The next two 17 group meetings

The next 17 Group meeting might well be called “No way with current growth“.

Described more fully below, it will be led by Trevor Berrill who has given a previous highly successful talk to this group on sustainable energy.

It will be in the usual place, unit 6 at 20 Drury St. West End on Wednesday the 2nd of March at 7pm.

Trevor will follow this up with a related and even more comprehensive critique of the disastrous way the earth presently lives and works, on Wednesday the 6th of April.

Here are short summaries and a short biographical note:

17 Group Presentations by Trevor Berrill

2 March – “Prosperity without Growth” report

In 2009, Professor Tim Jackson of the UK Sustainable Development Commission released a ground breaking report to the UK government critiquing economic rationalism’s ‘growth at any cost’ mantra and suggesting alternatives. Jackson states that, “The truth is there is as yet no credible socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario of continually growing incomes for a world of nine billion people”. In terms of greenhouse gas reductions alone, “By the year 2050, the carbon content of each dollar of economic activity will need to be a staggering 130 times lower than it is today, if we are to make room for much-needed development in the poorer nations and remain within a 2oC warming. By the end of this century, we’ll need an economy in which each and every dollar of economic activity is taking carbon out of the atmosphere,” says Jackson. “What does such an economy run on? What does it look like? What kind of economic activities take place in such a world?”

Trevor will provide a summary of this report and some reflections and critique of the pathway forward as outlined by Professor Jackson.

An open discussion will follow.

6 April – “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity” report

This report, by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, is the first attempt to develop a new approach to sustainability, by “which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems.” These boundaries include atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, ocean acidification and phosphorous and nitrogen flows, fresh water use and land use change, biological diversity and chemical pollution.

“We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries, or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social-ecological resilience of the affected societies.”
Trevor will again provide a summary of and some comments on this report and its implications for societal structural resilience and social impacts.

Then, later in the year, at a date to be announced, Trevor will be speaking on a more locally urgent topic as outlined hereunder. This obviously bears some relation to the current movement being led by Drew Hutton and featuring the National Action called “Lock the Gate” which is planned to occur at Tara on the Darling Downs from the 29th of April to the 4th of May. Drew will also be speaking to the 17 Group later in the year on coal, coal seam gas, and climate change:

Date TBA – “Filling the Black Hole – Shifting the Queensland Economy from Coal Dependence

Most media present Queensland as a coal dependent economy. Trevor has been working with farmers on the Darling Downs, who are threatened with the loss of productive farmland to coal and coal seam gas mining, to provide an alternative. Trevor will use this experience to provide a critique of our ‘coal dependence’ and offer some pathways forward.

About Trevor
Trevor Berrill is an award winning, private consultant in sustainable energy (SE). He has worked in both renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) for over 30 years, including system design and installation, research and development, technical training, public education and policy. He was formerly branch president of the Australian Solar Energy Society and a founding member in Queensland of the Alternative Technology Association and Wind Energy Association. His environmental and social change commitment started in the 1970s as an activist for FOE (Qld) fighting the anti-nuclear campaigns. His goal is to search for and present socially and ecologically sustainable pathways to the future.
Trevor is trained in mechanical engineering and energy auditing at QUT and has a Masters of Environmental Education degree from Griffith University.

Trot, as I call him when he’s travelling, to his rather patrician disgust, for he considers this a “plebeian and dimly Dickensian liberty”, will once again not be present as he is still volunteering in Victoria, West Australia and now Christchurch, but that’s just his being as up-to-date about helping the planet as he was in 1917. Your best form of helping it on Wednesday the 2nd may well be just to turn up to this meeting. And furthermore that’s something that’s almost certainly not going to be taken over by a monster and turn out badly some seventy odd years later.

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