Tag Archive for: press_release

Green Library

We Need Worms …and Book Worms by Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Green Library

We’re slowly moving towards creating a more permanent Green Hub for Horsham, inspired by the excellent Zero at Guildford. One of the many things we’d love, alongside a Community Fridge, a Seed Bank, and a Library of Things (such as ladders or tents) is a Green Book Library.

There are countless wonderful books available, some written by children, such as Greta Thunberg’s tiny motivational book, ‘No-one is too small to make a difference’.  Even her inspirational title is clearly intended to change people’s lives for the better.  When Greta has been asked “What can we do?” her reply has been, “Educate yourself””

What better way to start, then, than by borrowing a book from a Green Library?

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Swifts

Swift Action Needed: Citizen Science for Horsham Swift Box Project (first published in West Sussex County Times)

SwiftsSwifts have been thriving for about 70 million years, when they would have been nesting in crevices in rocks and trees alongside the last of the Tyrannosaurs. But despite millions of years, something has now gone dramatically wrong, and UK numbers have plummeted in the last 25 years.

These extraordinary birds can remain in the air for three whole years because everything else apart from nesting is done on the wing.  Only when they reach maturity and start to build will they touch anything solid.

No other bird can fly faster in level flight. They eat insects, drink raindrops or water from a lake, even mating and sleeping on the wing, up near Earth’s stratosphere.  Their huge eyes are surrounded by bristles that act as sun visors and their feet are incredibly strong and so needle-sharp and tiny that they are unable to hop or walk, so they fly directly into the holes, cling to walls or slip into spaces where they can easily drop back out again.

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Eco Float

World Environment Day (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Eco Float2022 marks 50 years since the conference which led to the designation of 5th June as World Environment Day. ‘Only One Earth’ was the motto for the 1972 Stockholm Conference and half a century later, do we doubt that this planet is our only home, whose finite resources are running out?

World Environment Day 2022 will be held again with this same theme, ‘Only One Earth’, to highlight again the need to live sustainably in harmony with our ecology by bringing transformative changes through policies and our own choices, moving towards lifestyles more in line with the natural cycles of Nature.

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Sheep

The Wool Revival (first published in West Sussex County Times)

SheepDon’t we all love to see spring lambs in wildflower meadows, and sheep in green fields?

In total contrast, who wants to see a factory producing acrylic?  A synthetic produced mainly in India and China, it’s made from chemicals so dangerous that special regulations have had to be made to prevent explosions at the factories manufacturing it.

Acrylic seems to have replaced real wool in much of our clothing.  However it is not biodegradeable so minute harmful particles of it are becoming increasingly present in our oceans, in foodstuffs and in human and animal bodies. There is now even some suspicion that there may be carcinogenic risks associated with wearing acrylic next to our skin.

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Billingshurst Dairy

The Green Thing (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Billingshurst Dairy

Image Credit: Billingshurst Dairy

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she could bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”  She was right in that my generation didn’t have ‘the green thing’.

Back then, we returned glass milk, lemonade and beer bottles to the shop, and were sometimes given a few pence in return. The shop sent them all back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so the same bottles were used over and over again.

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Lily's cottage stall

For all our sakes – Stop using Peat (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Peat-free Compost

No doubt you have heard that for a healthy planet, we should use peat-free compost, but do you know why, or what exactly is peat?

Peat is soil made up of organic matter that has only partially rotted down. The lack of oxygen and the acidic nature of waterlogged peat bogs prevent bacteria and fungi from breaking down the dead plant material.  It is formed over millions of years, at a rate of only 1mm thickness per year, but we are currently extracting it at a rate much, much faster than that!  By ‘mining’ peat we are both damaging the ecology and adding to climate change.

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Eco Aware Earth Day (first published in West Sussex County Times)

The children at Ashington CE Primary School enjoyed an early Earth Green Day on Thursday 7th April 2022. The day was organised by Sienna, Magenta, Sophie and Jasmine, four passionate Eco Warriors in Year 5 supported by the school’s Outdoor Learning Lead, Miss Martlew.

The four girls had their eco passion ignited by a Rainforest topic in Year Four and ever since have eagerly encouraged others, staff included, to join them in driving for a more eco aware school, community and planet. Consequently, there was no need for the school staff to set up an eco-group; the girls would never have not let it happen!  They created their own group, with many other children eager to join in.

The Green Day started with a whole school Eco Easter bonnet parade with winners from each class receiving an eco-notebook and pen and an Easter Egg. All hats were adorned with recycled decorations and had an Easter theme. The children clung to their hats in the wind but were full of smiles of pride in the beautiful spring sunshine as they paraded, each class in turn, in front of the whole school to cheerful applause. Read more

Soil or Earth? by Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

  Morag Warrack

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

Trafalgar REC Oct 2021

We should all be gardeners by Natasha Barnes (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Natasha Barnes Trafalgar REC Oct 2021

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!

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Turn it off! By Morag Warrack (first published in West Sussex County Times)

toothpaste kitMorag Warrack

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

Nature Networks by Isabella Tree (first published in West Sussex County Times)

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

Sussex Kelp Forest Leads the Way by Keir Hartley (first published in West Sussex County Times)

Kelp forest

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

COP26 Climate Summit:  The Road to Glasgow passes through Sussex by Geoff Barnard (first published in WSCT)

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

The new Sussex Green Hub is officially open!

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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. Read more

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

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

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?

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