CAG e-Bulletin - August 2010
Hello Sally Reynolds ,
Welcome to the latest 2010 CAG ebulletin, we hope you have been enjoying the summer. The ebulletin is for the exchange of information between CAGs and those who have an interest in CAG activities. Please feel free to forward this bulletin to those you feel would be interested. If you have any information that you would like to share with other groups please let me know. frances.buckel@
A big welcome to Sustainable Kirtlington who has just signed up to be a CAG.
Sustainable Kirtlington has been running since 2007 and have various plans. The most ambitious of which will be helping the owners of the mill raise funds for the installation of a micro hydro plant. It is believed that such a plant could provide power for 50-60 homes in the village.
Low Carbon Oxford North
LCON is taking practical action to combat climate change by helping people in the North of Oxford to cut carbon emissions. They have recently signed up as a CAG and had their first public meeting in the North Oxford Association Centre in July. A packed house listed to key note speakers, James Painter, (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism), and Barbara Hammond (LCWO). Many people expressed interest in their plans for Carbon Conversations and the Commonwealth Climate Challenge (see below)
Commonwealth Climate Challenge
The Commonwealth Climate Challenge is an international competition challenging 12 households in 12 cities across 12 Commonwealth countries to reduce their environmental impact over 12 months.
Run by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), in partnership with the Prince of Wales' Charities, this is a fun project with a serious aim. The countries selected to take part in the Climate Challenge represent the geographic and economic diversity of the Commonwealth and include Oxford in the UK.
Baseline data on environmental impact and consumption will be collected at the beginning. Over 12 months the households will compete against other families and countries to reduce their overall environmental impact and to win a series of specific challenges. They will interact with other participants, as well as the global school network, via the Challenge website. CAGs are actively involved in finding and supporting the households in Oxford.
More details from LCON or (a dedicated climate challenge website will be launched in September)
Runaway Climate Challenge
Oxfordshire’s Community Climate Conference is Saturday 13th November 2010, 10am to 4.30pm Keep this date in your diary. Following a very successful Big Climate Event last year, this conference will provide stimulation, inspiration and support for taking community action on Climate Change. it will be held at Oxford University Centre for the Environment.
More information and registration details will be out shortly.
Largest installation of solar panel on a school in the UK
West Oxford Community Renewables Ltd (WOCR) unveiled their 100 kW solar panel array on the roof of Matthew Arnold School and their 50kw solar panel array on the roof of Aldi’s West Oxford store on 24th June 2010.
The electricity generated by the solar panels will be sold to the school and the store respectively. Together the roofs on Matthew Arnold and Aldi will generate approximately £50,000 for re-investment in Low Carbon West Oxford’s local community environmental activities as a result of the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme.
Aldi and Matthew Arnold School will both benefit from cheaper and cleaner green electricity. The solar panels will also play a significant part in their carbon reduction commitment and provide customers and pupils with a highly visible reminder of their green credentials.
Garden wins an OSCA
On Friday 16th July, Barracks Lane Community Garden was announced as runner-up in the “Enhancing and/or preserving biodiversity” category of the Oxfordshire Sustainability and Conservation Awards (OSCA). The garden was presented with a cheque for £100 and a framed certificate.
Run by Oxfordshire County Council, the OSCA is a competition that aims to showcase all the great environmental work that's been taking place in Oxfordshire by schools and community groups. The winner of the Biodiversity category was SS Mary and John on Cowley Road. Barracks Lane Community Garden is very proud to have been recognised for its work in enhancing the local environment.
Other CAGs that entered included the Dorchester Carbon Project who received a highly commended for their ‘Zero Waste Places’ initiative.
CAGs visit Ardley IVC
Places for the recent visit to Agrivert’s In-vessel Composting facility at Ardley were snapped up by Community Action Groups (CAGs) keen to learn how their food and green waste are being treated. By the end of this year all of Oxfordshire Distinct Councils will be collecting food waste separately.
The Ardley facility is one of three being delivered by Agrivert to provide a comprehensive organics treatment solution to divert organic waste from landfill whilst providing a valued organic fertiliser. The facility has the capacity to treat up to 40,000 tonnes of organic waste each year.
The overall philosophy behind the futuristic design and site location was to provide a facility which operates with low energy consumption. The facility has a positive carbon footprint even after the energy associated with collection and treatment of the waste is taken into account. It also uses harvested rain water and heats the offices with the natural warmth generated from the composting process.
Pamela Hawes at Agrivert said that allotment holders or community groups could make arrangements to collect trailer loads of compost for a small fee, or free of charge, if they were a charity. Unfortunately they are unable to sell small bags to individuals. Contact them directly on 01608 677700.
Food waste collections are being rolled out across the county and by the end of 2010 most households will be able to put out their food waste for collection rather than putting it in the bin. The biggest challenge is to get food waste out of landfill.
While CAGs want the food waste collection schemes to be successful, it is important to remember that composting suitable food waste at home is even better for the environment. Not all food waste can go into a home compost bin (meat, fish, dairy and cooked foods), but items like vegetable peelings, apple cores and eggshells make great compost when mixed with things like twigs, cardboard and grass cuttings.
Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine in three months. In addition to making your own free fertiliser, you will also be helping to cut down the demand for peat-based compost from the world’s declining peat reserves.
Subsidised compost bins are available to Oxfordshire residents from only £19 (including delivery) by going to www.oxfordshirewaste.gov.uk or phoning 0844 571 4444.
Cuts we should really be talking about
A new report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology on Wednesday 16 June 2010, including input from thirteen universities, twelve research bodies and eight key industry players, highlights a path for a zero carbon transition by 2030. For the first time a comprehensive energy strategy has been produced that could reduce emissions to zero for all greenhouse gases and across all sectors, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and regaining energy security.
New set of Energy Saving Trust 'How to' guides
Green Communities how to guides are designed to give you step by step instruction on various aspects of running a successful community energy project - check them out online:
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.
Enter your email address below to receive Carbon Cutters updates in your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thanks for being a part of The (ever-expanding) Freecycle Network. We're changing the world one gift at a time! This message is sent to all subscribers upon joining, and monthly thereafter to the entire list. If this message hasn't been updated since the last time you read it, feel free to move on to the next post.
If you're new to the group or want a quick refresher on making the most of our Freecycle group, please read on! This message contains essential knowledge for all Freecycle members and will answer MANY common new-user questions, so please take the time to read it through.
This Freecycle group matches people who have things they need to get rid of with people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of the landfill. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.
Begun on August 23 2005, the Vale of the White Horse, south Oxfordshire Freecycle group is a branch of an incredibly fast-growing international Freecycle movement, which began in Tucson, AZ on May 1st, 2003 and now boasts thousands of groups all over the world. Please help this group grow by spreading the word! We all personally know lots of great people in our community who would love this idea. So, why not "pay it forward" and tell 3 (or more) people how wonderful Freecycle is! You tell your friends, you family, your neighbours, your co-workers.. .and they tell theirs, and so on, and so on...well, you get the idea!
USING THE FREECYCLE LIST
To post a message, simply send an email to valewhitehorsefreecycle@
To unsubscribe, send an email to valewhitehorsefreecycle-
To post, read or reply to messages or to manage your membership settings (including email delivery options), visit the group site (aka main page):
To read list archives (especially helpful for new members who may find recent posts of interest there), visit the main page and click on "messages" on the left.
For more information on Freecycle in general and a list of other approved Freecycle groups, visit http://uk.freecycle .org/ (Highly recommended! ) You can also find freecycle.org along with other related recycling-related sites by visiting the Vale of the White Horse main page and clicking on "links" on the left.
The following list rules have been adapted from the original Freecycle etiquette sheet; For a refresher, read on. A certain structure definitely makes the group run smoothly and effectively for everyone's benefit. Remember, the success of this group depends on all of us, and that means each of us need to do our best to keep on task and, well, be nice and patient. Good luck, have fun & dive on in!
FREECYCLE RULES & ETIQUETTE
1) KEEP IT FREE, LEGAL & APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AGES. This means, for example, no Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms or Drugs, legal or otherwise. Two strikes and you're out of the group. This is our main Freecycle rule to live by and it's a pretty easy one at that. No advertising your garage sale, either, as you're looking for money and that isn't free... (though feel free to advertise it on our Cafe group!)
2) SUBJECT LINE OF YOUR POSTS. All posts should use one of the following formats to make it easy for others to delete or view:
OFFER: item, (Location). [Offering more than one thing? Still keep it in one e-mail, please]
WANTED: item (Location)
RECEIVED: sofa - thanks!
ADMIN: Important messages from the moderators - these will be used sparingly and sent to ALL members.
3) WANTED ADS ARE AS WELCOME AS OFFERS - But please do not post the same "wanted" message more than once a month, and keep it reasonable - for example, an old TV is a reasonable "want", a plasma screen isn't! And PLEASE don't offer money for anything - Freecycle is just that, FREE! One more thing - it's not compulsory, but it would be nice if members could all post an offer before a want :0)
4) NO CHAT, NO POLITICS, NO SPAM, NO MONEY, NO PERSONAL ATTACKS/RUDENESS, NO PROSELYTIZING/ RELIGION. It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C- T. Two strikes & you're out, i.e. you will be unsubscribed by the moderator after two inappropriate postings.
5) YOUR APPROXIMATE LOCATION: Please try to mention this in the body of your e-mail as well as in the subject line, eg. I've got a couch and live near Wantage.
6) KEEP IT ALL IN ONE E-MAIL. Got more than one thing to give away? Keep it all in one e-mail please and just number the items for your own clarity. This reduces the overall number of e-mails we all have to receive.
7) CAN WE USE FREECYCLE TO FIND NEW HOMES FOR PETS? No - following a vote on this group in May 2008 it was agreed that animals should be neither offered not requested on this group. There are lots of great organisations who specialise in rehoming animals - we suggest you visit one of them instead. (Websites in Links section)
8) NO TRADING/SWAPPING PLEASE. Go to your local trading organisation for this. It can be quite fun.
9) RESPONSES GO ONLY TO OFFERER. It keeps down the sheer number of e-mails.
10) PICK UP. Arrange as you like. Generally, you'll wait until you get a handful of responses or maybe overnight, and then you can pick whomever you like! That's half the fun. I always ask that people consider giving your local charity preference if one should respond. Arrange pickup with one person only, rather than "it's on the porch, whoever gets here first gets it." Otherwise you'll become unpopular pretty fast with your fellow Freecycle Group Members... Also: only give your phone number to one person at a time or ask for the recipient's phone no. Otherwise you'll get swamped with phone calls. And if you've arranged to collect from another member - make sure you turn up when you say you will. People soon get fed up with "no shows".
11) DISCLAIMER: FREECYCLE NETWORK MEMBERS USE THE LIST AT THEIR OWN RISK. Please take reasonable measures to protect your safety and privacy when posting to the list or participating in an exchange. By joining the list, you agree to hold neither the list owners and moderators nor anyone affiliated with Freecycle.org responsible or liable for any circumstance resulting from a Freecycle-related exchange or communication.
SAFETY. Be aware! It is up to each individual member of Freecycle when arranging for pickup of the item being given away to be appropriately aware of the potential risk of having "a stranger" come to your home to pick something up. Freecycle as a listserv assumes no responsibility for this risk. If you, for example, are a single woman living alone, you may want to say that you'll leave the item on the front porch while you are not home.
12) NO OFFERING/POSTING YOURSELF OR YOUR CHILDREN. Posting oneself (or one's shy friends) is, I'm afraid, not allowed. There are many fine Internet dating sites better suited to this purpose ;0) Posting your kids is not on the menu either, no matter how crazy they make you sometimes. Try getting them involved in after-school football practice.
13) A BRIEF NOTE ON FREECYCLE ETIQUETTE: "Be nice." We've got a great little community here so when you arrange to pick up an item from another Freecycle Member, it is basic good manners to accommodate them as much as possible in terms of scheduling, and then be punctual; they are, after all, giving you something you need and asking nothing in return except that you will show up when you say you will. (Leaving someone hanging around waiting is never a nice thing.) Also, unless the giver tells you otherwise, assume that they would like you to come by as soon as you can to take away the item; no more than three days after the offer is made is usual. (Think of it as The Three-Day Rule.)
TIPS TO ORGANISE ALL OF THE NEW E-MAILS YOU ARE GETTING:
a) CREATE A SEPARATE E-MAIL FOLDER & AUTOMATICALLY HAVE FREECYCLE STUFF GO TO IT. Create a separate folder in your Outlook Express & have Freecycle stuff sent to it automatically with a new rule under tools/message rules/mail/
b) SET TO "DAILY DIGEST" OR "SPECIAL NOTICES ONLY" (which means you'll just browse the messages online). You can set your personal preferences on the main page (under "Edit My Membership" in the top right corner).
IMPORTANT: THERE IS A TIME LAG FOR CHANGES: Whenever a user changes settings, there is an overlap from the time it takes for Yahoo to process the change, until emails in the queue waiting to go out to the users are delivered. In other words, in the six hours it takes for Yahoo to permanently stop the emails from coming, there are emails already set up to go out, and will continue to go out until the queue is emptied. (Some people have reported this taking up to three days.) So please don't email the moderators with comments like, 'I changed my settings/unsubscrib ed yesterday, why am I still getting emails?' Just be patient, and all should be well. Don't make more than one change at a time (each additional change adds on another day of wait).
If you encounter further problems, you might want to consult the Yahoo! Groups help pages at:
http://help. yahoo.com/ help/groups/
Just so you know, you CAN delete your own posts for any reason (for example, if someone's taken the item you offered, or if you've received the item you wanted, or if you posted something by mistake). Go back to your original post and bring it into view on the screen. Right under the Messages bar, where it reads:
Reply/Forward/ View Source/Unwrap Lines/Delete
Click on 'Delete.' That should do it. (Note, though, that deleting a post won't prevent it from showing up in the next digest for those with digest options.)
That should just about do it. Have fun keeping good stuff out of landfill!
Your friendly neighbourhood Freecycle moderators,
Alison and Helen
Vale of the White Horse Freecycle group
Thursday, August 26, 2010
We have worked alongside our insurance brokers to ensure that those who have taken out CAG insurance will be covered to PAT test and that tested items will also be insured in the event of any other unforeseen problems, although this is merely a ‘safety net’ and should not be read as a ‘warranty’ re: damaged parts, etc. However, in order to be comprehensively covered it is important that no ‘white goods’ (eg: large domestic appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, cookers, etc.) or electric blankets are accepted at events. Please note that groups who have their own insurance policy may not necessarily have the cover needed to PAT test and so we would advise registering with the CAG insurance policy to ensure ample cover. Please let me know if you are considering this route.
There are currently 8 CAG PAT testing units around the county with a booking system in place for those who wish to borrow them for their own events, although CAG grants are available for those of you who will be testing on a very regular basis.
Please confirm your booking as soon as possible or by Monday 13th September, stating any mobility or other requirements you may have.
VENUE: West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road, Oxford.
DATE: Wed 29th September 2010
TIME: 7 – 9pm
How to get there:
Click this link for directions and information about the venue:
Public transport: The West Oxford Community Centre is 2 minutes walk from the train station. Turn right at the bottom of the station road, under bridge, along Botley Road and it is on the right. See link above for bus routes.
Cycling: There are plenty of safe places to lock bikes at the centre and train station.
Cars: We would encourage people to use public transport where possible but if you do need to drive please try to car share with people near you. If you have spaces free and would like help filling them or you need a lift to the event, please let me know. This is very limited parking available at the venue but it is very close to the Seacourt Park and Ride.
... Read this ...
Monday, August 23, 2010
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Abingdon Guildhall, Abbey Close
OX14 3JE (map) ... Read this ...
In February Conservative and Lib Dem MPs backed our campaign to set limits on CO2 emissions from new coal fired power stations. Thousands of us emailed our MPs, and we came within a few votes of winning in Parliament. Both Conservatives and Lib Dems promised that if they won the election, limits would be introduced in their new Energy Bill. But today it's being reported they are planning to break their promise.  We need to move fast to stop that happening.
Since the election, energy company lobbyists have piled pressure on the Tories and Lib Dems to do a U-turn. Unless we speak up now, the lobbyists are going to win and rules to reduce climate emissions will be dropped.
Together we can make the case for tackling climate change, and warn the government that caving in now after all the promises they've made would be a big embarrassment. A people-powered outcry will make Conservative and Lib Dem MPs realise how much damage a U-turn will do to their green reputation.
Click here to e-mail your MP and demand they support new rules to clean up new coal fired power stations:
At the moment energy companies can charge customers extra to pay for building new 'cleaner' coal-fired power stations. But there's no minimum standard for how clean these power stations should be. That's a bit like saying you want more efficient cars, but then forgetting to say how many miles per gallon they should actually do. We need new rules to make sure climate emissions really are brought down.
It's only 6 months since Lib Dems and Tories voted to make these rules part of the last government's Energy Bill. But now they're in power, the Conservatives have put these new rules on the backburner. We need to work together to put every single MP under pressure to support new rules to set limits on coal-fired power stations - if enough of us e-mail, we can make sure MPs don't let the bill go through without proper standards.
In February, people power nearly won - we came within 8 votes of cleaning up new coal power stations. If we work together again and put pressure on MPs of all parties to back proper standards this time around, we can make sure we get the rules we need to clean up coal.
E-mail your MP now to tell them to back proper rules:
Thanks for being involved,
... Read this ...
The first is their "first annual energy statement":
This mentions such things as smart meters, the Renewable Heat Incentive, and a lot more. It's the shorter of the two.
The other is a document showing possible "pathways" to achieve the 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. What is interesting is that it has six model scenarios, in case some things don't happen, and so sounds a lot like David MacKay has had something to do with it. It's longer - a couple of hundred pages - but you can probably get the gist from the summary material at the beginning: