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On 30 June we are coming together for a virtual lobby, inviting you, and thousands of others to ask MPs to put people, climate and nature at the heart of our nation’s recovery. 

The UK is at a turning point. As we build back from the current health crisis, we have the opportunity to rebuild a resilient economy that benefits everyone in society and tackle climate change and nature’s decline, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world. Or we can let the moment for change pass us by, go back to old ways and wait for new crises to hit. 

Using our voices to call for action is more important than ever. Have a virtual cup of tea with your MP on Tuesday 30 June and tell them that #TheTimeIsNow to put a healthy, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild from the Coronavirus crisis. 

This is organized by The Climate coalition. See https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/virtual-lobby for more information.

This post is by Duncan Bell of the Transition Worcester energy group.

Draught Busting

Draughts waste energy and money by allowing warm air to escape homes and cold air to entre.

It is relatively quick and easy to stop problem draughts, compared to the large amount of energy that they waste.

Draughts are almost universally found around doors, windows, and chimneys, but not limited to these places.

Some draughts can be simply felt using a damp back of the hand, or dusting likely draughty areas with fine powder such as custard powder or corn flour, and watching to see if the powder moves from where you put it.

Some ventilation is essential for a healthy home, but most homes have many more times the level of draughtyness than is necessary.

Other draughts can only be found using more specialised equipment, contact us or Transition Worcester for help once lockdown ends.

Once you’ve found a draught, it is time to seal it.

Self adhesive draught strips can be cut with scissors and stuck directly to (ideally clean) painted or plastic surfaces. A good way to clean surfaces before sticking is to wipe them with rag dampened with meths.

Many low cost draught proofing products are available from local DIY stores or delivery from national DIY and building supply chains likes Wickes and Screwfix. Just search using the term "draught".

As well a buying products you can make some draught excluder gadgets:

  • Make your own internal under door draught excluder for free using roll of old blanket, clothes, etc.
  • Make your own Chimney Draught Excluder for free using a bundle of plastic bags, old blanket, etc.

SupaSoft

SupaSoft is an easy to handle and environmental alternative to standard nasty itchey fibreglass wool insulation.

SupaSoft is excellent for insulating lofts.

Transition Worcester energy group have used SupaSoft, and we found it effective insulation and a joy to work with, no fibreglass itchyness.

Fire safe, we took a sample of SupaSoft to the garden, poured petrol over it and lit it. The petrol burned as expected, the SupaSoft melted but didn't burn once the petrol was used up.

Conclusion, SupaSoft is less of a fire risk than the usual cardboard boxes and household junk already found in most lofts.

SupaSoft is manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic waste.

See NaturalInsulations.co.uk for more information.

Our Malvern Hills Car Clubs celebrated its 10th Anniversary recently and issued the following press release.

Press Release, for immediate publication

Malvern Hills Car Clubs is a community-based car sharing scheme, and last week, on 1st April, it held its tenth AGM.  The original plan had been to hold this at the Cube, and to combine it with a birthday party, with members bringing food to share.  Given current circumstances, the meeting was held virtually using Zoom (an online conference facility).

The birthday party atmosphere was maintained by some members arriving with gin and tonic and crisps, or cups of tea and biscuits, and the celebration started with everybody present sharing something that they appreciated about the car club.  One member who has recently returned to the Malvern area after several years of living abroad was grateful that she has not had to buy a car since she came back.  A member who lives in the northeast and works in Ledbury is very happy that he did not need to buy a second car for the time that he spends here.  One couple were pleased that they have not needed to own a car for ten years - since the car club started.  Another member expressed gratitude for the fact that there are fewer cars on the roads, and fewer cars parked on the streets. Several people also mentioned the commitment and devotion of the volunteers who run the club, and the sense of community and connection that being a member of the club creates.

With this being an AGM, the accounts were presented, revealing a small surplus and a healthy bank balance.  However, the car club is not immune to the Coronavirus.  On the contrary, the impact has been immediate.  Members are responding to the lockdown advice and only using the cars for the permitted outings with the result that usage for March was a mere 10% of normal. 

In the short term, the car club’s finances will enable the club to ride out the immediate drop in usage.  The conversation about contingency plans to help the situation was followed by thoughts about the opportunities for the future.  Two different opportunities were discussed, the first related to the Covid-19 effect, and the second to possible expansion plans.

First, with almost everyone moving around less at the moment, some people may decide that they can continue to drive less, and therefore that they do not need to own their own car.  The car club is a very good solution for people who only use a car two or three times a week in normal times.  Similarly, households with two cars may decide that they can manage with owning only one, and use a car club car as a substitute for the second.  There are already many car club members in this situation.

The second opportunity is the potential for partnerships with local villages.  The parish councils of six villages in the area - three in Worcestershire, and three in Herefordshire - have recently declared a climate emergency, and are looking at actions that they can take locally to address this.  They are exploring arrangements with Malvern Hills Car Clubs as one possibility - one which would not only help with climate change, but would also support people living in rural locations for whom transport options are limited.

Notes for Editors

Malvern Hills Car Clubs was founded in 2010.  It is one of the initiatives to come from Transition Malvern Hills.

The club is run entirely by volunteers, which keeps costs to a minimum.

The club covers Malvern, Colwall and Ledbury.  140 households are members, and the club has seventeen vehicles, including one electric car and a pick-up truck.

Website: https://malvernhills-carclubs.org.uk/

How does The Centre for Alternative Technology(CAT) Zero Carbon Britain scenario compare to other models for getting to net zero? Cat's Philip James compares the key changes, choices and technologies from Zero Carbon Britain with the Committee on Climate Change’s ‘Further Ambition’ scenario.

This is from Cat's Clean Slate magazine

Biochar is essentially charcoal made under carefully controlled conditions. By burning carbon-rich compounds in the absence of air (pyrolysis), the volatile and non-carbon components are burnt off, leaving much of the carbon behind as a solid ‘char’.

This has particular properties that make it valuable as a means of storing carbon, especially in the soil. It has been found in stable condition after thousands of years, making biochar a potentially useful tool in carbon sequestration and storage.

Biochar can be made from any readily available carbon source, e.g. wood and agricultural residues such as rice husks, nut shells and beet tops, and the quality of this source material (feedstock) partly determines the properties of the biochar. For example, if the feedstock is nutrient-rich, so will be the char. By-products of pyrolysis include a biogas and a tar, both of which have useful applications.

This description of Biochar comes from The Centre for Alternative Technology's Zero Carbon Britain Report Section 3.6.3 Capturing carbon. See their report for the full details and references.

There are two events on Biochar coming up in the region. select on the image below for more details.

Our Friends at Greenlink have open a new Shop GL2. This shop allows you to refill your wholefoods, toiletries and household cleaning products.

It is at 14 Cowleigh Road, Malvern, WR14 1QD. Select here for a map.

Their Current opening hours are:

  • Tuesday 10 till 7pm
  • Thursday 10 till 5pm
  • Saturday 10 till 4 pm

We are giving a talk on The Centre for Alternative Technology(CAT) new Zero Carbon Report. This will be at 30th March at 8pm.

Due to the Virus Emergency this talk will now be online.

Zoom will be used for this talk. The Zoom link is https://zoom.us/j/544847254 .

For details of how to use Zoom see here.

The slides are available here.

For the full report and lost more information and resources see CAT's own website.

The Centre for Alternative Technology(CAT) has release a new Zero Carbon Report. This major 200 page report shows how Britain become carbon neutral. A modern, zero-emissions society is possible using technology available today.

For the full report and lost more information and resources see CAT's own website.

I would urge all of you to read this report.