In July, I was lucky enough to join Kat and Mariana on one of their free walking tours around the centre of Oxford, ‘Oxford in 8 Breaths’.
The tour promised to be a ‘departure from traditional walking tours of the city… [using] creative strategies to explore our current ‘Airscape’, to connect the walkers with the world around them‘. And that it was.
I have never really been one for tours, where long lists of facts are sometimes delivered in a dry way, and I am quick to zone out.
This, however, was different. We began in Christ Church Meadows, by the old city walls, and were asked to close our eyes, as Mariana took us back through the mists of time, to when the wall was new.
At each stop, we traveled, guided through evocative visualisations by our able tour guide duo – to another time, to another place. We listened, we touched, we looked – it was a sensory journey.
And it was deeply thought provoking, as well as being a surprisingly enjoyable (for a tour about such a serious issue!) walk around the streets of Oxford.
The tour was brought to a close with information on how Oxford is responding to the air pollution challenge, and what we can do as citizens, focusing on personal action and empowerment – very up LCWO’s street!
Air pollution: a big issue locally
Air pollution is a big issue for Oxfordshire.
“The Oxfordshire Air Quality Group Annual Report – Health Improvement Board” (October 2016), noted: “it is now recognised by the government as the country’s second-biggest health threat after smoking”.
Public Health England estimates that 5% of premature deaths are caused by air pollution in Oxfordshire, equivalent to 276 deaths in those aged 25+ in 2014 – compared, for example, to the 26 road fatalities the same year.
Action is being taken (for example, West Street, Alexandra Street and Riverside Road are playing host to new electric car charger points, as part of the city-wide Council-led project www.goultralowoxford.org; and there’s the campaign work of Oxfordshire Clean Air Action Group), but more is needed. The question remains: how do we solve this issue?
Announcing: ‘West Oxford in 8 Breaths’
As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, and inspired by attending the city tour this summer, we have commissioned a special West Oxford version, to offer local people the chance to think more about this issue.
Mariana Galan and Kat McGavin, both Social Sculpture students at Oxford Brookes University, have created a tour of the Botley Road especially for us, and you can join them this autumn.
The meeting point for the tours is St Frideswide’s Church on Botley Road (almost opposite to the West Oxford Community Center). The tours takes approximately 2 hours (including discussion at the end).
Thank you to everyone who came along to our Spring Bring & Take at WOCA in May.
290 people came and there was a lot of fab stuff swapped, as well as PAT testing led by Peter from Bicester Green.
Swapped (rough figures from the door as people left): 92 books/cds/dvds; 81 clothes items; 85 household items; 137 toys & games; 20 plants; 24 electrical items; 179 items of clothing; 161 books… and more.
LCWO’s Autumn 2016 Bring and Take event was held on Saturday, 1st October, from 10.30am – 12.30pm. It was only a couple of hours but, as at all our Bring & Takes, so much stuff was swapped in that time. Here is the event in approximate numbers:
977 items re-homed, of which the most popular were books (27%), toys and games (23%) and clothes (19%)
Leftover stuff: 10 bags of textiles (clothes and soft furnishings) taken to our local primary school to help with their fundraising, and many books taken for their Christmas bazaar; one third of a small van load taken to a charity shop and half a small van load taken to Redbridge (our local recyling centre), as far as possible for recycling.
Join us for our Spring Bring and Take this Saturday, 14th May 2016 from 10.30am – 12.30pm at West Oxford Community Centre. Bring genuinely re-usable items in good, clean condition between 10.20-11.30am only, take items from 10.30am-12.30pm. Small electrical items will be PAT-tested for safety. If you have large items please leave them at home and bring a photo, description and contact details to display at the event. We would welcome any surplus seedlings you have.
It was a sunny day on 17th June when 9,000 people from around the UK came to Westminster for a mass lobby of Parliament to speak up for what they hold dear that could be affected by climate change. They spoke to over 330 MPs. Find out what happened in the highlights video.
Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, was interviewed about the lobby. She said she welcomed the campaign and that “Politicians can’t deliver on the ambition without the public saying we need you to do this.” But will the government deliver?
On 17th June about 9,000 people went to Westminster to lobby their MPs to help protect all the things they love from climate change. The Energy Bill Revolution, one of the groups involved in the event, called upon the government to make insulating homes a priority “for the love of 2 million cold children” because insulated homes use less fuel which is good for the climate and cuts bills. The Guardian gave a full report on the event.
The role of bunting
In the run up to the event LCWO members Ruth Stavris, Miranda Miller and Vicky Hirsch organised “For the Love of…….” bunting workshops in West Oxford and at the Big Green Day Out fair in Broad Street at the start of Low Carbon Oxford Week. The bunting showed MPs the things we love and could lose as a result of climate change.
LCWO members Lois Muddiman and Ruth Mayne spent one hour with 35 other Oxfordshire residents lobbying our MP Nicola Blackwood providing suggestions on how to address the difficulties faced by local councils and community groups in accessing grants for energy efficiency measures.
Speak up for the things you love that could be lost to climate change
The things we love are threatened by climate change – but we can protect them by urging politicians to act.
On 17th June thousands of people from across the UK are coming together for a day of action and celebration and to speak to their MPs and tell them why fighting climate change matters to us all. This will be the biggest ever UK MP climate lobby, and the first mass lobby of the new government. Continue reading “For the love of ……..”
From 13-21 June Oxford will be buzzing with lots of fun events and activities designed to inspire local people to take action against climate change. Here are just some of the highlights of Low Carbon Oxford Week 2015.
Low Carbon Oxford (LCO) Week was a huge hit in 2014 and it’s back again this year with even more activities and events for you to get involved in. If you missed it last year you can get an idea of what it was about from this short video.
Our twice-yearly swap shop for residents of West Oxford is happening tomorrow at the West Oxford Community Centre. Residents can save money, cut carbon emissions and take home a whole range of things, some useful, some unusual: a pile of books to read, or a ‘new’ outfit, or a DVD of a favourite film, or even a life-size cardboard cut out of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars!
Our first open meeting in 2014 will be on the theme of climate change and local flooding. Join us on Wednesday 21st May from 7.30pm – 9.30pm in West Oxford Community Primary School, Ferry Hinksey Road. Refreshments will be provided.
Saturday 26th September from 2pm – 5pm West Oxford Community Centre Tea and Cakes will be Served
Bring & Take
bring stuff you no longer need to swap including books, clothes, toys, household items or excess produce from your allotment
Find out more about LCWO
This year 38 households in West Oxford reduced their CO2 by 30%.
Buy shares in the project
A chance to buy shares in West Oxford Community Renewables
Pumpkin, Biggest Marrow, Runner beans, Tomatoes, Funniest Veg,
Victoria Sandwich, Scones, Cupcakes,
Photograph on the theme of “make/grow your own”
For children – Garden on a plate, Flower arrangement in an eggcup.
Rules available at Comm Centre, Eggs Etc and online here