Saturday, 11 February 2017

Do you really need a car of your own?

Do you use your car every day? Every week? If you don’t need to use your car regularly, it can be cheaper to share and there are benefits for the environment too. In this post I present three different solutions, as described by three Transition Cambridge and Cambridge Carbon Footprint members: Liz shares a car with friends, Anne has joined the car club Zipcar while Dave and Ceri use a national car hire company for occasional long trips.
Liz (on the left) with friends Iain and Suzie and their family

Friday, 27 January 2017

From #RateMyPlace to #ShapeOurPlace: A Collaborative Enquiry

By Jacky Sutton-Adam

How often do we think about or actively, critically notice where we live?
'' I've been here for over 20 years, and the houses on my road have quadrupled in value. There are lots of tourists in the Summer. It's a nightmare getting to the train station. There are places where I feel unsafe walking at night. 80% of my work commute is over commons and green spaces – lucky me!''

Functional street furniture or urban clutter? 
These facts and opinions are like a backdrop scenery to my life in Cambridge. In the busy-ness of 21st century living, it sometimes recedes into an amorphous blur coloured by whichever emotion I happen to be feeling most strongly. The result? I sometimes experience extended 'sulks' about Cambridge and this is detrimental to my sense of well-being.

Last week's prosaically named workshop 'Place Standard Tool' could definitely do with a title makeover, but it really helped me to get a grip on what I felt and why, and to feel connected with others as we shared what we love and wish we could change about our city. I gained a sense of clarity about my opinions which was empowering.
 ''This exercise got me thinking deeply about the City I live in, and I found that as a group we interrogated each point from many angles, exploring many aspects of this diverse place. Some answers were expected, tho' many were surprising. '' - James


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My tips for a sustainable Christmas holiday

I've been thinking about seasonal sustainable tips for a flyer for our Lush charity pot party (on the 18th of this month). These are the tips I used, with a bit more detail than fits on the leaflet. I am sure you can suggest more.

Lovely Leftovers
Leftovers make ideal convenience food. They are already cooked and need very little processing to turn them into a quick meal such as curry, hash, risotto, wraps, soups. Roast vegetables, in particular, are extra tasty and it would be an appalling waste to throw them away. They can be used over the next few days or put in the freezer for later.  (Cambridge Sustainable Food has some recipes here.)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Organic Cycles

Paul Robinson of Fen End Farm has written a blog post for Cam Cycle on why he is so pleased about using Outspoken Delivery for delivering their organic veg around  Cambridge. He also talks about the Cambridge Cropshare gang coming to the farm by bike and returning at the end of the day with 'haversacks and panniers bulging with fruit and vegetables harvested that day'.  Finally there is the possibility of using bikes on the farm and incorporating bits of bicycles into new farm machinery. It's a nice story - do take a look.

https://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/128/article13.html

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What is it like to drive an electric car? - our experiences

By coincidence, two Energy Group members acquired an electric car in January: Ian and James. However they have very different experiences: they have different cars; Ian bought his while James has a rental agreement; Ian mainly charges his at home from his PV panels while James’ car is mainly charged at work. They both agree that driving an electric car requires some planning and adaptation but they love to drive their new vehicles and have no regrets.


Hanna, Ian’s niece, demonstrates how to charge Ian’s electric BMW.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Route Vegetables - a cycling tour of Growing Spaces

Cycling around Cambridge on a warm Saturday afternoon (11th June) on the Route Vegetables tour I was amazed by the sheer variety of vegetable and herb plots we have created through the Growing Spaces project. Some of them I had passed by many times without realising they were ours. Thanks to Marie for organising this tour of enlightenment and thanks to Toni for telling us about the different plots. Each one is tended by a different person or team of people but Toni somehow manages to keep track.

Marie inspecting Mizuna leaves at ARU

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Sustainable Drainage – and why you need drought tolerant plants in a rain garden

On Saturday 28th May, Simon Bunn from Cambridge City Council took us on a tour of sustainable drainage features on the new housing estates around Trumpington. It may have been a Saturday morning but this was definitely worth getting up for. Thanks to Dawn and the Staying Dry project for organising this! There is nothing like getting out into the field to understand how things work at a landscape scale. Here are some photos to show you what we saw.

Simon describing the swale
This is Simon telling us about the first feature, which is a swale. But first, you need to know what is the point of sustainable drainage.