Thursday, October 29, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 29th October 2015



Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

Coral reefs are home to a multitude of different creatures; just 1% of the ocean’s floor is home to 25% of the world’s marine creatures. The loss of this biodiversity would have a devastating impact on the lives of 500 million people around the world who rely on coral reefs for their food and livelihoods.

Recent reports have shown global bleaching of coral reefs is underway, caused by a huge underwater heat-wave, driven by climate change. By the end of this year, 5% of reefs will have died and 38% will have been affected. But this is not all because there is a very strong El Niño, causing world record global temperatures and a vast patch of hot water in the north-western Pacific which gives great concern for 2016. There were two previous global bleaching events which took place in 1998 and 2010 when every major ocean experienced bleaching.

Since the 1980’s the world has lost about half of its coral reefs. It is not just the extremes of temperatures that affect the coral; it is the length of time that the high temperatures remain. Coral can recover if temperatures return to normal but after one month of high temperatures the animals that build the coral reefs will die.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is already showing signs of bleaching, months before the warm season begins fuelling fears that up to 50% of the reef will be affected.

Strong action on emissions, pollution and overfishing are required to save our coral reefs.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd October 2015



Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

We may feel that governments around the world are not doing enough to combat climate change but more and more schemes are coming to light where investment in renewable energy systems is taking place.

Some far sighted countries are helping investors put serious money into solar power. For example, Burundi now has a deal for a solar field which will provide 15% of the country’s energy generating capacity and Tanzania has a plan to give a million homes access to solar energy by the end of 2017. Bangladesh aims to extend solar power to every home by 2021 while Morocco plans to build five large solar plants by 2020 with the aim of exporting energy to Europe. Surely, if these minor economies can see the advantages in taking these steps, why on earth can’t we?

Some large economies too are seeing the benefits; in Queensland, Australia, the expansion of solar rooftop installations produced so much electricity that prices crashed and even in the mighty USA rooftop solar is the fastest growing source of power with an increase of 70% year on year. Last month President Obama announced measures to encourage more take up of solar and Hillary Clinton has made solar a large part of her presidential campaign. India, the world’s third biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has promised to produce 40% of its electricity from low carbon sources by 2030; it is the last large economy to submit its plans to the UN before the climate talks in December.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 15th October 2015



Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

One of the best news stories of recent weeks has to be the one where Shell announced that it will abandon its exploration for oil in the Alaskan Arctic. This has been received with great joy all around the world.

Shell has invested about £4 billion in the search for Arctic oil despite falling oil prices which has always meant that if any oil was discovered it would cost far too much to bring it to the surface, never mind the ever present risk to the pristine environment which is home to many species.

Millions of people around the world have protested in many ways against this operation from signing petitions, writing letters and demonstrating. Environmental group Greenpeace led this protest with its ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign and is now victorious after three years. Let us hope that President Obama will use the last year of his presidency to ban any further drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic.

Despite the fact that there is a great movement away from fossil fuels and much of the industry realises this, Shell decided to continue with its exploration for yet more oil than the climate can afford for us to burn. Why does the company not invest in renewable technologies and become part of the future instead of staying stuck in the past? Maybe now it will do just that as it has to somehow recover the vast amounts of shareholders money invested in this foolhardy venture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gleaning in Sandwich on Sunday 18th October


Hello fantastic gleaners of Kent!

There is a gleaning day coming up Sunday 18th October – 10am-5pm (TBC):


We’ve found 20 tonnes of apples and 1 tonne of pears going to waste on a farm near Sandwich, Kent.

The reason the apples are going to waste is that their colour and size is not good enough for the retailers! That's why we need your help to save this lovely fruit from going in the bin.


Next Sunday 18th, 10am-5pm (TBC) we’re inviting volunteers to the massive glean to help harvest those apples and pears and save them from waste, to surprise food poverty charities like FareShare in Kent and London with lovely fresh juicy fuit. You can witness the colossal waste first-hand, and have a great social day out for a fantastic cause.


Please spread the news of our glorious mission to save the pears to your friends and groups, by sharing this email, or here’s a sharable facebook pic and tweet!


To join the big apple-glean, please fill in our sign-up sheet or for more info, please contact kent@feedbackglobal.org

We know this is short notice, but please get in touch ASAP so we have an idea of numbers. Also, please do check whether you can make it, as lots of drop-outs at the last minute can jeopardise the gleaning day going ahead.

Usually travel expenses can be covered for those travelling from Kent – just check with us first (we generally cover up to £12 per gleaner, so a car with 4 people could be reimbursed £48 petrol expenses in total).


If you're receiving this you're already on our gleaning list, but if your friends want to receive emails about future gleaning days, get them to sign up to our gleaning list here.


If you can't join us this time, watch this space – we’ll have lots more gleaning days coming up as harvests come to an end for lots of the wonderful produce here around Kent so keep your eyes peeled for dates and locations where you can join us.

And here's some background about gleaning:
Gleaning is about working with farmers who, for reasons usually beyond their control, have large amounts of healthy, edible food that they cannot harvest and that at risk of going to waste. We step in with our band of volunteers (that's you!) to harvest the food and redistribute it to homelessness and food insecurity causes.

In 2013, we gleaned approximately 48 tonnes of produce, equal to over 200,000 meals, with over 200 volunteers across 18 gleaning days. We launched gleaning hubs in Kent, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Bristol, London and Manchester, and we hope over the coming year to expand to other regions like Lincolnshire and Scotland, and around Europe! We also achieved extensive media coverage, including Channel 4's River Cottage, the Guardian, BBC Radio 4's Food Programme. You can see some great short videos about us, too - by the Guardian, and Al Jazeera. And we've recently become winners of the BBC Food and Farming Award for the Best Initiative in British Food!

All the best!

Eleonora Falesiedi
Kent Gleaning Co-ordinator
m: + 44 07496369192
 
We are 2014 BBC Food and Farming Award winners for Best Initiative in British Food.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Apple Celebration - Deal Seedy Saturday 17th Oct Landmark

The next edition of the Deal’s Seedy Saturday will be on Saturday 17th Oct between 10am to 1pm

This is the regular Seed and Plant swap hosted by Deal With It at the Community Garden at the Landmark Centre on Deal High St

This edition has a apple theme with fruit presses, locally donated apples and pears for people to try their hand on making some real juice.

There will also be a medley of apple related cakes, hopefully some local cider makers and the Chequers Cooking School will be on hand with seasonal local food sweetmeats.

There will be some music from the popular local musical ensemble the Sunshine Ukes

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 8th October 2015



Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

If you are green at heart you will be delighted to learn this week that renewable energy has, for the first time, generated more electricity than coal for a whole quarter. This means that between April and June, wind, solar and bioenergy have provided 25% of our electricity.

The extra performance this year as opposed to last year, when renewables generated 16.4% of the electricity for the same period, was attributed to there being more wind and sun but also to more turbines and solar panels being installed. Gas fired power stations contributed the most generation with 30%; renewables came second, nuclear third with 21.5% and coal at the bottom with 20.5%. Coal is, of course, the most polluting fuel, producing twice the carbon dioxide emissions of gas with nuclear and renewables being the cleanest.

This information was released in government statistics and comes in a week when they have been greatly criticised for reducing support for renewable energy. Our new Conservative government has argued that renewable energy subsidies have been rising too fast and has announced plans to cut support for solar power by 87% and to end subsidy for onshore wind farms – just when renewables are becoming much more competitive and the industry is growing.

It would appear that our government would rather go ahead with subsidies and plans for more nuclear power which will not be available for at least 10 years, instead of more renewables, which, in the case of solar is virtually instant.