Saturday, 30 December 2017

A summer beach clean with Southsea Beachwatch

In the "Chrimbo Limbo" period, it can seem hard to remember the lovely warm, sunny days of summer, but back in August I took part in a beach clean up with the energetic volunteers of Southsea Beachwatch.

This was at Eastney Beach in Portsmouth, a beautiful area that I had only briefly visited before despite working for many years in Portsmouth.  The group were welcoming and it was quickly clear that they had been successful in keeping the shore in good condition.  At first, the general impression was of a tidy stretch of shoreline, but when you looked closer there were still plenty of plastic bits and pieces to pick up.

Yet another cotton bud
It was a wonderfully warm day and within a couple of hours, the group had collected a large amount of rubbish.  Southsea Beachwatch are very active in carrying out regular clean ups on the shore.  One of the best ways to keep in touch with them is to follow them on Twitter at @Southsea_Beach.

Eastney Beach, Portsmouth

Special thanks to Southsea Beachwatch for making me feel welcome on the day and for all their hard work in clearing up the shore. Not only does the beach look pristine, but the removal of so much plastic debris helps wildlife.  Please have a look at our vlog from the day. Apologies for some of the sound - it was a lovely day but the microphone managed to pick up quite a bit of the wind.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Surfers Against Sewage at Stokes Bay

by Adam Manning

A cold but sunny autumn morning saw Surfers Against Sewage hold a beach clean up on Stokes Bay, in Gosport, as part of their Autumn Beach Clean series. Their campaign highlights plastic and other litter on our shores with the aim of keeping them as clean as possible. I had never been to Stokes Bay before and was immediately struck by how beautiful it was, with golden sunlight pouring over the pebbles.

Stokes Bay, Gosport

The volunteers were lead by Cliff Culver, someone I had recently met at the beach clean up on Weston Shore. He and his colleagues made everyone feel welcome and, with Hallowe'en just around the corner, they even had a costume competition for the children to enjoy. Darth Vader was the winner, awarded by local celebrity and a good friend, Malcolm Dent. Involving children in this way is a great idea; they grow up so quickly that it is important to take the time to reach out to them and encourage them to participate so that they have these sorts of activities as part of their background.

The volunteers arrive

We soon set forth and scoured the shore for litter. Although the beach seemed quite clean superficially, as usual once you started looking, there was lots of plastic debris to collect.  This could often be found caught on the plants on the shore and at one point, I worked along the side of the walkway at Stokes Bay.  The ledge this formed was a wind trap for litter and I was able to find all sorts, including a tee that may have come from the nearby pitch and putt course.

It was wonderful to see families taking part and I was delighted to see a friend of mine called Nicola Dickinson taking part, alongside her daughter. I made some new friends, two keen litter pickers from The Yacht Market, who were energetic and enthusiastic about the event. Thanks for taking part!

The Yacht Market at Stokes Bay

After a couple of happy hours, it was time to down litter pickers and enjoy some treats courtesy of the group.  It had been a rewarding morning and Surfers Against Sewage are to be congratulated on a great campaign that has really motivated people to get involved.

 A short vlog about the beach clean up :

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Green Business Networking

a guest article from Tracy Weeks 

Many years ago, when I was a student in Cornwall, I had to complete work placements as part of my course in Graphic Information Design, one of these introduced me to Dorothy Mackenzie, author of Green Design: Design for the EnvironmentThis really inspired me and has had a long-lasting influence on my way of thinking. My dissertation was based on advertising campaigns created by NGOs and environmental organisations and my major design project focused on the logistical issues of recycling in Cornwall and included posters with the headline ‘everything has the potential to be something else’ (1997).

As I’ve always had a great passion for design as well as anything that is ‘green’, it made perfect sense to combine the two with the work I create as a freelance graphic designer. It’s why Purplelily Design was created back in 2005, to nurture businesses with similar values.

As a freelance graphic designer I do a lot of networking in Hampshire (and sometimes Dorset and Wiltshire); part of Purplelily Design’s ethos is to work with and support local businesses. This has taken me to events organised by the University of Winchester to hear Jonathon Porritt* talk (twice); The Big Green Event and The Big Green Breakfast and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Network events.
*Forum for the Future and formerly of the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

The first Big Green Event, in October 2016, introduced me to the organisers Lynda Daniels and Anita Potten, also of the Southern Sustainability Partnership. The breakfast events they organise in Hampshire and Dorset have, so far, included talks by Mat Jane, Head of Energy and Environment at University of Winchester, who talked about an increase in student numbers and a decrease in resources as well as engaging students in big ‘switch offs’ at the University; Peter Schofield, Environment Manager at GEP Environmental Ltd, who talked about ISO 14001:2015 updates and 918 Coffee who talked about using spent coffee beans.

The Environmental Management Conference (April 2017), held at the Ageas Bowl, introduced me to the Circular Economy, Cradle2Cradle production and so much more! The whole day encouraged me to support sustainable businesses and look at promoting my business values more as we all need to ‘shout louder’ about all the good things we do.
• Adam Woodhall, Inspiring Sustainability, brought his own knowledge and experience on sustainability and a flourishing economy.
• Ken Webster, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation talked about the Circular Economy, as well as an incredible list of books that included A Wealth of Flows Circular Economy.
• Josh Fothergill, IEMA, talked about the British Standards Institute’s BSI 8001 and its relation to ISO14001, the Environmental Management System.
• Philip Dudell, Sustainable Procurement, gave us a fun task to see how we would buy in office furniture on budget and on brief for a sustainable business.
• Jason Light, Environmental Lead at Eastleigh Borough Council, talked about projects using Solar PV, LED Lighting, Electric Vehicles, Bike to Work Scheme to name a few.
• Jonathan Lodge, City Farm Systems, talked about how City Farm Systems installations (produce grown at source on a rooftop plot) can allow suppliers to save on wastage, transport, packaging and pollution.
• Steve Mason, Pearce Compaction Systems, showed how waste can be reduced and that they have a solar powered compactor installed at Windsor Castle.
• Tom Old and Karl Walker, Clean Energy UK, talked about their time with Al Gore in the Philippines and the 2015 Paris Climate talks.
The winner of the Conference competition was Alex MacArthur, Mayflower Theatre, who won an electric bike from Richard Davies of FreeGo Electric Bikes (Southampton).

Events held by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Network (Formerly SBN Solent) have included Marketing Sustainability, Sustainable Workplaces, Sustainable Transport and Corporate social responsibility (CSR).
• At the CSR breakfast in July John Buckley, Carbon Footprint Ltd, talked about CSR on a Shoe String. CSR can have a positive or negative impact on a brand… “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.” Warren Buffet. CSR is important for all organisations and is more than just giving to charity. It’s also about taking responsibility for ethics in an organisation large or small.
• Tracy Jarvis, Community Matters, talked about a purpose beyond profit which included fund raising and employee volunteering. Members of the Community Matters partnership include the BMW Group UK, TAG Farnborough Airport and the Sixth Form College Farnborough.
• Sharon Ball, De La Rue, talked about their Code of Business Principles – doing the right thing, which includes: health, safety and the environment; fairness and respect; records and reports; conflicts of interest; protecting personal information competition and anti-trust laws; bribery and corruption; gifts and hospitality; insider trading and confidential information; anyone who raises a concern in good faith will be fully supported. She also assured us that De La Rue does not produce the new plastic five pound notes that use animal tallow in production!

(c) New Forest Tartan
(c) New Forest Tartan
I recently met Kate Collison of New Forest Tartan at the New Forest Business Partnership networking breakfast, just before the New Forest Show. New Forest Tartan is a new business that uses British, plant dyed wool, hand woven into a blend of oak, yew, silver birch, heather and fern colours.

 Oh, and I mustn’t forget the lovely Suzii Fido of Marketing with Ethics, who I met at a Business Builder’s breakfast in Fareham a couple of years ago. Suzii also runs a Facebook group called Ethical Marketing for Business with her husband. Business and Facebook page are now run remotely from the beautiful island of Kefalonia, where they also help Wildlife Sense supporting the local turtles.

See you at The Big Green Event in October to check out what’s new with Tesla and other sustainable businesses! There really is so much going on, time to ‘shout louder’ everyone, make your sustainable business stand out!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chessel Bay Beach Clean

by Adam Manning

On a bright spring morning, my family and I went to Chessel Bay, in Bitterne in Southampton, to help with a beach clean up and litter pick.  I had been to a similar event there some years before and remembered the area to be really beautiful, although suffering from a serious litter problem, and was looking forward to seeing if there had been any change.

Chessel Bay is quite hidden and not many local people know of its existence on the shores of the River Itchen.  Near the Northam Bridge, there are views from it across the river towards the city of Southampton.  It is bordered by a pretty woodland, with footpaths through the trees, leading to a steep bank that slopes down to the shore.  The pebbled shore is interspersed with thick patches of reed and is a habitat for wading birds.  Chessel Bay is a Local Nature Reserve and is looked after by Southampton City Council and the local Friends of Chessel Bay volunteers.

I was greeted warmly by Ian Bailey from the Hawthorns Centre and signed in. Ian had previously told me that part of the problem for Chessel Bay is that much of the rest of the shoreline in Southampton has a hard surface, such as concrete edging, and this means any rubbish or litter floating about on the water tends to bounce off these and end up accumulating on the mudflats or shores of the nature reserve.

Ian Bailey from the Hawthorns Centre
My daughter and I clambered down onto the shore to help with the clean up and it was wonderful to see lots of volunteers already in action.

At first the shore looked relatively clean but on closer inspection, as well as all the usual sweet and chocolate wrappers, drinks cans and so forth, the surface was covered in countless bits of polystyrene debris.  With a litter picker, it was possible to pick up some of the larger chunks of this but there were a lot of small crumbs of it all over the place.

Polystyrene debris
There was of course a lot of larger items of litter and rubbish along the shore, including the remains of a dinghy, a number of cannisters of various sizes, glass bottles and even the remains of a surfboard from a windsurfer!

Board from a Windsurfer found during the beach clean!
I was very pleased to see a group from the University of Southampton who were volunteers from their Marine Conservation Society. They were hard at work making a big difference to the area.

The Marine Conservation Society at Chessel Bay, hard at work
Looking closer at the ground at Chessel Bay, in some areas the soil was thick with nurdles - the small pellets of plastic that are used in manufacturing.  This was so bad that one of the volunteers from Marine Conservation Society commented to me later that in parts of the shore, there seemed to be more nurdles than soil.

As always, it was heartening to see volunteers taking action to improve an area. I had to leave half way through the event and already a great quantity of rubbish of all sorts had been cleared up.  Yet to see the soil so embedded with the offcasts of our industry shocked and dismayed me.

Chessel Bay is a beautiful part of Southampton, precious in being one of the few ways to access the water. The volunteers are doing wonderful things in keeping it that way and let us hope that it receives even more care in the coming years.