Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TWELVE YEARS!)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

‘Carbon Conversations’: our 7th series is completed

We have finished our latest series of local Carbon Conversations – exploring personal choices for carbon reduction in travel, home energy, food and in general consumption, all in a friendly and non-judgemental way. There were even some laughs, in a subject where gloom and self-denial seem to be the norm. But gloom and denial are hardly good motivators for change…!
Many thanks to Graveney and Meadow at 40 Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, for the free use of their space on the Monday evenings: much appreciated by all. Catch a glimpse of the cosy atmosphere (and the wild wallpaper) in this picture from the 'Food' meeting:

In this past week’s meeting on Consumption, we briefly looked at the relationships between carbon reduction and wellbeing. For anyone who wants to spend more time on some of the background, here are some of the books, videos and websites we referred to:
Tim Kasser, The High Price of Materialism, MIT Press, Cambridge, USA, 2002
Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff, Constable, 2010
The Story of Stuff video, 2008
Mike Berners-Lee, How Bad Are Bananas?: The carbon footprint of everything, Profile Books, 2010
Voluntary Simplicity: one site is

All welcome to join when we offer another series of Tooting Carbon Conversations! For info, email us at

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Report on our 'Energy we can all afford?' meeting

Our ‘Energy we can all afford?’ meeting in St Alban‘s Church, Furzedown was a very lively session (see the flyer and speakers here). Discussion was much more heated than the bitterly cold evening outside.
We touched on a set of significant and interrelated topics: wellbeing, poverty, and our own capability to keep our homes warm; UK energy policy and supply; energy costs and affordability – and what we can do to take action in response.
I won’t try to systematically summarise 7 diverse speakers, or the questions: here are some cross-cutting points from all, plus a few quotes, to consider as individuals and communities.

Some social and physical facts to do with energy, cold, and poverty
·         Though our weather isn’t the coldest, UK homes are among the coldest in Europe
·         30-50% of winter deaths are caused by cold
·         37% of Wandsworth Borough’s homes were built pre-1919 (with solid walls, so cavity  wall insulation is not possible). The national average is 23%
·         Where can home heat be wasted? Have a look at this drawing
·        10,500 households in Wandsworth are in ‘fuel poverty’ (that is, the household spends  more than 10% of income on fuel) because of varying combinations of 3 factors:  poor heating and/or insulation, low income, the high cost of fuel
·         It’s estimated that by 2016, 1 in 3 households in London could be in fuel poverty

Thursday, 21 March 2013

This evening: Energy we can all afford?

Tonight we are co-hosting a free public meeting that will explore the energy challenges and opportunities that face us now - as a country, a community, and as households - and suggest practical ways forward. This event is timed to coincide with the new Energy Bill currently going through Parliament.
The meeting will be held at St Alban's Church Hall, Pretoria Road, Furzedown SW16 1RR, from 7pm to 9pm. We have a diverse and exciting group of invited speakers: please have a look at the flyer by clicking here.
Many thanks to our partners and supporters - and all welcome!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

New green job experience - locally!

TTT is part of the exciting local Furzedown Low Carbon Zone project that is looking at practical ways for college students to experience the value and impact of sustainability in their courses, linked with the community.
We’re working with 3 schools at South Thames College (STC): Construction, Creative Industries, and Hair and Beauty, and with Eardley School in Furzedown, and with Kingston University.  
We thought you might like to see some highlights of recent activity!

Yesterday Graham Petersen hosted an event at STC which explored how sustainability can be demonstrated in High Street beauty salons, with many young and female staff. That's in contrast to the workforce in the energy and building sectors that we may associate with ‘green jobs’. College students heard about:
  • global supply chains and social responsibility from Russell Richards of Aveda
  • Marzena Forristal’s experience in establishing the Wink Salon in Furzedown – and both Russell and Marzena explored the sense of wellbeing linked with hair and beauty
  • the Skin project guide from Clare Lawton of Capacity Global. Clare gave tips on products and chemicals, their impact on staff and customers, salon energy management – and some practical DIY recipes. The brand new report is free here. 
Rebeca,the STC Creative Industries student who is developing green media skills, made videos of the session and interviews.
Earlier, during February half term at Eardley School, Kristina the STC Construction school student took part in the first steps of the installation of a range of energy saving measures. These were selected by the school team following an energy efficiency audit of the school by Giles Read of ThinkingWorks.
And that was recorded too…so look out for the finished video in the next few weeks.

There will be an event to share our learning, at STC’s Wandsworth campus on April 23rd – details to follow. All welcome!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

All about food: Tooting Carbon Conversations on Monday 18th March

In our next free 'Carbon Conversation', we'll be looking at the choices for reducing our own carbon footprint in the food we buy (or grow...).
Our relationship with food is tied up with many aspects of our health, comfort, wellbeing, family life, enjoyment, culture: we'll touch on those.
And we'll look at the example of Hodmedods - building a new market for British crops that have been grown here for centuries. You can be a local food trailblazer!

Come and join the discussion on Monday 18th March, from 6:30pm, at Graveney and Meadow, 40 Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, SW17 9NA

For info, email us at

Friday, 8 March 2013

A Good Talk About Books

Yesterday on World Book Day visitors to Tooting Library enjoyed a good chat about books. Dialogues were started and a few good recommendations exchanged. Many thanks to Liz, Lesley and all the very helpful staff at the Library for helping to organise.   
 "I've just had three interesting conversations with three different people that I would never normally get to meet" said one participant, which is perhaps what makes this format fun. dt

Friday, 1 March 2013

Carbon Conversations has begun - next one on Home Energy is Monday 4th March

On Monday March 4th we will be looking at carbon-reduction choices and opportunities in the home (including energy consumption and efficiency), and at 'what's important to you in your home?'

We will be joined by architect Susan Venner, who will share her experience of an 80% carbon reduction & refurbishment project at her Victorian house in Balham - done while living in it.  Susan's experience of the 'low-carbon future' now is that for the first time her house is warm! 
Click here to see some of her improvements.  
The house is open to visitors on March 23rd. Click here to book.
If you want to sample Carbon Conversations and join this meeting, we will be at Graveney and Meadow, 40 Mitcham Road, SW17 9NA, from 6:30-8:30pm.
Queries to