Friday, May 31, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th May 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

A recent report on the state of wildlife in the UK has shown that most species are in decline and a third have halved in number in the past 50 years.

This is a sad state of affairs and most of the blame for the situation can be placed squarely in our hands. The intensification of agriculture and the over use of pesticides has led to the loss of habitats in hedgerows, ponds, meadows and forests. Climate change, overfishing and building developments have also played their part.

The ‘State of Nature’ report was compiled by 25 conservation groups which shows just how broad the study has been. Tens of thousands of volunteers have taken part in this survey to help our naturalists and scientists make the study so comprehensive.

We have all noticed the decline in the populations of birds, butterflies, moths and insects in our gardens and our favourite hedgehog has declined so much that there are fewer than 1 million left.

When we go out into our lovely countryside we are lucky enough to be able to see nature all around us for free but if we want to conserve the countryside for us and future generations we must realise that, as a nation, we need to invest in it. Our government needs the political will to reform agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Wildlife provides clean water, clean air, pollinates crops and prevents soil erosion, among other things, and these ecosystem services are vital to protect the land we love so much.

Victoria Nicholls. DWI Transition Deal.

Monday, May 27, 2013

State of Nature report

For the first time ever, the UK’s wildlife organisations have joined forces to undertake a health check of nature in the UK and its Overseas Territories. 

The reports summary key findings are presented here, and the full report is online:

  • 60% of the 3,148 UK species we assessed have declined over the last 50 years and 31% have declined strongly.

  • Half of the species assessed have shown strong changes in their numbers or range, indicating that recent environmental changes are having a dramatic impact on nature in the UK. Species with specific habitat requirements seem to be faring worse than generalist species.

  • A new Watchlist Indicator, developed to measure how conservation priority species are faring, shows that their overall numbers have declined by 77% in the last 40 years, with little sign of recovery.

  • Of more than 6,000 species that have been assessed using modern Red List criteria, more than one in 10 are thought to be under threat of extinction in the UK.

  • Our assessment looks back over 50 years at most, yet there were large declines in the UK’s wildlife prior to this, linked to habitat loss.

  • The UK’s Overseas Territories hold a wealth of wildlife of huge international importance and over 90 of these species are at high risk of global extinction.

  • There is a lack of knowledge on the trends of most of the UK’s species.

  • As a result, we can report quantitative trends for only 5% of the 59,000 or so terrestrial and freshwater species in the UK, and for very few of the 8,500 marine species. Much needs to be done to improve our knowledge.

  • What we do know about the state of the UK’s nature is often based upon the efforts of thousands of dedicated volunteer enthusiasts who contribute their time and expertise to monitoring schemes and species recording.

  • The threats to the UK’s wildlife are many and varied, the most severe acting either to destroy valuable habitat or degrade the quality and value of what remains
  • Climate change is having an increasing impact on nature in the UK. Rising average temperatures are known to be driving range expansion in some species, but evidence for harmful impacts is also mounting.

The full report is online:

We should act to save nature both for its intrinsic value and for the benefits it brings to us that are essential to our wellbeing and prosperity.

Targeted conservation has produced inspiring success stories and, with sufficient determination, resources and public support, we can turn the fortunes of our wildlife around.

The State of Naturereport serves to illustrate that with shared resolve and commitment we can save nature

Sunday, May 26, 2013

East Kent Transition Gathering 16th June in Deal

The next East Kent Transition Gathering will be on Sunday 16th June 2-60pm at Deal Town Hall in the High Street.

This informal gathering will be around the theme of Community Food Growing and how it can impact positively to make local community more sustainable.

The gathering is open to all those involved in local transition groups or projects, those who who want to find out more about Transition movement or just concerned about the environment.

Transition Town groups can be found at Faversham, Whitstable, Canterbury, Hythe, Folkestone, Thanet and Deal. Plus there is a great number of individual projects inspired by the movement.

The event is free but please bring a mug for drinks and some food to share (Cakes are always good Ed) or plants to swap. For more details see the East Kent Transition Facebook page

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Deal Station Garden ... Our first lettuce (ah)

The Deal Station Garden is looking good.

We got our first crop of lettuce today and even managed to some share it with the Platform One Cafe  at the station...
roll on the strawberrys

Spokes at the Deal Motor Show...

Good to see our colleagues from Spokes (East Kent's Cycling Campaign) group down at the Deal Motor Show today at Walmer.

They were doing good trade with queues to see Dr Bike.

Given it was a Car show it was great to see so many cycles today ...

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd May 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

If you are a climate change denier you will not attribute our horribly cold winter and spring to anything other than 'it was just one of those things'. Fair enough - turn up the heating, wear more clothes and grin and bear it. What will you think when this becomes the norm? Is it still one of those things?

The changes to our weather are minor in the great scheme of things; this is not so if you happen to live in Alaska. Alaska is warming faster than anywhere else in the USA with a 4°F increase in average temperatures and melting ice is endangering the way of life for those people who still live off the land and sea. There is no question that changes are happening - people live with them every day but the debate about the causes of these changes still goes on.

As a result of increased temperatures there is coastal erosion, retreating sea-ice, thawing permafrost and record forest fires all of which impinge on the way of life of people who have hunted for their food for many years. The hunters notice that the winters are getting later and are warmer and shorter; springs are earlier and rising waters are causing floods. Many communities are threatened by these changes and will need to move to safer ground.

Melting ice has other effects, too. International companies scramble to compete for the oil and coal deposits - but burning them will increase the warming even more.

Victoria Nicholls. DWI - Transition Deal.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Coop member? Then make sure you see 'Chasing Ice' in Canterbury on 12th June

Free tickets to see the film ‘Chasing Ice’

The Co-operative Membership is thrilled to be able to offer you free tickets to one of our exclusive screenings of the award winning documentary Chasing Ice which The Co-operative presents as part of our ongoing commitment to combating climate change.

‘Acclaimed photographer James Balog was once a sceptic about climate change but through his Extreme Ice Survey he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In Chasing Ice Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.’

Wednesday 12th June, 5.30pm to 7.20pm
Venue: Gulbenkian Cinema, Canterbury

Tea and coffee served on arrival, film certificate 12A, 80 minutes long.

Have your membership number handy and visit  or phone 0800 015 1147 to reserve a place.

Why is the Co-operative offering you this opportunity?

As part of our commitment to delivering the Co-operative Values and Principles, we offer our members a wide range of events and activities throughout the year that support them. We hope you’ll enjoy this one. Find out more about our campaign for a clean energy revolution at:

Doctor Bike and Spokes at Deal Motor Show this Saturday

 "Doctor Bike" will revive your old bike with a free health check to get it ready for summer cycling - if you bring it to the Deal Classic Car and Motor Show on Walmer Green this Saturday.

The mobile mechanic is coming to the Spokes East Kent Cycling Campaign tent to run a free drop-in service for all bikes brought in on the day.

After a long winter in the shed, it may be time to treat your bike to a check up and Dr. Bike is here to carry out any minor maintenance where needed completely free, including oil and air, and show you how to look after your bike at home with some helpful hints and tips."Getting bikes in good condition is a great way to get people cycling for leisure or commuting," says Spokes chairman STEVE FAWKE. "Deal is one of the best towns in Kent for cycling, we'll also be giving out free maps to help you find a safe route to the shops or scenic routes into the local coast and countryside. It's amazing how many bikes sit in people’s shed that just need a quick tune-up to get them roadworthy again - ready for some fresh air and healthy exercise."

Spokes also supports the "20s Plenty" campaign to make 20mph the standard speed limit on residential streets where people live. Callers at the stand can sign the local petition pressing councillors for an area-wide 20 limit across Deal and Walmer, which campaigner ALAN GLEAVE says will encourage more people of all ages to feel safe enough to take to their bikes. For details or to sign online see 20splentyfor

Bring your family's bikes to the tent tomorrow - and tell your friends!

Ian Killbery
Chair, Dover District Cycle Forum
representing everyone interested in cycling in Dover District
affiliated to SPOKES East Kent Cycle Campaign

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th May 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

Carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is a measure of the way the world is warming. Increasing amounts of CO2 lead to increases in global temperatures which, if left unchecked, will lead to chaos.

Climate scientists have been warning about these effects for years but CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have continued to increase nonetheless. We have to go back several million years to find the same amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as there is now - then the Arctic was ice-free, the Sahara was savannah, and, most scarily, sea level was up to 40 metres higher. Think what that would mean for our little island!

The milestone of 400 parts per million of CO2 daily average in the atmosphere has now been reached in data presented from the monitoring stations on Hawaii that have been measuring the gas since 1958. It is the first time in human history that concentrations have reached this level.

It does not seem to matter how much data is produced, how much evidence of early climate changes are experienced, successive governments have failed to take on board the importance of climate change and, even worse, have failed to act on the information and make changes to the way we live and produce energy.

The UN summit in Paris in 2015 is set as the deadline for nations to commit to a binding international treaty to stop the rise in CO2 emissions from passing the 2°C level and saving the world from catastrophe

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 9th May 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

We were all delighted to hear that the bees had won in the fight against the use of neonicotinoid chemicals on crops. Unfortunately, experts have found that just banning these chemicals for a two year trial throughout the European Union does not go far enough. A study in Holland has shown that the chemical imidacloprid which is used throughout the world not only to treat crops but to combat fleas and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats, is ending up in the water in ditches to such an extent that it could be used as an effective pesticide in itself. The result of this study is the call for imidacloprid to be banned worldwide as it is far too dangerous to dragonflies, mayflies, midges, snails and other water living species to carry on its use.

This new research has shown that there are 70% fewer invertebrate species found in water polluted with this chemical than clean water and far fewer individuals of each species. The knock-on effect of this is, of course, that swallows and other birds that rely on flying insects for food, will find it harder to survive. We have already destroyed the habitats of many of our native birds with the over-use of pesticides on our fields and now we find a tangible threat to one of our most loved spring visitors.

There are many things that we do when we grow food to feed an increasing world population and more and more we discover the detrimental effect of lots of them.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Foodie Demonstrations at the Chequers 17th May

It's a Revolution!
Free Demonstrations All Day
Friday 17th May
Food Revolution Day is on its way and we invite you to celebrate with us. Food Revolution Day is all about the joy of real food and cooking from scratch.
Drop in the The Chequers to enjoy our free demonstrations on the hour, every hour, from 11am to 2pm.
Pieter will show you how to make ciabatta bread; Ralph Cade of Greencades will talk about cooking with spices and demonstrate some magnificent marinades; the lovely Lucia Stuart of The Wild Flower Kitchen will share her passion for wild food and teach you how to gather plants and shellfish around Deal and East Kent; Keiran Renihan of The Choclution will demonstrate chocolate making and give us some excellent health reasons for making raw chocolate a part of our daily diet.
There's no need to book, you don't have to dine or even have a drink - just join us for the fun and the fascination and to learn something wonderful on Food Revolution Day!

If you want to catch a particular demonstration or talk, give us a ring on 01304 362288 to get the running order!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Energy Champion Training in Canterbury

The Kent and Medway Green Deal Partnership are offering Energy Champion Training for community representatives interested in becoming Energy Champions in their local areas.

· Thursday 23, 30 May and 6 June, 9.15am for a 9.30am start to 2pm at Canterbury, venue TBA

Further details of the venues will be sent after registration on the course.

The training will cover:

· Why energy and water efficiency are important

· How you can save energy and what schemes are available to help householders

· How you can engage with local people and help spread the word

Being an energy champion is about being prepared to engage with your local community to promote of energy efficiency and provide basic energy efficiency advice within your community. Activities might include:

· Leafleting homes

· Sharing own experiences at events such as open sessions in a community hall, on an exhibition stand, or in schools

· Supporting project meetings

More details from

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Deal Station Garden Launch .....

We had Deal's Town Council Mayor - Marlene Burham down today at the Deal Station Garden for our grand openning today.

A big thank you all our sponsors who have supportted us: Deal Garden Centre, Jewsons of Deal, Rotary Club of Deal, Ripplevale School and our Partners at SE Railway.

The Garden currently comprises of just five large planters and is part of South Eastern's 'Adopt a Railway Station' scheme.

We are growing a mix of edible flowers, veg and fruit and hoping after a successful season to expand it on the station site.

All of this only possible due to the hard work of all our volunteers - we had 13 of them out today:

So a big thank you to Sarah & Alan, Adrian & Sue, Sally, Rose, Wendy, Tracy, David & Ros, Peter & Alison and Steve.

If you would like to get involved or could support us to extend the project please contact Sarah or Alan Gleave at or phone 01304 389 553
Rose Planting

Sue, Wendy and Tracy conferring on planting strategy

Sue and Adrian getting the Beans supports in

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fancy a bit of Gleaning ....

Gleaning day coming up on Friday 10th May:
On Friday 10th May, the Gleaning Network will be heading down to a farm in Broadstairs, Kent to harvest tonnes of cauliflower and save them from going to waste, redistributing them to food poverty charities. We need volunteers to help harvest the tasty produce! Join us for an idyllic day on the farm. Contact to find out more, sign up to volunteer, or help coordinate. The day will be roughly 10am-5pm (TBC), and travel expenses are covered for those travelling from Kent. If you can't join us this time, sign up to our gleaning list and we'll let you know of all future gleaning days. Also, let us know if you'd be interested in coordinating gleaning days in the future,as we have loads of gleanings days planned in Kent over the next few months. Join the Arable Spring!

What is Gleaning?
Gleaning Network UK, recently featured on BBC Radio 4's Food Programme and Al Jazeera, and organised by Tristram Stuart and Feeding the 5,000, is an exciting new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year. Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and get ploughed back in the soil. These crops often cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet the retail strict cosmetic standards or because of overproduction.
We coordinate teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most, such as homeless hostels and charities. To date, we have salvaged several tonnes of excellent unmarketable British produce, including apples, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens and kale, and redistributed them to charities such as FareShare and the Best Before Project. Here's some more info, our video, and pictures of our last gleaning day. The movement is gathering pace, and we're rapidly expanding into a national network, with a hub now launching in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, encompassing Peterborough.

See you in the fields!

Many thanks,