Friday, 20 February 2009

Thursday 19th February 09

Well, an early start as the rest of the family were heading off to the station in a taxi at 9.05 for the 9.44 train to Birmingham to see friends at The Think Tank, and I set off a few minutes earlier on my bike to get the 9.27 to Sheffield, to spend the day with Ali and the evening with the South Yorkshire branch of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Ali collected me after dropping off her daughter at the playscheme and we went back to her place, but not for long, as we decided to go into town, have some lunch at Blue Moon and then get some more footage for her film, for her media degree. So, had a good lunch.... cauliflower and rice in a cheesy sauce with several salads, and were joined by a friendly librarian whose job is to make the library as accessible as possible, which is how Ali knows her.

Then we took the tram up to the University building where there's a massive photo of Ali saying 'I love Politics', and we made a poster which we filmed, for a message for the closing credits. That didn't take as long as we thought it would, and so we leisurely rolled back to the Blue Moon for a coffee, and when Ali's PA and daughter arrived we had a cake each.

Soon after 4 we left and I was dropped off near the station, where I had a few minutes to wait before my Environmental Health contact was due to meet me. On the dot of 5pm, Fiona met me and she took me back to where Ali had dropped me off and Fiona's colleague Martin arrived and we drove to a pub just off the M1 where the CIEH group always meet.

The meeting was the AGM, so there was quite a bit of business to do before my talk. I had a gander at the Agenda, and was surprised to find that I'd been given the job of talking about my 'Carbon Neutral Lifestyle'. So, my small amount of preparation to talk about climate change, peak oil and Transition Towns was ignored, and I proceeded to explain why I hadn't got a carbon neutral lifestyle, but how I achieved a low carbon one. Somehow it all flowed nicely and I produced enough anecdotes, quips, facts and opinions to do a good presentation which was well received. I don't really know how I do it, but it comes naturally. I was given a five minute warning that the 'pie and peas' supper was on its way and as mine was a spinach and ricotta canneloni which I was looking forward to, I came to a swift halt, inviting the audience to ask questions after the meal. This was quite nice, especially the berry cheesecake, and there were indeed a few comments and questions afterwards, including one about Transition Towns. I was also able to explain peak oil in less than 3 minutes.

As a thank you I was given a bottle of Lindesfarne Mead (how DID they know it's one of my favourite drinks?!!!) and a cheque to cover my expenses. Several of the attendees asked if I could give a talk to other groups.... always the best compliment!

The new Chair Janice offered to take me to Doncaster; we arrived at 10.15 and there was a train heading for York just a few minutes later, so got home soon after 11. I was pleased to find Gill and the boys had enjoyed their trip to Birmingham.


Té la mà Maria - Reus said...

very good blog, congratulations
regard fron Reus Catalonia
thank you

Anonymous said...

You have given important information. Apart from that today
Global Carbon Footprintis the biggest problem for environmental health. I think every one should
Reduce Co2 Emissions.

Compost John said...

Thank you Reus, that's very kind.

And hello Carbon Offsetting company... what can I say? I am all for carbon offsetting IF the person has reduced their carbon emissions down to the absolute minimum first.

What I don't like about offsetting is that some people and companies might see the offsetting as a way of continuing with 'buisiness as usual' and 'paying to pollute' which is just what we shouldn't be doing!

The other reseration I have with offsetting is that some of the schemes might have happened whether or not the offsetting company got involved, and some of the schemes might not actually reduce the total carbon emissions in the way that the company would like you to think they do.

For instance, some companies do offsetting in foreign countries... and this can involve them flying to those countries. Some offsetting schemes might involve fitting technology which has an incredibly high embodied energy footprint and does not reduce overall emissions, or takes many years to start saving carbon from being admitted. Tree planting schemes might not work as carbon sinks if the trees die due to climate problems, firewood collecting, forest fires etc.

So a lot of different issues mean that if you are going to use an offsetting company, you have to carefully research them and ask some searching questions.

I personally wouldn't want to offset the approx 1 tonne/year I am responsible for... I'd rather be involved in education and doing 'difficult to measure' stuff which definitely reduces my total footprint, such as removing biodegradables from bins destined for landfill and recycling them, etc.

But glad to have the previous comment posted as it will stimulate debate and thought.