Toxic chemicals in bamboo food and drink containers

We are sorry to have to share this information. Many people have made the effort to switch to reusable food and drinks containers made of bamboo. This is forwarded from the CHEM Trust: ‘Bamboo cups and tableware might seem like a good alternative to plastic, but a statement from The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) highlights chemical concerns associated with this popular alternative. To make the bamboo coffee cups and tableware, bamboo fibres are often combined with melamine-formaldehyde resin (MFH). However, BfR warns that when the bamboo products are heated, the melamine and formaldehyde can migrate from the material into food. Formaldehyde is known to be hazardous, and is suspected to cause cancer and to damage DNA, while studies have suggested that melamine could damage the kidneys. Formaldehyde was released from 366 of the cups and bowls tested, and melamine from 291 products. The levels of formaldehyde released[…]

Read more
Amnesty International logo banner

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[…]

Read more

Building Resilience in Low-Income Communities

By Ellie Stevens of The Centre for Sustainable Energy. ‘What happens to low-income households whose energy bills suddenly increase – for example because prices rise dramatically or they experience a change in circumstances such as an elderly relative living at home. And how can such households and their neighbourhoods be supported to become more ‘energy resilient’? These are questions we at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) are exploring through Powering Up!, a 3-year project funded by the Friends Provident Foundation. We’re working in three low-income communities – Druffyn in Newport, Penhill in Swindon and Hamp in Bridgwater. The project started with a six-month ethnographic study undertaken by Bradon Smith in partnership with Bath University, which involved in-depth interviews and a workshop with three residents in each community. So what did we learn during the research? Firstly, that energy reduction is not a priority for most people we spoke to[…]

Read more

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 .

Read more

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[…]

Read more

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[…]

Read more
Plastic Pollution Action Plan placard

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[…]

Read more
Ecobricks launch article banner

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,[…]

Read more

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[…]

Read more