This week has been a week of awakening for me, all because of my geography lectures. As part of the Contemporary Environmental Challenges module, on Monday we had a guest lecture and seminar from Transition Leicester, an organisation with a goal to help the local people of Leicester to transition to a more resilient economy and society, to the potential impending impacts of climate change and economic turmoil. Personally I found the lecture highly interesting and inspiring, as we transgressed topics of moving away from fossil fuels and the capitalist model to protect human lives, with concepts of localism, permaculture, and social enterprise. One thing that stood out to me the most was one of David Holgrem’s 12 principles of permaculture “Use edges and value the marginal”. Whilst this highlights the importance of ecological margins for biodiversity and productivity benefits e.g. the edge between a pond and land is highly biodiverse, it also relates in a social context, for example two separate social groups meeting up and sharing ideas, sparking new thoughts and innovation, like the edge between a student group and the local community. For me this struck a chord in terms of the society I founded – the Environmental Action Society – since we have been starting to contact groups outside of the University and had some amazing ideas and opportunities for environmental change as a result (for example Leicester Friends of the Earth but I’ll blog about that soon!).
So, partly on behalf of my society, and partly out of my own gratitude for the lecture, I approached the guest speaker after the lecture, thanked her and introduced myself and the Environmental Action Society. I’ve realised recently it is a wasted opportunity not to speak to your lecturer after a lecture, because they have so much useful knowledge and opinions which you can’t get from just going to lectures and doing the readings! Anyway, the guest speaker invited me to Footpath’s Make and Mend Festival (which I had actually already heard about) and that she would be there so there would be a familiar face!
So today that’s where I went with another society member, and it was a truly brilliant day integrating with the community. We used our edges and we were so inspired. Here are a few pictures from the day, which included dozens of stalls where you could learn how to mend or make something for free, and pass on the knowledge! I also attended 3 workshops in which we discussed issues of consumption and how to resist over-buying habits, how to deal with companies, and learnt about an awe-inspiring project in Leicester called the Real Junk Food Project – which I spoke to at the end and hope to get the society involved in, and will write a blog post about!
There was a real buzzing sense of community spirit and mixing of all ages and backgrounds. I got to know young mothers, older people and other adults I would never have met if I hadn’t stepped outside the university lifestyle, and all in all, it was a wonderful day. I hope you enjoyed reading!