I’m often asked about what’s going on in Cambridge to assist in mitigating the effects of Climate Change and the recognition of biodiversity loss. So much is happening, but if you have not heard or participated in the events, campaigners, organisations or celebrations then it’s easy to think that perhaps not much is being done.
So here is my list, based on organisations I’ve worked with or come across in my work and campaigning, or as a city councillor.
It’s far from complete, and I’d be happy to add your project to it – just let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This version was posted in November 2018.
Issues of food and food supply are very complex and embrace every aspect of our lives and our efforts to address sustainable lifestyles and economies. I’m a Director of Cambridge Sustainable Food which has some great members and campaigns, including the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance.
Find out more on their website https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/ or see the list of projects and campaigns below.
Currently running projects include:
- Veg Cities Cambridge: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/veg-cities/
- Taste Not Waste: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/get-involved/businesses/taste-not-waste-food-waste-from-business/
- Sustainable Food Cities: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/campaigns/sustainable-food-cities/
- Healthy Start: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/healthy-start/
- Community Fridge: http://theedgecafecambridge.org/
- Sustainable Fish Cities: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/campaigns/sustainable-fish-city/
- Cambridge Sustainable Food Hub: https://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/cambridge-sustainable-food-hub-vision/
The Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance has the following members
- Cambridge City Council: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/
- Cambridge City Foodbank: https://cambridgecity.foodbank.org.uk/
- Wintercomfort: http://wintercomfort.org.uk/
- Foodcycle: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/who-we-are/locations/
- CHS Group: https://www.chsgroup.org.uk/
- The C3: https://www.thec3.uk/Articles/509881/C3_Cambridge.aspx
As individuals, businesses, and communities understanding our energy baseline is an important part of assessing our lifestyles and working to lower our impact on the environment. For me the start of this process was with learning from Cambridge Carbon Footprint (http://cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/)
Campaigns also include
- Repair Workshops: http://circularcambridge.org/
- Tours of Eco Homes: http://openecohomes.org/
- Thermal Imaging Training: http://cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/events/ti-training-12/
I’ve also been following various Finnish movements about really understanding our individual carbon footprints. The website https://www.sitra.fi/en/ has a quick lifestyle test page (https://lifestyletest.sitra.fi/)and also lots of data. It states that the average Finn has a footprint in the region of 8,700 to 10.800 kgCO2e.
Mine came out at 5,500. I don’t have a microwave, or a dishwasher, or a clothes dryer, or any electric kitchen appliances except a hand held blender and a bread machine. I only use LED bulbs. I love my winter jumpers and thermals, and I keep the thermostat on low….
Sitra have 100 ideas to live sustainable here https://www.sitra.fi/en/projects/100-smart-ways-to-live-sustainably/#take-the-lifestyle-test
CHANGING OUR LIFESTYLES
There are inspiring individuals and organisations across the country, but the Transition Towns Network have done some great and inspiring work. Transition Cambridge are now involved in so many initiatives and campaigns, which are listed on their website at https://www.transitioncambridge.org/
What do they do? Check their website, as it covers food, energy, skills sharing, wildlife, growing spaces and many more.
CHANGING OUR TRANSPORT HABITS
We should all be aiming to travel without the use of fossil fuels. Walking and cycling not only get us to places, but helps to keep us fit and see the world from a different view.
Can we avoid or reduce flying?
Can we avoid or reduce our use on cars, and travel by sustainable public transport, bicycle or walk more. Maybe, but with help. We need much better public transport.
As I cycle more often and for longer distances, during the day and night time, and as I get older, I want to be able to keep cycling and to cycle more. So I’m investing in an electric cargo bike. I’ve had help and advice from Outspoken but there are several other bike shops around who can also provide assistance and bikes.
- Outspoken: http://www.outspokencycles.co.uk/
- Electric Bike Sales: https://www.electricbikesales.co.uk/
- Rutland Cycling https://www.rutlandcycling.com/
A great advocate on safer cycling policies and ensuring cyclists’ interests are put forward and heard is Camcyle https://www.camcycle.org.uk/ who are working “to create a healthy, sustainable and congestion-free city”.
I’m keen to promote car sharing too. My business uses a car club called Zipcars so that no one ever needs to bring their car to work (https://www.zipcar.com/) and Transition Cambridge have a survey about car sharing at https://www.transitioncambridge.org/wiki/CleanWheels/HomePage.
I’m also lucky to have the use of friends and neighbours cars and vans, on an ad hoc sharing arrangement. I’m sure this does happen in and around Cambridge and it’s to be encouraged.
REDUCING WASTE AND SAVING WATER
One of my favourite organisations which provided advice is WRAP, and here is their page on guidance on reducing water consumption for businesses and individuals: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/WRAP_Reducing_Your_Water_Consumption_0.pdf
What I do is use showers, but not power showers, generally use very short and cool programmes on the washing machine, use a basin to hand wash the dishes, and turn the tap off when I’m brushing my teeth. Pretty basic really.
And I try to always carry my water bottle and refill cup with me.
Cambridge City Council are helping to encourage businesses to provide a refill service for water bottles linked to the Refill website at https://refill.org.uk/get-the-refill-app/.
The Council are also going to trial a new water fountain on Parkers Piece and I hope that fountain and taps will be rolled out where possible across the city.
Recycling is quite complicated. We should all be working to consuming less, but when we do recycle the County Council have information to help at https://www.recap.co.uk/
The loss of biodiversity is horrendous. It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the extinction of species after species, and to know that we are responsible for this. Human activity is to blame. We can point to many things, but it comes down to you and me, to us.
In the UK there are many fantastic organisations raising awareness and running campaigns. Here are some.
- The Wildlife Trust: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/
- Countryside Restoration Trust: https://www.countrysiderestorationtrust.com/
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: https://www.rspb.org.uk/
- The Woodland Trust: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
- Hedgehogs: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help-hedgehogs/
- Swift:s https://www.swift-conservation.org/
- Barn owls: https://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/barn-owl-facts/encourage-wild-barn-owls/
- Pollinators: https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs-and-habitats/pollination
- Amphibians and reptiles: https://www.arc-trust.org/saving-habitats
The new National Planning Policy Framework, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/revised-national-planning-policy-framework, recognises the importance of biodiversity and requires planning applications for large schemes to show a net gain in biodiversity. I’m on the planning committee and will be seeking to have net gain on all applications.
CAMBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL
The Council has formulated a number of policies in this area, and they are worth reading
- Climate Change Strategy: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/climate-change
- Carbon Management Plan: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/carbon-management-plan
- Sustainable Food Policy: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/news/2018/08/22/sustainable-food-policy-on-the-menu-for-cambridge