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Parish Grasslands Climate Action

March
2020

All our events have had to be postponed until further notice. However they will resume as soon as it is possible to hold them safely.
In the meantime we will hold some digital hub meetings, and will inform hub members about these by email.

The Parish Grasslands Project decided that 2020 was the "ear when we should actively start to address the climate emergency. When we were set up nearly 20 years ago our efforts were focused on wild flower meadow conservation. While that is still our principal concern, over the years our scope has widened to include all aspects of the environment. It seemed appropriate therefore that as an environmental organisation we should engage with the most fundamental environmental problem of the age.

2020 marks the beginning of a decade during which, sooner or later, we will all have to make changes in how we live to try to reduce the rate of global warming. By the end of the decade we will have no choice, we will have been forced to adapt many aspects of our daily lives in response to its effects. The storms of February 2020, which brought flooding into the heart of our own community, were a reminder that climate change is a problem which does not only affect those in distant continents.

The goal is to find ways in which our two rural parishes, St Briavels and Hewelsfield & Brockweir, can work together to reduce our combined carbon footprint. After discussing this ambition with others in the community, we formed a working group and decided to break down the problem into five areas of action: energy, transport, food, land use and stuff (consumption/waste). We have set up hubs to address each of these areas. We launched the scheme with a meeting in the Mackenzie Hall, Brockweir on February 1 2020 (report below). The various hubs act relatively independently and hold meetings to plan their activities and events.

Events in the pipeline

Three of the hubs, Transport, Energy and Stuff, held their first meetings in February. Here is a list of further activities. Please come along to any of these meetings or events that take your fancy. They are open to anyone from the local community.

Food Hack & Ferments

Saturday 7 March, 7pm at the Brockweir Village Shop Loft: Do you know your kombucha from your kimchi, sauerkraut from sourdough? Join us for an informal gathering and learn how to use fermentation and other preserving techniques. If you already make your own then bring along a sample to share and tell us your top tips.

Transport hub follow-up meeting

Wednesday 11 March, 7pm at the Loft

Stuff hub meeting

Monday 16 March, 7pm at the Loft. Brainstorming session: bring your ideas of how we can tackle problems relating to consumption and waste

Brockweir wildlife walk

Sunday 5 April 2pm - 4pm starting at the Loft. Wild flower identification, bird boxes, community wildlife project. Please book your place at wcivillages@gmail.com

Electric bike and car demonstrations

Saturday 25 April, 11am till 1.00pm, Mackenzie Hall. Come along to test ride an electric bike and to find out about electric cars from their owners. Plus fun bikes and even a penny-farthing.

Renewable energy open house weekends

April 25 - 26 and May 16 - 17. Householders with various forms of renewable energy technology, including retro-fitted insulation, will demonstrate these to visitors. Anyone with suitable energy technology who is willing to be an open day host, or who can suggest possible hosts, is asked to email mike.topp@yahoo.co.uk with details

Midsummer Festival

Saturday June 20. Plans are at an early stage, more details later. In the meantime, save the date!

Mike Topp

Cake and Climate Change Bake Off

March
2020

Polar bear cake

We’ve become used to hearing how climate change is affecting distant continents. However in recent weeks its effects have been all too evident on our collective doorstep. Storm Dennis brought flooding and disruption into our community, and that surely underlines the validity of the climate change initiative launched last month.

We got off to an excellent start. The Cake and Climate Bake Off at the Mackenzie Hall on February 1 drew a crowd of about 120, including many young families. It was gratifying to see the hall buzzing with engagement and enthusiasm. The bake off proved hugely popular. A total of 26 magnificent cakes were entered in four categories. Also massively popular, particularly with the children, was the appearance of Bjorn the polar bear. We're very fortunate to have a hot line from Brockweir to the polar regions, which enabled us to arrange his visit.

Then there was the more serious business of the afternoon. We adopted and adapted the concept of speed dating to launch our five climate change hubs: Food, Transport, Energy, Land use and Stuff (aka consumption and waste). Each hub had a table with details of plans for events and action, and audience members were invited to sign up at any hub that interested them. After 10 minutes a bell was rung and everyone was invited to move to another hub. Each hub attracted a great deal of interest and about 75 people signed up as supporters, in many cases signing on with more than one hub.

Hats off to all those who entered cakes in the Bake off. Congratulations to the winners in each category: best looking cake, Alison Macklin; best tasting, Liz, Frank and Karla Garnham; best "free from", Matthew Stone; most outrageous, the Hulme family.

Mike Topp