Monday, 17 December 2012

Use the Carbon Account to monitor your carbon footprint.





If you want a carbon calculator that is a bit more sophisticated than the eco-congregation calculator
you may wish to try the Carbon Account website: www.thecarbonaccount.com.
It allows you to input data from your gas or electricity meter, car mileage and flights and presents
the results in a good graphical display.

They also offer to set up group accounts if your congregation is interested.

But be warned: you may be shocked at what you find. Despite reducing my heating bills, driving a
small fuel efficient car and trying not to fly my footprint still appears to be on the wrong side of five
tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Guilty!

Adrian Shaw

Friday, 7 December 2012

Faith in Food blog about Fairtrade shares the Christmas story

Blog from Faith in Food:

Make it a Meaningful Christmas…

Photo borrowed from: http://www.meaningfulchristmas.co.uk/
At least 20 million Christmas trees are decorated in Britain every year – but just seven per cent of people aged between 18 and 24 know the Christmas story, according to research by The Meaningful Chocolate Company (MCC).

To jog their memories and help them pass on the story to young members of their families, the Manchester-based MCC has produced a booklet to accompany its Fairtrade Belgian chocolate decorations this year.

MCC has produced a booklet to accompany its Fairtrade Belgian chocolate decorations this year. The booklet means adults and children can share the Christmas story while placing nativity character stickers on the blank discs. Once completed, the five decorations can be hung on the tree as a reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.
David Marshall, from TMMC, said: ‘Research has found that only 12 per cent of adults, and only seven per cent of people aged between 18 and 24, know the Christmas story. So these decorations can help adults communicate the essentials of the Christmas story to the next generation.’

The Meaningful Christmas Tree Decorations cost £4.20 or £4 if more than 20 boxes are ordered at a time. Church orders can be made through www.MeaningfulChristmas.co.uk or exclusively from Traidcraft. Orders should be made by the end of November 2012 as supplies are limited.

More than £60,000 has been raised for charity by TMMC through its Real Easter Egg sales, which has in turn increased the sales of Fairtrade sugar and chocolate. Hundreds of small farmers across Africa have been able to improve their lives as a result.
To read more about The Meaningful Chocolate Company, click here.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Climate Challenge Funding to Youth teams available

HELP TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE!

JOIN THE JUNIOR CLIMATE CHALLENGE FUND
YOUTH GRANTS PANEL

Do you care about climate change? Would you like to be part of something that has the potential to help reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint? Are you aged between 12 and 18?

If you answered “yes” to these three questions, then we’d like to hear from you.

Young Scot and Keep Scotland Beautiful have launched the Junior Climate Challenge Fund (JCCF) Youth Grants Panel.  We’re looking for up to 15 young volunteers from across Scotland to be part of a decision-making panel, working together to choose projects which you think should receive JCCF funding.

This is an important and exciting piece of work. It’s a great chance for you to gain a whole new range of skills and experiences! You don’t need to have formal qualifications, but you must have an interest in issues relating to young people and the environment in Scotland. You should also be a good communicator, be able to understand and listen to other people’s views, work within a group and have the flexibility, commitment and willingness to take part.

These are not paid positions but any necessary travel and accommodation expenses will be provided!  Training and support will also be given, including YouthBank Scotland’s excellent accredited Introduction to Grant Making training.

This is your chance to make a difference so what are you waiting for?! To find out more or to receive an info pack, contact the Young Scot team for free on 0808 801 0338 or email ygp@youngscot.org. You can also download the pack at www.youngscot.org.

Closing date for applications is Monday 7th January 2013.

Global carbon emission growth


The Doha climate Change Conference has been marked by more reports on the growth in carbon emissions.  The latest is from the Global Carbon Project which and summarises global carbon emissions for 2011. Its conclusions are shocking: carbon emissions are increasing and this could mean global temperature increases between 4°C to 6.1°C. 

“CO2 emissions from fossil fuels burning and cement production increased by 3% in 2011, with a total of 9.5±0.5 PgC emitted to the atmosphere (34.7 billion tonnes of CO2). These emissions were the highest in human history and 54% higher than in 1990 (the Kyoto Protocol reference year).

Current trajectories of fossil fuel emissions are tracking some of the most carbon intensive emission scenarios used in the Intergovermental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC). The current trajectory is tracking the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 (of the latest family of IPCC scenarios) that takes the planet to about 4°C to 6.1°C above pre-industrial times by 2100."

You can find out more at the global Carbon Project website: http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/12/hl-full.htm#pathways

By Adrian Shaw

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

2020 Climate Group launch the Waste Pledge for businesses

Businesses across Scotland can sign up to meet the Waste (Scotland) Regulations target comming into force in January 2014 through the 2020 Climate Group. The regulation makes it a legal requirement for all businesses to separate their waste. 

According to SEPA: "The regulations require all non-domestic waste producers to take reasonable steps to ensure the separate collection of metal, plastic, glass, paper and card (including cardboard) from 1 January 2014."


No doubt many of you are already meeting the requirements of this regulation. If your congregation would like to sign up to this commitment please complete this online form: http://www.2020climategroup.org.uk/taking-a-lead-on-the-waste-scotland-regulations/


Friday, 30 November 2012

The Doha Conference


Lower in profile than some of its predecessors, the Doha conference (or the 18th conference of the

parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to give it its highfalutin

title) is the 2012 attempt to push towards an international agreement on climate change.

The stakes could hardly be higher … or expectations lower. To help get you get to grips with the

minutiae try the Climate Network’s daily update ‘Eco’ that you can find here:

http://climatenetwork.org/eco-newsletters

‘ECO is a daily insiders look at what is happening in the negotiations. And perhaps more importantly, what

should happen at the negotiations from CAN’s perspective. ECO is published every day of the negotiations, and has been done so since the Stockholm Environment Conference in 1972.’

‘Eco’ has its moments of fun about the absurdity of some of the negotiations . See its ‘Fossil of the Day’ award.  Give it a try!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Radio Scotland Thought for the Day on Flooding in Comrie

(Thought for the Day, 28 November 2012 - BBC Radio Scotland. From Alastair McIntosh, a Quaker, author and Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology)

Listen to audio version here:


Download


Transcript:

Good Morning

The past ten days have seen thousands of people across England and Wales forced from their homes by flooding, but I myself was behind on the Scottish news, because I’d been out of the country.

Only last weekend did I catch up. I was visiting friends in the tiny Dumfriesshire village of Durrisdeer. It was a Sunday morning, and we went together to the service at the parish Church of Scotland. The preacher was Michael Northcott, an Episcopalian down from Edinburgh University, and his sermon was on the flooding at Comrie in Perthshire.

As one of the Comrie community councillors told the press: “Our Black Monday … will go down as … one of the bleakest seasons in the history of our community…. We have hundreds of residents deeply traumatised, fearful of the future and robbed of their homes.”*

Perth Council is now working on flood defences to prevent a recurrence. But the crux of the minister’s message at Durrisdeer was the strength with which the Comrie folks were looking out for one another, because whole families are taking in other whole families until their homes dry out.

“Jesus didn’t directly teach us to care for the Earth,” was the culmination of the sermon that Sunday. “Jesus taught us to love one another, and that’s the only way we’ll learn how to face the future by caring for the Earth.” 

I was left thinking back three years ago to when the Comrie Development Trust ran a conference on climate change. They were looking at how to reduce the village’s carbon emissions, but also, to strengthen their community resilience – the ability to bounce back from any knocks, by pulling together.

That’s the kind of preparation that’s now paying off in Comrie. That’s what makes this village at its time of greatest trial an inspiration to the whole of Scotland. And that too was the lesson from a tiny congregation in Dumfriesshire: the sheer imperative … of learning how to love one another.

* Perthshire Advertiser, 23 November 2012.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012 by European Environment Agency

The European Environment Agency (EEA) have published a report which presents information on past and projected climate change and related impacts in Europe, based on a range of indicators.

The report also assesses the vulnerability of society, human health and ecosystems in Europe and identifies those regions in Europe most at risk from climate change. Furthermore, the report discusses the principle sources of uncertainty for the indicators and notes how monitoring and scenario development can improve our understanding of climate change, its impacts and related vulnerabilities.

Urban flooding may be of particular interest to us here in Scotland. From the map you can see that the number of heavy rain days are on the increase, particularly in West Scotland.

Map borrowed from EEA: Urban flooding — impervious surfaces reduce the drainage of rain water and increase the risk for urban flooding (http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/urban-flooding-2014-impervious-surfaces)

Key messages from the executive summary include:

  • Climate change (increases in temperature, changes in precipitation and decreases in ice and snow) is occurring globally and in Europe; some of the observed changes have established records in recent years.
  • Observed climate change has already led to a wide range of impacts on environmental systems and society; further climate change impacts are projected for the future.
  • Climate change can increase existing vulnerabilities and deepen socio-economic imbalances in Europe.
  • Damage costs from natural disasters have increased; the contribution of climate change to these costs is projected to increase in the future.
  • The combined impacts of projected climate change and socio-economic development can lead to high damage costs; these costs can be reduced significantly by mitigation and adaptation actions.
  • The causes of the most costly climate impacts are projected to differ strongly across Europe.
  • On-going and planned monitoring and research at national and EU level can improve assessments of past and projected impacts of climate change, thereby enhancing the knowledge base for adaptation.

You can access the report here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Praying for hope amid climate madness – CEL Climate Service 1st of December in London

Logo borrowed from: http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/

From the Christian Ecology Link:

A service of worship in Grosvenor Chapel will precede the annual national Climate March on Saturday 1st December 2012 in Central London.
Christian Ecology Link and Operation Noah will host a Climate Service at 11.00 am on Saturday 1st December 2012 at Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, London W1K 2PA to pray for the success of the current United Nations climate conference in Qatar. The service will be led by the spiritual director Rev. Chris Polhill who is author of the book ‘A Heart for Creation Worship Resources and Reflections on the Environment’.  The Catholic journalist Ellen Teague will speak. All are welcome.
Ruth Jarman, a member of the board of Christian Ecology Link, said:
 ”I think attending a service of worship in this beautiful church a very fitting way to support the march and pray for sense and hope amid the madness of humanity’s paralysis in the face of climate change.”
After the service, attendees will leave the church to join the Climate March organised by the Campaign against Climate Change. The rally will start at Grosvenor Square where a mock pipeline will be built from the Canadian High Commission to the US embassy, after which the demonstrators will march to Westminster to build a giant mock fracking rig outside parliament.
CEL member Jonathan Essex said:
“While Climate Marches might seem a bit ‘too little too late’ this year’s I think falls at a crucial time – not just the international talks hosted by an oil country, but a demo highlighting US focus on fracking which our government seem wedded to as well. And perhaps Sandy’s appearance on the eve of the US election might be a forebearer of a Storm of Hope.”
This week, while Britain saw month-levels of rain in single days, the government published its disappointing Energy Bill.  The Bill specifies no target for making the power sector carbon-free – something that the government’s own independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, says is necessary.

You can access their website for more information here.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Funding to insulate churches and community buildings available

Three possible places to find funding for insulation:

If your church or community building is looking to fund an insulation/energy efficiency project, the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) may be of help.

CCF grants up to £150,000/yr provide funds and support for community groups, (including faith groups), to fit insulation and other energy efficient measures in community owned buildings such as churches and church halls. To qualify for funding these buildings must be owned, managed and used by the community; grants cannot fund projects in buildings that are used exclusively for worship.

For a community group to be eligible for a CCF grant they must be community led, operate on a not-for-profit basis, prove they can achieve measurable cuts in their carbon footprint within their neighbourhood and leave a sustainable legacy in the community.

CCF grants are available until March 2015. For more information and full criteria please see www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/ccf  or call a Development Officer on 01786 468 779.




This site has a funding database and case studies of projects that have received funding, and Rural Direct can offer practical support to find the most appropriate funds.


This site www.scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk/funding-ideas/ also has a good list of possible funders which you can access here.  

Give Toys a New Life by Donating them to the Dunkeld Christmas Fair and support Christian Aid and Rachel House Children’s Hospice

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Good Green Christmas article for your parish magazine from Christian Ecology Link

Simplify!  is a suggested article by the Christian Ecology Link about wasting less this Christmas:

"We are now in the Christmas season, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus who, as far as we know, never had his own home or any possessions to speak of. There were around 200 million people on earth at that time. With 7 billion now, the earth is struggling to cope with all our demands for more and more. We all, in the developed world, need to simplify.

Christmas is a good time to try to limit the amount of new stuff entering our homes. To adults why not give charity gifts such as www.wellsforindia.org and www.coolearth.org, or gifts that are needed anyway – wine, biscuits, chutneys, soap, etc?  And for children, ask a parent what they need and try to give a joint present with someone else or just give a small amount of money.  Maybe the most generous gift of all would be to give nothing but your time."

You can access the full article here.

It is the European Week of Waste Reduction. Help us save unnecessary waste!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Food saving tips from Greener Scotland

Any easy way to save waste is to focus on food! Greener Scotland have some wonderful food saving tips and fun competitions to encourage you to not waste food.

Access their website here.

Their food saving tip competition can be accessed here.

The drawing has been borrowed from: http://www.greenerscotland.org/

It is the European Week of Waste Reduction. Help us save unnecessary waste!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Take part in European Week of Waste Reduction this week!

There will be a range of events taking place all over Scotland to encourage you to reduce your waste this week because it is European Week of Waste Reduction!

Here is information from Zero Waste Scotland:

"Cutting down on waste is the goal of more than 200 actions and events in Scotland this week as individuals, schools, community groups, local authorities, and businesses take part in European Week for Waste Reduction, which runs until this Sunday (27 November)."


Logo borrowed from: http://scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

The week aims to raise awareness of minimising waste, rather than recycling. A big focus this year is on reducing food waste, moving towards becoming a more sustainable and resource efficient society. Scottish households throw away 566,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Over two thirds of this could have been avoided if it had been more effectively planned, stored and managed. Avoidable food waste costs Scotland nearly £1 billion, that’s the equivalent of £430 per household. Love Food Hate Waste Scotland has hints and tips to help you save food and money, particularly useful given the time of year.

Scottish Facebook page

Climate Justice Event in Edinburgh on Wed 28 Nov

Scotland's Role in Delivering Climate Justice
Amnesty International Scotland, Christian Aid Scotland, WWF Scotland and The University of Edinburgh invite you to a very special event examining Scotland's role in delivering climate justice, featuring Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, as keynote speaker.

Scotland is positioning itself as playing a key international role in helping to deliver climate justice, with the world's first parliamentary debate on the subject and the launch of the Climate Justice Fund earlier this year. Taking place during the Doha Climate Change Conference, this event provides an opportunity for Scotland's First Minister to outline how we can take this international role forward; as well as reiterating Scotland's commitment to tackle climate change and the impacts of climate change on the world's most vulnerable communities.

Following the speech there will be a panel discussion featuring the First Minister, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland; Kathy Galloway, Head of Christian Aid Scotland; and Amnesty International. 
The event brings together key individuals and organisations working across the inextricably linked areas of human rights, the environment and international development to inform and debate Scotland's role within climate justice.

The event will be held from 7:30pm on Wednesday 28 November 2012 at the Godfrey Thomson Hall, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh.
Refreshments will be served on arrival.

To register for this FREE event or for more information, please visit: http://scotlandclimatejustice.eventbrite.co.uk

Event programme
7:30pm  Arrivals and refreshments
8.00pm Welcome from Siobhan Reardon (Amnesty International Scotland) and Edinburgh University
8:10pm  First Minister Alex Salmond to deliver keynote speech
8:30pm  Dr Richard Dixon and Kathy Galloway response to First Minister Alex Salmond
8:40pm Q&A / Panel Discussion
9:00pm  Event concludes

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Nature of Scotland Awards is now open for entries!


We have received the following news from the RSPB:

The Nature of Scotland Awards recognizes and rewards those who are making a real difference to the conservation of Scotland’s natural heritage.

The 2013 awards opened for entries on the 14th November 2012.It is free to enter and there are eight categories, each identifying a different area of nature conservation: Marine Conservation; Sustainable Development; Politician of the Year; Innovation; Outstanding Contribution; RSPB Species Champion; Community Initiative; Education. 

If you feel you work with, or know of, an organisation, group or individual who has participated in activity that has aided Scottish nature conservation, we would like to hear from you.

Deadline for submission 15th March 2013.

For more information on how to enter, please visit:

http://www.rspb.org.uk/natureofscotland

We look forward to receiving your entries!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

International Energy Agency - World Energy Outlook 2012

On the 12 November the International Energy Agency published the World Energy Outlook 2012. A
summary of the World Energy Outlook can be downloaded here: http://www.iea.org/

The report makes for grim reading. Oil consumption in China, India and the Middle East continues
to grow with much of this growth down to increases in road traffic, both cars and road freight.
Similarly demand for coal and gas is rising in the same parts of the world. More surprisingly the
report predicts that oil and gas production in the USA will increase as new technologies unlock oil
shale and gas with the result that the USA will become more self-sufficient in oil and gas and that the
price of both will drop in North America.

The new technologies being implemented in the USA includes fracking that has opened up new gas
fields and has reduced the price of gas to American consumers. This may be good news for the US
economy but has potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. The IEA argues that it will
be impossible to limit global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius if these newly accessible
resources of oil and gas are exploited. In fact says the IEA ‘no more than one-third of proven reserves
of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon
capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed.’

This is a stark reminder that the global resources of oil, coal and gas, if fully exploited, will return to
the atmosphere sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide to create climate change impacts that could
be as profound and they are unpredictable. Given our modest success in restraining the use of fossil
fuels and the attraction of cheap oil and gas, this prospect is becoming increasingly likely.

It must be said that the IEA projections have not gone unchallenged. Gail Tverberg has argued that
the projections are unrealistically high and the cost of developing the new resources will slow their
development. You can read her arguments here:
http://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/11/13/iea-oil-forecast-unrealistically-high-misses-diminishing-returns/

The Atlas of Health and Climate by WHO and WMO now available online

Information shared by the Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL)

On the 29 October the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched "The Atlas of Health and Climate" at the World Meteorological Congress in Geneva, Switzerland
. The Atlas highlights current and emerging challenges to human health and showcases how climate services can protect human health through prevention, preparedness and risk management.

Graphs, maps and tables illustrate climate change and health linkages, such as how climate and weather variations affect the incidence of infectious diseases. The Atlas stresses that other types of vulnerability influence the relationship between climate and health, including environmental degradation, poverty, and poor sanitation and water infrastructure.

The Atlas provides case study examples of how information on climate change and variability can protect human health by predicting the onset, intensity and duration of epidemics. It attributes significant decreases in the death toll from cyclones in Bangladesh to early warning systems and preparedness.

The Atlas also shows how health and meteorological services can collaborate to monitor air pollution and health impacts. It notes that shifting to clean household energy sources would save the lives of 680,000 children a year by reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change.

The Atlas includes a preface and three sections on: infections; emergencies; and emerging environmental challenges. The WMC is expected to discuss the structure and implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services, a UN initiative to strengthen climate service provision to benefit society. Its four priorities are disaster risk reduction (DRR), food security, the health sector and water management.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Healthy Hearts Grants (UK) (green exercise type activities can be funded)

If you are planning a Green Pilgrimage you may be able to receive funding from this project.


Heart Research UK has announced the next funding round under its Healthy Heart Grants Scheme will open early January 2013. Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message. 

The types of projects supported in the past have included:

Watford and District YMCA which received funding to work with local schools to encourage children to make healthy lifestyle choices through games and activities.

The Foresight Project in Grimsby which encourages visually impaired people to take regular exercise using tandem bicycles. 

There are two applications rounds per year.  Applications are only accepted during January and February for the May round of grants and July and August for grants awarded in November, each year.
The closing date for the next funding round will be the 28th February 2013.

Click on the link to access their webpage:

Scottish 50% renewable electricity target to be achieved by 2015

The Sustainable Scotland Network and the BBC News have reported that a new target to generate the equivalent of half of Scotland's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2015 has been set by the Scottish Government.

The SNP have stated that the Scotland generated 35% of electrivity from renewable sources in 2011. Mr Alex Salmond  statet that "This target is ambitious, but also achievable. It is based on current data about capacity which is operational, under construction, or has been consented."
The photo was borrowed from: http://www.sustainable-scotland.net/news.asp?id=2479
You can access the full Sustainable Scotland Network article here and the BBC News item here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Further information about Bees and pesticides

Following our previous article about bees and pesticides we have received the following from from Bill Wilson of St John's Kirk, Perth:

As a Beekeeper, I believe that we need to take a precautionary approach to Neonicotinoids even if there is not yet definitive proof of their exact role in bee deaths. There are good grounds for saying they are implicated and whilst further research is carried out, their use on bee pollinated plants should be suspended. We cannot afford to wait until we understand all the mechanisms that may be involved in a complex set of environmental relationships. Bees are vital to human food supplies and we must take a precautionary approach. New research on bumble bee colonies has demonstrated that exposure to two commonly used pesticides at once has a much greater effect than one on its own, leading to weaker colonies and even colony death.

Suspending the use of Neonicitinoids will ensure that the effort into researching their role will be given.
If you agree, I hope you will consider supporting this petition.

Bill



Researchers from Royal Holloway College at the University of London have also done research into this which has recently been published in a letter to Nature magazine.

Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. / Gill, Richard J. ; Ramos-Rodriguez, Oscar ; Raine, Nigel E.
In: Nature, Vol. 491, 2012, p. 105-108.

You can find a summary here.

The full letter can be found here (PDF file).



38 Degrees have now handed in their petition to the government on this issue.

To see a full report of the hand-in go here:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2012/10/23/save-our-bees-petition-hand-in/

Over 75,000 people signed the petition demanding the government protect bees from harmful pesticides. And to remind DEFRA just how important bees are they  presented the petition with a basket of fruit and veg - all pollinated by bees!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ban the pesticides that are harming our bees

The 38 Degrees campaign has made a petition to stop

"Our bees are in danger. Three species of bees are already extinct and others are in rapid decline. Strong evidence points to particular pesticides being to blame for killing them. This week we have a chance to persuade the government to protect our bees and ban these harmful pesticides.


Photo borrowed from: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/ban-the-pesticides-that-are-harming-our-bees#petition
A government consultation on pesticide use ends next Monday. Normally the only people they would hear from would be the strong pesticide industry. But by handing in a large petition, we can make sure that the bees have someone to stand up for them.

Can you sign a petition now to demand the government phase out the pesticides that are killing our bees?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-bees

France and several other European countries have already started banning these pesticides, but the UK government is yet to be convinced. Together, by responding in our thousands, we can send a strong message to the government and counter the lobbying from the pesticide industry.

Last week thousands of 38 Degrees members responded to a poll on what we should be concentrating on together. Over 70% of responses highlighted that protecting bees was an important issue. This week is our chance to do something about it.

Sign the petition now and help save our bees:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-bees"

Tom Ballantine: Climate change talk must be backed by action


The Scotsman newspaper reported on the planned Mass Lobby on 25th of October to put pressure on the Scottish Government to work harder to achieve climate change targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009:

"Climate change talk must be backed by action Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, uses a platform article to encourage the Scottish Government to ‘get their act together’ and start taking action to meet important climate change targets. The piece also promotes a mass lobby event on 25th October which will bring people from across the country face-to-face with their MSPs. They will demand that the Climate change (Scotland) Act be backed up by action and emissions reduction targets met."

You can read the full article by clicking on the link:

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Campaign against Hunterston power station wins prestigious Green Award

From the Hunterston Coalition:

A successful campaign against a damaging coal fired power station at Hunterston in North Ayrshire has won a prestigious Scottish Green Award in the category Outstanding Contribution to the Scottish Environment.

The “Say No to Hunterston” campaign brought together a coalition of local people, environmental NGOs and faith groups in a coordinated effort to halt the development that would have destroyed a large area of a nationally protected wildlife site, and would have compromised the Scottish Government’s ambitious climate change targets.

In June, the campaign celebrated success as the developer withdrew its plans for the site. The announcement followed the four-year campaign which generated over 20,000 objections, making the application the most unpopular in Scottish planning history.

The award was presented at last night’s gala dinner at the Glasgow Science Centre hosted by BBC newsreader Jackie Bird.

Aed├ín Smith, Head of Planning and Development for RSPB Scotland said: “We are delighted that the Say No to Hunterston campaign has been selected for this prestigious award. The success of the campaign is down to the hard work and overwhelming support of coalition partners and members of the public and demonstrates the value of working together to ensure Scotland’s sustainable future. . We will continue to work to protect the Portencross Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Hunterston, so it remains the fantastic wildlife site it is today.”

Dr Sam Gardner, Senior Climate Change Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: “This award is well deserved recognition for the overwhelming public opposition which made plans for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston the most unpopular in Scottish planning history.  This was a victory for people as well as the planet.  Scotland has huge renewable energy resources and it should be concentrating on those instead of being side-tracked by new dirty coal. Let's hope a proposal like this never sees the light of day again."

Tim Cowen, co-chair of Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston (CONCH), said: “The biggest prize we got was when Ayrshire Power withdrew their plans in June. However, it is also good to have all our hard work recognised at such a prestigious event. Before we set up CONCH people told us that there was no point in campaigning as the coal station was a done deal. We showed that with enough collective hard work and determination, it is possible to defy the odds, take on a big polluter and win”.

The photo was borrowed from WWF: http://blogs.wwf.org.uk/blog/business-government/green-economy/how-to-defeat-dirty-coal-in-five-easy-steps-or-years/

Global grain reserves hit critically low levels

In a Guardian newspaper article published today:

"World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned... Lester Brown, president of the Earth policy research centre in Washington, says that the climate is no longer reliable and the demands for food are growing so fast that a breakdown is inevitable, unless urgent action is taken."

You can read the full article here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

October Reforesting Scotland Gathering in Aviemore

Adrian Shaw shares his experience of attending the annual 2012 Reforesting Scotland Gathering at Badaguish in Glenmore on the weekend of 5-7 October, near Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park.

Scots pine at Ryvoan wood; a fragment of ancient woodland at 600 metres above sea level.

" Participants heard from an impressive list of speakers including Will Boyd Wallis of the Cairngorm National Park Authority,  Thomas MacDonnell of the Glenfeshie Estate and Dick Balharry formerly manager at the SNH Creag Meagaidh reserve.  The talks were accompanied by site visits to Rothiemurchus, Abernethy and Glenmore forests to meet the land managers. 
The weekend left participants with a number of strong impressions.  It was clear that there have been profound changes in forest management over the past century.  From the suppression of regeneration through heavy grazing to plantations of Sitka or Lodgepole pine the emphasis has moved strongly to regeneration of native species.  One of the big changes has been the decision by forest minded estates to put in place in rigorous control of deer numbers – which means shooting lots of deer.
This has resulted in dramatic changes to the landscapes of the cairngorms; from bare moor to regimented plantations to piecemeal regeneration.   This process has not been without its critics and gamekeepers objected vociferously to the culling of deer on the Glen Feshie estate, a step that was necessary to encourage tree growth.  Not all estates accept reforestation is the top priority; some continue to give priority to hunting, shooting or fishing so the speed of reforestation varies between estates.   The gathering also heard about how jobs can be created and how affordable housing can be promoted in the national park.
This part of the highlands very much remains in the ownership of large landed estates.  Some are in private ownership, such as Rothiemurchus, some are in public ownership such as the Forestry Commission at Glenmore and some by NGOS , like the RSPB at Abernethy.  The decisions of the estate managers will continue to have a huge impact not only on biodiversity and the landscape but also on the lives of the local community.  Jobs, housing, recreations are all at stake.
The debates over land use, reforestation and communities in the highlands brings to life abstract concepts like ‘sustainable development’ and points to the impact that decisions of land managers can have on both biodiversity and local communities.  The contributions from all participants made it clear that the future of both the ecology and economy of the area will be subject to further change and the future is far from certain. "
By Adrian Shaw

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Making a movement: a skills share and networking day for local campaign groups in Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Mass Lobby 25th October

The Guardian published an article titled Scotland's North Sea energy policies 'irreconcilable with green government'/ which you may find interesting to read.

The article draws attention to the Mass Lobby taking place on the 25th of October - "Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a large coalition of 60 green groups, development charities, churches and trades unions, is organising a mass lobby in the Scottish parliament later this month, urging Salmond to "get your act together" on cutting emissions."

If you would like to take part you can read more about on the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland website. There still free spaces for people from most parts of the country.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fauna Scotica: Animals and People in Scotland

Polly Pullar and Mary Low have published a book entitled Fauna Scotica, Animals and People in Scotland.

According to Birlinn Limited "Fauna Scotica is a comprehensive guide to the fauna of Scotland. The expertise of each author echo's throughout the book with anecdote, mythology and a clear love of the subject enriching every page."

Polly Pullar will be appearing at Aberfeldy Watermill on Saturday 13 October at 12 noon. For further information and to order a copy contact the venue on 01887 822896.

Book cover borrowed from http://www.birlinn.co.uk/book/details/Fauna-Scotia-9781841585611/
For more information click here.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fancy an Eco-friendly break?

Greener Scotland have partnered up with VisitScotland and are offering you the chance to win an amazing luxury Scottish getaway.


The Photo was borrowed from VisitScotland
 "Our competition will see one lucky winner spend an unforgettable 3 night stay for 2 people at the Lodges at the Mains in Croy, near Inverness, with a bottle of Champagne and seasonal nibbles on arrival!

The gorgeous, Green Tourism gold award-winning Lodges at the Mains are as eco-friendly as luxury accommodation can be. The 5 star rated lodges are the perfect fusion of luxury and eco, and create the perfect environment for a relaxing, comfortable and positive experience."

Enter the competition here.

No oil in the lamp: fuel, faith and the energy crisis

Carbon Conversation courses for Wider Horizons are taking place in November as highlighted on our Edinburgh Network page. People taking part in the course may find this book of interest.

Neil Hollow and Andy Mellen's new book "No oil in the lamp: fuel, faith and the energy crisis" is an overview of the oil crisis and a glimpse into a post-peak oil world from a Christian perspective.

Comment from reader Fiona Veitch, publishing feedback on the www.goodreads.com website:

"Until I read No Oil in the Lamp I had no understanding of the complexities behind the energy crisis and how it will impact every facet of life in the near future. I’ve heard scientists and politicians arguing about it but have never felt informed enough to really grasp what they were talking about. Andy Mellen and Neil Hollow have changed that. They sketch out in simple, unpatronising terms, the various arguments for and against each energy source. The concept of the long-term sustainability of each commodity consumed or energy source generated in terms of the ratio between energy-in and energy-out gave me a completely new perspective on my consumption."

You can access the review page here.

Book cover borrowed from: http://www.theoillamp.co.uk/

Neil Hollow and Andy Mellen have made an interesting blog known as The oil lamp – shining God's light on peak oil. Please access their Blog and Facebook page to find out more!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Climate Change Committee slams Government over dash for gas

The logo was borrowed from: http://www.sustainable-scotland.net/
The Sustainable Scotland Network reports that:

"An open letter sent to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey from the independent Climate Change Committee has warned that Chancellor George Osborne's plans for a surge in new gas investment would breach the Climate Change Act.

The Government recently stated that “it sees gas as continuing to play an important role in the energy mix well into and beyond 2030... restricted to providing back up to renewables”.

Whilst the CCC acknowledges that there is a medium-term need for gas to meet our energy needs, they state categorically that "extensive use of unabated gas-fired capacity (i.e. without carbon capture and storage technology (CCS)) in 2030 and beyond would be incompatible with meeting legislated carbon budgets".

The CCC suggested that an “appropriate approach would be to set a clear carbon objective for the EMR in secondary legislation (to reduce carbon intensity of power generation to around 50 gCO2 / kWh by 2030) as recommended by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.”

The letter has the potential to cause a major political row between the Lib Dems and Osborne who has been campaigning for further support for gas investment in the Energy Bill.

Earlier in the summer the Treasury had signalled that if a commitment to shelve the decarbonisation target could be agreed then it would support modest cuts to renewable energy subsidies. However Ed Davey stressed that the debate about the target was still on-going and that the Department of Energy and Climate Change still needed to formally respond to the CCC's recommendations.

With the pressure now mounting on Cameron to adopt the CCC’s recommendations in full and defy critics of the government's green policies, the argument over the target is likely to reach the top of the Government."


Here is a link to the letter: http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/EMR%20letter%20-%20September%2012.pdf

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund (Scotland)

Logo borrowed from: http://www.postcodetrust.org.uk/small-grants-program/how-to-apply.aspx
The People’s Postcode Lottery has announced the launch of its Dream Fund to give organisations the chance to deliver the project they have always dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to bring to life.  Registered charities and community organisations in Scotland can apply for up to £100,000 to deliver a new and innovative 12-month project that encourage active living; bring communities together; tackle climate change; and expand life opportunities.

Previous projects funded include:
·         A grant of £98,100 to produce a London Underground-style map of the 70 miles of off-street cycle ways and paths that reach right into Edinburgh city centre, with the aim of increasing the number of people walking and cycling for commuting and recreation
·         A grant of £65,200 to support a community food growing project. 

The deadline for applications is the 31st October 2012.

You can access the website here.

Next deadline for Climate Challenge Fund applications - 24th October 2012

Logo borrowed from: http://ccf.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/howToApply.aspx

Keep Scotland Beautiful, has announced that the next deadline for applications to the Climate challenge fund is the 24th October 2012. 
T
hrough the Climate Challenge Fund, Communities across Scotland can apply for grants of up to £150,000 per year to help reduce their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient. Nearly £30 million in total will be awarded to communities who come forward with innovative ideas to tackle their carbon emissions.

Previous projects supported in the past have included:
- Barra and Vatersay Community Ltd which received £62,000 over two years to develop their community led action plan for the first practical steps to carbon reduction.

- St Matthew's Primary School Cycle Club (East Dunbartonshire) which received £18,000  to promote cycling to primary children of all ages, their parents and teachers.

Please access their website here.