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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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[…]

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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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Serious omissions From Swindon’s Local Plan

SCAN are currently working alongside other local people and groups, including Extinction Rebellion and parish councils, to address changes to / omissions from the Local Plan. At a time when we need to be addressing environmental issues, facilitating vital changes, the Local Plan includes less environmental stipulation; for example, a section on sustainable development has been removed. This letter to the Swindon Advertiser from Jane Milner-Barry, councillor for Old Town and East Wichel, explains further: ‘Local Plan Review: Swindon residents who care about cutting carbon emissions have until 23 September to help shape a crucial document that will determine the development of our town for years to come. A revised draft of Swindon’s Local Plan is now out for public consultation. This hugely important document will decide how many houses get built and where they go. It will also decide whether Swindon gets on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions[…]

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Ecobricks in Swindon

This article contains information on what an ecobricks is, how they’re used, how to make them properly and tips on making them. Please fully read the information, including links, before contacting us with queries. Thanks. What is an ecobrick and why is it important? ‘An Ecobrick is a reusable building block created by packing clean and dry used plastic into a plastic bottle to a set density.   Ecobricks enable us to take personal responsibility for our plastic’ ‘When we save, segregate and pack plastics into bottles, we can make building blocks that can be reused over and over again. Together we can build green spaces that enrich our community and remove plastic from the biosphere.  Together we can transition from plastic to ever greener harmony with Earth’s cycles.’ Ecobricks are a way to deal with some of the vast amounts of plastic pollution out there. It is important to understand[…]

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‘My Town, My World’

Sustainability and Community Art Project and Workshop *Update – The mural is complete. Article to follow shortly. As part of the Plastic Free Swindon campaign, SCAN have been working with Artsite, InSwindon BID and local businesses to produce a town centre mural and to run a one-day workshop. The town centre is in much need of regeneration. This project is about hope, community, creativity and sustainability. It is designed to reinvigorate community art in the town centre and provide a positive space with activities and information. Thanks to InSwindon BID for funding the project and helping to organise these events. Two muralists have been chosen have been chosen to create the mural on Regent Street in town:Martin Travers is an experienced muralist who grew up in Swindon. He ‘travels the world painting murals and working on community arts projects’. Martin will be mentoring local muralist Peter Cowdy who has done[…]

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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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