Earth Day COVID Recovery Wisdom from the UN

“We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future,” said UN chief António Guterres on Earth Day. “I am therefore proposing six climate-related actions to shape the recovery and the work ahead. First: as we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition. Second: where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth. Third: fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient. Fourth: public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate. Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution. Fifth: climate risks[…]

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Tree planting / conservation activities *updated 6th March’ 2020

*Penhill tree planting is now confirmed. Trees play a vital role in the health of our planet, providing habitat, allowing us to breath, storing carbon dioxide, preventing flooding… SCAN support Friends of the Earth campaigns to double the amount of tree cover in each region of the UK, and to make our towns and cities ten times greener. The UK is the second least wooded country in Europe (after Ireland). In Swindon, we need to create more green spaces. We currently have 8% tree cover. The more urban areas of Swindon fare worse. This compares to Bath 20%, Salisbury 19.8%, Newbury 22%, Abingdon 16.3%, Oxford 21.4%, Gloucester 13.6%, Cheltenham 12.8%, Bristol 18.6%. SBC has introduced a 30% target but it is difficult to see how that will be achieved as trees continue to be cut down for housing developments. There are tree planting and other conservation activities planned around Swindon.[…]

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Redlands – revised plans ignore Tree Protection Orders and proper planning procedures

See here for background on the proposed Redlands development. SBC agreed in January 2020’s full council meeting to a target of 30% tree coverage, up from the current 8%. How can this be achieved if we continue to fell trees for housing developments? Trees are a home for wildlife,they release oxygen and use carbon dioxide. They can also prevent erosion and flooding. Removing trees and bushes contributes to climate change and loss of biodiversity, causing environmental collapse. Sharing the housing we have, developing on brownfield sites and housing regeneration are better options. Over 70 trees with Tree Protection Orders in place will be felled if full permission is granted for the revised proposals for the Redlands development. It begs the question, what good are Tree Protection Orders if they can be ignored? Planting new trees is beneficial but will take many years to provide the same benefits as mature trees,[…]

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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[…]

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Plastic Free Swindon banner

Plastic Free Swindon – simple guide

*Last updated 2nd February 2020. We have put together this simple guide to reducing plastic. Working together as part of the global Break Free From Plastic movement, we can eliminate plastic pollution. This is a work in progress; as the campaign expands so, will it. Supporting zero waste, local, independent and organic has many benefits for the health of people, animals and the environment. Fortunately for Swindon, we have a couple of brilliant community shops that support these important aspects: Nude Foods is the new zero waste co-operative, launched on April 17th 2019. *Update – Sadly Nude Foods stopped trading in January 2020. An announcement is to follow shortly. Founded in 1976, Swindon Pulse Wholefoods is a co-operative that sells a variety of local, organic produce, increasingly providing options for zero waste. Refill Swindon launched in September 2018. It is part of the growing international Refill scheme. For those of[…]

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Save Redlands Copse update – Revision of plans and improper planning procedure

Developers for the proposed Redlands development, Backhouse, have notified SBC that they are to revise their plans for the development. This comes after high levels of objection from local people, both through the planning portal and petition. Planning procedures don’t appear to have been followed properly, as this letter from SBC’s consultant ecologist shows. A demonstration took place at the Planning Committee meeting on the 12th November 2019 to show objection to the development. It was covered in this article by the Swindon Advertiser. We are waiting to see when the proposed development will be on the Planning Committee meeting agenda. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you informed.

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Refill Swindon – stations list

Here ‘s the current list of businesses who support Refill in Swindon, complete with addresses, links and a handy search function. Thanks to local businesses for supporting this simple scheme to reduce single-use plastic bottles. Refill is growing, now international. Working together, we can reduce plastic pollution. We urgently need to. Search Please contact us if you would like to support Refill. It’s easy to do and makes a difference. © Refill

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Save Redlands Copse: Petition

Please sign and share the petition to save Redlands Copse. Redlands Copse is a mature, mixed woodland of 200 native trees, home to deer, foxes, badgers, bats, slow-worms and over 60 species of bird, some on the ‘threatened’ list . Construction company Backhouse wants to cut down 97 of these trees for their proposed 65 home development. This is despite the trees having Tree Protection Orders placed on them by Swindon Borough Council and despite Highworth Town Council rejecting the application. In a time of deepening ecological crisis, we need to make a stand, and we need your help! This is phase 2 of the campaign. Phase 1, raising objections to the development, completed on the 15th October 2019.

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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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