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In this issue:
  • Tree planting on Sunday 1st March
  • Public meeting on Tuesday 17th March
  • Match funding on 25th February
  • Public meeting on Himalayan Balsam on 2nd March
  • Calderdale Community Power
  • Pennine Community Energy
  • Village clean-up on 11th April
  • Green Drinks on 2nd March
  • Green News
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Newsletter of Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT), www.blackshawbeat.info
                                                  February 2015 - Issue no 34
Contact BEAT:
Ashley Sharp (secretary), tel: 07855 746295, email: secretary@blackshawbeat.info
Finn Jensen (treasurer), tel: 01422 846863, email: finn.jensen@rocketmail.com
 
Planting of fruit trees on the land belonging to Carol & Garry King will take place on Sunday 1st March at 10 AM. You are very welcome to come and give a hand for an hour or more. Children are welcome too if supervised by an adult.

You can walk to the site from the New Delight Inn (Newdy) in less than five minutes. Just go along the road next to the red telephone box at Jack Bridge, which runs along the stream uphill. The pictures above show the entrance to the orchard site.

If you have not planted trees before there will be people present to show you how to do it. BEAT is covered by an insurance policy.

Please bring a spade if you can but do not worry if you cannot as we have spare ones. If you do not like digging you can put newspapers around the planted trees with a hessian mat on top to act as mulching. Remember to wear gloves and warm clothing. You are also welcome to bring newspapers and magazines on 1st March – even if you cannot participate in the activities.

In case the site is covered by heavy snow or it is raining heavily on the day we will postpone the tree planting. If you want to check in advance email finn.jensen@rocketmail.com or phone 01422 846863.

After the tree planting BEAT will be providing vegan soup with bread and a drink (beer, wine, tea, coffee, hot chocolate or juice) at the New Delight as a thank you and to warm you up again. This will also give you a chance to ask questions to experienced fruit growers if you are considering planting fruit trees and bushes in your garden.
 
During Science Week we have a public meeting on Tuesday 17th March at Blackshaw Head Methodist Church (the Chapel). We have two speakers:
  1. Roger Munday will talk about Science and religious belief – conflict or common ground? How can a rational, scientifically-literate person today sincerely believe in a supernatural, interactive God? Surely science will ultimately be able to explain everything. Are there not now more grounds than ever for doubting the existence of God? But if so, why are some significant scientists also devout Christian believers? Roger is the lay pastor/preacher at Blackshaw Head and a former architect with a particular interest in the conjunction of the physical and the spiritual in church architecture."
  2. From Durham University we have Ben Campbell, who will be speaking on ‘Climate Change, Energy and Culture: global lessons for local practice’. Ben is an anthropologist with a strong interest in mountain and upland societies around the world. He has worked in the Himalayas on subsistence agro-pastoralism, and indigenous environmental knowledge. He is a lecturer at Durham University, and has made two films on 'Shamanic Pilgrimage' and 'The Way of the Road' in northern Nepal. He brought two friends from Nepal to Cornholme in 1998, where they made terraces which he continues to cultivate as a WWOOF farm.
Many thanks to Olivia Walter and Steve Blacksmith for their talks on 27th January.
 
A big thank you to everyone who has made donations to BEAT, either via our website or at our public events.

The next campaign will run on Wednesday the 25th February, when localgiving.com will randomly select 1,000 £5 donations made on the day to be boosted by an extra £5 of match funding, providing another chance for you to support BEAT’s work!

You can of course donate to BEAT all year round and have it Gift Aided (another 25%).

Donations can be done at any time at http://localgiving.com/charity/beat.
 
Public Meeting
  • Biological Control of Himalayan Balsam in Colden Clough LNR
  • Heptonstall Bowling Club, 2nd March 7-8pm
 For a number of years Himalayan Balsam has been spreading, out-competing our native plants and causing soil erosion. There is now the potential to use biological control to help us to control it.
This meeting will be delivered by CABI, the research organisation responsible for research in to the biological control of Himalayan Balsam using a rust fungus. If we are successful in getting enough funding, this project will see CABI run the first northern England field trials for this management technique here in Colden Clough Local Nature Reserve.
 
At the workshop, CABI will explain the science, and the safety and efficacy testing that has gone into this control agent.
 
More information can be found at: http://himalayanbalsam.cabi.org/
 
Calderdale Community Energy (CCE) is now approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a Community Benefit Society – a co-operative like Pennine Community Power.

CCE currently has three members: Alternative Technology Centre, Calderdale Council and Pennine Community Power.  The directors are: Ian Hughes, Polly Webber and Finn Jensen.

Among the projects CCE is working on are:
1. A micro hydro scheme at Cromwell Bottom using the river to produce electricity.
2. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on community buildings, schools and private businesses to produce electricity.
Pennine Community Power, PCP, has established its community fund using some of the profits generated by the community owned wind turbine at Blackshaw Head.

Community Foundation for Calderdale, CFFC, will be administrating the fund and will double up the fund so the fund will have £2,520 in 2015. Projects in Blackshaw Head, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden that support PCP’s aims will be able to apply for a grant once CFFC is ready to launch the fund. Information of this will be available at www.cffc.co.uk.

Information about Pennine Community Power is available at www.powerinthecommunity.org and PCP can be contacted at info@powerinthecommunity.org.
 
Our six-monthly village clean-up will take place on Saturday 11th April. We start at 10.30AM at the Chapel where you will be given the tools and a road to clear for rubbish. If you cannot come that day and want to do some another day you can just let us know what you are planning to do by contacting Phil Knowles (knowles.phil@gmail.com) or Finn Jensen (finn.jensen@rocketmail.com).
After the village clean-up there will be tea, coffee and cakes in the Chapel.
Thanks to Phil for once again organising the clean-up, to the cake and drinks makers and to the Chapel for letting us use the building as the HQ.
Heptonstall Green Drinks on Monday 2nd March 7-10PM
The White Lion, Town Gate, Heptonstall

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/heptonstall-green-drinks-tickets-15676644265?aff=efbevent

A chance to socialise and network with others in the upper Calder valley, area who work, play or have an interest in green issues and sustainability.

This is our first Green Drinks in Heptonstall (and possibly Calderdale) although there are Green Drinks in Leeds, Keighley and indeed all over the world..

There is no agenda for this first meeting, but it would be nice to know whether people would like to have another, and whether they'd like something more structured. Many Green Drinks include some sort of talk or presentation as a part of the evening.

For more details about the global phenomena of green drinks, visit http://www.greendrinks.org/

The evening is open to anyone and free, but please book to give us an idea of numbers and we can also start building a list of email addresses.
Disinvestment campaign hits fossil fuel industry
What started in the US as a campaign to get institutions to disinvest in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil and gas) is now seriously taking off in the UK. “The UK campaign started in earnest in October 2013 with the launch of Fossil Free UK, focused on the £5bn held by UK university’s endowment funds. Student campaigns have popped up on campuses across the country, including those with the three largest investments, Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh.

Elsewhere, the disinvestment campaign has scored some moral victories, persuading individual churches and groups of churches to pool their funds. In July, the World Council of Churches, which represents over half a billion Christians, said it was pulling its fossil fuel investments.

But the council’s holdings are relatively small compared to its member churches, such as the Church of England, which has £5.2bn invested in stock markets including in major companies like oil giant Shell.” (The Guardian).
 
Ban Ki-moon on the IPCC report
Quote from UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon from the report's launch: "Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message. Leaders must act, time is not on our side".
“On the fundamentals of climate change, the report concludes that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity between 2000 and 2010 were the highest in history, contributing to levels in the atmosphere unprecedented in at least 800,000 years.
Since 1970, total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production have tripled while emissions from forestry and other land use have risen by about 40 per cent.”
“About a third of the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere goes into the oceans, causing them to become more acidic, the report notes. The current rate of ocean acidification - an increase of 26 per cent over the industrial period - is unprecedented in the past 65,000 years, the report notes.
The oceans are heating up too. The top 75 metres are warming fastest but heat is penetrating deeper down, warming water as far down as 2,000 metres.
Globally, sea levels have risen by 19 cm since 1901, and are accelerating. If emissions continue to rise at current rates, we can expect a further 45 to 82 cm metres by the end of the century, exposing 70 per cent of the world's coastlines to higher seas and greater flood risk.
Today's report also discusses the increase in sea ice surrounding Antarctica, but is clear that global ice cover is in decline. Glaciers are shrinking and Arctic sea ice has decreased in every season and every decade since 1979, currently at a rate of about four per cent per decade.”
“For the first time in IPCC history, last year's report calculated the remaining amount of carbon humans can emit and still have a likely chance of limiting warming to less than two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures - the UNFCCC internationally accepted goal.
The total budget is 2,900 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. From the industrial revolution through to 2011, we'd emitted 1,900 billion, meaning two thirds of the budget has already been spent. Another three years' of emissions, which are currently around 38 billion tonnes per year, means the remaining budget is even tighter.
But while the international community considers two degrees as the threshold for dangerous warming, many low-lying and island nations that are already seeing the effects of sea level rise warn that for them, even 1.5 degrees of warming comes with unacceptably high risks.
Another new feature of today's report is the calculation of a carbon allowance to stay below 1.5 degrees. The existing budget for two degrees already requires that about 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves stay in the ground, and keeping below 1.5 degrees is more ambitious still.”
“Tackling climate change requires collective action on a global scale, the report says. A likely chance of limiting warming to two degrees means cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 70 per cent by 2050, with unabated fossil fuel burning almost entirely phased out by 2100.
Simultaneously, low or zero carbon energy sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, will need to increase from the current share of 30 per cent to more than 80 per cent by 2050. Renewable technologies have increased in maturity in recent years, while the costs have come down.”
“A low-carbon transition will require big changes in investment patterns but is affordable, the report suggests. Economic modelling suggest that limiting warming to below two degrees through the 21st century would shave about 0.04 to 0.14 per cent off annual growth.”
“Today's report isn't a rulebook. It's designed to act as a guide for policymakers on how to avoid the most serious climate change risks, should we collectively decide that's worth doing. Where we go from here rests largely on what level of risk we're willing to expose ourselves to.” [From Carbon Brief 3rd Nov 2014.]
 
Want to learn more?
In UpBEAT no 32 we mentioned the free on-line courses you can access through www.futurelearn.com. The Open University (OU) also has a great selection of free on-line courses that do not require any prior knowledge – except  being able to read English. Here are just two examples of courses available at http://www.open.edu/openlearn/:
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/elements-renewable-energies
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ecosystems
Some of futurelearn.com’s new courses include:
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/our-hungry-planet
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/agrifood
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/climate-change-challenges-and-solutions
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/shale-gas

Although some of the courses have started you can still join them. A course does not have to be completed at a certain time - just study at your own speed. All the courses are free of charge.
A Renewable World – Energy, Ecology, Equality. A Report for the World Future Council. Green Books 2009. £14.95. 256 pages. By Herber Girardet & Miguel Mendanca.

This is a book with a really broad vision but also a book on how to achieve this vision in a way that at the same time creates social equality. As Bianca Jagger says in the foreword: “Justice is the litmus test for any measure designed to combat climate change. This includes justice between countries, within countries and between generations, and justice for Mother Nature."

Social justice runs as a theme throughout the book while explaining how to achieve a transition to a renewable energy system and secure biodiversity. Ashok Khosla starts his foreword by saying: “A Sustainable World must, by definition, be a Renewable World. A renewable world is one in which materials and energy are used without being used up. It draws its substance freely from nature’s resources, but without depleting them to a point where they are no longer available or affordable. A Renewable World must, in practice, be a Fair World. Extreme affluence and poverty are not compatible with imperatives of a renewable or sustainable world.”

To give an example of our present unsustainable world: each year we burn coal, gas and oil that has taken millions of years to  create. “We are living off nature’s capital rather than its annual income.”

The book “sketches out what measures are necessary, what is actually possible today, and beyond this, how we can extend the boundaries of what is politically, economically and culturally feasible to achieve the desired outcomes” when addressing the quadruple crises facing us  - of climate change, energy, finance and poverty.

The first chapters cover how fossil fuels enabled the industrial revolution and an explosion in agricultural production using fossil fuels to create farm fertilizers (the Haber/Bosch process). This enabled a massive growth in population numbers and in the size of cities – a process that has now spread to most of the world. However, it is important to know that a third of humanity still has no access to fossil-fuel energy.

While the use of fossil fuels has given many benefits to billions of people – benefits we have become dependent on and not inclined to give up – the same fossil fuels have also given us dangerous climate change – that will soon become catastrophic climate change. “The greatest market failure the world has ever seen” as Lord Stern says in his 2006 report on the Economics of Climate Change.

The book presents the scientific evidence of how climate change affects the biosphere, how this will lead to extreme weather systems, droughts and flooding, increased sea levels, loss of biodiversity, drastic impacts on our health, food production, etc.

However, it is still possible to reverse this trend if we achieve a drastic and urgent transition to renewable energy, stop deforestation, reduce our (red) meat consumption, fly less, etc.

The book does not avoid dealing with some of the more controversial questions, like nuclear power, carbon capture and storage (CCS), should Europe produce a large part of its electricity needs from solar panels in the deserts of North Africa, etc. The book presents the arguments for and against some of these solutions – sometimes by letting people with opposite views write a short essay.

However, any energy solution also has to create energy equality. More than 25% of the world population has no access to electricity. Some 2.4 billion people “rely on fuels like dried dung, firewood, charcoal and crop residues to cook their daily meals. … The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.6 million woman and children die prematurely through breathing in wood smoke … each year.”

As one would expect the book is a strong advocate of energy efficiency and conservation. It argues how this and a transition to a renewable energy system can create a green-collar economy with huge job creation potentials.

The book is full of case studies – from countries and cities – giving examples of what (local) governments, social movements and businesses are already doing and planning to do. So while the future does look very risky it is also an optimistic book showing how we can create a safer, better and more equal world – if we act quickly enough.
 


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