NOTES From a Conference: Our Sustainable Planet.
Hosted by Oliver Sterno from Plastic Free Eastbourne, (a member of Eco Action Network: Working towards a Carbon Neutral Town by 2030).
This was a sell-out event that got straight down to business with a full programme of speakers.
• Climate Change begins at Home. ….Nelson Kay.
Reducing our carbon footprint via Zero Carbon Homes. Building houses carries a really big carbon footprint. We need more genuinely affordable housing. Zero carbon flat pack housing may be an answer. These homes are off-grid, energy sustainable. A flat pack self build house can go up in one week. If there could be compulsory purchase of land then affordable land could be offered up by the council for these projects. Much house building is on Green Belt land as Brown Field sites are so expensive.
Could this be an option for you?
• Quick Changes Fast for a plastic free more sustainable hotel…Catherine Clifford
Lansdowne Hotel is the first hotel in Eastbourne to be a Plastics Free Champion. It is a family run hotel that care about the environment. It’s an evolving task but changes have taken place. There will be No Plastic Christmas Crackers. Those complimentary plastic bottles of shampoo etc in rooms are now being replaced with pumps in each room. Linen is no longer all wrapped in plastic (pressure put on service providers). No more cling film on sandwiches. Emails are used more thus cutting down on paper. Local suppliers are used for fresh local food.
The sustainability of the hotel is evolving all the time. It’s trial and error and about getting everyone on board and making it fun. There are monthly staff beach cleans. There are vouchers for staff with good ideas for e.g. on how to stop using single use items like those take away coffee cups.
• Genesis 215 Campaign…..James Bedwell.
James has set his heart on both becoming an Olympic Champion and on promoting the reduction of single use plastic packaging in the cycling and triathlon industries. He issues The Genesis 215 Awards for those companies that make positive changes. Did you know there are more than 25 items of single use plastic bags in the box that a new bike comes in? Lycra suit ware is the same. Staggering. And at cycling events single use plastic is rife. But because of James’s dedicated promotion changes are taking place e.g. plastic bottles at event have been replaced with cups. James’s work with Genesis 215 shows us we really can make a difference.
• Campaigning for a Carbon Neutral Town by 2030….Andrew Durling. (Friends of the Earth and Eastbourne Eco Action Network).
Eastbourne Borough Council unanimously passed a Climate Emergency Motion on 10.07.19. and ambitiously committed to a Carbon Neutral Town by 2030. It will need us all to get on board in order to achieve this. We need a coherent 10 year plan to meet this 2030 target but how do we best co-ordinate this? This was the question Andrew and others were considering that has led them to set up a vehicle for developing a working partnership between the town’s residents and various environmental groups and Eastbourne Borough Council. This idea came out of the Climate Cafe held in June leading to the formation of the Eco Action Network. This Network is now a Community Interest Company, designed to provide the support needed to facilitate and encourage action taking. Their website was launched last week.
You can sign up on the website to one of a number of working groups. A public event will take place on 19th November.
Friends of the Earth. Want to know how climate friendly your local area is? FOE have done the stats and devised this useful tool (full reports available within):
• Stand up Comic….Martin Wratten. Some light relief from all the serious stuff. Fab. Never knew the Friday Ad was so funny.
• Journey of Love. A song. By local musician and environmental campaigner David Stopp.
• Q & A session with a panel of 2: Andrew Durling – FOE and EEAN. And Cllr Jonathan Dow – Lead Cabinet member responsible for Climate Change.
• Are you aware you can get a second green bin free of charge from the Council? We now have an in house refuse and recycling collection service. Jonathan says it’s more efficient and means we can more local control to work more sustainably. There’s been a reduction in missed bin collection though one member of the audience told us about her missed bin and raised good points to increased recycling in Eastbourne.
• Newhaven incineration? Unanswered questions on sustainability.
• Eastbourne Food Waste is under review. This may be enforced on all Councils by 2023. Eastbourne wants to do this sooner.
• There are free composting workshops and workshops on how to make a wormery at the Community Forest Garden in Pevensey with Jane Wilde.
• The Eastbourne Local Plan – a 20 years vision consultation has just opened. Up until 10th January 2020. A question on sea level rises. The proposed plan mentions a ‘one in 2 hundred year event’. Needs revised climate emergency figures?
• Shipping pollution. The dirtiest fuel is used. Requires an International response. We need to lobby. The issue was raised last week by local environmentalists at a meeting with Stephen Lloyd. Aviation and shipping pollution need to tackled. A coalition of South East MPs is needed.
• Use of empty buildings for homelessness? Eastbourne Council may buy some of these empty properties as cheaper than B and B.
• Airborne? How to be ahead of the curve and show developments in the air industry’ or do we call for a ban? No answers.
• Communal recycling bins in areas where there are more transient populations?
• Community Land Trust. Problems with the proposal to use garages as sites for house building. Residents are using some these garages. Negotiations are ongoing.
• Need a massive tree planting programme. There is scope for working in partnership with council. Oliver told us about a tree planting scheme in local schools about to come on board. Jonathan told us about the Wild Life Trust trees offer. Need to get landowners permission to plant e.g. in Eastbourne Park.
• Communication. How to reach non English speaking people and those without internet access? Work to be done. Eco Action Network working education group may wish to tackle this issue?
• On 2030 Carbon Neutrality. Work is being done on a finding consistent base line measurement method in order to measure progress in a meaningful way.
Finally. The Evening ended with Oliver Sterno’s proposal for the audience to ‘Approve Our Ambition: working towards a carbon neutral town by 2030‘.
“This is going to be a hard target! It will require not only using carbon free items link wind powered electricity; planting thousands of trees to store carbon; using our fossil fuelled vehicles at a greatly reduced level; adjusting our way of life to avoid using a carbon-based lifestyle.
We will need to learn how to do this. We will need to engage with sectors of our community which are hard to access via modern media. We will need to use our 9 wards; our community centres; our Friends Groups of e.g. our parks and our medical organisations. We will also need to make very visible our Eco Action Network to lead and co-ordinate progress, working in very close association with our Borough Council. We need to publicise our campaign such as on the sides of our bin lorries”.
All those in favour say aye. The motion was carried unanimously.
In Oliver’s words, ‘we all are on a journey’. Together we can make our Town Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Thank you to Oliver and the team for the work you do and for bringing us together for this great event.
Eastbourne Labour Environmental Forum
A Member of the Eastbourne Eco Action Network