Sharing the Risk
One of the first things you realise when thinking about the Transition and the consequences of climate change is that you need to learn to live with the unpredictable. The suffering and difficulties will strike some people and not others. There will be no justice or reason to this.
So how should we respond? I think we should avoid the thought 'There, but for the Grace of God, go I'. This is the response of those who believe in providence, the US, individualist culture that tells you that there is a reason for your misfortune, that it is, whether as a result of sin or bad karma, your fault.
Our 'celebration' last night at The Space went ahead, just yards from the worst flood in the town that anybody can remember. We were determined not to cancel because the Transition is about resilience, about coping with catastrophes and working around the unpredictable. Ten stallholders laid our their wares, the band fought its way up the flooded M5 from Bristol, and by 11 The Space was full of ecstatic dancers. To cancel the event would have given entirely the wrong message.
But lots of people were deterred from coming by the weather, or simply stuck in Nailsworth or Cheltenham. This being Stroud, most people had not paid for their tickets in advance, so the losses stay with the organisers. On this basis it is fairly hard to think about organising another event. The punters get the enjoyment; the organisers carry the risk. I would like to suggest that sharing the risk needs to be part of our transition culture. Perhaps if you were planning to be there last night but couldn't make it you could manage to donate the ticket price? That would really help. This might be a form of mutual insurance that will make life with climate change easier, sharing risk and building the sense of community.
To end with a couple of tales of valour: congratulations to Nigel Pitel, who defied the queues of static traffic coming south from Gloucester, pushed his bike through knee-deep water, pedalled home, and came out to party! And to Fi Macmillan, who ignored the ghost-town that Nailsworth had become yesterday afternoon and also made it through to the event.