September 22. A vision of hope for Milborne Port?

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

What’s your vision?

Vision. Apparently it works. You get what you wish for. The images you have in your head you work to achieve. At the moment the pictures in our heads are understandably full of the start of carbon hell. So, instead, what can our imaginations conjure up for the alternative, the life after fossil fuels? Here’s what I enjoy imagining about life in Milborne Port…

Life is exciting! We’re all enjoying better health and new and sustainable jobs because our homes, streets and workplaces are no longer polluted from the burning of fossil fuels. It’s not just safe but fun for all ages to walk and cycle about now electric bikes and cargo-bikes have replaced so many cars and vans. Local businesses are thriving too because the streets are no longer choked with cars and people are milling around instead. Everything smells fresh and clean. The sky is unpolluted and clear blue. Bird song travels further without the noise of engines.  All of this has given us a greater sense of community as there’s more to enjoy on our doorstep.

Our streets are lined with trees to absorb carbon and we’ve got rid of unnecessary hard-standing all of which helps keep us cool in heatwaves and softens the impact of heavy rainstorms. Our homes are well-insulated too so our bills are lower and we’re more comfortable in the winter and better able to keep cool in summer. And of course, the great beauty of renewable energy is that it is not only endlessly renewable but also much cheaper than fossil fuels. Plus there is better and cheaper/ free public transport and easy to use e-bike and car pools and car shares. So, all in all, the cost of living is down and there is less inequality in the village.

As a nation we have been eating less (carbon-intensive) red meat. The added benefit has been to free up pasture land for environmental land management and landscape recovery, with funding from the Government. It’s fantastic being able to enjoy having wildlife-rich landscapes / Green Parks near us in Milborne Port and also wildlife corridors along river floodplains (which also help as firebreaks and flood alleviation sponges). Our rivers and coast are clean too. They are no longer polluted with raw sewage at times of high rainfall.

But best of all perhaps, is the relief of all those crises being behind us and the future again being something for us to look forward to eagerly for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.

Choice The only other choice is to carry on to almost unimaginable carbon hell. It will impact everything and everyone. Everything we have we will lose; nothing that we need or enjoy will survive; the level of  the impacts already happening show us the risks – to our health from extreme heat, from pandemics, diseases and pathogens travelling north; to food shortages and hunger as crops fail in more and more extreme and lengthy droughts and heatwaves; disruption of travel and the supply of food and goods due to power outages from storms, dried up rivers, landslips, washed away roads and railways; more  and more extreme wildfires and flash floods threatening our livelihoods and homes; threats to global security with fossil fuel-funded wars.

Let’s be very clear: doing nothing is not an available option; carrying on as we have been whilst keeping what we have and remaining safe is not an option. The choice we have is only between a low-carbon heaven or climate hell.  And there’s huge urgency involved.

Plan So, what is the plan? What, collectively, do we need to do to make a positive future a reality and avoid climate hell? Here are four important things. Insulate our homes; stop investing in unsafe and polluting fossil fuels and switch to clean renewable electricity; promote and support low carbon and active travel (walking and cycling), buses and trains and avoid flying; and eat less red meat.

Action Think about how great what we can get will be! So, here’s an action to take. Have a conversation with your family or friends about how you envisage your low-carbon future. See how positive you feel afterwards!

(If you’d like to watch the 4-minute video here’s the link: https://www.wearefuterra.com/thinks/sell-the-sizzle).

Remember that solving climate change solves almost everything else.

What’s your vision?

The young people’s movement,

Friday 23 September

See their web-site for details or email us below.

“Green” Drinks Tuesday September 13th 7.30pm Tippling Philosopher     All welcome.

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/

Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/597148725354915

August 2022 Heatwave

Well, that July heatwave was well off England’s charts! I hope everyone was okay. If there’s an upside maybe it is that we have all seen that devastating climate change is underway already. Nor is this the new normal; it can only escalate, not reaching a new normal until globally we emit no more greenhouse gases than our natural support systems can take up. Is there a misunderstanding – a mistaken belief that as soon as we start cutting our emissions, things will get better? It’s important to remember that we are not faced with a dinosaur-killing meteorite; we have all the know-how, all the technology we need. A monumental effort on the part of all of is what is now required, as one climate scientist said recently.

My now 99-year-old father spent 6 years of his youth, risking his life, to fight against Nazism. I’m fairly sure I could not be that brave and my daughter when a small child asked me as a theoretical Do You Really Love Me test if I would walk a tightrope between two buildings to rescue her (from what I now forget) and I failed. But it’s no big deal to do what is within my means to address my own carbon footprint and shadow. A friend once described how when she was a child, her friend’s mother would eat the chocolate biscuits off the plate, leaving the children the plain ones. Metaphorically, are we going to leave our children and grandchildren any biscuits at all?

The future that currently faces younger generations seems extremely perilous as global emissions continue to climb; this seems unjust to young people. Older generations make this worse by leaving it to the young to sacrifice time that should be spent at school or university, or hanging out with their friends, to protest and campaign. Net Zero is a gamble at our children’s expense, tossing the problem into their future; there is no sign of any technology that can take out carbon dioxide at scale. And now there is the threat of being imprisoned for the most basic form of protesting for a liveable climate. Triple or is that quadruple injustice. So, if you’re no longer young, do please join us in voting for young people’s futures with your feet – join any climate demonstrations or marches you can, and vote for their future at the ballot box and with your bank, savings and investments.  https://switchit.green/ is a start. The climate is not political; all other issues, however important, are like arguing up on deck while the lifeboat is taking on water and sinking.   

Hedgerows It’s been lovely this year to enjoy seeing a number of hedges that have been allowed to grow a bit wider and taller, and consequently flowering and providing more fore wildlife too. May we have more please?! Cutting hedges incrementally – leaving just a few inches of the year’s growth to remain uncut and flower and fruit next year – is a simple way to provide massive benefits for nature.

Let It Grow!  A huge well done and hats off to the PCC and volunteers who have been managing the church lawns to enhance the wildlife there. Do go and have a look if you haven’t yet. At the lusher eastern end, until the last month, they have been cutting and collecting the grass growth to bring the fertility down, which starves the grasses a bit so that wild flowers have more chance to flourish in subsequent years. As I write it is a picture of yellow wild flowers. And at the Bathwell Lane end it is a joy to see the variety of wild flowers, and the butterflies and other insects, benefiting where cuttings have been collected for years, and they have now left it unmown through the spring and summer except for a tidy edge. I imagine that the swifts nesting under the church tiles will have had an easier time of rearing their young this year as a result!

It’s also fantastic to see more front gardens and frontages around the village being allowed to grow; the wild flowers are lovely to see and it is heart-warming to think of all the wildlife that benefits. Long live grass (and the wild flowers therein!) – it’s where so much lives! And thank you. “Green” Drinks Tuesday September 13th 7.30pm Tippling Philosopher   tbc  All welcome

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: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/s-warren6

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/ 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

June 2022 – A Green Future

Who doesn’t want to leave a better world for our children?! Yet none of us needs reminding that we are at a really critical point in history, with the world facing multiple crises over climate, food security, health and biodiversity. So, it’s good to know that the government has a plan “A Green Future: our 25 year plan to improve the environment”. And we can all do our bit and have fun by helping record what wildlife is around us. (Don’t know a dandelion from a daisy? There’s an app for that! See below).

Currently only 10% of the country supports abundant and diverse wildlife, so Defra’s aim is to triple this by 2030, creating space and expanding a network where wildlife can thrive. Every area, however tiny, counts, whether it’s a garden, a churchyard, school grounds, farms or a community space; these all add up and make a difference.

Somerset Wildlife Trust is heading this vital endeavor in our county, with its plan Create A Wilder Somerset 2030. Each of us, in our own and other communities, can help to record the baseline, and then track positive changes over the decade. They’ve made it so easy! There are two free apps, which work together, Seek – to identify what you see – and iNaturalist to record it – the one feeds information to the other. You don’t have to give away where you live – there are 3 location settings – open, obscured (blurred to within 100m) and private.

Wilder Somerset 2030 will deliver thriving wildlife: carbon storage; protected soils, peatlands, meadows and woodlands; new meadows, hedgerows, woodlands and grasslands; ‘wilded’ gardens and urban areas, and clean and healthy restored rivers and wetlands slowing flow and reducing flooding.

Nature has a huge role in our health and well-being. So, do come and find us at the fete on 4th June to find out more and try out the apps (please download them in advance) on some wildflowers we’ll bring from our garden. We’ll be operating a Climate Hub too – to chat about what we can all do about it.

Hear what’s it like to be a kid right now: take 7 minutes to read The Kids are Not Okay by Julia Steinberger (Google those words); it’s important. There is a link within the article for what to do.

“Public and private finance flows for fossil fuels are still greater than those for climate adaptation and mitigation (high confidence)”   IPCC AR6 Mitigation Report, SPM p.15

Not good news:

And what I can do about it:

https://jksteinberger.medium.com/the-kids-are-not-ok-c518fffb475

What to do about it: Link within article: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2973tOyZ-TA

No Mow May

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Tackling the cost of living…

Here are two really good web-sites that may or may not be helpful with options and information in the struggle with soaring fuel bills and/ or saving energy for the climate:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/energy_saving_tips – provides many tips and also comparisons of the energy used in the kitchen, for example in cooking different ways (best to worst: microwave, induction hob, electric hob, oven; slow cookers are good energy savers too).

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/heat-the-human-not-the-home-save-energy/ Heating the human not the house can save a lot of money; for next winter, as well as clothing tips, the web-site provides information including both initial and running costs per hour/week of reusable handwarmers, hot water bottles, electric blankets and heat pads, and (more expensive to buy but cheaper to run) electric gilets, which can all help save money and fuel.

Spring is free to enjoy!

We’re lucky to have East Hill (below the bend in Wheathill Lane) with its variety and succession of wild flowers and butterflies through spring and summer on our doorstep. And the fabulous Butterfly Conservation reserve, Alners Gorse, between Kings Stag and Hazelbury Bryan is within a fit cyclist’s reach. The nightingales will still be singing when this magazine reaches you. If you’d like to take part in conservation tasks in Somerset and Dorset, take a look at the eucan.org.uk web-site. They’re a really cheerful bunch and the tasks make a worthwhile day/ half day out.

At the time of writing, there is no sign of Swallows and House Martins having returned to breed. They will have a late start. Every garden that has a wildlife area, however small, perhaps with No Mow May, Let It Bloom June, will have wild flowers that help support those extra insects which may make all the difference to the future of all our much-loved summer visitors.

Have you seen the Climate Game? Get to lead the world! https://ig.ft.com/climate-game/

It’s fun, hopeful and informative.

March 2022 News

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Working together in the village to help wildlife to flourish.

Who is not looking forward to spring? Warmth and longer days for sure; hopefully plenty of sunshine and flowers, the song of birds, the hum of bees and colourful flights of butterflies and more to delight us?  Sadly, though, we have gradually become one of the most nature-depleted nations and that affects us all.

More than 97% of hay meadows have disappeared; insect numbers are crashing – and we learnt recently from BBC’s Winter Watch that there are now 900 million fewer birds over Europe  than 40 years ago. 900 million. The good news is that there are now many initiatives to start to address these losses. Many of you will know about Plantlife’s successful Let it Grow and Roadside Verge campaign, for example.  

Last summer SSDC trialled a few No Mow areas in Milborne Port, and we will be liaising with them to add to these. The sizeable piece of grassland opposite Crackmore Garage supports a good number of wild flower species and South Somerset Highways who we have been in contact with do not cut more than a metre length along the edge; please respect this area and leave it uncut to let the wild flowers flourish; (we will be sowing some local wildflower seed over the recently patch of churned up ground).

Working together with Adam Gale from West Coker and EUCAN, our group will also be helping with advice for and management of Wheathill Meadow, the churchyard and, of course, East Hill.

It’s also encouraging and helpful that South West in Bloom was actively looking for evidence of such initiatives last year. By cutting a band along the edge of these bits of grassland, they can have a neat, cared for look. Let’s tidy away litter but not cut wildlife!

Please get in touch if there’s an area of grassland near you you’d like advice on to see it managed to encourage wildlife.

More wild flowers and uncut grass; more insects; more hedgehogs; more birds; more joy and inspiration!

When daisies pied and violets blue 
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue 
Do paint the meadows with delight… 
Love’s Labours Lost

Don’t forget the opportunity from 14th-21st March to have thermal imagery of your house / community building. Contact us via the email below.

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/

And find us on Facebook.

February 2022 update

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group

Hunting Heat Loss! Thermal Imaging Camera comes to Milborne Port!

SSDC is trialling a thermal imaging camera loan scheme this winter (you may have seen a piece about it on BBC News, see link below) and we have booked it for Milborne Port for the week 14th-21st March. The idea is to undertake prearranged thermal imaging of our communities’ homes and buildings. The thermal imaging camera will identify heat loss areas which may indicate where the installation of insulation could help in reducing fuel bills. Our homes account for 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions, so as SSDC says “there needs to be an urgent application of energy efficiency improvements if we are going to hit the carbon reduction targets necessary” to arrest climate change.

Please register your interest via our email below, putting Thermal Imaging as the subject, and provide your house name / number and street, and we’ll get back to you in March when we have worked out how best to survey the most homes in the limited time available!

Find details of what to do once areas of heat-loss within your home have been identified here: https://www.southsomersetenvironment.co.uk/thermalimagingproject; these include some cheap and simple options too such as heat reflective aluminium foil behind radiators and draught excluders for letter boxes and doors.

For more info please go to the South Somerset Website here.

BBC News – Energy bills: Thermal imaging used to help with cost of heat loss

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-60023918

January 2022 – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We are alive in a pivotal decade in human history so I’m thinking ahead to 2030 – by which time greenhouse gas emissions need to have been halved to keep our planet habitable. We don’t and can’t know whether that will have happened though we can decide what part we will have played.

When I think of my loved ones in 2030 I know how I want their lives and future to be looking. It won’t be the same as now. It could be looking immeasurably better for them if we have achieved the 50% cut or, frankly, terrifying if we haven’t. We are truly in a race against time.

It’s good to imagine how green and bright our lives could be by 2030. Here’s one picture. We are well on the way to a cleaner, safer, greener and fairer world, powered by renewable energy provided freely by nature, maybe from within our own community. Our village is less noisy, smelly and polluted, and we all have more access to natural green areas where everyone can relax and connect with nature. There are more trees growing along our streets to mop up any pollution, soften the storms and capture carbon. The sky is bluer, there’re more birds and bees and butterflies, and the air is filled with birdsong and the humming of bees in the spring. We are healthier because we’re walking and biking around more, making use of accessible active transport routes and enjoying the clean air because a brilliant, fast and cheap public transport network has taken loads of vehicles off the road.

We are suffering less from air pollution not only when we’re out and about but also in our own homes (with heat pumps and induction hobs). We are enjoying taking greater care of our possessions, being able to get them repaired and making sure they were necessary and made to last when we bought them. It is a more delicious world with more varied foods too as we eat more plant-based foods, knowing they are not only healthier for us and the planet but leave much more space for nature. We are glad to live in a fairer world. We have slowed down and spend more time with friends and family and less time rushing around; and find we are less stressed and more contented as a result.

I’m aware that being in the richer half of this country’s population, I am among the wealthiest 10% of the global population and co-responsible for half of all global emissions. I therefore feel my responsibility to act and use any influence I have positively. Our household supports organisations lobbying for change; regularly writes to our MP and PM; makes sure our money is not doing harm, and has already halved our greenhouse gas emissions which are now below the UK average.  Whatever state the world is in by 2030, we will feel glad to be playing our part.

Doing something helps reduce anxiety, and everyone’s voice and decisions are important in advocating for change wherever we live, work, study, shop, bank, save, invest and more. It feels better to be part of the change we wish to see! And it’s reassuring to recall how quickly change happens – it’s usually slow at first. Think of where we were with the internet in 2000. Businesses and entire industries have made many significant transitions in less than 10 years.

Our responsibility now is to ensure that future generations will look back and be proud of the actions we take.

Will you be making any resolutions? Please look for links and more information on Facebook, and let’s share ideas.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/18/ten-ways-confront-climate-crisis-without-losing-hope-rebecca-solnit-reconstruction-after-covid

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/

And find us on Facebook.

PS Dubious about climate change? Read the verifiable, fact-based science below to bust the myths and misconceptions! It’s not a matter of opinion. Sadly.  Yes, the earth has had these concentrations of greenhouse gases before (but not during human history) and virtually the whole suite of life on earth then, because it had slowly evolved to be adapted to the accompanying climate, was different. Most species cannot evolve to adapt at the current rate of change – over decades. Unfortunately, anyone who says differently is not a climate scientist, is misinformed or believes they have a vested interest in continuing business as usual. (Not an option that will last).

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide

skepticalscience.com/argument.php

November 2021 update

COP26  On a misty Saturday morning in October, fuelled by tea and biscuits, a lively group of people of all ages were to be seen marching 1.5 km through the lanes and fields of Milborne Port, led by drums and flanked by the Grim Reaper of Climate Change. People all over the world have committed to walking 1.5 km before the COP26 talks between 1st and 12th November as part of the World Climate March – a coordinated global march for those who cannot go to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, and who want to show their concern about keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees. A photo and video montage of these World Climate Marches will be shown in Glasgow. 

Members of the Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action group will also be joining the rally and march through Bristol at noon on Saturday 6th November on the Global Day of Action for Climate Change. We will catch the 9.36 train from Yeovil Penn Mill to Bristol Temple Meads that day to join us. For details please Google Global Day of Action Bristol. Email us if you‘d like to link up.

Hedgehogs By the time you read this, Guy Fawkes night will be upon us. Please think of hedgehogs, beloved by children of all ages and now a species vulnerable to extinction, and reassemble or relocate any pile of wood before you set it alight. Piles of wood are favoured nesting and hibernating places for hedgehogs. If hedgehogs visit your garden (lucky you!) providing food for them (complete kitten food with protein as the prime ingredient) will help young hedgehogs put on enough weight to start hibernating, and all hedgehogs wake up a number of times through the winter and need to feed.

Hedge planting in the village More volunteers needed. Please email if you’d like to help.