Zero Carbon Britain: Making it Happen (week of 27th February 2017)
Tackling climate change is a huge task which requires everyone to get on board. The Centre for Alternative Technology has just published a new report calling on psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, activists – not to mention engineers, architects, farmers, and everyone else – to work together to reach zero carbon. Download ‘Zero Carbon Britain: Making it Happen’ to explore some of the ways that people from all backgrounds are already helping make the shift and what barriers need to be overcome to achieve a Zero Carbon Britain. Paul Allen’s short introductory video for the report, which you can watch below, features York’s very own Bike Belles!
Cafe Scientific (week of 20th February 2017)
We appreciate that this is not a topic popular with everyone but the next Cafe Scientific on 1st March entitled ‘Faeces, hair and spit – how we measure the welfare of our wildlife and other animals‘ sounds fascinating to us. After all, it was the finding of spraint (droppings) and footprints that alerted us to an otter visiting St Nicks. See you there?
Time to show the love (week of 13th February 2017)
It’s Valentine’s tomorrow and time to show the love for all we don’t want to lose to climate change. There is still time to protect the world we love and plenty of ways in which we can do so. Talking to others about it, especially politicians, is a great first step so please do join the campaign. We also need to invest in renewable energy (instead of hindering it by e.g. the new proposed tax hike on solar energy which would affect schools and businesses – you can sign a petition against it here) while cutting energy use. We could even use the urgency of climate change to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Whatever you choose to do, for the love of humanity we urge you to act now.
Want to see it reduced to zero? A circular economy could achieve just that and we’ll be trying it out live on 17th June with our Waste Busters’ Fest, as part of the York Festival of Ideas. In the meantime look out for our upcoming blog posts about the ‘Mystery of Plastic Triangles’, or learn about Marine anthropogenic litter and microplastic at a lecture organised by Yorkshire Philosophical Society on 31st January.
York Residents Festival (week of 24th January 2017)
It’s York Residents Festival and the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend! You can even enjoy both at once by either coming to St Nicks Open Day on 28th or the equally beautiful York Cemetery on 29th January. For great views of York and freshly milled, traditional stone-ground wholemeal flour we recommend visiting Holgate Windmill, which is amongst the many local attractions open for free this weekend.
Show the Love this February (week of 16th January 2017)
It’s less than one month before it’s time to Show the Love not just for your loved ones but for all that we don’t want to lose to climate change, including tea and the Artic. It doesn’t matter if we show it by wearing a green heart, sharing carbon reduction tips with friends, family and colleagues, or by joining the movement – let’s show it! We only have one planet to share with everyone and our actions have impact around the world. For example, Colombian coal is burnt in Drax to power UK homes, with both environmental and human rights consequences – learn more at a talk on 24th January.
Want to keep a thin waste-line at Christmas? After a careful gift and food selection, you can further reduce the amounts of rubbish generated by using one of these eco wrapping techniques suggested by Olio – an app that lets you give away surplus food and thus helps fight food waste. Even better, why not give an experience instead of an item? There are plenty of options out there, including St Nicks gift vouchers for our Hedgelaying and Coppicing workshops, or the Lord Mayor’s Ball.
York calendars 2017 (week of 5th December 2016)
Another tip for presents with a difference – York calendars, Christmas cards and Tomtes in the Mansion House books are on sale this week and the following at the Guildhall as part of the Christmas Show in partnership with Made in Yorkshire. All proceeds will go to the Lord Mayor of York’s charities including York LGBT Forum, York Civic Trust, York Racial Equality Network and St Nicks. And our Eco-Crafters are selling their lovely wares at the Christmas Craft Fair at Tang Hall Explore this Saturday. Thank you for your support!
Christmas shopping? (week of 21st November 2016)
Why not buy a piece of a Yorkshire artist’s work and support local charities at the same time? All proceeds will go to the Lord Mayor of York’s charities including York LGBT Forum York Civic Trust York Racial Equality Network and of course us! The exhibition is open now and bids can be made to buy the works of art throughout the exhibition or at the Auction on Sunday 27 November, 8pm in the Riverside Café-Bar at City Screen. Happy bidding!
Making homes cosy and cheap to run (week of 7th November 2016)
As it’s getting colder it’s a good time to look at how to improve energy efficiency in our homes to make them warmer and cheaper to run. The Centre for Alternative Technology has published a good top tips guide to eco refurbishment while the Energy Saving Trust can provide further advice. For inspiration it’s also well worth visiting a Passivhaus – a building designed to provide lots of comfort while minimising the energy needed for heating and cooling it. This week sees Passivhaus open days around the world and as it happens the first certified Passivhaus Plus home is in Fulford which you can visit over the weekend of 12th-13th November. If you miss it, we hope that the owners will take part again in our next York Open Eco Homes.
Try Veganism (week of 31st October 2016)
It’s the World Vegan Day on 1st November and November is the World Vegan Month – a great opportunity to explore the benefits of a vegan or plant-based diet which avoids all animal foods. The Vegan Society website is full of good information and resources including recipes. Eating less or no meat is good for both our health and the health of the planet because meet production has a high environmental footprint. Cutting out all animal products is not possible for everyone but most of us could easily try Meat Free Mondays or Flexitarianism. Let us know how it works for you!
World Mental Health Day (week of 10th October 2016)
It’s the World Mental Health Day on 10th October and this year’s theme is ‘psychological first aid’. Mental Health First Aid England offer training as well as a toolkit to help spread the word about the need to look after each other – each year 10 million people in the UK will experience a mental health issue so we should all know what signs to look out for and help those in need. Getting outdoors into nature is a proven way to improve mental and physical wellbeing, which Mind UK calls ecotherapy. St Nicks’ Ecotherapy project has just expanded to 5 days per week – come to our Autumn Fayre on 15th October or check out the project page to find out more.
Veg Fest (week of 3rd October 2016)
It’s York’s first Veg Fest this Sunday 9th October which offers lots of Halloween themed food stalls without the use of any animal products. Did you know that a lot of beer contains animal-based ingredients such as isinglass (derived from the fish swim bladder and used to aid beer clarity)? Our Autumn Fayre on 15th October gives you a chance to try some vegan and locally brewed beer from Brew York company.
Waste less, Live more week (week of 19th September 2016)
We are currently living in a world that is stretched beyond environmental limits and failing to support the health and wellbeing of many. The Waste less, Live more week Challenge invites you to join the dots and see how what is good/bad for the environment is also good/bad for us, humans. Oceans of plastic are just one of many issues that we can all do something about. To mark the week, our Recycling Co-ordinator Sam will be on twitter answering your waste-related questions live 2-4pm on Wednesday 21st September.
Organic September (week of 12th September 2016)
We’re celebrating Organic September by putting on a No Dig Gardening Demonstration at Greenfields School & Community Garden this Saturday. Both organic and no dig gardening produce great food while causing much less harm to the environment than conventional agriculture. No dig gardening has the added advantage of needing less effort – come and see how it works.
Zero Waste Week (week of 5th September 2016)
It’s the Zero Waste Week and the campaign’s website provides lots of tips on how to reduce waste, such as nine ways to shop for food without excess packaging. Waste doesn’t exist in nature so zero waste thinking is something that we can all adopt to make better use of resources and reduce our negative impact on the world around us by preventing landfill.
Renewable energy is unstoppable (week of 29th August 2016)
Did you know that the largest Archimedes screw turbine to be installed in the UK, with a 280kW capacity, is heading to a site near York? You can go on a free tour of the Linton Hydro scheme on Sunday 11th September with York Community Energy – book your place here. As the t0:10 campaigners say, the shift to clean energy is finally happening and we can all join this unstoppable movement.
International Bat Weekend (week of 22nd August 2016)
It’s International Bat Weekend this week which celebrates the only true flying mammal. Bats are a sign of a green and healthy environment so creating a garden that’s good for bats is also good for people and other species. You can get gardening tips from the Bat Conservation Trust and learn more about these fascinating creatures this Thursday at our Introduction to Bats event.
Hugh’s War on Waste continues! (week of 8th August 2016)
Hugh’s War on Waste continues! If you’ve missed it, you can catch his latest battle report on BBC iPlayer to find out what’s changed since he’s pledged “to put an end to the needless waste of perfectly good food caused by UK supermarkets”. This time he’s also looking at coffee cups and overpackaging of online purchases. More than 300,000 people have signed Hugh’s first pledge but a lot more are needed to stop waste mountains growing in the UK – are you in?
Act on plastic microbeads (week of 25th July 2016)
Keen to minimise waste? Some manufacturers are approaching the issue from the wrong end by making it minimal in size rather than volume. Plastic microbeads are now found not only in many cosmetic products, but – since they are too small to be filtered out by sewage works – they are also increasingly more often found in the oceans, as well as seafood eaten by people. Check out Greenpeace pages to find out more about the impacts of microbeads and how you can avoid causing this unnecessary pollution.
Big Butterfly Count (week of 11th July 2016)
The Big Butterfly Count starts on 15th July – use this great opportunity to learn which butterflies flutter around your home or favourite green space by downloading the ID chart or free smartphone app from the website. You’ll be contributing to national records of how butterflies are doing around the UK and have fun with activities for the whole family. If you do the count at St Nicks, please let us know what you’ve seen! Or if you need another excuse to be outdoors this weekend, why not explore Edible Open Gardens on Saturday 16th July – more than a dozen gardens around York will be open for visitors.
Bike Week 2016 (week of 11th June)
It’s Bike Week 2016 which is encouraging everyone to give cycling a go because “riding a bike is good for your mind, your body, the environment and your community”. You might win a bicycle, cycling holiday or another prize by joining the 71,000+ riders signed up for the event so far. Why not finish the week off at the York Rally, a volunteer-organised grand weekend of cycling which has been held almost every year since 1945 on York’s Knavesmire? Lots of activities and displays are planned so it promises to be a great weekend!
30 Days Wild (week of 30th May 2016)
June is a great time to be outdoors enjoying nature and St Nicks is a lovely, lush place to be – this leaflet can help you find your way round and suggests what to look out for. You could use St Nicks as a base for going 30 Days Wild with the Wildlife Trusts’ challenge for anyone and everyone who would like to “feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature by doing something wild every day”. If you love wildlife, you might also like to join this year’s World Environment Day campaign which asks us to Go wild for life and show zero tolerance to illegal wildlife trade.
National Vegetarian Week (week of 16th May 2016)
Celebrate the National Vegetarian Week - share stories and recipes, or be inspired by what’s happening and try out some meat-free dishes. As the People, Plate and Planet report by the Centre for Alternative Energy shows, our diet has a big impact on both our health and the environment. Every meal counts so we can all do our bit one delicious spoonful at a time.
York Festival of Ideas (week of 9th May 2016)
Booking is now open for York Festival of Ideas – not only does it feature our Future-Proof Your Home workshop, there are over 100 exciting events for all ages linked by the theme of Tick Tock. While our event looks at the practicalities of fighting and preparing for impacts of climate change, on the same day one of the festival focus days features lots of interesting expert talks about Living with Floods. Each event is split into sessions so you might be able to take part in both. Another focus day is about The Future of Food but there is also plenty of great stand-alone events such as How Should Cities Grow?, Tick Tock: Rhythm of the Climate Clock, Making Music out of Mountains or the timeless story of The Man Who Planted Trees.
Travelling to York Open Eco Homes (week of 2nd May 2016)
It’s York Open Eco Homes next week! Download the event flier and start planning your journey around the living demonstrations of energy and carbon saving using i-Travel. All of the nine homes, Native Architects’ office and Fairfax Corner Eco Holiday Home can be accessed using buses or walking/cycling but the journey planner can help you with car journeys too.
Pint of Science? (week of 25th April 2016)
Fancy a Pint of Science? Tickets are now on sale for this annual festival which aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! There’s a great variety of talks planned in York on a wide range of topics, including sustainability-related ones such as the air we breathe, powering the planet or ‘does behaviour stick to a person or place?‘
Earth Day (week of 18th April 2016)
It’s Earth Day this Friday – an annual reminder that this planet is the only one in the known universe suitable for human life and it’s down to every single one of us to protect it. One Planet Living, which St Nicks is keen to promote, is just one of many guides which can help individuals and organisations to adapt to using no more than our fair share of the Earth’s resources. This Friday you can also see whether some resources, such as fossil fuels, are better left untouched – Frack-Free York invites you to the screening of ‘Living with Fracking’ film at its AGM.
Do you dig peat? (week of 11st April)
Gardening, especially when based on permaculture principles, is a good way to protect wildlife. At the moment, however, a lot of gardeners are uknowingly helping to destroy peatlands – some of the most fragile ecosystems in the UK. More than 24 million wheelbarrows of peat are dug up every year for use by amateur gardeners (according to Garden Organic), and this also releases vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Find out why we need to stop using peat and join the fight for peat-free gardening. Compost labelling in garden centres can be misleading so the surest way to avoid using peat in the garden is to make your own compost.
RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch results (week of 4th April)
Read about an international scientific study which confirms predictions of how changing climate impacts on populations of the most common birds around the world. The research benefited greatly from using field data collected through large citizen science projects such as the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch – 8,262,662 birds were counted this January in the UK (including St Nicks’ ones)! On Tuesday 5th April you can learn how atmospheric chemistry helps us understand the impact of human activities on the atmosphere and climate, at a talk organised by Yorkshire Philosophical Society.
Creating habitats for frogs (week of 28th March 2016)
Frogs are an important part of our ecosystem and you don’t need a huge pond to make your garden a great place for them. Click here to find out how you can create habitats like mini-ponds and bog gardens. If you are interested in learning more about frogs and other amphibians why not come along to a course at St Nicks?
Help Bees in Your Garden (week of 21st March 2016)
Bees and other pollinators are in decline. Now that the sun has started shining why not help them out? Click here to watch a great instructional video by Eco Sapien and learn how to make a simple home for bees for your garden.
Reduce Your Food Waste (week of 14th March 2016)
Did you know that for every 2 tonnes or food eaten in the UK, another tonne gets wasted? Simple steps like planning meals before you shop and using up leftovers can help to reduce this. Click here for some more tips on how to reduce your food waste and help the environment whilst saving yourself some money on your shopping bills.
Make Your Garden a Wildlife Haven (week of 7th March 2016)
With spring just around the corner and the weather improving, it’s a great time to get back out in the garden. Click here for some tips on how to increase bio-diversity in your garden and make it a haven for local wildlife.
Fairtrade Fortnight (week of 29th February 2016)
Water Voles and Fairtrade Breakfast (week of 22nd February 2016)
Happily, a water vole has recently been spotted on the Nature Reserve, hopefully this means the population hasn’t been too badly hit by the Boxing Day floods. With the help of our great volunteers, we are working hard to ensure this protected species continues to have a habitat to call home at St Nicks. You can find out more about the problems facing water voles on Tuesday 1st March, when The Yorkshire Mammal Group will be hosting a talk entitled “The Decline & Fall of the Water Vole” at 7pm at the Bay Horse Pub on Marygate.
Urban Buzz (week of 15th February 2016)
While the signs of climate change are most obvious when observing nature – such as St Nicks fruit trees blossoming in winter – the impacts are more and more evident in our lives too. This Thursday 18th February you can join a free public meeting about some of these – it’s called A Perfect Storm? Climate Change, Cuts and Floods. Earlier on the same day you can also learn about creating meadows and nesting sites with the Urban Buzz project, which is looking for volunteers to create pollinator sites across York.
Zero Carbon Yorkshire launch (week of 8th February 2016)
“After Paris – Where Now?” – join Zero Carbon Yorkshire on 27th February to help create a vision for a better, cleaner, greener Yorkshire that will be free of fossil fuels in the shortest possible time. To achieve this, everyone is needed – from individuals to activist groups, local authorities, businesses, public sector bodies and universities in every Yorkshire city, town and district. The aim is to design local Zero Carbon Plans (much like the one for Britain), and combine these into a regional strategy. You can book your place via this link. If you’re not sure that you are needed or you can’t make it, please watch this moving short film from the Climate Coalition (featuring Jeremy Irons and Maxine Peake) and show the love for this planet.
Show the love (week of 1st February 2016)
Three climate change related events coming up: Ice and the Sky film is shown in York on Tuesday 2nd February – it charts the work of spry 82-year-old climatologist Claude Lorius who explains what his ominous research evidence means for the future of the planet. Following the thread next week is the Climate Change and the Risk of Conflict talk organised by Yorkshire Philosophical Society for 9th February. To prevent us from losing hope which could stop us from acting on all this evidence, it’s also time to show the love and share examples of things going right! Use this year’s Valentine’s to tell others what you’d hate to lose to climate change, what you’re doing about it and inspire them to take action.
York Residents Festival (week of 25th January 2016)
It’s York Residents Festival this weekend – an opportunity to see places you might otherwise miss out on such as the Holgate Windmill (York’s only surviving and operational windmill) or York Cemetery (a great wildlife haven as well as a working burial ground and source of local genealogy; see the Festival page for opening details). And don’t forget to include St Nicks in your itinerary! We’re having an Open Day this Saturday – come for free guided tours, food and lots more.
Eco Homes Show & Tell (week of 18th January 2016)
Struggling to keep warm? See if items from our Eco Show & Tell event, organised and written up by Tomas of Little Eco Terrace, could help make your home cosier while reducing the heat needed to warm it. Tomas’s blog is a great source of tried and tested ideas which helped him and his partner turn an old terrace house into an A-rated eco home – here’s a blog post about how they’ve done it. And remember to mark the weekends of 14th and 21st May 2016 in your diaries when you can visit Tomas’s and other York Open Eco Homes!
Paris agreement (week of 14th December 2015)
Is the Paris agreement a historic deal which will lead to the curbing of climate change? After two decades of negotiations global carbon emissions are up so any agreement may seem a good way forward. If you take a closer look though, there isn’t much to celebrate – the deal is not legally binding or consistent with climate science, there is no mention of fossil fuels (their phasing out is only implied), or of reducing energy use. The New Internationalist Magazine analysis calls it “Epic fail on a planetary scale“. Not all hope is lost though – the key question is what happens next. The civil society needs to pressure politicians to turn nice words into real actions and plug the gaps by reducing energy use while adopting renewable energy.
Global Climate March (week of 30th November 2015)
Did you know? Last weekend’s Global Climate March broke records as the largest climate mobilisation in history – over 785,000 of us marched at 2,300 events in 175 countries united in one voice calling for a 100% clean energy future to save everything we love. Will our political leaders head the call at the Paris negotiations? While we await the news, there’s plenty we can do to do our bit by cutting carbon at home – join us this Thursday to find out how to make your home more energy efficient, more comfortable and cheaper to run with items for less than £50.
Yorkshire Climate Festival (week of 16th November 2015)
A unique climate event is being planned in York – take part in a ‘Cycle & Sing‘ event on 28th November as part of the Yorkshire Climate Festival. Cycling is just one of many ways in which carbon footprints can be cut but if it’s not an option for you, you can still attend the Climate Concert in North Street Gardens. We’re also pleased to confirm that the screening of ‘This Changes Everything‘ is going ahead this Sunday and there are some tickets left to book. In the overwhelming barrage of negative news, this film should provide a positive vision of a better, sustainable world and how we can all make it happen.
The Impossible Hamster (week of 9th November 2015)
Heard the one about the Impossible Hamster? The “Growth Isn’t Possible“, a report by New Economics Foundation, provides an interesting read in the run-up to the climate negotiations in Paris. A similar argument is made in ‘This Changes Everything‘ – a film based on Naomi Klein’s bestselling book of the same name – which asks the intriguing question: “What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?” If you’d like to be part of the answer, help put the film on in York by booking your ticket before 15th November. If enough people book ahead, it will be shown at City Screen on Sunday 22nd November.
The People’s Climate March (week of 2nd November 2015)
As part of our call to (demand) action on climate, we’d like to invite you to The People’s Climate March on Sunday 29th November in London. You can still buy tickets to join others from York and go by coach with York People’s Assembly. Let’s get together and show politicians that they have our mandate to lead on the issues of climate change and to agree meaningful targets at the climate negotiations in Paris.
Big Energy Saving Week (week of 26th October 2015)
It’s the Big Energy Saving Week: follow the link to see how you could save energy, reduce your bills and make your home more comfortable. Tips include taking a Home Energy Check and saving money by switching supplier (we would encourage switching to one that supplies clean renewable energy). Even small changes can lead to big improvements so come to our Eco Homes Show & Tell event on 3rd December to be inspired even more.
People’s Congestion Commission for York (week of 19th October 2015)
Most people agree that traffic congestion and air pollution in York are bad (it is estimated that more than 80 people die every year due to air pollution in York) but few agree on how to tackle them. While plans for an expert-led commission to come up with solutions have been shelved, York Green Party has invited all parties, groups and individuals to join the People’s Congestion Commission for York. The first meeting is on Tuesday 20th October and will see transport expert Prof John Whitelegg outlining some options.
End of free plastic bags? (week of 5th October 2015)
As of today, free plastic bags from shops should be a thing of the past as the 5p charge comes into force. However, there are exceptions and the cost of plastic bags for the environment is much higher, especially when it comes to oceans. Some scientists even say that plastics visibly mark the beginning of a new geological era – Anthropocene. We can all make a difference by reducing our use of plastics and recycling as much as possible – St Nicks can help you recycle more.
York 50+ Festival (week of 28th September 2015)
York 50+ Festival, organised by York Older People’s Assembly, started last Saturday and continues until Sunday 4th October. The programme is brimming with lots of activities, including our special Eco-Crafters session on Tuesday 29th September. Check it out!
YorNight (week of 21st September 2015)
It’s YorNight this Friday 25th September – an event which aims to show that research is fun and influences daily life for all of us. With exhibitions, talks and great hands-on activities about cheese, worms, food waste, tansy beetles, bacteria or fusion, there’s something for everyone to enthuse them about science. There is also still time to book on a Renewable Energy Study Tour organised by York Community Energy for this Saturday. This will let you take a close look at two community-owned renewable energy installations: a 225kW wind turbine (60.5m to tip) and a 50kW solar PV array in Hockerton.
Greener ways to get around (week of 14th September 2015)
Finding it hard to switch from driving to greener ways to get around? Add up your car costs and see if joining the City Car Club would be a better alternative to owning a car. They have a wide range of vehicles of all sizes, including an electric one, dotted around the city. i-Travel could then help you plan other journeys.
Baked Alaska (week of 7th September 2015)
How do you like your Alaska – baked?! A Riding Lights Theatre Company production called Baked Alaska presents “colourful, inter-connecting stories of humanity living with the wild, unpredictable effects of climate change”. You can watch the trailer and book tickets for shows in York on 15th & 16th September. For a more scientific source of information on climate change, check out the Union of Concerned Scientists, and don’t forget to help save the Arctic from more oil drilling.
How to Change the World (week of 31st August 2015)
The next Cafe-scientifique on Wednesday 2nd September, hosted by York Philosophical Society, promises to be interesting: Dreams vs Reality – the gap between what people want renewables to deliver and what they can deliver. If you would like to show support for renewable energy, join the 10:10 campaign to convince the government that cutting feed-in tariffs too soon as they’re proposing to do is not a good idea. Finally, next Wednesday you can watch How to Change the World – the story of how Greenpeace was born.
Show time (week of 24th August 2015)
It’s time to show off your gardening skills or have a taste of someone else’s produce: York Organic Gardeners Association is holding its annual ‘Taste and Flavour’ show on Saturday 29th August at Brunswick Organic Nursery. Judging is based purely on taste and flavour, and punters get to taste the exhibits at the end. St Nicks will be having a stall at the Fulford Show on Monday 31st August, which is another opportunity to sample local produce, take part in fun activities and browse lots of stalls.
Better Homes York (week of 17th August 2015)
Is your home cold, damp and expensive to run? Better Homes York can help York residents and landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, make them nicer to live in and lower the bills. There is financial support available for a number of measures from insulation to renewables installations, which is not means-tested. You can apply for a personalised offer via this page. The demo home of the project on Carnot Street has had its energy efficiency improved by 44% and heating & water bills cut by 31%. Even more importantly, it feels much warmer and, according to the home owner, the slight loss of internal space to insulation is well worth it. You can get further inspiration at our Building Low Energy, Healthy Homes presentation from Native Architects on 10th September.
International Year of Soils (week of 10th August 2015)
It can take up to 1,000 yrs to form 1cm of top soil but it only takes minutes to destroy through unsustainable land use and management practices, pollution, overgrazing and climate change. The current rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity to meet the needs of future generations – in the UK alone we lose 2.2 million tonnes of valuable topsoil every year. You can celebrate the International Year of Soils by learning more about their importance, joining the campaign to help protect healthy soils led by the Soil Association, or by starting to compost your food and garden waste (if you’re not already).
The Salt of the Earth (week of 3rd August 2015)
The Salt of the Earth is not just a documentary about one of the best photographers of the 20th century – Sebastiao Salgado – it’s a tribute to the planet and humanity. Salgado’s stunning black and white photographs document life on Earth in all its harshness and beauty while raising awareness about pressing issues such as people’s working conditions and climate change. Salgado is more than just a photographer though – with his wife Leila, he founded Instituto Terra which has turned 17,000 acres of deforested and badly eroded land back into a thriving rainforest. The documentary about this inspirational man is coming to York this weekend and it’s worth watching his TED talk too.
Powering the City (week of 27th July 2015)
Confused by the recent government announcements about cutting subsidies for solar power while talking about fighting climate change and supporting renewables? 10:10 campaign offers a good analysis of the potential impact on community renewable energy projects, such as York Community Energy which has opened bookings for its ‘Powering the City’ conference on 12th September. The government is now consulting on the proposed changes to the feed-in-tariffs and support for PV so do use the chance to have a say.
Butterflies, David Attenborough & Barack Obama (week of 20th July 2015)
Time to count the butterflies! Besides being lovely to look at, butterflies are good indicators of how ecosystems are doing because they react fast to environmental changes. Join in with the Big Butterfly Count (running until 9th August) to help create a national picture of how they are doing. If you’re not sure which butterfly is which, come to learn at our Summer Nature Walk this Saturday. One of the big champions of the Butterfly Count is David Attenborough and his recent interview about the state of the planet with Barack Obama is well worth watching (short 5min version here or the full 21min interview).
Solar Independence Day (week of 29th June 2015)
It’s the Solar Independence Day on Friday 3rd July and Saturday 4th July – UK’s annual solar celebration showcasing solar homes, solar schools, commercial solar rooftops and solar farms. See the map of places taking part and use #SolarIndependence hashtag to tweet your own generation data or to follow others.
Speak Up Climate Lobby (week of 22nd June 2015)
Couldn’t join the mass climate lobby of MPs in London on 17th June? You can watch a short video about how it went, see great photos and read the highlights on the Climate Coalition website. Our Event Officer’s report is in the News section.
Festival of Ideas (week of 15th June 2015)
Lots of interesting talks in the Festival of Ideas this week, including sustainability-themed ones such as: The Future of Food, Let’s Talk about Meat, The Future of Cities or Green Reactions Presents: Rubbish resources!
30 Days Wild (week of 1st June 2015)
It’s the start of 30 Days Wild – a new campaign by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which asks everyone to make nature part of their life by doing something wild every day of June. Sign up to the challenge to get a pack full of ideas and suggestions for things to do and places to explore. One of them could be Howsham Mill, a great place that combines nature with renewable energy. And Planet South Bank is organising its second Street Re-cycle event on Sunday 7th June – see if you can find something wild there!
Renewable energy (week of 25th May 2015)
Renewable energy is the theme this week: see how it’s done in Denmark on the world’s first 100% renewable energy-powered island of Samso – documentary “Samsø: an (un)common island” will be shown as part of the inaugural AGM of York Community Energy this Thursday 28th May. At our next evening social on 11th June, you can see how renewable energy is spreading through the USA by watching The Future of Energy. And one of our members shares his tips on how to invest in renewable energy for as little as £5 in his blog from the LittleEcoTerrace.
Nature is good for us – are we good to her? (week of 11th May 2015)
Nature is really good for us humans – a recent study shows how our brains are refreshed and work better after just looking at it for a short time – but we have not been good in return. The EU is currently looking at revising its Nature Directives which have protected vulnarable habitats and species for over three decades. Join the RSPB and others in responding to the consultation by the European Commission on the issue.
Vote for policies and nature (week of 4th May 2015)
Not sure how to vote this Thursday? Check out voteforpolicies.org.uk to see which party is most likely to deliver on your ideals. If you’d like your representatives to care for nature and to get it on the political agenda, vote for Bob now.
The real junk food (week of 20th April 2015)
The Real Junk Food Project, which aims to abolish avoidable food waste while promoting social inclusion, comes to York! yourcafe is launching on 29th April at Tang Hall Community Centre and York Real Junk Food Project will be running pop-up cafes around the city soon. WRAP estimate that food distribution and retail generates 4.3 million tonnes of food waste each year in the UK, whilst simultaneously over 900,000 people were regularly using food banks in 2014. Be inspired by Adam Smith who’s started this growing movement of making great food from surplus in Pay As You Feel cafés.
Climate is the word (week of 13th April)
Climate is the word of the week again: on Tuesday, Yorkshire Philosophical Society is offering a lecture entitled Climate Catastrophe – Peatlands to the Rescue while this Thursday’s York Green Drinks will be hosted by our Events Officer who will talk about the Climate Coalition and its planned climate lobby on Wednesday 17th June. This informal social event is not affiliated to any political party and offers networking opportunities to anyone interested in environmental issues. Pop along for a tipple and check out real signs of a brighter future!
For the love of… (week of 30th March)
A big date to put in diaries: on Wednesday 17th June join St Nicks, and other members of the Climate Coalition, in telling our newly elected MPs why we want them to act on climate change. The day will be filled with live music, speakers and a large rally in the afternoon, as well as workshops, film screenings and more. Please let us know if you’d like to come with us (and our brand new Carbon Footprinting Machine!) to represent St Nicks and York.
Saddle up! (week of 9th March 2015)
With the spring just round the corner, it’s time to saddle up! Cycling is a quick and fun way to get around York, which is also good for the environment and keeps one fit. There’s a lot of help available to get you started if not confident: iTravel York runs subsidised Urban Cycling Skills workshops for everyone; Bike Belles is York’s cycling community for women which offers tailored rides, maintenance workshops and other events; and not having a bike is no excuse – a bike library is coming to York soon.
Organic gardening (week of 2nd March 2015)
It’s Organic Gardening Question Time this Thursday from 7pm at St Nicks. If you can’t make it, check out York Organic Gardeners Association. If gardening has lots its appeal due to pain, scroll down the page for information on Alexander Technique workshop for gardeners with Mary Green this Saturday at the Brunswick Organic Nursery.
Fairtrade Fortnight, Common Cause & community energy (week of 23rd February 2015)
Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February – 8th March) with film, facts & frivolities and other events around York. On Saturday it’s the Common Cause workshop while on Sunday you can meet York Community Energy (2pm downstairs in the Your Bike Shed cafe on Micklegate). Come along to find out more about the benefits of community energy and what the group hopes to achieve in York.
Green Drinks & TTIP (week of 16th February 2015)
It’s York Green Drinks this Thursday 6-9.30pm at Ye Olde Starre Inn, Stonegate – an informal opportunity to socialise with people interested in green issues and maybe learn something new. From 7.30pm there will be a brief talk about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the environment, social justice and democracy. On Friday you can then ask two of the local parliamentary candidates why they support the partnership at the TTIP Question Time.
Time to divest from fossil fuels (week of 9th February 2015)
Climate change can and has to be tackled by everyone; this weekend you can do it with love or money. On Friday you can join the Global Divestment Day to show the companies which invest in fossil fuels that money can be used to do better. Afterwards come to celebrate at our Ceilidh and show your love for things we could lose to climate change.
SustainableCityYork (week of 2nd February 2015)
York has ambition to be a leading sustainable city and to reduce its carbon-footprint by 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. What does ‘Sustainable city’ mean to you? Let City of York Council know by taking part in a quick survey, tweeting with #SustainabilityIs hashtag or coming to the SustainableCityYork: Making sense of sustainability – Achieving more event on 3rd March. We’ll be there!
Common Cause (week of 26th January 2015)
Booking is now open for the Common Cause workshop on 28th February, organised by Planet South Bank. Based on the research and work of the Common Cause network, the workshop will provide a hands-on approach to exploring the importance of the values that underpin concern about many social and environmental issues. Recommended for anyone wanting to make a positive difference in their community.
Christmas cards recycling & Green Drinks (week of 12th January 2015)
Turn your Christmas cards into trees by recycling them with the Woodland Trust, or enjoy a Green Drink this Thursday – you can share your green interests/questions/projects for 2015 with like-minded people at this monthly informal event.
Try vegan food (week of 5th January 2015)
It’s Veganuary! Eating lots of meat is bad for the planet (let alone animal/human health) so why not try some great vegan food? Let us know which is your favourite recipe or if you’d like to share yours.
Christmas gift idea (week of 15th December 2014)
Our Mature Fruit Tree Pruning course would make a great present for a keen gardener. If you book the course this week, you can choose to have a gift voucher sent to you or the giftee. Merry Christmas!
Apples for Eggs (week of 8 December 2014)
Got too much of produce/ fancy trying something new? Try Apples for Eggs food swap this Sun 14th December – it’s a free and fun thing to do but you need to register.
Evolution and extinction (week of 1 December 2014)
Great food for thought: listen to BBC Start the Week with Jules Pretty, author of The Edge of Extinction, paleontologist Chris Stringer and others discussing the topics of evolution and extinction. One of the conclusions – green economy is inevitable; let’s make it happen while we can still choose to do so rather than be forced into it…
Buy Nothing Day & give away advent (week of 24th November 2014)
As Christmas lights come on a bit earlier every year and it’s hard not to be cynical about it all like David Mitchell, it’s worth stopping to have a break from the frenzy. Buy Nothing Day on 29th November offers just that and is celebrated around the world. If that doesn’t appeal, why not try joining Kate from Streetbank who has vowed to give away one thing per every day of the advent.
10 reasons for switching to LED lighting (week of 17th November 2014)
Lighting accounts for 20% of the world’s electricity usage and switching to light emitting diodes (LEDs) could reduce this to a mere 4% (source – BBC News). Missed our November talk on the topic by Randall Ghent? Read our 10 reasons for switching to LED lighting blog or download Randall’s info sheet to find out more.
We must phase out fossil fuels (week of 10th November 2014)
“We have the means to limit climate change,” said R. K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has just highly recommended that fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100. Mal Chadwick of the 10:10 campaign says: “Right now, the biggest threat to progress isn’t climate scepticism. It’s cynicism – resigning ourselves to climate change because we don’t think we’re up to the task of fixing it.” If you need advice on how to start cutting carbon, get in touch, register with 10:10, invest in renewable energy or get inspired by positive examples, and let us know about your own ways of facing up to climate change.
Healthy Planet, Healthy People? (week of 3rd November 2014)
Stockholm Environment Institute is celebrating its 25th birthday and holding its annual seminar on 13th November 5:30-8pm at the National Science Learning Centre. The topic for the seminar panel discussion is Healthy Planet, Healthy People?
Cycling & food (week of 27th October 2014)
One to watch – Bicycle; a new documentary about cycling (City Screen is showing it on 10th November). Excerpts from it will show you why a former racing cyclist Chris Boardman is making this generous offer: “You can have my gold medal…”
One to hear – Is food too cheap for our own good? on BBC World Service investigates why junk food gets cheaper while nutritious food gets more expensive.
Cycle the solar system to the Pumpple Festival (week of 20th October 2014)
If you enjoyed (or missed) our Autumn Fayre, Brunswick Organic Nursery presents another chance to celebrate harvest with their Pumpple Festival this Sunday 11am-4pm. Head down to Bishopthorpe for cakes, scarecrow contest, pumpkin carving and lots more. If you can, use the opportunity to cycle the solar system – Brunswick is near Jupiter.
Help nature, vote for Bob! (week of 29th September 2014)
Vote for Bob! – help put nature on the political agenda by supporting the RSPB’s campaign in the run-up to the general election. The WWF’s latest Living Planet Report shows that “the state of the world’s biodiversity appears worse than ever” and the species loss is having tangible impacts on humans too. It is high time for us all to do something about it. Campaigning and/or volunteering is a good start.
York 50+ Festival (week of 29th September 2014)
It’s the York 50+ Festival organised by York Older People’s Assembly this week – check out its programme of over 130 events ranging from sports activities to talks, socials and workshops. Our Eco-Crafters – free taster is just one of those and all ages are welcome.
York’s Green Places (week of 22nd September 2014)
Call for climate action (week of 15th September 2014)
UN Climate Summit is taking place on 23rd September. One top climate scientist has used a swear word to describe the situation we are heading for if global warming releases methane gas from the arctic tundra – it’s time to face the climate reality, ask politicians to actually do something about it and take personal action. From not flying to buying less and sharing more, there’s a lot we can all do to help – creating a superhome is a great start.
Carbon cutting time (week of 8th September 2014)
Join the thousands of people cutting their carbon emissions with the 10:10 campaign, which has just celebrated its 5th year. Whether you want advice on cutting your own carbon footprint, keep up with good news on the makings of a low carbon world, sponsor a solar school or help back the ‘fracking village’ of Balcombe, the 10:10 website is a great place to start your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle and/or to inspire others with your achievements.
Winter salads time (week of 1st September 2014)
Now is a good time to think of growing winter salads – try it the permaculture way or follow BBC Gardening advice. For more inspiration on growing your own fruit and veg, pop along to York Open Edible Gardens this Saturday 6th September 1-4pm. The list of open gardens is being updated on Edible York Facebook and St Nicks Square Foot Garden is just one of many on it!
York Organic Gardeners’ Show (week of 25th August 2014)
Would like to show off your produce? Head down to the ‘Taste and Flavour’ Fruit and Vegetable Show of York Organic Gardeners Association, this Saturday 30th August at Brunswick Organic Nursery. Non-members and non-growers are welcome.
St Nicks on Countryfile (week of 18th August 2014)
Take climate action, for the love of… (week of 11th August 2014)
It can be disheartening and overwhelming to think about climate change and how it affects our lives. The short video For the Love of demonstrates links between people’s favourite local activities and the global picture. Once you’ve watched it, why not head over to the Climate Coalition to join campaigns calling for climate action, work out your carbon footprint and start reducing your carbon emissions with advice from 10:10.
Join the Big Butterfly Count (week of 4th August 2014)
It’s the last week of the Big Butterfly Count! Join this citizen science project by visiting the page to download your tally chart and have a nice hour watching out for butterflies in your garden, local park or on St Nicks (join us on a walk this Saturday 9th August). You can also learn 5 fantastic facts about butterflies on our blog and if you’d like to do more, see the 100 best butterfly nectar plants list or get tips on gardening for butterflies.
Amazing bees (week of 28th July 2014)
Did you know that honey bees visit up to around 2,000 flowers per day and that electricity helps them tell if a blossom has any pollen for them? We do not generally advocate sitting in front of TV on beautiful summer evenings but if you want to know more about bees and why they are important, do watch BBC’s Hive Alive.