A number of articles related to the Sustainable Girton Project have appeared in the Girton Parish News. Those that have ongoing relevance, as opposed to simple news items, have been extended and are featured here:
Energy Saving: No Joke!
Have you heard the one about the lightbulb? Well, in this case, it only takes one person to change it, and that person is you!
Hot tips for cold months!
With fuel prices rising all around us, and meteorologists predicting a very cold winter, there’s never been a better time to invest in some insulation for your home.
A Happy and Sustainable New Year!
Making New Year’s resolutions can be hard, especially if you want to stick to them for more than a fortnight! If you really want to make a difference this year, how about something green? We’ve outlined five easy possibilities below that won’t make you miserable and if you can stick to just one of these that you don’t already do, you’ll be making a genuine contribution.
Sustainable Girton Goes to Church
Over many years the churchyard has accumulated a lot of green waste. The compost bins have overflowed (with a lot of other rubbish as well) and a large pile has grown at the end near the Recreation Ground gate. The church groundsman Norman Lewell does not have the resources to solve this problem. Enter Girton’s Master Composters. Norman talked to us at the Summer Feast and asked if we could help, and we were delighted to oblige. We enlisted the assistance of Matt Vernon, from the Anglesey Abbey “Black Gold Project”, which possesses a powerful chipper/shredder.
Sunshine in February
Girton enjoyed a “first” on 1 February when a home in North Girton had photo-voltaic solar cells fitted. These roof panels covert sunlight into electricity which can be pumped into the National Grid if the supply exceeds demand.
The Great Christmas-Tree Shred
It began as an idea to get rid of Christmas trees in an ecological way. But as we planned the shredding event more and more possibilities emerged, and when it happened 14 January had turned into a major event. As well as the the National Trust with their big ‘Black Gold’ shredder, we had help from the County Council, Cambridge Carbon Footprint, The Energy Saving Trust, Cambridgeshire Master Composters, HDRA (who initiated the Master Composters programme) and the Cambridgeshire Community Reuse & Recycling Network (CCORRN), which has supported Sustainable Girton since our inception. So there was quite a party!
One small step for Girton
As part of the Christmas Tree shredding event at the Glebe school in January, we offered to calculate the Carbon Footprint of any of the visitors who had a few minutes to complete a simple questionnaire. We had also circulated questionnaires to the families of Glebe pupils. We were very fortunate to have the help and experience of the Cambridge Carbon Footprint Group to assist us on the day.
Composting on the Girton Allotments
During Compost Awareness Week organisations the length and breadth of the country (and indeed in other countries) that are involved in some way with compost or composting make an extra special effort to raise awareness about composting and the benefits it can have on the environment and in the garden.
It can hardly have escaped your attention over the past few weeks that parts of the country are suffering from a water shortage. Here in Cambridgeshire we’ve not yet had any restrictions imposed, but that’s no reason to be complacent. Cambridge Water reports that its borehole levels are currently very low, if not yet critical. With dry weather and a rising population, our region’s water supply will be coming under increasing pressure over the coming years.
Girton Resident in Hot Water!
Another Girton family have landed themselves in hot water this summer, thanks to the power of the sun! Far from being in trouble, however, they are very happy: they’ve installed solar hot water panels on their roof.
Standby For Action!
Leaving electrical appliances in “standby mode”, rather than turning them off at the wall, has long been cited as waste of electricity. Statistics about how many power stations we could decommission if we all turned off our TVs are often in the press, but usually with little substance to back these claims up. Sustainable Girton have been measuring some typical household appliances to see how much they really use in standby, how much you could save if you turned them all off, and how this relates to other energy saving measures.
Giving and Giving Away
With “the time of giving” coming up, and the ubiquitous sales that follow, this is the season to be throwing out old possessions. Often though these old possessions still have many years of life left in them, and there are many ways to find them a new home.
When it comes to saving energy in the home, insulation is where it counts. Around a third of the energy our country uses goes on powering and heating our homes, and as we are paying increasing amounts for gas and electricity it makes sense not to waste it.
There’s a lot of discussion these days about transport and carbon dioxide emissions, and with good reason: on average about a third of the energy we all use is spent getting us from A to B, so it accounts for a large chunk of our emissions. Depending on your circumstances there’s a lot that can be done, often with financial as well as environmental benefits. Here are just a few suggestions.
What a Load of Rubbish!
Waste is a big environmental issue. It is a problem that we all help to create, both locally and globally, but fortunately it is also a problem that we can help to reduce.
Did you know there was a time when Girton was almost self-sufficient in food?
Washpit is Tidier!
On a bright Saturday morning early in November, a group of volunteers armed with bin bags and litter-picks descended on Washpit Lane, and slowly walked the length of it looking for litter. The results were quite surprising.
Local Food Comes Home To Roost
Knowing where your food has come from and choosing to buy local and in-season produce is back in fashion. Many in Girton go further by growing their own vegetables, either in their garden or on an allotment, but some don’t just stop at vegetables and keep their own chickens or other livestock.
What about all those skips? On closer inspection, you will find all manner of interesting and useful items discarded. I can’t be the only one in Girton who slows down to pass these yellow tubs with an eye on their contents, and a thought for the sheer amount of stuff being thrown away? Thus an idea was born.