Wednesday, 28 March 2018

What the Energy Group think about waste

Waste (and especially plastic waste) is much in the news at the moment and so the energy group decided to focus on that for their last meeting. I think many of you will be interested who didn't come to the meeting: this post is based on the minutes I have recorded. Blanca, Margaret, Bill and I (Nicola) had all prepared some material to discuss.

Blanca – how to reduce your household waste to very little

The waste hierarchy is conventionally Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover but Blanca has expanded this with some R’s on the front: Reflect (think) – Reject – Reduce – Reuse – Repair.

Blanca and her partner tracked their waste for a month and managed to get it down to an impressively small volume as shown in this picture.

This is the tiny amount of waste that Blanca and her partner generated in one month. Impressive!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Why should I fill in a survey about car clubs?

You may be wondering why Transition Cambridge now has a project (CleanWheels) promoting transport by car - and asking you to fill in a survey about it. Aren’t we supposed to avoid travelling by car completely? Public transport, cycling and walking have less carbon emissions than cars and have other advantages to. So what is going on?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Energy group on car sharing

Last night the energy group had a lively discussion on different kinds of car sharing, like car clubs and even community taxi schemes. If the group gets any more popular we will have to hire a room to meet in; last night we were 15 people. Fortunately Margaret's sitting room is large and has lots of chairs.

There isn't room here to cover everything but I hope to give you a flavour of what was said.

Friday, 15 December 2017

What we do at Christmas

How do you celebrate the Christmas holiday? Is it possible to have a great time and still keep sustainability in mind? I asked people at the Transition Cambridge winter social what they do and this is what they said. Food, presents and the tree were the main topics: here is a miscellany of answers, including a discussion of whether or not brussels sprouts contribute to climate change and how to mitigate the problem of discarded Christmas jumpers.
A venerable tree, with modern LED lights and some presents wrapped in reusable furoshiki cloths

Sunday, 19 November 2017

We did it - world's biggest repair cafe

Our aim was to beat the world record which was 150 repairs. We didn't just break it, we totally smashed it with 232 completely successful repairs. Here are some pictures from the fabulous repair cafe at Wesley Methodist Church on Christ's pieces, Saturday 11th November.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Why Pitch Up Pitch In?

I'm a bit nervous about our first Pitch Up Pitch In event (28th November). Will you come and will you pitch in? Even if you don't volunteer this time, as Charlotte (the bike rack lady) says: It should be a fun day where we meet new people, share ideas and promote the concepts of collaboration and co-operation.

Projects range from hands-on to literary/IT, marketing, technology ...
Our projects offer something to everyone. They range from hands-on like the bike racks and the downspout rain gardens, to the literary/IT-centric social media workshop. The Solar Power Push project is probably in the middle. I think it needs some technology and a lot of marketing and probably other skills. Project durations range from a few weeks (bike racks and comms workshop) to possibly years (Solar Power Push). Most of them are at a fairly early planning stage and where they end up probably depends a lot on who pitches in. The key thing is they are all worth doing - each in their own way would contribute to making Cambridge a more sustainable city and a nicer place to live.

A previous project in Empty Common Community
Garden: putting a green roof on a shed.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Community Energy - a review

This is a review of the book Community Energy: A guide to community - based renewable energy projects by Gordon Cowtan published by  Green Books

The book is an excellent introduction to Community Energy for lay people and students. It starts by covering some key issues around what is the raison d'etre for community energy projects - usually this involves some degree of energy generation or energy saving, sharing of benefits with the community and environmental sustainability. Then it looks at energy generating technologies; this section is quite comprehensive, even including anaerobic digestion though there are no real world of community AD as yet. The advice is strictly practical: what do you need, how much will it cost (considering operational and maintenance too), planning issues, subsidies available.