The Big Garden Birdwatch

Photo of several birds at Waltham Place Farm

The Big Garden Birdwatch is taking place from Friday 26th – Sunday 28th January. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved in monitoring the health of the nation’s birds, simply by counting the birds that land in their garden or the patch outside their window. No knowledge is required as the RSPB provide a digital guide to identify the species you are likely to see. To sign up visit: https://www.rspb.org.uk/whats-happening/big-garden-birdwatch

Data from previous surveys shows that we have lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 60 years! And, whilst house sparrow numbers are currently going up the overall counts of house sparrows are still down by 57% compared to the first Birdwatch in 1979. Our birds provide huge ecosystem services to us, not least as pest controllers, seed-sowers, and as part of nature’s clean-up crew. Lend an hour of your time in thanks for their efforts and help the RSPB to monitor what’s going on with our garden birds and give them a voice.

With thanks to Niki McCann from Waltham Place for this excellent article, extracted from her monthly newsletter. For more information on Waltham Place and their program of events, visit What’s on (walthamplace.com)

Build your own NestBox!

Join us in the ECO Action Hub from 10:00 – 12:00 on 16th December 2023

  • A drop in session to help you build your own nest box and take home for your garden!
  • No prior knowledge of building boxes or of using the right tools is required
  • Bisham Nest Box Group will bring all equipment and tools you need to build nest boxes.

From Bisham Nest Box Group: We are a small, not-for-profit volunteer group making nest boxes for garden birds, owls, raptors, swifts, hedgehogs, bats and bees. We just ask for a donation to cover the cost of the materials. Bisham Nest Box Group

In the ECO Action Hub from 10:00 to 12:00 Saturday 16th December. Drop in!

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation “How To” Guide: MORE HELP!

We recently posted about the RBWM’s Sustainability SPD Consultation (here). If you just want to provide a quick response, we suggest you use our handy “How To” guide (here).

For those with more time and interest in how the SPD can be made better we’ve now got more detailed responses linked here to help you shape your feedback to RBWM! This edition has a particular focus on Energy Efficiency, Climate Adaptation and Sustainable Construction.

If you are short on time then you can simply copy and paste the last three columns of the table in the document (Section, Para, Suggested Text) into Box 5 of the Representation Form and email to planning.consultation@rbwm.gov.uk. Those items where ‘Push for change’ is highlighted in red are our priorities.

It would be really great if you can complete the submissions using the forms and information we’ve provided. The more RBWM hear from all of us as residents, the better informed they will be to make sound decisions.

To see all our posts about the Sustainability SPD please click here.

Thank you for your submissions!

Sustainability in action graphics

“We must now look at the world through a new lens”

The BBC’s Planet Earth III is now on television and iPlayer.

Presented by Sir David Attenborough it’s a fascinating journey to the far reaches of our planet. It follows some of the world’s most amazing species, telling extraordinary stories that are dramatic, thrilling, funny and sometimes heart-breaking, but always full of hope.

For anyone who cares about the climate and biodiversity … it’s a must-watch!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gjwxhv

Sir David Attenborough

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation “How To” Guide

We posted last week about the RBWM’s Sustainability SPD Consultation. (See here).

For any of our supporters (YOU!) that are keen to respond but are short of time, here is a detailed “How To” guide. Helping you to make best use of your time and respond in what we consider a most appropriate fashion to get to desired outcomes within RBWM!

Here’s a summary of what you will find there:

  • Why Engage: We want to live in a Borough that is zero carbon and rich in nature. When developments take place, we want them to help us achieve this. The Sustainability SPD will direct and guide planners and developers towards this.
  • What Best Informs: The SPD needs to include: clear Intent (a sense of urgency & confidence the SPD will deliver RBWM targets), meaningful Content (the SPD needs to remain current and relevant in our changing world). And must be Ambitious (to ensure the Borough’s critical climate goals are reached and the SPD delivers)
  • How to make a difference: Experience shows we are more successful in achieving change when we clearly target specific sections of the document subject to consultation. It is also just as important to support those sections of the draft SPD that show true ambition.

We will be providing specific guidance on the Eco Action website in the next fortnight to help you to do this. Deadline for your response to the consultation is 27th November 2023.

Here again is the link to the “How To” guide. Thank you.

Sustainability: People, Energy, Planet.

RBWM Sustainability SPD Consultation

In June 2019, RBWM declared an environment and climate emergency. It enshrined the target of net zero carbon emissions in the borough by 2050, in line with Government policy.

A Sustainability SPD is one of the key actions identified in the Environment and Climate Strategy 2020-2025, to help shape development towards net zero carbon, protect and enhance the natural environment, drive carbon reductions in the borough and deliver wider climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Council has now prepared the draft Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for public consultation. The consultation will run for six weeks from Monday 16 October 2023 until midnight on Monday 27 November 2023.

Whilst the ECO Action Hub is working with a consortium to help influence and update the Sustainability SPD you also as residents have the opportunity to comment and respond to the consultation … However, we will shortly be providing guidance here on how best to do so, to save you the trouble of reading all 86 pages, and to maximise the impact we can collectively have. 

In the meantime, if you do want to get a head start and read the SPD – please click on the link below for more information: RBWM Sustainability Consultation Link HERE

People acting in a sustainable environment

Waltham Place Farm: Fundraising event for ECO Action Hub

Wednesday 16th August 2023 at 2 pm!

Join Waltham Place Garden Team for a walk around the Kitchen Garden and Market Garden to see how they manage their productive growing areas. We will also be visiting the compost area to see how we turn garden and farm waste into a valuable resource for the garden.

A wonderful opportunity to ask questions, and get tips from their experienced growers, that will help in your allotment or garden at home. And it includes a glass of organic cordial.

All details including how to register here: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

All funds will be donated to the Eco Hub, www.ecoactionhub.co.uk who are delighted to be in partnership with Waltham Place Farm.

Grow your own produce

Time and Date: 14:00 on 16th August 2023

Tickets: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

Address: Waltham Place Farm, Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham SL6 3JH

Waltham Place Farm: Fundraising event for ECO Action Hub

Hold the dateWednesday 16th August 2023 at 2 pm!

Join Waltham Place Garden Team for a walk around the Kitchen Garden and Market Garden to see how they manage their productive growing areas. We will also be visiting the compost area to see how we turn garden and farm waste into a valuable resource for the garden.

A wonderful opportunity to ask questions, and get tips from their experienced growers, that will help in your allotment or garden at home. And it includes a glass of organic cordial.

All details including how to register here: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

All funds will be donated to the Eco Hub, www.ecoactionhub.co.uk who are delighted to be in partnership with Waltham Place Farm.

Grow your own produce

Time and Date: 14:00 on 16th August 2023

Tickets: Waltham Place – ECO Hub: Grow Your Own

Address: Waltham Place Farm, Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham SL6 3JH

Climate Fresk workshop – 1st July

Book now: Saturday 1st July from 10:00 – 13:00 in the ECO Action Hub: Climate Fresk

You can’t fix what you don’t understand – luckily, the Climate Fresk turns climate science into a game! Played by over 1M people worldwide, this collaborative workshop allows you to understand the essential issues of climate change in order to take action.

Based on IPCC reports, you’ll learn how the climate functions – as well as the consequences of its disruption. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, you’ll learn a lot in just three hours.

This is how it works:

  • The workshop is based on a 42-card game. Each card represents an element, a cause or a consequence of climate change.
  • In teams, guided by facilitators, you have to find the cause-effect relationship between the different components of climate change. Collective intelligence will get you from one set of cards to the next!
  • This step-by-step reconstruction provides keys to understand the complexity and develop an overview of climate change.

All you need to bring is your joy, energy, and willingness to learn! Just make sure to arrive on time so we can start the workshop with the whole group, and plan to stay for the full 3 hours (there will be a short break in the middle).

Book now: secure your spot – Click the ‘Take Part’ button here: Climate Fresk

Tickets: offered at £10, £5, or free depending – best considered as a donation which we welcome but no donation is also fine.

Any Questions: email info@whatonearth.co.uk

Running Out of Time Relay on 8th July (Saturday)

Please read our short interview with ECO Action founding volunteer Sam Gibbins, who is running stages 331, 332 and 333 (Cookham to Windsor) on July 8th, and don’t forget to come and cheer her on!

Screenshot of stages 331 to 334

What is the Running Out of Time Relay?

Running Out of Time is a 2,661km relay from Ben Nevis to Big Ben. There are a total of 366 stages, with stages ranging from 2-30km long. The relay runs from sunrise to sunset for 32 days and travels to 30 counties.

https://running-out-of-time.com/

What can YOU do to support the runners and the planet?

  • Select one or more of the planet pledges from the Running Out of Time website! There are over 30 to choose from.
  • Come and cheer on Sam and other runners / cyclists / walkers on the day!
  • Sign up as a Batonbearer yourself!
Screenshot of pledges 2 and 3 from the Running out of time website

Interview with Samantha Gibbins, who is running in the colours of ECO Action

Why do you personally care about climate change?

When I finally opened my eyes to the real scale and severity of what our world could look like in one generation, especially on our current trajectory to 3oC+ of warming above pre-industrial levels, I was terrified. From an individual point of view I’m scared of how me and my family could be impacted, but I’ve seen that the future I fear is already a reality for millions of people in developing countries. I care about mitigating and adapting for climate change because I’m in a position where I can do something. Every person making a difference counts. Every 0.1oC we can prevent matters.

Of all the issues we’re facing today (climate change, biodiversity loss, air pollution, plastic pollution etc.) which one is most important to you and why?

Categorising these as separate issues is misleading as they are all so intricately connected and dependant on one another! I think that many people feel more comfortable thinking of these separately as it maybe feels easier to approach each issue independently and ‘tick off’ once solved. With this in mind, I think the biggest challenge is to shift people’s mindsets. We need more empathy in the world and appreciation of nuance to help us come together and work together with all of our differences. Because, however clichéd, it is together that we can make the biggest difference.

Which of the 32 pledges are you taking?

I’m “getting to my relay stage greener” with numerous trains, I’m going to “attend a local event for the Great Big Green Week”, and I’m “joining others in my local community to take positive action”!

Photo of Sam and a llama

Who is cheering you on?

The family contingent and some ECO Hub members!

What inspires you?

How many incredible people are working to make our world a better place. There are so many small scale and community initiatives dotted about, and so many people who are passionate about this when you start looking and getting involved. The ECO Hub is a perfect example of this – Climate Emergency Centres are dotted around the country; community energy projects are working to provide renewable energy to local areas (I can think of Maidenhead, Marlow and Reading doing this!); and local people are petitioning for our natural spaces to be protected or even better, rewilded. All of this gives me hope and inspires me to keep working for a better future.