Reading for a Zero Carbon Shap

The “Reading for a Zero Carbon Shap” group has now been meeting every third Tuesday of each month for two years, at the Old Court House, Shap, at 7pm. The meetings are informal, with tea, coffee, home made biscuits and occasionally, stronger fayre, to help us to relax and help our discussions unfold. Our books are supplied by Cumbria  Libraries, through a dedicated arm of their community reading groups, facility. Our books always have an environmental theme; our last was Bill McGibben’s “Falter” and our current read is “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klien. Some are easier to read than others but all are serious about addressing global warming.

Our discussions always begin with our ‘set’ book but quickly develop into more locally focussed themes, ideas and projects. From this we have enjoyed two tree planting programmes, the first at the top end of the football field, with a mixture of native oaks and hazel and the second where we were invited to plant trees in a local farmer’s field.

Our aim is to bring awareness and understanding to all the residents of Shap and we welcome anyone and everyone with an interest  in environmental matters to join our group and take part in our discussions.

For more information about our meetings, please contact Dave on 07484632210  or Peter on 07837816795

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Last night’s meeting to discuss our current book ‘The uninhabitable earth’ by David Wallace wells could have been disappointing: we had belatedly realised that this is a book that we have read and discussed before, and has much similarity to many books about the climate emergency in that it is well written, excellently researched and referenced, but is ultimately about the problem and how it has been caused. There was a general feeling that this type of book takes an enormous amount of guts and willpower to read (knowing that the overall subject is ultimately very depressing), and that it was a little light on solutions to the issue. 
Anyway, the meeting could have been disappointing, except that we had brought home made and local christmassy delicacies to share, so with macaroon tarts, goats cheese and cranberry filo, and mulled cider we discussed many other topics:
fish and bird life, wildflower meadows, sycamore biodiversity, orchards and grafting, local tree planting, waterlogged potato fields, inappropriately sized machinery…..
We also wondered whether the library service’s selection of climate change books were perhaps a little short of “solutions” texts, with the only ones we could remember being James Reebanks’ “English Pastoral” and Ed Milibands’ “Go Big”
There was a suggestion to bring our favourite climate change related book to introduce to the group next meeting, with the idea that we could start sharing our own library of texts.
Liz asked whether we would be planting any more trees within the community. If people were interested, they could meet at my house on Friday (the winter solstice) lift some oaks and do a spot of guerilla planting. Anybody interested could suggest a preferred time on the WhatsApp site.
Next Crosby planting group is 13th Jan (details from Crosby Ravensworth community planting group site, or from me nearer the time).
Next meeting on 16th Jan. Happy yuletide to all.

Last night’s meeting, the 2nd year anniversary of our reading group and we discussed Bill McKibben’s book “Falter”. Over home made cherry brandy and cider, we reflected that two years of reading has enabled us to read ‘Falter” with enough understanding to read beyond the first shocking chapters and to be coaxed along by McKibbon’s gentle humour to his more optimistic 2 nd part. ‘Falter is the story of the dead-end aspects of human character which, if left unchallenged could to the demise of humanity and much of the biosphere as we know it. McKibben persuades us that all is not lost and he encourages us to believe in the collective power of peaceful protest to thwart personal greed, that threatens to bring down the the whole shaky edifice of modernity, along with the network of ecological relationships which hitherto have supported the whole of human history. Closer to home, we contrasted statistics that describes Britain as being in the world’s lowest 10% of biodiversity with the local signs of a ripe autumn where we see brambles, hazelnuts, sloes, crab apples all within a 5m length of hedge. On local tree planting we concluded that many more trees are needed for Britain, balancing carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water catchment and future timber needs is complex and mapping the extent and depths of peat bogs will add more provisos to the questions of what type of trees, how many and where. Later we discussed the significance of affordable workshops and low carbon self-build techniques, community orchards and green social prescribing as areas from which Shap could benefit. If these subjects are of interest, (particularly to younger readers and/or would be activists) please feel free to come to our next meeting on October 17 th , 7pm at the OCH (library building) where we will discuss Naomi Klein’s, “This Changes Everything.” 

Next two meetings, at 7pm in the OCH, October 17 th and November 21 st For fuerher details please contact Dave on 07484632210 or Peter 07837816795