We are delighted to announce that our first cohort of Transition Together groups have all taken massive steps in reducing their carbon emissions at home in the past year, and cut their household bills into the bargain. Group members and guests met up at St Michaels Church in Galmington to celebrate their successes, and sample goodies from the Farmers Market.
Transition Together is a project we launched in July last year with a small grant from Taunton Deane Borough Council. The pilot year involved 6 groups of householders who met up on a monthly basis to look at topics such as energy and water use in the home, how to minimise waste, and why using locally produced food makes a huge difference to our carbon footprints. Each group member got a copy of our brilliant (though we say so ourselves) handbook with every hint and carbon saving tip imaginable in it. They also got the loan of an energy monitor, and a very modest grant, based on £10 per participating household to spend as a group on something the project inspired them to do.
Everyone agreed that the project had been great fun, not least because doing it as a group meant the sociable side was just as important as the practicalities of cutting carbon.
One of the best things at the celebration was hearing what each group had chosen to spend their grant on. One group bought seeds to kick start their own garden share. Another group of colleagues from Somerset College will be buying three fruit trees to plant on campus, to be cared for by students. A third will be investing their funds into lots of badger proof wire for their new chicken co-op and a fourth is planning to visit Tracebridge Sourdough to learn to bake their own bread. A fifth used their funding to help St Margaret’s Hospice plant fruit trees in their garden and the sixth are still mulling (but we bet it will be about food!)
At the celebration, we asked people three questions:
- What is the eco change you are most proud of?
- What is your biggest eco challenge?
- What is your eco dream for Taunton?
We though you would like to see their answers (see below).
We are now looking for new people who would like to start up a Transition Together group – it could be neighbours, friends or colleagues. All you need to do is be able to bring together a group of between 4-8 householders willing to meet up for 7 monthly sessions. If that person is you, we’d love to hear from you. Contact Chrissie, email@example.com
Alternatively, if you simply want to be in a group but don’t feel in a position to put one together yourself, you have two choices. You can email Chrissie who will network you with others who are also interested but groupless and help you organise your first meeting. Alternatively, you can join a 7 session course called Low Carbon Conversations which Taunton Transition Town is running with the Genesis Centre at Somerset College, starting in November (see separate news item).
Eco change most proud of:
- Being more water savvy!
- Reducing electricity usage
- Moving house, insulating the new house and turning the garden into a very tiny allotment
- Getting my allotment this year….it’s my little haven, lots of companion planting, butterflies, bees and some lovely vegetables
- Taking from the garden and taking to the table
- Saving the ater that used to go down the drain before the hot came. I now save it in milk bottles to put in the kettle – 6 pints!
- Cutting energy in the house after insulation and saving water through a water butt purchase and more re-use of water, capturing rainfall for the garden.
- Having a wood burning range with a back boiler that does all the hot water and radiators – no more oil burning and very low electricity bills
- Having a water meter and using grey water to flush the loo
- My second greenhouse and my amazing tomato harvest – we’re going to have a taste of summer all through the winter!
- Moving house so that the car stays on the driveway during the week
- Wasting less and less food and water
- Introducing other people to Taunton Transition Town
Biggest eco challenge:
- Cutting down on car usage
- Planning to get rid of the car
- Having a low energy house
- Losing the car and buying an electric bike
- Moving to or creating an eco community
- My car!!
- Not buying in supermarkets
- Growing more food
- Another greenhouse? More tomatoes?
- Getting serious on my bike!
- Less travel by car – I wish public transport were more efficient and reliable and less expensive (buses and trains particularly)
- More knowledge so that I can be a more responsible consumer
- Buying less in supermarkets, using my own veg and fruit from local green grocers
Eco dreams for Taunton:
- Less flowers more food (in public places)
- Better transport and bike access
- Lots and lots of little but productive urban food gardens in otherwise wasted space
- Lots of jobs for people without them growing food and helping others with difficulties in growing food
- That the new houses they build are eco efficient
- Concern for the nutritional value (of processed foods) and evidence for its effects on health We want real food!
- More compassion for neighbours and people everywhere
- More jobs in sustainable industries rather than in producing “stuff” which will get thrown away and become obsolete before too long
- No new houses in flood plains
- Advisory service for allotments and veg gardeners
- Better bike access away from busy roads
- Better education and awareness of eco issues so that people choose the right path.