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September 2012 Newsletter

September 2012 Newsletter

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Manchester Friends of the Earth's newsletter, September 2012
Manchester Friends of the Earth's newsletter, September 2012

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Published by: Manchester Friends of the Earth on Nov 08, 2012
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Seeds of Weeds Will Please Bees
Bees, bugs, birds and bats boost biodiversity in theCity Centre, reports Damian
Manchester Friends of the Earth have been busywith the Bee Cause campaign, aimed at haltingthe decline in bee populations by promoting bee-friendly planting and biodiversity.Seed bombs made their appearance in July atboth Envirolution, in Platt Fields, and the summer party at Hulme Community Garden Centre. MFoEcampaigners mixed clay, compost and seeds of selected species of wild flowers specially chosento appeal to bees. Then visitors to our stall could join in and get their hands dirty rolling the mixtureinto a tiny ball. If they weren’t up for this, theycould take away some we’d made earlier,wrapped up in bits of egg boxes, to do a spot of guerrilla gardening in their own backyard or a bitof local waste ground that could do with somebee-friendly wild flowers to brighten it up.
Autumn 2012
In August, we had our first ever outdoor FullGroup Meeting, in the form of a nature walkaround the city centre with Manchester CityCouncil’s biodiversity officer Dave Barlow. Westarted just round the corner from Green Fish atthe Hilton Street ‘bug hotel’, showing theunglamorous end of urban wildlife is not forgotten!Then we moved on via Deansgate (unfortunatelywithout the peregrine falcons this time) to take inthe bird life hotspot of Parsonage Gardens, on theway to the Irwell and the urban oasis of St John’sGardens, where Dave showed us an award-winning display of herbs and apple trees whichwon a gold medal at the Tatton Park flower show. As dusk fell, the walk ended up at the RochdaleCanal, where accommodation has been laid onfor the local duck and bat communities, as well as
underwater planters full of tall purple loosestrifeflowers. Unfortunately, despite the growingdarkness, we failed to spot any bats—althoughwe may have a second chance, as we areconsidering having a bat evening later in theautumn. Watch this space for more information.
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Manchester Friends of the Earth
Autumn 2012
Inside this Issue: 
Hive Aid 2Powering the Future 3Join the Land Army 4Last Round of Toast 6
Dave Barlow showing the group round the gold medal-winning garden
Hive Aid
Greater Manchester’s firefighters come torescue a community beekeeper 
There is quite literally a buzz around Hyde FireStation as it has become the first Greater Manchester fire station to become a home for bees. The garden at the back of the station andborough headquarters now houses threebeehives after Borough Manager Jon Heydongave a local beekeeper a new home for her hobby. As well as helping out a local who was inneed of some support, it has put the boroughteam a step closer to being a sustainable firestation at the heart of the community.Jon said: "The crews themselves have beeninterested in keeping bees so this is a niceintroduction to having them at the station andseeing how it works. It give us access to a groupwho we might not otherwise have been incontact with—and hopefully the connection withthem will be mutually beneficial. Again, it putsthe fire station at the heart of the community."Beekeeper Catharine Edwardes-Evans, 67, haskept bees for more than five years and is part of the Cheshire Beekeepers' Association. Sheinitially kept them on a field, but had to movethem when the charges became too much andmoved them to some allotments, which was nota suitable location and meant she lost threecolonies last year.Catharine met Jon by chance at the allotmentsand he thought the space at the back of HydeFire Station might be the solution to her problems. Catharine, a retired theatre nursefrom Hyde, said: "I thought it was a brilliant ideaand the benefits are fantastic. Most of the foodyou eat is pollinated by insects—if bees diedout, man would last about four years beforedying out too. They are now supporting thenatural environment around the station."There are around 40,000–50,000 bees in two of the hives and around 20,000 in the third—thetwo larger hives at the station could producearound 50–60 pounds of honey per year.
It’s a hive of activity at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
The Cheshire Beekeepers' Association runsbeekeeping courses in Stockport. Some of thefirefighters from Tameside, who are interested inkeeping bees themselves, may be signing up. A guide to keeping bees on Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) sites hasbeen produced by the GMFRS sustainabilitydepartment, after firefighters and staff wereasked for green ideas last year and WatchManager Adrian Tonge suggested that firestation grounds might make an ideal home for bees. Environment Manager Sam Pickles said:"Hopefully, as many stations as possible will takeup this wonderful opportunity and, as a result,gain another route into their community.Increasing biodiversity supports the aims andobjectives of our sustainability policy."
Take Action!
Help Britain’s bees by asking theGovernment to phase out the use of the pesticides that are most harmful to bees, as well as reducing pesticide use in public spaces. Signup to Friends of the Earth’s online action at http://bit.ly/pesticideaction
Manchester Friends of the Earth
Autumn 2012 
Powering the Future
How many ways can we make progresstowards a sustainable energy future? Lots of them, as Damian found out 
The latest of Manchester FoE’s ‘Big Tuesday’events was hosted by the group at the GreenFish Resource Centre. The title of this event was“Powering the future”. We explored this fromfour angles: campaigning, energy generation,retrofitting and knowledge sharing.
The first of these was covered by Manchester FoE’s Ali Abbas, who gave an overview of theClean British Energy campaign, showing us howwe have to move from the present situation, withmost of our electricity coming from gas and coal,to a low-carbon energy mix in 2030 dominatedby offshore and onshore wind, solar and other renewables. For this to become a reality, weneed to persuade the Government to make sureits Energy Bill prioritises energy efficiency andrenewables over gas and nuclear.
Ed Gill from renewables supplier Good Energy speaking at Powering the Future
Next, we had Ed Gill from Good Energy, theUK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier,who guaranteed to match the Big Six on price –unlike the Big Six, who are dependent onimported gas, Good Energy’s prices have beenfrozen at 2009 levels. Ed also outlined thecompany’s work on supporting local renewableprojects, emphasising the importance of community involvement in energy generation.In the interests of fairness, we also had apresentation sent in on behalf of Ecotricity, whowere unable to make the event. While Ecotricityhas a lower level of renewables in its energymix, it operates a ‘not for dividend’ businessmodel that ploughs its profits back into installingmore renewables, and has built 1 in 13 of England’s wind turbines as well as its first sunpark.Retrofitting was covered by Charlie Baker fromthe Carbon Co-op, based in Manchester. Hediscussed all the measures we can take to makeour homes more energy-efficient, warning usaway from heat pumps and going into somedetail (with illustrations) about the different typesof properties that exist. Each one – solid-walledterrace, semi-detached or flat – needs its owntailored approach, and Carbon Co-op is workingto develop a standardised set of retrofit methodsto cover all our housing stock.
Jenni Viitanen introducing her green energy study 
Our final speaker was Jenni Viitanen from theUniversity of Manchester, who is carrying out astudy funded by the EU into people’s perceptionsof green energy. The study’s aim is to discover ways of overcoming barriers to the take-up of renewable heat and energy-efficient behaviour,and they’re developing a website on whichpeople can share their experiences. Have a lookat our Spring 2012 newsletter  for an introduction.
Take Action!
Call on the Government to support clean Britishenergy, and show your support for renewables byswitching to Good Energy or Ecotricity on Friendsof the Earth’s website:http://www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk
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Manchester Friends of the Earth
Autumn 2012

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