This piece was written by LCWO Trustee Alison Mathias for publication in The Sprout.
On Saturday 5 October I went to the Introductory session of ACT Now. This is the Low Carbon West Oxford programme for people who want to make low carbon lifestyle choices, to minimise our impact on the earth’s environment, to do what we can in the face of the climate emergency. It’s a great way to meet up with friends and neighbours, and to take action with the community, thinking about our own lifestyles, but also looking beyond to what else we can affect. Meetings are open to everyone (I haven’t signed up!). People who do sign up get a free Home Energy Assessment, and access to small grants for improvements. And it’s open to Botley and Hinksey residents too.
It was good fun. Programme leader Mim talked us through the Saturday morning workshops coming up and took on board some ideas and suggestions about what we’d like to explore. She introduced the QuickSilver programme which LCWO uses to calculate domestic carbon footprints. We shared some useful tips and experience. One couple were thinking through next steps for replacing their car; others in the room could talk about the car club they use, whilst another talked about his electric vehicle. We also discussed the traffic on the Botley Road, and the idea of encouraging sympathetic drivers to put window stickers in their back windows saying ‘no idling – I’ve turned off to save your lungs’ – however this has been put on pause for the time being, due to a lack of clarity about whether turning off and on again in a traffic jam context is actually better than idling in the short-term, pollution-wise. A few things which came up for future sessions: people were keen to share experience and knowledge about insurance options in an area which floods; all were keen to get an idea of what others have already done to their homes to make them greener and more comfortable; several were keen to see comparisons between the carbon footprints of people living in different house types – to be shared on a voluntary basis.
Nothing is compulsory, Mim explained, except the free tea/coffee and cake.
The forthcoming Saturday morning workshops sound very useful, all run by local experts. They are: home energy on 9 November; thinking about food choices on 11 January; reducing waste on 8 February; energy efficient transport on 7 March; making responsible money choices on 25 April; and a session on managing feelings and talking about climate change on May 9th. All free and at West Oxford Community Centre.
See you there!
All workshops run 1000-1130, except for 25 April, which starts at 1400 after the Spring Bring & Take. For more info and a full schedule, see www.WestOxfordActNow.org