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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Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Day Saturday October 13th!

Apple Day is upon us! Or will be on October 13th!
There will be plenty for children to do this year - from the Wild Waste Bus, to trying their hand at archery, and we are very excited to present plans for the proposed "Forest School" area which carbon cutters are helping to design and implement.
As last year, you are invited to bring your apples for Ruth Ward to help diagnose what variety they are, and windfalls to be crushed into juice.  There are very few apples around ths year, so if you know of any going spare, please collect them and bring them, or if they are in someone's garden, ask if you can collect them!
There will be soup and rolls at lunchtime, tea and coffee throughout the day, and a cake stall run by Caldecott School PTA.
There will also be a stall of second-hand children's books, do bring any you can spare.
The Mayor of Abingdon will visit and we hope the children of Caldecott School, who are having an "Eco-week" that week, will sing to her.
Bring your friends!
... Read this ...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Seen but not heard: Electric car in Abingdon

One of the Carbon Cutters was lucky enough to have an electric Nissan Leaf car to test last weekend.

The car drove like a conventional car, but there were a huge number of beeps, buttons, and screens inside. The Nissan dealer did explain that there is likely to be a version of the Leaf car with fewer gadgets inside, once production moves to the UK in a few months. Undoubtedly some early adopters of the new electric car technology will enjoy the electric handbrake, the absence of an ignition key, the mirror that automatically turns dark when needed, and other clever gadgets, but I couldn't help but feel that the car would move from being "good" to being "awesome" if the luxury features were all removed to save weight and cost!

One bonus of the multiple flat screens (that provide the driver with continuous information about anything and everything) was that it was possible to visualise the electrical energy coming out of the batteries (when accelerating and when driving). This was interesting, but far better was seeing when energy was put back in to the batteries when coasting or braking.

Having the car for a day gave a fantastic opportunity to try out the electric car charging station in Abingdon's waitrose car park.

There are two charging stations in the car park, a "big" one and a "small" one as you can see in the photo below:

 To use the small charging station, it is necessary to be a subscriber to the service provided by a company called Polar, who provide an electronic key to subscribers so that they can open up the socket on the charging post.

The big charger is branded as a Nissan charger, and looks very much like a petrol pump. It provides power free of charge, through the fast charging connector on Nissan electric cars. The Nissan garage does not recommend that every charge is a fast charge. A "normal" charge which gives around 120 miles of travel will take 12-16 hours by plugging the car in to a standard domestic British power outlet

Initially, we had to diagnose and rectify a fault with the"big" electric car charging point. The emergency stop button had been pressed and latched in, causing this error each time the system started up. I unlatched the e-stop button, and all was well.   

37 amps reportedly filled us up down this black cable. The charger itself hummed a little, and some blue lights flashed on the dashboard. We were able to lock the car doors, and go in to do our shopping while all this was going on.

The electrical connector was fiddly to attach to the car, as it had a lever, a button, a springy part and a flappy cover for the lever.
We were on charge for 20 minutes, and the car's battery went from 60% charge to 90% charge.
... Read this ...

Foraging again

Followers of this blog will recall the post from last year about the foraging map that we maintain.

View Abingdon Foraging in a larger map

Carbon Cutters have been in touch with the Oxford foraging map team who are investigating the opportunity to link our maps with an international foraging map at www.foragersfriend.com

View OxFood - Food for Free in Oxford in a larger map ... Read this ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bees and Honey

Hello all,

Here's a reminder that Abingdon Carbon Cutters' next meeting is on 19th September, and the subject is Bees and Honey. You may have heard about bees in the recent news (click here). This will hopefully be an interesting and enlightening evening, with a well renowned local speaker.

At the last Carbon Cutters planning meeting, there was a discussion around setting up a group to encourage the planting of bee friendly plants in municipal and other flower beds. Maybe this talk will be the encouragement you need to get involved with that group.

There is a poster for the meeting attached to this post - please display one if you are able. The meeting will be at St Ethelwold's house, on East St Helen's street in Abingdon, at 7.30pm. (click here for a map) There will be refreshments!

Apologies that the Carbon Cutters blog has not been updated so much recently. Work is ongoing to set up a new and improved Carbon Cutters website, which will be "going live" in the autumn.

At the last Carbon Cutters meeting, we shared in watching a film introducing the concept of a transition town. It was an informative and challenging evening. Click this link to find out more, and do get in touch with your thoughts about Abingdon Carbon Cutters taking this direction.

See you on 19th September,

Abingdon Carbon Cutters.
... Read this ...