Big Green Hamper

John Lewis donates ‘Great Green Hamper’ for Christmas updates on ‘Small Green Steps survey’

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 […]

We’re in this together! Sussex Green Ideas (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Do you have solar panels at home? Is it time to join the move to community funded renewable energy? Do you want to explore practical ways to make it happen here for Horsham?  Maybe you’re able to use your skills in finance, marketing, law, engineering or management to help form a community group to do this?

Here at Sussex Green Ideas, we’re looking for people who want to respond practically to the challenges of reducing climate disruption and help us adapt to the changes which are now inevitable.

You’re welcome to join an online meeting on October 20th 7pm-8pm, as part of our Sussex Green Ideas series. Kate Meakin, from Energise South, will explain what’s involved in setting up a community energy scheme and what funding is available to support the development of such a community group. Read more

Why Drive When you can Ride? by Peter Silburn of Horsham District Cycling Forum

Knowing what to do in the face of the global climate crisis can often seem a daunting task.

Whilst it’s true that the really big changes need to be prompted by Government action there’s still a lot you can do as an individual. Small changes build up, especially when other people join in.

A major cause of global warming is our over-reliance on cars in towns and cities, which also contributes to poor air quality, traffic congestion, road danger and noise, and the obesity crisis.

One small step you can take is to cycle for those short journeys where through force of habit you instinctively get in the car.

For short journeys in town it’s often quicker by bike, and it saves you money too. What can be just as important – even where the journey time is slightly longer than by car – is that the time taken can be remarkably consistent, meaning you don’t need to leave extra time for your journey just in case you get stuck in traffic. Read more

Seal of success! by Keir Hartley (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Seals on our Sussex coast show that conservationists are getting something right. It’s not just Gavin the well-loved harbour seal who sports with paddle boarders in Littlehampton; we can see these marvellous creatures now in Chichester harbour, Eastbourne and in the Adur, where two seals named Bramble and Rivier (who swam in from Belgium) have generated their own following.

According to Zoologist Stephen Savage of the Sea Watch Foundation, it’s a wonderful sign that our waters are clean enough to support food for these large animals. “They like mullet, flatfish and crabs mainly” he explains, “but they hunt anywhere in tidal or brackish water, even as far up as The Black Rabbit at Arundel.”

Stephen, who is County Recorder for Sea Mammals, has studied seals since 1997. The public have been stalwart supporters. Initially he collated sighting reports, but eight years ago increasing seal numbers allowed him to build a picture of populations in Sussex. “We hope to learn even more through citizen science” says Stephen.  “The interaction of seals and people will significantly add to this story.” Read more

Bright future enjoyed by St Mary’s School

Thanks to a Tesco Community grant on 2nd July we took our Bright New Future Roadshow to St Mary’s CoE Primary School in Pulborough where we share our vision of […]

PEA Award 2013

How Green is Copper? by Nicola Peel

PEA Award 2013

How Green is Copper? With a rush for electric cars and renewable power some of the most biodiverse areas on Earth are under threat. Hidden beneath primary forest teeming with life metals lay buried.

Whilst Ecuador was the first country in the world to put the #rightsofnature in its #constitution, sadly this has not stopped foreign interest from wanting to mine one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

The Los Cedros Reserve is almost 12,000 acres of untouched cloud forest. Imagine over 400 different kinds of orchids, over 350 species of birds, 800 different kinds of moths and uncountable species of fungi. 5 critically endangered and 31 endangered species make this their home.

This little known reserve is more biodiverse than the Amazon.

Still the Canadian mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources buy off the local people with trinkets , beads and the promise of work. They do not talk about the potential risk of contaminating their water source or of what will happen when they leave.

The world is watching this vital case. If Nature wins it means that not only Los Cedros can breathe a sigh of relief but over 6 million acres of protected land which is under the threat of mining. This will in turn set an international precedent. Read more

Tesco grant helps us share Bright New Future

Thanks to a Tesco Community grant on 8th July we took our Bright New Future Roadshow to Kingslea School in Horsham where we worked with 60 children from Year Two who had been studying Our Blue Planet.

Our original plan was to attend their school summer fete, but owing to covid this was postponed, and we were unable to attend on the new date.

However, this alternative arrangement gave us a wonderful opportunity to work directly with the children and their teachers.  They spent the day learning about how we can all help to take care of our world and create a bright and sustainable future.  The children participated in five different activities and we held an assembly at the end.

The children enjoyed exploring our Inspiration Eco Station (retrofitted 1974 milk float) full of colourful displays showing how we can reduce the environmental impact of our homes by saving energy and recycling and how we can make our gardens more productive and wildlife friendly.

The children also enjoyed an activity where they magically transformed a plastic milk carton into a bird using art and upcycling in one go. Read more

Beyond Be-Leaf by Catherine Sleeman of Horsham Youth Eco Forum (first published in West Sussex County Times)

catherine

On Wednesday 14th July, Sussex Green Living’s Youth Eco Forum led a day of outdoor activities in an area of ancient woodland near Billingshurst. The event, named Beyond Be-Leaf, hoped to give young people who would not usually have the opportunity to get out in the countryside a chance to get hands-on and creative, learning about the natural world. Youth Eco Forum Member, Flora Burleigh reflected that the best thing about the day was, “simply observing the students as they were immersed in nature, watching them be inspired and actually having the opportunity to pay a closer attention to the woodland environment.”

Year 7 and 8 pupils from Tanbridge House School, Christ’s Hospital School and City of London Academy Southwark spent the day learning about the local wildlife, woodland management, and positive climate solutions. They had the opportunity to explore their connection to nature through creative writing and dance workshops as well as learning woodcraft skills and going on a nature walk. Some of the young attendees had never been to the countryside before and this made the event a particularly exciting and revelatory experience.

The project was awarded an Argus fund grant last year, but months of covid restrictions meant that safely organising the event only became possible this summer. The Youth Eco Forum felt that it was really important that the day still went ahead despite the challenges. The pandemic has meant that the positive mental and physical effects of spending time outside are more needed than ever and, as more and more young people worry about the future of the planet, experiencing and understanding the natural world is equally vital.

The day was very successful, with attendees leaving enthused, and the Youth Eco Forum hope to run the event again in the future. Karen Dock, a member of staff from Tanbridge House School, commented that the children who attended had really benefitted from the day and had asked to come back next year. Given the positive impact that Beyond Be-Leaf had on those involved, the Youth Eco Forum fully intend to run another similar event in the future. They are also hoping to establish an ongoing link with the school groups who attended and to follow up the activities day with further communication and virtual meetings.

Youth Eco Forum meets on Zoom every other Sunday (restarting in September) and we are always here to welcome new members.  If you are interested in becoming involved , simply drop an email to for more details.

Learn about our Beyond Be-Leaf day and the Youth Eco Forum here sussexgreenliving.co.uk/youth-eco-forum/.

Read our brand new YEF e-zine here https://online.fliphtml5.com/kcpuj/vfty/

Destroying (the) Amazon – Think Local by Morag Warrack

Morag Warrack

We have decided to remove sponsorship from Amazon from our website with the realisation that it contributes to so many of the problems we are all striving to resolve.

The brilliant choice of the word “Amazon” is a stroke of genius- linked with one of the most life-sustaining, essential things on the planet!

Calling a Dumfries warehouse a ‘fulfillment centre’ smacks of Orwell’s gripping novel, 1984.  Maybe it should properly be called a ‘full-Fill-ment centre’ as brand new products such as laptops and TVs are simply sent away to be buried in the ground from it, as landfill is cheaper than re-distributing them around the UK or donating them to schools and hospitals.

As the richest man in the known universe, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos made UK sales worth £14,000,000,000 in one year (2019) alone.  He has a personal fortune of £155,000,000,000.  However, he pays minimal UK tax by claiming small profits.  It seems customers are unaware of the full story of buying and throwing away, over and over again, while gradually undermining small, local businesses in the long term.   One charming designer I met cheerfully described his job, (working for several large chains based in China and Horsham) by saying, “I make landfill!”

There are huge problems tied in to big business and corporations attaching themselves to charities as ‘greenwash’ in the same way that the powerful sugar industry is ‘whitewashed’ by sponsoring cancer charities.  Looking beyond the immediate, we see that dirty fossil fuels such as the oil industry sponsor the British Museum to get the worthy and noble ‘cleanwash’ factor.  Remember how long it took for the link between tobacco and cancer to be established?  The dodgy science that the tobacco industry spawned led to it taking about 30 years.

But back to Amazon-

Can we change our behaviour? Can we imagine the whole chain beyond our home/town/country and the impacts it has on people we will never meet, and their families?

A UK company, OnBuy, based in Dorset, is creating a challenge to the giant Amazon.  UKTechNews says, “OnBuy works with the mission to revolutionise the e-commerce industry with a fair, transparent and ethical marketplace that benefits both sellers and buyers.”  How refreshing…and they pay full UK tax!

Nothing is perfect, but maybe we can make small green steps to act in line with our values because not only is it better for the planet, but that makes us happier too.  Do we really need more stuff?  Can we wait that extra few days for it? Can we pay a little more, knowing that the real cost is huge, if not immediate!?

More truth, honesty and openness is something we definitely could all do with more of just now!

sussexgreenliving.co.uk/shop-smart-shop-local

Wow No Cow! by Keir Hartley (first published in West Sussex County Times)

If you are reading this column, there’s a good chance that you have an urge to do ‘the right thing’. You’re the sort who’s first to help in a crisis. You were the first to raise the subject of climate change. And the first to actually do something about it! And what better first step than to start making educated choices in the way you shop? No more plastic bottles and dodgy packaging. You started shopping locally, avoiding waste, noticing how sustainable food might or might not be.  And you are right.

But it’s complicated, isn’t it?.

Take milk as an example. To produce it from a cow is incredibly destructive.  A study by Oxford University tells us that producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks!  It takes approximately 120 litres of water, 150 square centimetres of land and produces 0.6 kg of carbon emissions to produce one 200ml glassful.

For almond milk, however, the figures are 78 litres of water, a mere 10 square centimetres of land and 2kg of CO2 emissions.  It sounds like a no brainer, until you drill down – which is exactly what they have had to do in California! The Golden State is responsible for 80% of the world’s almond production which requires enormous plantations which slowly deplete and dry the soil. Farmers drill ever deeper to quench their thirsty crops, bringing up saltier water. This speeds up desertification, which in turn leads to fires, and the strong possibility of no more almond trees. Read more

There is an elephant in the room

Fundraise for us at no cost to you

Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for Sussex Green Living?

Join easyfundraising and you can collect free donations for us every time you buy something online. It won’t cost you a penny extra so please help us to raise funds.

All you need to do is:

1. Go to https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/sussexgreenliving/ and join for free. Read more

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