Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic – or maybe because of being in a global pandemic – talk of the climate and ecological emergency seems to be on everyone’s lips and in every media outlet – third only, perhaps unsurprisingly, to the pandemic itself and to Brexit!
It was announced yesterday on Times Radio that the biggest ever opinion poll on climate change, conducted by the United Nations Development Programme and involving 1.2m people from 50 different countries, found that two thirds of people think that we are in a global climate emergency.
This poll shows that an increasing number of people are on board with this issue. This figure rises to 77% when you look at the data from the UK. Unsurprisingly, the youngest people shouted the loudest but well over half of the 60+ group signed up to this too. This is excellent news because it gives a clear message to politicians that there now needs to be a clear and urgent mandate for action. The policies people in this poll argued for most of all is the protection of forests and land, renewable energy, climate-friendly farming and investment in green businesses and jobs – all areas we in TDEG look at in the work we do in our project groups. So what have we been up to during the last couple of months since our last update? Read on and find out!
TDEG’s new visual model
I thought I’d start off with this graphic, designed and produced by Andrea Mitson, for use on our website and literature to provide a clear image of what TDEG is all about and the current project groups working to support our community in becoming ‘greener’. Thank you, Andrea!
The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that we have a new group linked to both the Climate Action and the Ethical Consumer project groups – our new Sustainable Food Network. For more information about how you reduce your environmental impact and make ethical choices about your food, visit our new web pages on Sustainable Food.
Wildlife Group Update – Lynn Crowe
The current lockdown makes meeting up very difficult. But we have made some progress where restrictions allowed. Hopefully, as the year warms up, we will be able to get together to move forward on new ideas. Please get in touch with Lynn (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any comments or ideas for our future work.
- Declines in local wildlife – Several of our members have expressed concern about a recent `Guest Writer’s` article in February’s The Village Voice. The article was completely independent from TDEG. Of course, we share the concerns about the loss of biodiversity. Research evidence shows that the overwhelming factors in the loss of biodiversity are agricultural intensification, urban development, pollution, and increasingly, climate change. Nature has always been `red in tooth and claw` – but there is little evidence that the impacts of natural predators are leading to the huge declines we have seen in our local wildlife. You can read more about TDEG’s views on declines in wildlife here .
- Environment Bill – Our members have been writing to our local MP, Sarah Dines, to ask her to support amendments to the forthcoming Environment Bill. The Environment Bill has many good elements, but environmental groups are asking that the bill includes real targets, a stronger, independent `nature watchdog`, and more details around proposed Nature Recovery Strategies. Sadly, the Bill is to be delayed for at least another six months before it is considered in detail in Parliament. This is very disappointing. You can read more here .
- Community Park around Bishop Pursglove School – We are working with the Tideswell & District Community Association and the Sports Association to improve biodiversity on the sports fields and woodland surrounding Bishop Pursglove School. TDCA are currently consulting with local residents about their views for the future use of the site. When current C19 restrictions allow, we will meet with the TDCA and others on site to discuss next steps, particularly additional tree and hedgerow planting, and encouraging more people to use the site for informal recreation.
- Bird Boxes – Several owl and kestrel boxes have been fixed in Brushfield and Tideswell (including at the community park) with the help of Peak Boxes’ Lester Hartman’s assistance. We still have a couple of swift boxes to fix, when Lester has the right equipment available. That will complete the grant aided project started last year. We now plan to monitor the use of the existing boxes, before thinking about next steps.
- Wild Flower Project– Working with Tideswell Parish Council, we have identified a few roadside verges and green spaces where a different approach to grass maintenance would encourage a colourful and diverse range of local wild flowers for the benefit of insects and other wildlife. We also hope to work with local schools and youth groups to design signs to explain the aims of this project. The project will be discussed further when the Parish Council re-tenders its maintenance contracts in the summer.
- Wildlife Sightings – Following the final blog post on our winter sightings in 2020, we produced a complete list of all the birds, flowers and animals seen within approximately five miles of Tideswell by our members during the whole year. You recorded more than an astounding 200 species. You can see the full list here . Let’s see if we can do even better in 2021!
Climate Action Group – Sheelagh Handy
- Youth Forum – The Climate Action Group of TDEG can be very proud that they have initiated an Environment Youth Forum for the Peak District! A core group of adults has now formed to support young people in the forum and to oversee the project. Andrea has passed coordination of the project to Carina Humberstone, Youth Engagement Officer for the PDNP. Sheelagh is the contact point for the first wave of young people along with Katherine who is going to include the youth forum as part of her work for the National Trust and Emily who is new to TDEG and Tideswell – welcome Emily.
This is a real collaborative project with The Peak Park and National Trust along with Transition Buxton, Transition New Mills and Hope Valley Climate Action and us.
We would like to invite young people who are interested in the environment, aged 11 years upwards and live in the Peak Park to get in touch. Over 18s can contact Sheelagh directly at email@example.com and 11-17 years please ask your parents to get in contact. We’ll keep you updated of the progress.
- Networking – The chain of links being established is growing too. The most recent links with other groups across the region are Derbyshire Dales Climate Hub and Derbyshire Climate Coalition. Friends of the Earth have organised a regional network of climate action groups, which we joined. This is a fantastic way to share ideas and have access to quality training and resources.
- Reducing our Carbon footprint – With our minds focused on reducing carbon in our lives, we have had some inspiring talks at our last two meetings. Bill has focused our minds on the importance of insulating our homes with advice on different types of properties and accessing funding for the community. Laura and Adam launched a Sustainable Food project last week and we were joined by three Tideswell residents who run food businesses in the area. The presentation was full of facts and inspiring ways to think in different ways about the food we consume – and grow! Anyone keen to find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Litter Picking Group – Steve Elliott
Due to the Covid 19 restrictions, it has of course been impossible to meet up over the last few months (or for the foreseeable future).
If anyone would like to undertake a litter pick in their local area on their own (whilst undertaking their daily exercise), they are welcome to borrow the equipment from Steve. Please contact him via email: email@example.com .
Recycling Group – Rob Mitson
- The Recycling Group continues to be involved in the dissemination of information about recycling to the community via The Village Voice and Facebook posts.
- Transition Buxton are holding an event in March that should be of interest to any members who live within the High Peak Borough Council area:
- Joel Rawlins from Alliance Environmental, the firm who handle most of the recyclable waste in the High Peak Borough Council area will be guest speaker at this Transition Buxton event on Zoom on Thursday 11 March from 7:30-8:30pm. Learn what actually happens to our ‘recyclables’, what happens if the wrong stuff gets in the mix, what change might be coming to a wheelie bin near you, and more. We know that recycling is not THE answer, but it is part of the solution, so let’s do it as well as it is possible to do it. To join the session please register via Eventbrite with this link. A similar event held by TDEG with Derbyshire County Council’s waste management officer as speaker proved very popular and informative last year. It may not be directly relevant to residents in the Derbyshire Dales area but is still likely to be of interest. I’ll be there!
Ethical Consumer Group – Claire McKenzie
Having a particular interest in this subject, I recently took over from Ben as the Ethical Consumer Group project lead. Firstly, I’d like to thank Ben for developing this group and introducing us to the wonderfully informative Ethical Consumer magazine, which helped us all get started on EC back in 2019. Ben is now very busy being a Headteacher (as an ex-head, I can say it’s the best job in the world, although right now one of the most challenging!) but, hopefully, he will stay on as a member of the group. Going forward, we will value his knowledge, experience and enthusiasm!
On 28 January, wanting to both introduce myself as the new project lead and give our group a bit of a re-launch, I led an ECG Zoom meeting, and was pleasantly surprised when eighteen like-minded, positive, enthusiastic people attended. We revisited the principles and objectives of the original group (read them here), and we discussed our areas of interest for possible future development. Great ideas were shared, from converting the phone box into a plant swap to creating a local map of sustainable food businesses; and from holding a used clothes sale/swop shop, to the highly ambitious but very exciting idea of developing a zero waste outlet in the village. See minutes of the meeting with this link.
One of the key messages that came out of this meeting was from Jonah, who reminded us that no purchase can be truly ethical. This got me thinking about the complexity of ethical consumerism: I like their Fairtrade goods but why so much plastic packaging? This is organic but how many miles will it travel to get to me? This has been locally grown but what pesticides were used?
Ultimately, if we can become more conscious consumers, we will undoubtedly make a difference. The questions we can ask before we even decide that we will buy (Do I really need this? Can I repair my old one? Can I buy second-hand?) and those we can ask once we decide to buy (How ethical is this company? What is the story behind the production of this item?) will help us to make more ethical choices.
Remember to keep a check on our website and Facebook page for updates and snippets of news or information.
Next TDEG whole group meeting – Wednesday 24 February 2021
TDEG invites you to our next whole group meeting: ‘The Climate and Ecological Emergency – What are our local decision makers doing?’
Coming soon, an opportunity to find out what our decision makers are doing about climate and environmental issues locally. The Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire Dales District Council and Derbyshire County Council have been invited to speak at the next TDEG meeting. An opportunity to see who our decision makers are and what they have to say. Organised by Andrea and Sheelagh of the Climate Action project group.
Date: Wednesday 24 February
Online platform: Zoom. Members of TDEG will be sent the Zoom link by email. If you do not receive TDEG emails, then please do request the link via firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you there.