Will rising CO2 be the next passive smoking?

We already know that rising levels of carbon dioxide from global warming are bad for the planet. They are ruining the climate, causing floods raising sea levels, and making fertile areas uninhabitable. But are they already starting to kill us individually?

Before global warming, the average level of CO2 in the atmosphere fluctuated around 280 ppm (parts per million). Now it hovers around 410 ppm; by the end of the century it could be around 670 ppm or even higher.

The human body can sustain low levels of CO2 in the atmosphere we’ve adapted to it. High levels are normally only a problem for people like building workers, astronauts and captains of nuclear submarines. Research shows that there is no question that the sorts of levels these people can meet will do you serious harm, but most of the work is concentrated around very high CO2 concentrations at thousands of ppm, with very short exposure times, both for obvious reasons.

But as CO2 levels rise, what happens to all of us as we breathe in steadily rising levels day in day out, without a break? Especially in places like offices, where it tends to become more concentrated. Read more

Horsham Eco Churches Connect to Nature

Horsham Eco Churches

Horsham Eco Churches was set up by Silver Eco Church Award winning St Mark’s Church and Brighton Road Baptist Church through Horsham Churches Together (HCT). We encourage and inspire other churches on their Eco Church journey, and seven other HCT Churches have already registered with A Rocha UK’s Eco Church award scheme.

Covid-19 marks a threshold to a very different future, Horsham Eco Churches continue to work in partnership with local sustainability groups, promoting local initiatives and raising the profile of environmental issues in our congregations and community. Many are living in fear, but churches and community groups can help people find out what they can do and together we can make a difference, caring for each other and God’s wonderful world.

Read Horsham Eco Churches News.

Dr William Bird GP, on BBC Breakfast on 24th October, talked about how the current COVID-19 restrictions affect how people are feeling, he advised: “Ration your news, don’t listen to the news all the time.” With 24-hour news, social media and news notifications we can easily be bombarded with too much news. To help us get through the winter his advice also included: get day light, connect to nature, exercise every day, eat fruit and vegetables, connect with people, look up old friends, get new hobbies, learn new things, help others and be thankful. If you are struggling in any way please reach out to friends, family, your GP, Foodbank, church and others for support.

In this blog written for Sussex Green Living we explore some ways you can connect to nature, have fun, help wildlife, yourself, and other people. Read more

Fiona Harvey Tells us How far we’ve come

Fiona Harvey tells us how far we’ve come.
It’s all too easy for campaigners on a big issue to tire, and start to despair. You must know what we mean. You spend years leafleting, going to meetings, arguing with the most obdurate people you’ve ever met, ringing up radio phone-ins….and all the while juggling work, family, shopping and even finding a bit of me time. Then along comes Donald Trump and pulls the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. But don’t give up-really.
Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent for The Guardian can tell you why. Her article in the Guardian is a heartening summary of big wins for the good guys. Remember the Ozone Hole? It’s shrinking. Acid Rain? With certain exceptions, it’s no longer falling. And Lead in petrol? You’d have to be well into your forties even to remember that now. Actually we think that was one of the worst ever, and we will be coming back to it quite soon.

But for now gentle reader, sit down, and award yourself a well- earned cup of tea and a couple of biscuits (it’s afternoon as we write this). This is no time for complacency, as the after-dinner speakers say. The battle over climate change is far from won. Read Fiona’s piece here, and think what people in the past achieved. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

This Environmental Protection Network report (22nd April 2020) about Trump’s environment record – real life impacts on Public Health and the Environment April 22, 2020 also makes an interesting read. Read more

Confronting stories of despair

“Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind.”  Everyone who has worked on climate change, trying to nudge, to persuade and to inform has run up against that refrain in some form or another many times. Puzzled progressive scratch their heads. “Wasn’t there supposed to have been something called the Enlightenment? Weren’t facts and reason supposed to have won the day?”  But our facts bounce off like shells on strong armour. Our discoveries are dismissed as Fake News. And our reason is labelled conspiracy.  At least they think we’re clever.

As the sea levels rise and humanity divides itself into ever more hostile warring tribes, our side needs to cut through even more urgently.  Why don’t people understand? Why do they love the siren songs from the other side?  Such questions are no longer academic.

One man thinks he has some of the answer. Paul Hannam is a successful academic, businessman, best-selling author and psychologist. He specialises in teams and leadership. He sees the telling and reification of stories as essential to the way that humans see both themselves and the world. For Paul a story is like a deep psychological paradigm by which we perceive, interpret and act on the data which impinges on us at all times. And you won’t change anything unless you change that story. Read more

Food and community resilience

On Tuesday the 15th of September, we had a very interesting talk from Adam Stark from The Food Resilience Project in Cootham. Adam teaches religion and philosophy at the Weald School, and is a self-published writer as well as an environmental campaigner, along a list of other accomplishments. The evening started with a movie trailer shown by Carrie Cort, called “The Need To Grow”, a stark environmental documentary film emphasising that “we need to stop playing games and start saving the planet” because to “not take care of our planet [is] no longer an option”. With that setting the stage for the importance and difficulty of maintaining our food systems in the face of the global and climatic changes we are seeing, we moved into hearing about Adam’s initiative. Read more

Guildford Community Hub unites community

On Tuesday evening our Horsham Future Forum were inspired by a presentation about the new Guildford Community Hub which it is in the early stages of development. It consists of 12 different local organisations working together, their aim: education and engaging the wider population to drive behavioural change, and thereby try to reduce consumption emissions. Presented by Ben McCallan.

The Guildford Community Hub is built on a model called Space Generators, which has been operating for about 30 years. Space Generators focus on arts environmental community and sustainability projects / events using their network built up since 1992, when their campaign for the reuse of empty space began after the Rio Earth Summit. They tailor events or create a variety of modules to match vacant space in the interim period before development. Helping to provide space for local community use.

Currently there are Community Hubs being formed in Staines, Farnham, Elmbridge and two in Scotland. Could we develop a community hub in Horsham?

Read more

Learn about Horsham’s eco churches

On Tuesday 7th July 2020 our Horsham Future Forum meeting talk was presented by Rosemary Couchman and Karen Park from Horsham Churches Together – focusing on eco churches.

There are 32 churches in Horsham Churches Together representing Christian denominations in Horsham and the surrounding villages. Horsham Churches Together looks to witness together, work together and influence together, and, in this way, desire to be an influence for good in the community. At present, church services continue to be live-streamed, some buildings are open for private prayer, and others for services. The church is more than the building and there are Christians everywhere making a difference at this time.

The A Rocha UK Eco Church Scheme has been adopted by a number of churches in Horsham Churches Together and we are delighted to have churches who have achieved the Bronze and Silver Awards, and are now going for the Gold Award. The actions and achievements impact on the churches and congregations, the wider communities they serve, and God’s planet. The slides from Karen’s presentation are attached and we would be very happy to answer any further questions – just email . Read more

29% of Horsham’s green space could be lost

HELP KEEP ROOKWOOD GREEN PLEASE!

On Tuesday 16th June our weekly Horsham Future Forum and Youth Eco Forum attendees listened to an excellent talk by Peter Simpson, Trustee of the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve and Sally Sanderson, Chair of Friends of Horsham Park. Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve, Friends of Horsham Park and the Horsham Society have formed Keep Rookwood Green Alliance and are campaigning to retain Rookwood Golf Course as a public green space.

Those of us on this week’s Zoom call were shocked to learn of the ecological damage and the 29% loss of Horsham’s large green space that will occur if 1,100 houses are built on Rookwood Golf Course. The decision will be finalised before August and there is a short window of opportunity in which we can influence Horsham District Councillors. The more of us that make our views known known, the greater the chance that we will be heard and that we can Keep Rookwood Green!

Here are some ways that you can get involved: Read more

Help campaign for more cycling lanes

Old Shoreham Road in Hove installed in May

On Tuesday 9th June the Sussex Green Living hosted weekly Horsham Future Forum and Youth Eco Forum listened to an excellent talk by Francis Vernon the chair of Horsham District Cycling forum. They are working hard to encourage Horsham District Council to install pop-up cycling lanes in Horsham town.

Message from Horsham District Cycling Forum

We’ve seen them going in across the country and now Horsham is finally getting its own pop-up cycle lanes along a section of Albion Way.

With the ongoing need to maintain social distancing as we ease out of lockdown, taking measures to enable active travel will be crucial in allowing people to get around safely. Read more

Horsham to get ‘pop-up’ cycle lanes along Albion Way

Message from Horsham District Cycling Forum

Last month the Government called on councils to make swift and significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians so as to enable socially distanced active travel.

West Sussex County Council has responded with seven schemes across the county, including the plan to cone off one lane of Horsham’s Albion Way in each direction from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose to the Bishopric to make it safer for people to cycle and walk to the supermarkets and the town.

For an example of what this could look like I attach a picture of a ‘pop-up’ cycle lane on Kingston Bridge over the Thames.

Although initially only along a short length of road, the Cycling Forum supports this plan since it will help local people walk and cycle more safely whilst maintaining social distancing – particularly along the busy stretch of road between the Bishopric and Waitrose where many people walk. This will be good for key workers getting to work, for children on their way to school (once they’re back!), and for people going to the shops. Read more