Annual Open Meeting 7 December 2020 – report

2G3S Annual Open Meeting 7 December 2020 – by Zoom

16 people present, with 4 apologies.  Claire Lord chaired.

Review of 2020

2 Conversation Evenings in person (Natural Disasters; Eco-friendly gardening); 3 by Zoom (Cook stoves in Africa; Extinction Rebellion; Sustainable Diet).  Better attendance in person, although the Zoom meetings still averaged around 15 people.

1 Repair Café, in Great Shelford at the end of February.  Held jointly with GS Free Church who ran a Swish (high-quality clothes swap) at the same time.  Very successful with nearly 70 items seen and 12 repairers present – over 50% items repaired.

Other Events: Open Eco home; guided nature walks; fruit and veg swap; ‘The Story of Plastic’ online film show and discussion.

Campaigns: SE Busway proposals; Greater Cambridge Green Infrastructure survey.  Traffic surveys in Great Shelford.  Involvement with 4 local bids to South Cambridgeshire’s Zero Carbon grant scheme, all successful.  Major representation at MP Anthony Browne’s Zoom calls as part of The Time Is Now campaign and subsequently.

Plans for 2021

Agreed to meet every month and alternate planning meetings with events; probably all on Mondays or Thursdays.

Conversation Evenings: It was thought that we should ensure conversation evenings include what actions we can take locally in our community or as individuals, and pick events that will be attractive more widely in the community.

Agreement of themes: Water, local planning issues and possibly some of the strands in the government’s 10-point plan on climate change, eg green public transport, cycling and walking; greener buildings; protecting our natural environment.

Other events considered: cycle rides; nature walks; another Wandlebury event; virtual Repair Café (like Gardeners’ Question Time?)

Roles

Convenor: Claire Lord

Co-chairs: Sophi Berridge, Peter Fane

Treasurer: Chris Cooper

Meeting notes: Jane Chisholm, Helen Hale

Publicity: Beth Atkin (social media), Helen Hale (village magazines), Linda Whitebread (newsletter and website)

Repair Cafés: Chris Cooper, Yasmin Emerson

Greener Sawston rep: Yasmin Emerson

You can contact any of us at moc.l1610992207iamg@1610992207ssssp1610992207uorgn1610992207eerg1610992207 – say who the email is for and it will be forwarded.

Circular Economy: latest developments

Hurrah! – the European Parliament has just voted to support the Right to Repair – more here.

Closer to home, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report ‘Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy’ came out last week; see the full report here.  It turns out the UK produces the world’s second highest amount of e-waste per person……

But a positive outcome is the committee’s 27 recommendations including enshrining the right to repair in law; enforcing access to repair manuals and access to affordable spare parts; and the ability to repair products without needing access to physical or software tools specifically designed to be a barrier to independent servicing or repair.  (Of course, there is a way to go before these recommendations, if accepted, become law.)
 
Tom Bragg of Cambridgeshire Repair Cafes has done a fantastic job in pulling out the most salient points:
  • the UK generates the second highest amount of E-waste per person in the world (23.9 kg/person/y), after Norway (26kg). 
  • the average European household has 44 electronic or electrical items at home plus another 45 lamps or light fittings
  • Natural resource extraction and processing makes up approximately 50 per cent of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced worldwide [I assume this includes mining, transport, manufacture, etc]
  • Though the UK collects most of its electronic waste at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs)137 it is also the European country with the least HWRCs per inhabitant and one of lowest per 1000 km2 – mostly out of town and only accessible by car.
  • extending the lifetime of all washing machines, smartphones, laptops and vacuum cleaners in the EU by one year would lead to annual savings of around four million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, which is equivalent to taking over two million cars off the roads for a year
  • average lifetime of a washing machine fell from an average life of 10 years to seven years between 2000 and 2010
  • large household appliances being replaced within the first five years of their service life due to a defect increased from 3.5 per cent in 2004 to 8.3 per cent in 2013
  • for fridges, the UK had the lowest average replacement age (5.1 years)
  • In 2013, the average smartphone lifetimes in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK were around 18.3 months, rising to 21.6 months in 2016, potentially due to the decreasing rate of innovation
  • 65 per cent of people feel frustrated about how long products last, and 62 per cent at the difficulty of repair. 75 per cent said that Government should ensure businesses produce repairable and recyclable products
  • 40 per cent of Smartphones running the Android operating system are no longer receiving security updates.  iPhones, up to iPhone 6 released in 2015, are now considered obsolete
  • Restart Project has estimated that over 1,000 community repair events logged in its online system have saved an estimated 17,864 kg of electronic waste and an estimated 280,894 kg CO2 emissions
  • Smash the display on Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max, for example, and you can expect to pay £326 to get it fixed by the tech giant if it’s out of warranty. If the damage sustained by the iPhone comes under ‘other damage’ (faults not related to the display), that number could rise to a whopping £596.44
  • 1,714,000 tonnes of EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment) were purchased in the UK in 2019.  505,445 tonnes WEEE (Waste EEE) were collected, down from a peak of 589,850 tonnes in 2016
  • 155,000 tonnes were thrown away in domestic bins and incinerated or landfilled in 2017
  • 190,000 tonnes, equivalent to 527 million small old unused electronical items, are hoarded by UK Households (av 20 /household)
  • 140 million cables are held in people’s homes across the UK, enough to go around the earth 5 times
  • 2.5% – 10% estimated amount of electronics that are re-used by others

The Committee’s recommendations most relevant to Repair Cafés are:

10.   We support this proposal and urge the Government to bring this forward with the aim of removing electronics with unduly short lives from the market. The expected lifetime label must be linked to the minimum lifespan guarantee. Particular attention must be paid to where the burden of proof lies between consumers and producers.  (Paragraph 94)

11.   The Government must enshrine the right to repair in law, enforcing access to (1) repair manuals; (2) access to affordable spare parts for products; and (3) ability to repair products without repairers needing access to physical or software tools specifically designed to be a barrier to independent servicing or repair. (Paragraph 109)

12.   Technology companies, repair organisations and the UK Government should collaborate to ensure safety is ensured during the repair of electronics. This could be through creating professional standards, that will in turn drive more consumer trust. This collaboration should also look at the protection of intellectual property. (Paragraph 110)

13.   The Government should mandate that products be labelled with a repairability score, based on the products design, the availability and cost of spare parts, access and ease of use of repair manuals. This will incentivise companies to go beyond the minimum requirements already established. Companies with better repairability scores should be rewarded with a reduction in modulated fees for their extended producer responsibility scheme contributions. (Paragraph 111)

14.   The UK Government should encourage repairability through reducing VAT charged on the repair of electrical and electronic products. (Paragraph 112)

Thanks to Cambridgeshire Repair Cafes for this report.

Sustainable Dietary Choices

In a talk on 23 November, Duncan Catchpole* ran through his ‘Top 10’ food sustainability considerations:

  • Try to eat less meat and dairy. Not just for animal welfare and carbon emissions: animals are fed more food than they produce for human consumption, so inefficient.  Growing animal feed is also a major cause of deforestation.
  • Minimise food waste: food waste alone causes 10% of greenhouse gases. Needing to feed the growing world population is seen as a justification for more intensive food production – but we should have enough anyway: a third of food currently produced is wasted (not just by consumers – there is systemic waste in food chains).
  • Look out for sustainable production methods: eg organic, biodynamic, permaculture – these help look after the long-term quality of our soil.
  • Healthy eating: ‘5 a Day’ still a good maxim, both for your health and resulting impact on resources such as NHS. And is your diet sustainable in 3 main ways: environmentally, socially and economically?
  • Consider food miles: energy, emissions, refrigeration costs.
  • Avoid highly processed food: commodification of food leading to lower production standards, long supply chains, reduction in nutritional value.
  • Avoid big corporates: their motive is profit, not keeping people fed and healthy. They push out small, local providers.
  • Seasonal food: eat what is available each season.
  • Sustainable Fish: 85% of global fish stocks now depleted. Look for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) endorsement .
  • Packaging: try to buy food with minimum packaging, or where you can, refill containers. (Green Weigh just opened in Sawston; also Organic Health in Hauxton; Full Circle and Arjuna shops in Cambridge; and of course the various local organic veg box companies, including Duncan’s own: Cambridge Organic.  See below for details).

Notes

*Duncan Catchpole is the founder and owner of Cambridge Organic (formerly Cambridge Organic Food Company, or COFCO) and has over twenty years’ experience in the sustainable food and drink sector.  He is a founding committee member of Cambridge Sustainable Food and since its inception has been leading CSF’s headline project of creating a Sustainable Food Hub for Cambridge – a local network of food growers, producers, and consumers.

Address/contact details of local no-waste shops as at November 2020  Contact the shops to see what online / delivery / click and collect facilities are currently available.

Green Weigh 60 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3BG  tel 01223 971240  (Website pending: www.greenweighshop.co.uk)  Open Tue – Fri 9 – 5, Sat 9 – 2.30.

Organic Health: 87 Church Rd, Hauxton, Cambridge CB22 5HS  tel 01223 870101  No website or email.  Current opening times: Fri 1 – 5, Sat 9.30 – 12 and 1 – 5

Arjuna Wholefoods 12 Mill Road Cambridge CB1 2AD  tel 01223 364745   Open Mon – Sat 9.30 – 6.00.

Full Circle: 9 Norfolk Street Cambridge CB1 2LD  tel 01223 353158   Open Tues – Sat 10 – 5; Sunday 10 – 4.

Cambridge Organic  (Formerly Cambridge Organic Food Company) box delivery service tel: 01223 873300

 

Planning for Net Zero: second edition

2G3S supporter Anthony Cooper has written a timely and very comprehensive paper entitled ‘Planning for Net Zero’ which you can read here.

Note this is a second, revised edition (November 2020) which includes an author’s preface.

Topics covered include:

Governance

The Climate Change Act

Sustainable Development

Planning

Population

Housing

Transport

Water Supply, Flooding and Waste Disposal

Atmospheric Pollution

Commerce and Industry

Energy

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry and Fishing

Conservation and Heritage

People

Green Belts

Defence

Where do we go from here?

Anthony is a retired government legal adviser (Treasury Solicitor’s Dept and Department of Trade & Industry) and  has taken a keen interest in town planning and environmental issues for many years.  He served on the National Committee of CPRE in the 1990s and has been an active member of Cambridge, Past, Present and Future (formerly the Cambridge Preservation Society) for 30 years.  He currently serves on the society’s Planning Committee.

Please note that the views expressed in Anthony’s paper are  personal and do not necessarily represent those of 2G3S as a whole.

If you wish to comment on Anthony’s paper, you can reach him via 2G3S.   Contact us at moc.l1610992207iamg@1610992207ssssp1610992207uorgn1610992207eerg1610992207, with the heading ‘Cooper Net Zero paper’.

 

Repair Cafes – what’s happening?

Because of the pandemic, there  have been no face-to-face Repair Cafes since March.

Circular Cambridge, who co-ordinate our local Repair Cafes, are unfortunately not anticipating face-to-face Cafes returning before 2021.  However, possible developments in the meantime include repair tutorials on YouTube, and online public-facing skill-sharing sessions.  Excitingly, they are also forging links with the community workshop Makespace, in Mill Lane, Cambridge, which has space and equipment where repairs could potentially be carried out.

For a record of a conversation (3 November) introducing Repair Cafe people to Makespace and a virtual tour of Makespace facilities, click here.  For a response from local repairers and a description of the Repair Cafe process from a repairer point of view (10 November), click here.

Meanwhile, 2G3S is seeking  a person or persons to help organise future Repair Cafes more locally – if you might be interested in being part of the team contact us at moc.l1610992207iamg@1610992207ssssp1610992207uorgn1610992207eerg1610992207, or join us at the AOM on 7 December.

For up-to-date information on Repair Cafe developments in Cambridgeshire go to the Circular Cambridge Repair Cafe page and follow the links.

 

Woman’s Hour Power List 2020 – Environment and Sustainability

The BBC programme ‘Woman’s Hour’ yesterday announced its 2020 Power list celebrating 30 inspiring women from the UK whose work is making a significant positive contribution to the environment and the sustainability of our planet.

Several of the women are nationally acknowledged leaders in their field, but inevitably some are better known than others.  The diversity of age, ethnicity and the area of contribution is striking.

Throughout this week Woman’s Hour (10 am Radio 4) is featuring the women; you can also download a podcast if you miss anything.  Meanwhile the full list is published here.

How is the UK doing on its Pledge for Nature?

On 28 September 2020, along with 76 other national leaders, Boris Johnson signed a 10 point ‘Pledge for Nature’ ahead of the UN Summit on Biodiversity ‘to send a united signal to step up global ambition for biodiversity and to commit to matching our collective ambition for nature, climate and people with the scale of the crisis at hand.’

Now Martin Harper of the RSPB has published an assessment of  how the government is doing so far with regard to these ten points.  You can read his excellent blog here.

The Stop Ecocide Foundation

We were sent this from Jenny Langley, our recent speaker on Extinction Rebellion:

The Stop Ecocide Foundation would be really good for your group to know about.
They are trying to make ecocide an international crime through the UN – on a similar basis to genocide.  They are making progress. Greta gave them £100,000 of the £1M prize she was awarded recently. 
You can sign up to be an Earth Protector (5 euros), make a donation or just spread the word. If for no other reason, do it in memory of Polly Higgins, an amazing barrister who left her career to make this happen and she died young from cancer in April 2019.
This is a worthy cause for us to support.  As Polly Higgins said
“The rules of our world are laws, and they can be changed. Laws can restrict or they can enable. What matters is what they serve. Many of the laws in our world serve property – they are based on ownership. But imagine a law that has a higher moral authority… a law that puts people and planet first. Imagine a law that starts from first do no harm, that stops this dangerous game and takes us to a place of safety….”
Polly Higgins, 2015

Extinction Rebellion Conversation Evening 26 October 2020 – Report

from Linda Whitebread

Cambridge XR members Jenny and Derek Langley talked to us about Extinction Rebellion and answered questions.  They stressed the need to act now on the threats to life on earth; the usual democratic means (via Parliament, petitions, letters, demonstrations etc) are not working quickly enough.

Key XR principles:

  • Non violent
  • Respect for other people even if you disagree with them
  • Acceptance of responsibility for the consequences of your actions
  • Shared mission to create a world safe for everyone: respectful, compassionate, sustainable, equable, connected
  • No alcohol, no drugs
  • No shame, no blame
  • Decisions decentralised and ideally reached by consensus

(LW: this is a personal take on what was said: to see a full list of XR principles and values visit their website)

Afterwards Jenny sent us the following information and follow-up links:

Science/Info about Climate and Ecological Crisis

Science and biodiversity loss – there is loads online and I’d point you towards the XR ‘Heading for Extinction and what to do about it’ (Larch Maxey talk on YouTube).

Cambridge Climate lecture series   (Especially the second one 21st Feb 2019 Professor Schellnhuber  ‘2100: A Climate-Space Odyssey’ – a really good overview of the climate science)

WWF Living Planet Report 2020

Absolute Zero. A collaborative research programme led by Julian Allwood, Professor of Engineering and the Environment at Cambridge, aims to cut the UK’s emissions by 2050 by placing resource efficiency at the heart of future industrial strategy. Very good on practical aspects of what has to be done to achieve zero carbon by 2050.

Extinction Rebellion – useful websites

Cambridge XR   including divestment campaign

Sign-up for newsletters: (bottom of page)

Facebook page

Rebellion Academy: (online training and info for lots of roles in XR)

The only regular action that is happening in Cambridge at the moment is Silent Rebellion, a meditative action, online 9.30 and at Christ’s Pieces 11.30 every Saturday, organised by the Buddhist Affinity Group.  They are keen to spread Silent Rebellion – you could start one of your own!

Jenny Langley