The launch began with the screening of 'The End of Suburbia' at the Lexi cinema on Chamberlayne Road. The documentary powerfully depicted how, in the 21st century, we needed to jettison our oil-dependent, consumerist American ideals and pursue radical, sustainable alternatives instead – urgently.
The idea of "transition towns" is to realise just such a collective vision of a more sustainable society by developing local initiatives that enable people to take ever greater ownership over how they manage every aspect of their lives – from food production and purchasing patterns to energy consumption and human scale transport options.
After the film, we heard from a spokesperson from Brixton about the launch of a new currency, the Brixton Pound. This is the first truly urban currency in London which many independent traders in Brixton have just started trading in alongside sterling.
You can imagine how development of a local currency would help townsfolk to support a more diverse trading community. A more advanced currency again would attempt to link cost to actual carbon expenditure over the life-cycle of a product, as a carbon currency might do. It's worth noting that the new Tesco and Sainsbury "local" stores, though popular, are particularly bad for sustainable food production, packaging and local investment.
The transition town movement is wholly consonant with the radical Green agenda and Brent Green party shall therefore be willing it to succeed and participating however best we can.
[This is an edited version of a letter published in Brent Times as 'It's time to change our society', 1 Oct, p. 32]