Turning the Tide: 11th April 2010

Climate change had a high profile this winter thanks to the Copenhagen summit and many of the carbon reduction campaigns, such as 10:10. And though the world’s governments came to few real agreements and the media has focussed on climate scepticism it’s clear, perhaps more than ever, that individuals and communities have a decisive role to play in keeping the carbon levels in the atmosphere down.

Turning the Tide poster

To keep the conversation about climate change going and avoid “burn out” is the intent behind the play, Turning the Tide, which Sustainable Bungay is hosting on April 11 at the Library. It’s set in a small rural community where very different characters comes to terms with changing their lives to reduce carbon emissions, from the perils of wheelie bins to arguments about wind farms. Afterwards the cast invite the audience to discuss the issues explored in the play. It’s a lively informal way for people to explore modern dilemmas that are often thought about but not always expressed or acted on. “Drama can be an effective and fun communication tool,” said Open Space Theatre Company director, Yves Green, speaking after the cast’s first performance at Wenhaston Village Hall. “Ordinary people can often be excluded.”

The play ends its month-long Suffolk tour here in Bungay and if you’d like to take part as well as find out about any aspect of carbon reduction, from using one of the Library monitors to joining in with the town carbon audit, do come along.

Turning the Tide – A Carbon Fantasy in One Act by Peppy Barlow is at the Bungay Library on April 11 at 6.30pm. If you would like to reserve a place, please ring 07976 941 613 or use the booking form below:

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Introducing Bungay Community Bees

Bungay Community Bees – a Natural Beekeeping Project: With Honey Bee vulnerability in mind, Bungay Community Bees aims to manage hives in as sustainable a manner as possible. We are not a commercial venture and honey production is viewed as a bonus rather than a prime motive for bee keeping. We aim to use two or three systems over the next few years until we find one that suits us and the bees best. As a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA – see notes) venture we have a proposed plan to expand both hives and beekeepers as follows:

Year 1: In the first year 25 supporters are recruited, all pay £20 each raising £500 capital to invest in two hives (National type) and colonies, insurance for two beekeepers, basic equipment and training for two new beekeepers.
Benefits to members include:

  • Visits to the hives with the BCB beekeepers to learn more about apiculture
  • The opportunity to have a hive in your garden (if the site is suitable; hives will only be tended by insured BCB beekeepers)
  • Every year one or two members of BCB will have the chance to attend a beekeeping course paid for by BCB.
  • An invitation to the honey harvest and bee party every Autumn.
  • Regular updates and photos via the BCB blog
  • A share of the wax and honey. BCB will be as much about caring for bees as about bee products: yields can not be guaranteed and, certainly in the first few years as the hives establish, are likely to be very low and possibly non-existent.

Year 2: In the second year 25 supporters are recruited, ideally the same group as in year 1. All pay £15 each raising £375 capital to invest in two more hives (Warre type) and colonies, insurance for four beekeepers, basic equipment and training for two more beekeepers.

Benefits are the same as for year 1 but the honey and wax share could increase.

Year 3: In the third year 30 supporters are recruited, ideally the same supporters as in year 1 and 2 plus an additional 5. All pay £10 each raising £300 capital to invest in two more hives (top bar type) and colonies, insurance for six beekeepers, basic equipment and training for two more beekeepers.

Benefits are the same as for year 1 and 2 but the honey and wax share might increase again.

Year 4: Consolidation. 30 supporters are recruited, again ideally the same supporters as in years 1, 2 and 3, and pay £10 each raising £300. The only expenditure is insurance for 6 beekeepers and and extra equipment that might be required. During this year the merits of the various hive types are assessed.

Year 5: Same as year 4 or, if the group wants to grow it might decide repeat year 1 but with 30 members paying £10 and purchasing the hive type that has performed best.

Over time the honey and wax share should increase to the point where a £10 annual investment delivers an excellent return in honey and other hive products – but it could also be that in some years we produce little or nothing.

Energy Day: 4 October 2009

The autumn is here and Sustainable Bungay launched their new season of initiatives with an Energy Day at Bungay Library on Sunday 4 October. The library have generously allotted their courtyard space to SB and over the next year we will beginning to create a truly sustainable garden we’re calling the Living Library – containing all the useful, local plants we will need for a low-carbon future, everything from textiles to herbs to food.

Poster for the first SB Energy Day

On Sunday a solar panel expert gave advice about alternative energy in the car park opposite the library. We also introduced our Carbon audit. And Gemma Parker (now resident chef at the Three Willows nursery) provided delicious cakes and teas! People got a chance to check out our lively noticeboard and selection of books about climate change and peak oil and what we can do to make ourselves and our communities more resilient.

Those of us who have been in the group for some time were delighted to meet and greet new people wanting to come on board and join in the adventure of living sustainably in Bungay.

We’re beginning our Library project with a Permaculture course. Permaculture is at the heart of the Transition Movement (its co-founder, Rob Hopkins, The Observer’s ethical grassroots campaigner of the year, is a teacher of this sustainable design system) and we wanted to have everything on the right footing, so the small paved courtyard will become as energy-efficient as possible: we’re going to be growing heritage and organic vegetables in all kinds of recycled containers, as well as medicinal herbs, and the courtyard will also have a wormery, rainwater butt, a vegetable tower, a children’s corner and a seed bank.

Next spring Sustainable Bungay will be mapping the wild spaces and wastegrounds for wild flowers, herbs and trees and building up a seasonal botanical and foraging map of the town. We’re also looking out for neighbourhood fruit and nut trees that could be gleaned for their unused fruit and shared in the community (along the lines of the Apple Share Day organised by Transition Beccles on October 10). Do get in touch with us if you have any fruit trees in your garden you would like to “tag” for this project.