Aiming to tackle the big issues of climate change, peak oil, sustainability and scarce resources at a local level

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Number 5 in TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas'

Here is tweet number five:
No. 5 in @tttooting's 12 days to xmas: Broken Xmas present? Save it from landfill - head to a @RestartProject Party and learn how to fix it!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Ethical Investment

At last week's Pension Power event, we had a very interesting discussion about how ordinary citizens can start to tackle the behemoth of the financial system, by making choices that avoid destructive climate consequences.
Share Action's Sophia McNab presented some interesting data and ideas.  Sophia says:
"To kick-off your pension fund activism, you can email your pension fund about your climate concerns. Our e-action makes it really simple; you can send off our template email or edit it to include your own questions:  Beyond that, ShareAction is also coordinating meetings between pension funds and their customers – here is a video of the customers who met with Scottish Widows last week."

We were happy to have ethical investment advisor Barchester Green's John Ditchfield in the audience who explained some of the problems of changing an industry where so much is invested in the climate busting status quo.  He also forwarded this Guardian article about the "winners and sinners" in ethical investing. We dabbled briefly with SIPPS (self invested personal pensions) such as this one, where you chose the investments. It requires a bit of financial nous, but it does give you control.

We hope to have more ethical investment events in 2015 and you don't have to have a pension or indeed any money to be interested!

This stuff affects us all but most of us tend to bury our heads in the sand don't we?

Almost everyone deals with a bank or building society for loans, current accounts or savings. How ethical is yours? Fancy funding the arms trade, big pharma, destructive mining or human rights abuse?  Most of the major banks do, however tacitly. And what about Wandsworth Council, where do they invest their millions of reserves?  Somewhere not very clever from an ethical standpoint I'd wager, but prepared to be proved wrong WBC!

Number 4 in TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas'

Here is tweet number four:
No.4 in @tttooting's 12 day to xmas: Make decorations from recycled or found materials like these pretty snowflakes

And...a tweet number four bonus for followers on the blog:
Make your house look festive this Christmas with unique and simple homemade creations from recycled materials or natural materials.

Get out in the crisp wintery weather and collect some pinecones. They look great as a table centre round a candle or hung from ribbons. When Christmas is over they can go back in the garden. 

Plastic bottles are so versatile and come in a variety of sizes to make things from.  Try these bottle-bottom snow flakes or bottle penguins (click on the names to link to the websites).

Use paper and wrapping paper off cuts to make these hanging decorations: click here or here.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Number 3 in TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas'

Here is tweet number three:
No.3 in @tttooting's 12 days to xmas: Don't buy 'stuff', choose an activity (theatre, ice-skating). Share experiences, create fab memories.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Number 2 in TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas'

Here is tweet number two:
No.2 in @tttooting's 12 days to xmas: re-make, re-use & re-create to reclaim waste in new ways

Saturday, 13 December 2014

TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas' started today

TTT's '12 tweets to Christmas'

We're going to tweet every day from now until Christmas Eve on practical, creative, seasonal & interesting sustainability themes. 

Follow us on twitter (@tttooting) and retweet the messages, and we'll follow you. The more the merrier....and please join in and tweet us your sustainability tips too.
If you are not on twitter, you can read the posts here on the TTT blog, one a day. Do email us more ideas here.

Yes it's a challenge to be concise and fit a message into 140 characters - it must be good practice! Actually it is quite addictive...
And we haven't written these as a committee - the tweets are simply what diverse individuals have volunteered to share.
If it catches on....we could do a run of New Year's Resolutions in Jan?

Here is the welcoming tweet:
Today we begin @tttooting's 12 tweets to Christmas, built on our email newsletter last month Join in!

And here is tweet number one:
No.1 in @tttooting's 12 day to xmas: Source your dinner locally. Use a tool like @findlocalfood's or @MadeInTooting

Our twitter address again: @tttooting 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Restart Party 2

Tooting's second Restart Party was held on Dec 3rd at Mushkil Aasaan with more electronic items being fixed by volunteers for free courtesy of the Restart Project.  We had quite a few laptops and tablets this time round. Sidd (pictured) had come all the way from Ilford with his laptop screen recycled as an external monitor - pretty impressive!
UPDATE: see Sidd's blog on how he did it
Sid with his home made machine

The Restart Project is a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics longer, by sharing repair and maintenance skills.  We are very grateful to Janet, Ugo and their amazing team of volunteer fixers for running another event with us, and I personally am delighted to have had my old camera fixed after 5 years in a drawer - thank you!

We hope to make Restart Parties a regular feature in Tooting and are on the lookout for skilled local fixers.  Would you like to share your skills (and probably learn new ones) while helping keep electronic stuff out of landfill? Contact us at the usual address if you'd like to get involved in future Tooting Restart events (  David
Fixing the shutter on my camera

Laptop consultancy
What's in here?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Air Quality Meeting Report 26/11

The LSX data showing pollution In Tooting
At the end of November we held a productive meeting about air quality in Tooting, organised in conjunction with Furzedown Low Carbon Zone, London Sustainability Exchange (LSX) and Battersea & Wandsworth TUC. 

This meeting was organised on the back of the citizen science data collected in Tooting's main roads earlier this year showing levels of NO2 three times the EU limits and PM10 levels twice the EU limit.  Many thanks to the speakers: LSX CEO Samantha Heath, Gavin Steadman, Area Manager for the Environment, Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) and local Labour councillor Rex Osborn, as well as to all those attended. 
There was a great deal of data to unpick.  We heard that an estimated 29,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK due to air pollution, double the combined effect of alcoholism, obesity and road traffic accidents.  We also found out more about NO2, PM10s and PM2s (PM refers to Particulate matter 10 or 2 microns in diameter) and the effect they have on our health.  For instance 80% of PM10s are caused by road traffic and have been proven to have a direct link to lung cancer. Meanwhile we hope to facilitate giving local residents an opportunity to contribute to WBC's Air Quality Action Plan due to be put out for consultation in January 2015. We look forward to this and other developments to improve Tooting's air quality in 2015.

A detailed report on the meeting can be read here while Samantha Heath's presentation can be accessed here.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Insect Hotel - trash to treasure (of sorts...)

Have you ever thought about how much material gets used once and thrown away? Or is not financially worth re-using? Or how most people won't be satisfied buying something second hand, it has to be new?

Somewhat in tune with Transition Network's December theme of "Less is More"  I thought it would be of interest to look at the materials we are using in the Insect Hotel build.

The structure is supported on waste flag stones donated to the garden. The four uprights used to be fence that ran across the garden and was blown down in the gales a year or two ago, the horizontal shelf supports too. Those bracing pieces are temporary...
Week 5 - all we need now is the habitats... and the bugs!
Click below to read how the roof was put together...

Monday, 1 December 2014

Insect Hotel: Looking back, looking forward - re-using all the way

It's been 4 1/2 weeks since we started the Insect Hotel build. In the Tuesday sessions with Gatton Primary, we have welcomed 40 students to the garden. We have shown them flint tools found at the site from thousands of years ago, the growing beds created only a few years ago and the Rainwater Catchment constructed with last years Year 6 group.  We've asked "why an insect hotel?" , measured and cut the structure of the Insect Hotel and made 4 experimental habitats. Not to mention handled a number of the mini beasts who might take up residence - to great hilarity.

So far, the Insect Hotel is 100% made from re-used materials - timber from a fallen fence, paving slabs discarded as extras. We'll continue to endeavour to do this, trying to reduce waste and show what is possible, with a little effort and energy.

We've seen how TTT volunteers are essential to any projects success and
prove how together we can go further.

Watch this space - this week will see the roof going on - topping out! A big moment in any construction project. Following that - we pack it full of enticing habitat and wait for the guests to arrive...