Category Archives: Heart and Minds

The Great Get Together

On Sunday 18th June in Taunton…

Christopher Jelley and Michelle Rumney will create a Labyrinth at Longrun Meadow in Taunton and want people to come along (bring a picnic) and join them larking about by the Labyrinth!

This is part of the The Great Get Together Campaign that aims to overcome loneliness – bring a friend or family members, or somebody you know doesn’t often get out.  Free

A Classic or Cretan 7-path labyrinth in the grass will be created; the artists are inviting people to join  in the afternoon and find all sorts of ways to use it – walking it together, in pairs, in a conga.. and alone – quietly or noisily – who knows?!

WHERE: Longrun Meadow… next to French Weir Park

WHEN: Sunday 18th June – From 2pm

Bring a picnic!

Carbon Conversations

Thanks to Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown for coming down and introducing carbon conversations to us.

They posed the question of how climate change is so easy to ignore? (Don’t you feel you are talking to a brick wall sometimes?). Their introduction to their handbook ‘In Time for Tomorrow’ offers advice to anyone who feels concerned about man-made climate change but is lost, angry and powerless.

So why do we avoid it? People put up defences to order to deal with their sense of powerlessness, shame, anxiety, and guilt. It may even threaten their identity. We adopt defences of avoidance (‘oh lets talk about something more cheerful), rationalisation (‘well there is not much I can do’), projection(‘well, there is no use as the Chinese are producing so much CO2’), and regression (‘it is up to someone else’). We distort the reality around climate change by believing that technology will save us.  ‘Carbon capture and storage is the answer’ even though only 14 plants all at pilot stage are active at the moment – remember this advert from Shell?

Shell advert about carbon capture…. from

We are told that nuclear fusion is only a whisker away when in fact it has been that way for over 40 years.  Oh, and if we just put some giant mirrors in space we can reflect the sun’s rays.

So how do you create constructive conversations about climate change that avoid these defences.  Probably your most effective conversations were when you had time and space, you listened rather than talked (no lecturing!), you resisted being critical, you were empathetic and you didn’t give lots of facts unless sought.  You were creating a safe space.

The idea of carbon conversations is that if you work in groups you are more likely to have effective change.  You are sharing the problem, enabling solutions to enact changes in behaviour.   When people feel supported they can lower their defences, face difficult truths and take difficult decisions. As trust develops in a Carbon Conversations group people become able to talk more openly about their feelings about climate change and the dilemmas it presents in their lives.

If you are interested in forming a group to deal with your own personal conflicts, your feelings of powerlessness, anger and loss over climate change then please contact me: Vicky Briggs –  If we get enough interest we can initiate a Carbon Conversation Group.

In Time for Tomrrow? Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown – You can buy the book at:


In Time for Tomorrow?

In Time for Tomorrow? A talk by Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown

Do you ever feel powerless, confused or discouraged, when it comes to taking personal responsibility in the face of climate change?

This talk is designed to help connect the background picture to the personal choices that are available to each of us. It recognises the challenges we face in seeking to do that, but offers an approach that is both practical and thoughtful.

Rosemary Randall is an outstanding figure in the field of climate change and with Andy Brown founded the nationally recognised Carbon Conversations project. They offer a wealth of knowledge about the environmental impacts of all aspects of our lives. As a psychotherapist Rosemary has a unique understanding of the profound human challenge in facing these impacts, complemented by Andy’s extensive technical knowledge about the practical dilemmas.

In Time for Tomorrow? the Carbon Conversations Handbook by Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown is published by The Surefoot Effect ( ISBN 978-0-9931211-0-4). It has been acclaimed by both Naomi Klein (‘This Changes Everything’) and George Marshall (Founder of Climate Outreach & Information Network).

  • Taunton Library Meeting Room
  • Paul Street, Taunton, TA1 3XZ
  • 8pm Thurday 2nd July 2015

Carbon Comversations

Happier People Healthier Planet – Feedback

 Late feedback from the Happier People Healthier Planet conference in March….. How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth.

Introduction – Molly Scott Cato, MEP since May 2014 –

Molly spoke briefly about the issue of companies’ failure to pay corporation tax, which undermines local businesses who do have to pay; also the recent subsidy to north sea oil, which encourages further drilling and cheaper motoring. She concluded that if you destroy our environment, you destroy wellbeing.

Teresa Belton
Teresa Belton

Teresa Belton

Wellbeing can be measured – when positive emotions outweigh negative ones.

Happiness is an emotion which comes and goes; wellbeing is when we are feeling good and functioning well.

Consumption – we all consume far more than we need above and beyond our basic needs for home, food, shelter etc.

However, non-material assets determine our level of wellbeing:  relationships, sense of belonging, meaning, purpose, creativity, contact with the natural world.

Nature is highly beneficial: For example, it has been found that people recover quicker from surgery if they can see a tree from their hospital window. Also that psychiatric patients never damage pictures of nature, but would damage abstracts.

Appreciation and gratitude – It is good to notice things and count our blessings.

Some of the above need developing and learning:

Relationships – skills such as empathy, listening, humour, forbearance

Appreciation – to notice and have an attention span; this can be eroded by bombardment and distraction.

The art of making connections between ourselves and other people needs to be developed in us and our children.


Seen in high levels of credit card debt, large personal consumption of minerals, and of water.

Creation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Plastics end up as particulate matter in the ecosystem; they get into our bloodstream and can disrupt our endocrine function.

Signs of wellbeing

Wellbeing has been measured since the 1950’s and has not risen with increasing wealth. Today we see increasing levels of non-prescription drugs and drug related deaths. Loneliness causes physical and emotional damage. Surprisingly UK children have the lowest level of wellbeing of 21 industrialised countries. Notices about violence indicate high levels of violence to staff at work.

Focus on what is good for wellbeing, rather than on what we need to give up; can change our focus so what we do addresses our need for wellbeing. Our economic system seems to be set up to increase private wealth, but with it comes environmental damage.

Exercise in small groups – spending money

  1. How to spend £10k without doing any damage to the environment.

This was hard – we all found that most money spent has a related damaging effect on the environment.

  • Could teach mindfulness, purchase a field, give training courses, buy bicycles, plant trees, buy antiques, buy works of art


  1. How to spend £2k doing as much damaging environmental impact as you can

Easier – fracking, use patio heaters outdoors, develop a coca cola advertising campaign, it’s easy to waste energy.


We found that most things we buy depletes earth’s resources, and requires energy, so we need to think about biodegradability, recycling, upcycling, transporting locally  by hand or foot etc..

Why do we consume so much? (not all societies do)

Social status – having money and possessions gives social status; we need to find new ways of conferring this.

Consolation – retail therapy, when we feel lonely and rejected etc., we use stuff to replace emotions we don’t have. Measure love by money spent, instead of by time and attention given etc.

Capitalist economic system

Constant growth required, advertisers make us feel inadequate and exploit our weaknesses.

Evolutionary- Consumption might be beneficial for continuation of the species.

Feel good – A good feeling on taking possession

It would be good if more of us became more modest material consumers.

Research for book

Teresa undertook research with people who identified themselves as modest consumers and also felt satisfied with their lives. These 94 were then interviewed and asked a range of questions.

How did they define modest? – no or little flying; no car; turn down heating and wear more clothes (domestic heating is a big source of carbon use); no TV; used furniture only; no washing machine; clothes from charity shops; holiday in uk or with friends and family.

Reasons for adopting this lifestyle: 

choice, financial reasons, environmental concerns, global inequality.

Many reported loving their new life style and being happier. Some liked to think about others’ needs, do voluntary work, yoga, reading, and valued time more than money. They wanted to be proactive, thoughtful about things, feel part of something bigger and make a difference, however small.


Comments from participants in research

  • Don’t want to buy silver and gold jewellery which has been obtained at such cost to lives.
  • Person who grew up in a rich American family studied energy, volunteered in Uganda and saw people living happily, not thinking about money, but interested in self and family, happier than in the western world.


Questions to Molly Scott-Cato before she left meeting

  • Amazon and tax evasion – what are alternatives.
  • Traffic pollution – urban smog, consequences of air pollution to health.
  • Renewable energy models such as Germany where there is a thriving market
  • Microbusinesses, more production, more wellbeing?

Transition movement

  • Peak Oil and Climate change
  • Strong locally, work with neighbour, change behaviour
  • Transport systems, work local to home
  • Quietly putting things into place, but most people don’t take things seriously until a disaster happens.

(Teresa Bolton)   How to develop modest people? – genes or environment?

Values are developed through learning and interaction, experience is all important in determining how we live. Give children worthwhile experiences.

Change how we perceive social status, have lots of worthwhile experiences.

Have contact with the natural world, be creative and others will appreciate you.

(Unfortunately our education system seems geared to getting qualifications to make more money.)


Alternative Education– can rethink our education and priorities, to create happy people in a good society, thinking about the needs of others. Voluntary work – impacts on others, sense of contribution to the wider world. Forest schools – out in nature and being creative. Evaluation of these schools show children function better (nb wellbeing to do with functioning well, as well as feeling well).

Food and environmental damage

Permaculture – fantastic and can be applied to any situation. Important – people care, earth care, fair share. Repurposing – create no waste


Geoeconomics   – Mark Hepworth, Birkbeck college

A research-based consultancy focused on social value creation as a strategic priority for businesses, governments and non-profit organisations – German energy website

Teresa Belton’s book Happier People Healthier Planet is available in the following places:

It may be purchased directly from the author.
Please send a cheque or postal order for £13.95 (+ £3.00 for UK p&p) to Teresa Belton at School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ.    Please enclose a name, email and delivery address.

For enquiries and payment by bank transfer please contact Teresa at

Happier People Healthier Planet may also be ordered through bookshops and purchased from the publisher, SilverWood Books Ltd: . Go on and support your local bookshop.

It is also available for order online from Wordery:

Inner Transition: Vision

Following our day with Sophy Banks from the Transition Network, some of us met on 16 April to follow up the areas we had found to be important to us – Refreshing our Vision, Communicating the vision, Finding Out what people think, feel and want, How people can join TTT, and Practical Projects 

We felt that the starting point was Vision – we are in effect a new group as so many people have left and joined since we ever first talked about vision back in 2008.  So we did an exercise together where we took it in turns to say something about our own personal vision for ourselves, for Taunton, for what Transition could help do or influence in Taunton. …see the collective vision below….  If you want to add your own vision contribution to this, please comment on this post and  I will add it in.  Or come to a future meeting and we can talk about it together.

This was the summary of that collective vision…. a grouping of the important aspects.

transition vision

After that, we realised we didn’t know enough about each other in terms of our skills, and also what we felt we were up for in the coming year – the skills we feel we have, whether we are willing to bring them to Transition, whether we are happy to mentor others in TTT, who in the room already wants to be mentored by that individual (and for what), and finally what we are each up for. 

However, we also realised that we are all interested in the Transition group, but can be held up by not all being able to be there at the same time to do things.  So we agreed that we will continue to meet regularly over the coming months to carry on with our thinking, sharing ideas and planning, and whoever is able to be there will be the ones entrusted with carrying the thinking on and bringing those not there up to speed.

Inner Transition : Study Group

Invitation to form a Study Group for Inner Transition using the book  “Navigating the Coming Chaos” by Carolyn Baker.

Navigating the Coming Chaos
Fran Hicks and Chrissie Godfrey invite those interested to meet to discuss setting up a study group to work with Carolyn Baker’s book.







“I am currently a member of a group which meets in Glastonbury, but due to leaving a job in the area can no longer sustain attendance. I’ts a great group and we have found working with the material very helpful. We do not, by all means, agree wholeheartedly with Carolyn Baker’s viewpoint but have found the questions for journalling and the discussion have provoked deep sharing which all have found beneficial.”  Fran Hicks

What is on the back cover:

“The collapse of industrial civilizations, well underway since at least 2007, present humankind with unprecedented and daunting challenges in the area of energy, environment and economics.  Just as the Transition Handbook of 2008 provided specific strategies for addressing these changes Logistically, Navigating the Coming Chaos, provides a toolkit of emotional and spiritual preparation for an uncertain future.  It offers us an opportunity to step across an evolutionary threshold in order to become anew hind of human being living in conscious self-awareness of our intimate connection with all life in the universe.”


If you are interested please contact me at and I will set up a doodle diary to find out what date would suit most.

Christmas Green Fair

2 pm Saturday 10 December
Bishops Lydeard Village Hall

Free entry

Quantock Eco are running a Christmas Green Fair on Saturday 10th December….

Here are some of the things on offer:
*Christmas gifts * cards * books * jewellery * good food * chutneys * clothes * paintings *
*photos * cosmetics * recycled goods * crafts * knick-knacks * local green businesses * teas *local artists * green groups * free energy advice* renewable energy installers * on-your-bike checks*

For more information contact Jill Gray on 01823 432017
(Bring your bike with you for a free bike check!)

Grand Opening of the UK’s First Willow Cathedral

You are all invited to Taunton’s Willow cathedral opening celebration!

Join us for a ‘wetting the willow’ opening ceremony and then stay to wet your whistle and celebrate with the local community.

Music, creative activities for the kids (and adults too if you like!), singing and dancing and more…

Bring some family, some friends, the lady next door and an empty jam jar and a tea light (yes, I definitely mean the last part).

Please come for this exciting opening event. Its really worth coming to see, you can meet the artists who built it and there’ll be loads of things happening.

The event is being organised by the ‘Friends of Longrun Meadow’ and as they don’t have any money everything that they’re putting on is for free, so there won’t be any free food/drink provided so the idea is that we’re asking people to please bring your own picnic to give to me to eat for the evening or preferably a bottle of gin and some tonic. Oh, and a lime too cos we like to do things with style.

Incase you want a bit more info of how the evening is going to pan out here’s a schedule:

6/6.30 – Meet at the Longrun Meadow Oak barn

6.45 – Procession with music and more over to the willow cathedral

7.00 – Willow cathedral opening!

7.30 – activities, eating, drinking, music and more…

9.00/9.30 – Lighting up the willow cathedral with the jam jars and tea lights from the local community

There is some information on the Longrun Meadow website and if you do not how to get there find it on this google map.



Compassionate Communication

Taunton Transition Town is delighted to host


Essential skills for challenging times

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March 2011.


Bishops Hull Village Hall, Taunton

£45 full price (£15 concessions)

For people who are seeking to create meaningful change in their lives and the lives of their communities

Based on Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communication” framework (NVC), this practical workshop will teach the simple, yet profound skills we can all learn to stay in authentic connection with others when it matters most. It will explore:

  • how we can communicate with others and have compassion for ourselves
  • how we can really listen to what others are saying and hear what they need
  • what keeps us from being compassionate
  • how increased self awareness helps our own heartfelt expression of feelings and needs – and so inspires co-operation with others
  • how to make our group experiences irresistible!

Led by experienced NVC practitioners, the weekend will give participants practical strategies to support compassionate communication to take back into their different community groups and work teams.

To book

Email Chrissie Godfrey – – or call her on 01823 321731.

The venue

Bishops Hull village is on the edge of Taunton, accessible by bus from the town centre. Taunton Transition Town will organise shared transport for people arriving by train. Directions will be provided with booking confirmations.

Longrun Meadow Opening

Band procession in French Weir to the new footbridge

On the 28th August Taunton was the location of a wonderful event – a new country park was opened.  Longrun Meadow is new green space in the heart of Taunton.  The oak barn has already been raised and soon a living green cathedral made of willow will grace the flood plain…..

Here is some wonderful pictures of the day at Longrun Meadow where Taunton Transition Town with the help of all the children, adults and the town cryer created a procession of clay figures leading from the new footbridge into the meadow. It was a celebration of this new green space, and how community can get together and be creative; a real hope for the future.

Thanks to everyone for contributing to this wonderful event.

Creative Taunton
Creating the weird and wonderful beasts
The clay figure procession