Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action

Transition Malvern Hills (TMHills) continues to promote and support sustainable projects and initiatives in Malvern and the surrounding area.  We are organising regular meet ups, (under the title of TMHills Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action), for individuals and groups to discuss how Malvern is making the positive changes needed to reduce our environmental impact.  There will be monthly meetings at Greenlink for all that wish to participate in these friendly discussions.

Below is the chats we have currently planned. To keep upto date sign up for our mailing list here. 

  • 11:00 on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

    Topic: Finalising to launch of our campaign on the problems of plastic

Single use Plastic

Plastic jellyfish out of waste (TK)

Our echo chat on 11th April is planning to continue discusing our campaign on  plastic waste and what we can do about it. We are planning to creating a installation to highlight how you can use less plastic.

This has become a very topical problem now that China has stopped taking our dirty recycling.

The following is a list of links on the problem:

What is single-use plastic

9 reasons refuse single use plastic

9 really good alternatives to plastic

Greenpeace

Surfers Against Sewage

Best in glass – can the return of the milkround help squash our plastic problem?

Saving the albatross: ‘The war is against plastic and they are casualties on the frontline’

Shopping without Plastic Bags?

This is written by Andrew Jameson, initially for the Quaker newsletter.

David Attenborough’s television series The Blue Planet has had great success recently in drawing attention to the menace of waste plastic in our rivers and seas. The problem is that our brilliant scientists have invented an extremely useful INERT material which nature is unable to recycle by the usual natural processes. The actual offending items range from the extremes of microbeads which are added to e.g. toothpaste and skin products to give a “scrub” action, to the millions of “free” supermarket bags we used to see blowing across fields and hanging off trees.

What can we do to lessen our use of, and dependence on, plastics? Here are a few modest proposals.

  1. Natural Choice in Barnards Green, Malvern (used to be Hunts Greengrocers) is a traditional family business, vegetables and fruit are all in “loose” displays, with different sized paper bags available. Also stocked: Seville oranges, Yorkshire pink rhubarb, local ice creams, dairy products, Teme Valley sausages and more. Home delivery free in Malvern. 01684 567467.
  2. The Cheese Board (opposite Natural Choice) has local English wines and ciders as well as cheese and cooked meats. I recommend the Hereford Hop cheese. Cheese is cut to order and wrapped in paper. 01684 891900.
  3. Green Link, 11 Graham Road, Malvern has large containers of Ecover washing up and laundry liquid etc, bring along your Ecover bottle and refill it. Melanie and I have used these for years with no ill effects! Ecover detergents are less harsh than other products. 01684 576266.
  4. Cotteswold Dairy, based in Tewkesbury and the Welsh Marches, is an independent family owned firm. Cotteswold offer a traditional doorstep delivery in Malvern using glass bottles which are collected and re-used daily. http://www.cotteswold-dairy.co.uk/. 01684 298959.

Community Resilience

This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic in September 2017.

Transition Malvern Hills & Malvern Youth & Community Trust – Community Resilience.

When the Transition Towns initiative was set up it was recognised that helping individuals reduce their Carbon Footprint needed to go hand in hand with supporting the development of community resilience. As this would assist individuals and communities feel more able to face the challenges ahead.

Sadly we now regularly see extreme weather events from around the world on the news and of course more each year as global warming increases. We can see how devastated communities can be. Also there are many examples of how communities get together to create enhanced conditions and possibilities in times of need but not devastating crisis.

In this article I want to talk about what felt to some of us a local crisis and has been turned into being a wonderful local resource, doing great things daily. It is a story of great collaborative effort by Malvern residents committed to supporting the Community.

In 2012 Transition Malvern Hills heard of Worcestershire County Council’s plan to demolish most of the Youth Centre on Albert Rd North and it was decided to join the group that was emerging to support the campaign to save the building as a Youth and Community Centre. After much sweat and tears by all the campaign team our efforts succeeded in WCC leasing the building to the organisation we helped to set up, the Malvern Youth and Community Trust. Whilst the lease didn’t require us to pay a rent it didn’t come with any support and we are responsible for all the costs (running, maintaining and developing what was a very dilapidated building). This meant the building had to be used extensively by the community to generate sufficient funds to at least pay the running and minor maintenance costs (approx. £75,000 per annum). In addition there would need to be a major effort submitting grant applications to charities and potential donors for all the repairs and development of the building and projects.

The centre’s new name was the Malvern Cube and we have recently had our 5th birthday.

What a vibrant place it is serving over 3,000 residents a month. Where else in Malvern can you see/partake in the variety of activities and support groups on offer and go to a café that has all ages and all abilities sharing the space.

Whilst many residents might just come for their Bridge Group, French Lesson, a favourite band or wellbeing group many will notice the enormous variety of offers and people using the Cube. When we encounter difference in a relaxed and friendly environment it helps us break down our stereotypes and reduce any tendencies we have to isolate ourselves. This together with joining, engaging, learning with others and supporting one another are a key part of creating resilient communities. Unless we have the meeting spaces where we “bump in” to difference rather than stay in our same grouping this doesn’t happen. (To get a snapshot of what goes on see the calendar of events on www.malverncube.com).

The Malvern Cube is designed to be such a space with Jon the welcoming manager, a café, 7 different sizes of meeting rooms and a building slowly developing and improving. The Volunteer Trustees group and all the volunteers, so essential to making the place work are very proud of what we have created, for and with the Community, which of course we are all a part of.

Have you visited lately, this August and September after lots of grant applications we were able to resurface the Basketball court/car park, improve the disability access to the rear Theatre entrance with an automatic door, lay new flooring and decoration to the entrance lobbies, bring the Theatre floor it back to its former glory and install energy efficient windows to the back stage rooms and toilets.

Over the 5 years we have spent over £250,000 improving the building. The grant giving organisations and local businesses who have supported us are listed on our website.

In line with Transition Malvern Hills energy reduction aims we have dramatically improved the energy efficiency of the building replacing one of the boilers and heating systems, insulated the wall and installed new windows. The Co-op we created (Malvern Community Energy Co-op) enabled 60 local residents to raise the £40,000 needed to install 120 PV panels on the roof. They generate the same amount electricity that the Cube uses altogether (but because they only generate in daylight hours this provides half the Cube’s consumption and balancing the import and export with the grid).

We mustn’t forget to mention the lovely garden with the community vegetables in their raised beds, the Quaker Peace garden, the Connect learning disability beds and the new Pizza oven. All helping to remind us of our connection with Nature, the wider community of life.

If you would like to find out more so you can use/benefit from the Malvern Cube or offer help as donations or volunteering contact www.malverncube.com or Jon White  manager@malverncube.com, also transitionmalvernhills.org.uk/wp/events/ Robin Coates robin@robincoates.com

Build a Wind Turbine

An update from Duncan:

This is a photo of the stator we’re making for our 1.8 metre diameter Hugh Piggott wind turbine. I thought you might like to see it.

For those of you who don’t know what this object is and does

Two weeks ago we laid the coils of wire we’d made in the plywood mould (also made by us) and poured in polyester resin to make the rigid stator casting. On Tuesday we opened our stator mould, removed the casting and got our first look at what we’d made.

The stator contains six coils of wire, now sealed in a disc shaped casting of now set and solid polyester resin. The stator is bolted to the turbine frame. A rotor disc mounted on ball bearings holds eight magnets and spins over the six coils. The movement of the magnetic field from the magnets past the coils generates electricity.

Long flexible wire “tails” lead out of the casting and connect the coils together to generate three-phase electricity.

The magnet rotor is bolted to, and thus turned by, the wind turbine blades.

Members of Transition Worcester are planning to build a wind turbine. They will be using a tried and tested design produced by Mr Hugh Piggott who has designed homemade wind turbines for people in many countries.

They would welcome anyone  who would like to join them in making this turbine.

Select here to download the poster.

If you would like to be involved or to know more about renewable energy please
contact us or the Transition Worcester energy group transitionworcester@gmail.com.

Consultation on Worcestershire’s Next Local Transport Plan

Worcestershire County Council has a consultation open on its next Local Transport Plan (LPT4). The consultation runs until 17 March 2017.

Select here for the information on the County Council web site.

Our Dinah Sage has looked plan and has produced the following summary and suggestions:

Local Transport – Have a Say!

The The Local Transport Plan for 2017-2030 makes reference to the health and environmental benefits of active travel, but most of the detail is based on roads.

The consultation runs until 17th March. It suggests reading the LTP4 documents and links to a straightforward survey.

Here are some suggestions for pages of particular local or environmental interest.

The Local Transport Plan

A key showing how transport schemes are prioritised, from “in construction” to “emerging concepts” can be found on page 16.

Malvern Hills comes under “South Worcestershire Area Profile”. (p28)

Environmentally interesting description of Active Travel. (p35)

Great Malvern Town Centre Regeneration Scheme. (p42)

Transport policies

Consultation and partnership (p7-10, p13-14)

Pedestrians (p16-18)

Cycle infrastructure. (p23-28)

Integrated passenger transport. (p29)

  • Bus costs low (p30)
  • Information (p31)
  • Parish councils and old bus stops (p32)
  • Subsidies for buses (p33-35)

Motorcycling (p39)

Climate change (p42-46, especially p44)

The Worcestershire Network Management Plan

This document does make reference to health, promoting travel choices and an Air Quality Action Plan, though the detail is mostly roads.

The environment is barely mentioned in Transport Technology. (p26)
Travel Choices (p28) especially

  • improving access to information NMP9
  • travel choices major trip generator
  1. working NMP12
  2. travel planning NMP13
  3. station travel plans NMP14
  4. car share database NMP15

Habitats Regulation Assessment

Acronyms (p3)

If a scheme may lead to damage to human health – the Precautionary Principle is triggered. (p6, para 1.3.5)

A detailed study is not required. (p15)

Strategic environmental assessment

Assessment of alternative approaches (bottom of p6)

Summary of assessment findings – South Worcestershire (starts p11)

Climate change (p11-12)

Population and Communities- effect on households without a car (p13-14)

Health and Well Being (p14)

Next steps (p18)

Priorities and objectives for LTP4 (p21)

Climate change (p25)

Assessment questions (Table 1.4 on p28) include communities (p29,30) health and wellbeing (p30) especially access to the countryside for recreation

Statutory consultation (p23, para 1.5.1) is required with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Historic England.

In my opinion, this seems to mean that consultation with user groups is left until the final stage, when the main decisions have effectively been made. Accessibility to services by public transport, walking or cycling is particularly important for people whose health or budget precludes car ownership. But including walking or cycling links requires forward planning to integrate them with new housing developments or road upgrades.

I hope this encourages you to take part in the survey, as alternative views take time and repetition to be accepted.

Dinah Sage

Chair’s Report 2016

This is the report given by our chair, Ginny Lee to our Annual Network Meeting 28th, September 2016.

This year has been a reflective 12 months.  The core Transition Malvern Hills group, (Myself, Robin, Ian and Dinah) has been investing the time in looking at ‘where next’ for TMH.  We started this process by organising 6 weekly workshops, to discuss potential new projects, these were led by Richard Priestley, who has a wider vision and knowledge of low energy projects that are happening on a global as well as a local scale. The idea of the workshops was to reconcile the work of TMH within the Malvern area with the initiatives that have  happened in the area.  The conclusion was that many of us are now working on existing successful initiatives not leaving the manpower to begin new projects.

Our next step was to take an overarching view of our work since the grassroots Transition movement was brought to life in Malvern in 2007.  Some of us remember those early days when we had a blank slate to work with – The question being ‘What was to be our first low carbon initiative?’ Much of it was about creating a medium to highlight the issues we will be facing with Global Warming being very much a reality that would affect us all.  Hence the creation of the TMH calendar, this was distributed throughout Malvern advertising films, talks and projects led by founder volunteers.  In 2009 our calendar had the following events:

  • Transition Roadshow
  • Pudding Club – Bring your favourite pudding to share & swap recipes
  • Transition Drinks
  • Breakfast on the Beacon
  • Colwall Car Club meeting,
  • Malvern Community Forest: Nest boxes for Spring
  • Films
  • Malvern Mulchers
  • Network Meeting
  • Gardener’s Question Time
  • Malvern Community Forest: Nature Trails and Footpaths
  • Alternative Energy Talk
  • Transition Quiz
  • Transition Tavern – Open Mic – Food & Drink to Share
  • An illustrated talk on the problems caused by light spillage from poorly designed street lighting, floodlighting and security lighting,
  • Fun activities for the young people at Malvern Youth Centre.

This stirs up a dose of nostalgia.

Ok, so where are we now?

Within Malvern we have, a Car share club, Electric bike hire scheme, Gas Lamp project to upgrade and reduce their gas use, a community centre (Malvern Cube), Raised Vegetable Bed project, Community Energy Company, Energy Tracers, Garden Share, Inner Transition, Repair Cafe, Malvern Food Alliance, Malvern Community Forest, Abundance, could there be more…

Next door in Colwall we have, Colwall Orchard Group

The work and energy that has gone into these sustainable projects is something we should all celebrate.  Transition Malvern Hills is proud to have initiated some of these ideas and have supported the others that have grown from the need to recognise that a low carbon life style will benefit us all as well as protect our environment.

TMH would like to continue as a mouthpiece to promote and inspire others to continue to develop and grow new low energy projects, also to sign post existing and new initiatives.

How will we do this in the coming year?  By continuing with our newsletter.  We need help with this…  Please let us know if this idea is something you would like to offer some of your time to help with and support.

 

Ginny Lee (Chair Transition Malvern Hills)

MalvernSoup

Crowd funding for micro community projects

MalvernSoup is a new start-up Soup following in the tradition of Soups around the country  and inspired by Detroit Soup. 

So what is MalvernSoup?  They are a Group of volunteers who will organise a Sunday lunch get-together four times a year somewhere in Malvern.  You’ll pay an entrance fee which will go to the winning project.

The next Malvern Soup is to be held At:  Malvern Town FC Langland Avenue, Malvern WR14 2EQ. On:  11th December, 2016 At:  3pm to 6pm.

see malvernsoup.co.uk for more information.

Green Heart Gratitude Walk

greenheart

Green Heart Gratitude Walk 14 October 2016

Show the Love

Women’s Institute (WI) members, their friends and other members of the community will be showing their gratitude to organizations in Great Malvern for taking action against climate change, on Friday 14 October. Green hearts, made by members of the WI, will be presented to organizations for taking a range of positive actions.

Harriett Baldwin MP will be joining them and the Gazette has promised some coverage – it would be good to have a bit of a crowd, so please join us – and bring a friend.

They will meet at 3.30pm at Malvern Theatres, where the first presentation will be made. We are then planning to walk around the town centre (not far), making 2-3 other presentations. We plan to finish by 4.30pm.

For more information, please contact Julia on 07904 389889 or 01684 577400.

Can we together Create the Future we want

This is copy of an article by Robin Coates, first written for Malvern Hillistic.

To add to the Transition to a low Carbon more Community resilient world that Transition Malvern Hills (TMH) has been working towards we now have the massive Brexit transition to work our way through.

From a TMH perspective the big concern about Brexit is that the EU has been very successfully working towards (and achieving in many areas) much improved environment protection and standards. As well as being vital leaders of the Climate Change agenda. Will the UK now backslide to the position it was before we joined “The Dirty Man of Europe”? We had the poorest recycling rates, the highest level of pumping sewage to sea and spreading sewage sludge to agricultural land, the most inefficient houses (by Northern EU standards), the least interest in restricting dangerous chemicals and pesticides and much more. Having to raise our game to meet EU regulation has led to major benefits in nearly all environmental areas. In others like air pollution the regulations have enabled the Government to be taken to court by UK pressure groups and instructed by the courts to create a plan.

If there is a loud enough voice from the public we can perhaps stop there being a bonfire of necessary regulation (the bonfire proponents would call all this red tape).

It is just possible that Brexit could lead to the UK creating a vision of a different future. We will be less attractive to Multinationals so maybe their lobbying tactics will stay focussed on Brussels and the publics’ voice could carry more weight in the UK.

As Rob Hopkins the Co- Founder of Transition Towns recently wrote in his blog:
It could, after all, end up with England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, in whatever permutations of independence or united-ness we end up with, as a model sustainable, equitable and resilient nation, showcasing a completely renewable energy grid, home to thriving and diverse food economies, meeting its housing needs through truly affordable gorgeous homes in community ownership, supporting each other through the long-overdue disintegration of neoliberalism, creating diverse thriving working communities. And if those of us fighting for a better world in the UK have lost the link to the EU, then we will need to find other ways of co-operating with our friends across Europe and around the world, working locally but sharing our learnings, overcoming barriers and tapping with greater vigour into the networks that exist. Well why not?

From a Hillistic perspective we can add to this healthier citizens supported to eat and live healthily with unhealthy food advertising banned or carrying serious warnings and lots of emphasis on complementary treatments that support our bodies to heal themselves, with drugs being a last resort.

To make this much more attractive future come about we, as citizens, are going to have to raise our voices and support or create the many experiments and prototypes of this more healthy society. We need to realise just how many people want this more desirable future and feel rather hopeless about it happening. It is worth pondering on how many small groups are quietly working on this, usually believing they are in a tiny minority as they are not connected to other groups and individuals working on another aspect of a very similar vision.

There is a book called Blessed Unrest subtitled: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. It is a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Paul Hawken. He identifies all the fragments from social justice, indigenous peoples’ oppression, inequality and environmental issues and more and showed how interconnected these are and how many millions of people are working for change but most not realising how much we need to join the issues and our pressure and solutions. To broaden our sense of community and realise together we can achieve much more.

TMH’s project have been based around the notion of them being community schemes (the Malvern Hills Car Club and the Malvern Community Energy Coop being examples). All our efforts have also built links to other Malvern groups. The Malvern Cube Youth and Community Centre is perhaps the most overtly community based project, helping to save the building from demolition and then run it and develop it with a wonderful group of Trustees and Volunteers from other groups and interests.

A great venue for your next event, group or class, have you tried it yet?

Now Malvern has a community resource second to none where all ages, abilities and interest can do their own thing and meet others with different interests.
What else can we create together?

We would like to start a project that brings together the distribution of local food but we need interested volunteers, could you be one of them?

More information: for electric bike greenwheels.org.uk, for the car club malvernhills-carclubs.org.uk, for the malverncube.com or contact Robin Coates 01684 540284, robin@robincoates.com.