TTL Chair Peter Willcox reports on his visit on 11th March 2020

Pic ‘n’ Mix is a monthly meeting at, and arranged by, Letchworth Library, open to everyone, but aimed at people who may be lonely. Speakers are invited to talk about their area of expertise, or introduce a craft activity.

TTL were invited to speak, and I took it on. I gave a very brief introduction to the Transition Movement’s aim of facilitating the Transition to a low energy economy. I said that I hoped they all believed that the climate is changing, caused by humankind, and that anybody who didn’t believe those things would find me very irritating! That got a laugh. I then explained that I wanted to find out what were their passions, concerns and fears, because I wanted to be able to tell them about how the work of TTL could address those concerns.

I then described myself, married, two married daughters, lay minister and Churchwarden, having dancing and Bridge as hobbies, being passionate about family, church and Climate Change.

We then went around the table with most willing to speak about themselves in similar categories. Several were concerned about biodiversity loss, and described what they were doing in their gardens to combat it. They were very willing to engage, and we had some lively discussions about several things. One person admired Greta Thurnberg, to some agreement, but disagreed with Extinction Rebellion, again some agreement, but a voice raised wondering how you get heard without making some sort of impact.

I described how TTL seeks to influence local government, and about our meeting with HCC the previous evening, and I urged them to respond to the consultation. I explained about sorting out Cycle Route 12 around the station. This gave rise to discussion about how cyclists don’t use their bells anymore, mostly because they don’t have them. On this and several other occasions folk said “they” should . . . I urged them to tell ‘them’ what they needed to do. I described how we worked with NHDC to get cycle racks into schools and public halls.

I described the allotments at Woolgrove, and encouraged them to mention them to anybody who lived on the Jackmans who might be interested.

I asked them about grandchildren; were they anxious about the Climate Emergency, as we had been anxious about nuclear Armageddon in the sixties. Yes, some of them were. I said that the way to overcome fear is to face it, and then act on it. Parents could support fearful children by taking on action themselves. Children could act by joining their school eco club; if there isn’t one start one! I said that TTL works with schools to help initiate and support such clubs.

They were a lively bunch, mostly fully engaged. By the end of an hour I was exhausted, and ended by asking what they thought was the most important thing they could do about climate change, or biodiversity loss, or pollution from waste, or whatever. This proved difficult. So I suggested that the answer is talk about it, with your friends neighbours and families. Ask them what they have done in response to the problem, and commend them for it. Say what you have done. See what further you could do together.

I got enthusiastic support, and many personal thanks, and the library staff were enthusiastic about the format, fully involving all the participants from the beginning.

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