Transition News

Tingle's Way

Tingle’s Way is a self-guided trail with themed stories linking the town of Lewes with our natural surroundings. It's also a tribute to Colin Tingle who played a key role in heightening our awareness of how our lives are intertwined with all of life and living systems and especially how ecosystem services benefit our economy and society. He achieved this through workshops and guided Naturegain walks he led in person as part of L&OVe (Lewes and Ouse Valley Eco-nomics). Tingle’s Way is a natural progression from Colin’s work inspiring us and offering us the opportunity to strengthen our connections for a more sustainable future.  Here's the story...


Love it or lose it!

Although we’re all volunteers and we provide our own content for the TTL newsletter and website, they cost us money to produce each month. Getting grants for running costs is nigh on impossible these days so we rely on donations to help. We hope you enjoy and value it as the only independent non-political environmental newsletter in the local area. We are struggling a bit to make ends meet so please consider even a small monthly amount to help us continue, and if you already donate, possibly increase it a bit?

   Our bank details are:
Transition Town Lewes
Sort code 089299
Account number 65811030

And please reference with “DON” followed by your surname.
It would help if you could email Julia if you do decide to help us.

Thank you!


The four most effective things you can do

From Dirk Campbell

  OK, we’re combating plastic, we’re protesting on climate change and species extinction, we’re signing every online petition that comes into our email inbox and we’re donating to Greenpeace. But are you still wondering whether you’re doing enough personally? Feeling guilty about shopping in supermarkets, turning on the central heating or flying off on holiday? John Simpson, Radio 4’s world affairs editor, recently reported on an optimistic message from Christiana Figueres (left), UK-based Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. See how you check out with the four things she suggests you do personally. (Note she doesn’t mention abolishing Lewes Bonfire.) more

Today Programme, Radio 4, 7.41am Saturday November 3rd 2018 - read the transcript here...

See for her TED talk on optimism and the Paris Accord. 


Plastic Free Lewes – a year in review

Juliet Oxborrow and Sue Fleming, co-ordinators of Plastic Free Lewes, look back at its first year of plastic action and what’s happening in 2019.

When we first thought about setting up Plastic Free Lewes last autumn it was partly in response to people increasingly asking us if Transition Town Lewes (TTL) was doing anything about plastic pollution.

Given that TTL had spent a decade trying to encourage less dependence on fossil fuels, it only seemed logical that we addressed the other side of the petro-chemical coin: the rapid and downright terrifying increase both in disposable plastic production and a growing mountain of waste with which even the UK, with its sophisticated waste management infrastructure, was struggling to cope.

We launched Plastic Free Lewes with a screening of the powerful documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ at Depot Cinema in December 2017. Scheduled just a couple of weeks before Christmas, we were sceptical that anyone would want to turn out during the height of the festive season to watch a film documenting the pitiful plight of sealife unknowingly ingesting the world’s plastic detritus (and the disturbing knock-on effect that was potentially having on human food chains). Read more...


Rain garden planter

Amid the overall chaos of climate change, different communities will face individual threats. For Lewes, the main challenge may well be the traditional one: various forms of flooding. Floods caused by river and tide are perhaps best dealt with by local and national government, and work carried out since the 2000 event now protects most of the town (though for how long, is anybody's guess). Flash flooding, on the other hand, is a rather more local phenomenon - in an urban environment, it is usually caused by runoff from roofs and tarmac - and its risk may be minimised by local action. 
Amid the overall chaos of climate change, different communities will face individual threats. For Lewes, the main challenge may well be the traditional one: various forms of flooding. Floods caused by river and tide are perhaps best dealt with by local and national government, and work carried out since the 2000 event now protects most of the town ( though for how long, is anybody's guess ). Flash flooding, on the other hand, is a rather more local phenomenon - in an urban environment, it is usually caused by runoff from roofs and tarmac - and its risk may be minimised by local action. 
To illustrate this point, Transition Town Lewes have installed a rain garden planter at Trinity Church, Southover, with the cooperation of and financial support from the church authorities. This kind of planter slows down the flow of water from roof to sewer, giving the latter time to cope with a sudden downpour. As a bonus, the plant roots, compost and gravel filter out a certain amount of pollution, which would otherwise travel down the river to the sea, and then end up on your plate the next time you visit your local chippie. Read on...

How well do you know your milk?

In recent years there has been a movement away from consuming cow’s milk, and plant milks from nuts, seeds, grains and legumes have become increasingly popular.
In this video, nutritionist, author and environmental campaigner Daphne Lambert of Greencuisine Trust looks at some of the issues surrounding cows milk:

List of raw milk suppliers here...

Now take a look at this: The pros & cons of plant milks...


8 November 2018
Jill Goulder

In 2015 three of us in Lewes, all beginners in video-making, got together to make an eco video about magnetic-strip secondary glazing, which we published on YouTube under the name Eco Lewes. Amazingly it’s now had well over 60,000 hits, and a flourishing crop of comments and queries, so I thought I’d celebrate that by writing a short piece for TTL about how it all came about. Read it here...


Last chance to Donate a Drink for Christmas

If you have been meaning to donate a drink to a local food bank customer whilst visiting the Depot now is the time. The Lewes Pound will be collecting donations from the Depot and giving them out to food banks on 10th December so you have just a week to join in to ensure that they can enjoy a treat before Christmas... It's easily done and spreads a bit of festive cheer. When buying your drink tell the staff member serving you that you'd like to donate a drink to a food bank and pay for that in addition to your own. This money is set aside and converted into Lewes Pounds to be given out by the food banks. It is as simple as that.


Food banks are great at providing the basics of survival, but there is more to life than that and you can help the socially excluded to be able to enjoy the kind of things many of us take for granted. With this idea everyone can make a small contribution to the well-being of another Lewes resident.

The scheme is intended to run and run so you can keep on donating into the run-up to Christmas and on into 2019.

NB This project is supported by the Depot and the Lewes Pound, but you can Donate a Drink at the Depot in either sterling or Lewes Pounds.




     On Friday 19th October the Depot launched a Donate-a-Drink scheme to support local food banks. The scheme is a Lewes Pound initiative aimed at supporting those with the greatest need. Visitors to foodbanks rarely have spare cash for coffee out, but they need a treat as much as anyone else.

How does it work? When placing your order at the Depot simply tell the staff member that you'd like to donate a drink to the food bank. They add the £3 Donate-a-Drink item to your bill. This money will be set aside and converted into Lewes Pounds to be given out to clients of food banks. It is as simple as that. The first payments will be before Christmas so food bank customers can get out for a festive treat. 

Last Christmas the Lewes Pound gave out LPs to visitors to food banks following a bequest from TTL’s Colin Tingle. We heard such touching stories of how people used them that we wanted to do more to give them more agency over their lives. We believe that this scheme will make a big impact on the well-being of many Lewes residents - the Landport food bank alone is now feeding nearly 100 people every week.

Carmen Slijpen from Depot saw this scheme - a variant on 'paying forward' plans that are successful elsewhere - as an opportunity to do more about social and financial inclusion in a town where the less well-off are often hidden in plain sight. Depot already works with the Lewes Pound as an issuing point and accepting Lewes Pounds in payment so this is a natural partnership. The beneficiaries will be made very welcome at Depot, but can spend their LPs in any local business that accepts them

This idea has been developed with the Lewes Pound and the Depot, though hopefully other businesses will get involved in due course.

NB You can ‘Donate-a-drink’ at the Depot in either sterling or Lewes Pounds.


The Truth About Plastic - what did we learn?


Plastic Free Lewes would like to say a huge thank you to the 150+ people who came to The Truth About Plastic on Wed 24 October at Lewes Town Hall - and to the evening's fantastic panellists: Prof Liz Hill of University of Sussex, Ed Sarasketa of Viridor, Cat Fletcher of Freegle and Ruth Anslow of HISBE Food - Brighton's rebel sustainable supermarket. Also big thanks to the wonderful stallholders with all their inspiring ideas and products to cut plastic out of day-to-day living including Railway Land Wildlife Trust, Wickle, Whale and Me, Refill Lewes, Refill Seaford & Newhaven, Surfers Against Sewage. Plus of course event partners Plastic Free Seaford and Plastic Free Eastbourne.

So on the same day that the EU announced wide-ranging measures to ban single-use plastic items by 2021 what did we learn? 


How can we act on the latest news on climate change?

By Ann Link, TTL.

Ideally, to keep within a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature, climate gas emissions should start to go down in the next year or two and be cut globally by 45% by 2030. Even this is not safe, as we are already seeing impacts at the present rise of one degree since pre-industrial times.

Christiana Figueres (ex-head of the IPCC) said on Radio 4 that her four actions are:


1. Reduce or eliminate meat consumption
2. Transport changes: more electric vehicles, shared vehicles and public transport
3. Be aware where savings are invested – for our local campaign see Divest East Sussex
4. Vote at all levels for political leaders who realise this is a shared responsibility and that we need action right now.

To that I would add: break the silence and talk to people about this. Even if you somehow don’t feel alarmed enough, it’s vital to make some changes and talk about them as George Monbiot says... Look at the Extinction Rebellion event in London on Saturday 17th November

The group 10:10 say: switch your energy supplier to a renewable provider (see illustration below)

Ovesco suggests looking at:

Our Power - they are working with a number of community energy groups
Good Energy
Coop Energy
Robin Hood 



OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools – Community Share Offer

The OVESCO team visited St John’s, Brighton (mid August), the second OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools project to be commissioned. The mounting systems are already in place and the installers were hard at work pulling out long lengths of cables to take up to the roof. All the PV modules are due to be in place by the end of the week, with the system being fully operational by the end of August. There are clear views across Brighton and out to sea towards the Rampion Wind Farm. With no shading on the roof, this will be an ideal site for solar energy.


St John’s, which is up on the hill behind the Royal Sussex County Hospital, makes a practical difference to the lives of the young people with learning difficulties. OVESCO will provide the school with electricity at a reduced cost as well as educational display panels.

The share offer is now up to £38,750 with more pledged but more still needed to get to our £140,000 target for all schools to be funded. If you would like more information or would like to invest in clean, renewable energy Through OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools please visit OVESCO.



Observations and Achievements

By Dirk Campbell of TTL

  It sometimes seems like there are more people observing Transition than actually doing it, reminding me of the joke that for every Kalahari Bushman there are five documentary makers following him around. Hardly a month goes by without a student emailing to ask if they can interview us for their dissertation. The most recent emailer refers, without specifying, to certain negative perceptions of Transition Towns, which set me wondering what the negative perceptions might be. That the public interest which filled Lewes Town Hall on several occasions has faded? That Transition's entire emphasis was on peak oil when climate change is the real threat? That Transition is just another form of middle class self-indulgence? That the media is obsessed with people changing their sex? (Different type of transition —ed).  Read more...

Cycling Strategy for Lewes: what do you think?

The strategy for Cycle Lewes has now been adopted but they would still welcome contact:


Banking for the Future

As awareness of how I live and relate to the ecosystems around me has grown over the years, I’ve made many changes: such as what I eat, how I travel and what I buy. I’ve also tried to invest my savings in socially responsible ways, but I’d done nothing about my current account until Triodos - a Dutch bank with a British presence - announced a new current account. I do believe they are the face of future sustainable banking. Read more by Julia Waterlow...


12 things you can do to help Lewes stay resilient against climate change

Scientists warned this month that we urgently need to transition to a green economy, because fossil fuel pollution risks pushing the Earth into a lasting and dangerous hothouse state. Even in Lewes we’ve experienced a heat wave, drought and flash flooding.

It's easy to feel helpless in the face of such warnings, but Transition Towns are all about making our local community and economy more resilient.

Here are 12 things you can do to help Lewes stay resilient against climate change...


OVESCO Sunny Solar Schools for East Sussex

Lewes based award-winning not for profit community energy company launches its third share offer for £140,000 and our local schools will see the benefit.


The Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (OVESCO) was the first business originating from Transition Town Lewes. We are delighted to let you know about their latest community share offer to raise £140,000 to install solar on local schools. It  launched on Sunday 15th July at the Linklater Pavilion in Lewes and will close on Friday 24th August.  Interested parties can download the share offer document here, or contact for more information.

Read more

Above: OVESCO Directors and local shareholders inspect the solar array at Priory School in Lewes.


DRASTIC PLASTIC by Dirk Campbell

The annual Lewes raft race is on July 1st — Ouseday as it's now called — and the organisers have come up with a new slogan: 'Think Before You Throw'. Last year eggs, fireworks and even a frozen chicken were among the objects hurled at the raftsmen, but the message refers to plastic pollution as well as dangerous missiles. It's a message that could be applied globally: 'Think Before You Throw Away'. As the ecological campaigner Julia Butterfly Hill has famously said, 'There is no "away".' Whether we put plastic in the bin or in the recycling or whether we don't, it's still going to be somewhere. It doesn't biodegrade (unless it’s not actually plastic) and it doesn't evaporate. Obviously we need to consume less of it but what to do about the billions of tonnes that are already out there?

Read more by Dirk Campbell...


Greening Tomorrow

67 people came to listen and debate:
“Greening Tomorrow – What is the plan when there are no slow options left?” Our speakers were Arnold Simanowitz of “Keep it in the Ground, Lewes” and Alan Simpson, adviser on sustainable economics to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.

Arnold opened the debate by recapping three key figures from a book “The Burning Question” that had inspired him; namely 2 (degrees Celsius) that the world must stay within to ensure life on earth is sustainable for our children and grandchildren, 565 the maximum number of gigatons of carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere if a temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees is to be achieved and finally 2075 the amount of gigatons of carbon dioxide that is contained within currently known reserves of fossil fuels. What this told Arnold was that we need to keep almost 80% of current fossil fuel reserves untouched in the ground if we are to have a future... Read more


Social Media Vacancy

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 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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