During lockdown, there has been no resting on our laurels! On the contrary, we have been busy ‘zooming’, emailing and working behind the scenes on our mission to improve our local environment and make a positive difference to our community.
Of course, there have been pluses and minuses for TDEG during this time. On the downside, we have been unable to meet up face-to-face, and various events could not happen or had to be postponed, such as the planned talk by Roz Lees on climate action and the management of peat bogs; the swift spotting walk; the ‘Choose to Reuse’ clothes swap/sale; and a number of litter picking sessions. On the upside, however, we have successfully used video-conferencing for a number of meetings; we have worked with Pete Hawkins, our website designer, to develop our fabulous, recently launched TDEG website; we produced a detailed annual report for our AGM and enjoyed a very informative presentation by Ruth Strange from the Ethical Consumer magazine using Zoom (you can read all the notes of that meeting here).
Even more importantly – and amazingly – we have all witnessed the environmental impact of the huge reduction of transport and industrial pollution – the clear skies, clear views, quiet roads, the increased opportunities to engage with the wonderful wildlife on our doorsteps, and to exercise, to be outside, and to breathe cleaner air!
The highlight for me, no doubt, has been the privilege of being able to closely observe a song thrush (we fondly refer to her as ‘our’ song thrush now) build a nest on the front of our house, lay eggs, nurture her babies and teach them to fly – twice! She might even be on her third brood by the time you read this!
So, although scientists tell us that this temporary lockdown will have no significant impact on climate change once we go back to normal, there is no doubt that we have all had a glimpse of what could be, and how changed behaviours and a big reduction in CO2 emissions really could make a difference to our health and well-being and, over the long term, the health and well-being of the planet. Bring it on!
A Steering Group meeting is scheduled for 22nd July at 8pm, via Zoom. This meeting is open to all our members (and anyone else who joins our mailing list in time!) and provides an opportunity for us to get our heads together, take stock and plan strategically our next steps. You are very welcome to join us; all you need to do is to notify us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the Zoom details.
Look out for a reminder of this meeting on our Facebook page nearer the time.
News from our Project Groups
- Swift Awareness Week – 27 June – 5 July. Covid-19 put a stop to our plans to have a swift spotting walk and picnic. However, we have had swift reports from all over – with real `nesting hot spots` up at Townhead and along Parke Road in Tideswell, as well as down at Cressbrook. No swifts have taken to our new nest boxes yet, but this was almost to be expected. Older swifts return to their previous nesting sites, and then newly fledged youngsters `prospect` for new sites before they leave on their long migration to Africa in July. Hopefully young birds will have seen some boxes they like, and they will return to the new sites next year.
- Wild Flower Project– Following discussions in our wildlife group, Lynn presented some ideas to the June meeting of Tideswell Parish Council about encouraging wild flowers. Lynn explained that our wild flowers are in steep decline. Since the Second World War, a staggering 97% of wild flower meadows have disappeared, to the serious detriment of insects and other wildlife. But we can make a difference. As well as encouraging more wild flowers in our own gardens, we can improve our management of public spaces and roadside verges for wildlife too. Later in the summer, we intend to have a look around Tideswell, along with Parish Council members, to identify potential sites. If members would like to do something similar in other parishes in the area, let us know.
- TDEG Web Site: Wildlife Sightings – Our new web site has a specific page where you can record any interesting wildlife sightings – https://tdeg.org.uk/wildlife-sightings/. You can record whatever you see, and even upload photos. We’d like to keep the records to within five miles or so of Tideswell, and it will provide us with both a helpful record of our local wildlife, as well as a way of celebrating nature across our area. Every couple of months, we’ll try to produce a summary of everything you have seen, and we’ll try to use your photos in that blog. The blog for March-May 2020 is already on the site – we hope you enjoy it.
- Well done to the residents of Tideswell for taking the opportunity of this year’s non-Wakes Week to dress their houses and get creative with scarecrows and washing lines, reusing materials and decorations that have been used in previous years. Recycling at its best!
- Crisp packets – The Girls’ Brigade in Calver are no longer acting as a collection point for our crisp packets and will not be doing so even after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. It would be great to restart the collection of crisp packets in Tideswell and surrounding villages as soon as it is practicable but we still need to find an alternative collection point for all those empty packets. Help is needed. Are you in lockdown and wondering what to do with your time? Do you know somewhere nearby that is ready to take crisp packets when the restrictions lift? Can you help? We would be very grateful for any help that can be given.
Ethical Consumerism Group
- Ruth Strange from Ethical Consumer magazine– We were joined on 24thJune at our TDEG Zoom meeting by Ruth Strange, who talked to us about environmental impacts of the fashion industry and how to slow down fast fashion, which, we discovered, is responsible for ‘more greenhouse emissions than all international flights and shipping combined’. We learned of some staggering statistics, such as the average UK consumer buys 60% more clothes now than 15 years ago – but keeps them for half as long! Fast fashion is cheap and changes at an alarming rate, and only 1% of it is recycled to new. Shocking figures that we all need to know about and consider when we are thinking about buying new clothes.
- But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. We now know there are things we can do, e.g. buy organic cotton or linen, buy good quality clothing that will last, swap and repair, and check out the Ethical Clothes Shops guide (at ethicalconsumer.org) in the Ethical Consumer magazine before buying! You can see Ruth’s presentation and read our notes from the group discussions after the talk here. Look out for tips and recommendations appearing on our Facebook page in the coming weeks.
- Check out some great tips for avoiding fast fashion in this Guardian article.
- Tideswell’s ‘Choose to Reuse’ Clothes Sale-Swap – We were planning on holding this event after Ruth’s presentation but due to coronavirus, it had to be postponed. Once lockdown is fully lifted, we will book another date for this event – hopefully sometime during the autumn.
Climate Action Group
- We are a relatively new group of like-minded people, who share an interest in climate change. At our recent meeting on 3rdJune, we named ourselves the ‘Climate Action Group’, and we agreed that we would be led by Sheelagh Handy, a recent and very welcome newcomer to the village from Nottinghamshire, who has a background in education and was an active campaigner against fracking before she moved to Tideswell. We also agreed our overarching aim, which is to become carbon literate and support Tideswell & District in becoming a low carbon community.
- Mini action groups were created at this meeting to work on the 3 different priorities that emerged from this meeting: 1) Energy, 2) Engagement and Empowerment, and 3) Informing and Campaigning. These action groups will be reporting back on progress at our next Zoom meeting on 15th July. Everyone is welcome to join us.
- As soon as lockdown is fully lifted, we will be looking to produce a second newsletter on climate action, which will again be posted through every letterbox in the area. More about this very soon!
Litter Picking Group
- Litter picking will resume as soon as it is safe to do so, hopefully in the autumn. We might start off small, in pairs, for example, collecting litter and debris from specific hotspot areas of the village, e.g. around the sports complex.
- A survey of Manchester Road recently revealed a small amount of litter but nothing in the region of the biblical proportions picked up in the past, which is very good news indeed.
- Please revisit the website and check out our TDEG Facebook page regularly, so you don’t miss the dates of future litter picking sessions. We supply litter pickers, bags and hi-viz vests, and we welcome all the help we can get – thank you!