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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Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Film night" - This coming Wednesday 20th October

Dear Carbon Cutters both old and new! You are warmly invited to our next meeting when we will watch the film "Home", (see the attached poster and the review below), followed by coffee and cake and a chance to swap stories about the Eco Fair and plan the next one (only joking!)
If you have somewhere to put up a poster do print it out and put it up - at work? in your window?
Best wishes,

HOME is an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony. Through the landscapes of 54 countries captured from above, Yann Arthus-Bertrand takes us on an unique journey all around the planet, to contemplate it and to
understand it. But HOME is more than a documentary with a message, it is a magnificent movie in its own right. Every breathtaking shot shows the Earth - our Earth - as we have never seen it before. Every image shows the Earth's treasures we are destroying and all the wonders we can still preserve.

And here are a couple of reviews:

... Read this ...

E-mail your MP and tell them you don’t want climate change funds to be cut

Dear Carbon Cutter,
A member asks us to take action. On Saturday at the Eco Fair Nicola Blackwood asked us to let her know when we thought the cuts seemed to be "throwing out the baby with the bathwater". This sounds like one big baby.
Please take two minutes to e-mail your MP and tell them you don’t want climate change funds to be cut: just click on
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/protect-green-jobs/ and put in your postcode. I've just tried it and it works!
Read more details below,(Of course it takes longer if you then write a personal message, but it will help!)
Onwards and upwards,

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Babbs - 38 Degrees
Date: 14 October 2010 13:47

38 Degrees Logo

Dear Sally,

In a few days, the government will announce its plans for cuts. Every day we’re hearing about new threats to cut funding to tackle climate change. [1] That could mean thousands of job losses for people who insulate homes, put up solar panels, and build wind turbines. It would mean thousands more new green jobs in the UK would never happen.

Wrangling over cuts will go right down to the wire. [2] If enough of us email our MPs now, we might be able to save funding for tackling climate change. The government claimed it would be the “greenest government ever”. If they hear from MPs that thousands of voters are worried about green jobs, they’ll realise cuts to climate funding could ruin their image. [3]

Please take two minutes to e-mail your MP and tell them you don’t want climate change funds to be cut:

Cutting funding to stop climate change would be a huge step backwards. It would mean fewer people installing solar panels and insulating their homes. Firms making wind turbines would lay-off workers. It would be a massive false economy, with thousands of green jobs going abroad.

When we work together on climate change, we get the attention of politicians. Last year, hundreds of 38 Degrees members quizzed Ed Miliband, then Climate Minister, just before he left for the global climate talks in Copenhagen. We’ve changed government plans by putting pressure on MPs before - now let’s do it to save green jobs and make sure tackling climate change doesn’t get cut.

It only takes two minutes to e-mail your MP by clicking here:

Thanks for being involved,

David, Hannah, Johnny, Ramzi, and the 38 Degrees Team

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/13/treasury-battle-green-investment-bank
[2] http://www.leftfootforward.org/2010/09/treasury-trying-to-shut-down-climate-department-and-axe-clean-energy-funds/
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_8709000/8709627.stm

The bigger we are the more we can do. Please forward this email to your friends and ask them to get involved.

38 Degrees brings you together with over 175,000 people to take action on the issues that matter to you and bring about real change. To find out more visit our website, Facebook or Twitter.
... Read this ...

New Saturday Market organised by Choose Abingdon and the Farmers' Market group

Dear All, Your apple-pressing, delicious cake-baking skills are needed again for Saturday October 23rd! Please reply direct to Anthea at akpea@stepea.plus.com. More windfalls will be needed on the day, please bring them direct to the market-place or drop them off at St Ethelwold's house the day before.
Susie Howard is in charge of loaning out long-handled apple-pickers, our crush and press, and pasteuriser, and also an electric juicer which makes short work of turning windfalls into juice. Contact her on susiehoward1@googlemail.com or 01235 533278 . The equipment is stored at St Ethelwold's House and must be picked up and returned there.
Dear all,
Susie and I are on the committee for the New Saturday Market that is to be held in the market place on Saturday October 23rd. The aim is to promote local produce and is being organised by Choose Abingdon and the Farmers' Market group.

Carbon Cutters have been allocated a stall. We plan to press apples, sell the Food Directory and offer cake testing as a way of advertising Carbon Cutters.
Could you let me know if you are available to do a stint? The market will be open from 9.00/2.00 and we shall need help setting up and clearing away at the end of the day.
We shall also need cakes from the famous Abingdon Cake Club.

Please let me know if you can help on the day or with cakes.

anthea pearson
... Read this ...

Are you planning to Eco-Renovate?

If you're planning any work on your house in the future, one of these events might be of interest to you

1. Future Oxfordshire Eco-renovation discussion – Monday 25th October, 7-9pm, Oxford University Centre for the Environment (Directions )

Thank you to those who have already responded to say they’re coming to this – there’s room for more, so if you’d like to come please email jo@climatex.org at least 3 hours before the meeting.

Intro: Overview of community eco-renovation activity in past few years in Oxfordshire

Where next? Open space to discuss ideas and potential collaborations, which could include, but not be limited to:

· Future eco-renovation projects

· Networking

· Skill sharing

· Householder to householder support

· What’s working well with eco-renovation on a local level

· What people would like to see happening

What might come out of the evening: Collaborations, potential projects..

Background: Oxfordshire ClimateXchange and the Climate Outreach Information Network (COIN) have run a variety of eco-renovation events over the past three years, and have been funded to do this. There is currently no funding to support more eco-renovation events at ClimateX or COIN, but there is a strong network of eco-renovators with plenty of experience and knowledge to share, which is a great resource. Networking doesn’t always need funding, and in addition to the online networking I would be interested in what ideas you have for continuing the eco-renovation networking and events organising. It might be a web forum, it might be someone who would be willing to develop the eco-homes ideas in Oxfordshire... or it might be someone who’s willing to develop the ideas further and work with others to attract funding.

If you’re interested in developing the eco-renovation network further, but can’t come to the meeting, please let me know beforehand – either email or phone. I’ll circulate a brief post- report of the meeting.

2. Post Occupancy Evaluation of Local Eco-renovated homes, Monday 1st November, 6.30 – 7.30 pm

Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is an evaluative tool used to understand the performance of a building in use. Its purpose is to answer the following questions:

1) How is a building working?

2) Is this what was intended?

3) How can it be improved?

‘Ecovation’ is a communications project run by COIN (Climate Outreach Information Network) who, in partnership with Oxfordshire ClimateXchange, have organised a series of events showcasing householders who have refurbished their properties to a high environmental standard. A POE was carried out by Oxford Brookes University Department of Architecture on three properties, which acted as case studies in helping to understand which refurbishment methods were most effective in relation to energy reduction and occupant satisfaction. Internal conditions of the properties were monitored for 6 months and occupants were interviewed as part of the investigative research.

The key findings showed that the most energy-efficient measures are not necessarily the most effective, showing unintended consequences throughout, while occupants and their behaviour play a crucial role in the performance of buildings. These findings will be presented and discussed in the form of a public talk at Oxford Brookes University.

Details of the talk are as follows:

Date: Monday 1st November 2010

Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Venue: Room G119, Gibbs Building, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP


**The room is only able to accommodate 30 people, so please confirm your attendance by emailing Simon at simonchung13@gmail.com **

... Read this ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Reminder

The apple pressing equipment, which has been seen in use at the Eco Fair, the community shop, Fun in the Park and other recent town events is available for loan. There is also a pasteuriser which can gives any nutritious juice extracted from "waste" or leftover apples a more useful lifetime, once bottled.

Contact Susie on 01235 533278 to book the equipment, or email carbon.cutters@gmail.com ... Read this ...

Report from the Eco Fair

In case you don't see the reports on the Eco Fair in the press, here's the post-event press release.

For Photos, look at the Abingdon Blog

Climate smiles on Abingdon’s first Eco Fair

11.10. 2010

The climate smiled on Abingdon’s first Eco Fair as hundreds of visitors learned how to live well and save money without damaging the planet.

Over 400 visitors spilled out of the Guildhall onto the lawn where adults and children helped crush and press donated windfall apples into delicious juice, to demonstrate how nothing need be wasted. The apple press was bought with a donation from Culham Environmental Insitutute.

Town mayor, Duncan Brown, opened the proceedings, telling of his commitment to helping the environment before introducing the choir of his old school, Dunmore, who captivated a packed Abbey Hall with their eco-friendly songs. .

New MP, Nicola Blackwood, showed great interest in all the stalls, which focussed on five key areas; Energy, Food, Waste, Travel and Biodiversity

“What’s Up Folk”, a band of pupils and teachers from John Mason School, and folk group “Flowers of the Quern”, got visitors’ feet tapping in the entrance hall, while the lively choir from Carswell Primary School delighted an appreciative audience in the local-food cafe with their harvest and eco songs.

Highlights included the following:


This area focussed on the delights of local produce

· a cafe served locally grown food and drink including soup & cakes throughout the fair

· spare apples, even windfalls were turned into delicious apple juice with the Carbon Cutters own apple mill and press.

· Bakers from Abingdon Country Market helped visitors make bread rolls from local flour from the Wantage Mill

· The Oxford Garden Project demonstrated how to grow your own vegetables – even if you don't have a garden

· The “Grow Your Own Veg Group” run by Bridget Thurley invited new growers to join her at the allotment on Peachcroft Farm on Thursday mornings

· Abingdon Carbon Cutters launched their new “Local Food Directory”, showing where you can buy locally grown and organic produce to help cut food miles and pesticide use

· Local shop “Added Ingredients” offered samples of locally-produced food and drink

· The Vegetarian Society gave out information on how to reduce the carbon footprint of your food by eating a more healthy, plant-based diet


This area helped us discover more about the natural world around us

· Kids of all ages made “bug hotels” from waste materials

· the Green Gym showed how to get fit while helping the local environment

· “Friends of Radley Lakes” showcased their new nature reserve now managed by the Northmoor Trust


Every time we buy something new and throw away the old one we are increasing our carbon footprint. Why not give it a refurb instead, or at least recycle it?

· The Wild Waste Bus from the Northmoor Trust at Little Wittenham was parked outside the Guildhall for a fun take on waste for all ages

· The 8th Abingdon Guides showed off how to use our shiny new recycling bins

· The Pathway Workshop had a fantastic display of toys and garden furniture, all made from recycled wood by disabled young adults


This area showed that how we choose to travel can also waste or save fuel. Find out about alternative options which can slash your fuel bills while helping the planet.

· Freewheeling, Abingdon’s new cycling club, was there to enthuse old hands and new recruits about the joys of cycling for pleasure and fitness

· CommonWheels, a car-share club in Oxford, was exploring the possibility of a similar scheme in Abingdon

· Andy Brewin of Bike Support had his mobile bike repair workshop on the Guildhall forecourt


· Several solar power suppliers showed how solar panels on your roof can help you heat your water and generate electricity

· “Sustainable Lifestyles”, a local consultancy run by Carbon Cutters member Paul Buckingham, gave top tips on cutting electricity usage at home to save on bills

· A working model was on show of the new Abingdon Hydro scheme to harness the power of the Thames at Abingdon Weir. This should make enough electricity for at least 200 homes.

· Local eco-renovation home owner Brigid Sondaram showed plans of her new Eco-home in Norman Avenue

The Eco Fair was organised by a group of local residents, the “Abingdon Carbon Cutters” to showcase traditional and state-of-the-art ways we can use less fossil fuel, whilst maintaining or even improving our quality of life.

Pensioner Christine Whild, one of their oldest and most active members, said: “I want the world to be liveable for my great grandson who was born this year. At my age I don’t know how much time I have left, so I want to make a difference now”.

Paul Buckingham has been studying for an an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales and now runs an advice consultancy, Sustainable Lifestyles. He says, ““With rising energy prices and all the concerns about climate change, this is a great way of showing people what is possible for everyone to do to make a difference!”

... Read this ...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photo from "Fun In The Park"

For those of you who weren't there - this is a picture of the Carbon Cutters' apple press at the Fun In The Park event last month. ... Read this ...