Thursday, 15 August 2013

Newsletter - Cambridge Carbon Footprint (August 2013)

Although August is quiet event-wise we’ve been busy hatching plans for events for the rest of the year, and for next year too! We’ve also been developing a new way of thinking about our events and activities which we’re really excited about. We’re hoping to pull together some of our events to form ‘campaigns’. The idea is that by putting together a series of related events and workshops on a particular theme people will have the opportunity to get more engaged with a particular topic and get the information and support that they need to really make a change.

We’re also hoping that by planning our campaign theme’s ahead of time and getting the word out early that we can get more ideas from you about the sorts of activities and events you’d like to see, and give maybe even give you the opportunity to run an event or a workshop yourself!

For our first foray into this new field, we’ll begin with a Sustainable Food Campaign starting November this year! We’re still working out all the details, but expect sustainable feasts, foodie films, cooking workshops and a sustainable food conference. If you have any ideas for sustainable food events you’d like to see, or sustainable food related skills (cooking, growing, preserving) you’d like to share please let us know! Phone us on 01223 301842 or email

1. Carbon Conversations in October!

We have two new Carbon Conversations groups starting in October 2013:

North Cambridge
7.30pm October 9th & 23rd, November 6th & 20th Nov and December 4th, with the 6th meeting arranged amongst the group.

South Cambridge
Dates coming soon!

We aim to run Carbon Conversations 3 times over the year – in the New Year, Spring and in Autumn.

To learn more about Carbon Conversations, or to join one of our upcoming groups please email or phone 01223 301842.

2. More guinea pigs needed for eco-coaching materials!

Many thanks for the people who sent us examples of how they reduce food waste - these will be very useful in the creation of the food waste module for our Eco-coaching project. We are also working on a consumption module (about all the non-food stuff we buy, such as clothes and gadgets) and would love to have a few people who are willing to be guinea pigs. We need people who are willing to try one of the following:
sit down and work out their non-food expenditure by looking at their bank and credit card statements over the last six months (see below for the kind of items we mean)
keep a record of all non-food expenditure (including cash) in a notebook for two months

The reason for doing this is that some people have told us that these methods help them to keep track of their purchases and thus reduce them. We want to know which method is easiest and whether people are likely to stick to it.

If you are willing to try one (or even both!) of these methods of logging expenditure for a couple of months, please contact


3. Admin Volunteer Vacancy

Are you looking for office experience? Do you have a keen interest in environmental issues? Could you volunteer your time 3 mornings a week for 3 to 6 months? We’re looking for an admin volunteer to help out us out in the CCF office. All necessary training provided! Click here for more information and to find out how to apply.

4. Climate Friendly Homes Surveys

Keen to find out more about what you can do to create a cosier and lower carbon home? Climate Friendly Homes is a free service to help you make practical plans to reduce your carbon emissions.
The project offers:
An individualised report offering suggestions and advice about what can be done to cut the carbon footprint of your home, and save on bills
Information tailored to your circumstances on grants, suppliers and discounts
Advice and support from a friendly, trained volunteer

Click here for more information on Climate Friendly Homes, or to book your survey email

5. Join our CCF book group!

There are a couple of spaces in our enjoyable and informative CCF book group. Our next meeting will be at 7pm on Monday evening 7th October, so you will have plenty of time to read the chosen book by then if you decide to join now! We will be discussing Michael Sandel's What money can't buy: the moral limit of markets, which I personally found absolutely fascinating. Last time we read Flight behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel about climate change, family relationships, poverty and many other things - highly recommended. On the whole we read non-fiction books connected with climate change.

Another (delightful) feature of our group is that we all bring food to share - see here for a photo of last time's delicious array of dishes.

If you are interested in joining us or simply want to find out more about the book group, email


6. Gadgets to Go 20 September

20 September, 7.30 - 9.30pm, St Andrews Hall, Chesterton

A Film, Talk and Swap night…

A short film: The Story of Electronics… then…

A talk by Tom Bragg about electronics and sustainability, practical tips for reducing your carbon footprint – from purchasing to recycling at the end of their days… then…

A Gadget Swap! So bring along the gadgets you don’t use any more, perhaps they were gifts which weren’t quite right, or a charger which you thought would fit. Then swap them with other people’s gadgets.

Bookings are essential: call 01223 301842 or email us on

7. Eco-homes: personal stories 24 September

24 September, 7.30 - 9.30pm

Interested in eco-renovation or building a new eco-home? Not sure where to start?

Whether you are an expert or simply curious, come to this event where three homeowners be sharing their stories of how and why they came to live the way they do now, what the process was like, and whether there is anything they would do differently. Come along and experience some of the different journeys that people are taking to create greener homes.
Judith Green - Judith renovated her 1912 terraced house in Ross Street using reclaimed materials to reduce the carbon footprint
Kate Hawksworth – Kate’s house is custom built with a wide range of eco-friendly features from a grass roof to triple glazing.
Katherine Smith – Katherine recently bought an eco-house and is also involved in sustainability in a Suffolk local authority.

There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion about these unique projects. We hope to see you there! For more information and to book a place send an email or call us on 01223 851616.

8. DIY Lotions and Potions Workshop 8 October

8 October, 7 - 8.30pm, venue tbc

Bottles and jars and tubes, Oh My!

We’ll be hosting an experiemental and very fun workshop on how to make your own lotions and ‘potions’. Commercially made lotions, creams and balms are often made of a list of chemicals which are harmful to the earth, made in all sorts of energy intensive ways, shipped a long way, and bottled in single-use containers… We can do better! (And we’ll smell nice while doing it!)

Please bring two small, very clean jars to take your fresh goodies home with you. Bookings essential: or phone 01223 301842

9. Gardening in August: Summer wanes as autumn fruits appear

The schools are out for summer and the holidays are in full flow but, with some regret, every year there are some subtle changes in the natural world in early/mid August that signal the summer is on the wane! The start of the football season is another reminder! Campers also find that clear nights and heavy dews can be a feature of mid August. My garden thermometer dropped to 6 deg C the other night here and it went down to about 4 C in Thetford.

Read Keith Jordan's full article on our website . 

10. Economic recovery, carbon emissions and the obsessional defence

It’s a commonplace in economics that growth in GDP is a good thing. And it’s a commonplace in psychology that awkward topics of conversation will be avoided. If something upsets the status quo – expect a defence.

There are few topics as awkward as the relationship between economic growth and climate change. As economies grow, they use more energy. And sadly, neither improvements in efficiency, techno-wizardry, or a move towards renewables is likely to solve the problem. Carbon savings made in one place free up resources to be used elsewhere. This year’s efficiency improvement is swallowed up in next year’s growth. This is what is known as the rebound effect.

Read Ro Randall's full article here.

11. Ring of Green – trees exhibition

In addition to a source of renewable wood products, trees are great absorbers of natural and man-made carbon dioxide, playing an important part in our climate. Acting as natural solar panels, the leaves absorb photons of light and, through a complex biochemical process, they absorb atmospheric CO2 and convert the harvested energy and carbon to sugars and starch that we all depend on. Oxygen production is another useful by product!

We have many fine species growing around our neighbourhoods and some smaller examples have just sprouted in the windows of Books for Amnesty and RSCPA bookshop displays along Mill Road Cambridge! As part of the Romsey Art Festival (3rd-17th Aug. ) they represent some of interesting and useful trees growing around our neighbourhoods. Take a look and while you are there look for some secondhand books on trees, gardening, ecology, etc. Set up by Keith Jordan on behalf of Romsey Garden Club.