Science in the dark ages

Rachel Carson, author of the groundbreaking ‘Silent Spring’ warned us many years ago of the dangers of allowing politics to influence our understanding of the natural world.

 The real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth — soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife. To utilize them for present needs while insuring their preservation for future generations requires a delicately balanced and continuing program, based on the most extensive research. Their administration is not properly, and cannot be, a matter of politics.  Rachel Carson

This begs the question what is the role of science when the politicians of the day can cast aside the dire and detailed warnings of the climate science community despite the agreements and commitments they so publicly made to respond to this unfolding crisis?

event1We teach science in our schools yet we fail to adhere to it our daily lives, what message does this send to the growing generation? The smoking ban, compulsory seatbelts in cars, these were considered responses to known and measurable threats, so why then do we ignore the much more serious warnings about climate and energy?

We know of the disproportionate hold the oil industry has over our economy, over the US presidency and the Russian rouble yet to allow that reality to frame our responses will have dire consequences for all.

Last year we launched the Llanfyllin Transition Project, ‘Saving the Planet One School at a Time’ with the specific aim of exploring these ideas across the whole community and asking ourselves the question of how we can better prepare for what awaits us. To begin surely we are obliged to refer ourselves back to the science, what can we expect, what is happening how much do we know? Also we need to look at this information outside of the political and economic framework that surrounds the debate in the media.

factThe global scientific community will stage mass demonstrations to celebrate world Earth Day on April 22nd. This year’s event and campaign will fight against efforts to silence science and focus on creating and supporting knowledge sharing, community engagement, citizen science and stewardship.

We will be holding a series of events leading to Earth day the first of which is at Llanfyllin High School, 23 March building to the global event in April. It is free and will be informative, challenging and inclusive. Please be there. 

www.llanfyllin.sector39.co.uk

Saving The Planet, One School At A Time

Sector39 Haulfre, Market St, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, SY10 0JN
0771 981 8959 steve@sector39.co.uk
Llanfyllin Transition Project
Saving The Planet, One School At A Time
October, 2016

We are looking for Leaders- Can Llanfyllin be on the front line in the fight-back against Climate Change?

If you think so, then please join us!

We have been successful in our bid for funding to support Llanfyllin School and community in a 3 year project to place Powys on the map as the frontline for innovation and change..

As governments around the world commit to the historic Paris Climate Agreement , we are all challenged to find creative ways to achieve the vision of the low carbon economy that is required of us all.

The responsibility to find rapid pathways for repairing environmental damage lies with us all as individuals and we are never more effective than when we work together at a community level.

The transition to a low carbon economy will require a significant change in outlook and
behaviour, and this project seeks to work with Llanfyllin school and community as well as our wider network of thoughtful and conscious partners to achieve a community-led transition.

de grasse tysonTogether we must explore new and innovative climate resilient economic and productive
models that enable us respond to this colossal challenge.

The Project

Sector39 has been working closely with ARWAIN over the last 9 months to develop a project proposal to offer a permaculture design process for the community of Llanfyllin. The work will be focussed on the school, working with the immediate community as well as with Sector39’s wider network of partners; that means you!

This is exciting three year project commences in September and aims to find and work with the leaders of the future. Our aim is to build an inclusive vision for our community, one that recognises and understands our responsibilities as global citizens and one that creates exciting new opportunities for work, play and learning.

Whilst working with the school, we will be holding public meetings, workshops and think
tanks, as well as recording interviews, sharing information and videos. We will also present a series of workshops and presentations at the school through general assemblies, Welsh Baccalaureate classes and other opportunities to collect ideas, hopes and aspirations from across the community.

As well as exploring cutting edge climate science we will be looking at the best responses to this unfolding challenge that can be initiated from a community level.

Using permaculture design we will be building a transition timeline to a carbon negative
Llanfyllin by 2046, a vision and plan shaped by the whole community and for the wider benefit of all. The world is changing and as a community we must shape an informed vision of what we want for our collective future!

We will undertake a full survey of the school, its stakeholders and surrounding community. We will achieve this by working closely with a cross age range student group who, supported by us will work on both the survey, the analysis and design process.
Arwain Leader Funding
Funded through the Rural Development Plan for Wales (RDP) as part of the Welsh Government and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, Arwain is working with Powys County Council to deliver the LEADER 2014 – 2020 programme in Powys.
LEADER uses local knowledge to promote a joined-up “Grass Roots” community-led delivery for rural development.

The principle activities that ARWAIN will be funding are as follows.
● To facilitate a full permaculture design process for Llanfyllin high school, working with
a group of students from across the age spectrum.
● Undertake a community audit of resources and opportunities as well as priorities and
objectives.
● Facilitate a community narrative and process for sustainability transition; work,
housing, food, transport, investment, community currency, social support, waste
reduction and energy efficiency.
● Develop a social media platform to engage with the community and disseminate the
outputs.
● Produce a practitioner’s manual drawing from the course experience as a template for
change. By creating a set of teaching resources, training and guidelines for use by
other groups interested in following the same process.
● Recording the project methodology throughout the project. The resulting permaculture
design plan will present a template which can both evolve and exist as a model that
other communities might learn from.

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Sector39 win project bid for Llanfyllin!

There are still hoops to be jumped through, boxes to be ticked and performance targets to met but Sector39 have won the opportunity to lead on a community transition and resilience project based in Llanfyllin over the next three years.

The premise of the project is simple:

pope

Climate change science is decided, it is time for action.

We are already at a state of emergency!

This is a disaster for young people, we can no longer pretend that we don’t know. We need a fundamental change of direction.

James Hansen, NASA, 350.org

The Paris climate accord signals that the race to the low carbon economy is fully on. This needs to be led by the rising generation who can see beyond the current economic paradigm, leading us all to a  clean energy economy as fast as possible, this is now essential.

Here is James Hansen of NASA explaining what we have to do.

This project wants to listen to the voices of the science commnuity and work through school and commnunity to create new options for food, employment, education, economy and more. To visualise and plan for a truly sustainable future that meets our local needs as well as our global responsibilities.

The project itself is a plan to use the permaculture design model to re-imagine a school and community fit for 2040, 2050, a time when we will all be required to be living a net carbon neutral lifestyle.

  • What will our low carbon economy look and feel like?
  • How will we communicate the ideas, challenges and rewards of this amazing transformation?
  • How will we shape our common sustainable future?
  • How can we turn this challenge into our greatest opportunity?

We want our commnuity to be LEADERS in responsing to this challenge and to put both Llanfyllin and Wales on the world map as pioneers!

The World is hungry for inspiration,
Monica Araya, Costa Rica

Help us reinvent the future!

Join us!

A small country with big ideas

Here is Monica Araya from Costa Rica asking “How do we build a society without fossil fuels?”

Using her native Costa Rica as an example of positive action on environmental protection and renewables, climate advocate Monica Araya outlines a bold vision for a world committed to clean energy in all sectors.

Here is an interesting piece on how the TV weather readers are reacting to increasingly frequest weather events.

Turning rainforest into sugar, is this the best we can offer?

Working with Dolen Ffermio in Uganda, Steven Jones, Sector39.

It was a wonderful opportunity to work with Dolen Ffermio in Uganda last month, meeting many new friends and I hope future colleagues on the 2 week permaculture course held in Kamuli by the Sector39 teaching team.

Uganda is at a pivotal stage of its evolution as a nation, with an average age of under 18 and with a whole generation of the population now emerging from education, Uganda is all about the future. The people there are hungry for opportunity and the choices they make now will shape the emerging nation for many decades to come.

permaculture students

Uganda’s troubled history is now fully in the rear view mirror as the equatorial nation slowly emerges from the trauma, stress and mayhem of that period into a rapidly changing world. Economically they are still caught in the primary-producer economic stage, witnessed by the huge sugar cane plantations currently gobbling up the remaining rainforest at a frightening rate in a race to generate revenue for the government and their corporate friends.

Contrast the breathtaking ecology of equatorial rainforest, with its 200 species of birds, 100 of butterflies, without forgetting the massive canopy of huge and diverse trees and climbers that is the core of the forest to that of the sugar cane field. Whole ecologies are being consumed to please foreign markets; the price being paid is absolute destruction of pristine habitat. Never has the economic paradox appeared more clearly as a stark choice between ecology and economy?

sugar

Hauling sugar from remote parts of central Africa for global markets, the impact is absolute!

You know there has to be another way! There must be an economic model where ecology and economy are intertwined, where economic transactions create positive environmental and social benefits, where one is not at the cost of the other, well there is and we call this permaculture. At the heart of permaculture is a set of values and design tools that steer outcomes towards those which are mutually beneficial, ones that mimic nature, rather than consume it. Nature is diverse and interconnected, constantly changing and responding to new opportunites, it is dynamic and self steering; permaculture takes this a model and uses it as a design template.

The Sector39 team of 4, all from the Llanfyllin and Llanrhaeadr area delivered 120 hours of training over 12 days to 15 full time students and numerous guests and visitors during their 3 week visit to Uganda. Those completing course were certificated and can now progress towards becoming permaculture teachers in their own right as they gain experience and develop insight working with the ideas themselves.

The team concentrated on a design project focussed on the 30 acres of land on the banks of the Nile, funded by Dolen Ffermio that serves as a training and demonstration farm. It was tremendously exciting to be able unleash permaculture design thinking on such a place and the resulting presentation was witnessed by local teachers, the head teacher from Busoga high school, the regional environment minister anda range of community members. We hope to be able to return to deliver a series of courses in the area over the coming years. Strong friendships and working relationships have already been formed and we look forward to building on them.

Anyone interested in finding out more about permaculture please contact Steve Jones via sector39, we are planning to offer a full 2 week PDC course this September as well as a 2 day introduction weekend at Dragons co-operative in Llanrhaeadr.

www.permaculturedesigncourse.co.uk

See our Africa course blog here, as well as news on future courses and events.

Steven Jones

June 2016

 

 

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

Well here’s hoping!  Sector39 has been relatively quiet these last three months as we have been concentrating on putting together a series of project bids. The deadline for submission for the three biggest ones was yesterday, so I have been locked in mortal combat with spreadsheets, funding criteria and project evidence. Breathing a huge sigh of relief now they are all in the post.

I am not a natural fundraiser and I am also suspicious of funded projects as by their very nature they tend not to be sustainable. All that said I remain convinced that now has never been a more important time to invest in permaculture and for all involved to be much more ambitious.

Hence the decision to step out and nail our colours to the mast. We want to make a much bigger impact in our local community and our core project proposal is around working with our local high school and its 1000 students to help shape a vision for our low-carbon future. We are going to be challenging the school to map out the 20 year road to being a zero carbon school, as required by both the climate Change act and the pressing urgency to take the lead on responding to out comes of the Paris Summit.

IF we are successful then we will have the opportunity to run a three-year project across both school and community whilst developing resources and media to help communicate the projects successes and failures and challenging others to explore similar challenges.

Project two, is to build on our up coming PDC in Uganda, we don’t want it to be a one-off, we know we need to follow through with at least two more over the coming 2 years to make it really effective and to allow us to support some of the students to go on and complete their Diplomas so they can convene and certificate their own future course in East Africa. We hope to able to develop a handbook for East Africa permaculture in collaboration with our East Africa colleaues and support from our friends at Permaculture Timor Leste, who have already developed a tropical peramculture handbook.

We are also planning our own PDC programme in the UK as well as, developing teaching resources and case studies, we are also looking to be more active in co-operative development and support. With jobs and housing becoming increasingly out of reach of the rising generation then the need for more self-created opportunities is going to intensify.  Working and housing co-ops that allow people t take much more direct responsibility for themselves and allowing much more opportunity for innovation to create truly sustainable lifestyles and regenerative development that can enable us to help heal the damaged and depleted biosphere and build a climate friendly model of development.

Here’s goes nothing.. maybe we will strike out and fail in our quest.. but we have certainly tried our best. Sector39 has been supported by investment from the Robert Owen Community Bank to develop these aspirations, we are hugely grateful for the opportunity and hope that we can achieve something truly remarkable as a result!

Our Uganda fundraised has 5 days to run, and every penny raised will really count to making adifference, so please consider supporting us.

Permaculture Academy Proposal

This is a bold attempt to steer a new course in education and to empower students and other stakeholders to shape the long term development of their school.

Steve Jones, Jan 2016

Here at Sector39 we are putting together an exciting and what we consider to be an essential project, exploring the potential of using permaculture design to transform a whole school campus and to shift a school’s ethos and outlook to be in line with climate science. We want to create an exemplary Sustainable School to inspire and enable others to do the same.

Principle aim of this project:

To develop a permaculture curriculum accessible to educational bodies to drive a culture change proportionate to the challenges presented by climate change and to develop this in partnership with our local high school.

Completing this project will also serve to establish our wider aims of founding a permaculture academy of partners to widen our reach.

 

Our Organisation
Sector39
Haulfre, Market Street, Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, Oswestry, SY10 0JN
steve@sector39.co.uk
07719818959

Sector39 is a small grass roots teaching cooperative who build community projects, sustainable enterprise and new cooperatives by bringing together designers, growers, artisans and teachers working for a sustainable future. We run courses, training and deliver public speaking, working with schools, community groups and the general public in the UK and Uganda. We raise awareness and encourage others in how to make a difference in their community and their planet.

In Association with
Cae Badfach Community Orchard- a community field donated to the people of Llanfyllin, funded by Keep Wales Tidy, Welsh Cider and Perry Society and the Local Council. Here we have started a community orchard and other initiatives with high environmental value with the help of Llanfyllin High School. Other partners include to name a few Treflach Farm, Garth Organic Garden, Dragons Cooperative, Llanfyllin Workhouse, Dolyn Ffermio, The Permanent Housing Cooperative, Cultivate Newtown and many more.

Justification for Proposal

The Pope’s recent encyclical frames the looming issues of climate change as one of morality, placing us all in a position of responsibility and challenging us to action. His statement follows on the heels of both the scientific and political heavyweights in a call to action the scale of which has never been seen before. This proposal aims to connect this urgent need for thoughtful and constructive change at a global level to meaningful action at an educational level.

Permaculture is a design process that brings about change. Addressing climate change will require long-term political, economic and social changes. To achieve an 80% reduction in carbon omissions (as required by the climate change agreement) will require a fundamental behavioural shift.

Teaching permaculture within a school or educational body will initiate changes within the school. Sector39 have been working closely with Llanfyllin High school over the last two years. We have a well established relationship with the School due to previous work done on their land-based studies GCSE as well as with the wider community of that area through the community orchard project we ran there. Sector39 have already written and delivered a trial unit on ‘energy and climate’ for Llanfyllin High School 6th form which was well received and they have expressed interest in developing their school as a ‘Sustainable School’ through permaculture design.

This project aims to form a Mid Wales Permaculture Academy, a strong regional network of permaculture teachers and practitioners, drawing on 20 years of groundwork. Drawing on this network the aim is to develop a permaculture curriculum that is accessible to educational bodies and in a way that would create a mechanism to create and drive a culture change, proportionate to the challenges presented by climate change.

Project Aims

1. Bring Permaculture Education into the Mainstream; create ‘Sustainable Leader Schools’ reaching learning objectives whilst becoming sustainable. We will work with the school on an applied Permaculture Design Course or ‘PDC’, helping all, teachers, students and community, to develop an understanding of climate change and transforming the educational body’s behaviour; reduce waste, create productive systems, reduce carbon footprints and change the behavior of students.

2. Affect policy and initiate a wider change- Demonstrate to policy makers and councils the huge potentials to change the ethos of an educational body through sustainability. Changing young minds will affect policy as those young minds become our future generation.

3. Establish a Permaculture Design Academy- Support and encourage other practitioners and pioneers. Build a coherent network linking established permaculture projects, farms and co-operatives with teachers and educators in the formal sector.

This is a 3-year project:

Sector39 aims to influence policy, curriculum content and subject delivery at all levels from school to adult learning. They hope to see an increase in educational bodies across the UK offering more sustainability, environmental subjects with links to business studies and economics. By working with key partners they will demonstrate and develop learning processes which bring permaculture design tools and skills into every sphere.

By framing business skills and processes around the realities of climate change this would accelerate a shift in sustainability practices in all areas of the economy, which will better align business and investor behaviour with environmental sustainability and the long-term public interest.

Year 1-
We will begin writing the resources we will use in educational bodies. During this time we can begin working with Llanfyllin High school, allowing students to apply the design process, creating a design to produce a ‘Sustainable Leader School’. We will create a strong connection with headteachers, management, finance department, local farms and cooperatives. Working in the local orchard; Cae Bodfach, with existing projects and previous Permaculture Design Courses. Once the design has been finalised the design presentation can include school participants, council officials and policy makers.

May-July :
To write a design for the school with the students identified for the course. Together make a timeline for the project. School trips and talks from local community permaculture projects. Activities and design trials.
Sept-December :
Presentation in early September for entire school community including stake holders and wider Llanfyllin community. Begin the project in September and complete major aspects by December.
January-May :
School write up, promotion work, prepare handover for following September starters/ induction

Year 2- In the second year we hope to work with further schools, ideally Newtown College, FE college for region, whom we have close working bonds with.

Year 3 – Long term Change.
Sector39 hopes to have excellent relationships with schools, communities, councils, educational bodies and policy makers to influence policy and help others to educate about sustainability. At this point they can use their resources to offer viable curriculum changes and begin writing online resources. Rolling out ‘Sustainable Schools’ across the UK, to change the face of our national curriculum.

Through working with its partners in farming, teaching, growing and communities across the UK, the teaching network can demonstrate real examples of how sustainable practices work and how each person can apply them.

Furthermore a permaculture course results in a practical design project as part of the final assessment and many of these projects are subsequently implemented. This means that running these courses builds the infrastructure and examples required to run more of them by creating case study examples and related infrastructure.
For example a school may implement strategies to reduce its carbon footprint, may begin growing food, composting human waste, fund new projects through capturing solar or wind energy. These design projects will be financially viable, be sustainable and act as a template for other educational bodies. These projects can be incorporated into all subjects taught by the school and improved on year after year, making the school or college more economical as time goes on.

Funding these changes within a school are not without cost but over the longer term will result in more sustainable and economic schools, reducing their financial outlays each year. This would increase the potential of each school.

Funding

We are approaching mainstream funders for support for this three year project, however it is an increasingly competitive environment out there, and funding is always pegged to very specific outcomes and timeframes. Consequently our ambition is to raise funds directly from supporters, to give us more freedom and flexibility to run the project according to ours and the school priorities.

Figures are available for a breakdown of planned expenditure.

Who will work on this project?

Sector39 aim to utilise those already working voluntarily for Sector39, as well as Dragons Cooperative, Llanfyllin High School, the Cae Bodfach project and the North Wales community.

Partnership building is an essential part of permaculture design academy process. Sector39 has an extensive list of 18 current stakeholders for the Permaculture Design academy. They are a varied and wide reaching group of professional people already involved in their network, who will make this project viable.

Sector39 will share the lessons learned from their work with others through PDC’s, the online resources, in schools and colleges, on social media and through their community base in North Wales, as well as encouraging the replication of their work both nationally and internationally with those that want to encourage the education and action against climate change in the UK and abroad.

How can you help?

Sector39 plan to fundraise to support Llanfyllin High School in its first year of this project.

Please contact Sector39 on the contact information at the top of this proposal, if you feel you can help in any way or have any suggestions for this project.

Please like and share this idea through social media to show your support and please contact us if you would like to donate or get involved with our fundraising initiatives.

Earth day April 22, Join us in Llanfyllin

Earth-day-flyer-2015In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honour the Earth and the concept of peace. Originally it was celebrated on March 21st the first day of spring in the Northern hemisphere; later Earth Day was switched to April 22nd to fit in with other similar initiatives.

Mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage, Earth Day activities in 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio summit of course being the one that gave us the concept of Sustainability as a universal goal and flagged Climate Change as the single most important environmental challenge, or rather climate change as a symptom of a wider malaise: our addiction of fossil fuels. Since that historic date at which governments agreed to limit emissions in order to prevent dangerous climate change, world carbon emission have risen by 44% and with a dwindling remaining carbon budget the world is facing some tough choices.

Earth Day is a chance to celebrate the many success of the environment movement to date and to frame the struggle we have before us to shift the world onto a sustainable footing. While the carbon clock is ticking, grass roots action around the World is shifting the balance. The Divest in Fossil Fuels movement is gaining momentum, climate justice action groups are springing up everywhere and the anti-fracking, anti-tar sands and anti-Keystone pipeline movements have all become global phenomena. While there is still so much to do, there is also much to celebrate and how better to celebrate that with action?

Cae Bodfach: Llanfyllin, there have been several updates in here of the community endeavour directed towards the field in Llanfyllin, adjacent to the Cain River and health centre carpark which has come into community management. So far, together with the Cain River group, Llanfyllin Town Council, The Primary School and High School as well as numerous local residents, we have established an small orchard and forest garden there, with old fruit tree varieties of apple, pear and plum plus local provenance hazel, elder, blackthorn and dog rose as support species. The orchard boasts blackcurrant, raspberry and chokeberry with a groundcover of herbs like lemon balm, mint and strawberry. It is designed to be easy to maintain and to be beneficial to wildlife, creating habitat and feeding opportunities for creature and human alike.

llanfyllinv2

Map showing the community plantings so far at Cae Bodfach and the proposed Willow coppice.

Myself and Dewi Morris have proposed to the town Council that a fitting next step would be to plant a 2 metre wide strip of willow coppice along the fence line between the Wetland and the field. This would create a shelter belt and windbreak; provide more wildlife habitat as well as a corridor down to the river.

The maintenance plan is to coppice it every few seasons to provide a free fuel resource for residents, or materials for basketry and other projects. We have a ready available source of fast growing willow and a small budget for the other materials needed and the plan is work with the high school students as part of their landscape studies as well as residents to help plant the hedge. And we hope to do this on Earth Day. We are pleased to announce also that the Llanfyllin Primary school will be helping on Earth day, their mission will be to plant strawberry plants around the forest garden!

I thought it would be a fitting and symbolic gesture of willingness to work together as community to protect and enhance our environment and to find much more Eco sensitive and lower carbon emitting ways of living. Look out for updates and I hope to see you on April 22nd.

Steven Jones is an independent permaculture teacher, consultant and forest gardener.

sector39.co.uk/blog
or @misterjones2u

Dewi Morris can be found at closeencounterswithnature.org.uk