Monday 1st March – Linlithgow Academy Debating Society put on an excellent show. Topics they selected were “This house believes the environment comes first” and “The house would cut the global population by half”. Without doubt some tough topics to have to debate, and two teams put their cases for and against each motion before opening up to the audience for further debate. The students had clearly made a fantastic effort to research each topic, with some interesting quotes. A few things that stood out for me personally, was the challenges of making such decisions. Were the kids to loose out on music and concerts for the sake of the environment, could human rights be tied into knots with Nature Rights being a priority? Was the issue broader than just warming and actually about over consumption, pollution, water shortage, disease, etc.
Whatever the final outcome I hope the students enjoyed the topics and also the practice at debating in front of a challenging audience. Well done to Jean Long and all at the Debating Soc. for an enjoyable evening. Linlithgow Academy should be proud of you all.
There’s a fair amount of ping-pong on The Guardian newspaper over the last few weeks about Feed-in-Tariffs and if they are driving the right approach by paying people to invest in renewables for households compared to large offshore wind schemes etc.
One area that I think has been missing from the debate is that of social behaviour change, and by that I don’t mean the Big Brother stick to convince you to change. Attending the Futerra talk on Sell the Sizzle the other week, I was struck by the need to support and encourage a change, as such changes need to happen in a rational mindset which few of us are rarely in. Most of our daily lives we are on auto-pilot. Kids up, washed, fed, to school, commute, work, shop, tea, etc….. It’s almost impossible to have a chance to break that routine cycle to discuss change and what might motivate it.
I’m sure the government will set tighter and tighter controls and incentives as time goes by. For example. The latest Council Tax reminder booklet has encouraging messages within it that they might offer a discount if you meet certain criteria for home improvements. EPC’s or Home Energy Reports when you buy/sell your home will have an influence on the market over time, like they have with fridges try buying a B or C rated fridge now !). But I’m looking at the other side of the coin. We need people who have fitted solar panels or heat pumps or log boilers to step forward and tell their story. Renewables are not like gas or electricity, as I’m sure I’ve blogged before. You can’t come home and flick a switch to turn on a ground source heat pump, because it doesn’t work that way. Heat change to a large thermal mass like a stone floor takes hours if not days to adjust in temperature. Having a solar hot water panel might mean showering at different times of the day, or perhaps a wind turbine might only drive the washing machine when it’s windy. Hmm. The future I don’t think will be a negative one. Just different, and I for one am looking forward to it. I’ll be experimenting with something called a SolarVert, and if it works and works well, then I might be that person telling the story of how you can add a solar panel without the increased investment in a new HW cylinder too…. Fingers crossed it works.
Oh, while I’m on the subject of renewables. Congratulations to : http://www.yougen.co.uk/ who won a green web award. Well deserved. Lots of excellent advice, great tweets and very responsive to questions posted.
Earth Hour 2010
Saturday 27th March 8:30pm – please join us in turning out your lights and perhaps have a torch party. If using candles be very very careful. We hope to convince West Lothian Council and Historic Scotland to turn off the lights at the Palace again this year and some of us will be out there to make sure they do. Last year (as you can see from our Flickr website) we asked the Linlithgow Camera Club to help out with some long exposure photos while we danced about with torches to try and write backwards in the dark. I think you’ll agree that not many photos of the palace have been done that way and the photos were well done.
What will you do on Earth Hour this year ? We’ll decorate the shop window at 1 the cross, and will keep you posted on what we plan. Perhaps a candle lit parade or some paper boats…. Send in your ideas via our Contact page.
Nourish Scotland – http://nourishscotland.ning.com/
26-27th of Feb was another great chance to meet up with people from all around Scotland who firmly believe that our food system is not sustainable and needs some TLC to get it back on track. We heard on the Friday about the Scottish Goverments Food and Drinks Policy and some lively discussions took place while we tucked into coffee and cake, and then on the Saturday, the members of Nourish got down to working out what a collective organisation could do both for individual members but also as a combined force. A mountain of views were gathered and hopefully soon, we’ll see a summary report appearing to link in with the photos and summaries of speeches given.
I made a 3 minute pitch for Linlithgow, saying that we are a bit like an island, surrounded in beautiful farmland, but few of us enjoying a taste of the produce it could provide. I hope that some of the motivation to look at alternatives to Supermarkets at the Local Food Consultation will spark a wave of change. Supporting our local farmers, investing locally in our own economy and not pouring it into a black hole, and also encouraging more businesses to grow and employ more local people. We can do this. I know we can.
So who was out walking the High Street on the 4th of March ? http://www.scottishairquality.co.uk/index.php?site_id=LING&t_action=data…
We need to keep an eye on the air quality on our high street. For whatever reason ( and I’m no expert) we get spikes on this website that show PM10’s which are basically tiny soot particles way above recommended levels which I understand to be 50ugm3. If I’m correct, on the 4th this was way up over 80. PM10’s are not good for our health and worse for those who suffer from breathing related diseases. We must keep an eye on these charts and ask not only ‘is it safe to cross the road’ because of parked and moving cars, but also ‘is it safe’ to be walking or cycling ! Our High Street is not only physically congested with vehicles and spoiling the town, but it’s also impacting the air we breath, and that’s a hidden danger. Who would like to see a change ? Who is prepared to drive less ? I know that’s a tough challenge for me, but perhaps it’s time to walk more, to cycle more, to use the buses and to convince others to do the same. I’d also like to buy a small slice of the High Street and put a toll on it for all polluting road users. Income for the town and also a motivator for change. Anyone fancy buying into a slice of highway ? 🙂
I expect I’m way behind the professionals at starting off seeds, but this year will be greater in yield than last year. I hope to grow more, grow new varieties and also to experiment with a few different crops, as long as I can also find a way of keeping the chickens from taking the first harvest !.