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Amnesty and the Climate Crisis

‘For nearly six decades Amnesty International members around the world have been holding governments to account for their violations of basic human rights. What began in 1961 as a campaign to free Prisoners of Conscience is now a global movement that works to protect people from a broad range of human rights abuses in order to create a safer, more just world for us all. A key priority now is to hold governments to account for their inaction over the climate emergency. The need to put people and their human rights at the centre of the climate debate is increasingly urgent. Whether it is floods, drought, rising sea levels or burning rainforest, the climate crisis threatens rights across the board: the right to food and water, health, housing and homes, livelihoods, culture and development and, of course, the right to life itself. It impacts upon each and every one of[…]

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Greener UK and Brexit

“The risk to the environment of the latest Brexit deal is high”, according to Greener UK, a coalition of NGOs including Friends of the Earth who are analysing the environmental consequences of Brexit deals and other government policies. See their webpage https://greeneruk.org/ and this 2-page briefing: https://greeneruk.org/…/Greener_UK_October_deal_briefing.pdf .

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Equality and the Environment – Swindon Equality Group

‘Equality matters in terms of health and happiness, but surprising new data reveals that it is also better for the environment – in the more equal rich countries, people on average consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon.’– Danny Dorling: Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford. Author of books on equality such as ‘The Equality Effect’. The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. Besides causing enormous suffering to people / communities / society (see the research published in ‘The Spirit Level’ book), the effects of inequalities on the environment are increasingly being realised. Check out this article, ‘The Rich, Poor and the Earth‘ by Danny Dorling, for an overview. Swindon Equality Group (SEG) are affiliated to the Equality Trust. They campaign locally to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing socio-economic inequality, of vital importance for[…]

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Eastcott Historical Tour Litter Pick

Sunday 6th October, 2-5pm. Swindon Climate Action Network and Eastcott Community Organisation organised this litter pick with a twist. The Eastcott area is steeped in history. Andy Binks, of Swindon Society and Swindon Heritage, provided us with some cultural and historical information as we restored some cleanliness and pride to the local area. Eastcott, like other areas of Swindon, has problems with litter. We covered a good area including the park by Savernake Street Social Hall, and alleyways that attract rubbish of all sorts, large and small. We finished the litter pick in Radnor Street Cemetery, resting place to 30,000 people! We looked around the old chapel in the centre of the cemetery, which has memories of Swindon’s past, especially the world wars. In the warmer months, Swindon Society put on tours of the cemeteries, including Radnor Street, where they share information on the lives of people buried in the[…]

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Write to your MP – plastic legislation

There are two simple actions on this page to encourage MPs to implement the legislation that we urgently need to phase out plastic pollution. Friends of the Earth have produced a Plastic Pollution Bill to phase out plastics. It forms effective legislation to do so: End the use of non-essential single-use plastics by 2025. Progressively reduce the overall use of non-essential plastic in England. Prevent plastic pollution of the environment as a result of human activity as a result of human activity as far as is possible using the best practical means by 2042. Progressively eliminate plastics pollution from the environment and where it is not possible to prevent or eliminate pollution, the pollution must be minimised as far as is possible using the best practicable means. 1. Write to your MP. We have a template letter that you can cut and paste. If you’re not sure who the MP[…]

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Ecobricks Tips

Here’s a few tips that we hope that you will find useful: Watch the videos on the ecobricks website. Only use clean, dry, non-biodegradeable plastic. Any organic material can cause the bottle to explode. No metal / foil, as used in some crisp packets and sweet wrappers. Again, see the ecobricks website for further detail. Start with smaller bottles, if you have them. They are easier to get right. Intersperse the lighter plastic with the more rigid plastic to maximise the density. Start with lighter / easily crushable plastic. Scrunching it up a few times first makes it easier to compact in. Cut the more rigid plastic up and insert it in small layers. Weigh your bottle frequently to ensure that you achieve the correct density. If you are filling a bit at a time, make sure you compact the partly filled bottles again before you start adding more plastic,[…]

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CHEESE at Penhill – Warm Homes project at the Community Cafe

Tuesday 26th February, 1-3pm at John Moulton Hall, Penhill Drive, Swindon SN2 5DU. The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) was at the Penhill community cafe to share the results of the CHEESE thermal image surveys taken from inside a couple of Penhill properties. The findings were discussed as well as ways to reduce fuel bills / conserve energy. Discussion was had as well about how to facilitate that for the local community. Draught-proofing is the most important and cost effective way to save energy in most houses – cold air leaking in through small cracks can replace the warm air in a room or house quite quickly. But finding where the cold air is coming in can be challenging. There is a lot more that can be done. Spreading information is a big part of the process of change. CHEESE (Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts) was started by someone I[…]

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Personal Actions In Context

This chart is a useful illustration to give a quantitative idea of the relative benefits of different personal life choices. Not everything is on there, and of course the relative importance of medium impact actions in an individual case depends on how much travel, energy and food consumed. However for an average household, most of the things that have the biggest effect on climate change and the attendant environmental degradation are represented. It is based on research at Lund University: for more detail see here: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-effective-individual-tackle-climate-discussed.html The main thing missing I think for a typical UK household is halving heat wasted in the home: but the ‘buying green energy’ bar gives an idea of the relative importance. It’s also important to note that ‘buying green energy’ means buying it from a supplier who only invests in green energy, not just using a ‘green tariff’ – see their full report for[…]

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