JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER
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We start this month's newsletter with a note from our Chair, Rachel Berger:
Acting on climate change
I feel very lucky to be living in Bradford on Avon, for many reasons, not least because when I arrived here in 2008 there was already a lively climate change action group that I could join. I've contributed in a small way until this year, and now as Chair, I'm still feeling my way as to how best to guide and support the wonderful people who are active in the various theme groups, and take forward my own particular areas of interest and concern.
Before I retired I worked for the development charity Practical Action, supporting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and campaigning internationally for strong policies and generous funding to help such countries adapt to the likely changes in climate that they are already facing. It is not easy to continue such work in a voluntary capacity, so since retiring, and being a Quaker, I have been working with Quakers nationally on how the organisation itself can become a low carbon sustainable community and on how best to support Quakers as individuals in making lifestyle changes. It is so easy for those of us who every day worry about our future in a world of rapidly changing climate, to become dispirited at the slow or even perverse responses of those in power. There is a saying to guide and support activists, that one should do that work "where your greatest joy meets the world's greatest need." If you change that to "joy and enthusiasm" then hopefully we can each find work that harnesses our passions and not feel guilty about all the other work that needs to be done, but that does not fit our particular gifts. It has taken me much reading and reflection to decide where to put my energies. I feel drawn to work in three areas whose importance has been highlighted by various experts- scientists, serious journalists and psychologists.
The first is lifestyle change. Most people find it very challenging to make major changes to their lifestyle, but one area where everyone can take steps, small initially and progress at their own pace, is in dietary change. While there are challenges in defining the most climate friendly diet that meets all nutritional needs, there is considerable evidence that more moderate meat and dairy consumption improves health and, where farm production is largely intensive, reduced demand could reduce the high emissions and water use associated with intensive farming. CFB's Sustainable Food and Drink Group has done extensive research on climate friendly food production, and is working with local food retailers and producers to promote sustainable production and consumption, and the Town Council is also enthusiastic, so I shall join in with this activity.
My second enthusiasm is in new stories. Climate scientists and other writers have said that we need new stories, to engage people's hearts and minds in a way that facts about climate change are clearly not doing. We need stories of how we have got to this state where we are at risk of making human life impossible on our planet, and stories of a positive future and how to reach it, that will give people the courage and inspiration to work towards. I am not sure whether I could become a storyteller, but I'm going on a course to develop my skills.
Finally, given that climate related emergencies are becoming a reality at local, national and international level (floods, droughts, wildfires, power and water shortages), building community resilience is vital and must start at a very local level. As one of the town's Community Emergency Volunteers, I play a small part when extreme weather events happen, but as a town much more is needed, and Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon could play a significant role alongside other organisations such as the churches, WI, and so on.
If story telling or resilience are areas of interest to you, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If sustainable food is your interest, Ros Edwards leads CFBoA's work in that area and can be contacted at the same email address.
JULY MEETING - IDEAS FOR HOW THE WORLD CAN MANAGE CATASTROPHES LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE
Local scientist, author and broadcaster, Dr Len Fisher
was a finalist in the $5M Global Challenges "New Shape"
competition, which sought fresh ideas for the governance of global catastrophic risks such as climate change. At our meeting this month, he will describe some of the major ideas that emerged, and share the way in which he and other finalists are now collaborating to take these ideas forward.
Monday 16th July, 7.00 for 7.30pm
The Quaker Meeting House, 1 Whiteheads Lane, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1JU
AUGUST MEETING - NATURAL FLOOD MANAGEMENT
Alasdair Maxwell of the Environment Agency and Zoe Hancock of Wessex Water will talk about Natural Flood Management, and how this might relate to the River Avon and the River Biss, catchments upstream from Bradford on Avon
"Natural flood management (NFM) is managing flood risk by protecting, restoring and emulating the natural regulating function of catchments and rivers, has the potential to provide environmentally sensitive approaches to minimising flood risk, to reduce flood risk in areas where hard flood defences are not feasible, and to increase the lifespan of existing flood defences." More
Monday 20th August, 7.00 for 7.30pm
The Quaker Meeting House, 1 Whiteheads Lane, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1JU
CLEAN AIR DAY: THURSDAY 21ST JUNE
In an action in the name of Streets Ahead, a pair of Lib Dem councillors, a County Council officer and Jeremy Wire spent around 3 hours handing out about 900 leaflets
and a number of small plants (to offset emissions) to car drivers on Market Street and Masons Lane. The 'Queen' and 'Prince Charles' came to help out. The action served to highlight how polluting carbon-based fuel is when engines are left idling. A friend of Jeremy’s has said that she had started to switch her engine off in a queue and only restart when the queue ahead is starting to move and has noticed a distinct improvement in her petrol consumption. Interestingly, the leaflet also highlighted how polluting wood-burning stoves are, not only in the home but for surrounding neighbours too, saying 'Wood-burning stoves look great and they’re so cosy. But burning wood produces a lot of air pollutants. To minimise your contribution to air pollution buy a Defra-approved stove, use authorised fuel, and only light it when you really really have to.’
SWIFT GROUP UPDATE
June 16th – 23rd was the first ever National Swift Awareness Week and the Bradford on Avon Swift Group (an offshoot of the biodiversity group of Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon) put on a number of events to raise awareness of how we can help these charismatic birds, so much a part of the ambiance of summertime in Bradford on Avon. Numbers of swifts nationally are estimated to have declined by 50% in the last ten years or so and this is probably due to a number of factors such as loss of nesting places, declines in insect numbers and climate change. This year they struggled on migration due to storms en route and this may well happen more in the future as climate change takes hold. However, good numbers are finally back and can be seen speeding overhead. Swifts return to the same nesting places year after year and may not breed at all if they find it unavailable so the group is spreading the word that if you think you may have swifts nesting in your roof and want to, for example, insulate it or make other alterations, please a) only do this outside the nesting season (May - August) and b) try to leave some holes for the swifts or put up an external box if that is not possible. We are also trying to map all the swift nesting places in Bradford on Avon and surrounding villages so if you think you know where some are nesting, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
The photo shows members of the group spreading the word at Hilperton Fete and we also had a stall at the Fitzmaurice Strawberry Fair, a display in the library all week and organised a well-attended swift walk in conjunction with Walkers are Welcome. The group was also featured in the June issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine and the May issue of Wiltshire Life and Marie Lennon from BBC Radio Wiltshire came and had a wander round BoA with us talking about swifts, which resulted in a 7 minute slot on her morning show.
LAMPPOST CHARGING - REGISTER YOUR INTEREST
The air quality in our towns is not great. Zero emission Electric Vehicles (EV) can help but unfortunately many of us have no driveway to charge them. Well, a solution may be just around the street corner.
Ubitricity, a Berlin based business, is rolling out a network of lamppost based chargers following trials in London and Oxford. A wide variety of lampposts are compliant and installation is ‘relatively’ simple since the charging intelligence (electricity consumed, billing etc…) is handled within an intelligent cable that the customer purchases. Along similar lines, Oxford has recently been awarded £474,000 by Innovate UK to undertake the world’s first city trial of ‘pop-up’ on-street charging points, again using the same intelligent cable.
Of the two solutions, the sustainability of taking an existing lamppost and adding an upgraded EV compliant door feels the better direction but let’s not complain because more charging options = Happier EV drivers.
If we would like to trial these lampposts in Bradford on Avon, Bristol based OVO Energy has a partnership with Ubitricity and is allowing people to register interest here
SUSTAINABLE FOOD AND DRINK GROUP (SFADG) UPDATE
Saturday 4th August - CFBoA "Farm and Nature Walk and Talk" at Hartley Farm
We have a good number of sign ups for this event. The closing date for reserving a place is 21st July. Please note that there are only a limited number of places left for those who would like to join the Biodiversity Group guided walk to Hartley Farm, leaving Bradford on Avon at 9am - meeting point still to be confirmed. The farm walking tour will start at 11am from the meeting point at Hartley Farm. We will be in touch with everyone who has signed up with final details nearer to the date. For full details of the event click here
. To reserve a place please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The SFADG has been discussing a range of relevant issues with Wiltshire Council
representatives over the last few months, which has been very constructive. They are actively raising the visibility of the importance local food and drink with Wiltshire Council and we have had an opportunity to support them in this.
of varying sizes
are now available at 50p per square metre. Contact email@example.com
or telephone the Council Offices on 01225 864240. SFADG members who have an allotment tell us that most of the problems assocaited with the administration of the sites over recent times have now been sorted out. There is greatly improved communication now between the management and the allotment holders, who were delighted that some council members worked alongside them, clearing unused plots, ready for reletting. There is now improved uptake and an enjoyable camaraderie has developed on the growing sites.
(Bradford on Avon Community Agriculture) is looking for a grower to take over their productive 3 acre site with all the infrastructure in place for sustainable agriculture. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Bees and Food Production
A recent programme on Radio 4 Extra looked at the significance of bees and food production. Click here
BRADFORD ON AVON STREET MARKET - THANK YOU
We appreciated that the CFBoA stall was in the shade of the trees in Westbury Garden on this lovely, but extremely hot, day. Although somewhat quieter than usual, with competition from the heat and both Wimbledon and the World Cup, we had some very good conversations with interested people and signed up new members keen to get involved. Most of the CFBoA Action Groups were involved in the display. There was a really good turn-out of volunteers to help with setting up, packing up and covering the stand during the day, including some "first-timers": thanks so much
to all who helped. It was felt that it was a great opportunity for members to chat and get know one another better, with lots of exchange of productive ideas.
BRADFORD ON AVON WALKING FESTIVAL
Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September
Come along and join us for our 7th Annual Walking Festival. There will be 14 walks, several on an environmental theme, including bat and bird spotting and wild food foraging. They will all be all exploring the local area and ranging in length from 1.5 miles to 15 miles.
CALLS TO ACTION
Here are some ways you can do your bit in the campaign against climate change.
- Join the Together against Trump: Climate Bloc
- Follow David Attenborough's advice and leave a spoonful of sugar to help bees. More
- Sign this petition calling on major supermarkets to ban small clear plastic bags used for fruit and vegetables.
- Nominate your Tree of the Year to be in with a chance of winning £1000 of tree care awards.
- Swap plastic for a bamboo toothbrush. Last month we suggested buying online but bamboo toothbrushes are also available from Christine's Sustainable Supermarket on Silver Street, Bradford on Avon.
SMALL STEPS TOWARDS CARBON NEUTRALITY
GOOD NEWS STORIES
- Pupils are learning how to grow their own. More
- Great news, you'll soon be able to recycle even more! More
- Solar becomes the UK’s number one source of energy due to heatwave. More
- Little green bag: Morrisons revives paper in war on plastic. More
- Paper straw factory to open in Britain as restaurants ditch plastic. More
- UK pension funds get green light to dump fossil fuel investments. More
- New homes to be built with EV chargers in bid to accelerate green car switch. More
- The City of London Will Be Powered By 100% Renewable Energy Starting in October. More
- Church of England wields the divestment axe over climate change. More
- 23-Year-old Invents Method to Break Down Unrecyclable Plastic Film into Valuable Liquids. More
- Sweden to Reach Its 2030 Renewable Energy Goal This Year! More
- World’s First Pay-What-You-Can Grocery Store! It Saves Food Otherwise Destined for Trash. More
- City is Converting Highway Pillars into Vertical Gardens to Clean the Air. More
MONTHLY MEETING DATES
Monday 16th July: Ideas for how the World can manage catastrophes like climate change - Len Fisher
Monday 20th August: Natural flood management in the Bristol Avon/Biss - Alasdair Maxwell and Zoe Hancock
All meetings 7.00 for 7.30pm
The Quaker Meeting House, 1 Whiteheads Lane, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1JU
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Wednesday 11th July: The West of England Energy Game -
Can the West of England be self-sufficient in meeting its own energy needs? The Space at PRSC, 17 Hillgrove Street, Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS2 8JT, 6-8.30pm. Free entry. MoreSaturday 14th and Sunday 15th July: Bradford on Avon Cycling Festival. More Wednesday 25th July: Towards a Plastic Free Corsham - A special workshop for all the community to plan how we can eliminate plastic waste.
Springfield Community Campus, Corsham. 7pm. MoreSunday 29th July: Nesting Box Workshop.
Avonleigh (head to top of the vineyard) 9am - 12 noon.Saturday 4th August: CFBoA Farm and Nature Walk to Hartley Farm.
A morning biodiversity walk to Hartley Farm, followed by a tour of the farm and a chance to get refreshments at their café. See SFADG update above for details.Friday 31st August - Sunday 2nd September: Bradford on Avon Walking Festival
(see above)Saturday 8th September: A Greener Bradford.
Holy Trinity Church, 10-30am-2pm
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
If you use Twitter please do follow CFBoA - our Twitter name is @goingzero2050
. It is all good publicity for what we do. Our Facebook page is full of information and is always really up to date with the latest climate news and you can see this (though not contribute) even if you are not on Facebook. You can find it by clicking here
Would you like to demonstrate your commitment to CFB's work and
become a paid-up member?
Download an application form here.
Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon