GBY Christmas Fair

To celebrate the festive season, we attend The Green Backyard Christmas fair yesterday. Our main focus at the event was gathering Eco Christmas Tips and decorating our Christmas tree. There were some great ideas:

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Buy all your Christmas presents from charity shops
Wrap presents in pretty material and ribbon to save waste and refuse
Make homemade decorations (popcorn tinsel, dried fruit tree decs, paper chains)
Use Christmas cards for next years gift tags
Buy artificial christmas tree rather than a real one and take good care of it to make it last
Collect people’s Christmas trees and reclaim the wood
Make turkey stock from the bones (freeze in portion size if not all needed at once)
Cook meals from scratch rather than buying ready meals (can do the same for sweets and cakes)
Make homemade presents
Buy a present for someone that has nothing
Give the gift of time (an event simply time spent together)
Buy christmas cards from recycled paper
Give money to a charity instead of buying a present, as the present
Reuse your wrapping paper for next year.

What’s your favourite tip? Do you have any more? Feel free to share below.

In addition to this, we were also joined by Fossil Free Cambridgeshire, gaining more momentum for the energy project, gathering signatures for the petition (https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/fossil-free-cambridgeshire-divest-now) and sharing information regarding the project and Transition as a whole.

Finally, we wish you all a very happy festive season!

Discussions

We have held a number of talks across the the past few months starting with our fringe event as part of the PECT Green Festival, a discussion titled ‘Consumerism: What we buy and the alternatives’. It was a very healthy turnout and a very healthy discussion, with lots of input from the attendees and lots to take away and think about. We covered the topic from the angle of the individual consumer, looking at buying habits when it comes to food. Do we shop locally in the market and the butchers or do we go to the supermarket? Do we buy organic? Do we buy in season? We also looked briefly at the fashion industry, both in terms of clothing and in terms of buying for the home. Is it really a taboo to buy second-hand? In the second half we changed tactics, and looked at consumerism as a societal model. Are we just pawns on a chess board? Do we really have a voice? Sadly we had to bring it to an end for the day, but as the enthusiasm and passion was clear, we have decided to run other discussions like this in the future; looking at specific situations like consumerism of the new parent, and revisiting topics which we just scratched the surface of like social structures. If you have any ideas on topics you would like to discuss, please get in touch and we can add them into the mix.

In September 2016, as part of the International Picnic held at The Green Backyard, we held a discussion on Food and Globalisation. Again, it was a very healthy turnout with a really active discussion. We looked at what different cultures across the world would typically eat and how much it would cost. Generally the west were eating the processed packaged diet with the highest price tags and the developing countries eating food in much more natural states, with fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses and grains, which were also the cheaper options, although we did discuss if this was due to choices and availability. Those in attendance mostly commented that they have a fairly natural diet, however were aware they had processed and packaged food too, and aware on their privilege to have this. We also touched on the topic of where our food was coming from, local independent stores or supermarkets, whether to buy organic or not and so much more.

In October, we partnered with Metal for the Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food exhibition for the Waste Not Want Not discussion. This saw people from inspiring grassroot movements from across the country give presentations of their projects and raise awareness about the amount of food that is wasted and what we can do about it. From asking our supermarkets to only bake the bread they know they can sell, to being more accepting of oddly shaped fruit and vegetables. In addition, they spoke about the differences between best before and use by dates and the fact that what is most important is to use our senses to be our own judge about what we eat.

We do plan on holding some more discussions in future, and if you would like to hold a discussion, you do not need to be an expert, just an interest in talking about an issue, please do get in touch.

Carbon Conversations Group

Carbon Conversations offers a supportive group experience that helps people reduce their personal carbon footprint. Their sessions engage with the difficulties of change by connecting to values, emotions and identity. The groups are based on a psychological understanding of how people change.

The group will meet every second Friday evening, from 6.30 – 8.30pm, in Peterborough Environment City Trust (4-6 Cowgate, Peterborough, PE1 1NA) on the following dates:
Friday 17 April
Friday 1 May
Friday 15 May
Friday 29 May
Friday 12 June
Friday 26 June

The six meetings create a non-judgmental atmosphere where people are encouraged to make serious lifestyle changes. The groups offer:

  • space for people to explore what climate change means for themselves, their families and their aspirations
  • permission to share their hopes, doubts and anxieties
  • time to work through the conflicts between intention, social pressure and identity
  • reliable, well-researched information and practical guidance on what will make a difference
  • support in creating a personal plan for change

The meetings use professionally designed, reliable materials to cover climate change basics, ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – home energy, travel, food and other consumption. Discussions of practicalities are woven together with discussions of how people feel and what these changes mean personally. Carbon reductions of 1 tonne CO2 are typically made by each member during the course, with plans developed to halve individual footprints over a 4-5 year period.

The cost of joining the group is £15 to cover the handbook and materials. There are two facilitators, who are not paid, and there is no cost for the venue.

There is only space for 10 people in the group. So to confirm a place, please get in touch early.

If you are interested please contact Rich Hill (rich_hill44@yahoo.com) and cc Ben Cuddon (bencuddon@gmail.com)

The Ceilidh returns!

Ceilidh cover photo

It’s Back!

Please join us for food, fun and dancing at the second Peterborough in Transition Ceilidh. This will be a very special event with live folk music and a caller to guide you through all of the dance steps. Ceilidhs are brilliant fun and a great way to meet new people, and for that extra feelgood factor, all proceeds go to supporting The Green Backyard. Read on to find out how you can get your tickets.

Date: Saturday 15 November 2014, 7.00pm-11pm
Venue: St John’s Hall, Mayor’s Walk, Peterborough

Featuring:

The Jumping Beans Ceilidh Band
Local tasty food
And a Fairtrade wine and real ale bar

Ticket prices (includes food):

£15 Adult

Limited concession and child tickets available:
£10 Concession
£5 Child
To book your tickets please contact the Peterborough in Transition events team at:

E: transitionpeterboroughevents@gmail.com
T: Karen 07753160316 or Rich: 07946577630

All proceeds go to supporting The Green Backyard!

An evening with Rob Hopkins – the Power of Just Doing Stuff talk at Swaffham

Last Thursday we made our way across to the Green Britain Centre at Swaffham to an event organized by East Anglian transition groups, in particular Downham & Villages in Transition and West Norfolk Permaculture  – this was part of the Transition Thursday series of talks being given by Rob Hopkins, co founder of the Transition Network.Transition Thursday Swaffham

The evening was well attended , with some 70 or so transitioners from groups around Norfolk and interested members of the public (including organic gardening celebrity Bob Flowerdew) and the Transition Free Press.  The Green Britain Centre kindly laid on some scrummy organic snacks and drinks.

The event kicked off with introductions from Ben Margolis of West Norfolk Permaculture in familiar transition style,  followed by some brief upates from some of the local transition groups including Kings Lynn and Downham & Villages.  Most of the Norfolk groups have been running for a couple of years longer than us at PiNT,  but as with Peterborough’s Green Back Yard many groups were similarly based around local community growing projects of various types. These have gone from strength to strength, particularly in the case of Transition Norwich which has a particularly vibrant scene in the surrounding area.  Due to the large mostly rural area of Norfolk, attendees came from quite a wide area, from us   in the west  to the North Norfolk coast ,  east to Norwich and further south. The organizers had printed out a massive map of the area to put our names on to see where we were all from, which made interesting viewing by the end of the event!East Anglia Transition Map Our neighbours at Transition Kings Lynn have spent most of their time and energy recently in fighting the massive Cory Energy From Waste Incinerator that was due to have been built at Saddlebrow, near the large Palm Paper Factory. However due to some hard campaigning work engaging successfully with the local community, this scheme has now been overturned, the council have seen sense (and several councillors replaced at the last election) and a new recycling scheme and waste disposal program is to be introduced that will see the majority of waste being properly recycled in a rather more environmentally friendly way (they are hoping for something like a 90% recycling rate that puts most other schemes to shame!)  Of course that just leaves the similar PREL site nearby at Sutton Bridge to contend with but shows what can be achieved.

Rob Hopkins at Swaffham

Rob Hopkins then gave his talk on the Power of Just Doing Stuff  – how local action can change the world, which followed  the theme of his new book. This was an interesting and empowering couple of hours  about how it is possible to create a new kind of resilient, economic future , creating employment and wealth and wellbeing in local communities.  It was about the positive changes that the transition movement has begun to achieve around the world through communities who decide to take a different approach to how they live and work instead of the current “business as usual” model.

The transition movement has spread rapidly around the world, from the UK to North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia – with many different initiatives in response to the particular local situations. Interestingly, transition in those countries of the global south is evolving in  a somewhat different  way  to that we are familiar with in the UK. It is based on the same principles, but with more emphasis on social justice , education and food security for local communities, challenging  the status quo and development by growth strategies pushed  NGO’s and big government – alternative development if you like.

For the UK, Rob covered the trials and tribulations of various transition related projects from its Totnes roots to  Transition Tooting’s ultimately successful struggles with the local council bureaucrats  and excellent community energy projects in Brixton,  along with the various local currency schemes (complete with examples  of both Bristol and Brixton pound notes – now highly sought after by international coin collectors!) . He went on to look at initiatives in various countries around the world including Portugal, Brazill and Australia.

One of the main thrusts  in the UK is the REconomy project – which basically  means getting the cash back into the local economy creating more resilient communities, local business and jobs to the benefit of  the local community. Whereas the situation at the moment in most places is that the majority of the money spent locally is just siphoned off to swell the profits of some anonymous corporation elsewhere with little real wealth retained locally.

For example, the majority of money spent in the UK  on groceries –  an astounding 97% – is split between just 8 large suppliers (ie Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, Morrison etc) .   A growing number of  small projects are starting to counteract this, from  local food co-operatives, bakers and greengrocers to small brewers and community energy companies. These are all individually small projects, locally owned and run, but taken together,  they are empowering communities and starting to make a real difference,Power of Doing Stuff

Rob ended the evening with a brief Q&A session followed by him signing copies of his new book. I now have a copy of this but can certainly recommend it to anyone interested in where transition is going today. It is a relatively small paperback (compared to the Transition Companion), some 160 pages  and is now available to buy online from www.greenbooks.co.uk and elsewhere – or if you can get over to one, one of the Transition Thurday events ( the next one “locally” is on 18 July , organized by Transition Horncastle, Lincolnshire.)

You can see a short video of the Swaffham event on youtube that Rob has just posted!

Bob