Thursday, November 12, 2009

Power to the People

On Friday 30th October Deal With It and the Greenerway Cluster were very pleased to welcome the Rt.Hon. Michael Meacher, the distinguished Labour MP, to a crowded meeting in St.George’s Church. Mr Meacher who has served 29 years on the front benches and who has been called the “greenest ever Minister for the Environment” spoke on renewable energy.

Never mincing his words and refreshingly truthful for a politician, he explained where we are now, which is just about bottom of the European league, only producing 1% of our energy from renewable sources compared with 18% in Germany and 47% in Finland. He went on to describe where we could be, and what the obstacles were to achieving a more acceptable target. He felt this was a depressing and shameful position brought about by vested interests and lack of Government will to change. However Mr Meacher raised our spirits by pointing out that the technology to meet our needs with clean energy already exists and that we are favoured by both our natural island geography and our natural inventiveness.

So what is standing in our way? A failure at all levels to address the problems we face and to wake up to the fact that we are heading for catastrophe and must change course. He continued by outlining the huge economic advantages of making that change, both at the personal and national level. He stressed that change in both the way we think, and the way we live was essential. He also praised Deal With It, with it's “brilliant name”, for what they were doing at the local level and for the warm atmosphere of community.

Alistair Gould of the Pines Calyx, long-term local activist on issues of Sustainability spoke next on “Power from the People - How generating clean energy from within our own communities can be practical and affordable”. He explained how this can be achieved and told us of the progress they are making at St.Margaret’s Bay, stating that they are within 2 or 3 years of achieving their goal of making the community energy independent. The meeting ended with questions from the audience and a sense of being inspired to redouble our efforts.

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