Letter to PM Cameron

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street

[Click image to enlarge]

Dear Prime Minister,
I, like you, value the relatively peaceful and prosperous society that is the UK.
I, like you, value the UK’s beautiful countryside and shoreline that we all love to visit and play in.
All this is under threat of destruction.
If you do nothing else in the next 5 years, please begin a dialogue with the electorate on climate change, and break the silence of the last 5 years.

Yours faithfully, Steve Gerrish

The Prime Minister’s reply will be posted here when I get it, presumably from the communications office. I invite you to send a similar one.

Insulation event report

Making a cold house warmer

Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem (1)

Thanks to the use of some Perspex tubes and pieces of bath sponge a number of Kidlington residents probably ended the day (Tuesday 11 February) with a firmer grasp of “where the heat goes” than they had when the day began.  Perhaps they could have explained where the heat goes (outside) and how it goes but Dr Robert Dyson’s demonstration brought it all vividly to life.  The demonstration introduced the main theme of the evening:  Robert’s personal story of putting external insulation on his non-cavity-walled 1930s house in the Banbury Road.  He spoke about the technical and financial aspects and also about the unexpected problems that were uncovered and dealt with along the way.   With a much more comfortable and easier-to-heat home at the end of it he felt the effort and cost had all been worthwhile.  The U value of the walls, a measure of how much heat gets through the walls because of the temperature difference between inside & outside, had been reduced to less that 20% of what it had been, so whereas before the insulation the heat leaked out at a rate of 5,000 Watts, after insulation it was about 800 Watts, making a significant saving on energy costs and carbon emissions.

Becky James of Green Deal Together (a Community Interest Company, working in partnership with 15 local authorities) explained the process of getting the necessary reports and recommendations for making home energy efficiency improvements under the Green Deal scheme.  She also outlined the various methods of funding them.  Government legislation covering financial assistance was under review so could be quite different in the next financial year.  Dale Hoyland of the Affordable Warmth Network (National Energy Foundation) was also in attendance with a range of simple energy-saving devices and a huge amount of knowledge and advice for free.

(1) Woody Allen

Videos, abundance, MP questions and courses

— Eco Fair highlights – videos and Abundance
— Chance to ask your MP a question
— Kidlington Green Drinks
— Training courses

Another successful Eco Fair was held on 16th June, and we have received some very positive feedback from exhibitors.  Thank you to those who attended he fair, we appreciate your support and would welcome any feedback you can offer in order that we can continue to improve this event.

One of the features that we perhaps did not promote well enough was the Video Room where we showed some short animations and a short version of Beyond the Brink.  If you missed them, they are all available online at:
http://vimeo.com/39048998 (3:28)
http://www.anitasancha.co.uk/videos/home-sweet-home (2:05)
http://vimeo.com/15477088 (2:17)
http://vimeo.com/6849198 (2:27)
http://www.anitasancha.co.uk/videos/the-earthday-card (3:07)
http://www.beyondthebrink.org/watch (41:38) (downloadable)

We launched our Abundance project at the Eco Fair and 25 people registered interest.  A forest (or orchard?) of coloured pins accumulated on a large scale map of Kidlington during the 4 hours of the event, each representing the location of fruit that goes unpicked.  Watch this space for details of how this project develops.

Nicola Blackwood, our constituency MP, had intended to visit the Eco Fair, but had to attend another engagement at the last minute.  However, she is making herself available for questions environmental at a lobbying meeting on Friday 6th July, to be held at West Oxford Community Centre (main hall) at 7.15pm.  It will last about an hour.  The Community Centre is on Botley Road:
If you can’t be there, have a look at this:

Green Drinks will go ahead as normal on Tuesday 3rd July.  There’s no agenda, but on our minds is the events programme for the coming year.  Come and put your pennyworth in over a drink.  The Squire Bassett, Tuesday 3rd July, from 8pm.

Finally,  there are two training courses coming up with a few spaces left, and brought to us by the Low Carbon Hub.  “Climate Change Condensed” on Saturday 30th June, and “How to Win a Climate Change Argument in a 15-Minute Tea Break”.  They are COIN courses (Climate Outreach and Information Network) and will be delivered by George Marshall himself (co-founder of COIN and inspirational speaker).  You can book your place here:
or here

Here’s hoping that we will soon see more signs of summer than just the day length!

Steve and the KvsCC team

Kidlington vs Climate Change – Our 5th year, our 4th Eco Fair

Exciting times for Kidlington vs Climate Change, our 5th year has seen the expansion of our group and a flurry of activity on our ever growing mailing list, bringing us renewed energy and vigour. Just look how much we’ve achieved….

July (2011) – KvsCC stand at the Kidlington Gala.
September – we entered a themed flower arrangement for the flower festival in St Mary’s Church, demonstrating the creative talents of Lin MacDonald and Janet Warren.
October – we had a table outside Barclays Bank on a Saturday morning, raising awareness of our activities.  It was the first frosty morning heralding winter; brrrrr.
November – was busy!  We took part in the Midcounties Co-operative’s Love Food Hate Waste event in the Kidlington store; worked with the local Scouts on their Global Challenge project; and at the end of the month we attended the Christmas lights switch-on event, distributing our Christmas leftovers recipe leaflet.
December – a Saturday morning table outside Barclays Bank again to coincide with carol singing outside the Co-op.
Throughout the autumn – KvsCC member Andrew Williamson organised our Low Carbon Living programme where several households came together for six meetings on     lighting and appliances; heating and insulation; travel; food and cooking; stuff (consumption and waste); and green energy.  We plan to run it again from September 2012.
January – for the final Low Carbon Living meeting we included a talk, open to all, from Rob Worthy of Solaflair, a Kidlington based renewable energy company.
March – our regular Green Drinks night (8pm, first Tuesday of each month at the Squire Bassett) was privileged to receive a perspective on nuclear energy from Dr Derek Pooley CBE, former Chief Executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.  The discussion was lively, and Pooley’s perspective on its place in our transition to low carbon living was a healthy challenge for some in the room.
March – a film night at the Baptist Church hall with ‘Beyond the Brink’, a short film made by a local young film maker.  The evening concluded with refreshments and a good question and answer session.
April – generating interest in our Abundance project – all about finding and using surplus fruit and nuts growing in Kidlington.  We hope to start some activity this year.  Email us at KidlingtonvsClimateChange@yahoo.co.uk to go on the list to hear about events.

Right now we are working hard on organising our flagship event, the Kidlington Eco Fair, Saturday 16th June, 12-4pm at Exeter Hall.  This year we have secured three pedal generators making electricity to do things like inflate “bin-liner monsters”, light up a row of lamps etc.  As well as fun for kids, we’ll feature local food; recycling, upcycling; home energy; home insulation; textiles; composting; clothing; transport; energy generation; lighter living; inspiration; answers; information.  Refreshments and home-made cakes will be on sale.

Steve Gerrish
May 2012

Eco Fair success

The Kidlington Eco Fair, organised by Kidlington vs Climate Change (Sat. 18th June) achieved one of its goals with the successful launch of our Solar PV community ‘group buying’ scheme.  Through a thorough tendering process, we have chosen to partner with Energy My Way, who can offer a 10% discount on total installation costs to residents in the Kidlington area, reducing your dependence on grid electricity and providing income through the Feed in Tariff.
If you weren’t there you haven’t missed the boat.  Download a flyer, and book a free survey with Energy My Way – or ring Steve on 01865 379913.

There was a buzz throughout the afternoon and many exhibitors were hoarse after talking for 4 hours to a continuous stream of visitors. Conversations ranged between cardboard coffins and composting on the one hand to rag rugs and solar thermal energy on the other.  There were delicious home-made cakes in the cafe; quiches made with local organic eggs to buy to take home; and there were freshly cooked local organic carrots free to be eaten there and then.  The children had a great time too, with face painting, crafts using materials from the recycling box, and between the showers, enjoying the swing boats provided by Down Amusements (downamusements@yahoo.com).

The Kidlington vs Climate Change stand was offering information about who we are, Carbon Conversations (a course of 6 discussion meetings over 3-6 months), the Low Carbon Living Programme, Green Drinks (first Tuesday of every month at the Squire Bassett, 8.30pm), and discounts for Kidlington residents at The Phone Co-op and for renewable electricity from Green Energy.

Thanks go to The Midcounties Co-operative for their continued support for this community event.

Steve Gerrish