Greening South Woodford

The Green Day at the community orchardThe Green Day at the community orchard

Now is the time to find out what we can all do to help reverse climate change, says Louise Burgess of the South Woodford Society, which has launched its Greening South Woodford project

As we start to consider the outcomes of the UN Climate Change conference (COP26), combined with the recent struggles over fuel distribution and worries about heating costs, it is now time to find out what we can all do to help reduce greenhouse emissions and reverse climate change.

The above issues, the biodiversity of our local area and the need to increase the amount of green spaces for wildlife (and humans!) are very important to the South Woodford Society. To that end, we recently held a Green Day at the community orchard (which, unfortunately, was also a very wet day) to showcase some greening initiatives.

We tasted some delicious old varieties of apples, learnt how to make and use waxed bowl covers (to reduce single-use plastic), created a wonderful bug hotel from an old beehive and made our own small ones to take home from recycled cans and twigs. We heard about the new soft plastic recycling from the Co-op (such as crisp bags and bread bags) and there was a chance to chat to Peter Desner, the owner of the new electric bike shop in The Galleria, and try out the electric bikes that had been cycled down to the orchard. There was also a stand from the Party Kit Network, which hires out reusable party kits, so you don’t have to use throwaway plates and cups ever again.

Councillor Jo Blackman (Cabinet Member for Environment and Civic Pride) and Councillor Beverley Brewer both braved the downpour and gave their full support to our Greening South Woodford project, which will transform the patch of green at the corner of Eastwood Road with biodiverse planting, herbs and spaces to sit and relax. We are also planning more work at the orchard and hope to install benches and a much-needed storage container for both gardening and litter-picking equipment.

To reduce your own carbon footprint, the main things to try – as well as the five Rs of refuse, reduce, reuse/repair, recycle and rot – are to eat less meat and dairy and use your car (and fly) less often. You’ll be pleased to know that first-class flights take up to at least three times as much carbon as economy flights, so you shouldn’t be envious of those who turn left! One thing that might not occur to many people is the impact of internet use. While it may only be a few grams of carbon dioxide emitted from the energy needed to run your devices and power wireless networks, even more energy intensive are the data centres and vast servers needed to store the content we access. So, do consider if those Facebook updates are really necessary!

We’ll be adding to the environment pages on our website over the coming months, so please have a look for a selection of hints and tips you can follow at home.

To find out more about the South Woodford Society’s sustainability projects, visit swvg.co.uk/sws