Sustainable Blewbury is concerned with climate change and other environmental issues, including the depletion of natural resources. We believe that we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels because of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We need to explore ways in which we as a village can adapt to a lower-carbon and more sustainable way of living, while maintaining a good quality of life.
SB places the highest priority on raising awareness of climate change and communicating urgently how it affects all our lives. Our Blewbury Energy Initiative website includes information on the scientific background to climate impacts, renewable energy and measures we can all take to help lower our own carbon footprints.
Mike Edmunds, 31 July 1941 – 28 April 2015
It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that our chairman, Mike Edmunds, has passed away. He was admitted to hospital on 14 April and diagnosed shortly after with an aggressive late-stage lymphoma. He passed away peacefully on the morning of 28 April.
Mike was a hydro-geologist by profession, for 35 years at the British Geological Survey in Wallingford and then for the past 13 years at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment. He was an award-winning scientist and an inspiring teacher. In Blewbury, Mike was a joint founder of the Blewbury Village Society Environment Group in 1993, becoming its chairman in 2002 when he retired from full-time work.
Always very aware of changes in climate and the environment, Mike’s increasing concern, shared with others in the village, led to the formation of the Blewbury Energy Initiative in 2005. This was the first of a number of new village initiatives relating to sustainable living and coping with climate change. Mike led this expansion, and the Environment Group was renamed Sustainable Blewbury to reflect its wider role. This included networking with nearby communities through Oxfordshire Community Action Groups (CAG).
Mike was always a source of inspiration to the members of Sustainable Blewbury. He had a wide-ranging knowledge of the environment and always knew the right person to contact in any situation. He will be sorely missed.
We are holding an exhibition in memory of Mike – details follow.
Our forthcoming events
Mike Edmunds memorial exhibition: Sunday 21 June (Open Gardens Day), afternoon, Watery Lane near the Mill Brook
We are holding an exhibition in memory of Mike, and to celebrate the rebuilding of what is to be officially known as the Edmunds Footbridge over the Mill Brook in Watery Lane. The exhibition will be of BVS-Environment Group and Sustainable Blewbury projects inspired by Mike’s ideas and leadership during the 22 years since he and a few others set up the BVS-EG.
Blewbury Garden Market: Saturday mornings from 9.30 – 11.30, Garage forecourt
We are now open (for our 6th year!) every Saturday morning from 9.30 – 11.30 until mid-October, once again with many thanks to Balan for his very generous hospitality. We sell an ever-changing range, both traditional and unusual. Please bring surplus seedlings, produce, bread, cakes and preserves for sale at 9.15. This year is going to be a good one for soft fruits – we have lots of clean jam jars if you need any! Our food page explains how it works, and has full information for producers. Coordinated by Angela Hoy:.
Blewbury Primary School EcoFair – July: Watch this space for more information.
Village Produce Association Annual Show – Saturday 11 July: Watch this space for more information.
New on our websites
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere goes up and down during the year, peaking in the northern hemisphere spring. In 2013 carbon dioxide in the atmosphere briefly surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years. In 2014, April was the first full month ever recorded with CO2 levels above 400 ppm, May was even higher and the level remained above 400 ppm through June.
In 2015 it had already surpassed 400 ppm in February and rose to 401.5 ppm in March and 403.3 in April. The figure at right shows the situation near the end of May – note the significantly higher level compared to 2013. It looks like it will remain above 400 ppm through July and into August.
On the Blewbury Energy Initiative website we have an explanation of what’s meant by our global carbon budget, how much of it is left, and why that means not burning all known resources of fossil fuels if we want to limit climate change.
Newsletter 13, April 2015
Contents: (click here to read the newsletter)
- Editorial – Mike Edmunds
- Climate Change Briefs – Mike Edmunds and Eric Eisenhandler
- Green Deal? Or Green lottery? – Eric Eisenhandler
- Blewbury School: Eco-School and Eco-Council – Jo Lakeland
- Blewbury Garden Market – the background – Angela Hoy
- Heritage Lottery Fund award for the Blewbury Wagon – Peter Cockrell
- Bee alert Blewbury – Debs Furness
- Low Carbon Hub shortlisted for prestigious Ashden Awards – Jo Lakeland
- Sustainable Blewbury beer mats
Climate (See our global warming page)
- Depending on exactly how the data were analysed, 2014 was either the warmest year on record or tied with 2010 and 2005. The 15 warmest years have all been since 1998.
- The government’s Green
Deal was aimed to be its flagship policy for
improving the energy efficiency of homes, in order to reduce carbon emissions
and the use of fossil fuels. We explain how it works, and some of the problems
that have led to extremely poor take-up of Green Deal finance. See the
grants page for our evaluation.
The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund provides grants to cover a wide range of measures. it ran out rapidly when first introduced in June 201 but resumed in December (the funding for solid-wall insulation ran out within one day!). A new release of funding was announced on 16 March 2015 but the solid-wall money was gone within 10 days.
- The government’s much-delayed Renewable Heat Incentive for domestic properties now running. It covers solar thermal hot water, biomass boilers and stoves, and air-source and ground-source heat pumps. Note that systems installed from July 2009 are eligible. See our Energy Initiative’s domestic grants page for more information.
Click on these links to find out:
Our activity is organised around five main themes: