Thursday, October 30, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Whenever we think of deforestation our thoughts immediately travel to the Amazonian Rainforest and the devastation that is being caused by the acceleration of clearing of forests by loggers and farmers. Loopholes in the regulations designed to protect the world’s largest forest are responsible for this degradation.

Deforestation takes place at home, too, with wildlife habitats being lost to housing and farming. One of our favourite birds, the nightingale, has suffered a drastic decline in recent years, both because of habitat loss here and in the regions of Africa where it spends its winters. Forests in Africa are cleared for fuel and farming while wetland ecosystems are being drained and dammed. The nightingale is one of a group of birds that spends winter in the African humid zone along with other migrants such as cuckoos, whinchats and spotted flycatchers, all of which show decline.

Many birds, of course, are shot or captured in nets during the great journeys they make across the Mediterranean. It has been estimated that between 2 and 4 million turtle doves are killed each year, which contributes to the 95% decline in dove populations since 1970.

Climate change also has a part to play. Bird migrations are timed so that there is sufficient prey for the birds to eat, both on their journeys and when they arrive at their destination. Warming temperatures result in insufficient numbers of caterpillars for the birds to feed on at the right time; just one more aspect of the results of climate change. Victoria Nicholls.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd October 2014

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

Our society here in the developed world is a very wasteful one. Not only do we waste food and other resources, we waste energy too. Much of this waste is caused by our ancient housing stock from which so much heat energy is lost through lack of insulation in its various forms.

Anew housing project, first trialled in Holland, is set to be funded by the European Union (EU) if it approves of this innovative scheme to wrap houses in insulation.

Houses are fitted with insulated panel facades that snap on like Lego; insulated roofs are fitted with solar panels. Heat pumps, hot water tanks and ventilation units are also included. People living in social housing in Amsterdam liken the effect to living in a tea cosy, so much warmer are their homes. All tenants in a housing block must agree to the renovations for the scheme to go ahead and new kitchens and bathrooms have been added as an incentive. Housing associations recoup the cost of the scheme by charging the tenants the same rent and energy costs as before the renovations.

Pilot projects are due to start before the end of the year on council estates and housing association properties in Birmingham, London and southern England and this is expected to save 1,950 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity as homes will be zero energy.

Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions from heating and lighting of buildings makes up about 40% of the total so limiting this is vital to tackle global warming. Victoria Nicholls.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Deal's October Seedy Saturday .....

We had a great day on Saturday at our our 4th Seedy Saturday at the Landmark Community Garden on Deal High Street.

Very busy with people coming armed with seeds to swap, plants and cuttings to donate or just pop-ing in to see what it was all about.

Our first attempt of the Apple Press went well; With probably the best apple juice in, if not the world, but then definitely in Deal that morning. We used the pop-up stove to make on the site spiced apple with herbs from the garden

Imogen did some of her world famous Blinis with Beetroot and Onion relish from the garden.
The Deal Station Garden were in force after giving the station garden a tidy up and renewed the 'Poems on the Platforms'

Lots of thanks: Donated organic apples from Huguenot Farm nr Blean (thank you Carole Sturgeon & Bill Howarth); Tracy's friend in Folkestone who lent the Press; Everyone who donated plants. Thank you to Andy Garland at BBC Radio Kent; Tracy and Imogen for organising and all our great volunteers from Deal With It's projects at the Landmark and Deal Station Garden. 

All our photos are here

We had a little over £50 in donations towards the Gardens.

We have plenty of plants left so pop in at the Garden any Saturday to see if any take your fancy.

The next Seedy Saturday will be in Feb 2015 but we may do  pop-up event for the Winter Solstice

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 16th October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: A recent report tells us of the success of environmental campaign group Greenpeace in its protest against oil company Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.

Greenpeace has been targeting toy maker Lego which has had a contract with Shell since 1960 to distribute toys in petrol stations in 26 countries around the world. As a result of the campaign Lego has agreed not to renew its current contract with Shell. This has raised awareness with the public and many people have found that they dislike the fact that the toy maker has been in, what they see as, an inappropriate partnership with the oil giant.

As a result of the ongoing Greenpeace campaign, Shell announced, in January, that it was putting on hold its plans to drill in the Arctic in the summer although it gave its reasons as poor market conditions and internal failures. However, it then submitted plans in August to the US authorities for a new offshore drilling plan that could see the company drilling for oil off the North West coast of Alaska in 2015. For Greenpeace, the campaign goes on.

It is imperative that investment is put into renewable technologies, not into technologies that will produce oil the use of which will contribute to climate warming. It is horrendous to think that there could possibly be drilling for oil in a pristine ecosystem such as the Arctic and if this is allowed to go ahead, how long before applications are made for Antarctica?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

'Seedy Saturday' 18th October Landmark Community Garden

The next Seedy Saturday, seed and cutting swap, is on Saturday 18th October at the LandMark Community Garden, Deal High Street from 11am.

At this edition we also have an apple press lent to us. We have had a donation of organic apples from Carole & Bill Howarth at Huguenot Farm nr Blean.

People are welcome to bring apples for pressing but please ensure they are sliced and diced at home.

·       If you have not been to one of our Seedy Saturday's before, the idea is bring some seed (either some left-overs which you had some success this season or some you have harvested from a crop this year) or cuttings and swap.

As well as seeds there is a lot of knowledge to be swapped as well! Can be a bit choatic but is definately fun!
·         Free but we do take donations for the Garden. 

For further information contact or find us on Twitter at @Deal_WithIt or on Facebook (we have a page and a group)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 9th October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury A recent report from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has found that 2.5 Earths is required to maintain the UK’s present rate of human consumption; the USA requires 4 Earths and the world as a whole, 1.5 Earths.

It is quite frightening to read that half the number of creatures from land, rivers and seas are being destroyed as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers or are polluting and destroying their habitats. This has happened over the last four decades. These figures were ascertained by analysing 10,000 different populations covering 3,000 species in all and then used to create a ‘Living Planet Index (LPI) which shows the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.

As well as an indication of biodiversity, the LPI can be used to work out our ‘ecological footprint’ – that is, the rate at which we are using up natural resources. At present, we are cutting down trees faster than they can re-grow; we are taking water from rivers and aquifers faster than our rainfall can refill them; we are catching fish faster than the oceans can replace them and we are emitting more greenhouse gas than the forests and oceans can absorb.

This report should be a wake-up call for us all. In 2015, the countries of the world are due to meet in Paris to form a new global climate agreement and to agree a set of sustainable development goals. We also need to take this opportunity to reverse the decline in wildlife. Victoria Nicholls.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Deal Station Garden - Tidy up 11th Oct

As our growing season draws to an end, the DEAL STATION GARDENING GROUP invites all its supporters to turn out for a CELEBRATORY TIDY UP on Saturday 11th October, please drop in between 12-1:30pm.

We very much appreciate all the kind words of appreciation of our edible decorative efforts.

 During the season we have often been happy to see people carefully helping themselves to ripe produce such as strawberries, rhubarb, herbs,gooseberries and runner beans.

DSGG volunteers have regularly harvested sweetcorn, runner beans, beetroot, chard for the Salvation Army's kitchen.

We started last year with 13 volunteers but numbers have now dropped and we NEED more volunteers - Come and lend a hand on Sat 11th and find out how the odd hour of your time can help our town.

With enough hands we would like to clear tubs and planters, compost green waste, collect seeds and plant up pots (to take to the SEEDY SATURDAY at the LANDMARK on 18th October), harvest beetroot, herbs, beans and chard, plant up onions and flowers for the winter season .


Sunday, October 5, 2014

TTIP Day of Action 11th Oct - Deal Stall

A European wide day of action against  the US/EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)  is happening on Saturday 11th October with local stalls in Deal, Dover and Canterbury

Deal -St Georges from 11am

Dover - Town Hall Dover 11am

Canterbury - Buttermarket from 10:30

TTIP would give massive powers to corporate interests over nationally democratically decided policies such as health andenergy through a 'harmonisation' on effectively the lowest quality standard.

 For more information on TTIP see  here

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury :A scheme to protect local communities and sea walls from erosion was completed recently on the Steart peninsula in Somerset. The £20 million project will create a salt marsh which will absorb high tides and storm waves and create a valuable wildlife habitat.

While there has been criticism of the scheme, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust (WWT) argue that the scheme is an example of working with nature to combat the problems of violent winter storms and rising sea levels.

At high tide, sea water is allowed to enter the low lying land of the peninsula through a 200 metre gap in the coastal embankment of the river Parrett. This area of shallow gradient and coarse vegetation will absorb wave energy as salt marsh is a natural flood risk management scheme. It is like mangroves and coral reefs in the tropics, taking the energy out of the tide and reducing wave height. It will not only protect homes by easing pressure on sea defences such as walls but also the National Grid connections to the power station at Hinkley Point. The area is being managed as farmland and a nature reserve.

It has become clear that it is vitally important to work with nature rather than against it and the consequences of our efforts to control nature are usually unfortunate, leaving us with yet more problems.

Climate change is here and now and we need to be bold if we are to mitigate its effects.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal