Swap Shop in Balsall Heath

13/01/2014 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Recycling | Leave a comment

Swap ShopThe Swap Shop is where you take unwanted items and take home something different that you like – it mainly works for clothing. No money changes hands. If everything gets used twice then we only need to make half as much stuff – how environementally friendly is that?
The venue is the ORT cafe in the old Print Works on Moseley Road, opposite the swimming baths.
Swap Shop happens Saturdays 1-5pm in ORT cafe. Dates are 25 January, 22 February and 22 March. Some excellent food and cakes at the cafe. More details at the website www.ortcafe.co.uk


Low Carbon in Poland

13/01/2014 at 2:51 pm | Posted in uncategorised | Leave a comment

This summer I travelled from balsall Heath to Poland on a placement with the EU’s “Low Carbon Pioneers” programme. This exchanges people involved in building a low carbon society in their own region with others across Europe. First was a placement about renewable energy in Birmingham, then five weeks abroad.

Poland struggled with rebuilding after World War 2, and then moving on from Communism. An independent environmental movement has only begun to emerge, so the downsides of development are not much discussed. I was shocked to see a Tesco superstore in Wroclaw on what had been allotments. Much coal is burned for winter heat and electricity generation so carbon reduction seems a big ask. However, travelling through Germany I saw wind turbines and solar arrays everywhere, waiting to spread when a feed in tariff for clean power comes to Poland. The project we worked on was an Ecopark. I showed slides of green space in Birmingham, and the Bee Garden idea was picked up.

Eastern Europe can benefit from the experience of our environmental movement. They can also look to their own land and traditions for the future.

Pioneers into Practice is recruiting for 2014 see www.innovationbham.com

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