

Came across this,

Of course, that reminded me of how precious our Pharaoh is and it only took a few moments to find a couple of earlier pics of him.

Here’s Pharaoh the day I collected him from GSD breeders Jutone‘s in Dartmoor, SW England.  That’s Sandra Tucker, the owner of Jutone, with Pharaoh; the date being 12th August 2003 when Pharaoh was then just over 8 weeks old.

Sandra Tucker holding young Pharaoh

The next photograph was taken on the 11th March, 2008 at London’s Heathrow Airport.  The occasion being the time that Jean came across to England from her home in Mexico.  Jean came to see if the romance that had blossomed between us at Christmas in 2007  in San Carlos, Mexico was alive and well.  Luckily, it was!

Jean meeting Pharaoh for the very first time!

Thus it came to pass that in September, 2008, Pharaoh and I travelled out from Devon, England to Mexico where we lived until February, 2010, when Jean and I, Pharaoh and 12 other dogs and 6 cats relocated to Payson, Arizona.