Here is an article about our philosophy. You may need to get a big cup of tea before settling into this !
The planet is approaching an environmental crisis. This all sounds like a long way off, but it’s creeping up on us like the story about the frog in the slow boiling water pot mentioned by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth”.
Mind you, we started to run out of lettuces a few weeks back, and that affected us in Hythe! So even locally, we can start to suffer from a simple climatic crisis. We also feel helpless as individuals, trying to reduce the impact of climate change and prepare against such problems affecting us in the future.
To address this issue, the concept of the Transition Town was born in Totnes, Devon, some 10 years ago. The Aim was to start looking at what a community could do about the problem at the small scale level, so that people didn’t feel helpless. This idea flourished, and has spread around the world to thousands of communities. Including Hythe back in 2010.
The term “Transition” has been quite difficult to explain succinctly, and this was exacerbated by our local group not addressing the problem in a way that local people could aspire to. It’s final demise happened at the AGM, when a vote was passed to close Transition Hythe altogether and restart as a local environmental group. They no longer concentrate on the main Transition Town objectives regarding the global concern or how the individual could benefit.
The remainder of the group felt that it was important not to lose the opportunity and to try a different tack in bringing benefits to members of our community in a way that ordinary people could easily understand and engage in.
Like everyone else, we are also more aware of how food, exercise, and stress affects our life and wellbeing. During many hours of discussion we came to the conclusion that if we concentrated on facilitating the members of our community towards improving the availability of sustainable, local, quality food, learning to share resources, and using creative solutions to save money and improve our resilient skill set, this would have a very interesting side effect: All of these activities would reduce our carbon footprint without even having to think about it! Thus the primary goals of Transition are also met. That’s known as a win-win! And HytheAlive was born – a fitting name to capture our passion in this town of ours, and the possibilities within.
So what sort of things can we do? Our personal mission is to “Take positive action in a changing world through food, sharing, creativity and wellbeing”. We believe that these four cornerstones are key in achieving fruition.
We will be taking inspiration from many of the current trends, some of which you may have already heard of, such as Blue Zones, Hygge, Edible Gardens, cycling, co-housing, frugal living, foraging, prepping, up-cycling, resilience, plant based diets, land sharing, and others to guide our thoughts and activities.
The main activity that most Transition towns start with is growing food. This can be through sharing unused gardens, community gardening, enabling a small plot in your own garden, or even growing food indoors on the windowsill. Apart from the opportunity to grow healthy organic produce and avert your own lettuce shortage, this activity also saves money and comes with a keep fit element on top of the reduced food miles. We have many allotments around the town and they are hard to come by, but these alternatives are possible.
Leading on from growing food, is changing the diet to a more plant-based one. Cooking opens up a lot of further possibilities, from foraging, frugality and reducing ready meals, and this leads to more money saving, healthier food, and large savings of CO2 and water used in commercial agriculture. Opportunities to share and adapt to using a wider variety of foods, as well as getting support in changing over to a vegetarian diet are also possible, and will improve your own health as well as the planet’s.
Creatively, we want to up-cycle, make our own bread, learn new skills, reduce our reliance on the consumer driven marketplace and experiment with other ideas. We are currently working on some of these and instructions and support will become available in due course. Again, these activities have global benefits.
Finally, Wellbeing. We have already made in-roads towards improved nutritional quality, but there is also room to improve your physical fitness in many ways. A lot of activities will give you the opportunity to use the “outdoor gym”, such as digging the garden. We can start up walking/discussion groups and foraging expeditions. Mental wellbeing can be improved through building friendships, sharing, and learning new skills.
The personal benefits are huge, with many possibilities to save money, improve your health and fitness, and have fun. And while this is all happening, you are doing your bit for the planet. How does that sound?
That’s the theory, now we need to start putting it into practice! The first thing you need to do is to contact us. You might be able to bring your own ideas or skills with you which we will really appreciate. We will document our progress on this blog and inspire you to have a go yourself.
We started as two passionate people, and are slowly growing our group. We have access to lots of knowledge and experience, as well as resources, books, films and ideas, and can facilitate your contributions and changes to help you improve the quality of your life in Hythe and that of our only home; Earth.