22nd APRIL 2022, Earth Day
Green Projects are like London buses, you know … nothing for a while and then a glut all at once. That is just how things have been; quite dead up to Easter and really manic since!
On this ‘Earth Day’, when the planet should be foremost in our minds, I want to pay tribute to 2 eco-warriors of very different ages and backgrounds, who have made a big impression this week:-
- See below Aneeshwar Kunchala age 7, with his Dad. Aneeshwar has his own Youtube channel and there you can now view the BBC Breakfast interview where he is SO ARTICULATE and PASSIONATE, raising awareness of threats to wildlife through his own poems. So impressed! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVtWRafkTGY
I found one of Aneeshwar’s poems, where he talks of how our planet has inspired him, then tells of his sorrow that we continue to fail in our duty to care for the earth, plants and wild life. I do not have permission to quote directly, but I definitely suggest it would be worth searching for his words or performances yourself.
The 2nd person is a woman, Mary Colwell, who has worked tirelessly for a decade to persuade the government that we need a new green-awareness type of GCSE. There is study of climate change in the secondary KS3 curriculum, but this is for the next stage (KS4). Yesterday 21st April, (another green day, dedicated to Curlews!) the education minister Nadhim Zahawi finally announced the long-anticipated qualification called GCSE in Natural History. I hope it has more science and some energy elements in it too.
Mary says her plan is for students ‘to concentrate on observing, naming and recording nature, collecting data and learning basic field skills.’ But in true government fashion, the course won’t start until September 2025. When on EARTH will people wake up to the fact we don’t have time to waste? This should have happened ages ago!
Here is a link that tells a little more about this pioneering lady: – https://www.newstatesman.com/the-environment-interview/2022/04/mary-colwell-the-woman-behind-the-uks-new-nature-gcse
SLIGHTLY BAD NEWS
It seems I have breached copyright with regard to a picture used way back last summer and probably must pay a fine. This definitely means I need to take greater care on what I copy for sharing with you. Apologies if it reduces the number and/or quality of images I can use. ☹
VERY BAD NEWS
An email landed in my Inbox a couple of days ago, from Rupert Armstrong Evans, of Evans Engineering near Launceston with the Subject
‘End of the road for hydro in the UK, especially small traditional water-mills’.
Now I must at once make plain, what he should have said is ‘it’s the end of the road for small hydro in England and Wales.’ Scotland, as usual, is pushing on in a really positive mode, for all the renewables, including hydro. They have devised and published a thoughtful & practical “Hydro Vision” with a maximum charge of around £8,000 to license a large scheme.
From 1st April, In England and Wales, the Environment Agency has demanded a hike in cost of 895% – a staggeringly senseless move. I am quoting here from the following report, which gives a good overview: – https://www.energyvoice.com/renewables-energy-transition/394049/uk-government-accused-of-slamming-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-small-hydro/
What can an ordinary person do, in the face of such an outrageous and draconian development? Well, I have spent a few days, with lots of input from other supporters and friends, putting together a draft petition to the House of Commons. The way it works is that one must pen 2 sections, each of them no more than a sentence in length. The 2nd part (also often called the ‘Prayer’) must be self-contained, so that the request to the Government can be fully grasped within those words. It is a tricky thing to get right. Here is the draft as it stands today:-
To the House of Commons
The petition of supporters of Water-based Power, for England and Wales, declares that the recent steep increase in licence fees for ‘hydro’ is in direct conflict with central government policies for the current climate & energy emergencies.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government – to instigate a full inquiry into future support of hydro in England and Wales, creating a new set of financial arrangements that incentivise rather than impede growth of our water-based energy sector.
I shall publish and share the final version when I hear back from the House of Lords, where I have been talking to advisers on behalf of the Select Committee for Environment and Climate Change.
I do hope you will sign and share, when I eventually send you the link. Thank you.
Cornwall – Events ahead
First, on Thursday 28th April A reminder of the conference at Chacewater Village Hall.
The purpose of this day, which you can sign up to attend by following links below, is to brainstorm ideas for creating a county-wide community energy company. It covers a wide range of practical matters, ending with the inevitable funding challenge. It will need £10bn of investment to achieve the outcome, spread over the next decade. Find out more via the Chacewater Energy Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/chacewaterenergygroup/ or
https://letstalk.cornwall.gov.uk/climatecommitments BUT be aware that the schedule published there is not the most recent one. I have copied and pasted the right one here:-
|08:30||Doors open 08:30 for set up.|
|09:00||Arrive, welcome, register, tea – coffee & biscuits. Allocate attendees to discussion groups.|
|09:50||Main Hall: Introduction and aims for the day – John Carley Chacewater Community Energy Group|
|10:00||Manda Brookman Wildly Brilliant:- The introduction and inspiration on getting to carbon zero|
|10:20||Charmian Larke of Atlantic Energy, what it takes to be carbon zero for energy in Cornwall|
Morning: Enabling technologies for Zero Carbon
|10:55||Faithful Chanda Western Power Distribution(1) Keeping the grid balanced as renewables increase (2) Electricity grid and how it helps us get to carbon zero with local supply (3) WPD, aims and activities|
|11:45||Jane Charman, Tony Wilson Geothermal Engineering Ltd Local Green Electricity Generation, Geothermal Energy & district heating.|
|12:20||Group discussion (rooms around the hall complex), (1) grid issues, (2) technology choices for RE supplies, (3) how to enable the required system change. (record and score responses)|
|12:45||Feedback from groups to Panel: Manda Brookman, Charmian Larke, Faithful Chanda, Jane Charman, Tony Wilson,|
|13:15||Lunch (Mainly medium vegetable pasties, and a few medium steak if anyone prefers. Made in the village by Chacewater Bakery and will be delivered hot just before 13:15 ) Afternoon: Pathways to Zero Carbon|
|14:00||Manda Brookman Wildly Brilliant: More inspiration: Social justice & fuel poverty. Local/community approaches|
|14:20||Planet A Dr David Parish PhD, Amanda Forman MSc Local action for community electricity supplies. Pseudo-microgrids|
|14:45||WREN (Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network) Peer to Peer Trading|
|15:10||Dr Richard Cochrane Exeter Uni, Professor of Sustainable Energy Local Action Sales ( Energy Local Club approach)|
|15:45||Larger scale approaches: Cornwall wide action needs £1bn pa for ten years, Cornwall Business for Carbon Zero, Steve Jermy, Neil Farrington Celtic Sea Power. Financing options for £1bn pa over ten years, a new Resilience Cornwall Pension Scheme. Would Cornwall benefit from a local bank?|
|16:15||Groups, (1) changes to planning and public policies needed to achieve carbon zero locally, (2) financing options, (3) balancing community and business ownership of local renewables, (4) how to involve more communities in local energy action and renewables (record and score responses)|
|16:25||Feedback from groups to whole meeting – Panel: All Speakers|
|16:50||Agree next step – Resolution for Cornwall Council, message to media, UK Government|
Second, an event on Sunday May 1st –
Attending church may not be your thing, but I predict that on this special day, if you are able to join us for the Thanksgiving at Tywardreath and/or the following walk, you will not be disappointed. Apart from the history stories and projected images, I will also be sharing the most up to date information on our L-MEGG project. Do you notice I have added a 2nd letter G? That is because it needs to stand for Local Mining Energy Group and Grid.
Delivering these flyers and an accompanying letter, house to house, has been quite an eye-opener. I cannot comprehend what makes neighbours harbour every small grudge, so they end up refusing to meet, greet, or support one another.
Truly I think financial and scientific challenges can be overcome, but this may be an intractable barrier to success. I hope I am wrong!