Transition News


Twitter Wizard wanted by the Lewes Pound

Do you know a young person who would like to earn £25 pocket money per week helping the Lewes Pound with its Twitter account? If so please pass this on and ask them to get in touch.

 

The Lewes Pound currently exists very much in the concrete world of paper money and practical purchases of food and drink or films, for instance. However, we would like to have a much bigger digital presence so that we can do much more to support the local community and local businesses.

We're offering £25 (split between Sterling and Lewes Pounds) for two hours work per week delivering a strong Twitter presence for the Lewes Pound. This would involve occasionally attending our regular Friday morning meetings, but could mostly be done at times to suit the successful Twitter wizard.

If you know of someone suitable please ask them to email the Lewes Pound with a brief CV and a short account (maximum 250 words) of how they would set about raising our profile on Twitter.

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Bus tour takes divestment message across East Sussex

On Saturday 23rd September members of Keep it in the Ground Lewes together with other members of Divest East Sussex visited Hastings, Bexhill, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Seaford, Crowborough and Uckfield in a Big Lemon bus powered by waste cooking oil during a one-day tour to publicise the campaign to persuade East Sussex County Council to stop investing local people’s pension monies in fossil fuels.

Equipped with their own mobile bus stop and traditionally-dressed bus conductor, the campaigners collected over 640 signatures for the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition bringing the current total to over 2,500. They also distributed copies of a ‘Global Warming Time-Table’ with the message: ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change: Make Pensions Fossil Free.’

Investments in fossil fuels have become increasingly controversial, with over 680 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $5 trillion, making some form of divestment commitment since 2012.

The East Sussex Pension Fund – which is administered by the County Council and holds the pensions for a wide range of organisations from across East Sussex – is estimated to have at least £150m invested in fossil fuels. Three members of the Fund – Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – have already passed motions calling on the Fund to divest from fossil fuels.

These investments not only contribute to global warming but, as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said in an article in The Guardian on October 13 2015, also pose a growing financial risk for local people’s pensions. For example, UK public pension funds lost nearly £700m during 2014/15 when the value of their investments in the coal industry plummeted. ESCC should follow the lead of other UK Councils, such as Waltham Forest and Southwark, and commit to ridding itself of these investments over the next five years.

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Pesticide Free Lewes

 

 

The campaign to make Lewes District pesticide free has been successfully concluded, with the District Council voting unanimously on May 10th to phase out pesticides as much as possible on the land for which they are responsible. They will use a new "FoamStream" technology to kill weeds using hot water and foam made from non-toxic plant oils. The foam acts as a thermal blanket, keeping the 98 degree heat provided by the hot water on the weed long enough to kill it.

If you see a strange machine on Lewes District land, dousing weeds with foam, do not be alarmed since it is completely safe both for you and your pets. In fact, there is no need even for the operatives to use protective gear.

The Pesticide Free Lewes campaign met with enthusiastic support from local councillors, council officers and the council's contractors and is obviously an idea whose time has come!

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WANTED: Electric Cars!

Do you have an electric car or know someone with one? TTL would like to host an evening about electric cars, with real owners showing off their vehicles and talking about the pros and cons and whether now is the time to make the change.

Electric car  

We’d like to showcase about 5-10 cars with a variety of features and mostly the latest cars such as Renault Zoe, BMW i3, Tesla, VW eUp, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Smart etc etc.

Please get in touch with Julia: juliacwaterlow@hotmail.com if you can help make this happen.

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Save Money, Save Energy, Save the Planet – What’s Not To Love?

Many heritage properties in Lewes lose a lot of heat through their walls, ceilings, and windows. Not only can this push up bills and compromise health, it accelerates climate change as well.

BHESCo  

Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo), a Brighton based community energy co-operative, is an award winning social enterprise working with homeowners and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. While reducing heat loss and energy bills it also significantly benefits our natural environment.

More here...

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The Lewes Pound Celebrates Lewes

The Lewes Pound is bringing out two set of special issues this year. The LP1s and LP5s marking the opening of the Depot cinema have been in circulation for a few weeks now and their beautiful designs have been well received. We are pleased to be able to help celebrate this great new addition to the cultural life of our town and delighted that in turn the Depot is marking its commitment to all things local by accepting Lewes Pounds in payment for films and refreshments.

Now we are celebrating the tenth anniversaries of both Transition Town Lewes (TTL) and Ovesco, our local energy company, with more unique LP1 and LP5 notes.The notes as ever will be fully backed by sterling and exchangeable upon request. They will be available in the farmers market on 1st July and of course we will be at the 10th anniversary event at the Depot on 5th July, so you can exchange sterling for the notes and buy food and drinks.

   

People who have standing orders will find the new notes in their usual envelopes. In addition we are making a special offer to people who take out standing orders to reward them for their support and to encourage yet more residents to celebrate our town by spending Lewes Pounds in all the partaking businesses. They will receive LP21 for every £20 they pay to the Lewes Pound as a standing order. It is a very easy process:-

1. Contact your bank and set up a monthly payment to the Lewes Pound CIC, Co-operative Bank; Sort code 08-92-99; A/C number 65421792.Give your surname as a reference.

Email thelewespound@gmail.com stating the date and amount of the standing order and where you would like to pick up your Lewes Pounds (preferably one of our issuing points).

Collect your Lewes Pounds on or after the 1st of each month.

It is as easy as that and thereafter you too can help to celebrate Lewes by spending our unique local currency in our many independent businesses.

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Latest news from OVESCO

OVESCO is looking forward to "How Can We Really Change Stuff" and celebrating 10 years of both TTL & OVESCO. It’s been an amazing decade from a time when nobody had solar PV to this year when solar PV and wind energy provided 50% of our entire electricity on one day in June.

Sunny Solar School & Hot Solar Thermal

  OVESCO is currently looking at two new projects. The first is called Sunny Solar Schools, which kicks off with a feasibility study to looking at getting solar PV on up to 25 schools across East Sussex. The second project is Hot Solar Thermal, which is looking at the feasibility for solar thermal on leisure centres across the Lewes District. Both projects have initial funding from the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) administered by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). OVESCO is working with Ashden’s LESSCO2 Schools and has already had Ringmer Community College, Newick C of E Primary School and Chiddingly Primary school as the first three schools sign up for feasibility studies. 

For the solar thermal OVESCO has started talking to Wave Leisure to look at firstly look at the swimming pool in Lewes. OVESCO is interested to hear from potential investors and supporters and well as schools in East Sussex with south facing roof space for 100+ solar panels.

2017 Ashden Awards (sometimes called the Green Oscar’s)

This year’s Ashden Awards were particular exciting with Al Gore as the key note speaker who received a standing ovation for his speech, in which he said; "there is no stopping the renewable energy revolution and despite President Trump turning his back on the Paris Climate Change agreement, if anything the rest of the world has taken an even harder line on the harsh realities of tacklling climate change". The 2017 Award winners included Hangzou Bicycle Service and Transport Development Co Ltd, the biggest public bike share scheme in the world, and Switchee who are helping landlords cut costs and fight fuel poverty in the UK. For anyone not familiar with the Ashden Awards both Ringmer Community College and OVESCO are previous winners.

 

The 2017 Community Energy England Conference (CEE)

 

All eyes were on the launch of the Community Energy State of the Sector report, which featured OVESCO’s Priory school PV system on the front cover. The report can be downloaded at the new CEE website: www.communityenergyengland.org and highlights the growth of community energy during the period 2010-2017 and what will happen as we enter a reduced subsidy and ultimately subsidy-free market place. In partnership with the Climate Action group 10:10, CEE launched a lobbying pack for 2017, which can be found at www.ukcec.org. Community energy and Transition groups are encouraged to make good use of this pack to ask their MPs for support around three key issues:

1. Re-introduce fair taxation & financial mechanisms for community-owned energy.
2. Review planning rules so that community wind, solar & hydro projects are given fair treatment within the planning system.
3. Give communities full & fair access to the energy markets, particularly where there are scale & capacity issues preventing communities from selling or using energy locally.

Chris Rowland, OVESCO

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Remembering Colin Tingle

Transition Town Lewes is sad to announce the death of Dr Colin Tingle, a member of TTL’s steering group, community campaigner, environmental scientist and much loved friend.

Having been diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer nine months ago, Colin died on 18th May at St Peter and St James hospice, surrounded by close friends, love and music.

Colin  

Colin was loved and admired by many friends and colleagues for his unwavering support for local environmental and community causes, his welcoming openness and his determination to live by his beliefs. He is perhaps best known in Lewes for leading the Lewes & Ouse Valley eco-nomics group (L&OVe). This ground-breaking group looked to promote ‘eco-systems services’ – the benefits that a local community and economy gets from our environment, such as pollination, water purification, flood protection and climate regulation. He created 'naturegain' walks and workshops where he skilfully drew out participants' awareness of connections between the environment and the economy, community and personal well-being. Read more...

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Daphne Lambert in conversation with Annie Townsend

Anni & Daphne

As part of TTL's 10 year celebrations, in collaboration with GreencuisineTrust, the Daphne Lambert in conversation with Annie Townsend event prompted an afternoon of stimulating conversation - and taste bud sensations! Here's an account of the afternoon by Karen Dobres...  

"I'm here with forty or so others to listen to Daphne in conversation with Anni Townend (a leadership consultant for big corporations), talk about what influences our choice of food, what our gut bacteria are doing, and the impact each mouthful we eat has on future generations. We're sitting at tables of 8 people, nursing wine glasses of warm water laced with fresh herbs, and the ice is broken when Anni asks us each to say our name and tell our favourite food to the room..." Read more

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America Can Move Beyond a Convenience Culture - Honest!

There’s a stereotype that we Americans only want low cost and convenience when it comes to transport, energy, and most of all, food. However, if you have seen the documentary, Sustainable, you will know that we are a diverse nation where different people have new or rather, old, ideas towards sustainable living. America is not just a nation of gas guzzling, fast food eating, gun toting people - sure, some of my relatives are like that, but not all. Many of us have become stuck in a cyclical system which traps us in bad food production and bad food purchasing choices, if we have a choice. There are movements out there though to improve food transition and I am a part of this.

Convenience and Consumerist Culture
First, we should not blame many of the consumers who perpetuate these forces. Consumers are often trapped in a system whereby work and family commitments minimize the time they have and the finances they have to make choices. It becomes easier to not cook - to buy ready made meals or to get take outs. Furthermore, the cost of so-called organic or natural foods is too high for most to pay and perhaps, too complex for most to understand if they cared for it. This is not to assume people are incapable, it’s just not a top priority.  Read more by Jackie Edwards...

Plus: Read Jackie's brilliantly informative guide to growing your own tomatoes...

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Investing in Ecological Agriculture

ELC
The Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) is the only organisation in England to offer affordable residential smallholdings for ecological land users.

Working alongside Ethex, a positive savings and investment company, the ELC has launched a share offer to fund the development of two new starter farms.

Looking to raise between £120,000 to £340,000 investment is open to all and can be anything from £500 to £40,000. Investors are offered 3% in interest on share capital annually. As a co-operative the work of the ELC would not be possible without investment from the public.

A small organisation with big ambitions the ELC work to access land for future farmers whilst ensuring land is managed ecologically. With their first site in Greenham Reach, Devon supporting three smallholding, and the recent purchase of land in Arlington, East Sussex, the ELC plan to roll out their 'starter farm' cluster model making ecological agriculture a reality in today's countryside.

To find out about the share offer, please visit: https://www.ethex.org.uk/ecologicalland

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Can We Really Stop Climate Change?

 

Citizens' Climate Lobby members Ed Atkinson and Guy Tanner were speakers at a Skeptics in the Pub evening at Elephant and Castle on March 22nd.  In "Can we really stop climate change?"  potential policy options were outlined by Ed, who argued that a revenue neutral carbon tax such as CCL's Carbon Fee and Dividend would be the most popular and effective mechanism to bring down CO2 emissions.  Far simpler than Cap and Trade, it would avoid complicated regulation or hefty subsidies from the tax payer and would help shift fossil fuel lock-in. Read more by Judith Knott...

A Carbon fee "dividend"

   A Carbon fee "dividend"
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Farming, caves and capitalism

Dirk Campbell
  Dirk Campbell
 

The funny and perceptive series Simon Evans Goes to Market is currently being repeated on Radio 4. In the programme on grain, Jim Rogers, American commodities investor, says 'Over the last ten years or so the world has consumed more than it has produced, and when you consume more than you produce, the supply has to come from somewhere. So we've been whittling down our inventories, our stocks, so that now inventories of agricultural products are near historic lows. Agriculture has been such a horrible business for thirty years that we're now running out of farmers. Nobody wants to be a farmer. In America the average age of farmers is 58, in Japan it's 66, in Canada it's the oldest in recorded history, in Australia it's 58 – nobody wants to be a farmer. In America more people study public relations than study agriculture.' Read more by Dirk Campbell...

 

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The Lewes Pound Celebration Pack

 

      When the Lewes Pound first launched 9 years ago our aims were to support local traders, keep money circulating within Lewes and help reduce CO2 emissions. We were surprised that there was so much outside interest in our project and amazed to discover that there were collectors far and wide who wanted to acquire our local currency. We put together collectors packs priced at £10.00 and £50.00 (postage extra) and have done a steady trade in them over the years, with the income helping to support our ongoing work supporting Lewes. Read more...
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The problems with climate change

I suppose that by now most people will understand - well, most people outside the White House - that one of the most serious problems that climate change will bring is unpredictability. How do you grow crops, if you don't know when to plant them? Though of course this only a worry for those of us who actually eat food.

A few days back I was talking to someone who grew up on the banks of the Winterbourne. If you don't know it, it's the stream that runs (occasionally) between the town of Lewes, and its extramural suburb, Southover... 
Read more...

 
Jon Gunson
Jon Gunson

 

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Jill's talking rubbish

December 2016

A team from Lewes (see photo of us all kitted up) took up the offer noted in the TTL newsletter of a tour of the Hollingdean Materials Recycling Facility, operated by Veolia as are the Newhaven and Whitesmith sites. Hollingdean processes the recycling from Brighton & Hove District; they, Lewes and Wealden Districts all have different recycling regimes, so here are some notes on the differences and on what happens to the recycled materials. Read more by Jill Goulder...

Veolia visit

3 Jan 2017.

A takeaway - without the side order of polystyrene

 

Could we do this in Lewes?

Transition Town Hastings are starting an initiative to encourage local takeaways and food outlets to use more eco-friendly packaging than plastic or particularly polystyrene. This is part of a wider campaign to reduce litter on the beaches and in the sea, and they hope to get support from the local council and possibly the Foreshore Trust. And it will tie in with another marine litter project to create artwork from litter on the beaches.

They’re at the planning stage currently, and wondered whether other Transition groups in coastal areas would be interested in mutually supporting, sharing ideas etc.

They plan a scheme of community recognition and support for food outlets that move to more sustainable packaging, perhaps through awarding certificates or at least stickers for them to put in their windows. They also hope for press coverage to encourage local engagement. They’re targeting independent take-aways for now as retailers have less control over the packaging they sell food in. But their hope is to raise awareness more generally about the environmental effects of food packaging, and then move onto bigger things.If anyone is interested in starting an initiative in Lewes or has some expertise or ideas that they are prepared to put into practice, do please contact Julia juliacwaterlow@hotmail.com

3 Dec 2016.

You have it in your power to help our local shops

As an individual, YOU do make a difference – Shop local and show your power!

shop local   Our local independent stores and traders NEED you. YOU can make a real difference to their survival – you can save them from going under; you can help them to thrive! We now know that a single individual’s spending makes a real difference to a Local independent shop. If you value them being here, use them and take a New Year pledgeRead more...
5 Jan 2017.

Lewes for a Living Wage

Lewes for a Living Wage are a group campaigning to bring the real Living Wage to the town of Lewes, East Sussex. They have conducted a series of interviews with local employees and business owners to find out about the potential benefits of becoming a Living Wage Town. Here's what they had to say:

Read more here...

2 Dec 2016.

Finding the Bright Spots

Climate Talk

 

When four Lewes societies paraded figures of Donald Trump on Bonfire Night last month, his election to The White House had still seemed unlikely; unreal.  But in a matter of days the recently ratified UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change was looking vulnerable under a future President who had previously talked of "scrapping" it.  He has since declared he has “an open mind” on the deal, but could a single administration manage to sabotage a worldwide agreement that had taken decades to reach?  Read more here...

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