Transition News


2017’s Christmas Gift

In December 2017 some surprising turnarounds took place. The World Bank and other financial institutions announced their withdrawal from fossil fuels. The Daily Mail announced a campaign against plastic waste. Both these issues have been central to Green policy for decades, and they are now being adopted by the financial establishment and the political right. What’s going on?

Read the full article by Dirk Campbell here...

  Dirk Campbell
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Litter-Free Lewes

Litter-Free Lewes is a new project that aims to reduce litter and clean up our area. Here's how...

Litter  

1. Carrying out regular litter pick-ups - fortnightly if possible, minimum once a month
2. Preparing educational workshops, then delivering them to local schools and colleges 
3. Encouraging and helping local business to make their packaging more 'green' - both takeaways and supermarkets
4. Working with local authorities to improve signage and bins
5. Working with local artists to create anti-litter stencils (with respect to the local environment)
6. Tentatively looking in to bottle deposit scheme / refillable water bottle schemes.

Please let us know if you'd like to get involved, join a litter pick or think you could help create an engaging workshop to be delivered in schools. Contact litterfreelewes@yahoo.com or join the Litter-Free Lewes Facebook group for regular updates.  Read more about Litter-Free Lewes

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Lewes for a Living Wage

Lewes for a Living Wage has produced a leaflet about poverty in Lewes: The Lewes Divide was launched at the group's Lewes Depot showing of I, Daniel Blake. In the discussion afterwards panellists confirmed that scenes from the film are typical of what is happening in Lewes. This is not good enough, and means we are far from being a resilient community. Almost 50 of the packed audience signed up to keep in touch and do more. Read a copy of the leaflet here, and for a longer account of the film event see here. Contact: leweslivingwage@gmail.com  

There's a live-streamed video of the discussion on Facebook

Food bank

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Putting Lewes on the map as a Sail Cargo Town

In October the engine-less classic sailing ketch Nordlys (built 1873 on the Isle of Wight) shipped 1000 litres of olive oil into Newhaven, from Porto, Portugal. This was the culmination of many months work, connecting us via the sea with our wonderful growers, the Reigado family, and bringing their delicious oil to the homes of our sail cargo pioneers - people who pre-ordered 5 litre tubs. This allowed us to pay the Reigados a fair price upfront, 40% of the sale price. We offer full transparency, with each tub including a breakdown of where the £10/litre goes. We have some oil left, in 750ml glass bottles (£10) and 5litre plastic tubs (£55) which you can order here... 

To make all this happen Sail Boat Project (a community sailing school) set up Sail Cargo South East, a partnership to look at establishing sail cargo routes using our own sail training vessels for potential cross channel routes, as well as Nordlys and other boats working longer passages. We are part of a wider network called the Sail Cargo Alliance, which brings together sail cargo vessels, growers and brokers. We are calling this way of working 'community supported shipping' and we are already looking at a second shipment into Newhaven around April 2018 with this year's olive harvest. This will hopefully include: olive oil in wine box style cardboard packaging; whole olives, almonds and dried fruit; sea salt; Portuguese wine and port!

We're looking for people to get involved with promotion, port logistics and planning and ideally sourcing a river boat to trans-ship the cargo into the heart of Lewes on the Ouse. So if you're interested in putting Lewes on the map as a Sail Cargo Town and working towards zero emissions transport we'd love to hear from you!

Nordlys arriving at Newhaven

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Shedding some light on our streets

I was curious about how much of our street lighting is now LED. Not only do LEDs save money in terms of electricity consumption but also in maintenance because the bulbs last so much longer. I asked Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe what she could find out.

Her reply was that the key layer of Government in all this is the County Council. The District Council only has very limited responsibility for lighting in parks.

 

The head of the Lighting section at ESCC says that ESCC street lighting is currently approximately 50% LED / 50% traditional discharge lighting. LED units have been introduced through various projects during the last five years.

A further energy saving project is planned for the new year, with a further 2000 lanterns on the main roads being converted to LED. ESCC are also looking at future projects in which LED lanterns would replace the 4000 low pressure Sodium (orange) lanterns currently in place throughout the County.

Looking at the inventory there are currently 2005 ESCC street lights in Lewes of which 814 (41%) are LED units. The number of LED units will increase as and when the projects outlined above are progressed on site and through the replacement of individual lanterns that are changed through maintenance.

As Ruth says, it is good to know that concerning LED lighting, ESCC appears to be at about twice the average already (10:10 estimate that the current figure is still only 20%) and that these projects to continue to increase that percentage are already planned and being put in.

Julia Waterlow

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What’s the future for energy management and storage?

By Chris Rowland of Ovesco

If you visited our own local energy guru’s SuperHome in September, you’ll know that Nick Rouse has installed a Tesla battery to manage electricity generated from his rather large 5.9KW PV array and to help power his electric car. The battery allowed Nick’s house to supply his entire electricity needs and on top of that, export to the grid this summer. What Nick installs today, we’ll all be installing over the next decade!

 

Sadly, Nick is currently recovering at home from a cycling accident (we need more cycling paths), otherwise I would have asked him to employ his technical knowhow to write this article about the talks given last week at Cooksbridge Hall on ‘Energy Storage and the Transition to a Sustainable Economy’, which was organised by The Green Growth Platform & Brighton University. The speakers were Joy Aloor (left), Head of Power Technologies at Siemens PTI, David Middleton from Origami Energy & Thomas Maidonis, an Energy Economist at National Grid. 

Read article in full

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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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Reaching out to the young: sustainable fashion sense

Jill Goulder shares her findings and thoughts after a Friday night out...

On Friday 13 October I went to the Alternative Lewes event at the King's Church, 'What do your clothes really cost?' Three speakers underlined from their personal knowledge the true 'cost' of the clothes that we buy and wear. In response to a question from the floor, all three nicely-dressed speakers confirmed that their clothes were mainly from charity shops. Among the many messages:

  • - It takes 2720 litres of water to make one T-shirt. Cotton-growing involves vast quantities of water, and it uses 16% of the world's pesticides - choose organic cotton. And 20% of global water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles
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  • - 1 in 6 of the world population is employed in the clothing industry. How much of the cost of a £5 T-shirt do you think goes to the garment-workers?
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  • - US$3.1 billion is spent annually on Hallowe'en costumes in the USA, many of which are then thrown away.

But even more relevant for Transition Town Lewes is that most of the audience was under 30 years old! We're constantly mulling over how to get our message to the newer generations, and could learn excellent lessons. The event combined talks and a 'clothes-swap' - you could bring along clothes which were nice but that you didn't want, and hand them in and take away something else that appealed. Of course most of the audience was female, but not all. I gathered that some of the audience were friends of daughters of Alternative Lewes practitioners, with the word spreading peer to peer. So for attracting a younger audience, a) lay on a 'pull' such as a chance to get nice new (well, pre-loved) clothes, and b) use the 'snowball' approach to spread word of the event among young people. Note that the entrance fee was £6-8 but it didn't deter them.

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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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