Experience Education Employment Environment by Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Keith Colin at Sompting

Earlier this month I had the great pleasure of being shown around two of the four sites managed by Keith and Liane who, along with a great team of trustees run the charity Sustainable Sussex.

Volunteer Fiona, who lives in a flat 20 minute’s bike ride away, told me, “I’ve been helping for two years now.  It was a real lifesaver during lockdown!”

The small area (it’s less than one acre) is rich in birdsong – all the more noticeable as there is little or no traffic noise.  The scent of elderflower blossoms fills the air as swallows swoop low over the small fields. Read more

Lets visualise Horsham in 2030 together

At our next Sussex Green Ideas online meeting, on July 21st at 7.00pm, we will be useing two books to help identify what Horsham District groups could usefully build now – and by 2030.

Chris Goodall – “What do we need to do now?” (discussed at Steyning Green Books 6/5/21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrxFSLl9tsw). Chris explained a number of uncomfortable truths relating to food and agriculture (one quarter of the world’s emissions), travel, domestic buildings and clothing (fast fashion)

He then identified what local groups could do, focusing also on working together and making lives better. We have chosen to focus on food, agriculture and clothing in our meeting*.

In the first part, we will look at his suggestions for:

Food and agriculture – He suggested The Kindling Trust as a model of community horticulture.

Clothing. He suggested The Clothing Warehouse Ltd as a model for recycling clothes (and household textiles). And initiatives that improve sewing skills (like our Horsham Repair Cafe) and use alternatives to cotton. We are going to be joined by Karrie Mellor one of our trustees and the founder of Bags of Support, a West Sussex textile recycling initiative run for social and environmental purpose. Read more

Gardening to save the planet by Kia Trainor CPRE Sussex Director (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Female Orange tip

Dave Goulson is Professor of Biology at the University of Brighton. His books, include ‘The Garden Jungle’ and ‘Gardening for Bumblebees’.

At a recent talk, he explained that we need insects to pollinate our food crops.  In the UK some growers are now employing people to hand-pollinate their plants, because insect numbers have declined so dramatically.

We can help here though. The area of gardens across England is over 4.5 times that of national nature reserves, so by gardening for nature together we can make a difference.

As part of the CPRE Sussex ‘Festival of Spring’, Prof Goulson explained how we can garden to save the planet: Read more

Why we need to talk about homes after gas – through a Horsham eco open house trial

Click to view presentation

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

Garden Veg

How does your garden grow by Sally Marshall (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Child in Tree

Forest School: freedom and Fantasy by Terri Meadus (first published in West Sussex County Times)

1st public Bright New Future Roadshow on World Environment Day

PRESS RELEASE: What does a 1974 milk float, 7 tonne lorry, a group of inspiring environmentalists and World Environment Day 5th June have in common? They are all part of the Bright New […]

shopping hierarchy

What’s your next strategy for sustainable shopping? by Oisin Collishe (first published in West Sussex County Times)

 

shopping hierarchyWhat’s your next strategy for sustainable shopping? Find out…

by Oisin Collishe

With the shops re-opening now, can we use this moment to briefly pause and ask ourselves if we need to rush out to buy stuff which we might use for a season then discard?

USEFUL QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN SHOPPING:

(We don’t necessarily even need to know the answers!)

  1. How far did this have to travel to get here? (eg Made in China)
  2. What will happen to it after I’ve done with it? (eg Send to a charity shop or a Humana bin? Or swap with a friend?)
  3. How much time/energy/water did it take to grow/make this garment?
  4. Can it be re-made into something else? (eg polyester can be made into pens)
  5. Will it biodegrade? (eg wool)
  6. Will it have added micro-plastics or dyes into the water-systems?

Read more

Countdown 2030

How to Build a Happy, Healthy and Green Community by Paul Hannam (first published in West Sussex Country Times)

Paul Hannam

By Paul Hannam, Chair of Greening Steyning

As Sir David Attenborough and others have warned 2021 is a turning point if we are to get on top of the climate and ecological crisis we are all facing.

Whatever your politics, whatever your lifestyle, whatever your values or interests, we have to rise above our individual differences to work together for the common good.

Will we look back and see the pandemic as a watershed in history, the moment when we acted as global citizens and community champions? If there is one definitive lesson from the Covid-19, it is that we have an astonishing capacity to unite under a common purpose. If we can maintain this resolve, we can prevent climate and ecological collapse.

Each one of us has a role to play as individuals, families, employees and members of a community. On our own, it is very hard to make the changes we need to. Working together, we can transform our communities. Through mutual support and community action, street by street, we can achieve our vision. Read more

Nuthurst community allotment

Nuthurst Community Allotment by Sally White (first published in West Sussex County Times 6th May

Nuthurst community allotment

Nuthurst Community Allotment by Sally White

One of the better things that happened in 2020 was that Jonathan van der Borgh turned up on Angus White’s doorstep.  He brought with him the brilliant idea to create a new community allotment in Nuthurst.  That idea is now becoming a reality.

As soon as we spread the word via the December issue of our local Parish Mag, The Link, we quickly gathered an extremely enthusiastic team of Nuthurst-ers! With seven pairs of hands on board, we cleared the ground of the old Architectural Plants’ site which has now moved to Pulborough.  We weeded, shovelled soil, ploughed, rotavated, spruced up the glasshouses, chitted spuds, amassed loads of seeds and sowed.

We did another ‘shouting-about-how-great-we-are’ routine in The Link and on Social Media. These shout-outs have been very well received; we have had a flood of interest from local residents and also from local businesses who are keen to contribute much needed materials and equipment. Have a look at our website for details of how to get involved and for a list of the businesses who have been kind enough to donate to the allotment. Read more

Horsham controversy over wood-burning stoves (West Sussex County Times 15th February 2021

Some fear that the fires are a danger to health and the environment.

And a Billingshurst man stoked up anger when he called on people to stop using them and suggested that the fires were merely ‘a fashion statement.’

Robert Bishop maintained that it was impossible to follow Government Covid advice and open windows because of smoke from neighbours’ wood fires.

But others have hit back, saying that, far from being a ‘fashion statement,’ the fires are an essential source of heat for many homes in the Horsham area without gas supplies.

And they maintain that wood is a renewable source of energy, unlike oil or gas.

However, Asthma UK says burning wood gives off tiny particles that can get into the airways.

A spokesman said: “Breathing them in can make your airways inflamed, bringing on asthma symptoms”.

Carrie Cort, founder of Sussex Green Living “If you’re using a wood-burning stove, make sure it’s well maintained, and that you’re using dry woods.”

Read more

Front of Eco station

Council green grants help fund Eco Station for Horsham District

Front of Eco stationHorsham District Council is delighted to announce that funding from its recently launched Community Climate Fund initiative is set to benefit a local outreach project to create a mobile educational Eco Station.

Local charity Sussex Green Living applied for a grant from the Council’s Horsham District Community Climate Fund and successfully received £5,000 to get their Inspiration Eco Station on the road.

Volunteers at the multi-award winning Sussex Green Living have created a unique environmental outreach project using a refurbished 1974 milk float, they plan to show local people that there is a Bright New Future ahead.

The Inspiration Eco Station is a colourful and engaging mobile display that will travel to schools, colleges, faith groups and community events to share top tips on how residents can save money whilst reducing their negative impact on the planet. From tackling eco home and gardens, waste prevention and recycling, fast fashion to low carbon career opportunities there will be lots of inspiring ideas, solutions to help people save money and live more sustainably. Read more

Ezine cover April 2021

The Latest E-Zine from the Youth Eco Forum is out!

The April 2021 edition of this quarterly publication is out, and its fabulous as usual!  Browse through accessible and beautifully illustrated articles: opinions on the pandemic’s impact on the environment to vegan feasts and managing food waste, Bee SOS, the Eco-Church, and the importance of seaweed.  Interesting, engaging and inspiring.

Sussex Green Ideas

Our Corona Virus Action Plan-

Horsham Climate Cafe goes online

We hope you will all be delighted to hear – The Horsham Climate Cafe will continue throughout the current social distancing and quarantine measures! We’re now switching to online meetings using Zoom (see joining instructions below!), a FREE and easy to use video chat and video conferencing service. Please feel free to join any of our sessions to continue to be involved, or use this as a great chance to see what we’re about for the first time (all from the comfort of your own home!). Until we can resume our physical meetings, please do pop in on us – we are running EVERY Saturday at 2pm for an hour – we’d love to see you there! In our sessions, we like to talk about pocket and planet-saving ideas for the community (all quarantine friendly ideas, of course!). See below for the exciting schedule for our planned sessions so far…

A Fairer Easter for People and Planet

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.

Read more

Why Climate Science is like Forensic Science

One of the best things about Forensic Science is not just that it works with tiny samples, but that the conclusions drawn are very large. One small speck of DNA […]

“World Wildlife Day” Strikes a Chord After 12 Months of Lockdowns

This article was published in the West Sussex County Times on 5th March

It was World Wildlife Day on 3 March.  Set up by the UN and run by CITES to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, the theme this year was Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.

Forests are vitally important in the global fight against climate change. They are also home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and hundreds of millions of people. This World Wildlife Day highlights the livelihoods of communities who rely on forests, especially indigenous peoples, and the value of these ecosystems for both wildlife and humanity.

Read more

Fun family bird spotting

Why not learn your A – Z of Common British Garden Birds   We are all becoming more acquainted with our homes and gardens. We have rediscovered the simple pleasures […]

Encourage Your Kids to Go Outside More

Outdoor playGetting outdoors and learning about nature is an essential part of education. These days, however, many children prefer to spend their free-time cooped up inside with a tablet on their lap and the TV playing in the background. While technology can play an excellent role in a kid’s childhood, they also need time in the great outdoors.

If your kid is more interested in YouTube than wildlife and you want to change that, then here is how.

Grow Your Garden 

Bringing the outdoors close to home is the simple first step to getting your little one more in tune with nature. Create areas in the garden that will interest them, such as a pond, a bird-feeder, or maybe even a treehouse! If you do decide on a treehouse, consider hiring a tree surgeon before installing it.

Children mimic their parents, so you should make a goal to go into the garden more, and your kid will be more likely to follow. If you have the room, you could even give them an entire spot to do whatever they want with (within reason).

Take a Weekly Walk 

Read more

Affordable heat help at hand

SGN Help to Heat advisor

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.co.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.co.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 FacebookTwitter 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