Jersey Climate Action Network

Working in Jersey to:
  1. Raise awareness of the issues of Peak Oil and Climate Change
  2. Provide a network for the exchange of ideas and information
  3. Take action to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and counter the impact of climate change

6th Annual general meeting

To be held at 8.00 p.m. on Tuesday 11th February 2014 in Room 2, Arts Centre, Phillips Street, St. Helier

To approve the minutes of the 5th A.G.M. held on 14th May 2013 and the meeting of 14th January 2014

To receive the Treasurer's report for the year 2013

To elect a Committee for the year 2014, as follows :

  1. Chair
  2. Treasurer
  3. Secretary
  4. Committee Members

Voluntary donations: to agree on levels for voluntary donations from supporters for the year 2014.

Campaigns and activities: To discuss campaigns and activities for 2014. The following campaigns have been suggested to date :

  1. Information: raise awareness of the issues of peak oil and climate change through activities such as film evenings, public talks, and special events;
  2. Energy: campaign for progress on the Energy White Paper, and on related areas including the development of large and small-scale renewable energy sources;
  3. Transport: promote transport alternatives, e.g. walking, cycling, public transport, and electric vehicles;
  4. International campaigns: support international initiatives to make progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including the UN conference to be held in Paris in 2015; and
  5. Autumn 2014 elections: draw attention to the issues of peak oil and climate change in the autumn campaign for election to the States, and in this connection to carry out a survey of candidates' views.

Our comments on the States of Jersey Energy White paper

Energy White paper comments - click here

Talk by Kevin Sharpe of Zero Carbon World

8.00 p.m. on 15th January 2013 - at the Societe Jersiaise in Pier Road, St. Helier. All welcome

Kevin will be speaking on transport policy and electric vehicles. In the recently released Energy white paper,the biggest reduction in C02 emissions is expected to come from transport, so this is a very relevant item to Jersey.

He is planning to bring his electic Tesla vehicle when he comes to Jersey

His organisation's web site is Zero Carbon World

Response to States of Jersey Medium Term Financial Plan 2012

1/ The concenpt of a Medium Term Finanial Plan is a good move in principle. We really do need to have longer term finanaical planning to meet strategic plans.

It can hardly be surprising however that we are most concerned with aspects of the MTFP, because we found major fault with aspects of the strategic plan.

Key aims of strategic plan are:

  1. Get People into work
  2. Manage population growth and migration
  3. House our community
  4. Promote family and community values
  5. Reform Health and Social Services
  6. Reform government and the public sector
  7. Develop sustainable long term planning

We would like to address the MTFP in respect of how it does or does not , in our opinion support and address some of these.

2/ General observations and comments.

The MTFP makes a number of assumptions on growth, as it must. Without getting to the technicalities of the definition of growth and development, we note that others have already raised concerns on the viability of these. As I write the UK short term projections by the OECD have been reduced to negative of the coming year, and just 1% the year after. The performance of the Jersey economy , on the measure selected by the States, has been similarly recessionary. Other measures might have given a more useful picture.

It is not ideal having the MTFP set ahead of any policy or framework for long term planning. Without this there is no context or mechanism to judge whether the 3-4 years of MTFP do contribute to longer term plans. In our view this is of utmost importance. The recently published population model, and the infrastructure capital expenditure of the MTFP, such as the hospital, clearly have lifetimes decades into the future. We are making commitments and assumptions on demands and the economy out of context of any holistic future view and plan.

Much has been made of the axiom that capital expenditures should be matched by clear revenue sources to pay for them. We would also contend that you can do likewise by matching recurrent savings to pay for them.

In our view the spending, and especially the capital expenditure priorities must make more provision for and be measured against:

  1. Increasing self-reliance on essential resources, particularly food and power.
  2. Retaining money flows within island rather than out of the island.
  3. Reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions,
  4. Reducing both direct and indirect oil dependency.

3/ Population growth and migration.

Since the publication of the MTFP paper we have had the report on population models. The overview notes: "The overall size of Jersey's population has implications for the Island's resources and can have positive and negative consequences on people's quality of life." We agree with that, but we see no evidence of the quality of life or resource implications being dealt with.

The only item analysed is the dependency ratio: the proportion of working to non working people in the population. On radio it was reported that CM Gorst said there was a fine balance between controlling migration and having enough workers to support pensioners. True, but it is not the only factor to be weighted up. In all scenarios bar one the dependency ratios steadily increase over time. The exception where it decreases slightly after 2060 is in the nil migration scenario. What that tells us is this is the only truly sustainable option presented.

This narrow analysis of a particular aspect of long term planning is a worrying trend that we hope is not to be followed elsewhere.

4/ Sustainable long term planning.

Long term planning is not and should not be solely about the financial/economic impacts of policy options. The States Strategic Plan states " We will: produce a 15 year social/economic/environmental/financial plan drawing together all the long term strategies and other factors by the end of 2013". Those considerations should be informed by the directions and of society and the constraints of the real world. For example with migration/population policy option to 2060 we are looking at a timescale that takes us well into the timescale of major impact of both climate change and peak oil. Both of these have massive implications for our economy, and the resources referred to in the overview of the population paper. We have no plan as to how to reach our CO2 reduction commitments while simultaneously increasing our population to 140,000 as one scenario might produce.

The strategic plan also says: "We will introduce an Energy Policy to move towards a low carbon economy, with more renewable energy and energy efficiency" That policy has yet to appear, and there is nothing in the Medium Term Financial Plan that refers to actions and spending requirements that might flow from it. If the poicy does materialise this year, as promised, how will any urgent actions therein be funded?

There are already implications arising from climate change for our economy, and hence our financial position, within the lifetime of the MTFP . The only item specifically mentioned in the plan in relation to CO2 emissions is additional moneys for sea defences, though as we read it that work is actually already almost 0.5 million pounds behind plan.

We already know from Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University that we might expect an ice free Arctic summer from 2015-6 onwards. A change that indicates the immense marine changes already in process. Aligned with that , ocean acidification is accelerating especially in coastal waters see . It is already implicated in difficulties in sub arctic fisheries, and Jersey is in one of the highest rate of change zones.

On land we have seen the spread of bluetongue, Schmallenberg and some equine diseases from southern europe to our borders. The drought in the USA , and other weather problems elsewhere have lead to some staple food prices rising 40% on world markets, and meteorologists have now statistically related these weather extremes to climate change. Longer term, agronomists at Stanford University found that a two degree increase in temperatures would reduce the growing season by nine days, yielding 20 per cent less wheat worldwide. These are challenges our plans must allow for. Certainly a steady business as usual model is the wrong one, and so therefore is simple extrapolation of the recent past as a long term future plan.

5/ Getting people into work.

It is fortunate for Jersey that many of the activities that would have to be undertaken in pursuit of the capital expenditure priorities we outline above would generate employment opportunities. Ranging from the installation of insulation and energy efficiency measures to greater sorting and materials for recycling to the installation and maintenance of domestic micro-generation , all require local presence and real work.

Moving agriculture, and particularly potato growing, from a volume export business to a more integrated horticultural supplier to the local markets using lower inputs would also expand job opportunities.

Some of these activities may seem expensive, at least short term, but in adopting such approaches we gain from reduced external dependency, and the risks that brings in a growingly uncertain world. It is also far from clear that some of the cheap imports we rely on now will continue. Nuclear power from France may seem cheap, but only on the short term. Japan and Germany are closing their nuclear programmes, and there are similar rumblings in France and Belgium. What do we do then? Germany has in just 6 months replaced the energy output of a major nuclear plant with solar.

We were extremely disappointed to see monies were not forthcoming on the plan to implement additional aspects of the sustainable transport policy. For us this rather summed up our concerns about the MTFP: it has too much focus still on near term financial matters and too little reference to the longer term impacts and those items that have to be undertaken by force of consideration of changes in the physical world, not just the financial one.

A letter to the Planning and Environment minister

Jersey Climate Action Network

Dear Deputy Duhamel,

It is with considerable regret that once again I have to write to a States of Jersey minister over the long awaited energy policy. I have stopped counting the number of times I have been told by previous ministers that this is imminent, or given a deadline that has simply not been met. This is a matter of great interest and importance. The absence of the energy policy has allowed other ministers and departments to brush away commitments and comments on climate change by referring to the energy policy as the place it is all dealt with. When will it be published?

Climate change action and greenhouse gas emissions are not solely related to your department of course. It was deeply disappointing that the sustainable transport policy was dropped by TTS recently. The message coming from the Council of Ministers is clear from the actions of the ministers: climate change is simply not a priority, regardless of what it may say in the likes of the strategic plan.

You will recall there is a policy introduced by the former deputy of St Mary that the States produce an annual statement on climate change and peak oil. Last year is appeared as part of an annual environment report from the Director of the Environment on 25th. October. Will this be the case again? When will it be published? Equally important will it include the actions and activities of other departments that have a bearing on this?

yours sincerely,

Mark Forskitt

chair JCAN.

Climate change skeptic changes his tune

Several newspapers have reported the volte face by professor Muller. Not only does he now believe climate change is real, but that it is mostly due to humans.

As reported in New York Times

"Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases"

Meantime locally our forward looking States have scrapped our sustainable transport plans see traffic cuts to save money, but are planning to commit £220 million new (capital?) spending in the medium term financial plan.


Ex-politician Gerard Baudains wrote a letter to the Jersey Evening Post which was published on 1st April—it was not a joke but it was so far from the truth that it could quite easily have been one! It was basically an attempted hatchet job on Jersey Climate Action Network (J-CAN) and global warming/climate change science generally. In a response J-CAN's Nick Palmer wrote to the JEP, and promised a detailed answer to his most misleading arguments because in order to show the falsity of his conclusions adequately, he needed more space than the paper would allow in a letter.

Firstly, here is the text of Mr Baudain's letter

Those who urge action on climate change should get their facts right

1st April 2011

From Gerard Baudains.

I NOTICE (JEP, 24 March) a letter from a group calling themselves Jersey Climate Action Network.

While it is right that people are allowed to hold and express their own views (and the opportunity to express them), I do believe that when it comes to pressurising government to take a particular course of action (as this group does), those people have a duty to ensure that their message is both accurate and genuine.

Sadly the message proffered by this group is anything but accurate.

They appear, as far as I understand, to be asking the States to take action on climate change/global warming (one is never sure which, as groups such as these appear to think the two are interchangeable). If that is so, I am left wondering how our States—who can't even sort out a workable machinery of government—can possibly reduce the effect of the sun on the earth.

Because that is what this group are effectively asking them to do.

I'm aware they will say that it is man's actions—chiefly the burning of fossil fuels—that is the culprit, but that is not true and therefore falls foul of the accuracy requirement above.

There is no scientific evidence linking global warming to anthropogenic action.

In fact, quite the contrary—it has been scientifically proven that rises in carbon dioxide follow global warming by thousands of years. Rises in carbon dioxide cannot therefore be the cause.

Also, mans' contribution is two per cent or less—so what about the other 98 per cent? Are this group saying mans' two per cent causes warming while the other 98 per cent is inactive?

These are just a couple of many facts that disprove the theory.

Whichever way you look at it, the theory of anthropogenic global warming has long been proven to be a hoax. That the inter-governmental panel on climate change pushed the idea (although it has since retreated considerably) should come as no surprise—the title says it all. That some 'scientists' supported them is no surprise either—many relied on government grants and consequently told governments what they wanted to hear.

Conversely, there are thousands of genuine scientists who have signed their opposition to the theory.

So why does this modern-day equivalent of the Flat Earth Society continue to push a theory scientifically proven to be untrue? This is what worries me the most. If the people involved are ignorant of the fact that science has at last caught up with the mischief of the global warming theory, surely they must fall into the category I call 'useful idiots'—ie, used by others to promote an agenda without realising they are being used.

If, however, they are fully aware of the sinister agenda behind the whole global warming/climate change nonsense, they should come clean and tell us what their aims really are.

Climate change and global warming have occurred on earth for millions of years. What we are experiencing now is quite normal in that cycle, and it is caused by the sun.

That does not mean we should continue to squander the earth's resources. The rate we are using fossil fuel is almost beyond imagination, and we must find alternatives. Unfortunately, by amalgamating this message into a long-disproved theory, these groups only succeed in undermining an important argument.

Gerard Baudains

J-CAN's response

The arguments used in Mr Baudains' letter sound very plausible to a non specialist and that is why they are repeatedly used by those who wish to spread doubt and confusion about the science and the necessary actions we need to take to protect ourselves.

Here are the main fallacious arguments used by Mr Baudains followed by our responses:

1) Rises in carbon dioxide follow global warming by thousands of years so rises in carbon dioxide cannot therefore be the cause

This is highly illogical. The pre-historic records of CO2 and temperatures show they are closely correlated, which means they rise and fall together. However, changes in CO2 mostly follow changes in temperatures by about 600 to 1,000 years. This does not mean that Mr Baudains' conclusion is correct. If levels of CO2 rise, such as we are making them do now (we are creating a force acting on the climate), then the planet will warm.

In prehistory, when the planet was made to warm for another reason, such as the changes in Earth's orbit that are associated with ice ages (the Milankovitch cycles), the oceans warmed up and CO2 was emitted from them (as a feedback) over the next 600–1,000 years—which is the delay seen in the paleo-climatological record . It is this delay that Mr Baudains purports to be evidence that CO2 cannot cause warming. What he appears not to know is that once the CO2 is emitted from the oceans, it then goes on to accelerate the warming from the orbital changes. If increased CO2 did not cause global warming, the planet would never escape from the ice ages. Apart from in the very distant past when massive volcanic activity over 10's of thousands of years increased CO2 levels, there would be no record of CO2 initiating warming, only records of the increased CO2 emitted from the oceans after natural events initiated warming. This particular "argument" of Mr Baudains is one of the all time classic pieces of deceit used to fool the public from the global warming science denialists.

2) Man's contribution is two per cent or less—are J-CAN saying man's two per cent causes warming while the other 98 per cent is inactive?

No. This is a strawman argument. All the CO2 is an active greenhouse gas but our emissions are increasing the total amount of CO2 faster than the natural processes can absorb them, so the greenhouse effect is increasing. Whilst true that mankind's emissions of fossil carbon derived CO2 (think of them like a deposit account) are dwarfed by natural emissions (think of them like a current account), the vital information that the denialist propaganda "accidentally" does not mention is that natural CO2 sinks (processes which absorb CO2) are slightly larger than the natural emissions.

Analogously, if you had a bath tub without a plug and the tap was putting in 20 litres a minute (natural emissions) and the plug hole was draining 20.1 litres a minute (natural sinks), the bath would never fill up. If you stuck a hose in with only 0.15 litres a minute flow (mankind's fossil fuel emissions) the bath would fill up. Although the hose flow is a small fraction of the tap's flow it is additional input to a virtually balanced system, so it accumulates. In the same way, CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere because of our actions. We know that the extra CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere is down to us because of the measured ratio of C12 to C13 which shows that our fossil fuel derived CO2 is building up.

3) The IPCC pushed the theory of anthropogenic global warming—it has since retreated considerably

This is simply wrong. The IPCC has not "retreated" at all. No scientific body of national or international standing is currently disputing that mankind is affecting, and will continue to affect, the climate because of our fossil fuel emissions; the last was (surprise!) the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which, however, in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position. Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on scientific organisations' opinion on climate change which shows how badly Mr Baudains is in error.

4) Climate change and global warming have occurred on Earth for millions of years. What we are experiencing now is quite normal and is caused by the Sun

More illogic. A common sceptic argument is that climate has changed naturally in the past, long before 4x4s and coal-fired power plants, so how therefore can humans be causing global warming now? First you have to know that climate doesn't just change at random. Climate changes when it's forced to change. When our planet suffers an energy imbalance and gains or loses heat, global temperature changes.

There are a number of different forces which can influence the Earth's climate. When the sun gets brighter, the planet receives more energy and warms. When volcanoes erupt, they emit particles into the atmosphere which reflect sunlight, and the planet cools. When there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the planet warms. These effects are referred to as external "forcings" because by changing the planet's energy balance, they force climate to change.

It is obvious that past climate change was caused by natural forcings. However, arguing that it shows we can't be causing the current warming is like arguing that because people can get struck by lightning that there can't be any danger from working on your house wiring without turning the power off! Unfortunately the "forcing" that we are applying to the climate with our emissions is stronger than past natural forcings—analogously, the voltage of the house wiring in our example would be many times that of the lightning!

Mr Baudains claims that the current global warming, that no credible source disputes is happening, is all down to the Sun. Until about 1960, measurements by scientists showed that the brightness and warmth of the sun, as seen from the Earth, was increasing. Over the same period temperature measurements of the air and sea showed that the Earth was gradually warming. However, between the 1960s and the present day the same solar measurements have shown that the energy from the sun is now decreasing. At the same time temperature measurements of the air and sea have shown that the Earth has continued to become warmer and warmer. This proves that it cannot be the sun; something else must be causing the Earth's temperature to rise. So, while there is no credible science indicating that the sun is causing the observed increase in global temperature, it's the known physical properties of greenhouse gases that provide us with the only real and measurable explanation of global warming.

Earth Hour—26th March

At 8.30 p.m. on Saturday 26th March 2011 communities around the world will be participating once again in Earth Hour.  People, businesses and governments will switch off their lights for an hour to show support for the urgent need to tackle climate change.

Speaking on behalf of the Jersey Climate Action Network, Mark Forskitt says –

‘It is now more important than ever to take action to combat climate change. We are asking people, where possible, to show their support for Earth Hour by switching their lights off for one hour from 8.30 p.m. on Saturday 26th March.

‘This year we will be drawing particular attention to the wasteful energy use often associated with office lighting, with many businesses leaving lights on through the night. We are urging businesses to show their support for Earth Hour by turning off the lights in their offices on the evening of 26th March, and by keeping them turned off when they are not needed'.

Switching off the lights also helps to reduce the impact of light pollution on the night sky. In many parts of the Island, and especially in St. Helier and along parts of the south coast, it can be difficult to obtain a clear view of the night sky due to light pollution. There is an alternative, as has been demonstrated recently by Sark's success in being awarded ‘Dark Sky Park' status by the International Dark-sky Association. Whilst Jersey's situation is very different, with a need for street lamps and other forms of lighting, Jersey can nonetheless make significant reductions in light pollution so that we can once again get a clearer view of our night skies.

Earth Hour also provides an opportunity for the Island's government to demonstrate its support for taking action on climate change. The most practical way it can do so is to tell the people of Jersey how it intends to respond to this major issue, as indeed it was asked to do by the States in February 2010. At that time the Assembly approved a proposition from Deputy Daniel Wimberley which asked the Council of Ministers to ‘report back to the States within six months on how they intend to respond (to the results of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change), their report to include detailed proposals and timescales' (P.206/2009). This proposition was approved by an overwhelming majority of States members, with 42 members voting in favour and only four against.

Almost 14 months later, the Council of Ministers has yet to present its response.

WWF Livewell Report on healthy and sustainable food

Front cover of the WWF report 'Livewell – a balance of healthy and sustainable food choices'

Sustainable Guernsey have published an excellent summary of this important report, the facts and conclusions of which are directly relevant to life in the islands, now and in the future.

Third Annual General Meeting

The third J-CAN AGM was held at the Arts Centre on 25th January 2011. After the formalities and feedback about the recent successful Jersey in Transition open-space meeting, the meeting turned to discussing J-CAN's activities and campaigns for 2011. There will be four main thrusts: to continue to raise awareness of the issues that J-CAN stands for in the island; to continue to support Jersey in Transition; to follow up the ‘Climate Change: Copenhagen Conference – Petition' (P.206/2009) with the States; and to draw islanders' attention to the issues of peak oil and climate change during the period leading up to the October 2011 States elections, possibly using questionnaires to candidates, and by recommending policy options.

Raising awareness

Raising awareness of the issues of peak oil and climate change will continue to be one of the main priorities for J-CAN through activities such as film evenings, public talks, and special events.

The J-CAN stand at the 'Wildlife Week' at Hamptonne in May should focus on the impact of climate change on local habitats and species. Committee members are researching various aspects of this subject and will report back to the next meeting.

The area of 'Corporate Social Responsibility' was also considered to be well worth investigation, with the focus being on how businesses could take practical steps to reduce their carbon footprints. Activities in this area could include a survey of local businesses, with support from an organisation such as the Chamber of Commerce, and a workshop on CSR and sustainability.

"Getting into action"

Getting Into Action Flyer

The Jersey in Transition group are holding an open-space meeting on the 15th January at the Société Jersiaise Members' Room, Pier Road, 12.30–4.30. All are welcome! Please bring along your ideas, dreams and visions as to how we can work together to bring about a low carbon and sustainable Jersey for now and for the future. Please bring along light refreshments to share. To find out more about the Transition movement, please see the wonderful film, In Transition1.0. Even if you saw it when we showed it before Christmas, it's worth watching again on-line for inspiration and ideas.

A timetable and some notes for the open-space meeting follow. We'll have the tea and coffee counter open and running all day.

Arrival, tea and chat
What's going to happen? *See below
Groups bazaar
Groups bazaar
Presentations (2 minutes per group)

* What is going to happen?

Please come along and help Jersey in Transition "Getting into Action". Click on the image to download a flyer and publicise this all over the island.

Candlelight vigil

candle light

A candlelight vigil and drumming circle in honour of our commitments and desires to support and create a sustainable life here in Jersey and on our planet.

We met at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday 11 December at the side of BHS in Don Street, with candles and live drumming. After enjoying the rhythms, mingling, and posting our visions and dreams onto the board, we stood for a few minutes of silence in a huge circle with our candles.

This was the last day of the environmental talks in Cancún, and although we had no idea how these would conclude, or what lasting good would come of them, we wanted to show our support for any work that is being done for our immediate environment and the Earth as a whole.

About fifty people came, many with their families and friends. It was not windy so we got creative and built a map of Jersey out of candles on the pavement.

Maria and Nigel had given it a bit of publicity in a BBC Radio Jersey interview in the morning and it was all over Facebook. It was a busy shopping night in town and scores of passing people stopped to have a good look at what we were doing, to read the banner and the displays, and to enjoy the drumming and the mood. The drums and flute were brilliant, lending just the right atmosphere and focus to the whole event. At five o'clock, the drumming stopped, Maria said a few words, and we stood in a few minutes of silence for our intentions and hopes. The drums re-broke the silence and we applauded, thanked, and cheered those who came, those who couldn't come, the band, each other, life, the universe and everything; then packed up the whole lot and headed off into the night, each with a new candlelit glow in their heart.

Check out the photos on Facebook, and if you haven't done so, join the Jersey in Transition or the J-CAN groups there, so as not to miss the next event!

Jersey in Transition

Groups of people in discussion in the interval after the film 'In Transition 1.0' at the Société Jersiaise

The In Transition1.0 film evening went very well on 24th November. There were about 50 people in the Members' Room, and there was a lively discussion afterwards. Many of those present said that they wanted to do more towards putting Transition principles into action in Jersey. We discussed points made in the film, that Transition is not about recruiting other people, nor about persuading politicians and businesses, to 'do something about it'. It is more about the fact that 50 people in a room are aware of problems, and so can work together to create and get on with positive initiatives and real changes in our own lives that actually make a difference. The film highlighted typical issues—peak oil, climate change, lack of local resilience, food miles, dependence on others for things that can be local—and described how simple personal and small community actions begin to build the social cohesion that can make a real difference. Right here, right now.

The feeling in the room was that another meeting should be called, and that key opportunities for change should identified to drive things forward. Christmas is already getting close, and people suggested that a daytime meeting would be good for active participation. So, the Société Jersiaise Members' Room is already booked for 12.30 to 4.30 pm on Saturday 15 January 2011. The meeting may involve people bringing lunch and food to share, it may begin with a re-showing of the film to remind everyone of the important points, we may arrange the room as chairs around square tables to facilitate group discussion, we may base the proceedings on unconference or more specifically open space technology.

There are two more J-CAN meetings before 15 Jan, 30 November and 28 December, so please come along and help us to set this up and finalise the organisational details. J-CAN does not, and does not want to, 'own' the Jersey in Transition initiative. We are only in a temporary role, facilitating and enabling the first steps, before JiT (or whatever it ends up calling itself) can run and one day fly by itself. If you want to be involved, please come along and help formulate the ideas, and take them away to become reality in the Island.

Jersey Transition Initiative

Jersey Transition Initiative

The votes for the film are in, and the winner is... In Transition1.0, by a long margin. At the recent J-CAN meeting, 26th October 2010, we took that to be a vote for more than just a film. According to the transition network website, "A Transition Initiative (which could be a town, village, university or island etc) is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction".1 There are hundreds of these initiatives around the world and so we have already registered the Jersey Transition Initiative with the network. We are officially at the stage of 'mulling it over', and we hope that we can use the film evening as a way to gauge local opinion about joining and getting involved in the steps laid out by the transition movement.

The transition movement started in the UK and has spread worldwide. Totnes and Lewes are just two examples of transition towns in the south of England. There are 318 official local initiatives worldwide, 170 of which are in the UK, that have gone well beyond our 'mulling it over' stage.2 We are working on numbers one and two of the 'twelve ingredients' of a transition model: Using our new transition network webpage we are starting to set up a steering group (with its demise or transformation designed in from the outset!), and we are going to show In Transition1.0 to "identify [our] key allies, build crucial networks and prepare the community in general for the launch of [Jersey's] Transition initiative".3 The transition network website even gives us six 'suggestions for group screenings' on how to plan the evening.4

It is clear that the transition movement has got a lot of advice and ground-plans and steps for us to follow if we, as a local community, want to do so. There are books, and downloads, and films, and most of all people, all there for us to draw upon. It is nice not to feel alone or isolated, and it is also nice to know that these steps have been thought out and tried in practice by many others – honed over months and years of practical experience. We are going to take it seriously, set up the first few steps and see to what happens. The rest is up to you: if lots of people turn up, and are enthusiastic, and want to make something happen, then something may well happen. If it does, we think this could be a very exciting step for the island and a great expression of our collective hopes for the future here in the island.

The film will be shown in the Members' Room at the Société Jersiaise, Pier Road, St Helier, starting at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 24th November. The showing will be free of charge and open to all (with a retiring collection). We are grateful to the Channel Islands Co-operative Society for sponsorship of the film event.

Please download a copy of the flyer and display it, or e-mail it to a friend.

Jersey's buildings

Aerial thermal image of some buildings

J-CAN were pleased to be invited to an 'Autumn reception' by the Jersey Energy Trust, hosted at the new Ogier building on the Esplanade. The Jersey Energy Trust is supported by the Jersey Electricity Company and provides assistance to the States Of Jersey Energy Efficiency Service. The Energy Efficiency Service in turn provides assistance to households to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. With its assistance, we were told that a houehold can save up to £300 a year on it's energy bills. It does all sound like significant steps in the right direction.

It seems that lots of important and influential people in Jersey now understand that we need to save energy in the Island, and that things are beginning to happen, particularly in the area of the energy efficiency of buildings. Senator Cohen said that about half of all the carbon emitted by Jersey is due to buildings. He pointed out existing and future by-laws that require savings to be made. There were also several mentions of the Kyoto agreement and of corporate responsibilities, which were very good to hear.

The new Ogier building is very large, very shiny and very new, and it has achieved BREEAM 'very good' status in terms of its energy efficiency. They have computers and sensors that mean that everybody can have the temperature and lighting levels they want, and lights switch off or dim automaticly when areas are empty. It has good insulation, three huge atria that are important for light and air flow, and it's near the bus station so that people don't have to drive to work. They got extra BREEAM points for having as many as 50 cycle racks, and yet more for only having as few as 47 car parking spaces. They use video conferencing instead of flying people to meetings. This is all very good indeed.

Sir Nigel Broomfield, chair of Jersey Energy Trust also spoke about everybody wanting to do something about energy efficiency, but many people needing guidance in their first step. Sir Nigel announced that, in association with J-CAN, the Jersey Energy Trust is arranging to have the whole island thermally imaged from an aircraft, and the results put onto the web. This will mean that sometime in the near future, you will be able to go to a website and find your house or place of work and from the colour it appears you will be able to tell just how much energy you are wasting through your roof, compared to what you should, and compared to what your neighbours are wasting. There will be help and guidance available as to what to do from there. I should imagine that better loft insulation and turning your heating down a bit will be high on the list of options. Through measures like this, "Jersey will gain an environmental reputation of which we can all be justifiably proud", Sir Nigel said. J-CAN's own Nick Palmer has written much more about this excellent initiative on his blog.

Senator Cohen said that the Esplanade Quarter (that's the building complex slated to appear on the car park the other side of the Esplanade) will reach BREEAM 'excellent' standards. He added that everything is moving in the same direction: building tenants require it, investors demand it and the island's government are easing the process. The island's future, he said, depends to some extent on our environmental credentials.

The seas in crisis

Do you love the sea? Is your favourite place on Earth one of the island's bays? Have you seen our dolphins? Have you ever seen a whale? Watch the video above and see how you feel. This came from Greenpeace, who are launching a campaign today (4 Oct 2010) calling for large-scale marine reserves worldwide. There was a presentation at the Société Jersiaise in April 2009 from Tom Hooper of Finding Sanctuary and Jean-luc Solandt of the Marine Conservation Society. They talked about the extensive scientific evidence that well-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), coupled with 'traditional' quota/effort-based management, lead to increased biodiversity, the recovery of fisheries, and a sustainable future for marine ecosystems. Things can be done, and we can ask for them to be done. In the meantime, just don't buy and don't eat industrially caught seafood—we can each vote with our fork, we do it every day.

BBC Horizon covered the same issues tonight too. David Attenborough said that research has shown that if present trends are allowed to continue, life in the world's oceans will have collapsed by 2050. This is serious, folks.

Winter films and guest speakers

Film strip

The Vanishing of the Bees was indeed an evening to remember in Brian's polytunnel last week. At this week's monthly J-CAN meeting, we discussed further plans. J-CAN is going to show our own film, perhaps about mid-November, and we have a few possible venues lined up. We have reduced the number of options available for you to vote for, but we are still dependent on your votes, in the panel on this page, to help us decide which film to put on. Follow the links to find out about the films, then vote for the one you would like to see. It would be great to have a guest speaker to introduce our film, and maybe to lead some discussion after the showing, but we also have plans to bring a speaker over after Christmas for a talk and discussion about some relevant issue. All of these things come under the banner of 'raising awareness' of climate change and peak oil planning issues in the island. Please get in touch by e-mail, Twitter or Facebook (links at the top of the page) if you have any ideas or suggestions.

Looking further into the future, spurred on by the success of Brian and the Jersey Organic Association with Vanishing of the Bees, we are hoping to run another film as part of the Branchage Film Festival next autumn. This is a more expensive and bigger operation than our current plans for this year, so again, any help and support with this plan will be gratefully received. Recent planning processes and documents under discussion by the States do show some growing awareness in decision-making circles of the issues that we stand for, including the triple bottom line and so on. Hopefully we are pushing on what is no longer a locked, barred and nailed-up door (though not yet an open door), so this effort is worthwhile and is bearing tiny fruit. We need to get more on-board, get more active, and get more done.

Vanishing of the Bees – Saturday 25th September

Bee in flight

The Jersey Organic Association joined forces with the Branchage Film Festival to organise a screening of Vanishing of the Bees on the evening of Saturday 25th September. In line with the Branchage preference for unusual and eccentric venues, the film was screened in a polytunnel at Greenacres Farm at Sion, St. John, courtesy of JOA chairman Brian Adair.

The evening promised to be something special, with refreshments and live music before the film itself at 8.00 p.m. Vanishing of the Bees offers a fascinating insight into the plight of the honeybee, and links it with developments in farming over the last 50 years, as well as highlighting the human impact of recent changes.

The producer of the film, James Erskine, kindly agreed to come to Jersey to give a brief talk after the screening about the making of the film, whilst Brian Adair gave the JOA's perspective on this issue, and Bob Tompkins from the Jersey Beekeepers' Association spoke about the situation in Jersey. There was also time for questions and discussion, plus further refreshments.

The JOA would like to thank the Channel Islands Co-operative Society for its generous support in sponsoring all the costs associated with this event. The Association is also grateful to the Branchage Festival organisers for their enthusiasm and support in helping to make this happen

Bottled water

Beautiful glass water carafes promoted by Eco-Active to reduce the usage of bottled water in meetings and when dining

We were delighted to welcome Olivia Copsey of Eco-Active to our July J-CAN meeting. She introduced us to Eco-Active's Time for Tap, which meshes perfectly with our own Bottled water campaign, launched on these pages last July. Time for Tap emphasises that in 2009, all water leaving Jersey's treatment works was 100% compliant with all Department of Planning and Environment quality parameters. Since plastic bottle recycling began in Jersey in August 2007, 109 tonnes of them have been exported for recycling, which amounts to over 2 million plastic bottles. Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 12W low-energy bulb for up to 30 hours. Water is heavy, and the transportation of bottled water by UK industry generates about 33,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually—equivalent to the energy use of 6,000 homes. We in Jersey are at the worst end of this as any water we buy here has to be transported to the docks and then shipped across the Channel too.

Eco-Active want us to reduce our consumption of bottled water at school, at play and at work. Get into the habit of taking a sports bottle with you to top up throughout the day; don't be embarrassed to ask for tap water when you eat out; and businesses in Jersey should switch to filtered mains water in meeting rooms. The stylish carafes shown here can be branded with any organisations' logo and ordered from the London on Tap website.

We all agree that a water filter jug is a practical and effective way to improve the taste of our tap water. Water filter cartidges last much longer in Jersey than the manufacturers recommend, due to the lack of limescale in our water, and they can be recycled. What we would like to see are recycling points for these spent cartidges in the island—BRITA have initiated a Retail Recycling plan across the UK, but there seems to be no take-up in Jersey.

The other thing we'd like to see are drinking fountains and mains-supplied bottle refilling stations all over town and around the island. These things are available all around the world (Australia, Oz again, Europe, London, and promoted in the press), but they seem to be absent from the Island. This is a move whose time has come. Do your bit, and with a bit of buy-in from shops, businesses and the States, we could all be saving money and reducing our carbon footprint from this summer onwards.

The plastic in teabags

We have been composting all our kitchen waste, in two of those green daleks that someone filled the island's garden centres with, for some years now. I noticed that the finished product was littered with un-decayed teabag 'husks', but it was not until this month (July 2010) that I found out why. Which? did the research and published the facts. PG Tips says its teabags are made with about 80% paper fibre; Teadirect's teabags are '70% compostable'. Apparently, the use of polypropylene in teabag manufacture is an industry-wide practice, with Jacksons of Piccadilly the only known exception, and the sustainability and recyclability of teabags is not high on these companies' agendas. The 20% plastic in the bags prevents the mini-beasts in compost heaps from getting at the tea leaves inside for some time too, so we should be breaking then open before adding them to the heap, and then seiving them out by hand afterwards.

This sounded like nonsense to us, so we bought some loose leaf Fairtrade tea and dug out the old teapot. That was OK, but we are so used to the simplicity of teabags in mugs these days, that it wasn't quite right. These plastic infusers seem to suit us much better. You put a level teaspoon of loose tea into each infuser, make the tea in your mugs and then tap the tealeaves out into the compost 'kitchen caddy' to be ready for next time.

Feel once again the rosy glow of knowing you are saving money, improving the local environment another tiny bit, and outwitting silly corporations using nothing but a little know-how and simple technology. The tea actually tastes better too.

Web update

We're not the only ones to have looked into this. Here are some links to other blogs and discusions.

P.S. Loose-leaf tea in infusers is still working well some months on: the tealeaves mix well with the sawdust that remains from wood pellet cat litter to make a lovely looking organic something-or-other in the compost.

West Show 2010

Visitors look at the J-CAN stand at the West Show 2010

J-CAN put on and manned a successful stand at St Peter's West Show on July 10–11th 2010. The two main displays on the stand were about the oil consumption built into our food production, and our old favourite topic, bottled water. Vers Les Monts Organic Farm generously donated us a beautiful basket of fresh, local, organic produce, which we displayed flanked on one side by a large diesel can to represent the crude oil products that might have gone into spraying, fertilising, heating, transporting, refrigerating and packaging it non-organically, and on the other side by a box of discarded plastic packaging that was involved in getting such food into our homes. A jug of tap water was compared with both an activated carbon filter-jug that can be used easily in the home to remove unpleasant tastes and chemicals from our tap water, and a few plastic bottles of imported water, that really is no better than the tap or filtered waters. A reusable hiking bottle reminded us how we can take our own water out with us instead of needing to buy imports as we go.

All of this was surrounded by posters and leaflets and some beautiful original cartoons, all produced by our volunteers, explaining the displays and giving facts, figures, and encouragements to us all to try to do better.

Many people stopped and took it all in, and we had several interesting conversations with people of all persuasions. There were some who almost lived off bottled water, and didn't know about the plastic filter jugs available from every supermarket. Others swore by local organic vegetables and would eat nothing else. At least a dozen people were so interested in what we're doing that they gave us their e-mail addresses to stay in touch and maybe get more involved. It is heartening to watch the tide of public opinion regarding peak oil continues to turn here in the island. There's a way to go, but if more of us think reduce, reuse, recycle in everyday things, then we will have achieved quite a lot.

Feeding ourselves

Graph of world population growth with caption, 'Almost 8 calories of hydrocarbon energy for each calorie of food'. Still from video with thanks to Post Peak Living.

I watched this fascinating video by Post Peak Living the other day. It is the last of a set of three, the other two covering the story of oil, and giving rebuttals for any who doubt aspects of peak oil concept. One important statement is shown in the stillframe reproduced here: Almost 8 calories of hydrocarbon energy are used for each calorie of food we Westerners consume in the modern world. This covers energy used to plant, irrigate, fertilise, harvest, process, store and transport the food. The next statements raise this figure to 24 calories for the energy used to put a calorie of fish onto our plates, due to the energy intensity of diesel-powered fishing fleets. This is an American video, but I am sure that the figures for local food are no better, especially considering transport (sometimes air transport) in and out of the island.

I wanted to look a little deeper into these figures and found this article on Net energy and this one called Fossil Food: Consuming our Future, which both tend toward a 10:1 estimate rather than 8:1. I am reminded of my favourite moment from the talk Patrick Holden gave here in Jersey: 'Can we afford to feed the whole world with organic produce?' The true answer is that in the next 20 to 50 years, we will not be able to afford to feed them any other way.

Over the weekend of 10th-11th July 2010, J-CAN will have a stand at the West Show, St. Peter and this is one of the issues we plan to emphasise. We are hard at work planning that stand at the moment, and it will be discussed at our monthly meeting on Tuesday 29th June 2010, 8.00 p.m. Frances Le Sueur Centre, St Ouen. All are welcome, so if you would like to help put this idea together and present it to the island's population, media and our politicians, come along, or get in touch via the e-mail address above, via Twitter or via Facebook. Help us plant some seeds for a more sustainable future here in Jersey.

More front page news items: Archive 1

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