Lyme Regis town councillor Belinda Bawden feels the Impact Carbon Footprint Toolkit could be a significant help to town and parish councils as well as business and community groups trying to plan for net zero carbon futures. The toolkit shows the main sources of local emissions so local action can be directed effectively. For example, housing accounts for almost half the territorial emissions in Lyme Regis with transport the second largest contributor.
Consumption emissions per household in Lyme Regis compared to Bridport
Once the effect of consumption is taken into account, however, the housing contribution is reduced to the fourth largest, with the emissions caused by the consumption of goods and services; travel; and food & diet categories exceeding those from housing.
The scale of the consumption-based emissions seems daunting but there are personal and family-based Carbon Footprinting Toolkits, for example, Giki Zero (see Local News for Corfe Castle’s initiative with Giki Zero) which are fun as well as functional to use.
Using the Impact Toolkit at a community level alongside encouraging households to adopt small lifestyle changes (with Giki Zero) can create genuine community engagement as individuals realise the impact their personal consumption habits can have in the overall carbon footprint of their towns and villages.
The Impact Toolkit also allows comparisons with national and county averages, as well as other towns. A preliminary analysis of neighbouring and similar towns in Dorset seems to show that towns with more balanced reliance on local and visitor services have lower carbon footprints than those more dependent on the visitor economy.
New Scientist reports that bees have been exposed to growing levels of toxicity from pesticides over 25 years, despite the amount used falling. The toxic exposure is based on US data but probably applies to other countries too.
Countries should consider following Denmark’s lead with “toxicity taxes” on pesticides to encourage farmers to change which products they use, says one of the researchers behind the new findings.
In recent years, pesticides that precisely target crop pests have been linking to falling insect numbers, with the European Union banning outdoor use of several widely used pesticides known as neonicotinoids in 2018. In January, following its exit from the EU, the UK controversially allowed the emergency use of such “neonics” to kill aphids carrying a virus that threatens sugar beet.
“We saw people from media, politics and even scientists often talk about how the amount of pesticides changes [over time]. At the same time, we saw, as ecotoxicologists, that the toxicity of pesticides changed. Some insecticides used today are way more toxic to some groups of organism than ones used decades ago,” says Ralf Schulz at the University of Koblenz and Landau, Germany, who led the new research.
He and his team combined US government data on the weight of 381 pesticides used between 1992 and 2016 with their own index of the pesticides’ toxicity for different groups of species, from birds and mammals to pollinators and plants, to create a measure dubbed “total applied toxicity”. They found that for pollinators, plants on land and aquatic invertebrates such as dragonflies, this increased by about 80 per cent between 2005 and 2016, even though the weight of pesticides used fell.
A new study by the Met Office gives examples of how two of the UK’s most important farming sectors are likely to be impacted by climate change. The study examines the effect of climate change on the dairy and potato farming sectors over the next thirty to fifty years.
The research found that heat stress in dairy cattle is projected to increase significantly in key dairy regions of the UK, particularly South Western England.
The UK region with the largest herd of dairy cattle is the South West, where there are around 750,000 dairy cattle (according to the latest figures from Defra). The study shows that heat stress conditions are met around two-to-three days per year, but in the period 2051-2070, this could extend to around one month per year on average.
The study is based on a climate projection known as RCP 8.5: a high emissions future. The pathway is credible as mitigation efforts to achieve the more drastic [cuts in] greenhouse gas emissions representative of other pathways can’t be guaranteed. The report’s author said: “Given the potentially serious consequences for UK farming, we felt it was appropriate to work with a high impact scenario. Even under lower emission pathways, we know that our climate will continue to change so even if the impacts are smaller than identified in this study, our study provides useful information for adaptation planning.”
You can read the full paper here.
Their 2030 Pledge Campaign calls on local councillors to pledge:
“… to do everything in my power to ensure our local authority works in collaboration with the local community to:
Their Climate Engagement Trello Board collects examples of community engagement by local authorities on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. You can view the board here.
Their LOCAL AUTHORITY CLIMATE PLAN CHECKLIST – developed by Climate Emergency UK, Friends of the Earth, Centre for Alternative Technology & Ashden. Community groups (that’s us) can use the checklist to assess the ambition of their local authority’s plan. Has anyone got time to use this to assess Dorset Council’s draft Action Plan? Please let us know if you have.
Climate Emergency UK Newsletter March 2021
"It is undeniably horrific that more than 2.8 million people have died of Covid-19 in the past 15 months. In roughly the same period, however, more than three times as many likely died of air pollution. This should disturb us for two reasons. One is the sheer number of air pollution deaths – 8.7 million a year, according to a recent study – and another is how invisible those deaths are, how accepted, how unquestioned. The coronavirus was a terrifying and novel threat, which made its dangers something much of the world rallied to try to limit. It was unacceptable – though by shades and degrees, many places came to accept it, by deciding to let the poor and marginalized take the brunt of sickness and death and displacement and to let medical workers get crushed by the workload...”
This is the start of Rebecca Solnit’s recent piece in The Guardian.
Full Guardian article.
Untreated effluent was released into waterways for more than three million hours last year. According to the BBC: Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said that his organisation was "working actively with the water companies to ensure overflows are properly controlled". He also said that the harm they do to the environment needed to be stopped.
The Rivers Trust, which campaigns to protect river environments in England and Wales, said: "This is a shocking volume of untreated contaminated wastewater reaching our rivers and shows that our current approach and infrastructure, managing storm water in particular, needs a radical overhaul."
BBC News item
Dorset based poetry magazine Tears in the Fence has, since it began in 1984, had a long association with environmental causes. It holds an annual poetry festival in Stourpaine which it hopes to resume this year. In the meantime, it offers a one-day Zoom poetry conference on Saturday May 8.
As humanity looks forward to a possible emergence from the pandemic, can we rebuild our society more sustainably and more humanely than what has gone before? Does our poetry have a part to play in changing our ways?
10am: ‘Realignment With Nature’
2pm: ‘Healing and Renewal’
7pm: ‘New Beginnings’.
Poets reading include Jess Mookherjee, Lesley Harrison and Mandy Haggith. For details: https://tearsinthefence.com/festival Use the 'Donate' button to book (suggested donation £15).
An inspiring green-themed programme of online events will include films, nature and wildlife talks, children’s craft sessions and more – all designed to encourage and equip us to live more sustainably and build a more hope-filled future. Just like spring greens, Wimborne Spring Green Festival will do you good!
The festival runs from 17-24 April.
Facebook: Wimborne Green Festival
This is from their recent publicity:
Giki Zero Toolkit Pilot. - Did you know according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) everyone in the UK has on average a carbon footprint of 9 tonnes per year. The WHO calls for a target limit of approximately 2 tonnes per person per year.
The Giki Zero toolkit is a step-by-step guide to a sustainable life; allows people to understand their environmental footprint and then find steps to lighten it and provides personalised steps to suit each person’s lifestyle and budget to help them find their path to Net Zero.
The Pro version of Giki Zero means the Parish Council can look at data sets from the community which means it can identify the barriers to progression. There are also monthly promotional resources community groups can access to help promote and maintain interest in the Giki Zero toolkit.
With this is mind Corfe Castle Parish Council have set up a pilot for 50 people to join Free of Charge Giki Zero Pro. If you’d like to join, please contact the Clerk on 01202 670105 or email email@example.com
The Bill has been written by scientists, lawyers and activists; it’s been proposed in parliament by Caroline Lucas MP and is gathering wide support. The key points contained in the bill are:
1. Ensure the UK cuts greenhouse gas emissions in line with its legal obligations
2. Protect and restore woodlands, wetlands and the wider natural world
3. Set up an assembly to involve people across the UK to develop a climate emergency strategy.
We need the support of as many MPs as possible from all political parties. Please read more, join the campaign, and ask your MP to vote for the Bill when it returns to the Commons in May.
For more info and/or join the campaign, visit DTAction’s CEE pages
Caz Dennett is devising a campaign and schedule with a variety of activities through to the Bill's 2nd reading in Parliament (likely in May). If you would like to join a working group to further shape and help implement the campaign, please contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org