Sunday, 3 October 2021

What are we doing for climate change - results

In the last newsletter we asked you to fill in a poll in what we are doing for climate change. We asked you to tell us what actions you have taken that make you feel you are making a difference. (You can see the poll here.) 

It is so easy these days to despair of ever solving the climate crisis and what we do individually can seem very small - but when there are enough of us taking action it adds up. Even more importantly, doing things and talking about them demonstrates that we care, helps to motivate others and gives our political leaders confidence that when we ask for action we really mean it. I grant you doing things together is more fun, such as working in a community garden or with other repairers at a cafe. However the climate emergency challenges us to reconsider our everyday actions. So that is what we are doing.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

What are we doing for climate change - interim results

Last week we started a poll in what we are doing for climate change - here are some interim results. We asked you to tell us what actions you have taken that make you feel you are making a difference. We are impressed by the results - you can judge for yourself. The poll has only been out for a week (and it was in the newsletter only 5 days ago) so this is early days yet. If you haven't filled it in already, please do so. It only takes a couple of minutes. Here is the link.

What are the most popular actions

The top actions so far are these:

  1. Eat less meat/eat no meat (combined)
  2. Minimise holiday travel (especially by air)
  3. Buy less new stuff - repair where possible
  4. Buy local/organic food as much as possible
  5. Minimise food waste
  6. Improved the energy efficiency of my home (for example with insulation)

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Saturday in the market square - low carbon heating

Last Saturday I joined Cambridge Carbon Footprint on their stall in the Cambridge market square. Fortunately the weather was kind - not too hot and no rain to speak of. This was the second of CCF's four themed Saturdays covering shopping, energy, transport and food. I was using our new Low Carbon Heating Options materials (advice page here). I also used an updated 'What are we doing for Climate Change' survey while CCF were encouraging people to use their carbon footprint calculator and sign up to the Cambridge Climate Change Charter - when people came to the stall I invited them to do a 'quick' survey (ours) or the 'proper carbon footprint'. Finally, I had some materials on water saving as that is climate related too. So much to say! Here is the new low carbon heating poster.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Facts about our water for World Water Day

Monday 22nd March is World Water Day. To mark this, here are some quick facts about our water supply: where it comes from, how much energy it takes to bring it to us,  how long will it take for our water supply to be zero emissions,  how healthy are our local streams and rivers.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Low Carbon Computing

Do we need to worry about the carbon emissions from all these extra online conferencing we are doing these days? What is the best way to reduce our emissions from use of ICT? The energy group discussed these issues this week. Gareth did most of the research - he works with computers in his job and knows an awful lot about it. Also, Gareth and Nicola both did some tests on home equipment to see how much power was being used. Here are some of the things we learned. You can see the slides here.

Computers are more and more commonplace.

How many computers do you have in the room with your right now? Perhaps you are in your living room. Obviously there is one that you are reading this article on and at least one in the TV, and another in the remote for the TV. Do you have Alexa or a similar device? Do you have remote controlled LED lights? Perhaps you have a security camera on the front door? Do you have a digital watch? Perhaps you have a smart watch that monitors your heartbeat or how far you have walked today? All of these rely on computers of one kind or another. We have them, we use them, and increasingly we rely on them.

Carbon emissions come from making them, then from having them switched on, and then doing actual work.

It is often hard to get information on lifecycle carbon emissions for products. However, Nicola has a newish Mac Mini (bought last year) and Apple publish the lifecycle carbon emissions for their products so we have a clue about that one. Applying a 40% uplift factor to Apple's figures (as recommended by Mike Berners Lee in How Bad are Bananas), and assuming a lifetime of 3 years, the emissions from manufacture and delivery come to 130 g/day. It uses about 14 W when not doing very much, and up to 40 W when working really hard. So in a typical 8 hour day it might use 0.14 kWh - another 18g carbon. The manufacturing emissions far outweigh those from use, and this is not unusual.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Sustainable Travel Tips and Links

This is a guest post by Mat and Blanca, the team who ran the Transition Café How Can We Have Sustainable Holidays And Travel? on 19th February. In our brainstorming session we came up with a whole range of travel ideas - from day trips around Cambridge to holidays across Europe - and lots of tips for things like where to get tickets, accommodation, and vegetarian or vegan food. So we thought it would be good to share them with you all here. We hope you find them useful.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

A new Chair for Transition Cambridge - Jacky Sutton-Adam

At our Annual General Meeting last October, I announced that 2019-20 would be my last year as Chair of Transition Cambridge. The Chairperson's role in Transition Cambridge is emphatically not a position at the top of a pile, TC is non-hierarchical in structure, it's more accurate to experience and view the role as a position surrounded and supported by a large, loose network of like-minded and knowledgeable people. One of the best things about my experience has been discovering this. 

 Who might take up the challenge of chairing Transition Cambridge? We are actively looking now for a new chair person, so I thought it would be good to set out what I've learned from my experience and what qualities and characteristics seemed helpful in the role. It's worth remembering that these are not exactly requirements for the position, rather an insight into some of the skills a new Chairperson might offer, or want to develop for themselves.

  1. Connectivity in the Community  Having a wide network of friends and acquaintances is a valuable resource, and you don't need to bring a ready made one with you! It's an asset that you can develop as you go. When opportunities arise or you need advice and feedback, other people, both within Transition and beyond can help you find clarity and focus with projects and tasks. The beauty of Transition Cambridge is that there are already many people who are ready to support and assist. Over the last few years many acquaintances have become my friends, and old friendships have blossomed and matured.
  2. Public Speaking -being a face of Transition Cambridge  Speaking to a roomful of people can be nerve-wracking - most of us would rather not! But it's a valuable skill as it develops self confidence and focus and can help to bring out your passion – and that makes for compelling listening. On more than one occasion I found myself abandoning notes and speaking from my heart which was both easier and more authentic! When you speak with passion, people are drawn in.
  3. Delegation Skills  Delegation is a grand word for getting things done in community. I learned that it's important to be as specific as possible in describing what you want to delegate. I also learned that that a personal chat on the phone or over a cup of tea was more effective than a generalised email!
  4. Empowering Others  Transition Cambridge has always been a constellation of communities; interest groups form and find their place in TC with an idea, plus two or three people who have energy to give to the idea. I have thoroughly enjoyed collaborating and supporting at these 'start-ups'. I've learned that its more effective to stay in the background and allow people to shape their project in the way that is right for them.

I feel privileged to have collaborated and worked alongside many individuals with detailed knowledge, strong vision and clear focus, both within our community and also in the wider environmental scene in and around Cambridge. It's certainly been a learning curve, and I have felt a deepening and maturing awareness and understanding of the many environmental/ social issues we face. On the global and local stages, my time in the Chair has been an eventful period for the environment and climate, and I'm relieved that at long last, these existential issues are attracting mainstream media attention and increasing engagement from local government.

If you are curious about the role of Chair, or can suggest someone who might be interested, we would love to hear from you – please email Jacky or Nicola for a confidential chat.