This month’s Sussex Green Ideas webinar focused on the OnePlanet technology platform which is designed to enable users to understand how health, environment, community development and economy are interconnected, and support pathways to action.
We are in a climate and ecological crisis. Learn the facts, the latest news and solutions to combating climate change and protecting our planet for future generations.
We all want a world where our climate is stable, nature thrives, and where all people have health, happiness, and prosperity – it’s our human right, right?
Unless we change things, we are on track to breach the 1.5°C temperature increase limit set by the Paris Agreement by 2030. The breach risks irreversible environmental degradation and runaway climate change that will affect all our societies and economies.
An essential ally against the climate crisis is nature. We are losing nature at an alarming and unprecedented rate. For anyone who has been watching David Attenborough’s latest BBC programme, Wild Isles, you will know that Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.
As a child, I never understood the saying, “It’s an ill wind indeed that blows no good,” but I recently realised that’s what’s happening now.
I went to buy a thermal T-shirt, my current one sadly threadbare, but there were none to be had. The assistant told me they had ‘overperformed’, because fuel prices are high and people are dressing up warmly at home rather than putting the heating on. Result! I know people who, when working on the computer at home, take a break for a few minutes and go for a run, simply to warm up. Loved ones are switching off the TV earlier than their usual habit and instead snuggling up in bed with a good book. Result! People are jumping on their bikes or walking rather than taking the car for short journeys, and we’re driving more carefully because the roads are full of potholes. Result!
This year we’re asking, “Can airlines please tell us the truth – the whole truth – about the impacts of aviation? Is it not one of the biggest polluters of our planet?” Like cigarette packaging and advertising, and in a similar way to food allergy advice, shouldn’t plane tickets have health warnings for us and the planet?
It was the first time I had been to a SECA meeting, and it was inspiring to see over a hundred people working together for change.
We arrived in Brighton in an electric car, (my first time in such a conveyance), for the annual South East Climate Alliance or SECA meeting, the aim being to bring councils and communities together to address the issues related to climate breakdown and share successes and suggestions.
Well what a year 2022 was for Sussex Green Living. As we reflect on the last year and plan for the future and 2023, we thought it was worth taking a moment to share some of our achievements…
Demand for Sussex Green Living environmental education services in schools and public events has never been higher, so much so that requests for our help vastly outstripped the grants we had been awarded to be able to deliver the work in schools.
On a guided tour of the George Watts Gallery, near Guildford recently, I was surprised to learn about the Victorian artist’s ‘protest pictures’.
Born when our own Percy Shelley was at the height of his powers writing his controversial poems of protest, I felt the two would have got on well, with their artistic commentaries on the ruthlessness of the governments of their day.
One painting which felt particularly poignant was called, ‘A Dedication (to all those who love the beautiful and mourn over the senseless and cruel destruction of bird life and beauty)’. It depicts an angel weeping over an altar littered with kingfishers and other small birds.
As COP 27 begins, what’s happening locally to help save our beautiful little planet from doom?
Well, Horsham District Council held a Climate Action Day on 20th October to help prepare the parish councillors for what lies ahead for all of us.
Two thirds of the 32 parish councils in HD were represented, with 11 parishes not attending. So what progress has been made?
The E-Hive, Eastbourne’s latest pop-up Climate Emergency Centre, is now open in The Beacon shopping centre. It is a crucial part of the campaign to deliver a carbon neutral Eastbourne by 2030, as mandated by the Climate Emergency declaration passed unanimously by Eastbourne councillors in July 2019.
Recycle. Repair. Save fuel. Care about Nature. They’re becoming mainstream now. But it wasn’t always thus.
Sixty years ago, things were very different. Big science and technology dominated everything. Problem with insects munching your crops? Destroy them with DDT! Want to get to the shops faster? Try our new ’59 saloon with fuel consumption lower than the Dead Sea! Everything was going to be newer, shinier, faster, bigger-and largely made of plastic.
Is the climate broken? Should the Government be doing more about it? Can ordinary citizens do anything? How will things look for our children and grandchildren?
To find out what the people of Horsham think, we spent a recent lunchtime patrolling the busy streets around the Swan Walk Shopping Centre.
A surprise from a zoom I attended last week was that many people are unaware that we have a real water crisis here in Horsham District, the first ever in the UK on this scale. The huge water shortfall means that all building work is now on hold while solutions are sought.
Southern Water provide drinking water for over a million properties, and remove and recycle the waste water of almost five million people. Quite a task!
Although we have 205 reservoirs, this provides only 7% of our water. The majority comes from underground aquifers, with around 25% being taken from rivers.
The cost of this service from 2020-2025 is around £1,000 per property, with improvements ranging from digitisation, artificial intelligence and machine learning to re-vamping the 3,500 pumping stations and 40,000 kilometres of sewers. Over a thousand options are being modelled including banning non-essential water use and building a desalination plant at Shoreham.
Going plastic free for a whole 31 days does sound pretty daunting, some would argue impossible, but it’s a great opportunity to get a little creative, learn something new and hopefully pick up a couple of new habits you can stick to. It’s like diet and exercise, if you’re not enjoying it and it doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle you’re unlikely to carry on with it.
Why the UK Energy Price Hikes and Energy Shortages? Its our reliance on imported fuels, rather than developing the huge tidal and wind resources we have around this island. Most UK homes are still heated by gas and many are woefully under insulated.
Multiple factors are behind the gas price increases. Geopolitical pressures, including high demand for gas from Asia and low supply from Russia, as well as last year’s cold winter, which left gas stocks low, are among the main reasons.
Other countries, such as Norway and Germany, have done a much better job of moving away from gas-fired heating and adopting electric heat pumps, meaning consumers are less exposed to price leaps. Many energy companies have gone bust in recent months and new suppliers have had to purchase gas and electricity on the wholesale market. Britain’s entire energy market needs modernising. Read more
Soaring temperatures have left Sussex residents sweltering after an extreme heat warning raised the question whether this week has been the hottest on record in the region and what we should be doing to tackle climate change.
The national emergency came only a day after Sussex Green Living’s CEO Carrie Cort, her son and the charity’s Youth Eco Forum leader Tash Barns joined ‘Zero Hour’, a coalition of UK campaigners, world-leading scientists, academics and members of the public in Victoria Tower Garden next to the House of Lords in Westminster.
I have been blessed to spend 20 years working in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Choco cloud forest, a world away from my home in Pulborough.
It has been like having parallel lives.
The UK has one of lowest levels of tree cover in Europe at 13%, globally ranking 136th out of 189 countries. Looking down from a plane over our green desert fields, we can see how few trees there really are with only tiny patches of ancient woodland remaining, maybe unaware that here in England our level of biodiversity is painfully low. Although the woodland cover has doubled in the last 100 years this is mainly with non-native conifer plantations, where very little diversity can exist.
We’re slowly moving towards creating a more permanent Green Hub for Horsham, inspired by the excellent Zero at Guildford. One of the many things we’d love, alongside a Community Fridge, a Seed Bank, and a Library of Things (such as ladders or tents) is a Green Book Library.
There are countless wonderful books available, some written by children, such as Greta Thunberg’s tiny motivational book, ‘No-one is too small to make a difference’. Even her inspirational title is clearly intended to change people’s lives for the better. When Greta has been asked “What can we do?” her reply has been, “Educate yourself””
What better way to start, then, than by borrowing a book from a Green Library?
The children at Ashington CE Primary School enjoyed an early Earth Green Day on Thursday 7th April 2022. The day was organised by Sienna, Magenta, Sophie and Jasmine, four passionate Eco Warriors in Year 5 supported by the school’s Outdoor Learning Lead, Miss Martlew.
The four girls had their eco passion ignited by a Rainforest topic in Year Four and ever since have eagerly encouraged others, staff included, to join them in driving for a more eco aware school, community and planet. Consequently, there was no need for the school staff to set up an eco-group; the girls would never have not let it happen! They created their own group, with many other children eager to join in.
The Green Day started with a whole school Eco Easter bonnet parade with winners from each class receiving an eco-notebook and pen and an Easter Egg. All hats were adorned with recycled decorations and had an Easter theme. The children clung to their hats in the wind but were full of smiles of pride in the beautiful spring sunshine as they paraded, each class in turn, in front of the whole school to cheerful applause. Read more
Keeping our coastline safe and sustainable is everyday work at Worthing Coastal Office. Rob Dove and his highly trained team cover the beaches from Shoreham to Ferring in all weathers. They run foot patrols, quad bikes, a jet ski and a powerful rib. Much of their work is about people: finding lost children in summer, first aid, by-laws and clearing up after illegal beach fires. But they know nature must go hand in hand with people.
Plastics of all sizes are an obvious issue. A particularly deadly problem for the wildlife is the abandoned fishing nets which kill hundreds of creatures. These nets are collected by the beach wardens along with other plastic and made safe. Injured animals are cared for until experts can restore them to health.
“Despite everything, our water quality is good!” declares Rob encouragingly. “We see seals, dolphins, and huge shoals of mackerel.
“As covid reduced human activity, the animals seemed to gain confidence and moved back in.” Read more
Last month London Fashion week was held. There’ll be another in June.
Fast fashion is absolutely one of THE most polluting and damaging industries on the planet, second only to oil, and here in the little UK we are actually one of the worst countries in world for creating most waste clothing. The dying process alone uses huge amounts water that is sorely needed for food crops, and is often discharged into rivers without being cleaned up – much like our raw sewage is now being discharged into Sussex rivers.
Yes, we can donate clothes, but increasingly it is becoming like plastic rubbish- often “recycled” by transporting it to another, poorer country where it lies in a heap, unusable, partly because the cheap mixed fibres are unrecyclable. Natural pure fibres like linen, bamboo, hemp, wool and cotton can be re-used more easily (as can unblended clothes made only from polyester.) Read more
An Interview with founder and CEO Carrie Cort – April 2022 When did you first gain an interest in the environment? I have lived in villages, had dogs and loved […]
Clearly, it’s important for us all to use less of everything for so many reasons- resources are becoming scarcer on our small island – and on our small planet too, with its billions of people.
We hope this goes without saying but please only buy something if you need it!
When we do need to replace something, however, there are several ways we can help to guide companies to understand that we would like them to ‘go green.’ One of those ways is for us as customers to sign up to Easyfundraising, where there are over 6,000 retailers ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, Booking.com and M&S – and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help raise funds for Sussex Green Living.
All you need to do is:
1. Go to our Sussex Green Living spot at easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sussexgreenliving/ and join for free.
2. Then whenever you shop online, go to Easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping. Read more