Transition Buxton AGM was held on the 12th May 2022.

Reinstating ‘the Peaks and Dales line’. 

Stephen Chaytow from the Manchester and East Midlands Rail Action Partnership (MEMRAP) spoke to us about their aspirations to reopen the rail line between Matlock, Buxton and beyond to passengers and freight.

Our February talk was by Charles Huff. In only eight years time we will no longer be able to buy a new petrol or diesel car.  Of course second-hand vehicles will remain for a long time, but if we care about our environment we know we must transition to other means of travel.  This talk looks at two of the main contenders for us to choose if we still want to own a vehicle.

After seminar 21 we started a more relaxed system of talks largely given by members of our group. and for January 2022 Two of our members, Chair, Ian Bowns and Derek Bodey shared this talk on local renewable energy. First Ian spoke about various organisations that give various forms of support then Derek described the current situation with the floating solar array that Transition Buxton has been trying to set up for several years.

Mini-seminar number twenty one was Kermit Was Right

‘Kermit Was Right’ an argument against the idea that being green is easy with Terry Newholm. In a speech to the UN, Boris Johnson challenged the message of Muppets character Kermit the Frog, who sang: “It isn’t easy being green.” Terry agrees with Kermit. An opinion paper published in the middle of 2021 reviewed our present environmental situation with the latest data. Making his interpretation of the data, opinion and recommendations, Terry argued that the public service script writers for Kermit were right: being green isn’t easy; possible but not easy.

An opinion paper: Unlike peer-reviewed papers, these aim to present a particular view of a subject rather than a dispassionate analysis. More than 11,000 scientists world-wide, however, have endorsed the publication Terry presented.

Caveat: “I am a generalist who has formally studied sociology, human geography, ecology, education and discourse analysis. During my doctoral research I also studied parts of philosophy, economics and research methods. My specialism is consumption ethics. There are, however, obvious limits to knowledge when trying to assess a wide question like the human environmental situation and prospects. My understanding of Ripple et al 2021 must therefore be considered as a personal reading.”

Mini-seminar number twenty was Climate Justice

Transition Buxton is part of the Transition Towns movement and one of our principles is to promote inclusivity and social justice. In any crisis existing inequalities and vulnerabilities become exacerbated and we see this in current and forecast climate change scenarios. For some communities the impact of climate change reveals injustices that are disproportionate to their own carbon footprint. Others are better placed to manage climate events whilst increasing their consumption based emissions. Climate justice acknowledges climate change as an ethical and political issue so we do not just focus on the environmental and physical nature of it.

Frances Sussex’s talk explored this concept through different lenses including geography, gender, race, poverty and age, with discussion on how equipped we are to embed climate justice into our policies and activities. Our own transition to net zero will not be sustainable unless we prioritise all-embracing global solutions.  Unfortunately, due to a technical error the start of this talk was lost and the sound quality is not up to our normal standard.

Frances has added a number of links that she believes will be helpful for those wishing to study this subject in more detail.

Mini-seminar number twenty was Carbon Choices – Common Sense Solutions to our Climate and Nature Crises

Neil Kitching is a geographer and energy specialist from Scotland. He has published ‘Carbon Choices‘ on the common-sense solutions to our climate and nature crises. Neil had a mid-life career change from accountant (in Sheffield) to sustainable development then as an energy and water specialist working with business.
Neil presented his ten ‘building blocks’ – the steps society needs to take to enable businesses and individuals to tackle climate change.

Mini-seminar number nineteen was on Retrofitting

We live in a town with lots of older and post-war properties that need upgraded to make them sustainable, comfortable and affordable to live in. Transition Buxton Members Steve Taylor and Charles Huff are a qualified Retro-fitter and a Buxton resident who has transformed his house into an eco-home. They answered questions such as: What is a low energy retrofit of your home likely to consist of and why do you even need one? What is a Retrofit Coordinator and why do you need one?

Whether you are thinking about a bit of extra insulation, or a wholesale re-fit, this one hour session will appeal to practical home owners.

Mini-seminar number eighteen was on Buxton Wild Weeks

We were told about all the exciting activities that are being planned to help our schools and community get wild about Buxton. Buxton Wild Weeks are open for everyone to enjoy. There’s something for everyone whatever your knowledge, skills or time availability, so join this seminar and find out how you can help inspire others to care for our Buxton wildlife and habitats.…/buxton-wild-weeks

Our seventeenth seminar was on recycling.

Joel Rawlins from Alliance Environmental, the firm who handle most of the recyclable waste we generate locally on behalf the High Peak Borough Council area spoke about what actually happens to our ‘recyclables’, what happens if the wrong stuff gets in the mix, what change might be coming to a wheelie bin near you, and more. We know that recycling is not THE answer, but it is part of the solution, so let’s do it as well as it is possible to do it.

Number sixteenth was Zero Carbon Britain.

Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales spoke about the CAT Zero Carbon Britain plan, roadmap, and courses.

Number fifteenth of our seminars was Me and My Electricity.

Peter Ranson shared his non-technical story of how he has been able to establish a home energy system which minimises the use of electricity from the grid whilst maximizing the use of the solar power generated from his panels. There are a number of things to consider which in hindsight he wishes he’d known about earlier. Peter’s story may be useful for anyone considering going down a similar route. It is not full of lots of technical detail — it is aimed at anyone with limited electrical expertise.

Number fourteen of our seminars was A Neighbourhood Plan for Buxton with Joe Dugdale, Jane Reynolds & Richard Silson

Buxton is unusual in not being ‘Parished’, i.e. it does not have its own Town Council – that means that all decisions about Buxton, including planning matters, are decided at by the Borough Council. Planning is always sensitive and often decisions are made by officers following national guidance, at present that is enshrined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Local Plan. There is a way that the people who live & work in Buxton can shape local planning policy: a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). This is a formal planning document created by local people for their Neighbourhood which then has the same force in planning decisions as the Local Plan. A group of volunteers have made a start by creating a Community Interest Company (CIC) to be the ‘Accountable Body’ in place of a Town. The CIC has no power and only one objective, to produce the NDP.

Number thirteen of our seminars was Participatory Budgeting

Alan Budge, who lives in Buxton and helped to write the Buxton Economic Resilience Study (2016) has worked to support the development of Participatory Budgeting (PB) across the UK for the last 15 years, working with Local Authorities, the Police, Housing Trusts, community organisations and residents. Since 2014 he has been working with the Scottish Government on the national roll-out of PB, offering direct training and support to PB programmes across Scotland. He has a particular interest in ‘Green’ Participatory Budgeting, where community decision-making can be harnessed to help address the challenges posted by climate change. Alan shared his ‘Our Planet, Our Money’ themed Ted Talk then discussed how these tools and methods could be used locally to increase local influence or local public spending.

Alan produced a report last year entitled, ‘Our Money, Our Planet‘, which covers the ground regarding PB and they believe, the climate crisis.

Our twelfth mini seminar was a little different as it started with a very entertaining and considered Ted Talk entitled A Healthy Economy Should be Designed to Thrive, Not Grow in which Kate Roworth spoke of the Donut Economy after which we had our usual discussion which was hosted by Pete Milway, Buxton resident & economist and co-author of the Buxton Economic Resilience Study.  To watch this seminar click on the top video then, when it has completed, click on the second which is the discussion.

Our eleventh mini-seminar was Sustainable Travel A dynamic duo of expert speakers working on sustainable travel:

Tina Heathcote; Buxton Town Team will soon be consulting on the first ever whole-town all-inclusive Sustainable Travel Plan in the country to keep Buxton On The Move. It has taken four years of partnership working with the Borough and County Councils along with a host of providers and users, multiple surveys, audits, two conferences, and too many meetings to count. Tina spoke about a key element of the Travel Plan: The Big Buxton Experiment: Sharing Place, Space and Ideas and the trial of 5 new traffic free walking and cycling routes within the town.

Developing new transport provision Roland Strube, who manages Hayfield Sustainable Transport Ltd talked about shifting control and responsibility for developing new transport provision from providers to users, from top-down to bottom-up. The financial risk associated with new transport provision is a barrier to transport providers developing the new services required to: Fill gaps in provision, Adapt to rapidly changing demand, and Build network capacity in post-Covid environment. Users and the organisations which are responsible for activities that make transport necessary, are better placed to manage this risk as they know who is going where and when and have communication links to prompt changes in behaviour.

Our tenth mini-seminar was Electric Cars Aren’t the Future, They’re Here

Nicolas Raimo spoke about how much electric cars have changed over 3 years, and their likely development over the near-future. He discussed what role hydrogen may play as a fuel source in transport, and why you really should ask yourself why you don’t currently drive electric. Dean Fielding drew on his experience in the field of EV charging and eco-housing to discuss the direction EV charging is taking, and how it relates to our wider energy use. Plenty of clean fuel for a lively discussion.

Our ninth mini-seminar was ‘Excellence in Consumption’ Dr Terry Newholm, Reader in Consumer Ethics, University of Manchester. 

Our life is in a consumer culture with all the threats that poses to our survival; not an easy proposition for us humans. We’ll get some advice from an austere Victorian art critic, a couple of contemporary American philosophers and the prime UK advocate of eudemonics. We’ll ask what happens when we take a ‘moral turn’ and begin to talk about what is not mentioned in polite American circles: CONSUMPTION.

Our eighth mini-seminar was Serpentine Community Garden Past Present & Future, presented by Madeline Hall & Steve Philips.

After 5 years’ activity as Serpentine Community Farm CIC and its earlier genesis as the Food Group within Transition Buxton, SCG has big ambitions to continue to grow an increasingly wide range of plants, and improve our knowledge and understanding of the natural environment, as well as providing social and therapeutic support in our community and more. Background reading: War and Peas – available in paperback from Scriveners, Poole’s Cavern and the Pump Room for £7.99.

Two of us had the task of recording this talk (one as the backup of the other) and we both forgot to press the record button at the start so a few seconds of the start are missing. Please accept our apologies.

Our seventh mini-seminar was “Plastic Free in a Time of Covid”, Rachel Yates from Surfers Against Sewage hosted by Frances Sussex for Plastic Clever, a Transition Buxton initiative.

At a time when it seems we are drowning in a new sea of single-use plastic, how can we as communities and individuals continue our journey to reduce plastic pollution? Rachel Yates leads the national Plastic Free Communities movement at Surfers Against Sewage and will join us to unpack #Refill and #Reuse during Covid-19 and show how getting involved is key to a green recovery.

Our sixth mini seminar was on a similar theme to our previous one, “Diet in the Anthropocene” a second talk by Dr Terry Newholm

Our fifth mini seminar was ‘My Beef with Beef‘ presented by Carol Huff who is a local singer, pianist and calligrapher with a particular interest in living a meat-free life. She describes this talk as ‘Travels to sustainability via the kitchen‘ but it should be of interest even if you never cook.

If you want to be reminded of the recipe books and films mentioned in this talk please click here.

Our fourth mini-seminar was ‘Biodiversity in Buxton’ presented by Rachel Purchase from the Buxton Civic Association Biodiversity Group.

With its enviable location in the centre of the Peak District, large green areas, extensive woodlands, surrounding moorlands and proximity to the National Park Buxton ‘must’ have an enviable level of biodiversity – mustn’t it? Within the town’s environs we can see a huge range of species – can’t we? There’s nothing to worry about and no need to take action – surely? Find out where we stand at the moment, who gives a damn and what you might want to do around biodiversity.

Our third mini-seminar was ‘From Consumer Culture to Sustainability’ presented by Dr Terry Newholm.

Dr Newholm was co-author of The Ethical Consumer in 2005 and is currently Hon. Reader in Consumption Ethics at University of Manchester. He illustrated the complex challenge we face in trying to address climate change and species loss. One of his key areas of interest is in ethical consumption in a world where human activity is increasingly seen as having a detrimental effect on our environment.

Our second mini-seminar was People Powered Retrofit’ by Liam Schofield of the Carbon Coop in Manchester.

Liam spoke about a community-led project for improving comfort and lowering carbon in existing housing. The Carbon Coop take a bottom-up approach to retrofit. Instead of the top-down one-size-fits-all approach taken in some government initiatives, the Carbon coop looks at local needs and resources to build partnerships between households and local firms.

Our first mini-seminar was ‘What We Need To Do Now’ presented by Chris Goodall

This talk was based on Chris Goodall’s book which offers a set of solutions to each of the main challenges posed by global heating including energy supply, housing, food, clothing and manufacturing problem areas, such as cement and steel. It also looked briefly at the opportunities for direct capture of CO2 from air. To watch the video click below.