From the Path to the Shop: Natural community food production. With all the worry about climate change and food production, it feels important to get to know one another to develop good practices for improving soil fertility and the production of local organic food. Read more
Building Your Dreams
While wardening at Puttenham Bunkhouse Barn last weekend, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Meeks, its founder, who spent many years as editor with Cycling UK, (Cyclists’ Touring Club), and who, aged 16, was the youngest elected member of the YHA’s management team here in the south-east.
Sitting relaxed in the sunshine, amid butterflies and flowers, wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Wilderness not woodchips”, Chris continues to share his passions.
He’s an astonishing example of how one person can inspire a generation. The bunkhouse began life as an idea: finding a place, negotiating the lease with Guildford Borough Council, raising £130,000, removing a huge cattle trough and digging out the floor to lower it by 50 cm. The eventual opening in 2005 was achieved thanks to enormous input from a team of volunteers, including John Bannister, an alternative technology expert.
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
What is in the Great Green Hamper? Bottle of Method – Wild Rhubarb anti-bac Bottle of Method – Peach Blossom anti-bac EcoVibe dish brush EcoVibe dish soap EcoVibe compostable sponge […]
At our last Sussex Green Ideas Zoom event on Wednesday 16th June we learnt about the challenge of transitioning from gas and the urgent need to cut the 17% of UK emissions that come from heating our leaky homes. You can view the Homes after Gas presentation here.
It helps that we can now choose renewable energy instead of fossil fuels – and generally save money, this is our energy cost comparison and switching site www.Bigcleanswitch.org/SussexGreen it only takes about 5 minutes to switch!
But the next step is the end of gas heating. From 2025 new builds will not be connected to the gas grid. The government hasn’t yet set a cut off date for new gas boilers in existing homes but it will need to do this soon. Read more
This article by Marie Allen, Fairtrade Horsham, was published in West Sussex County Times on 11.3.21
Horsham has been a Fairtrade town since 2005 and we are lucky to have so many shops and cafes which offer Fairtrade products, giving farmers and producers a better deal. Fairtrade Fortnight, which ended on March 8th, had Climate Justice as its theme this year, reflecting the importance of climate change for farmers in the developing world. Many of them are already seeing its impact in droughts, crop disease, floods and heatwaves.
Fairtrade and Climate Justice
Fairtrade means that farmers and producers receive a fair price for their products and that they have safe working conditions. In addition, they receive a Fairtrade premium which they can choose to spend as they see fit. Fairtrade farmers and producers adhere to a set of environmental protection standards and they are encouraged to learn about environmentally friendly practices. Many spend their Fairtrade premium on measures to alleviate the impacts of climate change.
Our Sussex Green Living West Sussex County Times column on 18th February 2021
The Danish word hygge means cosy and charming- an ideal winter word! However, the winter months can be a worrying time for residents concerned about keeping warm while living in draughty, cold homes knowing their precious heat is simply leaking out and heating the outside air. And with many people working from home or home-schooling, lots of us are facing higher energy bills this year as well.
But help from Sussex Green Living is at hand!
Switching energy supplier or tariff is one of the quickest things we can do to reduce our bills. While we have a bit of time on our hands is a great time to look at energy switching sites like https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ .
Better still, save money and move to 100% clean renewable energy. When our Horsham Repair Café is open, we offer a clean energy switching service: https://www.horshamrepaircafe.org.uk/energy-advice/ Everyone we’ve helped has saved between £90 and £366 using this site: https://bigcleanswitch.org/sussexgreen/.
For people on low income there is a scheme called Help to Heat which could help residents and tenants switch to gas central heating by offering a cheaper or free gas connection. Landlords and local authorities can benefit from funding if their tenant applies and is eligible, learn more here https://www.sgn.co.uk/HelptoHeat.
West Sussex Citizens advice have funding available for residents who have concerns about energy bills, suppliers and lots more. The West Sussex helpline is 01243 974063.
Residents can also access LEAP, the Local Energy Advice Service, supported by Horsham District Council. If you’re on a low income, have a health condition made worse by living in a cold home, or are vulnerable in another way, then you could be eligible for free advice and some practical energy saving gadgets. Advice is currently delivered by a friendly telephone call with energy advisers, who can refer you on to other sources of financial help or practical energy saving measures like insulation. You can apply online www.applyforleap.org.uk or via telephone 0800 060 7567
The Government are also currently offering Green Homes Grants. Learn more here https://www.sussexgreenliving.org.uk/green-homes-grants-explained/. People earning less than £30,000 who have a home with low energy efficiency rating (typically E,F or G) can apply online by selecting LAD funding at https://www.warmerhomes.org.uk/
Learn all about this and ask questions at a free AFFORDABLE WARMTH TALK on 24th February 7-8pm using Zoom (from a mobile phone, ipad or computer) https://www.sussexgreenliving.org.uk/events/
We look forward to seeing you there – bring a cuppa to make it hygge occasion!
Feeling inspired to get involved?
We are always looking for volunteers, so get in touch or come and meet us and see how you can get involved! Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or sign up to receive our latest news (it only takes two seconds to add your email address – simply click on black ‘Follow‘ tab on bottom right of this screen!). Feel free to also send us an email using our contact form, or come and say hello at our events like the Horsham Climate Cafe or the Horsham Repair Cafe!
“Inspiring sustainable living in Sussex”
Students calling for action against climate change will have access to an App that will help them in the fight to deliver a lower carbon future in the UK.
The App is being developed by Solar Options for Schools, which won funding this week (4 November 2020) from UK Innovate in the latest round of the £10 million Sustainable Innovation Fund. The fund is intended to help the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.
The Solar for Schools App will deliver an innovative interactive App, which will enable secondary students to learn about energy, electricity, and climate. It will offer learning to all students, irrespective of their social-economic status, being accessible on both android and apple phones. Read more
For our Horsham Future Forum (HFF) meeting on the 29th of September, we were joined by Tom Bragg, from Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Open Eco Homes, to explain to us how the Green Homes grant works. The purpose of his talk was to go through the details of these grants to help people understand how to apply for them. Tom was also joined by Soren from Warmer Sussex, to provide his insight to people (learn more about Warmer Sussex and listen to Soren’s podcast here)
He started off with a poll asking the participants of the HFF about their intentions about applying for the grant, and what they might want to install. Only 28% of participants said Yes or Probably, with a much higher percentage, 68%, responding with a maybe, so hopefully the clarifications provided through Tom’s talk has encouraged people to apply. The installation that was the most popular was low carbon heating (such as heat pump or solar thermal) at 88%, followed by insulation (48%), draught proofing (28%) and windows and doors (20%). As this was a multiple option question, some people might have chosen more than one option.
Our Horsham Climate Cafe on 5th September was an inspiring and informative talk about Wildlife Friendly Gardening. Every green space is critical for our wildlife, even your garden, as all our UK gardens form more space than all the UK nature reserves!
Carrie the founder of Sussex Green Living opened the event with a reminder that we humans are not at the top of a wildlife pyramid but are simply part of the web of all life. All the living things in an ecosystem depend on all the other things – living and non-living for continued survival – for food supplies and other needs. Humans, animals and plants depend on a complex system of food for survival. Stressing the importance of using bug hotels, bird boxes and bat boxes in our gardens, but be aware that bats need about 1,000 mosquito type insects per hour, so a pond is almost essential!
Joanne Knowles was our second speaker who is passionate about encouraging us all to seek out peat -free compost. Read more
How did it start?
Sarah Renfrey set up Fare Divide in 2018 with a vision to save perishable foodstuff from landfill by setting up community fridges in West Sussex to encourage healthier communities by forging partnerships with local food suppliers and make surplus food available to all without judgement or stigma.
What is Fare Divide?
- Over the last 10 years the UK has made some good progress reducing the carbon emissions associated with the generation of electricity. However – over the same timeframe – very little progress has been in reducing the emissions associated with heating our homes (ie “space heating” the heating of our home spaces). This is mostly due to our reliance on gas boilers in the home.
- There are a number of options that can reduce the emissions related to space heating, not least improvements in home insulation (reducing wasted heat that “leaks” out of your home). But which insulation – wall, floor or roof ? And when you have optimised the insulation, which non-gas technology should you consider – solar, heat pumps (air source or ground source), or is there something new just around the corner ?
- Warmer Sussex offer impartial advice (via a Retrofit Coordinator) to give you a plan/road map to reducing the emissions related to the space heating of your home. You will receive a bespoke Whole House Plan which looks at what has been done before, and what can be improved now. The Retrofit Coordinator considers the property, the clients budget, and any future plans they have (eg updating kitchen) when developing the strategy for the property. The insulation and ventilation will be considered first before starting to tackle heating/renewable.
On Saturday 4th July the Horsham Climate Cafe session focused on life celebrations, and how to make them more pocket and planet-friendly. Christenings, weddings, anniversaries and funerals needn’t cost the Earth, in more than one way! Presented by Jeanie Francis, a Billingshurst-based OneSpirit Interfaith minister/celebrant who over the last 25 years has developed a passion for creating personal, environmentally friendly special occasions that celebrate milestones in life.
Whether you are planning a celebration of new life or loosing a loved one, with a little thinking ‘out-side the box’ (excuse the pun) a personal and unique occasion, honouring a specific religion, mixed religion or no religion can be planned.
This is what one couple said recently about their son’s baby naming ceremony: “With a deep love of nature but with no particular religious faith we felt unsure how to celebrate the arrival of our son, Adam. With Jean’s imaginative guidance we created a beautiful ceremony which took place in our cottage garden beneath the willow tree. Everyone wrote wishes for Adam on cotton flags and tied them to the willow tree. Jean suggested we ask special friends to be guardians to Adam for Male Youth, Wisdom, Creativity and Spirituality. A day full of truly wonderful memories thank you Jean”. Read more
86% of the UK are consciously trying to be sustainable
A new report by Wren Kitchens has revealed the amount of energy used by kitchen appliances based on the average usage time and how much power they consume.
86% of the UK are now are consciously trying to be sustainable according to a new report by Wren Kitchens1.
Recycling, reusing, and repurposing have now become an everyday occurrence in the UK as households try and do ‘their bit’ for climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.
However, with energy use for household appliances tripling within the past 40 years2 just how much money and energy could we save by changing to a greener solution?
The new report has revealed that the kitchen is the most likely culprit for carbon and energy usage, due to the amount of appliances the room hosts whilst detailing tips on how to save energy and money. Read more
Since we entered lockdown, community has become important to many of us in a way it was not before. The way we relate to one another has changed and, although physical contact outside the home is impossible, many of us are enjoying a greater sense of connectedness within our neighbourhoods than ever. In Horsham District, and all over the country, people are getting to know and support those who live around them. Whether this is as part of volunteer schemes providing vulnerable people with essential shopping, phone calls offering emotional support, or simply the weekly clap for carers, the networks forged between local residents during this time are vital and valuable.
As we adapt to the current situation, it is important that we also look forward to how we rebuild our lives in the post-covid era and we are conscious that this will not, and should not, mean returning to ‘normal’. The social connectedness that has risen ironically from a time of ‘social distancing’ is something worth maintaining, particularly as many will need support as they continue to isolate long after general restrictions are relaxed. Read more
On Saturday 18th April, Horsham Climate Cafe met for its fourth virtual meeting since lockdown began. One of the benefits of moving online during the COVID19 pandemic is the number of people able to join from further afield as we had environmentalists calling in from as far away as Ireland. With self-isolation set to continue and the weather still in our favour, the discussion focused around ‘grow your own’ as a money-and-planet-saving way to stay connected to nature during this time.
Saturday 4th April the Horsham Climate Cafe will pop up as a virtual one hour event for the second week in a row. It will be running using a free Zoom video call every Saturday at 2pm during the Covid19 crisis and until further notice.
This Saturday there will be an opportunity for people to connect and chat informally around concerns, insights with ideas for using materials around you, saving money and helping the planet. Fiona Hamilton who runs Earthkind a plastic free food refills service which pops up at the Horsham Repair Cafe, will be providing lots of money saving ideas around frugal and zero waste living, see below. She is happy to receive questions ahead of Saturday or on the day. Forward questions to ahead of Saturday.
Helen Whittington will talk about the new Horsham Repair Cafe cleaning and personal product bottle refill service she is offering during lockdown, as seen here https://www.horsham-refill.com. Carrie Cort, founder of Sussex Green Living will talk about a saving money through switching energy providers. Since running the Horsham Repair Cafe she has helped lots of people switch using https://bigcleanswitch.org/sussexgreen/, everyone has saved between £90 and £366 a year.
Enjoy Fiona’s ideas for saving money and living a more sustainable life here: Read more
Did you know the second most polluting industry is the fast fashion industry? Learn more about the problems in this blog ‘Are your clothes really causing climate change? We are delighted to announce a local solution….in partnership with our friends at One World Living and our great volunteers, we are running a pre-loved clothes sale otherwise known as a kilo sale! It is on Saturday 9th November 12-4pm at Greenway Academy, Greenway, Horsham, RH12 2JS, at the end of Green GB Week. We will be selling quality pre-loved clothes for a bargin £10 per kilo (normally kilo sales charge £15 a kilo).
To give you an idea of what you will get for one kilo….. a pair of man’s denim jeans will be about 1.5 and 2 kg and woman’s clothing 1 kg will be about 1 pair of denim jeans or about 6 T-shirts. Thanks to the PTA at Greenway Academy there will be drinks and homemade cakes for sale, so come for the afternoon. There will be a separate areas for children, ladies and men’s clothes.
Proceeds from this sale will help us deliver FREE climate education in local schools, learn more here, also deprived children and families Romania and Uganda. Plus helping the planet and your pocket! Read more
Horsham District was bombarded with environmental art and activity on Saturday 6th July. Volunteers from the Horsham Repair Café and Sussex Green Living, an environmental awareness and educational network, provided a dazzling array of ‘environmentally friendly’ stalls at their second Share, Care and Repair Fair, this year within Horsham Market. It was part of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019 and Horsham Festival.
In the run up to this unique Fair nineteen locations – shops, salons, sports centre, Horsham library and the Carfax bandstand, had surprize eco ocean art installed with environmental messages, plus a display at the Fair. This Community Eco Ocean Art project, sponsored by Biffa, was the brainchild of the founder of Sussex Green Living Carrie Cort. Carrie said “People are so worried about plastic pollution and the plight of the planet, I thought this would be fun for anyone of any age to get creative around communicating the problems and solutions”. She continued “Their art had to be made of unwanted materials or acrylic wool. Acrylic wool is a problem because it is synthetic, plastics, which means it will take decades to completely break down”.
Pam Tedder one of the Horsham Repair Café volunteers co-ordinated the yarn or ocean bombing of the Carfax bandstand. Read more
What do we mean by ‘clean energy’?
Power stations, wind turbines and solar farms all feed their energy into the Grid, like rivers running into a big pond. When you switch to clean energy, your supplier guarantees that however much electricity you take out of the ‘pond’, the same amount of clean energy will be put in. The more people who switch to clean tariffs, the more renewable energy that goes into the pond. This means that the energy sector is producing less pollution and carbon which is crucial if we are to reduce global warming and climate change.
Approximately 30% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewable sources.
Under new laws, Britain’s biggest energy companies will have to buy renewable energy from their own customers, for example, homeowners who install new rooftop solar panels from 1 January 2020 will be able to lower their bills by selling the energy they do not need to their supplier. Read more