About us.....

Abingdon Carbon Cutters is a Community Action Group formed to help reduce the carbon footprint of Abingdon in response to climate change, and to promote a sustainable and resilient lifestyle for our town as fossil fuel stocks decline. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at St Ethelwold's House, which is here.

At some meetings, we have guest speakers to present various topics, and at others we discuss our own personal actions to address climate change. The group has a focus on encouragement, both of one another, and of the town community.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

How to waste less food - website, and Action Planning on Weds 19th August

As featured in the Observer Magazine today, food waste is a vital topic for reducing carbon footprints, and Emma's talk last Wednesday was fascinating. You can get the gist of what she told us, and much more, on the Love Food Hate Waste website. http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

You will find below, the document we looked at on Wednesday, which will form the starting-point for our discussion on next year's campaign when we meet on Wednesday 19th August at 7.30pm at St Ethelwold's House.

If you can't come that evening and would like to have your say, let Cliff know beforehand.

Have a good summer...

Abingdon Carbon Cutters

How to Make Abingdon Carbon Neutral - May 20th

Notes based on Group discussions

Suggestions for future action

  • Massive push in eco-renovations to lower carbon emissions due to residences and businesses locally
    • Requires funding support
    • Lobby for subsidy for solar panels
    • Lobby for government support of home renewable generation
    • Lobby for support for renewable and eco-renovation industry development in this country
    • Needs clear, accurate information on what works
  • Education about what needs to be achieved through, schools, churches, general public – requires leaflets, newsletters, press releases, public events, presence at local events to promote, encourage and recruit
  • Lobby for improved, subsidised local transport to make this financially viable and to provide good public transport links for villages /rail stations etc.
  • Find effective ways to reduce car usage – promoting car sharing, lift sharing, set up a local car club scheme
  • Promote realistic reduction in agricultural carbon emissions – change of diet, promotion of local organic foods
  • Promote community rather than individual existence for a sustainable lifestyle
  • Promote and support the development of community food production and sharing
  • Transition Town status could provide the impetus for such projects and especially the community-based ethos

Ideas identified for action within such projects


  • Seek to overcome scepticism, apathy and ‘head in sand’ attitudes
  • Address the environment problem through economic crisis response
    • Good economic policies = good environment policies
    • reduce travel, reduce consumption
    • how do we prioritise?
    • Public Relations issues – provide a positive spin on issues, e.g. Make Poverty History campaign. A campaign that makes a lower carbon lifestyle sexy (Carbon Detox suggestions?)
    • We need access to information and skills
    • We need a Government/local government lead
    • Build close links with schools and support staff as they develop the curriculum to include climate change and lower carbon living


  • Encourage intensive gardening, e.g. rooftops? (Cuban example)
  • Promote Grow local – Buy local (not the big supermarket chains’ version)
  • Set up the means for sharing produce
  • Provide lessons on how to use everything
  • Bring ‘old’ ground into cultivation
  • Enable land sharing
    • Mini scale – gardens
    • Maxi scale Landshare website
  • Develop growing skills
    • Compost making – Emma, Robert
    • Raised bed– sourcing, building, cultivating
    • Promoting and publicising skills courses – e.g. Bridget, Robert
    • Engaging children – work with schools to provide support and advice for school garden projects (keeping them going through the summer, etc)
  • Explore and promote greater local sustainability
  • Explore and encourage locally grown food employment opportunities


  • Encourage local employment rather than commuting
  • Cut down/out the school run
    • Encourage/supervise walking buses
    • SRTS (?)
    • Smaller local schools?
  • Car sharing scheme – local authority run
  • Car sharing schemes – need to overcome the desire for individuality/independence
  • Lower bus fares
  • Share resources / share travel / waste less as a result

Other key issues arising

  • The value and importance of working with other similar local groups in the area
  • Prioritising effort based on needs/achievability/expertise/resource analysis
  • Important to research and quantify carbon footprint of town in order to be able to judge progress towards goal of carbon neutrality – key data to use in ‘campaign’ literature
  • Important to use local experts, local responsible council officers/councillors and well-connected people to discern key issues to focus upon in order to have best impact – push at opening doors, have examples ready to show we are ahead of the game (Transition town movement is getting this name)

Cliff Marshall June 2009

Action Planning

What should our priorities be for the coming year?




What could you offer to ACC activities in the coming year?




Please bring this paper and your ideas to the open Strategy Meeting at 7.30pm, Wednesday 19th August at St Ethelwold’s House. If you are unable to come to this meeting, please hand in your responses in advance.

1 comment:

  1. Carbon Cutters,

    one thing very close to home (and indeed going right past St Ethwolds House) is the news that the County Council wish to make cycling and walking in the town far less attractive by forcing cars in both directions over St Helen's Wharf, currently the most popular cycling and walking route in the town.

    Please get involved in opposing this move which is in direct conflict to low carbon modes of transport. No longer will you be able to enjoy a summers walk or cycle to St Ethwolds given the huge volumes of traffic expected in the conservation area. Even the official report which underestaimtes volumes hugely suggests an additional car every 12 seconds along this route.

    Please help save the town's heritige and low carbon aims by opposing this crazy idea!


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