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Sustainable Wantage

December 2018 Newsletter

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In The Mix in December:Holly

Sat 1st Repair Cafe (morning) So far this year we have kept an amazing 478kgs of stuff in circulation through repairs and re-homing donated items, hoping to get to half a tonne this morning!
Go with the grain pallet upcycling workshop (afternoon)
Sun 2nd Scoop zero waste - dried food refill pop-up shop
Tues 4th Monthly Craft NightChristmas wreath
Fri 7th Dickensian Evening
Sat 8th Christmas crafts
Tues 11th Mindfulness meet-up
Wed 12th Christmas wreaths
Sat 15th Volunteers' get-together
Wed 19th French Conversation (morning)
Make a Christmas flower arrangement (afternoon)
Please note there will be no Green Drinks in December. The next Green Drinks evening will be Wed 30th Jan when we'll be discussing environmental concerns around fracking and the current status of fracking development in the UK, with Mike Landy who has over 30 years of experience working in the energy sector.
Happy 5 year anniversaryDickensian Evening

Join us on Fri 7th Dec 6-9pm, we'll be celebrating the 5 year anniversary of the opening of The Mix! We're planning Christmas crafts, refreshments, and we'll have a selection of upcycled gifts for sale as well as Repair Cafe donations looking for a new home. You can find out about workshops and courses coming up in 2019 (good for Christmas presents!) stock up on refills and have a go on our new bike generator!
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!

Here's a link to 12 festive tips for a plastic-free Christmas.

HollyExtinction Rebellion

As climate change becomes increasingly urgent, more people are prepared to take non-violent direct action, and to risk arrest, to get the message across. Last month saw the beginning of the 'Extinction Rebellion', demanding that the government enact legally binding emissions targets and reverse inconsistent policies.

One protest involved
blocking five bridges in London; in another people superglued themselves to the government's energy department offices. Faringdon's Reggie Norton, aged 85, was among those arrested. He has five grandchildren, and said he is 'worried about the kind of world we're going to pass on'. The group have also held 'swarming' protests in London and Oxford, blocking traffic for seven minutes at a time and interacting with people in cars and on bikes to explain the reasons for their actions.

Wantage lot meet George Monbiot at Extinction Rebellion demoIn his speech at the movement's opening rally, George Monbiot said "We have waited long enough. We are waiting no longer. The only time that people know it's serious is when people are prepared to sacrifice their liberty in defence of their beliefs." Here our very own Mim, Pedro, Jo, Faith and Maria meet George Monbiot at an Extinction Rebellion protest.

Rupert Read explains: "Extinction Rebellion's aim is to prevent a devastation of our world that will come - and quite soon, unless we manage to do something unprecedented that will radically change our direction."

Palm Oil - to buy or not to buy? Orang-utan

Banned ad goes viral The shop Iceland used their Christmas advert to highlight the plight of orangutans due to palm oil production. Deemed 'too political to broadcast' by the regulator, it sparked a petition with a million signatures.

Palm oil can be found in many products from shampoos and detergents to sandwiches and biscuits. Its production often
wipes out rainforests and wildlife, yet it is the most productive vegetable oil, per square metre of land. This means that a simple boycott won't help. A recent study found that switching to other oils is likely to actually increase pressure on forests, because more land is needed to grow oil from sunflower, rapeseed or soy.

RSPO logo - certified sustainable palm oilWhat is needed is a
change in the industry, so that all palm oil is grown sustainably in the future, without destroying forests. Many companies already use palm oil registered by the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), but they can't publicise this due to the confusion about whether palm oil is 'good' or 'bad'.

So what should we do?

Fruit on palm oil treeGlobally 19% of palm oil is certified by the RSPO. Companies must be held to account, and pressed to switch to sustainably grown palm oil. Ironically the approach taken by the Co-op, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's (who all use certified sustainable palm oil in their own brand products) may be more helpful than Iceland's avoidance of the product. WWF have produced a 'palm oil scorecard' where you can find out how individual companies are doing on their use of sustainable palm oil. Here are a couple of petitions asking companies which still use 'dirty' palm oil, to make the switch: Oreo, Kelloggs.

Following a petition calling on the UK government to make sustainably sourced palm oil a legal requirement, parliament will debate the issue on 10th December.


In Brief Westmill Wind Farm

UK renewable energy capacity overtakes fossil fuels. Between July and September, the capacity of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower reached 41.9 gigawatts, exceeding the 41.2GW capacity of coal, gas and oil-fired power plants. The rate of increase in renewables is greater than the 'dash for gas' in the 1990s. However the amount of power from fossil fuels was still greater. Dr Iain Staffell, who undertook the research, said:  “Britain’s power system is slowly but surely walking away from fossil fuels, and this quarter saw a major milestone on the journey.” Scotland recently installed the world's first tidal 'baseload' tidal power station

New app from Peace One Day. Impact Profile is a brand-new app that links users with opportunities to do good in their community. The app is being trialled in the Oxford area, with hundreds of events and opportunities listed. Peace One Day are looking for testers to put the app through its paces and to let them know what they think. Please contact Ned Morgan to get involved.

Amazon rainforestFears for Amazon under new president. Brazil's new far-right climate-sceptic president Bolsonaro looks likely to put short-term business interests ahead of the world’s biggest terrestrial carbon sink, indigenous communities and rich eco-systems, saying he aims to ensure production takes priority over protection. “He is a threat to humanity,” said Dinamã Tuxá, from Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples. “He represents an institutionalisation of genocide in Brazil.”

David AttenboroughThe
COP24 climate conference will be held this month in Poland, with David Attenborough taking the 'people's seat'. 2017 saw a rise in CO2 emissions for the first time in 4 years. Meanwhile the climate is changing - the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with 2015-2018 making up the top four. Far more must be done if the goals of the Paris agreement are to be met. UN chief Antonio Guterres warns that many countries are not doing what they agreed to do in Paris, and that what they agreed to do is not enough. The EU is aiming to be 'carbon neutral' by 2050. Brazil has ducked out of hosting COP25 next year.

'Single-use' named word of the year. Collins Dictionary compiles a list of new and notable words that reflect the last 12 months. Other top words of 2018 include 'vegan'.

Oxford study suggests taxing red meat.The researchers calculated an optimum 'health tax', which they say could prevent more than 220,000 deaths, save over US$40 billion in healthcare costs, and have positive effects on climate change and body weight.Electric scooters

Electric scooters are appearing around the world, with the aim of reducing pollution and traffic. It is currently illegal to ride powered scooters on public roads or pavements in the UK but there are hopes that the law could change.

Oxfordshire gains zero waste shopping options. A new weekly pop up shop opened last month in Oxford, to sell bulk essentials, packaging free foods and other zero waste products. OxUnboxed joins Faringdon Unwrapped and our own Scoop in supplying packaging free food in Oxfordshire. The Market Garden in Eynsham supplies over 100 products as refills. For details of similar initiatives elsewhere, visit thezerowaster.

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway would be illegal, and send a worrying message ahead of Brexit, say MEPs. Under EU law, public consultations and environmental risk assessments are needed before major projects are allowed in sensitive areas. “One can only question why that is not being done in this case,” the Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said. BBOWT are raising money for their legal fees taking the government to court through Judicial Review.


HollyOut and About in December

Sat 1st - Green Fair, Oxford.

Mon 3rd - 7pm. HedgeOX - saving Oxfordshire's Hedgehogs, Talk in Oxford -  Museum of Natural History, OX1. £3.

Tues 4th - 7:45pm. Bats in Wytham Woods. Talk in Wolvercote, OX2. £2. 

Sun 9th -
Hedge Laying in Kidlington (no experience needed).

Sat 15th -
Orinoco Book and Fabric Festival, Headington.

Green Drinks

No Green Drinks this month.
Back on 30th January

Sustainable Wantage

Images: Natural Christmas Wreath by **Mary** on Flickr; Happy 5-year  Anniversary by kylesteed on flickr; Christmas holly by Melody Dobbs on; The Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Purchasing by Just Little Changes (Facebook, website) - used with permission; Mim, Pedro, Jo, Faith and Maria meet George Monbiot at Extinction Rebellion protest, photo by Rebecca Walden; question mark by Innovate Impact Media on Flickr; Fruit on a palm oil tree by Kolforn on Wikimedia Commons; Westmill Wind Farm, Watchfield by Brian Robert Marshall; Orang-utan wild borneo, animals. from Picryl; Amazon Rainforest, by Neil Palmer/CIAT, CIFOR on flickr; Weston Library Opening by John Cairns 20.3.15-139 David Attenborough.jpg by John Cairns The Bodlian Library, on Wikimedia Commons; PBOT hosts Electric Scooter Safety Event by Portland Bureau of Transport on Flickr; Cup png image with transparent background from
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