Author Archives: milbornecan

May 2024. Where flowers bloom so does hope

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Where flowers bloom, so does hope” – Lady Bird Johnson

It’s No Mow May time of year again! If you’re tempted to get the mower out, why not resist the urge and have a tidy of the shed / garage / loft instead?! Or just mow a path and an edge so it looks purposeful. Letting wild flowers bloom and the vegetation grow enables insects and in their turn birds, hedgehogs, bats, frogs – and ultimately, us – to thrive! Sit back and enjoy the buzzing of the bees and a tipple while you relax and save fuel! Find out more by searching for Plantlife your no mow May lawn guide. And please don’t strim – hedgehogs don’t run, they curl up in a tight ball and get mortally wounded.

Up on the wonderful piece of rare limestone grassland that is East Hill, after 15 years or so without any livestock, we are delighted to welcome some ponies whose grazing is going to help restore the wild flowers and rare insects. How can they do that by eating the vegetation? As there are just a few ponies in a large area there will always be plenty of plants in flower but the thatch of dead grass that has built up and the over-vigorous grasses will be knocked back leaving space for the flowers. Watch out for the return of masses more cowslips, orchids and butterflies!

Nature is struggling in the UK. We have to restore it now for our own sake too. If you haven’t already, please don’t delay any further in doing the single easiest , quickest yet biggest thing you can for nature this year…

One thing you can do: sign your support for the Climate and Nature Bill at https://action.zerohour.uk

Insect windscreen

April 2024

The Nation Needs You!

We are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of flood events in Milborne Port, as their frequency and intensity continues to rise throughout the UK. It was only luck last May that meant Yarlington rather than us was deluged with 130mm of rain, causing so much damage and heart-break.

So, have you signed yet? The cross-party campaign for the Climate and Ecology Bill needs your support.

It’s a new plan for the UK to tackle the climate emergency, global warming and biodiversity loss– written by scientists, experts and campaigners, firmly backed at the official launch by Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den fame.

It is a plan to:

  1. Make sure the UK cuts its emissions fairly and fully
  2. Make sure the UK reverses the destruction of nature by 2030
  3. Involve citizens in finding the fairest way forward.

Will you back the Bill? It has cross-party support but not enough yet to make it law. Please sign up for your children’s sake and your onw; use the QR code below or www.zerohour.uk Climate change is unjust: the dire effects are and will be worst for those who have done least to deserve the consequences of the changes we are making.

Here’s One Thing To Do: Share the Zero Hour Open Letter today using this QR code:

March update – Zero hour

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

D-Day? It’s Zero Hour for Us All

Our loved ones need us to act now. Here’s a quick and easy no-brainer to show you care! It takes less than a minute.

Critical work needs doing in the UK in the 5 years taking us to the 2030 milestone, that depends on government policies and funding. This is all covered in the Climate and Ecology Bill; our current MP is one of an as yet minority country-wide that supports the Bill

There is an excellent campaign being run by Zero Hour with the aim of asking every prospective parliamentary candidate for the next General Election to back the Bill.

You can sign as an individual, and businesses and community clubs and groups can sign too. Please ask those you work for or belong to. Every signature gives more encouragement and incentive to our candidates to act, and will also help snowball support around the country.

When you’ve signed here please share the online open letter with your friends and family: https://action.zerohour.uk/glastonbury-and-somerton?p=1

.

(Use https://action.zerohour.uk to share more widely).

Here’s One Thing To Do: Sign the Zero Hour Open Letter today!

Our next meeting on March 7th, is postponed to March 21st, 7.30pm upstairs, Town Hall.

Feb 2024 – Time for a Magic Box?

Energy for heat, electricity and transport is currently the world’s biggest source of carbon emissions. Heat pumps turn one unit of electricity into four units of heat energy, hence why they’re 300-400% efficient. Gas boilers are just 75-85% efficient. Are they noisy? No. Are they cheap to run? Yes! Whereas gas boilers burn gas to produce heat, heat pumps do something more complicated, a bit like a “fridge in reverse”; they use a mixture of evaporation and condensation to transfer free heat energy from the air outside to inside a building.

These humble boxes could be what Britain needs to help the country hit net-zero goals and save customers from rocketing gas prices. Only 1% of British homes currently have a heat pump; we’ve become climate laggards – the Netherlands, a country that has been gas-dependent for heating like the UK, is managing perfectly well to ramp up sales of heat pumps – now 30% of all new heating systems. We must act now.

The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which closes in 2028, now provides a grant of £7,500 for heat pumps to help the UK reach ‘Net Zero’ – the point at which we no longer add to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; but remember that we will have put less greenhouse gas into the atmosphere the sooner we reduce our emissions, doing less harm to the climate we depend on and causing less harm for ourselves, our loved ones and generations for centuries to come.

Your property must have an eligible EPC issued in the last decade, with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. A box of about 1m x 1m x 0.4m needs to stand outside – close to, or attached to the property – to draw in air. It should be at least 1m from your neighbour’s property so they will not be able to hear it, although it won’t be much louder than a fridge. You will also need space inside for a heat pump unit and hot water cylinder. The unit will be about the size of a gas boiler – while the cylinder depends on the size of the home. There is no VAT on heat pumps until 2027.

Come and see an Air Source Heat Pump in action!

Milborne Port Sunday 11 February 3-5 pm

Email the address below for details.

Here’s One Thing To Do: Find out more about Heat Pumps! Email us to see one in action.

Next meeting: 7.30 pm Thursday March 7th Town Hall. Upstairs.

Sources & further information:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ng-interactive/2023/dec/23/heat-pumps-science-visualised;

https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/claire-heatpump-testimonial/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=good_thinking_jan24&utm_content=domestic; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57159056

; https://t.co/jJ5hInzyK4;

January 2024

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

COP 28 did not achieve enough. Will you?

Alok Sharma, former COP president made clear that failure to agree fossil fuel phase-out at COP 28 “will push the world into climate breakdown”. Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, renewed his “urgent appeal to leaders to recommit to the 1.50 C warming limit, end the fossil fuel age and deliver climate justice because we are on the brink of climate disaster and this conference must mark a turning point”. Tragically, the deal finally agreed was cause for celebration amongst oil producers, the wording merely an incremental improvement that should not have taken 28 years and COPs to achieve.

The headline COP28 agreement to “transition away” from fossil fuels for energy was the first time that fossil fuels have been mentioned in COP decisions. “We didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai but this outcome is the beginning of the end” said the UN Climate Chief. But it is a shuffle rather than a step; according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the terms of the agreement provide only about 30% of what’s needed to reach the 1.5C target. Simply slowing down the rate at which your house burns down is not a win: we need to take the steep downhill path shown in the graphic below, now.

Meanwhile a “staggering acceleration of global warming is underway, driven by a huge planetary energy imbalance”; the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the last 12 months is the largest ever recorded, more than double the last ten-year annual average. Insulating homes and installing heat pumps could boost the economy by £7 billion a year and create 140,000 new jobs by 2030. The government is currently spending £78 billion in subsidising people’s energy bills… but for £8 billion it could insulate the 8 million homes most in need; greatly cutting bills AND cutting our emissions. We need politicians that will heed the science and invest in green solutions that bring our energy bills down and sustain life on our planet.

Remember that the idea that nations are the only or even the primary actors when it comes to climate action is just not true. There is so much that can be done at every level and every voice counts. We have to act now because later is too late. Lobby and vote for strong climate policies (the climate underpins everything we need and care about); spend, save & invest your money ethically; walk, cycle, travel less & use public transport; insulate your house; eat a lot less meat and dairy. Refuse, refrain, repair, reuse, recycle.

It’s time to decide.

Which side of history will

you choose to be on?

Because #LaterIsTooLate

Here’s One Thing To Do: Decide which side of history you want to be on and make your New Year’s Resolution to get your own footprint and your money on that steep downhill course.

Next meeting: Friday 12 January, 7.30 pm Town Hall. Upstairs.

December 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

We have the solutions; it’s not a meteorite: show love & give hope this Christmas

I’m in my sixties and am struggling with climate anxiety – I find it heart-breaking to consider what it must be like for young people to live with the knowledge that at all levels their elders could be addressing the climate crisis that will otherwise scupper their future but are largely ignoring it. “I don’t make a difference” said 8,000,000,000 people. The result? We are still burning (in/directly) more fossil fuels every year. Unbelievable. And at current rates of consumption we will have used up the entire remaining carbon budget to stay within ‘safe’ limits within 6 years. The Earth’s vital signs are already literally going off the charts. How will our children and grandchildren feel in 6 years about the part we have played? Will we be able to look them in the eye when say we love them?

Source: https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biad080/7319571…

However much more or little we have all changed the climate by the end of this defining decade, it is worth remembering that every extra fraction of a degree that the Earth warms beyond 1.50C or 20C above pre-industrial levels will result in more misery and suffering for more people including ourselves – there is no point at which we have left acting too late.

The most urgent and important thing to do right now is stop funding new fossil fuels; (we already have enough in the pipeline for the transition to renewables and the money needs to be spent on infrastructure that will sustain us). We need to take responsibility for our families’ future and actively show politicians that we care about the climate by lobbying them about our concerns and in how we vote. Some politicians don’t think we’ll vote with climate in mind. We need to show them that they’re wrong. Spare a bit of time, sign up to be a non-partisan climate canvasser with Greenpeace – search Greenpeace climate vote – this project will show all political parties that they need to step up their climate policies.

Here’s One Thing To Do for Christmas: Make sure our own children and grandchildren, and other young relatives, will have the comfort of knowing we loved them enough to do all we could to keep a safe climate – and make a Christmas pledge of what you will do for their future.

October 2023 – The Science is clear. No New Oil & Gas

The Science is Clear: No New Oil & Gas

The climate crisis is here, and its deadly impacts will escalate rapidly. The summer was packed with weather anomalies, but some were so abnormal they sent a wave of consternation through the scientific community. Unsurprisingly, 82% of UK adults are now concerned about climate change and there is majority support across all voting groups for the UK to reduce its emissions to Net Zero by 2050. Two thirds of voters polled said they’d be proud to support a party which was in favour of generating more electricity from renewables such as solar and wind.

Yet our government has recently granted 100 new licenses for oil and gas in the North Sea; the (false) arguments in favour of doing so are rife with misinformation, as follows.

MythsRealities
Oil companies aid the transition to cleaner energy XOnly ~ 1% of major fossil fuel companies’ spending goes towards low carbon energy
New oil and gas will create good jobs XJobs in North Sea oil and gas are already at risk due to dwindling supplies
Carbon capture technology means we can keep burning fossil fuels XEmissions from new fossil fuels dwarf those proposed to be captured by technologies unproven to work at scale
No new oil would increase bills XRenewables now offer significantly better value and stability than fossil fuels
New oil provides energy independence XUK licences do not guarantee UK supply (most gets exported)
Decarbonising our energy supply will cost too much XNOT decarbonising rapidly costs MUCH more
No new oil means turning the taps off overnight XExisting reserves and production are available as we transition; it takes an average of 28 years from licence to production by which time we have to be net zero.

The latest progress report from the government’s own Climate Change Committee is that there is a “lack of urgency” and “loss of leadership” being shown in relation to the UK’s climate commitments.

So, where do you and I come in? Well, everyone needs to stop making excuses or blaming others and instead start taking greater responsibility for our children’s and our own future – in our interactions with politicians, and in opting for ethical and sustainable alternatives to each and every aspect of our daily lives: our money; travel; holidays; food; you name it…

This graphic shows how we escape the “Climate Blame Game” that’s failing us, with “Climate Leadership at all Levels”.

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future: add your voice against new oil and gas – write to our MP Sarah Dyke and the Rt Hon Clare Coutinho MP, The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero at the Ministerial Correspondence Team, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET. Emails: claire.coutinho.mp@parliament.uk sarah.dyke.mp@parliament.uk

August 2023 update

Ready?

‘We are damned fools’ says the NASA scientist who warned us about the greenhouse effect in the 1980s, as we see the super-charged weather extremes causing mayhem around the world. We have already increased the chances of the extreme heatwaves being experienced around the northern hemisphere from 1% half a century ago to 20% now. Although this year we are not in an “every year will inevitably be worse than this year from now on” situation because this is an El Niño year (when the ocean currents don’t bury most of the heat), it is very much a taste of things to come if we don’t get our act together.

Is it too late to make a difference? No. Because each fraction of a degree more warming will fuel more, more prolonged, and more extreme, extreme weather. If we don’t stop, “the chemical makeup of our atmosphere will soon change enough to induce not only dangerous but truly catastrophic global climate change” says Professor Michael Mann.

I don’t make any difference. Yes, you do. And try saying that to anyone who has fought for our freedom. Of course, neither my father, who fought in the second world war, and is now dying, nor any individual could alone have defeated Nazism! It required 100 million individual fighters, each playing their part, for the war to be won. We don’t have to risk life or limb or give up years of our lives. What we need to do now in comparison is a walk in the park. Those who can afford to cut their emissions significantly are the ones doing the most damage, and vice versa. Driving a big car or SUV? Switch to a smaller electric vehicle.  Frequent flyer? Fly less! Insulate your house; take up a government grant and install an air source heat pump. Most of us voted for a champion of the environment for our MP; that’s a big step!

So, ready, steady – stop freaking out and join the millions who are already doing something to prevent catastrophic climate change, go to https://dontlookup.count-us-in.com/steps where you’ll learn what you can do to make the most positive impact: making your money count; keeping politicians accountable; sparking ideas at work; pushing for climate headlines; talking about climate change and the steps we can take, and teaming up with others to boost your impact.

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future: take one action from the Don’t Look Up website

July 2023 – Turn back from the brink!

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Turn back from the brink!

Our rapidly changing climate is probably the greatest threat to us and the rest of nature but almost equally serious is the rapid loss of biodiversity on Earth.

It’s an easy mistake to think that humans can survive without healthy ecosystems but climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss are at crisis levels that threaten not only the rest of nature but human life too.  “Without enough large-scale functioning wild natural ecosystems there will be no stable climate, no farming, no economy, no civilisation, no liveable planet”. Many ecologists have labelled these times as the “sixth extinction”.

To put it another way, nature is at the base of our supply chains, and we’ve seen how disruptive a breakdown of those can be.

How bad is the rate of loss? It is thought that one million animal and plant species – almost a quarter of the global total – are threatened with extinction. Here in Britain the 2019 State of Nature report revealed that 56% of our species are in decline and 15% threatened with extinction. Green fields and lush countryside do not necessarily equate with biodiversity and our heavily-grazed uplands are very low in it. And around here? This area has experienced some of the highest levels of bird species loss in the country, which may in large part reflect a sharp fall in insect populations. Since the 1970s, farming has intensified, with greater use of pesticides and herbicides, providing less and less habitat for wildlife, while still becoming increasingly uneconomic and unsustainable. The BTO found that 22 out of 94 local breeding bird species have been lost between 1970 and 2011. That’s a devastating rate of loss in such a short flicker of evolutionary time.

The local extinction rate for insects is eight times higher than for birds and mammals. This spring we have seen even lower numbers of insects, possibly due to the drought last year and this year’s cold, wet spring.

The good news

Nature can return if we play our part and don’t leave it any longer. There are now numerous (though not yet enough) nature recovery projects across the country, all demonstrating that we can bend the declining curve quite spectacularly given space and the right conditions. The Knepp Estate, a formerly unprofitable farm, now thrums with life, including Turtle Doves, Nightingales, Cuckoos, and the rare Purple Emperor butterfly.

What is also vitally important is that there are nature recovery corridors to enable species to move from one rewilded area to another especially as our climate changes, and this is where we all have a role. Whether it’s letting your hedgerows burgeon and blossom, or rewilding some of your garden or even a window box, we can all play a part in bringing ourselves back from the brink, and have a lot of pleasure too. Who wants a Silent Spring after all?

There are already a number of positive changes in the village – Wheathill Meadow, the new management of the church lawns, and lawns left to flower. Please email us or post on the village Facebook if you’re noticing any signs of recovery, or the reverse, in or around your garden.

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Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future: Help provide a corridor for insects

Eg by:

  • Viewing longer grassland as vital habitat for life & letting it bloom through the summer
  • Removing your mowings to favour wild flowers
  • Leaving some of this year’s growth on your hedges so they flower next year
  • Safety apart, not mowing public verges during the summer

Thursday 27 July 7.30pm Town Hall (upstairs) MP CAN meeting. All welcome.

Recommended reading: ‘Wilding’ and ‘The Book of Wilding” by Isabella Tree / and Charlie Burrell;  ‘Land Healer’ by Jake Fiennes.

Sources

https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding-network/projects

https://data.bto.org/doorstep-birds/?dm_i=NXK,8A7Q5,OZAHF2,Y1WMT,1

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/58863097

https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/why-rewild/benefits-of-rewilding/rewilding-biodiversity-crisis

https://buglife.org.uk/campaigns/no-insectinction/…

June 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Fashion: wears the harm?

  1. The fashion industry contributes hugely to the climate crisis – 8-10% of all global emissions and British shoppers buy more clothes than any others in Europe – a reminder that participating in sustainable and ethical fashion is a crucial part of fighting the climate crisis, for which we already have all the solutions we need. 
  2. 10-20% of pesticide use comes from the textile industry (cotton).
  3. 93% of brands are not paying garment workers living wages – people in the global south are experiencing the impact of the climate crisis right now while not receiving fair wages either.
  4. Less than 11% of brands actually implement any sort of recycling strategy (and much of the ‘recycled’ waste ends up being dumped in the global south).
  5. When you wash your clothes with man-made fibres, they shed plastics into the rivers and ocean.
  6. The fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic metres of water each year on a planet that is already seeing water wars and should expect more with the climate crisis.
  7. And then, 92 million tonnes of textile waste is generated annually from this system. And the waste by and large is dumped back in the global South.

A staggering 100 billion garments are produced each year; yet there are 7.8 billion humans on our planet, most of whom can’t afford to buy new clothes anyway.

So, what can we do? Individual action creates a cultural shift and without individual action we will never have that societal and cultural shift. As ever, looking after our Lifeboat Earth involves lots of R’s:

  1. Rethink and refuse to buy as many new clothes anymore (see also item 6); many of us say we can’t afford to buy better or differently but if you’re buying 68 garments a year (the average fast fashion shopper), you can. Maybe keep a note of what you’re buying each year.
  2. Refrain from unnecessary washing of clothes that don’t look dirty; (they’ll last longer and you save on your energy and water bills). 
  3. Repair: use Google / Ecosia to learn how to repair clothes or take them to the Sherborne Repair Café (see Facebook for details or repaircafesherborne@gmail.com
  4. Re-home your clothes – maybe organize a clothing swap with your friends – it’s a fun way to get something new-for-you and involve your friends in the fun. If you have children you are probably doing this already.
  5. Rent: Next time you’re attending a fancy event, instead of buying a new formal outfit, see what you can borrow from a friend, or as a last resort hire something special. No one needs a lot of formal wear even if all your friends are getting married.
  6. Really recycle: have a browse in Sherborne’s numerous charity shops; it’s amazing what great clothes you can. And sort out and take those clothes that you don’t wear anymore to the charity shops to save somebody else from needing to buy something new.

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Before you buy a new item of clothing, browse the charity shops first (bag up clothes you don’t wear any more to donate) or have a clothes swap party with your friends. 

Sources: https://fashionchecker.org; https://mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/state-of-fashion…; https://forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/?sh=4824bfb779e4…

Thursday 1st June  7.30pm Town Hall (upstairs) MP CAN meeting. All welcome.