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

Friday, 20 December 2013

The shortest day: looking forward in the Garden

This weekend it's the winter solstice.
From now on the days start to get longer - slowly at first, just seconds per day. Yes it's still winter, and the coldest weather is still to come - but for gardeners this is an exciting time!
Over the next few weeks, come along to the Tooting Community Garden and you can feel that things are alive and moving outdoors.

The winter wheat is
coming up well
 Rocket and mustard
leaves picked today

Gardening helps you learn to look forwards (a New Year's resolution?).
This week we planted the Stella dessert cherry that Gatton School has presented to the Community Garden - there'll be plenty of blossom and fruit to enjoy in the future.

We'll be open on Sundays 11-1 over the holidays.
Check on the Community Garden's Facebook page for any updates, and we look forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Cycling & Better, Safer Streets

I was reminded in Amsterdam recently, what a vast difference there is between cycling in the Dutch capital and cycling in London.
In central Amsterdam, bicycles and feet seem the primary mode of transport followed by trams. Far fewer cars, less pollution, a more pleasant environment and a slimmer looking population from this brief survey. There are many segregated lanes for bicycles, separate bike traffic signals, a generally friendly mixing of bikes and pedestrians and no helmets, not one, in sight.  Cycling is a pleasure not an ordeal.

Could London ever become this civilised?  Or must every journey involve a running of the gauntlet, sharing tiny spaces with huge vehicles, oblivious, aggressive or on the phone drivers coccooned in their metal boxes, cycle lanes that go nowhere etc?  As a daily cyclist, I can confirm it's a jungle out there, even on the roads of Tooting and Balham which I use a lot.  You have to keep your wits about you to stay safe.  If only here was as cool and bike/people friendly as Amsterdam!

So what is going on in our local area?  Campaigner Jon Irwin has several petitions running on his traffik in tooting blog looking for support for trial changes to road layouts in Tooting and wider Wandsworth, and he'd welcome your support - all petitions here.  One idea I particularly like is making a section of the A24 between Tooting Bec and Balham a French style boulevard with segregation for cyclists and pedestrians.  "Balham Boulevard" apparently has some chance of success with interest from Council Transport lead Russell King and even a name check from Boris!  Jon adds: "The campaigns I've been running ... have been incredibly well received. Do get in touch if you'd like to help out, I can only do this with local support". Email Jon here

Meanwhile 20's Plenty looks to implement a 20mph speed limit where people live.  I recently petitioned a Council meeting requesting this in my street.  Why not do the same for yours?  Already over 12m people live in local authority areas which are adopting this policy - why not round here too?  Despite Wandsworth Council never seeming keen on actually DOING anything in this area (better at talking), it's up to us as individuals to keep applying pressure.  There is an election next year ... politicians do seem to be interested in those.  DT

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Update 4 - Gatton School Garden Sessions

Gatton School's Year Six classes have had two more amazing sessions, on the 3rd and 10th December. While the rainwater catchment in the Tooting Community Garden - 'The Build' - has been growing fast, children have been trying out some of the skills involved.

The pictures can tell the story:
Year Six were practicing cutting timber joints on 3rd December, to copy how the roof supports are fitted together:

Four timbers complete with two lap joints each
On December 10th they made a pop-up roof with hand-held gutters to show how to collect and store rainwater from a roof. It worked!

The pop-up roof takes shape

No problem! From watering can to storage without any spills

On both days, we explored how teamworking makes a better and stronger construction.
As of today the roof is up, and next week sees the completion of the Build - with several linked projects planned for 2014.

Sorting garlic before planting
Year One classes have continued to visit:
Garden activities can be solo and
reflective, or social and active!
Can maple seeds fly? Yes!


Thursday, 12 December 2013

TTT Dec Meet & Christmas Celebration

TTT has one more meeting this year and it'll be quite a short one from 7 to 7.30pm at the Antelope in Mitcham Rd on Tuesday 17th Dec. Happily this meet will also double up as a Christmas celebration from 7.30 onwards that could end anywhere in the beloved environs of SW17.  It's been a busy year with so many different contributions from so many people in a wide variety of different areas.  Thanks everyone for helping TTT go from strength to strength.  Do come along and celebrate, join us for a drink and a chat, followed by an optional sampling of any of the neighbourhood's culinary delights.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Latest monthly TTT email on 4th December '13

You can read today's monthly email to subscribers by clicking here.
Please email us on if you would like to be added to the circulation list.
We hope to see you at a meeting or event soon!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Update 3 - Gatton School Garden Sessions

During this week's session, the Year Six children caught up with the progress achieved by the previous school groups: raising the six main uprights for the rainwater catchment build, having set the posts in concrete (see earlier Updates below in this blog).

Spot the socket wrench
What was the next job?
Making the roof trusses to support the roof itself. four small groups, the Year Six children designed sets of models of the trusses, complete with an angled pitch to ensure rain-water runoff. The children measured lengths of timber, drilled them to fit their designs, fixed them with bolts or screws, and took them back to school to experiment further: co-operating to use brand new skills.
We made these models! The real thing is behind us.
And what did Year One do?
They prepared the ground, marked out rows, and planted some jerusalem artichokes: plants which will grow much taller than they are next spring and summer.
Covering the tubers with earth - job well done!
Next stage in the Year Six Build project? Three more sessions to go: building the trusses..and then roofing, then the guttering and water butts. Look out for the next Update!

Community Responses to the Energy Crisis

We hosted this meeting with the Furzedown Low Carbon Zone on Wednesday 27th November.

Giles from gave an interactive talk sponsored by the Citizens' Advice Bureau.
He focused on understanding our own energy supply bills, on the grants and support schemes currently available, and who is eligible, on the energy efficiency challenges in Furzedown's housing stock, and on being aware of the energy consumption of many household items - all in a very practical 45 minutes.
Of course we still had questions - and Giles directed us to many places to find out much more detail.

Secondly, we briefly outlined the potential for a community energy generation scheme, and agreed to meet again in January 2014 to discuss this in more depth.
We realised we are 'surrounded' by local energy generation experiments and potential good advice - with schemes developed or en route in Brixton, Streatham, Kingston, and Wandsworth.

Andy, Headteacher at Eardley School, described the final stages of the installation at half term of £10,000 worth of energy efficiency measures in the school. The funds for these steps came via the FLCZ project which ran locally earlier in 2014, where local college students engaged with aspects of sustainability within their courses.
(Have a look at our project video here).

To get involved or learn more, please contact Graham Petersen by email - we look forward to being in touch.
And thanks to Naked Loaf for making the delicious snacks in the same few days that they were painting floors and signs ready to open their new bakery and deli in Moyser Road.