Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday 2nd November 10

A busy day ahead, with 3 meetings scheduled for the afternoon/evening.  But Gill and I had a fairly busy morning too, dealing with yet another situation which has arisen.  Life does not run smoothly for long.

However, a solution is on the horizon and I was able to spend a happy hour or so bagging up last year's leafmould, which has sat  in a chicken-wire cage undisturbed for the past year.  After a year of slow mouldering, I put it handful by handful into plastic sacks and leave it for another year.  This initial sorting allows me to remove twigs and sticks which I put in the Compostumbler with a job lot of putrescible food waste.  I also removed quite a bit of street litter... plastic mainly, and there were absolutely LOADS of pebbles, gravel, and small stones, some of which I was able to remove but the rest will have to be riddled out.  I don't know where these came from, but since I collect sacks of leaves from all over the place, it's obvious that someone has swept up leaves from a gravelly area.  Bit of a nuisance.  I filled 6 sacks before lunch at 1pm.

I had the usual pile of sandwiches and headed out for my 2pm appointment, hopefully a conclusion to my year of not being an active York Rotter.  John at St Nicks had drawn up a document which he emailed me this morning,  Basically this is a set of rules I have to abide by if I'm to continue as a Rotter, including only wearing my York Rotters teeshirt at official engagements, and whilst representing the organisation, I'm not allowed to discuss the composting of dead bodies (including roadkill) or composting condoms (which are biodegradable if made from natural latex) or to talk about or make jokes about sex.  But the really good thing is that Pat, one of the St Nicks management team, is going to be my 'buddy' whilst I'm working on stalls as a Rotter. I'm happy with this.  I signed the document as I really want to get back to doing what I love, and working with members of the public, engaging them with home composting education.  The other good thing which has happened because of the complaints from some oversensitive volunteers is that there has been some diversity training, so, hopefully, Aspergery people like me, ADHD-ers (we have one undiagnosed ADHD-er on the team) and other 'neuro-diverse' people may be better understood and perhaps tolerated.

Neuro-typical people (that's about 80 to 90% of the population) do find it difficult to understand what it is like to be neuro-diverse, ie autistic, depressive, Tourettes syndrome, Dyslexic, etc etc.  It is difficult to understand ourselves sometimes.  I can't explain why I am happy to have the same sandwich every day, at the same time every day, or why I find it difficult to 'read between the lines' of a conversation, or why I tend to be direct and very honest.  So if I don't understand, it must be almost impossible for anyone else to get it.  But learning about some of these traits is a start, and I think that more organisations ought to offer this sort of training.

So, by 3pm, John and Edward and I had talked around the subject enough and we'd all signed the document, and we'll review things in 3 months.  I cycled home, picked up a beautiful but road-murdered male Mallard duck, had a coffee and at 3.40, headed into town to go to the Environment Forum at the Guildhall.  We discussed a range of subjects, including the York New City Vision written by Professor Alan Simpson (59 page pdf document here) and the Forum response to the Allerton Waste Recovery/Incinerator plans.  Perhaps the most important thing we did was to choose our new Chair, due to the resignation of Jonathan Tyler, who held the reins for several years very successfully.  We accepted Kate Lock as our new Chair.  She is ideal for this post, as she's passionate about sustainability, and York, is a good communicator, both verbally and in writing, and is not aligned to any political party or connected centrally to any one organisation.  So, independent, able and keen.

We finished at 5.55 and I zoomed off to my third meeting, at Langwith College up at the University.  I got there before 6.15, and soon found the People and Planet group, who had asked me to go and help them with one of their campaigns to get more composting happening at the University.  When we split up into groups, I was able to present a short analysis of the issues: first looking at promoting composting off campus, to students living in rented and shared homes.  Then the possibilities of recycling on-campus biodegradable waste: composting on site with bespoke composting machines such as the Big Hanna, Rocket or Ridan, (there are other solutions too) or composting/anaerobic digestion off site, such as the Future Energy Yorkshire site near Selby (which has some collaboration with the University) or indeed, the Allerton plant, if and when it is built. Obviously, I favour on-site solutions, as there's no driving tonnes of stuff around, and the material doesn't even become waste.  I also explored, briefly, the reasons that the University should be recycling it's biodegradables. These include the People and Planet University Green League, reduced landfill/transport costs, reduced carbon emissions and setting a good example to students!

We finished at 7.30 and I picked up 2 logs on the way back, and enjoyed a pile of rice and veg with chutneys for tea.  The evening was full of fruit prep, writing, a bit of Scrabble, lots of washing up... bed after 2am.

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