Monday, April 19, 2010

The Story of Stuff


(extract from a longer article, link below)

"While I once felt like a marginalized garbage-nut, I now realize I am part of a massive community of people, all over the world, who know deep in our hearts that something is wrong. Our economy is off track. Half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, unable to meet basic needs, while a handful of people amass obscene levels of wealth. Our industries convert the planet’s resources into wastelands while pumping out toxic chemicals so pervasive that they are now present in every body, even in those of newborn infants. And our culture encourages us to find fulfillment in rampant consumerism rather than compassion and connection.

The outpouring of support has shown me that many, many people recognize these problems and want change-enough to actually make that change! It’s not just a few little pockets of us in eco-hotspots. All around the world, parents, students, farmers, activists, religious leaders, writers, engineers, scientists, fisher folk, businesspeople, and many others are standing up, speaking out, calling for a new kind of economy and culture that serves the planet and its people, rather than sacrifices these for the economic benefit of the few. So, in spite of the dire data on the state of the planet, I find myself more full of hope than ever. I am not alone. We are not alone."

rest of article at Steve's Permaculture Blog here

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I've been to some beautiful places visiting permaculture and other projects over the last few years but the best part of the whole journey has been meeting so many amazing inspirational people. Gentle, intelligent, funny, tough, hard-working, thoughtful, cooperative, sensitive, interesting people, with the same sort of open-mindedness I remember at university but with the added wisdom of years of life experience.

It's often the lack of skill that is impressive - it doesn't stop people doing things and learning as they go along. C had hardly any experience of growing food but it didn't stop him taking on a hill farm. There's an amazing resourcefulness and just-get-it-done-ness, like S cutting slots in a tree trunk with a chainsaw by torchlight at night. Toughness: E setting off from Denmark to hitch to Wales in winter temperatures of minus 10. That's just the tip of this amazing iceberg of spirit. There's a network of people like this all over the world and I think it's the most heartening thing we have for the future.

I'm planning to make a better index for the blog so you can get to the bits that interest you more easily - I hope you feel inspired too!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

WALES - Crisis in Crymych

Back at the beginning of March, my plan was to live near Lammas in Wales for a while, get involved with the excellent project there and give treatments to people in the area. I moved into a great flat above the health food shop in Crymych. Everyone was very friendly, Lammas was just down the road but I hit a brick just didn't feel right being there. To quote John Lennon, "Life's what happens when you're making other plans."

I had to move back to Scotland and start working towards a long term project there - (McLammas maybe?). I wanted to be near my daughters, family and oldest friends again. A week later, I was in a flat in my hometown, Perth.

Back in Perth - No More Nomad For Now...

It is soooo nice to be have my own space again after six years of sharing and living in some wild set-ups. I'm really appreciating having somewhere warm, dry and flat to sleep, having a cooker and washing machine and all that convenient stuff. The flat's light and bright, in good condition and quiet at night for the city centre. My daughters are nearby - it was lovely to be around for their birthdays which are both in March, the crocuses on the inches always remind of the those happy times when they were born and when they were young.

Crocuses on the South Inch  (parks are called Inches in Perth...)

My oldest friends are up here too, from early therapy days and right back to childhood. It's time to reflect on the last few years, focus first on building up a therapy practice here then think where else to best put my energy. Time for a bit of healing for myself, for tendonitis from the heavier eco-work and to carry on processing all the recent emotional and physical upheaval. 

Perth is a good place to live. I struggle just being in one place for any length of time but I feel less of a misfit here than in most places. It's easy to escape to hills, lochs, woodlands, rivers and some real wilderness. I can get pretty much anything I need on foot and the big cities aren't far away for anything else, concerts or whatever - of course, how much do we really need anyway?

On a walk round Kinnoull Hill, just quarter of an hour from the centre of Perth

A brilliant, wild old pine tree in the Blackwood forest at Loch Rannoch

If any town is well set up for a Power-down, Transition process away from fossil fuel it might well be Perth. There's plenty of open land around, plenty of water and not that many people, there's more people in London than there are in the whole of Scotland. There's hydro power, the wind flow statistics are high and there's huge untapped potential for power-generation from tidal races.

Perth's a good size, it's big enough to have a good range of shops, coffee shops, book shops and a concert hall but small enough to feel like a big village. The down side is the number of drunks staggering about anytime after breakfast and the violence (a friend of L's was badly beaten up a few nights ago in an unprovoked attack from four idiots - but they may have been idiotic enough to have got themselves caught on CCTV...). Many parts of Perth are in decay and there's lots of empty shops in the centre of town. There isn't the feeling of general over-exploited desperation I feel down South though. I used to get an uneasy feeling of impending disaster in towns like Worthing and Eastbourne - I get it here too but not as strong.

After a couple of heavy weeks writing, I've got my leaflets and new therapy website up and running, www.ian watt - please have a peek at that - and please send the link on to anyone you know who might benefit from treatment, (i.e. pretty much everybody), thanks!