As the time of seasonal exchange of presents approaches, many people may be considering gifting an animal.
The number of dogs and cats in the UK has shot up to 12 million of each. They undoubtedly make great pets and bring enormous pleasure but these large numbers bring difficulties as well as delights. The UK is now one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, as anyone over 50 will attest. From rockpools and meadows brimming with life we are now thrilled by a single butterfly.
According to the RSPB, UK cats catch around 100 million prey items every year. I’ve lost count of the number of nests raided by cats in my own small garden. Nestlings are particularly vulnerable as they can’t escape a cat, even one with a bell round its neck. Similarly, ground nesting birds’ nests are innocently destroyed every spring by dogs off leads.
So what can be done?
In Australia in 2015 cats were reported killing 75 million native animals per DAY so many towns now have cat curfews, outside of which stray cats can be shot. I’m not suggesting anything this extreme, but I wonder if cats in the UK could be sold with a “conservation rating”, similar to an energy rating on a washing machine? The rag doll breed, for example, has little killer instinct and doesn’t roam far. Many cat owners are horrified at the destruction their cats inflict and pet shops could inform customers of the cat’s likely potential to kill. Animals sold with a conservation rating could help customers choose the right one – similar to the way we might choose allergy-free dogs! Read more
Beneath our feet is a world that many do not even consider to be part of us, yet within two handfuls of healthy soil are more living organisms than people […]
Sussex Green Living’s Youth Eco Forum is a young persons’ environmental group where we speak about current news and creatively demonstrate climate activism in many forms. The YEF was founded […]
The UK’s recent petrol crisis was caused by many individuals doing the same thing at the same time.
Due to media stories, people’s behaviour suddenly changed, causing nationwide problems. When I commented to the attendant, “I bet you’ve been popular these last few days”, he replied, “Yes, I’m everybody’s best friend! It’s madness. We’ve got plenty of petrol – it’s just that people are buying much more than normal.” It was people’s consumerism that was the problem. Read more
♬♫♪ We’ve got a Brand New Sussex Green Living Terracycle drop-off location in Southwater!* ♬♫♪
Here in West Sussex we’re very fortunate in that West Sussex County Council take a wide variety of materials in our kerbside bins for recycling. At present, however, there are a number of things they can’t yet take that can be recycled. This can be frustrating for those of us who are keen recyclers. A group of those frustrated parties, including Sussex Green Living, Southwater Church, Southwater Beavers and Southwater Scouts, (to name but a few), have got together with Terracycle to tackle some of this waste-that-isn’t-waste. In addition to the clothes bank already there, Southwater Church now has two more recycling collection bins up by the Church Rooms on Church Lane.
The first bin is for crisp & snack packets only – all brands and all sizes.
The second bin is for
• Ballpoint pens, felt tips, biros, correction fluid, markers, glue sticks and highlighters
• Plastic wrapping for; sweet biscuits, cakes, crackers, chocolate, popcorn & nuts
• Fruit & Vegetable baby food pouches – Ella’s Kitchen and other brands (no pet food pouches please!)
• Plastic Milk Bottle Tops
• All other plastic container tops (metal lids can be recycled in kerbside Blue Bins)
• Plastic Air fresheners: cartridges and packaging Read more
Local Locations for TerraCycle® recycling single use plastics
“The bins are ready and labelled. All bags (canvas for mixed recycling and large 300 litre black sacks for the crisps and snacks) are ready to go. I’ll bring them down on my way to The Horsham and Shipley Community Project to save an extra car journey.”
Thus sayeth the Womble.
Across the district, the Sussex Green Living partnership with TerraCycle® continues to increase local recycling points in the villages. Crisp packets, biscuit wrappers, toothbrushes, baby food, popcorn bags, disinfectant trigger pumps, pens and more are recycled to produce a wide range of products from park benches and road side bollards to children’s playground equipment. Read more
Soil or Earth?
The very name of our planet is also the name of our soil. Earth. One of the most precious things for our existence.
It’s an apparently strange mixture of living beings and dead ones, inert substances and active ones.
Anyone over the age of 50 is likely to remember the abundance, the rich aliveness of summer meadows-the colours, the scents and the joyful assault on the ears of crickets, grasshoppers and bees below, with skylarks above. Read more
Eco milk float rising to the carbon reduction challenge
Pop-up and rock-up
An eco 1974 milk float, pop-up shop and pop-up climate emergency centre – what do they all have in common? They are all initiatives offered by multi-award-winning charity Sussex Green Living, to help people reduce their carbon footprint.
It might be hot air in Glasgow but not at the grassroots where this charity is concerned. On the first day of COP26 the charity became part of a new pop-up shop on the high street. They popped up their first once a month climate emergency centre, the Sussex Green Hub, on 25th September and earlier in the year saw the first appearance of their unique and quirky mobile eco display, a 1974 retrofitted milk float, called the Inspiration Eco Station, and the launch of their Bright New Future Roadshow. Read more
Gardening is for everyone – I truly believe that!
It’s time to change its reputation as a middle class hobby for retirees or young people who would like a pet but don’t fancy finding poo on the carpet- so they settle for a cheese plant. From some pots on a balcony to an ambitious permaculture project, I challenge you to feel the benefits!
I found myself in the role of Light-Police recently at a joyous family gathering to celebrate several ‘zero’ birthdays which had been postponed due to Covid.
At our beautiful AirBnB, bathroom lights, shower lights, bedroom lights, corridor lights and kitchen lights were left on even though the family were all outside for much of the time.
My dad grew up in poverty and was delighted to be able to provide for us- we had plenty, and he was very generous, but we learned the lesson young that lights should be switched off if you’re not in the room. Nothing should be wasted.
By coincidence that same weekend an article was published relating how Greta Thunberg taught her father the same switch-it-off lesson. Read more
Imagine a beautiful Persian carpet. Then cut it into a thousand squares. What do you get? Not a thousand smaller Persian carpets but a thousand scraps of cloth unravelling at the edges. That’s what’s happening to nature in the modern landscape, the scraps becoming ever smaller as the threads begin to trip us up. It is causing the Sixth Mass Extinction – a catastrophic loss of biodiversity affecting the whole planet.
We can see the unravellings all around us if we know how to look. A patch of ancient woodland surrounded by a monoculture of arable is vulnerable to ‘edge effect’ – the drift of chemical sprays, exposure to wind, extreme heat and frost – eating away at habitat on its periphery. That single ancient oak in the middle of a field of wheat has its roots assaulted by ploughing every year. The fine fungal filaments – or mycorrhizae – leading off its roots in search of nutrients are drenched several times a year in agricultural chemicals. The tree can no longer communicate underground with other trees. It is like a lone elephant in a zoo, deprived of the society of its herd, doomed to die alone. Read more
The new kelp forest off the Sussex coast is becoming real. That’s the message from Councillors and wildlife and fisheries experts. And it puts Sussex in the forefront of efforts to combat global warming, habitat destruction and the return to a cleaner, more sustainable world.
The marine forest which stretched between Chichester and Rye was destroyed by storms and trawling in the 1980s but is now being restored.
“Given the extent of kelp loss it may take many years for kelp to recover to the density and distribution once known”, says Tim Dapling, Chief Officer for Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. “Early information appears to show changes in the environment already taking place since trawling management was introduced in March 2021. It will be very interesting to see changes in 4-5 years time.” Read more
The COP26 Climate Summit starts in Glasgow on November 1st. It’s an opportunity that simply can’t be missed if the world is to get on top of climate change, and the multiple threats it poses to the planet, before it’s too late.
But who knew that crucial, behind-the-scenes, preparations for the conference are happening right here in Sussex, at Wiston House, just up the road from Steyning.
That’s where Wilton Park, a specialist offshoot of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, is based. In their 75th anniversary year, Wilton Park have been instrumental in convening a whole series of dialogues and meetings – mostly online, because of Covid – all geared to making the Glasgow Summit a success.
COP stands for the ‘Conference of the Parties’, and Glasgow is the 26th such event since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in Rio at the 1992 Earth Summit. This one is particularly important. It is the first time that governments will be asked to report back on progress on the pledges made at the Paris Summit in 2016, and ‘ratchet’ them up with new and more demanding targets. Read more
PRESS RELEASE Repair, refill, recycle, reuse, restore, revive and reunite: These crucial ‘R’ words for building a sustainable world all came alive on Saturday 25th September in the Bishopric area in […]
Sussex Green Living is a Horsham based charity inspiring local people to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle, respecting nature and reducing their carbon footprint to enjoy a sustainable future.
Whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for Sussex Green Living to help with our climate emergency work.
Please only buy if you need something but if your thoughts are turning to Christmas shopping and you will be doing some of this online then please help raise donations for Sussex Green Living!
Easyfundraising – There are over 4,200 shops and sites on board 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: Read more
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
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
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