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Sustainable Wantage

November 2018 Newsletter

Climate Change - Scientists' Final Call to Action

The IPCC released their latest report about climate change last month. It warns that we have only 12 years to keep global warming within 1.5°C, and that every extra fraction of a degree matters. We are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes. The difference between 1.5°C and 2°C of warming is significant with far more severe impacts and a higher risk of irreversible changes, at 2°C of warming.

Roadsign pointing to changeLimiting warming to 1.5°C is still possible but it requires 'rapid and far-reaching' transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. "The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate," said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group One.

MembershipSustainable Wantage is committed to helping our town with the transition to a more environmentally sustainable future, and we have lots of activities going on. Whether you read the newsletter, take actions at home, visit the Mix, or volunteer with us, we're all part of the movement for positive change.

To become a member of Sustainable Wantage, click here.

Want to get more involved?

Here are some things we're looking for help with:

Resource Bank logoResource Bank Organiser 2-6 hours per month. Liaise with businesses in and around Wantage & Grove to arrange and collect items donated to the resource bank  Organise and stock-check resource bank  Research and arrange re-homing of resource bank items  Promote resource bank and network with organisations and individuals.
Resource Bank Collector As and when needed/ongoing. Collect items for Resource Bank – either as an individual or collecting from others. Some items will always be required while some are for specific events.
Keyboard - hands typingEvents Promoter 2-3 hours per month. Send information on Sustainable Wantage events to websites.

Data Protection Coordinator 1 hour per month. Liaise with PadlockSustainable Wantage data holders that data protection requirements are being complied with.
Social Media Sharers As and when. Helping us promote Sustainable Wantage events by sharing our posts on Social Media.

 Twitter logo
Twitter Account Organiser As and when. Set up a Sustainable Wantage Twitter account, monitor our Facebook posts and adapt/repost on Twitter.
Poster Distributer 1 hour per month. Distributing promotional posters (mostly for Mix events) to locations in Wantage and Grove.  

Plant sale at The MixEvents Volunteers As and when needed. Helping out at Sustainable Wantage events (eg Apple Pressing, Freecycle Events).
Repair cafe at The MixGreen Drinks Coordinator 1 hour per month. Research topics for Green Drinks  If necessary research and invite speakers.

Repair Cafe Support 3 hours per month. Helping at our monthly Repair Cafe (first Saturday of the month, 10am-1pm) matching customers with repairers, recording data, making cups of tea.
Vacuum cleanerCleaner for the Mix ½ hour per week. Hoovering the meeting room, cleaning kitchen and toilet.
Window CleanerWindow Cleaner 1 hour per month. Cleaning outside of window at The Mix.
Craft Session Organiser and Leaders As and when (2-3 hours per month). Planning and/or leading craft sessions at The Mix – predominantly using reused materials for adults and families.
For more info on any of the above please contact Jo: 07768 767787.


The Mix logo

In The Mix in November:
Sat 3rd Repair Cafe (morning) and 'Go with the grain' pallet upcycling workshop (afternoon)
Sun 4th Scoopzerowaste - dried food refills
Mon 5th (also 12th, 19th and 26th) Beginner machine sewing course for parent and child - this course is full but if you'd like to take part in a future course please get in touch
Tues 6th Monthly Craft Night
Sun Nov 11th and 18th Pedal Power! Building a turbo stand generator to connect bike power to USB outlets and a mp3 amplifier
Wed 14th Feltmaking
Sat 17th Mosaic workshop
Wed 21st French Conversation and Coffee
Thurs 22nd Make Peace with Food & Your Body
Sat 24th Silver Jewellery workshop (morning) Year Round Crop Planning (afternoon) and International Club (evening)
Sun 25th Branching out - pallet upcycling workshop for Root and Branch clients
Mon 26th Christmas sewing
Wed 28th Handmade Books - Japanese stab-bound technique (daytime) and Green Drinks (evening)

For more info or to book on any of the courses or workshops at The Mix, email Jo, call 07768 767787, or visit the Mix website.

Resource Bank logo
HollyIf you're making Christmas presents, decorations or holding a Christmas crafts session please come and help yourselves to items from our Resource Bank; we have fabrics, jars, ribbons, wool, CDs, beads, sparkly bits and more! This month we are collecting crisp packets, single portion sized and clean please (to make Christmas trees!).

Under the ash treeCafe Scientifique
The Living Ash Project - securing a future for our ash trees

Tues 13th - 7:30pm (doors 7pm).
The Beacon Cafe, Portway, Wantage, OX12 9BX.

Jo Clark will talk about the effects of ash dieback in the British countryside. The Living Ash Project was a 5-year project to look for trees tolerant to ash dieback. Entrance limited to seating capacity. Free entry, but please support the cafe!

Question markWhat is Biochar?

The Earth has various stores of carbon - such as the atmosphere, oceans, living organisms, rocks and soil. Carbon atoms move between these stores over time. We are disrupting the natural carbon cycle by taking carbon from rocks (in the form of fossil fuels) and burning it, causing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase and leading to climate change.

Hundreds of years ago in the Amazon, people put smoldering agricultural waste in pits, which they covered with soil. Known as '
Terra Preta', these patches of soil remain more fertile than surrounding soils to this day. The high concentration of charcoal attracts microbial life and provides a structure for nutrients to accumulate.
Soil in hands
Following this ancient practice, adding 'biochar' to the soil could help to combat climate change by providing a stable way of storing carbon in the ground for centuries.

Biochar is not an alternative to cutting emissions, which the recent IPCC report says is urgent. It is also very important to ensure that forests are not cut down to make it. However biochar does offer hope of possible 'carbon-negative' activities for the future. 

In BriefBus

The city that gives people free beer for cycling. The Italian city of Bologna is trying to encourage green modes of transport by giving rewards including ice cream and cinema tickets. Residents record their cycling, walking and train travel on an app, and receive points which can be spent on rewards.

Oxford-Cambridge Arc mega-development backed by Transport Secretary. In 30 years, if the scheme goes ahead, Oxfordshire must build as many new houses as have been built in the past 1,000 years. 'If given the green light, this development will change the face of England’s countryside forever' yet there has been no formal public consultation. Meanwhile concerns have been raised about the increasing number of newly-built edge of town homes where car travel is the only option.
Design your own route to cutting emissions. Want to know how the impact of building more wind turbines compares with CO2 emissionsincreasing public transport? This calculator allows you to play with many different variables, and work out your ideal route to a greener future for the UK. One notable variable is average room temperature. If the average temperature in UK homes fell from 18°C to 16°C this alone would reduce emissions by 4%. This is as big an impact as installing 5.4 square metres of PV solar panels per person! Reducing the average doesn't necessarily mean cool living areas - thermostatic radiator valves make it easier to have different temperatures in different rooms - e.g. a warm living room but cooler bedroom - reducing heating bills as well as emissions.

Hawaiian Island disappears. A tiny 11-acre island, thought to have been one to two thousand years old, was washed away by a hurricane last month. Researcher Chip Fletcher said “I thought the island would be around for a decade or two longer, but we have learned these islands are far more at risk than we thought."

There are still a few days left to watch Drowning in Plastic. It's not an easy watch, but it shows the extent of the problem of plastic.

Paper strawsEU Parliament votes 571 to 53 to ban single-use plastics. The ban is intended to affect items for which valid alternatives are available, which are estimated to make up over 70 per cent of marine litter. Products including plastic plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds will all be banned from 2021. Measures will also be taken to tackle plastic pollution from cigarette butts and fishing gear. Meanwhile a UK ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds could be in place by the end of 2019 (although the recent budget did not include the hoped-for tax on disposable plastic cups). The government has launched a consultation. They have proposed allowing plastic straws to be sold in pharmacies, and letting restaurants and pubs stock them for customers who request them, because some disabled people need straws to drink and none of the alternatives currently available are suitable for everyone.  

Poo emojiMicroplastics found in human stools. The small study examined 8 participants from Europe, Japan and Russia. All of their stool samples were found to contain microplastic particles. On average, 20 particles of microplastic were found in each 10g of excreta. All the participants were exposed to plastics by consuming food wrapped in plastic or drinking from plastic bottles. None were vegetarians, and six of the group ate sea fish. Little is yet known about Canoeistthe health effects of microplastics once they enter the human body. A new study also found microplastics in 90% of table salt sampled.

Canoeists joined forces with land-based volunteers and
collected litter from the Thames in Abingdon. More than 50 people of all ages took part, filling 59 bags plus half a large skip with rubbish.


Out and About in November

27th Oct - 4th Nov. Oxford Pumpkin Festival.

Thurs 1st -  The Secret life of Puffins, Oxford OX3.

Sat 3rd -
Introduction to Permaculture, Oxford OX4.

Sun 4th -
Oxford Vegan Market in Oxford town hall.

Tues 6th - Neonicotinoids and bees, Pangbourne.

Thurs 8th - Craftivism: The Gentle Art of Protest. Oxford OX2.

Sat 10th -
Clothes Swish, Oxford OX1.

Wed 14th - Greenham Common Bird Walk (also on Wed 12th Dec). Newbury.

Thurs 15th - 4pm. Harwell Green Club. Gareth Beard from Horizon Nuclear Power Wylfa will speak about Horizon, Advanced Boiling Water Reactor technology, and some not-so-green impacts of the proposed power station in Anglesey. To book a place (as you'll need to be registered on the access system to get in) contact John Vandore.

Sat 17th -
How to Grow your own Fruit, and Fermentation Workshop. Both in West Challow. 

Mon 26th - How to Measure Your Social Impact. Oxford OX2.

Green Drinks Sustainable Wantage SocialGreen Drinks

Wed 28th November
7:30pm - 9pm in The Mix, Mill Street
Bring your own tipple. All welcome.

Sustainable Wantage

Images: Change by Nick Youngson; Membership by Nick Youngson; Laptop Human Hands Keyboard Typing by fancycrave1 on Pixabay; Padlock security lock by Clickr-free-vector-images on Pixabay; Twitter logo by Clickr-free-vector-images on Pixabay; Plant Sale at The Mix and Repair Cafe at The Mix by Jo Harvey; Vacuum cleaner; Window Cleaner by The Clear Communication People on Flickr: Christmas holly by Melody Dobbs on; Under the ash tree by Andrew Curtis on Geograph; question mark by Innovate Impact Media on Flickr; Soil in hand by Lou Gold on Flickr; autobús escolar by  Diari La Veu on flickr; CO2 by emanuel balanzategui; Biodegradable Bamboo Paper Straws by callmeo liked from a luxurious wicker sofa by Wicker Paradise on Flickr. Poop emoji; Canoeist, River Strule, Omagh, by Kenneth Allen on Geograph.
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