News and recent activities
‘EcoFest 2022’ was an inspiring day! It was organised in conjunction with the Lichfield Methodist EcoChurch group and held at the church, as part of the Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week – over 5000 events took place across the UK.
Speakers covered topics such as pros and cons of electric vehicles, reducing food and other waste, retrofitting your home, slow travel, biodiversity net gain, Greenwashing, our food supply chain, and support for businesses wanting to be sustainable. A fashion show highlighted the dire consequences of ‘fast’ fashion and participants showed off outfits sourced from charity shops or revamped items. Exhibitors chatted to visitors about, zero waste shopping, repurposing of plastics, Tiny Forests, City of Sanctuary, the Big Red Bike scheme, alongside traders with beautiful art, crocheted and knitted items and bee-friendly plants. Younger visitors enjoyed making Eco-warrior crowns and decorating butterflies to go into our wilding spaces.
Our thanks go to all who attended and helped at the event and for support from Waitrose. South Staffs College were filming the event and we will share their film when the students have completed the editing – a great opportunity for them.
e were lucky enough to have Ira at Ecofest, a new resident of Lichfield who left Ukraine to escape the war. This is her story:
“I launched a nonprofit organisation 2 years to promote sustainability, conscious consumption and waste management in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine. Ukraine's recycling sector isn't developed enough, our recycling rate is 5%, so it's highly important to raise environmental awareness and offer different recycling schemes to citizens. So, we gave lectures and workshops on how to produce less waste and how to waste in an eco-friendly way. Then, last year, with my team of like-minded eco-activists, decided to launch a plastic recycling workshop in Zaporizhzhya. We ran a successful crowdfunding campaign and got a grant from an international fund to buy equipment and get the space ready. We started accepting plastic for recycling in December 2021. We experimented with different types and ways of their processing and made home decor, jewellery, plant pots, phone standers, costers, etc.
When we were ready to hold plastic recycling workshops for citizens of Zaporizhzhya to get them interested in conscious waste management, Russia invaded Ukraine. We put our workshop on pause, as it was scary to leave the flat and family as any time a Russian missile could strike you. When you don't feel safe, the environment and recycling are the last things you think about. That's why I moved to the UK with my son. My friend, who is braver than me, still lives in Zaporizhzhya and continues our work. Ukrainians learnt how to live with the war and continued to come and give us their post-use plastic. So, we have materials to recycle. The small profit that we generate from selling our recycled plastic products we give to support the workshop, the rest goes to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
As now I am in the UK, I would like to continue working with on plastic recycling craft. So, now I'm looking for a suitable place and opportunities to get funding on necessary equipment.”
If you are able to help then please do get in touch with Ira, or even just to say hello!
email@example.com, or Instagram page @zerowastezp
Happy 6th Birthday to Nurture!
Nurture Community CIC had their 6th birthday at the end of September. They have connected with so many families and organisations in that time and made such an impact. Congratulations and keep up the good work!
Congratulations to Repair Café!
The Repair Café won the Environmental category of the BBC WM Make a Difference Awards! Well done team! Forest Harvest were also highly commended in that category. Great to get recognition for both of these local initiatives.
ongratulations to WFEG – Heart of England in Bloom 2022 Gold!
The Whittington Parish retained its Gold award, with the following comments made: “Whittington and Fisherwick continue in their role as exemplars of all things Bloom most especially in the Environmental field. The Whittington and Fisherwick Environment Group were and are the bedrock of the Bloom efforts and each year sees a new initiative being developed. This time Bit End native tree planting project undertaken by numerous volunteers is added to the ever growing list. Some lovely floral gardens are supported by an increasing use of perennials and the use of wildflowers in many areas and in large numbers too is very encouraging. The now well established community orchard has been left to wildflowers with no obvious detriment to the trees and their cropping. Real community effort is making this entry a very special place indeed, a well-deserved Gold Award.”
Well done to all involved.
Whittington Village Heat Decarbonisation Update
The Village Heat Decarbonisation Project report commissioned by the Parish Council has now been completed and the consultants have concluded that a heat network drawing on the water in local underground aquifers, together with an energy centre for additional heat, could pump hot water to buildings in the village core with potential savings for residents and big CO2 savings. However they say that a further more detailed study is required to verify and refine the findings and provide a detailed financial plan. The Parish Council is in discussion with Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council about a possible application to the Government Heat Network Development Unit for funding for the Phase 2 study.
Forest Harvest Polytunnel
With a little help from their friends…this National Lottery funded polytunnel was successfully erected on a windy day at Forest Harvest in Yoxall and will be used by a range of groups and for workshops. The gardens are looking fabulous there too. Check out the website for events.
Eco Church has been a useful framework, enabling the cathedral community to consider various aspects of its impact on creation care. The scheme addresses issues in Worship & Teaching, Buildings, Land, Community & Global Engagement, and Lifestyle. Having achieved Bronze, it then was awarded Silver at the beginning of September. There is an evening meeting on 22nd November to consider what “Going for Gold” would entail.
The cathedral has also become a Partner in Action with A Rocha, committed to care for the land around the cathedral in a way which is sustainable and promotes biodiversity. Participating, along with the Cathedral School, for a second year in Churches Count on Nature week, confirmed the significance of churchyards as ancient grassland. Following a trial with a strip on the north side, next year wildflowers within grassland on the south side will be encouraged to flourish. A three year management plan is being developed for the whole site, with valuable support from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Caring for God’s Acre.
As a Healthy Healing Hub, the cathedral is committed to the wellbeing of all and recognises the connection between care for creation and mental health. This is equally applicable to local residents and the cathedral community, tourists and pilgrims visiting the Shrine of St Chad.
From mid-November, the Cathedral will be joining the District-wide scheme of Places of Welcome and other venues offering warmth and company on a weekly basis over the winter months.
A hundred people gathered in the cathedral for a fun evening in August, aptly named ReDress . Hosted by the Dean, the Vicar of St Michael’s recounted her involvement in a previous event, and eight members of the cathedral community modelled outfits purchased for £20 from local charity shops. Vicky James talked of how repairing clothes is at the core of sustainability, and Lindsey Hall shared both her personal experience and the wider context of exploitation and excessive consumerism within the textile trade.
For further information about the cathedral’s commitment to the environment and social justice, do contact Canon David Primrose
Learning opportunities, inspiration and handy hints
Energy Price Rises
It is even more important to find ways to better insulate your home and reduce consumption now that prices have rocketed and supply is uncertain. Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website to check whether there might be ideas you could implement.
What do you know about the companies that your pension is invested in? The Hidden Emissions Report shows that leading UK businesses are unintentionally funnelling billions of pounds into carbon intensive industries, despite their climate commitments. As a result, the billions invested through their pensions are not only damaging the planet, they are directly contradicting the values, commitments, and sustainability strategies of those same businesses. Read the report here.
The WWF produced a report this month on the terrifying nature decline. Not a surprise to many of us but it is a stark reminder of the fragile state we are in. Read it here.
Unstoppable Us: How Humans Took Over the World
This new book by Yuval Noah Harari is aimed at children and make might a good Christmas gift for those young people wanted to know more about climate change and our impact.
Our group focus this month is:
We want to promote and support this lovely local business as Harriet is doing a great job with UK grown, peat and pesticide free plants, direct from the glasshouse in Lichfield.
“I’m Harriet and I founded Harriet’s Plants whilst studying plant science at the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall. My passion for plants started with sowing and growing seeds, foraging hedgerows and getting my hands dirty. It really was that simple. It wasn’t long before I knew that I wanted to take this further and turn my dream of growing plants full-time, into a reality.
Since setting up my glasshouse, I am proud to say the business has flourished. I am a passionate, environmentally friendly grower and have put all my efforts into growing peat free, pesticide free, and plastic free houseplants for people all over the UK. You can order plants via my website or get in touch if you have any questions.”
And on the topic of plants and peat free, this Plantlife blog piece is worth a look.
A reminder too that there are lots of resources on gardening for wildlife through autumn and winter on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website.
Day of Action for Climate Justice – 12th November
COP 27 is being held 7th to 18th Nov and there will be worldwide demonstrations and events being held on 12th November. Our closest one will be Birmingham (unless someone would like to lead on a Lichfield one again?). Find out more here.
Endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty – sign up to show your support, along with thousands of academics, scientists, parliamentarians, cities and civil society leaders who are calling for a new global treaty to manage a global just transition away from fossil fuels.
Dates for your diary
29th Oct - Pumpkin Carving at Woodhouse Community Farm, Fisherwick/Whittington 11-4pm. Pumpkins for sale too leading up to that.
30th Oct – Festival Gardens wilding area working party, 10-12. Meet at the site.
30th Oct – Burton Conservation Volunteers Group – newt pond restoration. Meet at Hanbury, junction of Anslow Lane and Chapel Lane. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Nov - SinCH (Sustainability in the Haywoods group) Upstairs Room, Sports & Social Club, Great Haywood, ST18 0SU. Topic “People and Groups Working Together to promote and work for Sustainable Living, inc the role of Councils - in Staffordshire and Beyond” with Mike Deegan, Consultant. 7.30pm - 9.00pm
1st Nov - Wildlife talk with Lawrence Oates; 30 years of Burton Conservation Volunteers, All Saints Church, Branston Rd, DE14 3GP 7.30pm. £3.50
5th Nov – Burntwood Repair & Share Café, 10-1pm, St Josephs RC Church, Cannock Road
5th Nov - NCT Cloth Nappy Library - borrow nappies to try out! 10:00-12:00am at Lichfield District Children's Centre WS13 7PH
12th Nov – Global Day of Action for Climate Justice
19th Nov – Lichfield Repair & Share Café, 2-5pm, Curborough Community Centre – bring your old photos for renovation with an expert restorer! Also bring your Christmas lights for a check over!
20th Nov - Burton Conservation Volunteers Group - Woodland Management at Weaverslake DE13 8AD. Email email@example.com
Whittington Produce Market – 3rd Sat of the month (mornings)
Transition won’t be holding regular meet ups for the group as such but will try and connect via events being held by Transition groups such as Forest Harvest so keep your eye out for invites!
We welcome your suggestions for newsletter content, for Transition group projects and events, for groups that should be listed on our website and for useful connections.