Honiton making the Transition…

The first Honiton Transition Town meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 28th September at Montgomery’s on the High Street (next to Ganesha Health Food Shop). We will have representatives from other local transition towns and hopefully a bunch of interested, enthusiastic local people.

We will be discussing the possibility of starting our own transition group and the way forward. I will be chairing the meeting and representing the town council, who agreed to support such an initiative earlier this year. Please add a comment below if you are able to attend, so we have an idea of how many people are coming and most importantly please pass on a link to this page to anyone who you thing might be interested. Montgomery’s is very kindly giving us this meeting space free of charge, so it would be nice if everyone bought a drink or two in order to support this local business which is kindly supporting us by promoting the use of local companies like this Commercial waste services !

A Transition Initiative (which could be a town, village, university or island etc) is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction, while the businesses also need to learn when to file the 1099 MISC form for taxes. For more info on the transition network, see www.transitionnetwork.org

Stop Mattel destroying rainforests for toy packaging

Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestationHeard the news? Ken has dumped Barbie! He’s discovered that his long time lover is destroying Indonesia’s forests for those pretty pink boxes she likes to wrap herself in. You can’t blame Ken. As you can see in the , he’s just seen the results of the latest Greenpeace investigation which shows how Barbie is threatening the future of endangered species and the stability of our climate. The paper used in Barbie boxes – like palm oil which Greenpeace has campaigned about in the past – comes straight from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to rapidly vanishing creatures such as orang-utans, and Sumatran tigers (pictured below) and elephants.

Sumatran tiger (c) FotosearchOk, maybe it isn’t all Barbie’s fault. Mattel, the company behind the malevolent mannequin, is the one responsible and this new global investigation has uncovered the links between Mattel and our old friends, the notorious Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Which is why activists dressed as Ken have scaled Mattel’s headquarters in Los Angeles, while back in the UK Greenpeace has helped spread the word about Ken’s announcement with a guerrilla advertising campaign launched in Piccadilly Circus and with adverts on bus stops and tube lines.

By analysing the fibres in Barbie packaging and digging into the commercial links between various companies, Greenpeace has been able to link the carbon-rich forests and peatlands of Indonesia with the packaging of Make A Fort toys on sale in shops around the world. The trail leads directly from Mattel to APP and its suppliers in a chain of destruction that spans the globe.

And it’s not just Mattel; catch up with how Greenpeace has exposed Hasbro, Disney and Lego for also using paper fibre from Indonesia’s rainforests here.

South West Greens Cookbook

Calling all masterchefs out there!! I’m compiling a cookbook/recipe book for the green party here in the south west. It’s a bit of fun, as we all know us greens like our nosh and lots of us are culinary whizzkids behind that kitchen door. We can also raise a few quid from it too if we all chip in and make it happen. We can split the profits between the regional committee (funds for the European Elections in 2014) and your own local parties. Hope you can help, it’s really quite simple, all you do is…

Think of your favourite recipe, perhaps an old favourite, something you (or a friend/relative has) invented or a delicious recipe passed down through the family. (Please do not copy from a cookbook as we could be in all sorts of trouble with copyright!)

Email me the recipe to sdpavey@googlemail.com as a word document.

Please make sure you include:

Your name

Your local green party in the south west

Add a few lines about the recipe – where it came from, why you enjoy it, how it’s best served etc. Any funny anecdotes are great too. Recipes from around the world would be great.

Title of recipe

Ingredients list

Instructions

Optional – photo of you making it, or you and your family eating it.

There you go, easy as pie. If you have a favourite local veggie/vegan cafe or eatery you can recommend, please email me their details as we will be looking for sponsorship for the cookbooks.

Sharon Pavey – Coordinator for the east devon greens & south west regional fundraiser

Click here for the south west green party site

Age of Stupid – A must watch film !

A very good friend of mine (who runs a climate change group up in Wiltshire) recommended I watch the film Age of Stupid, so I did…..and recommend you watch it too. You can very easily download it on this website http://www.ageofstupid.net

The Age of Stupid is a 2008 film by Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out) and first-time producer Lizzie Gillett. It is a co-production between Franny’s company Spanner Films and Executive Producer John Battsek‘s (One Day In September) company Passion Pictures.

Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

The production was notable for its innovative way crowd-funding financing model, as well as the Indie Screenings distribution system which allows anyone anywhere to screen the film. The full story of the production of the film is told in the 50-minute Making Of documentary which is free to watch online and also available on the double-pack DVD.

The film was released in 2009 and became one of the most talked-about films of the year. It also spawned the hugely-successful 10:10 campaign.

I watched it about a week ago and it’s still churning round in my head. You could get pretty depressed watching it if you didn’t have anything positive to channel yourself into – luckily I have as we’ve just set up a Green Party in our local area of East Devon and I’m standing as a candidate for the Green Party at the next General Election in May 2010.

Luppitt Renewable Energy Meeting

There’s a bit of a hoo-haa going on up in the hills above Honiton in Devon. The chairman of Luppitt Parish Council, local landowner Gavin Brake wants to install a wind turbine and not all the locals are happy! There is a public meeting taking place next week (details on the left) which I’m hoping to attend – to represent the newly formed East Devon Green Party. I also lived in the parish of Luppitt for a little while until last summer, and several of my daughter’s friends live up there – as it’s in the catchment area for her school (Upottery). Although I no longer live in Luppitt, I still live in the beautiful Blackdown Hills so find this whole issue very interesting. This is a photo (below) I took of the stunning landscape when we lived up on Dumpdon Hill – near the National Trust and Devon Wildlife Trust protected areas.

So I’ve heard that a few of the locals are unhappy about the plans in an AONB area. Luppitt is nestled in The Blackdown Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This landscape is considered so precious that it has been protected for the nation. The criteria for designating an AONB include valuable wildlife, habitats, geology and heritage, as well as scenic views. There are 40 AONB’s in England and Wales. AONB’s have existed since 1949, although the Blackdown Hills was designated relatively recently, in 1991.

The Midweek Herald reported the story on 28th January saying that energy expert Mark Newton believes ” Every farm in the UK will have a wind turbine in five years’ time. With 75% of the UK’s land in the agricultural sector, on-farm wind power can represent a significant business opportunity for farmers and landowners, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.”

Mr Brake says  “I have managed to reduce my fuel oil consumption by nearly 50% and I hope to remove this completely in due course.My next steps will allow me to generate my own green electricity.  I am planning to intall solar photovoltaic panels and I would also like to install one of two small wind turbines in a field behind my farmhouse.

Mr Brake explains “Nearly all of the houses in Luppitt are down in a deep valley, so small wind turbines won’t work there. I am one of a small number of people with properties in our community situated on the flat, upland plateeu where the wind is strong and constant. I feel somewhat guilty that I have not put up a small wind turbine already.”

You can read the full Midweek Herald article here.

Axminster Today/Pullman’s Weekly News also report the story (see article) explaining that “A campaign group called Save our Skyline (SOS) has been set up and so far 14 people have joined the group.”

Please add your comments below – do you live in the Blackdown Hills? What do you think about proposals for wind turbines in AONB’s ?

What is 10:10?

10:10 is an ambitious project to unite every sector of British society behind one simple idea: that by working together we can achieve a 10% cut in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of a huge problem like climate change, but by uniting everyone around immediate, effective and achievable action, 10:10 enables us all to make a meaningful difference. The plan is simple: we work together to cut our carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. 10:10 is an idea whose time has come. Sign up on the 10:10 website www.1010uk.org

I’ve just signed up now and got a few tips to get started:

1 Fly less, holiday morenot a problem for my family as no plans to go abroad this year. I have been known to fly up from Devon/London to relatives in the north east but if I need to visit relatives in 2010 – I’ll get the train instead.
plane
2 Save 10% on heating – Turn down your thermostat we don’t have one! turn off radiators in hallways will do and more jumpers all round got Granny on the case knitting them for all of us!. Then apply for a grant to insulate your loft & walls will need to look into this Use your bill to see whether you cut 10% in 2010 and tick if you succeeded can do Don’t use gas or oil? we live in the middle of nowhere so use oil to heat our water & central heating.
home-solar-panels1
3 Save 10% on electricity – Save big cash by changing lightbulbs, replacing old fridges & freezers ours is not too old and always turning stuff off getting better at this now! Use your bill to compare 2009 usage to 2010. Produce your own electricity from solar or wind? Can’t afford solar or wind!?
bikes_Groningen4 Drive less – Leave your car at home one day a week. Walk, cycle or take public transport. Join a car-club rather than owning your own and share your ride to work with a colleague or two. Difficult as we live miles form the nearest town, with no access to public transport – but we are shopping at the local farm shop now rather than always going to town and I do cycle the 8 miles into town when I can. We also have a small economical diesel car.
farm shop
5 Eat better – Local, in-season fruit & veg produce the least emissions – and the less processed the better. Have one meat-free day per week – but don’t replace with just-as-bad cheese. Three of our 4 person family are vegetarian – the 4th eats meat occasionally. We are striving to eat locally produced in-season fruits and veg.
6 Buy good stuff – Less stuff made = less emissions = less climate damage. So buy high-quality things that last, repair broken stuff rather than chucking, buy & sell second-hand and borrow your neighbour’s mower. We are all coming round to this as a family, personally I love retro & antique things so it could be fun rather than a bind.
recycling-2
7 Dump less – Avoid excess packaging trying to and buying pointless stuff that goes straight in the bin, recycle everything possible we are improving every week and compost your food waste our chickens eat our scraps
8 Don’t waste food…The average British family throws away £50 worth of food every month. So don’t buy or cook more than you need and eat up those tasty leftovers. Chickens eat ours or it’s our lunch next day
9 … or water – Your tap water uses lots of energy – and then heating it in your home uses loads more – so take showers rather than baths, be careful when watering plants and only run full dishwashers & washing machines.
10 Feel happier – It’s Dec 2010… you’re healthier for walking & cycling, you’ve made new friends from swapping stuff & car-pooling, you’ve saved a big chunk of cash… and you know that you’re part of the global effort to prevent castastrophic climate change… Tick the box?

One in nine of us…

One in nine women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their life. It is the most common cancer in the UK, with nearly 46,000 cases every year.

That’s 125 people diagnosed every day. If this wasn’t shocking enough, the numbers continue to rise every year. But are governments in a state of denial about the environmental causes of this devastating disease?

Hratche Koundarjian, from Breast Cancer UK (BCUK), urges Green Party members to help in the fight against the causes of environmental cancer. Read more here.

Green Issues of the Week

Here’s some green issues I’ve come across this past week which I thought might be useful to pass on. Please add comments at the end if you’ve found the links of interest, I’d love to hear from you and see what you think.

1. New UK Offshore wind farm licences are announced – see BBC news article from 8th January 2010 here.

2. The UK suffered its coldest night of the winter so far with temperatures plummeting to -22.3C (-8.1F) in a village in Sutherland in the Highlands on Thursday 7th January 2010.

3. Britain’s widlife was in crisis this week according to a BBC article. Mark Avery, the RSPB’s conservation director said “With the icy weather predicted to last at least another week, this winter could be the single greatest wildlife killer of the new millennium.”