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Box of fruit and beg

Cutting carbon food footprint hits a purple patch

Food waste has been a theme in society in some senses for many years. Supermarkets sometimes have charities they support when they know they could waste food.

Did you know UK households waste 4.5million tonnes of food per year? That’s according to the Government’s waste advisory board. And that figure is even after the average household has reduced such waste by 7%.

Most residents of Reigate and Banstead have food caddies, in which we can put our left overs (which is one type of food waste). For example excess fat and bones, perhaps fish skins, or fruit and vegetable waste if we don’t have gardens or composting facilities.

Examine your caddies, though, and it is probable we will find a lot more that could be saved, had we been more careful. Gone off bread, perhaps, or excesses of vegetables when we made too much dinner. It’s not simply that we throw food away that was edible.

Read More »Cutting carbon food footprint hits a purple patch
An example of an oil drilling rig

Horse Hill appeal is start of climate emergency road

Just how hard is it to translate declaring a climate emergency into meaningful policy? This is one crux of a planning appeal, led by local campaigner Sarah Finch, heard this week. It is against Surrey County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a company to drill for oil for 20 years at Horse Hill.

Some local authorities still find it hard to declare a climate emergency, as the Government did in one of Theresa May’s final acts as Prime Minister. For example, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council stopped short of joining the 1,400 authorities in 28 countries to have done so. However, they have come up with a climate action plan.

Waverley Borough Council, by contrast, declared the emergency, but only afterwards set about deciding their action plan. Their public consultation only finished in the past few weeks.

Read More »Horse Hill appeal is start of climate emergency road
Banana skins in a bucket

Going bananas in the garden for extra nutrients

Have you ever seen a quirky idea, thought it was a bit mad but worth trying? Or even worth adapting?

A friend told me recently that she had been soaking banana skins through the summer and using the mixture as a plant grower.

Sounds utterly bonkers! But, when you think it through, it is probably what our ancestors did – even if it was perhaps limited to those from countries in which bananas grow, anyway.

Essentially, this seems simply an acceleration of the composting process. To those au fait with the composting process, it is easy enough to throw banana skins into a composter, or pile, along with many vegetable and fruit peelings, pips, stems or cores: The bits, essentially, you don’t cook.

Read More »Going bananas in the garden for extra nutrients
Masks are now needed in shops

Relish anomalies to survive second lockdown

We’re more set up to cope this time aren’t we? For Covid-19 lockdown two I mean. We’ve done this once. Society can tough it out. We’re thinking positive…except…

This time there are several changes – and many people are still out of work.

The first lockdown was all new and scary. People thought it might be short, sharp shock of no more than a few months. At least, that’s what they hoped.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) was hard to find. For that, the NHS was the priority customer. But if you wanted to wear a mask in the shops – the supermarkets and food outlets – they were initially hard to find. Certainly at a reasonable price.

Read More »Relish anomalies to survive second lockdown
Original vegetable plot

Upcycled wood makes perfect new vegetable beds

There’s a reason why a carol at Christmas is entitled In the Bleak Midwinter. It’s Anglicised of course, because Jesus was from the Middle East. But little has changed since Christina Rossetti wrote the poem of that name, published in January 1872. Winter in Britain is mostly bleak.

While it hasn’t been frosty yet – so I haven’t pulled up the sweet potatoes – the skies are often dull, the weather drizzly – uninviting for gardeners for example.

Yet some planning can take place for the growing season next spring, in anticipation of the season of hope, weatherwise. I am always impatient to plant my seeds, in the hope of growing my own edible produce.

Read More »Upcycled wood makes perfect new vegetable beds

Is nature caught between wind and fossil power?

“Keep the carbon in the ground,” is a regular chant from climate march protesters and campaigners. It is a launch pad to insisting on renewable energy sources to sustain our needs.

But with the desire from our Prime Minister to power all homes with offshore wind power by 2030, what are the trade offs for installing and relying upon sources of energy that are non-fossil fuel based?

Reports in June said that 47% of the UK’s energy in the first quarter of the year came from renewable energy. These are figures from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Add in biomass and nuclear and the figure rose to 62% of our energy.

Read More »Is nature caught between wind and fossil power?
plastic juice

The price we pay for our plastic addiction

Shopping for the week’s household goods in Sainsbury’s, I was surprised and delighted that shopping for fruit and vegetables can be cheaper without plastic.

Many of the items I could buy loose were cheaper per kilogram than if bought in a pack. This has not always been the case, however, and is one of the reasons shoppers pick up a plastic-wrapped pack.

Others reasons include that it is simply easier to do so, especially in quantities required for a family. If you live alone, or even in a couple, you might not to buy as much. Then there is consistency of size – the look.

Society has grown used to being presented with perfect looking fruit and vegetables.

Read More »The price we pay for our plastic addiction
onshore wind

Politicians to ponder the winds of change for energy

Take a road trip to Scotland, Cornwall, East Anglia or through the major roads of France and the chances are you will see wind turbines on land.

In many coastal locations, especially off east of Great Britain, multiple wind turbines can be seen out to sea, too.

And it is these – multiplied sufficiently – that Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged last week would power the United Kingdom’s energy needs by 2030.

Raising the 30 gigawatts capacity target for 2030 to 40 gigawatts is, apparently, part of the Government’s 10-point plan for a green revolution. The rest of the plan will be announced by the end of the year.

Read More »Politicians to ponder the winds of change for energy
An example of an oil drilling rig

China’s climate 2060 commitments welcome

Last week, the BBC reported on a hydrogen powered train. It was a prototype that carried out a 25-mile journey, to demonstrate its power to the media. The train was capable of running for 100 miles on a full tank – which would take most of a day to fill up.

Inventors hope two things will be possible: that the train can be put into service – in Warwickshire – next year and that, first, the hydrogen units can be based under the train, rather than taking up a carriage.

The train uses hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, on non-electrified lines, as an alternative to diesel powered engines.

Read More »China’s climate 2060 commitments welcome