My colleague Matt has recently spoken out against the doom ‘n’ gloom merchants: “Try smiling. Think positive. Get positive. Make changes. Get involved.” Five years, that’s all we’ve got …
It’s true that for every disaster that might befall us, there’s a group taking an almost pornographic delight in talking about it as if it’s inevitable. Current favourites are climate change, terrorism, a ‘flu pandemic, Peak Oil and global financial meltdown. What steps you take depends on who you are and where you live. In the USA, you buy a remote stronghold and stock up on beans, bullets and band-aids. In the UK, you queue outside your bank and treat yourself to a beige cardigan from M&S.
Well, here’s a bunch of people who are really putting their money where their mouth is. The Lammas community is creating an ecovillage in Pembrokeshire which will become a demonstration model for low impact living.
“We aim to combine the best of the old with the best of the new. Our project is based on the traditional welsh smallholding model. To this we will also bring the latest developments in environmental design, green technology and permaculture. We are currently applying for planning permission for stage 1 of the project. We are optimistic that we will succeed.
“The proposal is for a new settlement of eco-smallholdings. It will be sited on 175 acres of mixed pasture and woodland next to the village of Glandwr. The Ecovillage will be completely independent of all mains services. All water will be sourced from the site using a combination of an existing spring for drinking water and rainwater harvesting from rooftops. All electricity will be produced on site using renewables. Fortunately there is an existing water turbine system on site which Lammas plans to renovate. All organic waste will be composted on site using a combination of compost toilets, wormeries and compost heaps.
“In accordance with Pembrokeshire Planning Policy for Low Impact Development residents will need to demonstrate that they are substantially meeting their household needs directly from the land. In practice this means that the people involved will need to be working the land to good effect. Lammas residents are proposing a range of livelihoods from the land including woodland crafts, horticulture, tree nurseries, livestock and woollen crafts.”
This group deserves all the praise and support they can get, as does the Pembrokeshire local authority, currently the only county in the UK with a low-impact policy (if you don’t count Milton Keynes!). Will their ideas and ideals enter the mainstream? I wish.