May 2020

Where hard standing gives way to nature

Cycle and walkway ideas need quick wheels

Wandering around Earlswood Common, some thoughts occur on whether the area is ripe for applications to improve walking and cycle facilities.

During National Walking Month (May), this area has been popular, as locked down residents seek their daily exercise. Many other areas, such as Redhill’s Memorial Park, have become equally as populated, especially by those who like to spend their exercise time sitting – on the grass as much as a bicycle.

Recently, as previously commented upon, the Government announced a £2bn pot to fund walking and cycling access around towns, with Surrey so far offering a temporary scheme in Farnham, in the west of the county, and another to follow in Reigate town centre.

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A solar panel farm

Spain sees the light over renewables

For those who dream of fuelling their electric cars – if we choose to drive – from our homes, powered by solar panels (our own or those from community projects) it seems there is hope.

The Spanish Government has passed a draft climate law to rely solely on renewable energy, buy 2050 – when it wants to reach carbon neutrality.

If approved, it would end fossil fuel subsidies in Spain.

What of us in Britain? A European commission report in January last year found that the UK government gave £10.5bn in support of fossil fuels per year, compared to just under £8bn to renewables. Australia seems to be pushing to “build fossil fuel infrastructure that will operate for decades” as it comes out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Spain sees the opportunity to create a potential 350,000 jobs from new economies per year and is acting quickly.

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A chance to recycle history for the community

It was not the intention of this blog to be a breaking news site, but it now slips down that road to demonstrate that environmentalism is a far wider subject than just thinking about the planet in terms of saving nature, or protecting it from plastic.

Environmentalism encompasses a lot of other aspects of life, such as retaining history and protecting heritage – think the National Trust and others. It is also about repurposing, from within the garden to larger properties, fostering communities and making sure the less well off are supported. That could be countries suffering climate emergency problems causing refugees or communities closer to home. Lockdown has taught us much about looking after each other.

In the past few days, it has been highlighted that a building of significant – so campaigners say – historical note in Redhill has come under threat. 

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Packaging at Morrisons

More reasons to think supermarkets are noting planet

Is the tide turning towards environmentalism and business solutions that protect the planet and all its inhabitants? Even a little bit?

While our Governments remain slow to inject a real sense of pace and urgency towards the Climate Emergency, there are – as it were – green shoots.

After central Government announced money to fund cycling and walking projects [a week later that Scotland], in Surrey, it was dragged out of a representative of the county council some time later that there is a pop-up pedestrian pathway planned for Farnham, with another to follow in Reigate in a couple of weeks’ time.

At least something, then, at opposite sides of our wide “shire”. A beacon of hope that the thought is there, resonating somewhere within an authority that has declared a Climate Emergency.

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Thank yous have rung out for our NHS including via Captain Tom Moore's fundraising

How to be inspired by Sir Tom’s actions

Today, it was announced that Captain Tom Moore is to be knighted for his efforts in raising more than £33 million for walking in support of NHS charities.

We’re steering off the sustainability path with this blog, unless we think of the National Health Service as something that will have to pick up the pieces for the consequences of extreme weather caused by the climate emergency, for example excessive summer temperatures or pneumonia from excessively cold winters or the effects of flooding. Or perhaps if we are taking the sustainability principle as a hollistic whole and that it should focus its benefits on society’s more needy. The climate emergency is already making refugees of many, through making swathes of the planet uninhabitable.

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Seed swap idea grows from localism

Localism. I’ve always lauded local. I love local: farm shops on holiday; the local delicacies. Yet this is the very word that was trained out of me when starting out in local journalism. “We don’t use it,” was the editor’s mantra “because if it wasn’t local we wouldn’t be talking about it.”

But “being local” is how we flourish as human beings. Even if we work a commute away, or an overnight stay away, home and its surroundings will be where we love being. It’s a big part of our social life, if we want to retain our sanity and not have to travel miles every time we want to visit friends. Its called a community.

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Humans are being displaced from uninhabitable areas already

Climate emergency needs shift in economic thinking

“Lockdown is showing us the misery that Net Zero 2050 will demand.”

In one sense, the headline offered hope. Could this be, finally, a national media journalist outside the Guardian offering us a glittering set of solutions for the climate emergency, to avoid Net Zero in 2050?

Not a bit of it. Charles Moore, in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, offered under the above headline exactly what I feared: fear of changing our ways because it would upset our current economic model. Or, more precisely, the economic model of the rich, individuals or nations, who would trample on those affected by climate change; the refugees already beginning to be displaced by shrivelled up land that has become uninhabitable. 

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Old chimney pots are earmarked as future planters

Old chimney pots to be recycled as planters

They have languished in a dark corner of the garden, next to a fence where not even weeds – sorry, unwanted vegetation – have the temerity to grow.

There has never been a temptation to take these two feet tall pieces of masonry to the recycling centre. It would seem such a waste.

Maybe the recent purchase of sweet potatoes offers the opportunity of an answer to this long-pondered mystery of how to re-purposing them as something useful.

The rim of one of them has long since broken off, but that shouldn’t matter for what I have in mind.

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