Thursday, 3 October 2013

Global Weather Change - Scary!

Eric Alexander, Frances' husband, watches Al Jazeera’s English TV news Channel, which gives a world weather review each day.  This year, he noted the:

Heavy rainfall, with extensive flooding, often with loss of life and much homelessness, has been reported in 63 countries from Afghanistan, Albania, and Algeria to Switzerland, Somalia and the USA. (Total tally - 63 countries!)

Highlights from June-September 2013 alone include:

“Danube at all-time high”
“SW monsoon in India arrived a month ahead of schedule”
63,000 missing in unprecedented floods, north India
First-ever flooding reported by Calgary resident, Canada
19 firemen killed fighting wildfire in Arizona
“One month’s rainfall in 24 hours” reported in Toronto
A week of flooding in China, death toll expected to reach 100
“Canada’s worst wildfire” hits Quebec province
Floods in Puerto Rico after unprecedented rainfall  
Temperature in Shanghai hits new maximum
Bosnian govt requests international help in fighting wildfires
High winds in Bolivia topple power lines
Forest fire fanned by strong winds near Brazilian capital
First ever red drought warning in China’s Hubei province
“Worst ever” floods reported in Manila
“Worst floods in over a century” in Eastern Russia
San Francisco state of emergency: wildfire threatens power & water supplies
“Worst flooding in decades” in NE China -
Over 50 dead, thousands flee their homes
“48,000 people made homeless” by floods in Niger
“Thousands flee their homes” in flooded Mali capital
36.5C “hottest start to spring” in Alice Springs, Australia
“Warmest winter on record” in New Zealand
Japan hit by tornadoes, then extensive flooding in south and west
300 flee homes before wildfire in northern California, at least one dead
“Worst ever” floods in Colorado: thousands flee homes
Helicopters searching for survivors grounded by more bad weather
Mexico’s “worst weather crisis since 1958” strands 40,000 tourists
“Worst drought for 30 years” in Namibia and south Angola
Hospitals struggle to cope with malnourished infants
“Super-typhoon” Usagi shuts port in Hong Kong
Thousands made homeless by floods in Philippines
30,000 driven from their homes by floods in Brazil  
27 provinces in Thailand experience flooding
Thousands affected by floods in Cambodia
Parts of Western Australia report wettest September in over 100 years
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Everything that we do at the Centre is a step in the right direction, and we need your support to help us continue our work!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

End of the Summer Holidays!

My name is Haaniah and I've been at the environment centre over the summer holidays. I had an extra long summer holidays this year, having finished school in June and preparing for university, so I though that coming to the environment centre would be a good use of some of the time that I had free. My brother came with me my second day and liked the gardening and activities so much he ended up coming back with me on most of my days in.

Over the summer I have done lots of repotting, watering, chatting and planting. The new location is a really great space and has an awesome atmosphere. The volunteers really make the place and so interesting! Jobs like cleaning out the kitchen and creating a puppet show were not so bad at all. Some of the boys even volunteered to clean the toilets! We are all knitting a communal scarf and every week there are some new fruits or vegetables ripened for picking. Every time I come there is something different going on; its the variety that I enjoy the most.

I'm looking forward to the Wycombe harvest on sunday - we spent today sorting out herbs to take there.

Im going to pass over to my brother now :)

Hi! My name is Ibrahim, I decided to come becuase I'd heard so much from my sister and I was sitting at home bored when I could be doing something useful with my time. I have done tons of stuff including making a puppet, forking up the new herb garden, reorganising shelving in the volunteer room, sorting and polishing tools, making stick protectors, helping with prep for the Harvest, and weeding.

We have both had a much better summer than we would have without the Environment Centre and look forward to its future successes. We'll definitely be dropping by in the holidays to see how everything is going.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Please, Sir, I want some more...

This concept of “more,” made famous by Oliver Twist, seems to be dominant in societies today, particularly where food is concerned 

Why is this a problem? 
According to recent statistics, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year. In effect, the “more” food we buy, the more is wasted.

It is human nature to indulge every so often; however problems occur when there is too much food being bought and eventually wasted. This not only costs us economically, it costs the environment in a drastic way. Food and drink that goes to landfill breaks down and releases more CO₂ and methane into the atmosphere, which contributes greatly to global warming. The food that deteriorates can also pollute the surrounding areas, by releasing too many harmful chemicals into the ground systems. 

On a human level, it is worth mentioning that the food that we eventually waste may take many years and much hard work from producers to reach our plates. If we truly consider the efforts that go into food production, for example, a plate of boiled rice – from the climate needed to grow the rice to the processes of harvesting, drying and milling it, maybe we would think twice about scraping our leftovers into the bin. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the impacts of food waste. Firstly, buying less food. It may seem difficult at first, but gradually reducing food intake benefits both our health and the environment.

We can also save our leftovers; they can either be frozen or eaten the next day for lunch! We could even take part of a meal to our neighbours if we make too much, or donate it to homeless shelters and food banks. More practically, we can request a food waste bin from our local councils, or install a compost bin in our gardens for food waste. 

Growing our own fruits and vegetables would also make us appreciate the work that goes into producing food, which would hopefully reduce the amount of food we waste and make us all think about our outlook on always wanting “more.”

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lets get started...

Welcome to the first installment of our revamped and beautiful environmental blog :) 

If you haven’t heard of us, you soon will know all about us and how to get involved with the wonderful things we get up to

We have been in our current site on West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe since March 2012 but our first financial year ran from June 1st 2012 to May 31st 2013 in which we managed to gain over 8000 hours of volunteer help which works out to about £80,000 Community Investment.

We have had our share of ups and downs: asbestos scares, financial worries, irregular volunteers, a positive impact in the local Islamic community, generous donations from local residents and businesses as well as continued support from Councillors, trustees and local educational establishments.

We currently are running the following projects:

o   Land clearing for beehives and chickens
o   Creating a teaching kitchen with courses in Vegetarian cooking, Bread Baking, Students Basics etc
o   Beekeeping courses
o   Thermal Imaging
o   Tending to our herb garden, vegetables and plants for sale
o   Creating an Orchard
o   Fundraising events

To name but a few…..

A recent mass recruiting from the local school sixth forms has allowed us to gain a younger workforce with the aim of gaining work experience and opportunities to help earn places on university courses.

Our volunteers cover a wide range of age groups and backgrounds which enable us to work better together and receive differing perspectives but to work together with the same common goals.

We know that helping the environment won’t happen overnight and that there is more to it than just recycling so we use and promote the phrase “think global, act local” to help us play our part.

We promote ourselves through multiple social media channels and show that you can have fun working with others and make the world just that bit more beautiful. Look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and of course watch this space for our most recent happenings :)

Ashleigh and the Team