Crystal glass and bees

It’s Crystal Clear…We have a water crisis (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Crystal glass and bees

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.

Read more

Beach clean feature

Beach clean & Art to highlight plastic waste in Eastbourne

Beach CleanNCS (National Citizens Service) Eastbourne is a volunteer youth group. They are currently running a social action project to raise awareness for Plastic Free Eastbourne which helps raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution and encourages people to reduce plastic waste.

Read more

Youth eco forum

Youth in Action (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Youth eco forumLast month marks 2 years since the launch of our Youth Eco Forum (YEF), a group of young environmentalists that meet to discuss their concerns about the environment, share solutions and plan events.

“Whilst it’s true that you can only do so much alone, by coming together, we can find ways to reduce the human impact on climate change and make a positive difference.” says founder member Catherine Sleeman. “The idea was to bring us together and give us space to speak about issues important to us and operate independently.”

The forum was initially set up as a fortnightly Zoom meeting during lockdown and is an easy way for young people from across a wide area of Horsham District and beyond to meet.

Read more

Katie at Refills

Play with Plastic Free July (First Published in West Sussex County Times)

Katie at Refills

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.

Read more

Why the UK Energy Price Hikes & Energy Shortages?

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

Climate & Ecology Bill

Climate Change hits Sussex as UK Declares First Red Extreme Heat Warning

Climate and Ecology BillSoaring 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.

Read more

Rainforest

The Importance of Rainforests (First Published in West Sussex County Times)

RainforestI 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.

Read more

Rudgewick Recycling bins

Go Greener Rudgwick Recycling by Fiona Sodha (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Rudgewick Recycling binsGo Greener Rudgwick (GGR) is a group of local volunteers who meet regularly to sort single use plastics that can’t be recycled at home, but can be left in the Rudgwick Youth Centre recycling bins. We work in conjunction with Sussex Green Living in Horsham to sort and box items to be sent to Terracycle, a recycling company, to make into new products.

The plastics collected include crisp & biscuit wrappers, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, packaging & floss containers, biros & felt pens, household cleaning items such as marigold gloves, trigger heads, dishwasher flexible packaging, personal care & beauty products such as deodorants and empty foundation tubes, plant pots & trays, cheese wrappers and milk bottle tops.

Read more

Green Library

We Need Worms …and Book Worms by Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Green Library

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?

Read more

Swifts

Swift Action Needed: Citizen Science for Horsham Swift Box Project (first published in West Sussex County Times)

SwiftsSwifts have been thriving for about 70 million years, when they would have been nesting in crevices in rocks and trees alongside the last of the Tyrannosaurs. But despite millions of years, something has now gone dramatically wrong, and UK numbers have plummeted in the last 25 years.

These extraordinary birds can remain in the air for three whole years because everything else apart from nesting is done on the wing.  Only when they reach maturity and start to build will they touch anything solid.

No other bird can fly faster in level flight. They eat insects, drink raindrops or water from a lake, even mating and sleeping on the wing, up near Earth’s stratosphere.  Their huge eyes are surrounded by bristles that act as sun visors and their feet are incredibly strong and so needle-sharp and tiny that they are unable to hop or walk, so they fly directly into the holes, cling to walls or slip into spaces where they can easily drop back out again.

Read more

refill

Refill is the new Recycle

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a greenie, I recycle after all! However, last month I took part in The Big Plastic Count organised by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic. The aim was to count my plastic packaging waste over the course of a week and record it as part of a nationwide study to understand how much plastic waste we are creating in the UK. 

We already know that we’re using too much plastic. The UK produces more plastic packaging per person than almost any other country in the world – only the US is worse. And if things carry on as they are, the amount of plastic waste produced around the world is set to double by 2040.

So could the answer to our plastic problems be refill?

 

Read more

Eco Float

World Environment Day (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Eco Float2022 marks 50 years since the conference which led to the designation of 5th June as World Environment Day. ‘Only One Earth’ was the motto for the 1972 Stockholm Conference and half a century later, do we doubt that this planet is our only home, whose finite resources are running out?

World Environment Day 2022 will be held again with this same theme, ‘Only One Earth’, to highlight again the need to live sustainably in harmony with our ecology by bringing transformative changes through policies and our own choices, moving towards lifestyles more in line with the natural cycles of Nature.

Read more

Sheep

The Wool Revival (first published in West Sussex County Times)

SheepDon’t we all love to see spring lambs in wildflower meadows, and sheep in green fields?

In total contrast, who wants to see a factory producing acrylic?  A synthetic produced mainly in India and China, it’s made from chemicals so dangerous that special regulations have had to be made to prevent explosions at the factories manufacturing it.

Acrylic seems to have replaced real wool in much of our clothing.  However it is not biodegradeable so minute harmful particles of it are becoming increasingly present in our oceans, in foodstuffs and in human and animal bodies. There is now even some suspicion that there may be carcinogenic risks associated with wearing acrylic next to our skin.

Read more

Billingshurst Dairy

The Green Thing (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Billingshurst Dairy

Image Credit: Billingshurst Dairy

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she could bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”  She was right in that my generation didn’t have ‘the green thing’.

Back then, we returned glass milk, lemonade and beer bottles to the shop, and were sometimes given a few pence in return. The shop sent them all back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so the same bottles were used over and over again.

Read more

Lily's cottage stall

For all our sakes – Stop using Peat (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Peat-free Compost

No doubt you have heard that for a healthy planet, we should use peat-free compost, but do you know why, or what exactly is peat?

Peat is soil made up of organic matter that has only partially rotted down. The lack of oxygen and the acidic nature of waterlogged peat bogs prevent bacteria and fungi from breaking down the dead plant material.  It is formed over millions of years, at a rate of only 1mm thickness per year, but we are currently extracting it at a rate much, much faster than that!  By ‘mining’ peat we are both damaging the ecology and adding to climate change.

Read more

Eco Aware Earth Day (first published in West Sussex County Times)

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

WSCC Billingshurst Recycling Centre

We are delighted to report that a second reuse shop has opened in Billingshurst. The first being Horsham *

Background

Biffa have a opened a small Reuse shop at the Billingshurst Recycling Centre to save bric a brac, homeware, bikes (sold as seen) and furniture, including garden furniture, from going to waste. Items can be donated at this site as well as there being a shop outlet for patrons to purchase items which have been donated.

The goal is to take items that could potentially go to waste and give them a new lease of life at affordable prices, reducing the amount of household goods that end up wasted whilst allowing people to buy affordable, good quality furniture, garden items and homeware without getting into debt.

This venture has been soft launched by Biffa and has not been actively promoted to residents at this stage. Read more

Conserving the Coastline for People and Nature (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Photo by Christine Hartley

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

Fashion to Die For ! (first published in West Sussex County Times)

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

10 years of Sussex Green Living

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 […]

Help Sussex Green Living with ‘free money’! (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Smarter fashion lesson

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