This is a copy of an email I sent to my ex-tutor, and then copied to MP’s regarding the ‘communities right to build’, and to other non-profit organisations over the weekend of the 4th September 2011 – and forwarded on to the Eco-Village network of which I am a member:This is crazy!!The Government itself has asked which rules need simplifying and/or removing, between all in my Eco-Design network – and community member Avril Fox who wrote “Green Design” in the first place, which was published way back in 1989, I’m pretty sure we can write a succinct list.(Not that they’d ever listen to us – they haven’t for fifty years and have no precident to follow.)In fact, they haven’t listened to women for about 2000 years in the UK, ever since Boudicca lost her fight to the Romans – and women lost their rights and Rites upon this land.When it comes to ‘a sustainable future’ – there seems little chance that the children will ever be able to face a future at all, while the governments across the world continue to expand their borrowing (- against the Gold reserves which they have already sold…?)Whether looking at a sustainable future EcoLOGICALLY – or just economically – the simplest way to show what ‘sustainable’ actually is, is to recognise the fact that deficit is not. (In maths, it may be possible to multiply minuses to make plusses, but in terms of financial debt, adding is just adding.)N.B. It’s not possible to get into food or water debt, once you get to zero, you simply die.In terms of Dale Farm, the Government is prepared to pay out in excess of £22,000,000 (according to the reports I read), in order to evict approximately ninety families – which include lots of children and the elderly. All of whom will then become ‘homeless’.As homeless people, the most vulnerable will be offered council housing/housing association accommodation etc – which will cost how much exactly?If people don’t tick the boxes for the housing offered, then they will either have to be offered accommodation in B&Bs (at what cost£?) – or will become homeless.According to Permaculture Designer David Leigh, we are heading into the coldest winter on record. No doubt, the people of Dale Farm who will not be housed, are supposed to freeze to death on the streets or under the (remaining) hedgerows.The UK public sector net debt is in the region of: £920.9 billion (equivalent to 60.6 per cent of GDP of National GDP) – according to the Office of National Statistics updated 18th July 2011, and the Net debt was £2252.9 billion or 148.9% per cent – as the unadjusted measure of public sector net debt. (Funnily [?] enough, just about equal to the over-consumption levels quoted by the United Nations in Spring 2011, which stated we were now up to 140% consumption of Earth!)As the UK Government has got so far into debt – in part by bailing out the banks – they have cut vital public expenditure previously issued to the Councils by way of grants.Yet, having spent so much to evict half the residents of Dale Farm (on top of the £920.9 billion they already owe) – they intend the preferred housing solution to be made by the council – whose grants they have already cut…And all because the residents didn’t get planning consent for their community – at a time, when we are (FINALLY) being granted the right to build our own housing, in communities, in England – without needing planning consent…!When our college tutor taught us that the design & construction industry needed to build sustainably back in 2003, the CAT in Wales was used as an exemplar of what the future would (and should) become.Interestingly, the intentional community which formed and built the Centre for Alternative Technologies (CAT) in Wales, started off by living in caravans – not dissimilar to a lot of the residents at Dale Farm!!As the founder of landless www.thetreearkproject.org sustainable community living project showcase Eco-Village, based on the CAT in Wales – with funds similar to The Lammas Project (also in Wales – which themselves set planning precident last year), I really can’t see what all the fuss is about in relation to either travelling communities, or caravans.Given the fact that architectural designers are supposed to be designing to suit the predicted climate changes, it is now impossible to see exactly WHAT/WHERE can ever be deemed as a permanent site, upon which to built permanent buildings. (Let alone those built of cement, which consumes vast tonnage of energy, and emits equal tonnage of CO2 in manufacture).(Plus we are all supposed to be supporting responsible tourism – which includes caravans and camping!)There is little point increasing UK debt, investing in cement constructed buildings (or new nuclear power stations next to the North Sea at Sizewell B), when the predictions clearly show evidence of climate change – which would sink the investment (and create pollution which would take thousands and thousands of years to become inert).
We quite simply have to design quite differently, for a world in which nobody is reliant upon Government funding or Council Benefits or top-ups.
A world in which people (OUR children), may well have to move to safe/r ground, repeatedly.As my friends and colleagues already know, I’ve done that.Even with building earth/adobe/cob, stone, straw, wood, crammed earth/Earthships/recycled materials etc, we simply MUST surface fix all the renewable technologies, doors, windows etc, so that they can be removed when needed, and used elsewhere. (Saving valuable energy & resources in the process, as the energy which was consumed in the original manufacture, will never be wasted.)The earth, stone, reed, wood etc, will simply go back into the ground whence it came, without causing any further pollution to Earth.IF Dale Farm is anything to go by, then we will simply NEVER get the communities right to build.The precident/s are already set, as all across the UK, there are approved ‘exemplars’ of sustainable design, hailed as ‘Beacons’ for others to follow, and which show people exactly how easy it is to live without needing any benefits or top-ups. Showing people, how they can live for £0 rent, £0 electricity bills, £0 heating bills, £0 water bills, £0 sewage bills – saving Councils £Millions in the process.I met Norman Lamb MP again in July, when I was invited to attend the opening of Voluntary Norfolk – I gave him an A4 page, entitled “ARK IT” – showing the photograph of the small girl crawling through drought blighted Sudan, followed by the vulture. (Apparently the photographer waited for a good 20 minutes before taking the photograph, because he thought it would make a better photograph if the vulture spread its wings. As it was, it didn’t, but he won the Pulitzer prize for his photograph anyway.The photographer took his life three months after taking the prestigious award-winning photograph. When I read that years ago on the original email, I felt it was possibly because he hadn’t done anything to help the little girl. The other month, my daughter was studying poverty for her homework, and found the photograph and the story online. She told me that my instinct was right. Apparently, Kevin Carter had left the child to the vultures – for fear of Aids.I doubt that he had asked for her signature on any release form either, don’t you? (And I don’t suppose that she was paid to model for the photograph – or even left with a bottle of water…)While professionals in the field have no conscience – or at least, one which only hits them three months later, I doubt that the people who live in the UK will ever have the human rights to live free in the land they love and live in.While every square metre of land, is seen as a figure on the stock market walls – in terms of its manufacturing commodity of food, or water, or woollen jumpers to sell out of supermarkets, then nobody will ever be able to afford the land they actually have proven need to live upon.And, while housing is always seen as a financial investment, instead of the shelter which we need to protect us from the elements (which are becoming far more extreme and intense – due to the unsustainable and polluting lifestyles of the 20 – 20% of Earth’s humanity, who refuse to believe the scientific evidence), then we will never be able to run the Subsidiary Diploma in Environmental Sustainability – or to live the way in which we KNOW we must.I can’t but help wonder, how long it will be before the decision makers who have taken 50 years to accept the scientific evidence into everyday talk, of sustainability, of green designs, of pollution – and of Earth’s changing climate, suddenly wake up to the fact that because its taken them ALL so long to get there, they have actually allowed the predictions to become a living reality for EVERY child, woman and man upon the planet.Like the photographer who happily left the child to the vulture to run off and develop his celluloid image, only waking up to his act of murder three months after the event.As a woman who started writing poetry about pollution at the age of eight, in order to teach the adults (who couldn’t understand the scientific evidence way back then in the 1960s), I’ve been smiling through the adversity and unfairness of it all ever since!!Luckily, at about the same time, we were taught at Heacham Junior School that Queen Boudicca had quite possibly walked upon the pathways which we did here in East Anglia, as did Pocahontas – both of whom became the heroins for my own footfall!!
I really don’t see it as any different from the Romans!!
Just as Boudicca’s daughters were shafted by them, so are my own (environmentally) by the ruling classes & decision makers today.(N.B. I also find it incredibly funny, that ‘the Scales of Justice’ are always held by a woman – yet the men who make ALL the rules, forget to ask or to listen to women in the first place, and generally only include about 20-25% women in all their decision making policies.)EQUAL (human) RIGHTS??(Only in a vote to keep out the worst – and not STILL even for proportional representation for women!!!)You have to laugh – don’t you!!??