Reasons to be optimistic, and ways to get involved...

Hi everyone

There's plenty happening this week if you'd like to get more involved with our activities! This evening, join the Growing Spaces team to start planning this year's planting of fruit and vegetables in unloved spaces around Cambridge. Then tomorrow evening, you can join the energy group to discuss the ins and outs of solar panels. Finally on Saturday Dave Fox is back with his Grow your Own sessions on his allotment on Trumpington - this week there's some planting and harvesting to do, and a chance to see the forest garden (don't forget to book as places are limited).

Also this week, take a look at our latest blog post by Nicola Terry, where she lists a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future, in the lead up to the Earth Optimism Summit organised by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

Finally, don't forget that the university's Cambridge Science Festival is on for another few days, with lots of great talks and events related to climate change and the transition to a more sustainable future. And of course there are lots of other great events and interesting news items below (including 2 different permaculture courses!)...


Transition News and Events

  • Wednesday 22 March: Growing Spaces Meeting
  • Thursday 23 March: Energy Group Meeting
  • Saturday 25 March: Grow Your Own Session in Trumpington
  • Saturday 22 April: Stall at Earth Optimism day Solutions Fair
  • Saturday 22 April: Repair Cafe at the Cambridge Earth Optimism Day
  • Saturday 24 June - Sunday 25: Introduction to Permaculture course
  • Transition Survey - You did it!
  • Reasons to be Optimistic

Latest on our blog

Community News

  • Your questions for our future mayor
  • Fancy running a cafe?

Other News and Events

  • Monday 13 March - Sunday 26: Cambridge Science Festival
  • Wednesday 22 March: The Happy City Meeting and Talk
  • Thursday 23 March: Seminar: 'What are you worth? Valuing ourselves and our natural environment'
  • Thursday 23 March: Future Economies
  • Saturday 25 March: Sawston's 1st Repair Cafe
  • Sunday 26 March: Local Wildlife Day at Wandlebury
  • Friday 31 March: Mayoral Hustings on Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
  • 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th April 2017: Getting to the Heart of Permaculture
  • Wednesday 12 April: Bushcraft - Easter Holiday event for unaccompanied children
  • Saturday 22 April: Earth Optimism Summit
  • Thursday 27 April: 2G3S Transport Evening
  • Community Centres Draft Strategy - public consultation
  • Events for your calendar

Transition News and Events

Wednesday 22 March: Growing Spaces Meeting

19:30, Anglia Ruskin University, room LAB112

Would you like to see more fruit and vegetables growing in Cambridge's public spaces? Join the Growing Spaces project meeting as we plan planting for 2017 and discuss potential projects. All welcome - gardening knowledge welcome but not required. More details here.

Thursday 23 March: Energy Group Meeting

20:00-21:30, Margaret's place, Oxford Road

The main topic will be solar panels - what have we learned from our experiences? Is it worth upgrading them? Is it worthwhile to add battery storage? What would you advise if someone asked if you thought they should get some? We will also catch up on the latest energy related news. All welcome. Ask Nicola for details of the venue. More details here.

Saturday 25 March: Grow Your Own Session in Trumpington

10:00-13:00, Trumpington allotments

Grow Your Own sessions are back! Join Dave Fox on his Trumpington allotment plot. Novices and experienced growers all welcome - this is a mutual sharing, not a lesson:) Provisional agenda: plant potatoes, harvest broccoli, tidy up the forest garden, sow something in the polytunnel. Take some produce home with you (broccoli for sure, maybe rhubarb, salads, potatoes...) <a href="?n=TTFood.GrowYourOwnTrumpington">Join in here</a>. More details here.

Saturday 22 April: Stall at Earth Optimism day Solutions Fair

10:00-18:00, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke St, Cambridge CB2 3QY, UK

Cambridge Conservation Initiative is celebrating Earth Optimism Day with a programme of talks (including Jane Goodall and Steven Pinker) and a Solutions Fair with over 70 organisations taking part. Transition Cambridge Energy Group will have a stall in the Bright Ideas section, along with others including Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Sustainable Parish Energy Partnership, Cambridge Solar (for solar panels and battery storage) and Anglian Energy Solutions (for heat pumps) and of course the repair cafe advertised seprately. Please do drop in, say hello and browse the fair. More details here.

Saturday 22 April 2017, exact times and venue to be confirmed: Repair Cafe at the Cambridge Earth Optimism Day

11:30, David Attenborough Building, Pembroke St, Cambridge CB2 3QY, UK

Repair Cafes are community events that match people who need stuff fixed with people who can fix things. Experienced volunteer repairers at the 'Solutions Fair Repair Cafe' at the Cambridge Earth Optimism Day will be pin-pointing faults, repairing where possible and teaching basic repair skills. Gadgets, electronics, toys, bikes, clothes, household items and appliances all welcome. This is a free event. We welcome donations to help us cover costs. Please book in advance. Booking opens late early April.

Saturday 24 June - Sunday 25: Introduction to Permaculture

09:30-17:00, Trumpington Community Gardens

Hannah Thoroughgood will be leading this course. She is an experienced permaculture designer and teacher based at The Inkpot in Lincolnshire. This course is the foundation that most take before moving on to the full Permaculture Design Course and possibly the diploma after this. The community garden is near the Foster Road Allotment site and Trumpington Community Orchard project, both of these sites are likely to be used during the course. contact Dave Jackson to book or for more information. Price: £40 for two days for Earlybird bookings before 1st May. £45 for later bookings.

Transition Survey - You did it!

A huge thank you to everyone who filled in our Community Members' Online Survey over the last 3 weeks, we had over 100 responses and have discovered some illuminating information about why you are attracted to Transition Cambridge and what activities and interests you'd most like to engage with. Our Student SIP Team put in a phenomenal amount of work and have produced a very useful and worthwhile report, as well as some great suggestions for helping us to build on the successes and achievements of the last few years. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming months! We also have a lucky £20 winner, who has been contacted, and hope to formally announce this in due course. Thanks again, and hope to see you at one of our gatherings soon!

Reasons to be Optimistic

Nicola Terry gave a short talk as part of the Optimistic Show and Tell event at the Science Festival. Her talk was based on the blog post here and it was about the fact that even though the media tends to bury it there really are good news stories around about climate change, and people doing good things - with examples from Cambridge. The other talks at the event were enormously diverse and covered a wide range of topics including the various sort of beans are being growing locally for humans to eat (not just cattle food), the power of crowd source science in conservation programs and the extraordinary number of species you can find even in an urban garden. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic!

Community News

Your questions for our future mayor

This year's elections are especially interesting because we have to select the first mayor of the Cambridgeshire/Peterborough devolved administration. What do we want them to do? This mayor will have considerably more power than our current councils have including budgets for infrastructure, housing and transport. (See Smarter Transport's briefing here.) We will have the opportunity to challenge the candidates at a number of hustings prior to the election starting with the one at ARU on 31st March organised by Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Anglia Ruskin University. Do you have suggestions for questions we should ask? Please let us know if you do. Important topics could include transport, land use, biodiversity, skills - what do you think?

Fancy running a cafe?

As part of the new Clay Farm Centre development, Cambridge City Council is inviting tenders for a Cafe Concession. This will be in a new community centre with a library and a medical centre. The cafe has a fitted kitchen and servery with seating for approximately 31 in the seating area. There is also a patio area outside. There is a planning restriction forbidding cooking except for reheating or warming food (e.g. in a microwave). Visits to the centre on 22nd March; tender deadline 25th April; questions by 4th April. More details here.

Other News and Events

Monday 13 March - Sunday 26: Cambridge Science Festival

09:00-09:00, various in and around Cambridge

The annual Science Festival is back, and the theme for this year is 'getting personal.' There are talks, films, tours, family-friendly sessions, hands-on practical science and more. Most events are free, though you need to book for some. Topics you may find interesting include climate change, circular economy, food, nature... and we've highlighted some events below. You can find more info and the programme here.

Wednesday 22 March: The Happy City Meeting and Talk

18:30-21:00, The Perse School Hills Road Cambridge CB2 8QF

The Federation of Cambridge Residents Associations (FeCRA) invite you to their AGM Event. One of Britain's most respected landscape and urban designers, Kim Wilkie, will give a talk on 'The Happy City': A Landscape for the 21st Century. This will be followed by a panel discussion. Wine & refreshments will be served. The event is free of charge and open to FeCRA members and non members alike. Please sign up using Eventbrite here.

Thursday 23 March: Seminar: 'What are you worth? Valuing ourselves and our natural environment'

13:00-14:00, Lord Ashcroft Building LAB 207, Anglia Ruskin University

This is an interactive seminar with Prof Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University. Can you put a price on the value of absolutely anything? Can you put a value on yourself? Who decides the worth of a person, or an animal, or a river? We look at the different factors that determine worth, and how this links to the concept of Natural Capital and protection of the environment. Free, but you need to book - more info here.

Thursday 23 March: Future Economies

19:00-21:00, University Wine Bar, University Centre, Granta Place, Cambridge

Zoe Svendsen will be in conversation with Joe Smith, Professor of Environment and Society, The Open University, Department of Geography, co-creator of the Stories of Change AHRC-funded project, and co-author of Culture and Climate Change: Narratives. The evening will begin with a structured interview, and evolve into a conversation. Each expert will be invited to envisage a future scenario in response to the questions: What is the best possible economic structure for responding to climate change? What would it be like to live in this future system? Exploring climate change scenarios is not only about the changed landscape and atmospheric conditions of those situations, but also invites the question 'how to live' and brings with it the opportunity to ask the question 'how do we want to live'? This is a 'research-in-public' conversation, as part of the Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios Project. The event is free, but bookable at the Junction website More details here.

Saturday 25 March: Sawston's 1st Repair Cafe

14:00-17:00, Sawston Free Church, High Street, Sawston CB22 3BG

Repair Cafes match experienced repairers with people who need stuff fixing. Sawston is holding its very first Repair Cafe. You can bring along the following to be repaired and maybe pick up a few repair skills at the same time: small household appliances and electrical items, computers, mobile phones, bicycles, clothes (clean clothes only please) and general bits and bobs. Please book your item in using the online form. Please tell us what the item is and what's wrong with it (if you know!). Turning up on the day is also an option. The repairers are experienced and can fix most things but there are no guarantees. This event is being organised by the group Green Groups in the Shelfords, Stapleford and Sawston (2G3S)and is a free event. However, donations to cover venue hire and other costs are very welcome. More details here.

Sunday 26 March: Local Wildlife Day at Wandlebury

11:00-15:30, Wandlebury Park, CB22 3AE

Local Wildlife at Wandlebury, part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Make amazing discoveries, meet a live barn owl and learn with an owl expert. Dissect owl pellets to see exactly what they have eaten recently. Study local amphibians, learn about local mammals and go on a scavenger hunt. FREE, drop in event— everybody welcome! Children to remain accompanied. Donations towards the upkeep of the park appreciated. Parking £3 (free to members) More details here.

Friday 31 March: Mayoral Hustings on Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability

18:00-20:00, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, ARU, East Rd, Cambridge. CB11PT

Do you wish politicians would listen to your views on the environment, climate change and sustainability? Not sure how (or whether) to vote in our newly devolved region's Mayoral Election in May 2017? Do you want cleaner air? Better, cheaper trains and busses? More energy efficient homes? More abundant nature? More action to prevent climate change? These are all questions on which the Mayor and the new combined authority will have a big say, because they will be responsible for housing and transport, and will have a big budget. Come to this free event and put your questions to the leading Mayoral candidates, with Dr Aled Jones in the chair to ensure fair play and a good debate. Booking via eventbrite More details here.

1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th April 2017: Getting to the Heart of Permaculture

09:00-17:00, Cambridge Steiner School

Come and join us for a four-day course where we take you on a journey to the heart of Permaculture Design. The course will be led by Dr Wendy Seabrook, a world-renowned research ecologist, permaculturist and teacher. Only £225 per person if booked before 17 March 2017 (£275 per person after). For a booking form and payment information, please email the Cambridge Steiner School or ring on 01223 882727. More details here.

Wednesday 12 April: Bushcraft - Easter Holiday event for unaccompanied children

10:00-16:00, Wandlebury CB22 3AE

A day of independence and fun, learning bushcraft skills: building shelters, fire-making, cooking over the fire, tracking and whittling. Bring a packed lunch to eat around a camp fire. Dress for being outdoors and according to the weather. For ages 8-12 years.Booking and payment in advance is essential. £45 per child (members £40). Parking £3 per vehicle for those staying in the park, free to members all year round, no charge for dropping children off for the event. More details here.

Saturday 22 April: Earth Optimism Summit

10:00-19:00, David Attenborough Building, New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ

The Cambridge Conservation Initiative is organising an exciting day of talks and events to celebrate some of conservation's success stories, and to highlight how we can all contribute to protecting nature. The organisers say: 'Given the crisis facing nature, it is all too easy to give up hope. Yet, around the globe we are winning the fight to protect the natural world. Deforestation is slowing down. Wetlands are being rebuilt. Numbers of some of our rarest creatures are on the rise. People are making this change happen.' The two elements are 'Stories of Hope', featuring a mix of leading conservationists and experts as well as local initiatives. Alongside is a 'Solutions Fair' with stalls offering practical solutions for sustainable life - including food, energy and a repair cafe. Transition Cambridge is participating - with an energy stall, a short talk and supporting the repair cafe. Tickets are free - you can choose sessions and book via eventbrite here. Note that some sessions appear to be sold out - the organisers say they are arranging for sessions to be relayed to an overflow lecture theatre next door. More info here.

Thursday 27 April: 2G3S Transport Evening

19:30-21:30, Little Shelford Village Hall, The Long House, 11 Church St, Little Shelford, Cambridge CB22 5HG

Nigel Brigham will talk about the 'Greenways' Report on future local walking and cycle ways in Cambridgeshire. Nigel was formerly the Eastern Region manager for Sustrans, and in that role he negotiated for the Shelford to Addenbrooke's Genome path. Jim Chisholm will consider 'Five Transport Myths about Cambridge(shire) - can you even guess what they are?'. Jim is perhaps best known as a local cycling campaigner - it is no coincidence that the proposed Chisholm Trail through Cambridge, part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal, is called what it is! But he has other transport interests as well. After plenty of time for questions and discussion, the evening should finish by about 9.30 pm. Free admission including refreshments; but donations welcome. More details here.

Community Centres Draft Strategy - public consultation

Cambridge City Council has now completed a draft Community Centres Strategy, which proposes "a positive and ambitious vision for improved Council-owned community centres, based on evidence of need, across the city." Local residents and stakeholders (including Transition groups who use community centres for meetings and activities) have been invited to comment on draft proposals for the 8 community centres owned or managed by the City Council. Here is a link to the consultation, which runs until midday on 5 May 2017. Postal and phone responses are also possible, see the contact section in the link for details.

Events for your calendar

So that's all for this week - have a great week!

Anna and the bulletin writing team(:divend:)

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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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