Democracy and Climate Change - Why isn't it working?

Hi everyone!

This week boasts not one but two big discussion events. First up is tonight: an open space discussion in the area of democracy and climate change: what are the roots of the government's lack of response to climate change?  why isn't the system working for us as voters? Come and get stuck in to this discussion organised by Transition, 38Degrees and Pivotal - Cambridge Festival of Change.  Another biggie on Thursday is the get-together on Localised Solutions to Flooding. In true Transition style we will be looking at small-scale, grassroots solutions to preventing flooding in Cambridge. You can bring your own issues and suggestions along. Third but not least, don't forget the food surplus feast next Saturday. We'll be enjoying some fantastic music and a menu crafted from surplus food, i.e. food that would normally be wasted but is perfectly good, even delicious, to eat... a real eye opener. Buy your tickets here soon! More events below...

CONTENTS

Transition News and Events

  • Monday 07 March: Experiments in Democracy - Open Space Discussion
  • Tuesday 08 March: Food Group meeting
  • Thursday 10 March: Localised Flooding Solutions Discussion Meeting
  • Saturday 19 March: Wildlife Wanderings Brooklands Avenue to Gt Kneighton
  • Saturday 19 March: A Sharing Feast of Song and Liberated Food (with new booking system!)
  • Events for your calendar

Community News

  • Global Sustainability Institute, ARU, Cambridge - PhD opportunities (self- / employer-funded)

Other News and Events

  • Monday 07 March - Sunday 20: Cambridge Science Festival
  • Monday 07 March: 'A distraction or an essential discussion? Confronting extreme environmental risks'
  • Tuesday 08 March: 'Environmental problems are human problems:insights from the behavioural sciences'
  • Wednesday 09 March: Talk : 'Biomimetic materials: re-thinking how we build stuff'
  • Thursday 10 March: 'Everything you always wanted to know about climate science (but were too afraid to ask)'
  • Saturday 12 March: Fulbourn Community Spring Market
  • Tuesday 15 March: 'Introduction to Electronic and Electrical Repairs' workshop
  • Wednesday 16 March: Global Justice Now Director on TTIP, Greece, and the world.
  • Monday 21 March: Cultures and Practices of Belonging: Sustainability Across Disciplines Symposium
  • Thursday 24 March: Food futures: what does 'sustainable' look like?
  • Wednesday 30 March: Talk : Cambridge Local Nature Reserves
  • Saturday 30 April: Literature, nature walk & creative writing exercise: Landscape Lives And Literature
  • Events for your calendar

Transition News and Events

Monday 07 March: Experiments in Democracy - Open Space Discussion

19:30-21:30, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, CB5 8BA

This Open Space event follows on from the introductory "Experiments in Democracy" event taking place on 3 March 2016, which features speakers from 38 Degrees, Reboot Democracy, Independents for Frome, and Cambridge City Council. However this is also a stand-alone event (i.e. no need to have attended the other event first). Why, when climate change is evidently a pressing issue with potentially disastrous consequences for our planet and all its inhabitants, are we so slow to enact the changes required at either local or national levels? Could the problem lie in our system of governance, e.g. insufficient political will to take unpopular decisions in the face of short-term periods in office, or a dysfunctional system which doesn't allow politicians to follow the will of the people they represent? This "open space" style discussion will focus on the question: "How can we improve our democracy?" Participants are invited to bring along particular topics/issues/ideas they feel strongly about or simply come along with an open mind to take part in the discussions. There will be at least one group discussing how to stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming city council elections. All are welcome to this free event (suggested donation of £2-4 to cover costs). This event is co-organised by Transition Cambridge, 38 Degrees Cambridge and Pivotal - Cambridge Festival of Change.

Tuesday 08 March: Food Group meeting

18:30-20:00, CB2 Cafe, Norfolk Street

The Food Group's monthly meeting will move forward with our plans for the year (ideas welcome!). So far we have the following - a talk on soil health; a wild food walk and a tour of productive spaces around town. We'll also be exchanging news on food projects and initiatives in and around Cambridge. All welcome - we'll be upstairs in the library.

Thursday 10 March: Localised Flooding Solutions Discussion Meeting

19:30, Six Bells pub, Covent Garden, off Mill Road CB1 2HS

This is the first discussion meeting of the new TC group "Learning to Stay Dry". Climate change, flood prevention and green infrastructure are all huge concepts, but when these concepts and terminologies are broken down and discussed, they become easy to understand. Our March discussion aims to be part of this process and evolve solutions with like-minded people. If you are interested in these topics, please come along! We hope to form an action group that can implement small-scale bottom-up solutions to localised flood prevention in Cambridge. For more information, see the new "Learning to Stay Dry" webpage here. All welcome, free.

Saturday 19 March: Wildlife Wanderings Brooklands Avenue to Gt Kneighton

10:00-12:00, Meet at Brooklands Ave / Trumpington Road junction, by allotments

Take the route kingfishers and water voles choose to avoid the Cambridge gridlock. From the busy junction opposite the Botanic Gardens there's a beautiful walk along the brook past the allotments towards Long Road and Addenbrooke's. Come and explore the wildlife along this path! All welcome (free).

Saturday 19 March: A Sharing Feast of Song and Liberated Food (with new booking system!)

19:00, St Paul's Church, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1JP

An event to celebrate the joys: of spring, of Transition Cambridge, of FoodCycle, of great singing, of our projects and hopes. This event hopes to bring together delicious local food, some wonderful singers, and the songs and toasts of the Georgian 'Supra' tradition. The conversation will be rich in all that is being done and shared, the food will be great fresh produce, some donated direct from local farmers, most that would otherwise have not been used. There will be singing from our superb local community choir ‘Resound’. And trios of singers from local and London Georgian choirs will be offering to us the rich and wonderful harmonies of Georgian singing. The food will be prepared by lots of wonderful FoodCycle volunteers, who are putting together a Georgian menu of vegan food. There will be a bar serving drinks (by donation), and you are also welcome to bring a bottle. So we hope you can come for a great convivial and fun evening! The basic cost is £12, with additional donations towards Transition Cambridge and FoodCycle very welcome. More details and booking information is here - book soon as we anticipate this event will fill up quickly (note that we have now added an option to book using Eventbrite and pay on the door). And feel free to invite your friends! https://www.transitioncambridge.org/sharingfeast. We'd also love to hear from you if you'd like to volunteer on the night as there'll be lots to do! Contact Kati here.

Events for your calendar

Community News

Global Sustainability Institute, ARU, Cambridge - PhD opportunities (self- / employer-funded)

The Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) is actively seeking individuals interested in undertaking full- or part-time PhD research within our active, interdisciplinary, Cambridge-based group. The GSI has four research themes (Climate Action & Cultural Systems, Consumption & Change, Education for Sustainability, Global Risk & Resilience). See example PhD topics by following the four links on the page below. Our related ProfDoc in Science and Technology involves PhD level research within your existing work environment. Our PhDs and ProfDocs are currently offered on a self-funding basis. For more information contact us as soon as possible, ideally including a CV and paragraph about your interests. Informal enquiries welcome. Apply by Tuesday 31 May 2016 to ensure consideration for our September 2016 places. More details here.

Other News and Events

Monday 07 March - Sunday 20: Cambridge Science Festival

09:00-17:00,

The Cambridge Science Festival is back for another year, which means two weeks of great talks, films, exhibitions and hands-on activities. There are usually lots of events of interest to Transitioners - on solar power, climate science, biomimetics...and more. Most events are free and you need to book for some. Booking opens at 10.30am on Monday 8 February, and some events fill up quickly, so take a look at the programme here.

Monday 07 March: 'A distraction or an essential discussion? Confronting extreme environmental risks'

19:30-20:30, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms , 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RW

Environmental risks such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and threats to food security may have catastrophic impacts. Rigorous assessment must include plausible but extreme risks, even if they seem remote. But do these scenarios invite sensationalism or fear fatigue, or are they crucial to the global discussion about our future? An expert panel will explore different perspectives on risk in the face of uncertainties, unknowns, and the possibilities of extreme outcomes. This event is being co-hosted by the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment (CFSE) and the Centre for Existential Risk (CSER). More info and booking here. A Science Festival event.

Tuesday 08 March: 'Environmental problems are human problems:insights from the behavioural sciences'

17:00-18:30, David Attenborough Building, New Museums Site, CB2 3QZ

Paul Ferraro, the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Sustainability Studies 2015-16, will give an open lecture as part of a series of events he will be doing whilst in Cambridge. Dr Ferraro's research focuses on behavioral economics and the design and evaluation of environmental programs in the private and public sector. As these research areas are multi-disciplinary and applied, he collaborates with scientists and engineers from a variety of social, natural and physical science disciplines, as well as practitioners in the field. More info and booking via the Science Festival site here.

Wednesday 09 March: Talk : 'Biomimetic materials: re-thinking how we build stuff'

20:00-21:00, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RW

Looking at the upwardly growing skyline of London, it’s easy to identify the two materials best-loved by civil engineers: steel and concrete. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, large amounts of energy have been expended on these two materials, and they represent a far greater burden on our total carbon footprint than most people realise. Steel and concrete are energy-intensive and heavy. If we consider instead the building blocks of the natural world, we see materials that are lightweight and produced with relatively low energy input under ambient temperature and pressure conditions. The building blocks of nature are completely recyclable, and a relatively small number of building blocks can be put together in a variety of ways to make materials for different functions. Dr Michelle Oyen explores these building blocks and looks at examples in nature of how we might rethink how we build our future cities. More info and booking via the Science Festival website here

Thursday 10 March: 'Everything you always wanted to know about climate science (but were too afraid to ask)'

18:00-19:30, Department of Chemistry, Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Lensfield Road, CB2 1EW

Ever wanted to know what 'globally averaged surface temperature' really means? Ever wondered about the difference between weather and climate? The Cambridge Centre for Climate Science (CCfCS) invites you to spend an evening with some of Cambridge's own climate scientists from a wide variety of specialisations (possibly including atmospheric science, oceanography, glaciology, geology, plant sciences, and others). Our panelists will be on hand to take questions from the audience on a wide variety of climate science issues. Come learn about the science straight from the source. More info and booking via the Science Festival site here.

Saturday 12 March: Fulbourn Community Spring Market

14:30-17:00, Fulbourn Centre, Home End, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5BS

A seed swap and plant stall, plus fun seed-planting activities for youngsters, will be added attractions for visitors to our Spring Market. Come and stock up on local artisan breads, cakes, tarts, savouries and local produce, as well as organic fruit & vegetables and Fulbourn-brewed ales. Browse among stalls displaying beautiful original prints; fine art, crafts and cards; affordable jewellery; crafted home, table and fabric gifts; home decorations, lamps, toys and nursery items; local pottery and wood-turned articles... and enjoy delicious tea and cakes at the WI cafe. More details here.

Tuesday 15 March: 'Introduction to Electronic and Electrical Repairs' workshop

19:30-21:30, St Andrew's Hall, St Andrew’s Road, Chesterton, Cambridge, CB4 1DT

Engineers from Cambridge Carbon Footprint and the Cottenham Repair Cafe are teaming up for the evening to teach some basic electrical and electronic repairs. Electronic equipment forms a significant part of our carbon and waste footprint and the popularity of Repair Cafes indicates that people are fed up with replacing what can be fixed. This is an opportunity to build your confidence to open up your gadgets and have a go. Beginners will be mentored and have the chance to practice in a safe environment. Everyone is invited to bring along one broken item - a few will be chosen to work on. The workshop is free but booking is essential, places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a place please email: info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org This event is being organised as part of the Circular Cambridge season. More details here.

Wednesday 16 March: Global Justice Now Director on TTIP, Greece, and the world.

19:30, Friends Meeting Houise, Jesus Lane, Cambridge

Global Justice Now Director Nick Dearden and Cambridge law lecturer Eva Nanopoulos will be speaking on TTIP, Greece, and the world. More details here.

Monday 21 March: Cultures and Practices of Belonging: Sustainability Across Disciplines Symposium

09:00-16:30, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

A one day symposium bridging the arts, science, humanities, NGOs, and policy-making, with presentations by Dr Sergio Fava and Dr Michael Hrebeniak. Belonging has the potential to bring together different methodologies to think creatively about themes such as common ownership, ecology, identity, and community, in a future-oriented yet grounded manner. Through workshops, talks, and discussions, we will create a space for dialogues across disciplines, and foster a network of creative collaborations. We will start at 9.30 prompt (registration from 9am). Refreshments will be provided at 4pm with an opportunity to register any interests in pursuing collaborative dialogue or research beyond the Symposium. Attendance fee £25 per person. Places are limited to 40 participants. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Book your place on the <a href="?n=%20http://store.anglia.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=2%207&catid=4&prodid=922">Anglia Ruskin University online shop</a> If you are a student or self-employed and require a free place, email us (‘Bursary Application’ as subject) with a 50 word biography and state why you wish to attend the symposium. If you have any questions please contact us via email More details here.

Thursday 24 March: Food futures: what does 'sustainable' look like?

12:30-14:00, Lecture Room 6, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

This talk, by Professor Tim Benton, asks - Can we produce enough food to allow 10-11bn people to live as we do, and in a sustainable way? The answer to this is partly determined by what is meant by “sustainable”. He’ll examine different notions of sustainability – from an agricultural and agri-food systems perspective – and ask whether they are sufficient to ensure that we maintain planetary and local ecosystem functioning; or whether intervening on the demand side is a necessary precursor to maintaining the system within “safe operating spaces”. Info about Tim Benton here More details here.

Wednesday 30 March: Talk : Cambridge Local Nature Reserves

19:30-21:30, St. John the Evangelist Church Hall, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN

Guy Belcher, Cambridge City Council Biodiversity Officer, will talk about Cambridge Local Nature Reserves and the ecological pressures and opportunities that growth is bringing to the city. Organised by the Cambridge group of the Wildlife Trust. Entry is £2.50. More info about Cambridge's 12 nature reserves here.

Saturday 30 April: Literature, nature walk & creative writing exercise: Landscape Lives And Literature

14:00-18:00, Grantchester Village Hall

Wildlife Wanderings & Nature Writing In The City collaborate to take you through Grantchester meadows along the river to Byron's Pool. A day to dream with readings, creative writing excericises and a nature walk. Discover Cambridge's creative heritage with poet Clare Crossman and nature blogger Jo Sinclair. Tickets £20 payable on Eventbrite More details here.

Events for your calendar

Have a great week!

Hannah and the bulletin writing team

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Transition Cambridge aims to help Cambridge make the transition to ways of life that are more resilient in the face of rising energy prices and a changing climate.

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