Author Archives: milbornecan

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
  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. 


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

May 2023 update

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

For peat’s sake!

There has been a long-running campaign against using peat. Why? Essentially, healthy wet peatland is not only an important wildlife habitat but also acts as an absolutely huge carbon store (area for area it holds three times as much as woodland), representing the partially decomposed remains of plants built up incredibly gradually over thousands of years since the last ice age – over 3,000 years to accumulate a depth the height of an average woman. Peatland also acts as a water store, holding up to fifty times its weight in water, helping mitigate drought, flooding and wild fires.

In Somerset, peatland stores a whopping 40 Mt of carbon dioxide as carbon in an area of 426 km2 :  40 Mt is the equivalent of ten years of all the greenhouse gas emissions of the whole county. Staggering.

If peat is dug up, burnt, drained or dries out, those benefits are lost and all that carbon is released back into the atmosphere with dire consequences. And that is happening at an alarming rate as peatland is drained and / or dug for compost. But as we have seen, it is vital that the store of carbon is kept locked away as healthy, wet peatland.

If we can rewet peatland it will help us adapt to climate change, and very gradually enable more carbon to be stored. So…

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Buy only 100% peat-free compost and ask to buy plants grown in peat-free alternatives.

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

April 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

William Wordsworth, ‘Lines Written in Early Spring‘.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure…

Love Life!

As we all know, many populations of our precious wildlife, be they birds, bumblebees, butterflies, hedgehogs or other animals are in steep decline. Yet our survival and mental health depends on the sights and sounds of nature thriving and climate anxiety is increased when there is a lack of nature space– nor can we do without the vital ‘services’ that nature provides.

Whatever the size of garden or farm we own, making room for nature not just to feed but breed, shelter and overwinter in the out of sight or unproductive areas plays a vital and positive part; you might allow the the grass to grow and wild flowers to bloom in a corner; some logs or branches or a pile of leaves to decay naturally, and so provide breeding places and shelter for insects and food for birds, bats and hedgehogs. The breeding success of Swallows is directly related to insect numbers. Say no to plastic grass and any further hard standing; that way we’ll stay cooler in heatwaves and soften the impacts of downpours too.  Pesticides are indiscriminate; they kill all insects not just the one species that’s being a pest and we all need the beneficial insects for our fruit trees and crops. Jake Fiennes, working for the Holkham Estate in Norfolk, has shown how productivity is increased when some land is set aside for nature; because less pesticide and fertiliser is used, costs go down; and yields increase, with more help from nature, so profits go up. Similarly, in the USA, by converting 10% of cropland to native prairie, farmers have reduced soil loss by 95%, total phosphorous loss by 90%, and total nitrogen loss by 85% and provided myriad benefits to themselves, the ecosystem, and surrounding community.

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Love life? Go pesticide free in our gardens! But beware and dispose of our pesticides safely! They need to be handed in at our local waste and recycling centre. (Not down the drain or into the soil). France is ahead of us here and has banned the use of pesticides in gardens.

Thursday April 13th 7.30pm Town Hall MPCAN meeting. All welcome.

Thursday April 27th 7.30pm Town Hall Hear from Kim Creswell of the Queen Thorne Nature Watch Group

about the loss of their local wildlife and how they are investigating and planning to remedy it.

UN climate campaign to help individuals

It’s scarily crystal clear from the UN IPCC synthesis report on climate change released on `March 20th that we are not doing nearly enough to curb emissions and avoid dangerous impacts; we have left acting so late that “deep and immediate” cuts in carbon emissions are now required of each individual, corporation and government of developed countries to keep us safe. The impacts are very serious: they directly affect our health, our food sources, our water, supply systems, nature and much more. Every bit of warming matters as the warmer the planet gets, the more widespread and pronounced the changes in both average climate and climate and weather extremes become. Our choices matter and the faster we act, the better off we will all be. Many of the solutions are already at hand. Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to private households.

What to do? The United Nations has a Climate Action social media campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. Google or Ecosia (they plant trees) UN Climate Action Campaign to find out more and for the link to receive information on Whatsapp.

At this point, the only question is: what are we waiting for?

March 2023

Planning Holidays for a Future

Obviously, the further you travel and the more frequently, the more damaging your footprint, especially if you are flying or driving by yourself, the most energy-intensive options. It’s worth being aware that because take-off and descent are energy-intensive, flying has a higher carbon footprint than a medium car over distances less than 1000 km but further than that driving alone actually does more damage than flying.

So, what to do about holidays?

Flying now seems normal but it has taken off only in the last few decades. Globally 80% of the population has never flown and in the UK half of the population don’t fly in a given year. Along with the growth in SUVs, the growth in aviation is challenging our commitment to save ourselves; e.g. a return flight to Los Angeles emits 2.28 tonnes yet to be sustainable (and nobody wants the chaos changing the climate is bringing) we need to reduce our entire annual footprint to 2.2 tonnes CO2 equivalent pa!

Offsetting? Well, no. Saplings that are planted to ‘offset’ your flight won’t be big enough to trap all your carbon for many, many years. Meanwhile, those emissions keep warming and damaging the planet whilst whole forests of offsetting trees have already been lost to drought and wildfires. Whatever way you ‘offset’ your flight, your greenhouse gases will still be doing damage in the atmosphere for centuries.

The good news though is that train travel is enjoying a come-back and more and more sleeper trains are being reinstated across Europe. Train travel in countries with low carbon grids such as France has a very, very low impact. My daughter and I are going to the Camargue: my return Eurostar trip to Avignon emits just 14kg of CO2 compared to a 20 times bigger flying footprint (0.29 tonnes return from Bournemouth to Avignon).

If you fear that there is too much inertia, that you don’t make any difference or that it might damage the economy, consider how much change and upheaval there has been in how we travel and the associated industries (horses and bikes to vehicles, trains to planes), and how we have powered our lives over the years. Change always starts slowly and then suddenly races into the mainstream. (Consider the meteoric rise in online shopping over the last decade or so).

Better still, as holidays have high social visibility, by choosing not to fly you not only reduce your own carbon footprint but also send a signal to your friends and family (and yourself!) that the climate crisis is real. A survey showed that half of the respondents who knew someone who has given up flying because of climate change said they fly less because of this example

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Enjoy your next holiday by train! Plan with: – an excellent online guide to train travel.

Global Climate Strike 12-1 on Friday 3 March 2023, outside Milborne Port Town Hall. Join us to stand up for a safe future for us all!

February 2023

Travelling light

For individuals in the UK, transport can be the largest part of their carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly, walking or cycling are usually the most efficient ways to travel – cycling 1km can burn as little as 16g of CO2-equivalent, though it depends what you are fuelled by and can be up to 50g – greater than the footprint of a kilometre by train – if you’ve eaten beef. Taking the train is usually the most efficient option after that.

As the chart below helps illustrate, the new fashion for large cars runs counter to the nation’s commitment to reaching net zero, as large cars emit nearly twice the emissions of smaller ones (and discourage active travel by posing more risk to vulnerable users).

It’s worth noting that the carbon footprints in the chart below are per person. So, sharing lifts to fill your car reduces everyone’s footprint. The footprint for driving electric cars is falling as the proportion of renewables in the grid is increasing; and if you have solar panels on your roof can become next to nothing (though as with all cars there is a footprint to their manufacture).

Of course, reducing your mileage and frequency of journeys is the easiest way to cut the carbon footprint of your travel; conversely, the further you travel the more important it becomes to use a low carbon mode, as we’ll explore another time.

Do I count? Yes! Supply and demand! We have no time to lose to stay in a safe climate and new roads tend to be supplied at great environmental cost, and train and bus services reduced, in response to use or the lack of it. Here’s a good opportunity to ditch the car a bit: From 1 January 2023, over 130 bus operators across the country will introduce a £2 fare cap on single tickets. The cap will remain in place until 31 March 2023. The scheme is part of an initiative funded by the Government aimed at boosting bus use while helping passengers to save money as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, fuelled in part by high petrol and diesel prices. To read more about the Government scheme search for Help for Households Help with Transport Costs:

Here’s One New Thing To Do for our Future

Walk, scoot or cycle for journeys less than 3 miles if you can, or take the bus if you can’t.

January 2023

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

For a diet that will sustain us, what’s at steak?

The NHS advises us to eat no more than 70g of red meat a day for health. For sustainability, the Committee on Climate Change recommends a 20% reduction in meat and dairy by 2030. The Planetary Health Diet (by leading scientists representing disciplines including agriculture and public health) has a daily average of 14g of red meat and 29g of poultry.

Why so little? Two reasons. Firstly, eating meat is inefficient because mammals use energy to keep warm and move: eg 6-10 kg of plant food is needed to produce 1kg of beef and a lot of that 1kg is bone, skin and guts. This means that if the world went vegan (which nobody is suggesting) we’d need less cropland than we currently use to feed humans and livestock! 

UK Land Area divided by purpose: Source: Carbon Brief

Secondly, livestock account for 14.5% of all global emissions. Cows, sheep and goats contribute massively to this total as (unlike pigs and poultry) they produce methane, a greenhouse gas 80x as potent as carbon dioxide.

Most people think that eating locally is much better for the climate than going vegetarian; in reality, the opposite is true, as the chart above shows.

The graphics show how by eating less meat there will be more room for natural solutions – growing trees, conservation restoration and land management actions that increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and allow room for the restoration of biodiversity. These solutions have the potential to deliver up to a third of the reduction in emissions we need by 2030, and help the UK be more self-sufficient in food.

We have years, not decades, to address the interconnected crises of climate change and biodiversity loss;

eating more plants is one significant step towards achieving this.

December 22 – Saving precious energy

And the cheapest, cleanest energy is that we don’t use

How does insulation work? – either through thermal resistance (meaning the heat takes a lot longer to escape) or by trapping air. Building materials are rated on their effectiveness with an R value (U values are for the whole building). The Energy Saving Trust has lots of information on the costs of installation, annual savings on bills and carbon emissions as well as what to look for and beware.

30-40% of heat loss from an uninsulated home is through walls, typically Cavity wall insulation is easy to do, and costs £700-£1,000. A solid wall will cost £9,000-£18,000 – you can either insulate the wall externally or internally, which is more sympathetic but also disruptive as wiring, sockets and radiators have to be moved. Either a (breathable) lime render or wood fibre board is needed.

25-30% of heat loss is through the roof Loft insulation is easy. You can use a mineral fibre, one made from recycled bottles or (if you’re not using a grant) sheep’s wool. Spray foam is not breathable and expensive – bad on two counts. Just insulate the loft floor. Though if you have a room in the roof you will need to insulate the residual area above the ceiling. The depth required depends on the material but is 200-300mm. (A whole tonne a year is saved by insulating the roof of a detached house or bungalow – a huge step in the right direction to a sustainable footprint of just over 2 tonnes for everything).

15% of heat typically is lost through doors and windows  Installing energy-efficient glazing has a disproportionately positive effect on our comfort by eliminating draughts (and wind chill factor!), noise and condensation. Curtains reduce draughts.

10% of the heating in an uninsulated home is lost through floors  If you have a cellar or live on a hill and have a void under the floor there are a variety of products you can use. Ensure ventilation. If you’re stuck with a concrete floor use a good quality underlay to your carpets.

Buyer beware. Do get independent advice and do your research before approaching installers.

Milborne Port library will have a thermal imaging camera on loan so you can see where the heat is leaking from your home. We also have one.

HUG 2 (Home Upgrade Grants 2) is a second government scheme awarding grants to Local Authorities. Somerset Independence Plus ( ) are submitting a bid. The application is for £7.2m for retrofitting 400 homes (insulation improvements and decarbonised heating upgrades) off the gas network with low EPCs and low householder income, delivered over two years.

Safe and Warm Somerset ( supports residents with reducing energy bills and keeping warm at home.

Sources: Energy Savings Trust and Ridgewater Energy. Peter Bywater of the former operates in Dorset (where they currently have grants available) but would advise us in Milborne Port on the understanding that any work would not be funded by grants.

November 2022 update

COP 27 is this month. Overwhelmingly, vitally important. On November 12th, crowds of people will be coming out on the streets of major cities in support of climate justice. The nearest gathering to Milborne Port is Bristol; meet at noon on College Green. Some of us will be going; get in touch if you’d like to join us.

(Google ‘climate justice COP 27’ to find out more.)    

Remember, remember… Hedgehogs & Bonfires don’t mix! As hedgehogs respond to danger by curling into a ball rather than fleeing they will die; so please only light a bonfire that you have just made or moved that day in case hedgehogs may be hibernating there. (They get up periodically during the winter for a drink and may move to a new spot so this precaution is necessary throughout the winter and, indeed, at all times of year).

Hedge planting  11-1pm & 2-4pm  Sunday November 13th We aim to finish the new line of hedge on the outer side of the recreation ground fence that day. Any extra volunteers welcome. Please email Sarah for details and updates. Our previous two years’ plantings are doing well, helped along with judicious weeding and watering.

Try out a pedal-assist electric bike on Saturday 19th November 2-4 pm! Meet by Kingsbury Bridge. (Men and women’s sizes only). Described as a silver bullet for climate-friendly transport, they are way more than a cheaty-bike and can take the place of a second car. You can go much further in the same time since you can pedal faster on the flat and much faster going uphill. Furthermore, you don’t arrive in a sweat at the other end. If you’re striving to follow the call for active local journeys, an e-bike may help. You’ll be able to try them on the flat and uphill. We may ask to hold onto your mobile phone as a deposit while you have a go.

Personal steps to net zero  Lucy MacArthur writes: “I bought an E-bike two years ago, to have an alternative to using our car (we have always been a one-car couple – for carbon footprint reduction) when a journey might seem too far, too daunting, or too time consuming by my non-E-bike.  I have never looked back!  Mostly used for getting to and from Sherborne (for work – on the back roads) but gradually venturing a bit further.  It provides a reasonable amount of the exercise goal I set myself, it often gets me to Sherborne as quickly as the car (and is a quicker journey than the bus, in view of the walk to the bus stop) and it gives me confidence when I have to negotiate a main road, especially going uphill!

“It is an Easi-go Commute X from Riley’s in Sherborne.  The battery can give me 35 miles plus from a full charge (depending on how much I use the power).  I aim to visit a friend who lives east of Shaftesbury soon, charge up overnight and ride back the next day.

“Our next carbon cutting plan (in addition to those already being used) is to get our loft re-insulated to make our home more energy efficient – this may have to wait until Spring 2023 but is definitely on the way!”

Pre-Christmas Freecycle weekend! November 26th -27th. All day. Weather permitting. We’ll postpone to the following weekend if it’s wet. Please make sure you remove anything that’s leftover and take care not to obstruct pavements or walkways – you’re responsible for what you put on your doorstep until someone rehomes it. We’ll do another in the New Year. If you’d like a poster to put up please email Sarah on the address below. Look out for updates on Milborne Port News and Everything Facebook page. And by all means let others know where and what you are offering on Facebook.

Energy saving & the cost of living crisis There are compelling reasons to save energy (money; climate; Ukraine) and so many ways to do so.

October 2022 – Our way out of the energy crisis

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

The Facts and Fictions of the Energy Crisis & Our Way Out

To verify the following facts, please use the links to expert sources below.

Everyone is all too aware that energy bills are high with multiple knock-on adverse effects. Households and businesses are suffering. Estimates vary but one is that 7 million households are expected to be suffering from fuel poverty from October. This is as unnecessary as it is unacceptable. Source: End Fuel Poverty. See links below.

What is the true cause of the global energy crisis? One narrative, a dangerous fallacy, is that it is because of renewable energy. But as Faith Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency puts it, this is absurd. Russia and the gas supply crunch are the cause. The energy policy makers he talks to acknowledge that they regret not having built more wind and solar plants and improved the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles. The unfortunate UK government green policy blocks in 2017, for example, have added £2.5 billion to UK energy bills. We mustn’t compound this mistake now.

Aren’t renewables too costly and slow? No! Quite the reverse! Solar energy is cheaper than gas. Analysis by energy and climate think tank Ember showed that record levels of solar power across the EU this summer avoided the need for 20bn cubic metres of gas, which would have cost £25bn to import. 

Building more UK onshore wind brings new electricity supplies on stream more quickly and more cheaply than fracking. A  UK government auction in August secured a record 11 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity that will generate electricity nine times (nine times!!!) more cheaply than current gas prices (£48 per MWh vs £446 per MWh). These are due to start operating within the next five years up to 2027. Their 11GW alone will be able to generate 14% of UK demand but overall there is enough renewable capacity due to come onstream by 2027 to generate nearly a third of UK demand! (Source: Carbon Brief).

Compare this with how much gas we could we get from UK fracking, according to the trade body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry UKOOG itself: it’s less than 5% of UK gas needs over the next 5 years, even in the best-case scenario, with no planning issues or protests. And will of course exacerbate the climate crisis into the bad bargain.

How will we balance supply and demand? You can create hydrogen when you have excess solar and wind, and use it to generate electricity when you have a renewable energy shortage. Excess renewable energy can also be used to pump water uphill to a reservoir; energy is generated later by releasing water back downhill, passing through a turbine.

What about the huge cost of converting to green energy? A new study calculated the cost of global renewable energy would be $62 trillion. But the big upfront investment would create jobs, drastically reduce carbon emissions, and pay for itself in six years or less. (Source: Business Green). How so? It has been calculated that a decarbonised energy system is not only feasible but will prove at least $12tr cheaper to run than maintaining current levels of fossil fuel use. (Source: a paper in the journal Joule).

Are solar fields a threat to farmland? At the moment, less than 0.1% of all land in the UK. Plans to increase the land under ground-mounted solar panels would bring this to 0.3% of the UK land area, roughly half of the space already taken up by golf courses. Many farmers are positive about this technology, not least because they can use less productive fields for solar panels and still produce food.

The Profits It’s not just fuel and food bills that are rising fast; so are the profits of the fossil fuel industry. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General called on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies to help countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and people struggling with rising food and energy prices – “The fossil fuel industry is feasting on subsidies & windfall profits while household budgets shrink & our planet burns”. Meanwhile, the unsustainability and dangers of an energy supply system dominated by fossil fuels have never been clearer than this year. As the IEA CE says, “The world’s biggest economies are pushing hard on clean energy. And with all the readily available, highly competitive clean energy technologies there are good reasons for optimism that others will follow”. Let’s hope the UK government does.

What can we do about it? With COP27 climate talks looming, private investors could make a huge contribution to our cheaper, green, clean future, says the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership. The 3rd issue of National Savings and Investment Green Savings Bonds has been launched – “it’s about saving more than money”.  Also, Friends of the Earth will be behind a united fight for urgent additional financial support to people in the energy crisis; for a nationwide insulation programme and for permanent sustainable fixes to our failed fossil fuel energy system in a United for Warm Homes campaign. Come to our next meeting (or email) to find out more. per…
 NB The article has since been updated with the latest power prices, giving the current 9x cheaper difference.

 How can land be used for both solar and agriculture?

Next meeting Tuesday October 11th 7.30pm Town Hall  Please join us

July News

Milborne Port Freecycle Event – all day Friday 15th and Saturday 16th July.

Free to join in! Do you have things you no longer want? Like the idea of finding free gifts? Providing the weather is settled we’ll try out this successful idea from Bruton for the full two days on those dates. Join in this community event by leaving any pre-loved items by your front gate for people to walk by and choose, and/ or having a wander around the village and choosing some lovely items to take home.

All you need to do is find a spot by your front gate or doorstep where you can discreetly display some items you no longer want or need, and which you are happy to gift to someone else, above dog wee zone and preferably with a note saying something like “Free to a good home”. Then have a wander around the village to choose the pre-loved gifts you’d like to re-home!

Please make sure you remove anything that’s left at the end of the day so as not to litter the streets – you’re responsible for what you put on your doorstep until someone has claimed it, and also please make sure not to obstruct pavements or walkways.

If the weather is poor, we’ll try a week later. Look out for posters and updates on Facebook (Milborne Port News and Everything). And by all means let others know what you have on offer on Facebook.

The more people that join in the merrier, and hopefully we can stop many things going to waste. Plus have lots of fun!

Visit a Wilder Open Garden!

You’re invited to enjoy free tea, scones or cake and wildlife at a Wilder Open Garden in Lower Kingsbury on Saturday 16th July 2pm- 4.30pm.

RSVP before to the email address below to ensure sufficient baking is done!

Please bring your own mug!

In aid of Somerset Wildlife Trust:

Donations to: Get up-to-date with a range of fact-based articles by experts on the environment, especially climate change and biodiversity loss; join our new group on Facebook, Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action