- Climate change.
After Al Gore’s film “an inconvenient truth” climate change is on the world wide agenda. These days no one can hide behind the lie that “nothing has been proved” in relation to climate change. The facts are there! Almost nobody (even the big polluters) Deny that climate change is a reality, But it seems that very little except the climate is changing. The “great powers” in this world (governments & big business) whose power is mainly based on oil seem to want to exploit oil until the last drop.
If we are going to avoid catastrophic climate change, we are going to have to change how we do things everywhere on this planet. Even the international energy agency (IEA) has now changed it tune, and predicts a global peakoil in 2012.
Climate change, and peek oil are not new. They were both predicted for years. many groups including the Dutch group peak oil nederland are trying to calculate when the world oil is to run out, and when and how much the price of oil will change leading up to this. Although climate change and peak oil are two topics They are connected, and very soon even in the rich western world, we will see the impact of both. If you consider how dependent in almost every aspect of our lives we are on oil. you will see that it is time for a change.
- The end of the perpetual growth Idea(l).
We must stop building Coal and nuclear power plants. They make us dependent on the system and poison the earth. Also bio fuels are not an answer. Already the people of the global south suffer even more from hunger due to the increased price of food, due to growing sunflowers for bio fuels where we should be growing food. Also gen-tech will only bring about the end of our natural environment. So called techno-fixes are an illusion, and seem to always profit those already in power.
We must change to sustainable energy, ( wind & sun) but with this we will not be able to continue with our current level of consumption. The idea of ultimate economic growth, not only is not feasible, but it destroys everything that life needs to live.
Yes we can, continue as we have been going and destroy nature and the planet, but while doing so we will destroy ourselves too.
- The post oil era
With so many people in this world it seems an impossible task to remove oil from our lives. certainly with so many powerful people with an interest with keeping things going the way it is going. It becomes our responsibility to make the change. We have lived thousands of years without industry, and certainly with new technology (not only solar cells but a huge understanding of plant life and ecosystems) It is possible to build out of this crisis a sustainable society which prevents the post oil era portrayed in the films “mad max” and “waterworld”
- Local advancement
We can build a community from the bottom. If you supply yourself with (green) energy. You move outside the energy company its grasp. If enough people become energy independent we could destroy the power block system. (That at the moment we are on the bottom). The same applies for the other power holders of industry . These times of crisis open a lot of opportunities for change. Common survival should become the main goal. This means enough food and houses for everyone, clean air to breath and clean water to drink. This you can reach by organizing yourself locally, and by encouraging other communities and neighborhoods to do the same. While attacking (or pressuring if you want) the old polluting structures and later taking them apart.
For some years now across the UK transition town projects have begun. small communities, neighborhoods villages and towns have already begun the road to transition.
You can also check out our transition town project in the Pijp (so far only in dutch) ttpijp.wordpress.com
- Kick the habit of fossil fuels.
Of course everyone uses gas water and electricity. Most people drive a car, and many fly with planes on holiday. Right now these luxuries are for most in westernized society affordable, but in the very near future they will become more and more expensive and in the not so distant future we will run out of the raw materials altogether. Meat will become more expensive as it takes ten times more energy and recources to produce a kilo of meat compared to a kilo of veggies. A drinkingwater source will become a luxury since cleaning (our polluted) water costs a lot of energy, and heating a home will become more and more expensive as the natural gas runs out. So our bank account will force us to eat seasonal and local vegetables. Many products will disappear altogether. Products that require too much energy to produce or plastics which are a by product of the oil industry, and the world we live in where products are made in the global south and flown thousands of kilometers for us to consume and then throw away all these things will soon be a distant memory.
Carbon foot print.
If you want to know how much a product pollutes. There are a number of web sites which try to help you do this, although this is a new science so its worth while to try a few as they will give you a few different numbers, but you can make an estimate. You start with the oil required to make the product, and then to transport the required materials to the factory, and then from the factory to the shops in Europe. and then you see the damage that this all has on the ecosystem. and a grove estimate of the impression this has on the planet.
This reflection allows you to get an Idea of how damaging we are to the planet and give us an opportunity to reduce how damaging we choose to be. You can also calculate your own ecological footprint by answering questions about your lifestyle, note that for this especially, number are etimates.
- Shrink or drown
The key to survival is “shrinking”. We must call a halt to the increase of the economy. The amount of “profit” (which the rich pile up themselves and keep for the rich) becomes trivia while we face catastrophic climate change.
Swomp 4 is a part of the dutch earth first! (groenfront!) campaign shrink or drown, where the message is very clear. If we do not shrink (our energy consumption) half of the Netherlands will drown. A part of this campaign is attacking the big polluters industry, and organizing direct actions against the building of new infrastructures. Which will lead to further destruction of the environment. Huge projects such as road “development”, high speed train lines, industrial areas, and coal power plants are all a direct threath to the biosphere and all life on this planet.
- A climate neutral household
Apart from the abolition of existing structures we want to start with the advancement of new ones. On swomp 4 we have started to build a climate neutral household. A wonderful way of doing this is to build an “earth ship”. as on this photo. Unfortunately we won’t be on the ground for long enough to start such a project, but we do try to practice and live another sort of life then is generally done in our society. We have made it our mission to try to cover all aspects of our life in a sustainable way. To do this we started by making a list of all polluting aspects of our lives.- *housing *transport *energy *food and other products, and *rubbish.
In the construction of your house you can make many choices which save nature. Such as the choice of local sustainable materials. from sustainable wood and insulation to collecting and conserving light and heat. Earth ships are a good example of how you can build a home from thrown away and local materials, and use natural and economic ways to create energy and heat.
Alternatives for oil powered transport are already in development. It is of the most importance that we start to travel less, and less far. The days of cheap flights will soon be over, and motorized public transport will soon be unprofitable. To cycle a bike is healthy both for us and our environment, but its not a perfect answer due to the enormous amount of energy required to make a bike out of metal and rubber. so recycling what we already have in abundance might be a good place to start.
There are many ways to go toward greener energy, but the three basics are wind, solar, and water energy. there are also ways of making methane from excrement, and compost waste. which you can use to heat water or even cook on and heat your house. once again shrinking is the basis condition for success.
Meat is becoming more expensive due to the amount of costs of transport, and the land area it takes up to farm animals. We should start eating more seasonal local vegetables (we will in the near future anyway). and we must develop more sustainable forms of agriculture, such as permaculture. mono-culture agriculture is destroying the planet and forces us to spray our food and land with poison which we later ingest. A strange fact is that we spend more energy farming food than we get out of it once eaten. Left alone the required energy to tranport and work on the products. Usually in business terms that means it is “non profitable” the only reason we can keep doing it (for now) is that we have an abundance of oil.
Rubbish pollutes our environment, and costs a lot of energy to transport then burn/bury in the ground. Most of what we “throw away” could be used again in one way or another, and most people go out to buy more products after throwing away the old only to throw that away too. we suggest making compost heaps, and not buying over packaged food, but this is only the tip of the ice berg. Try to reuse as much as possible. In New York city one million plastic bottles are thrown in the bin every minute and all of them could have been reused again and again. you can look for more ways to reuse “rubbish” you can even make a house out of it!
On the swomp we develop alternatives and build a space for a sustainable future.