2nd May – Electric Cars

On the 2nd May, we welcomed Trevor Larkum from Fuel Included. Trevor brought his fully electric car for us to look at and kindly did a Q & A session for us.

As you might expect we covered all aspects of owning an electric car, including range, recharging points, costs, carbon footprint from manufacture to recycling and all the other essentials.

Perhaps more interesting for me was the move into home battery storage for night time power supply. The systems are now available to store unused daytime PV electricity instead of feeding it into the grid. With the reduction of Feed-In Tariffs (they will go all together on new installations) this goes a long way to improving the payback time especially when this is coupled with the reduction in solar panel costs! Use of a ‘Green Energy’ electricity supplier is as always, a key part of reducing the carbon footprint of any system.  Of course, nothing beats using less energy so improving insulation to in the home is a top choice.

 

Northampton: Sustainable Food City?

Access to locally produced, healthy food is a vital part of any sustainable strategy for local places.

As part of Northampton Transition Town’s work, we are hoping to have Northampton recognised as a Sustainable Food City, through registration with the international network of food cities. Read about them here: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/about

We aim to produce a sustainable food strategy for Northampton before the end of 2018, which will address the 6 key principles recommended:

  1. Promoting healthy and sustainable food to the public
  2. Tackling food poverty, diet-related ill health and access to affordable healthy food
  3. Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects
  4. Promoting a vibrant and diverse sustainable food economy
  5. Transforming catering and food procurement
  6. Reducing waste and the ecological footprint of the food system

To help us create this strategy we will create a vibrant network of local people and organisations representing the range of public, third sector and business organisations in our town, representing all of those interested in a heathy sustainable food system that benefits growers, consumers and suppliers alike.

We will gradually add partnership supporters as they are recruited.

If you want to join the network, or get involved, contact David Garlick, 07905082438; email: davidgarlick3a@gmail.com

‘Grow your own – reconnect with the natural world – improve your well being

Grow Local – shop Local – grow the Local economy’

4th October – End Hunger UK

This Wednesday, 4th October, we welcomed Rachel McGrath.  Rachel is the Grant Director and Deputy CEO for the Northamptonshire Community Foundation and has supported UKCF, the national network of Community Foundations in developing a resource for foundations to measure the impact of grantmaking. Rachel is also working with the Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network and we will send you an update to them explaining how you can help. Committed to responding to the needs of people on the ground, however, understanding that this should only be a short-term need.

Rachel spoke eloquently about the work of The End Hunger UK Campaign and the work they are doing to raise support for the School Holidays (Meals and activities) Bill that Frank Field M.P. has presented to Parliament.  Philip Hollobone M.P. is the only Northamptonshire M.P. that has pledged to support the Bill although 126 in total have signed up. The Bill is due for its second reading on the 19th January 2018 so you have plenty of time to contact your local MP and ask him to support the Bill something that we can do which would help enormously.

In the discussion that followed Rachel highlighted the great work being done by over 2000 foodbanks who together with other community groups are seeking to offer immediate help to those in need. What is needed is a living wage and a Benefits structure which enables recipients to both ‘eat and heat’ and not leave them to make a choice between the two!

Check out the website ‘feedingbritain.org’ for more information.

6th September – Elsie’s Cafe

On the 6th September, we were joined by Shena Cooper of the Real Junk Food project. Shena told us all about her group’s successful work in gaining access to food that would otherwise end up wasted and making sure it was used. Shena explained how much good food was being thrown away as ‘use by’, ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates were safeguarding consumers but resulted in perfectly usable food being thrown out too early.

Shena also explained that the major supermarkets could do more to make such food available rather than send it to landfill and while they all offered help only Morrisons were fully engaged in the scheme. Elsie’s café in the Community Centre on the Exeter Road estate would love to see you for a ‘pay as you feel’ lunch (remember they have expenses even though they are volunteers) See their website for opening times.

 

Study reveals your nitrogen footprint – and who it is impacting (Guardian)

You’ve heard of managing your carbon footprint. But how about your nitrogen footprint? Emissions of reactive nitrogen into the environment have increased more than 10-fold over the past 150 years, contribute to deaths from air pollution and water pollution, and have countless other impacts including acid rain and degradation of ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Now, for the first time, researchers have calculated the average nitrogen footprint of people from 188 countries, as well as where exactly they cause that pollution, helping pave the way to policy that could help the world reduce its emissions of reactive nitrogen.

Almost 80% of the atmosphere is made of nitrogen in the form of N2. But in that form it hardly interacts with other chemicals – so it is not useful for humans or plants, and it is not harmful either. And for most of Earth’s history, pretty much the only way N2 could be turned into a reactive form like ammonia or nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) was either by bacteria, lightning and legumes.

Energy at an industrial scale

Driven by rapid expansion in developing countries, new installations of carbon-free renewable power plants in 2014 surpassed 100,000 megawatts of capacity for the first time, according to the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report. It appears that renewable energy is now entering the market at a scale that is relevant in energy industry terms – and at a price that is competitive with fossil fuels.

For more read the full article on Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2015/apr/20/renewable-energy-global-trends-solar-power