Archive for March, 2011

Compost Awareness week from 1 to 7 May 2011

March 30th, 2011 by Richard Lord

The eleventh annual international Compost Awareness Week occurs from 1 to 7 May 2011.  The occasion is organised to raise awareness of the benefits of home and business composting.  For more information please visit the WRAP website.

Household food waste can make excellent compost especially if mixed with green waste from a garden (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

I use a worm composter made of used car tyres.  I got this idea from the vermiculture web page of the East London Community Recycling Partnership. I find it works well.

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Carbon Reduction Commitment: UK energy efficiency scheme takes effect on 1 April; organisations urged to consider the impact of carbon levy

March 30th, 2011 by KPMG

  • Energy usage from 1 April determines size of carbon levy in the UK
  • KPMG encourages participants to account for carbon costs
  • Four months to submit accurate energy evidence packs and avoid penalties

April 1st is the start date for a UK levy on carbon, impacting on the 3,000 UK businesses and organisations participating in the CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment): Energy Efficiency Scheme.

These organisations should take action in order to comply with the legislation and address the fact that their energy usage will now determine their levy, according to KPMG, which has published a guide to the scheme; ‘What Happened to our Commitment?’.

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Saving cities: adaptation to climate change as part of development

March 29th, 2011 by UN Habitat

(When reading this post I have in mind the planned Leale’s Yard development in St. Sampson, Guernsey.)

(click on book cover to go to Earthscan publisher's website)

Climate Change is not on the agenda for many countries’ urban development plans

Climate change adaptation measures must be built into development planning for urban centres for any genuine progress to be made in counteracting the risks of climate change.

This is the recommendation of UN-HABITAT’s Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements 2011.

Most of the growth in the world’s population over the next few decades will occur in the urban centres of developing countries – a major proportion of these new residents will most likely live in settlements that lack the necessary resilience to climate change.

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The Guernsey Literary Festival runs from 12 to 15 May 2011

March 28th, 2011 by Guernsey Literary Festival

The Guernsey Literary Festival runs from 12 to 15 May 2011 at locations around Guernsey but centred in The Hub on the St Peter Port Market Terrace.

Visiting speakers include Annie Barrows, author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, author & editor Tim Binding and president of the Oxford Poetry Society, Caroline Bird.

To find a full calendar of events and to buy tickets go to the “Guernsey Literary Festival” webpage.

(click image to go to Guernsey Literary Festival web page)

What’s your favourite book?

The Guernsey Literary Festival wants you to share your books now!

Do you have a book at home that you enjoyed intensely and would like to share with others?

Why not donate it to the Guernsey Literary Festival so someone else can enjoy the experience of the book as much as you did?

Drop your books off by the 16 April 2011 in the marked bins at any of these locations:

Your favourite books can help the Guernsey Literary Festival share a love of reading.

Sharing books reduces material consumption and reading a book uses less electricity than powering a television.



New technique could help solve mystery of vanishing bees

March 26th, 2011 by British Ecological Society

Ecologists have developed a better way of rearing bee larvae in the laboratory that could help discover why honey bee populations worldwide are declining.

The technique, together with details of how statistics adapted from other areas of ecology can aid bee research, is in the paper, ‘Honey bee risk assessment: New approaches for in vitro larvae rearing and data analyses’, which is published in the British Ecological Society‘s journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

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Ecomodo promotes sustainable living at UKAWARE in London

March 26th, 2011 by Richard Lord

Meriel Lenfestey and Tracy Currer of Ecomodo at the UKAWARE exhibition (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

When Meriel Lenfestey, co-founder of the award winning social enterprise business Ecomodo, bicycled to work from her St. Martin home on a warm sunny morning she arrived in London a couple of hours later.  Her Brompton bicycle took her to Guernsey Airport, and at Gatwick she carried it onto the train, and half-an-hour later cycled away from Victoria Station to her first appointment.

The following day she bicycled through London’s heavy traffic to the Olympia Exhibition Centre to exhibit at the UKAWARE exhibition.  The tube to Olympia was not running so most visitors had to find a bus or walk from Earl’s Court. Meriel got there on her Guernsey bicycle.

Meriel and Ecomodo co-founder Tracy Currer exhibit at the sustainable living UKAWARE show their Ecomodo service which facilitates lending and borrowing equipment, skills and services.

Meriel’s Brompton bicycle, which folds and can be carried easily, is available to borrow on Ecomodo if you would like to use it to commute to London or simple to cycle around Guernsey.

Visit Ecomodo to find out how it works.

International conference on the science behind food and energy sustainability at the University of Sheffield from 13 to 14 September 2011

March 23rd, 2011 by Events

The first international Project Sunshine conference, Shine, will take place from 13-14 September 2011 at Sheffield City Hall.

Shine 2011 focuses on the global issues relating to food and energy sustainability through collaborative cross-disciplinary research and technological innovation – a partnership between science, business and governments.

The global issues of food, energy and environmental change are complex and inter-connected.

Integrated, flexible solutions, appropriate for different scenarios in different parts of the world, are needed.  Solutions involve individuals and organisations from across many areas of academia, business and the public sector: founded upon high quality science, interpreted by business and policy makers, and translated into actions which make a difference.

(click flyer to expand)

The flyer can be downloaded as a PDF file.  For more information about the conference contact conference secretary Shelagh Cowley on +44 (0)114 222 9520 or email shineconference @

(click on logo to go to The University of Sheffield web page)


Jersey in Transition committee meeting minutes of 21 March 2011

March 23rd, 2011 by Nigel Jones

(click on logo to go to Jersey in Transition website)

Minutes of the third committee meeting, Monday 28th February 2011

Present: Ann Pirouet, Geoffrey Pirouet, Ruth Baier-Rolls, Ian Rolls, Nigel Jones, Luke Shobbrook, Nick Palmer, Bernard Carree, Francoise Carree, Helen Thomas, Irene Brown, Anna Wimberley.

Apologies: Daniel Wimberley, Jeremy Miller, Kirsten Miller, Simon le Noury, Annie le Noury, Marilyn Melvin, Marion Shobbrock, Caroline Leach.

1. The minutes of the meeting of the 28th February were circulated, approved and signed.

2. The aims of Jersey in Transition

There was a general consensus that we should join the worldwide Transition Movement and model ourselves on Transition Towns/UK, but not copy them.

Two draft versions of JiT were read out, a short one by Nigel (see Appendix A) and a longer one by Anna (see Appendix B). It was suggested to adopt the shorter version as the opening paragraph for our constitution, and use the longer one for the website or a leaflet about who we are, perhaps labelled ‘Objectives’. We took our first vote: 10 were for, 1 against, adopting Appendix A into the constitution.

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St Andrew’s Floral Guernsey Bloomers plant trees at Les Vauxbelets estate with the help of Blanchelande College students

March 23rd, 2011 by Richard Lord

Gill Thwaite, co-ordinator for St. Andrew’s Floral Guernsey, organised a planting of trees on Les Vauxbelets estate with the St. Andrew’s Bloomers, Andrew McCutcheon of the States of Guernsey Environment Department, and Blanchelande College Year 5 Students on 23 March 2011.

The field on Les Vauxbelets Estate from across the valley where the St. Andrew Bloomers prepare to plant trees (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The trees were planted on a steep, south facing slope at the request of a farmer to prevent cattle grazing the area, and to enhance the field’s biodiversity.   A large pile of wood chips donated by Chris Stonebridge of Treevolution tree surgeons, was delivered to the site and planting began at 10 am.

The trees were provided free by the RHS and Woodland Trust scheme to mark the launch of the RHS 2011 Britain in Bloom campaign during the weekend of 26 and 27 March.

Dogwood, hawthorn, cherry, alder, birch, rowan and walnut were supplied.  Myrtle was also brought but it was thought to be inappropriate to the site because it is a garden species in Guernsey and spreads rapidly.

Charlie of the St. Andrew's Bloomers prepares the ground for tree planting (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The steepness of the hill required a small area around the planted tree to be made level.  A small berm of soil was built on the downhill side of the planting hole so that rainwater could collect around the planted tree.

Blanchelande College Year 5 students arrived to help with the tree planting.  Andrew McCutcheon instructed them on the correct way to plant a tree.  The girls loved the experience and were excited to plant a walnut tree so close to their school.

Blanchelande College year 5 students point enthusiastically to the walnut tree they planted (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The young trees and whips were planted two to three metres apart.  Some hawthorn whips were planted as pairs because their roots were entwined.  Andrew McCutcheon said that there was some advantage to planting trees close together on windswept sites.  “It’s probably better on wind swept sites to plant them close enough together so they afford each other some degree of protection,” he said.

Tree Warden co-ordinator and Principal Environment Services Officer, Andrew McCutcheon, advises the St. Andrew's Bloomers about the tree planting at Les Vauxbelets estate (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Andrew McCutcheon said it was the last opportunity before the summer to plant trees because the soil would become dry.  The young trees needed to be watered regularly during the coming months to ensure their survival although the whips because of their small size would be less vulnerable.

Water was collected from a stream flowing down the centre of the valley.

The trees were watered from a stream running down the middle of the valley (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Andrew McCutcheon commented that the soil on the site lacked organic matter because it had grass growing on it for hundreds of years but the planted trees would improve the soil structure by adding humus to it.  The trees would absorb carbon from the atmosphere and turn it into growth and also add carbon to the content of the soil. The soil had a high portion of silt and was claggy when watered.

Andrew McCutcheon uses rubber bands to secure the young trees to posts (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The whips and young trees were staked because of the wind blowing down the valley and they were placed in plastic tubes to protect them from rabbits.

The St. Andrew Bloomers responsible for the tree planting at Les Vauxbelets Estate on 23 March 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

After two hours of hard work in the warm March sunshine sixty young trees and whips and been planted in neat rows.

Work almost done - the trees planted in neat rows on the south-east corner of the field (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Blanchelande College students said they would remember the day and would enjoy seeing the trees grow year after year.

Blanchelande College year 5 students enjoyed their outing to plant trees with the St. Andrew's Bloomers (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Big Car Boot Sale in aid of bridge2srilanka and bridge2haiti at Guernsey’s specsavers HQ car park

March 23rd, 2011 by Events

From 2 to 4 pm on Sunday 27 March 2011 the Big Car Boot Sale will take place in aid of bridge2srilanka and bridge2haiti at the Specsavers car park at La Villiaze, St. Andrews, Guernsey.

To keep the proceeds of your car boot sale the cost is £10.00 per car or there is free entry if you donate ALL your proceeds to the charities.

(click poster image to expand)

(click on logo to go to bridge2haiti website)

(click on logo to go to bridge2srilanka website)