The West Sussex Local Government Pension Fund is currently responsible for the pension benefits – and future benefits – of thousands of employees (WSCC employees, Local District Council employees, school teachers employed in West Sussex etc).
In 2019 it was known that the pension fund invested approximately £200 million in Fossil Fuel companies (we do not know the exact figure for 2020, although we do know that the share prices for BP, Shell etc have dropped significantly).
The divestment campaign was started in spring 2016 by Worthing Climate Action (WCAN), and asked the WSCC Pension Fund to divest all their funds from fossil fuel companies. In Nov 2017, following a petition, WCAN gave a detailed presentation to the WSCC Pension Committee, and presented strong arguments for divestment.
Various actions took place during 2018 and 2019 which culminated on 15th Feb 2020 with “The Valentine’s Day Divestment Demo” at the Chichester Council Offices (combined with Youth Strike day). This was supported by various environmental groups from around the county.
In early 2020 the CEO of Worthing Borough council wrote to Jeremy Hunt (Chair of WSCC Pensions Committee) asking them to divest. Read more
Black Friday it came from America…..Along with school proms, trick or treat and a host of other ideas. Black Friday, when we must all cooperate to help keep up the profits of large retail corporations, whose own philosophy seems closer to free market dog-eat-dog economics than communitarianism. Even the most hardened addicts of the shopping habit must agree that the charms of Black Friday are starting to jade. The wrong lines discounted. Massive ranges of stuff you don’t really want. Vapid special promotions of things you feel they couldn’t give away if it weren’t for all the hype and glitz.
Followers of Sussex Green Living, being a progressive, well-informed lot, will ask: what’s the environmental cost of all this? We’ve found quite an interesting little piece by Lucy Harley McKeown of Yahoo News that makes for sobering reading. We urge you to read the link; but we’ve filleted out a couple of take-aways, just to give you a flavour:
….Black Friday purchases via Amazon alone could result in at least 18,854 tonnes of additional CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere. Delivery service Hermes is predicted to produce the most CO2 from Black Friday deliveries; 58,313 tonnes of CO2, while DPD is also expected to rack up around 42,000 tonnes. Read more
We are delighted to be working with BilliGreen an environmental group in Billingshurst in offering our 8th parish single-use plastic drop off location. BilliGreen have agreed a public drop off location in the The Chapel car park, we have supplied some council bins for local people to use to help recycle specific hard to recycle plastics. Sussex Green Living working with a company called TerraCycle have been collecting these waste resources since 2012, our largest drop off locations being the William Penn School in Coolham and the Quaker Meeting House, Worthing Road, Horsham.
BilliGreen’s recycling location is at The Chapel, High Street, Billingshurst, RH14 9QS – the bins are in their car park which can be accessed on foot from the high street or by car via Lakers Meadows near the library. The bins are available 24/7. Local people are able to collect and recycle: Crisp packets and non-meat savoury snack packets, Biscuit, cracker and cake wrappers, Cereal bar and rice cake wrappers, Confectionery such as sweet bags and chocolate bar wrappers, Beauty and personal care products such as pots, lids, pumps and trigger spray heads, roll on/stick deodorant, lip balm containers, lids from sun-care products, Baby food and yoghurt pouches (any brand) and Ella baby snack packets, Cheese packaging (any brand) of sliced cheese protective plastic film, flexible bags, pouches and netting and Plastic milk bottle tops with 2 or 4 printed in a triangle.
We have a suggestion to help to encourage our Government to increase their amibition on addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency, send a Christmas card to your MP! Wishing them […]
Students calling for action against climate change will have access to an App that will help them in the fight to deliver a lower carbon future in the UK.
The App is being developed by Solar Options for Schools, which won funding this week (4 November 2020) from UK Innovate in the latest round of the £10 million Sustainable Innovation Fund. The fund is intended to help the UK rebuild after the effects of COVID-19.
The Solar for Schools App will deliver an innovative interactive App, which will enable secondary students to learn about energy, electricity, and climate. It will offer learning to all students, irrespective of their social-economic status, being accessible on both android and apple phones. Read more
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
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.
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
We are delighted to announce that last night we were given a gold award at the Countyside Protection for Rural England (CPRE) Sussex Countryside Awards. CPRE honoured the county’s countryside heroes at its first ever virtual awards ceremony held on Zoom.
Last night’s ceremony began with a welcome from CPRE Sussex Chair, Professor Dan Osborn who then handed over to the competition judges, Lady Egremont, Dr Geoffrey Mead, Margaret Moore and Dr Tony Whitbread who made the virtual presentations. “The evening went really well,” says CPRE Sussex Director, Kia Trainor “We were obviously disappointed not to be able to see everyone in person, but the virtual setting really didn’t spoil the celebrations.”
“It was fantastic to see the faces of all the people who have been working so hard to make Sussex a better place to live and work and helping nature to thrive.”
A total of 27 CPRE Sussex Countryside Awards were made – 6 GOLD, 16 SILVER, 4 BRONZE and The Peter Brandon Award for ‘Empowering Communities’.
Read the full article below.
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
“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
SUSSEX GREEN LIVING THANK HORSHAM DISTRICT COMMUNITY AND LOCAL CHURCHES FOR THEIR RECYCLING EFFORTS AND ANNOUNCE OPENING OF NEW RECYCLING HUB
Joy Carter, “lead Womble” at Sussex Green Living has continued to co-ordinate the sorting and dispatch of “hard-to-recycle” types of waste accepted by TerraCycle during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent period and would like to encourage local residents to keep on recycling.
Given the current situation with COVID-19 and the government’s restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, our day-to-day lives have changed, and our priorities have shifted but it is not all bad news! Green issues remain a key topic, and Sussex Green Living, along with TerraCycle would like to remind everybody that recycling is as important now as ever before! By disposing of waste correctly or storing it to send to TerraCycle when things get back to normal, we can collect now and have an impact forever. Read more
For our Horsham Future Forum (HFF) meeting on the 29th of September, we were joined by Tom Bragg, from Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Open Eco Homes, to explain to us how the Green Homes grant works. The purpose of his talk was to go through the details of these grants to help people understand how to apply for them. Tom was also joined by Soren from Warmer Sussex, to provide his insight to people (learn more about Warmer Sussex and listen to Soren’s podcast here)
He started off with a poll asking the participants of the HFF about their intentions about applying for the grant, and what they might want to install. Only 28% of participants said Yes or Probably, with a much higher percentage, 68%, responding with a maybe, so hopefully the clarifications provided through Tom’s talk has encouraged people to apply. The installation that was the most popular was low carbon heating (such as heat pump or solar thermal) at 88%, followed by insulation (48%), draught proofing (28%) and windows and doors (20%). As this was a multiple option question, some people might have chosen more than one option.
In partnership with TerraCycle, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials, Sussex Green Living is now working with over fourteen parishes and schools to divert billions of waste resources from landfills.
Why is Recycling Single-Use Plastic Important?
Plastics are extremely durable and cheap to manufacture, making them almost impossible to overlook for manufacturers when it comes to product design and packaging. But their durability comes at the cost of slow degradation rates in the wild; upwards of 300 to 1000 years.
With about 380 tonnes of it being produced every year, by the time the plastic we have disposed of today begins to degrade the quantity in landfills, oceans and everywhere else will have become totally unmanageable. That is, unless, we can turn the tides.
Bisphenol A has been observed to disrupt physiological levels of sex hormones, negatively affect thyroid hormone gene expression in humans, and cause other detrimental effects. In marine life, issues with plastic entanglement and ingestion have been observed at a broad scale. Read more
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
Our Horsham Climate Cafe on 5th September was an inspiring and informative talk about Wildlife Friendly Gardening. Every green space is critical for our wildlife, even your garden, as all our UK gardens form more space than all the UK nature reserves!
Carrie the founder of Sussex Green Living opened the event with a reminder that we humans are not at the top of a wildlife pyramid but are simply part of the web of all life. All the living things in an ecosystem depend on all the other things – living and non-living for continued survival – for food supplies and other needs. Humans, animals and plants depend on a complex system of food for survival. Stressing the importance of using bug hotels, bird boxes and bat boxes in our gardens, but be aware that bats need about 1,000 mosquito type insects per hour, so a pond is almost essential!
Joanne Knowles was our second speaker who is passionate about encouraging us all to seek out peat -free compost. Read more
Did the World announce there is a climate emergency? Yes by 26th August 2020 1,767 jurisdictions in 30 countries had declared a climate emergency. Populations covered by jurisdictions that have declared a climate emergency amount to over 820 million citizens, with 60 million of these living in the United Kingdom. This means in Britain now over 90 per cent of the population lives in areas that have declared a climate emergency, over 450 councils all together. So why are the councils in Surrey and Sussex still allowing licences for profit making companies to drill for fossil fuel? It is insane. Learn what is happening locally with an update from the Weald Action Group:
1. The Weald Action Group are doing a Weald Oil Walk in September aiming to raise money in view of the Judicial Review being led by Sarah Finch from Surrey following Surrey CC adopting a Climate Emergency and then permitting the drilling company UKOG to undertake production at their Horse Hill site (well a bit waterlogged currently). To learn more about the walk contact .
2. Balcombe – application for Extended Well Test coming forward again to WSCC Planning Committee. It was due to be considered on March 24th but that meeting was held later and the Planning Officer Chris Bartlett recommended REFUSAL. Out for consultation until Sept 28th. Read more
How did it start?
Sarah Renfrey set up Fare Divide in 2018 with a vision to save perishable foodstuff from landfill by setting up community fridges in West Sussex to encourage healthier communities by forging partnerships with local food suppliers and make surplus food available to all without judgement or stigma.
What is Fare Divide?
The Keep Rookwood Green bio blitz on Saturday 15th August was an outstanding success which a stream of timed arrivals of families who went to record the wildlife. The council plan to build 1,100 new houses on Roowood Golf Course, which is located next to Horsham’s nature reserve, this area makes up 28% of Horsham’s large green space. This wildlife-rich natural world is vital for our wellbeing and survival, once built on it is lost and gone forever.
You can listen to the talk by Keep Rookwood Green and see their presentation here.
People are being encouraged to write to their councillors, sign the Keep Rookwood Green petition and carry out their own bio blitz on a day which suits you and any friends or family members. Use this map and log to plot your finds, take photos and share them in the social media with this hashtag #foundonrookwood. You can find Keep Rookwood Green social media details and the petition on this page. Read more
- Over the last 10 years the UK has made some good progress reducing the carbon emissions associated with the generation of electricity. However – over the same timeframe – very little progress has been in reducing the emissions associated with heating our homes (ie “space heating” the heating of our home spaces). This is mostly due to our reliance on gas boilers in the home.
- There are a number of options that can reduce the emissions related to space heating, not least improvements in home insulation (reducing wasted heat that “leaks” out of your home). But which insulation – wall, floor or roof ? And when you have optimised the insulation, which non-gas technology should you consider – solar, heat pumps (air source or ground source), or is there something new just around the corner ?
- Warmer Sussex offer impartial advice (via a Retrofit Coordinator) to give you a plan/road map to reducing the emissions related to the space heating of your home. You will receive a bespoke Whole House Plan which looks at what has been done before, and what can be improved now. The Retrofit Coordinator considers the property, the clients budget, and any future plans they have (eg updating kitchen) when developing the strategy for the property. The insulation and ventilation will be considered first before starting to tackle heating/renewable.
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?
Join the Keep Rookwood Green Campaign on Saturday 15th August to become citizen scientists at this bio blitz, help carry out surveys to help record all living species in the area. You can book timed tickets for staggered visits through this Eventbrite link or learn more here www.KeepRookWoodGreen.org.
Watch the talk Keep Rookwood Green gave at our Horsham Future Forum meeting on Tuesday 16th June here.
- West Sussex County Council Pension Divestment Campaign November 26, 2020
- Have a Planet Friendly Friday! November 20, 2020
- Single use plastic recycling in Billingshurst November 16, 2020