My Herts Life: Bruce Nixon
PUBLISHED: 10:05 10 October 2015
The Berkhamsted author of The 21st Century Revolution – Call to Greatness, out this month, talks to Sandra Smith about the steps we can all take to improve the environment
When did your passion for the environment develop?
I’ve always loved nature but I only gradually became aware of environmental threats about 20 years ago. I’m puzzled that people seem to be in denial despite the fact that we are, by all the evidence, heading for a serious environmental crisis. Yet people aren’t changing their behaviour – they keep flying and buying large cars. Human beings respond brilliantly to an immediate emergency but are unable to respond to something that is slowly happening to them. I am concerned about the environment, climate change, an economy that works for everybody, a just and fair society and resolving conflict without violence.
What environmental threats face Hertfordshire?
Our immediate threat is a growing population with resources being exceeded. There is more and more pressure on our water supply; we are confronted with traffic congestion and air pollution. In Berkhamsted, there are proposals to build a two-tier car park but this will attract more cars into the town. A car park would deal with the symptom rather than the cause. We need more public transport and small buses to run between the station and people’s homes. We’re all part of this and people need to take their power and persuade companies and the government to do what they need to do.
What is the Transition Town Movement?
This growing movement began in Devon 10 years ago. There are now about 1,000 all over the world with several in Hertfordshire including Berkhamsted, Abbots Langley, Hertford and Letchworth. We have quarterly strategy and social meetings on the third Thursday evening of each month in Here Café, Berkhamsted.
What are the movement’s aims?
To inform people and build resilience in the towns. There will be increasing shortages in the world, so we need to grow our own food. We should change the transport system and get people on to their feet and bikes which will have huge implications for our health. Our Energy Group helped put in a solar-energy system at one of our schools; people bought shares to finance it. There’s also a scheme to encourage local businesses to implement green initiatives.
How can individuals bring about a more just society?
If we want to change things, people need to be better informed. My book, The 21st Century Revolution – Call to Greatness, recommends sources of information. One of the reasons I wrote it is that people are resourceful and creative and there’s so much that is positive. The media tends to give us negative news but part of the book is to give people hope and tell them about positive things that are happening. People can influence local politicians. If residents are better informed they could strongly oppose an enlarged car park or ask for a 20mph speed limit in areas. A lot of people I talk to are despondent, but each person has something to offer. It’s essential everyone gets involved and engaged.