Streetwise

Today a group of seven households started a Transition Streets journey to a lower energy lifestyle, thanks to support from SCDC Greenprint Forum, building on an earlier pilot and training course in Suffolk led by David Greenacre.

This should help us to save money, reduce our carbon emissions and minimise our reliance on fossil fuels, whilst building a stronger community.

Over the next few months we shall explore our household habits, bills and opportunities in the areas of ENERGY, WATER, WASTE, TRAVEL and FOOD. Read the rest of this entry »

Suma registration

It’s very easy! And upto 30% cheaper.

Since 2011 a food purchase scheme has been run by the BCG with Suma but many other suppliers are available depending what your group wish to purchase.

A food group can be as small as one household or as large as the number of people who want to join in.  A named person contacts Suma for a customer number and password, which then enables that person to access the prices on the website and place an order.

In Boyton (and surrounding area) we have seven households who regularly place an order, and two people who alternate placing the order. We sometimes split packs with each other so that we don’t end up with too much of any one item. We generally put in an order every other month.

It’s not only food that can be bought in bulk – you can also buy things like toilet rolls, washing powder, nappies, soap and shampoo. Read the rest of this entry »

Image

(C) Robert Stead

Read the rest of this entry »

The early shift

Our first pressing…

CHEERS – from the early shift

After a fallow 2012, a windfall of Boyton Scrumpers turned out for a busy couple of hours to chop, mush, press and bottle a bumper crop of apples. With specialist equipment hired, we took a chance with the Autumnal weather and set to work alfresco.

Bags, boxes and barrow loads of locally grown, hand-picked produce appeared. A production line formed. Windfalls, cookers and eaters processed. Two brown wheelie bins of pulp were filled. After spillages, over 50 litres of delicious freshly squeezed apple juice was generated. Read the rest of this entry »

This year seems to be much better than last for some apple trees. If so, why not come and press a few to make your own juice. We have hired a professional masher and fruit press. Tastes delicious with windfalls, cookers or eaters. Freeze blue bags are provided. Suggested donation to cover hire charges is just £3 per household.

Just turn up with whatever you have 2-4pm Saturday 12 October.

The Community Herb Garden has been looking lovely in the summer sunshine and the herbs planted last year are now well established.  At the last work party, a line of lavender was put in to form a back boundary.  Thank you to the villagers and relatives who donated plants.

The Boyton Oil Syndicate bulk order in June was the biggest yet!  32,000 litres and 32 customers, who each saved over £49 on a 1000 litre order. That’s £1,568 on the whole order that is still in people’s pockets!  The order was delivered promptly in two 20,000 litre tanks – so there were fewer tankers rumbling through our lanes – an added saving.

Boyton Inn was open in June – and there was just enough sun to sit out with a glass of Pimm’s! Table football, games of Jenga and visiting dogs made for a lively evening – and there were excellent snacks too.  A mystery has yet to be solved though: who has the ‘silver spoon’ that was awarded for the tastiest snack at the last Inn of 2012? Can we have it back please, for next time?
The next meeting is on Saturday 27th July, 10 am at Chesterfield Lodge (411203). All welcome as always.

Mountain of rubbish

Mountain of rubbish

Following the successful road side litter pick 2012, this year all the villages from across the Bawdsey Peninsula agreed to take part in a co-ordinated litter pick on Saturday 23 March.

Despite the appalling weather, most of the Parish Councils managed to get out before the relentless snow covered everything. Between them all we cleared over 50 sacks of rubbish from the roadside verge, making a mountain of black bags to add to the huge pile of detritus that the SWT group collected earlier in the week from Lower Hollesley Common. Had the snow not fallen I dread to thing just how much more would have been retrieved from the roadsides.

Some of the strange and dangerous items found included: 25 car tyres; loads of part used motor oil containers; broken washing baskets; a headboard; carpet and underlay; a rusty wheelbarrow, and lots more.

This was all made possible thanks to each Parish Council who nominated a lead for their village to do what they could –

Please Don't Dump

This is a ‘pile of rubbish’ sign

Alderton, Bawdsey, Boyton, Butley, Capel St Andrew, Hollesley, Shottisham, Sutton & Sutton Heath, as well as a working party from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Plus the generous support of Suffolk Coast & Heaths who kindly provide all the equipment needed to make it easier for communities to just get on and do it, as well as Suffolk Coastal District Council waste services who kindly collected everything we found.

Below are a few more pictures from this years efforts – sadly due to the weather people didn’t hang around long enough for me to get any photos of the real hero’s who turned out despite the weather and make such a positive contribution to our pretty little corner of Suffolk… thank you all – you know who you are (and enjoy your cream egg).

Should anyone else be inspired to do something similar there is a useful online guide on the Ipswich Borough Council website for community litter picks. Radio Suffolk continue to run their successful Don’t be a Tosser campaign and can help you too.

And finally, a couple of feedback comments received – feel free to add your own using the feedback entry below…

“…if I can please ask you to pass on our sincere thanks to all involved in whatever way. We are very grateful for the massive contribution to looking after this area of the AONB, but as always it’s such a shame that this kind of effort and activity is needed at all.”
Lynn Allen – Countryside Officer, Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB

Impressive stuff – must be great to get such a tangible action done.”
Simon Amstutz is the Dedham Vale AONB Manager and Planning & Development Officer.

After a slow start to the year things are starting to pick-up for the community group with an active calendar of events forming….

  • Beachwatch, the litter pick along the river, will take place on Saturday 16 March, meeting at the Village Hall at 2.00pm. Contact Keith Lilley
  • Peninsula litter pick, Sat 23 March. Most of the villages on the Peninsula have agreed to coordinate a mass roadside litter pick on this weekend to help keep our verges and environment cleaner and smarter for visitors and wildlife to benefit. We hope to improve on last years achievement – see map for details of confirmed pickings. Contact Andrew for details or call 411720.
  • Boyton Inn should resume in April, running through the summer to September – Saturdays at 7.30pm at the village hall. Watch this space and Village Voices for further details.
  • Birds & Brunch is a new event, planned for Bank Holiday Monday, 6 May. This will involve a guided walk around the marshes, village or forest, looking to see what birds are breeding or passing through, followed by refreshments in the village hall. There will be a small charge for this event with all proceeds going towards the community group running costs. Booking will be necessary with charges at £5 per person for Birds & Brunch. For enquiries or bookings contact Gary Lowe on 01394 411203 or e-mail gary.lowe1957@btinternet.com.
  • Apple Day, we hope this year will have a good enough harvest, in anticipation we have provisionally booked the apple press, apple dryer and peelers for Saturday 12 October so hold that date and pray for a mild spring

The community group received a few suggested amendments to the Welcome Pack. A revised version is now available. We want to keep this document up to date and accurate, so suggestions for further changes are always welcome.

For those interested in switching to a green energy provider, please consider using Co-operative Energy. Speak to Andrew on 411720 or e-mail Boyton.co2@btinternet.com for more information. It is possible you and the community group could each make £25 from switching, as well as benefiting from a greener tarrif.

Finally, in our last article, we asked whether there was any interest in setting up a pig project. That did not provoke much reaction but there does seem to be some interest in setting up a Boyton Beekeepers group. Get in touch with Gary, as above, if you want to know more.

For more information, including copies of the Welcome Pack, minutes of meetings and much more of interest, visit the group’s website, as above.

The next meeting will be on Saturday 30 March at Chesterfield Lodge, Boyton, starting at 10.00am and hopefully finishing by noon.

Gary Lowe
February 2013

Three events you that may be of interest:

  • SCCP Green Deal briefing – Sat 16 Feb
  • Greenprint Forum Launch – Thur 7 Mar
  • Streetwise Transition Streets Training – Sat 20 Apr

SCCP Green Deal briefing event
Saturday 16th February,  12-2pm  at East Green Energy show room.
East Green Energy showroom, 26 Quayside, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 1BH

A briefing will cover the Green Deal and how we can all benefit from it – homeowners, tenants and businesses can now make energy efficiency improvements to their home/business – like having solid wall insulation (where no cavity walls exist) and new double glazing installed – paid for by the expected energy savings made on their fuel bill.

The good news is that Suffolk has been selected as one of the few pilot Green Deal Pioneer Places in the UK, and so you can now get a free Green Deal Assessment (normally costing about £100) from our pilot partner and Green Deal provider Aran Services, who are based here in Suffolk. There is extra help for those living in homes without mains gas and/or in properties without cavity walls. Andrew Jackson will also be giving a 5 minute brief on the Community Environmental Action Fund and how it could benefit your community see SCDC website for more information

Please book your place on the event by sending an email John Taylor. Refreshments provided.

Launch of the East Coast Greenprint Forum.
Thursday 7 March, Greenprint Forum, 5.30pm – 9pm,
Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew.

Part of Climate Week and Fairtrade Fortnight.

The Greenprint Forum Steering Group we would like to invite you to the Formal Launch of the East Coast Greenprint Forum.

You will get a chance to talk over food to community environmental support organisations and communities who are ‘doing it for themselves’ in Suffolk Coastal and Waveney and beyond. Indeed you may well wish to put yourself forward as one of the stalls.

Through a talk and open session you will be exploring Fairtrade (Waveney District Council is a Fairtrade Council and Suffolk Coastal will be considering this in due course) and local food. There will also be a workshop on how the Suffolk Hedgerow Survey can be taken forward. Further information and an event programme.

If you represent a community, an organisation, or a group that is making  (or trying to make) a difference in East Suffolk or are an individual looking to start one book your place now to avoid disappointment. Please contact Andrew Jackson or call 01394 444218.

To reduce the amount of travel that people have to do, encourage use of public transport and cater for those that are not able to drive far in the dark we will be trying to link people together for car sharing, please indicate on the booking form if you require or can give a lift.

One of our groups is supporting the Family in Need food parcel appeal – it would be wonderful if you are coming if you could also bring some suitable non-perishables (Families in Need Foodbank).

Streetwise – Transition Streets Training
Saturday 20 April, 9:00
– 17:30.

This 1 day free training course provides the basis for running a Transition Streets (TS) project whereby Street by street behaviour change is introduced which will benefit the people involved and the environment. Transitions Streets originated in Totnes under the name of Transition Together. Based on 468 households from 56 groups the average saving per household is around £570 per year and 1.3 tonnes of CO2 per year’. ‘The greatest benefit of participating was the new social connections and the strengthening of local community.’ Free to attend but you must register as places are limited. See Streetwise flyer for details

Book cover

Book cover

First, some background: Richard Heinberg is an American academic who has written extensively on environmental and economic issues. He works at the Post Carbon Institute and his previous books include ‘Peak Everything’, ‘The Party’s Over’ and ‘Power Down’, all of which look at resource depletion and particularly at our reliance on fossil fuels. This new book draws together many of those issues but looks at them from the perspective of our current recession.

The essential message of the book is that a number of factors are coming together which will mean that there is no long term prospect of continuing to live the way that we do at the moment. Those factors are:

  • Resource Depletion: many of Richard’s earlier books detail the background to peak oil. It is sobering to realise the extent to which our whole way of life is dependent on fossil fuels, from industrialisation to agriculture to transportation, through to the more mundane uses that we take for granted. Our society relies on the huge amounts of stored energy that are being released in the use of fossil fuels and it is that which allows our planet to support a population of seven billion, when the sustainable level is something like two to three billion. The discovery of this energy source has been likened to the humankind winning the lottery – unfortunately it has largely been squandered for short term gain.

While oil is the bedrock of our society, the extent to which we are using up other, non-renewable resources may not be as widely known. The book details a whole host of other irreplaceable elements and compounds that we are rapidly depleting.

  • Environmental Impacts: the effects of extraction and use of resources on the environment has also been well documented and is likely to worsen.
  • Financial Disruptions: a key element of the book’s argument is that the current socio-economic system is reliant on growth that can no longer be sustained. The scale of the world economy that has been created as a result of the availability of the cheap energy source that is fossil fuels means that it has to rely on debt; money is created by debt and to pay the interest on that debt requires constant growth. If the earth’s resources are finite, then it stands to reason that such growth cannot be sustained indefinitely. If it is a bubble that is reliant on oil and oil is running out, then it would seem that we are reaching that stage.

The book goes on to look at the likely effects of innovation and substitution. Having come to the conclusion that these cannot bridge the gaps that are starting to show, it looks at some possible scenarios if nothing is done to change the way that we live. It then moves to look at possible approaches to managing the problem. The conclusion is that we must look to create a sustainable society with a steady-state economy based on more responsible use of our natural resources.

That is all well and good but it begs the question why this is not being addressed in any serious manner by the world’s governments. An interesting part of the book looks at why that may be the case. It cites research that shows that selfish behaviour is an innate survival mechanism that is hard-wired into our brains: we would much rather take a short term reward than plan ahead. Is there any hope? There are learned behaviours of self-restraint and empathy for others but the depressing conclusion is that the short-term, selfish view is likely to prevail until such time as the situation worsens to the extent that action is better than no action. Unfortunately, by then it may well be too late!

This is only a very brief overview of the book. It is meticulously researched and the arguments are well presented. I would urge everyone to read it; if anyone wants to borrow my copy, please get in touch.

Gary Lowe.

published by Clairview (ISDN 978 1 905570 33 1)