CREW Energy is a volunteer-led non-profit community co-operative based in Wandsworth and Merton. Our newsletter is a round-up of the month's most interesting and important news stories on climate and energy issues, local updates and CREW news.
Climate Action Replay
June was a very busy month for CREW and the many strings to our bow. We took part in Community Energy Fortnight, Coop Fortnight, Virtual Lobbying of MP for Putney, Southfields and Roehampton - Fleur Anderson (pictured above) - and part one of London Climate Action Week. This movement across the capital and country was just another display of how being apart has only brought us closer together! It was also the perfect opportunity to show you what CREW is all about: climate, community and cooperation.
Although useful and convenient, life in plastic... is not so fantastic. According to Greenpeace UK, a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every single minute and UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes every year. With production increasing, that’s set to rise.
So what can we do about it? This month we are taking on the challenge to reduce our plastic use and promote (perfectly imperfect) zero-waste living. See how you can get involved below!
Choose to refuse
We know 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' is the usual mantra but what about the fourth 'R' word... Refuse! Do you need a plastic straw (do you even need a paper one)? Do you need a bag to carry two items? If the answer is no, then say it loud and proud!
It doesn't have to cost the earth
Reusable items don't have to be expensive! While beeswax wraps and metal straws are prime purchases these days, you can still do it the old-fashioned way: cover a bowl of leftovers with an up-turned plate instead of cling film, swap make-up wipes for a face cloth (yes, wipes do contain plastic!), switch your shower gel to a bar of soap...
Refill as you roam
There's been a lot of talk recently of coffee shops refusing reusable cups during COVID-19. Don't be discouraged if you want to use your Keep Cup - there are perfectly safe ways to do so and even some big chains such as Costa Coffee are now welcoming the refillables back with open arms! If in doubt, just ask.
Luckily for us, the internet is positively packed with tips to help you cut back on plastic. Take a look at some of the actions you can adopt and keep us posted on your polyethylene-pummelling action on social media.
40% of UK emissions come from households. Britain’s homes are also the draughtiest in Europe, and one of the country’s biggest sources of carbon dioxide. The average UK household needs to reduce its emissions by 3.6 tonnes by 2030 to keep us on track towards the 80% UK-wide reduction in emissions by 2050 required to tackle dangerous climate change.
That's why Boris Johnson's 'new deal' announced last week has been met with criticism that a 'build, build, build' approach will do nothing to further our green targets if these homes are built under existing (sub)standards.
Coronavirus: 14m households set for £288m energy bill shock
We imagined that lockdown would have an impact on bills, but a recent report from Uswitch.com has shown this to amount to an average of £16 per month in UK households. However, reduced meter readings due to limited staff or inaccessibility of homes mean it could be more than six months before these households see their bill change.
The price rise is likely to hit vulnerable households hardest, with 21 per cent of people who rely on meter readers being over 65, or having a disability or a long-term medical condition. Tie this in with the effect of 'leaky', poorly insulated homes and this could increase even further.
Parts of Wandsworth are going traffic-free as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods begin to appear across the borough! Wandsworth Council has successfully secured an initial allocation of London Streetspace funding to implement a number of temporary 'School Streets' and 'Low Traffic Neighbourhood' projects designed to make travel around the borough safer for pedestrians and cyclists. One of the first pedestrianised areas is Old York Road near Wandsworth Town station from 6 July to the end of August.
Favourite book: Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (the feeling of nostalgia is so potent)
Favourite place: Cornwall, mainly the north coast but basically all of it
Describe yourself in 3 words: workaholic, friendly, optimistic
Why did you get into the sustainability sphere?
Because I think it is the challenge of industrialised human society - how do we live in the world and learn/develop while not destroying the planet. I think it starts local but with a closer connection to the world at large, especially the natural world.
Who is your green inspiration?
I read two books which convinced me to change careers and go back to school for an Energy and Environment Policy and Economics Master's at UCL: 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson and 'Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered' by EF Schumacher. They laid bare the need for an environmental/ecological view of the world to stop all the damage we have been wreaking.
Favourite lockdown location/activity?
Playing cards with my girlfriend while sitting on Wandsworth Common or Garrett Green, probably with a drink!