Alston energy launch :: Sustainable Christmas ideas :: CAfS meets Natalie Bennett

Firstly, a warm welcome to our new subscribers who signed up at the launch of the book 'Images from a Warming Planet' (more on that below). I hope you find the newsletter interesting - and if your fresh eyes spot ways I could improve it, please do get in touch! Winter's well and truly here and we've already had the first named storm of the season, with winds strong enough to uproot a tree in my fellside garden. In this newsletter, we've a timely reminder of some measures to help our homes deal better with extreme weather. We also have some events you might enjoy, to cheer up the wintry days.    Jaki
Alston Moor film night & launch 
Book your free place now!

Join Alston Moor Community Energy (AMCE) as they celebrate their official launch on 2 December, with a free screening of the climate change documentary 'This Changes Everything'.

AMCE will develop renewable energy projects in the Alston Moor area and you'll hear a bit more about their exciting plans before the film.

You can book your free seats online, or just turn up on the night. 

The event is hosted in association with Alston Moor Film and supported by CAfS, with funding from the Postcode Local Trust.
Climate change book launch
Cumbrian shares global images

Ambleside-based photographer Ashley Cooper has just launched a new book showing the impacts of climate change around the world through his own photography.

'Images from a Warming Planet' brings together photos that Ashley has taken during more than a decade. It's a stunning photographic record of climate change and you can see some of the photos in a free exhibition that's just opened at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere. It runs until the end of December.

The book has been released just in time to make a great Christmas present and you can buy it directly from Ashley via his website.

    Climate cheer at Droving stall
    Sustainable Christmas sparks interest

    Our ideas for a more sustainable Christmas piqued the public's interest at our Winter Droving stall in Penrith on Saturday 12 November.

    We shared some inspiration for ho memade presents, like Frankie's 'Gifts in a Jar', along with some suggestions for shopping locally and using recycled paper and homemade shopping bags to wrap presents.

    The wooden Christmas tree loaned to us by the Carleton Farm Shop (now run by Vista Veg) attracted a lot of interest and o ur raffle for a wholesome Vista Veg bag also proved very popular. 

    People passed on some of their own ideas for sustainable presents and our favourites were Gifts in a Jar for pet owners, filled with dog or cat treats, and using old atlases and maps to wrap presents.
    Disruption prompts discussion 
    Film screening inspires climate chat

    Our screening of Disruption last week attracted a pretty full house and there was an invigorating discussion afterwards.

    The film looked at why the general public haven't demanded action on climate change in the same way as other issues affecting society. It was fascinating to hear people's views on what could or should be done in Cumbria. 

    Many in the audience felt the best way forward was to join a political party and push for change within a political framework. Others felt that public action like climate marches and demos was the way to drive change.

    There were discussions about things people can do individually to reduce their carbon footprint - from driving more slowly to reducing consumption of 'stuff'. Some said they were worried about what Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US would mean for efforts to tackle climate change. Others felt that these could act as points of resistance, encouraging more people to push for existing climate agreements to be protected. 

    Disruption as a really good summary of all the issues behind climate change - from the science and impacts, to the society factors that prevent us from doing more. You can watch it free online at .

    Our thanks to Cumbria Community Foundation for making the event possible.
    Welcome back to trustee Tim 
    Sharing expertise on flood adaptation

    CAfS is really happy to welcome Tim Maiden back to our board of trustees. A former trustee, Tim is a climate change and sustainability consultant with CAG Consultants.

    You might be interested to read Tim's recent article about flood resilience in buildings, inspired by news that the BRE are refurbishing a test house with all sorts of measures designed to make it quicker for occupants to get back in after flooding. Tim's article includes a link to the BRE news story, which is also a fascinating read - especially for us here in Cumbria. It echoes much of the advice in our new flood retrofitting guide

    Tim notes that there's a lot people can do to adapt their homes. "Electrical fixtures and boilers can be fitted above flood levels. Lime plaster, which can absorb and then release moisture without deforming, can be used to rebuild walls. Water resistant insulation can be used so that walls and floors don't have to be ripped out. Solid wood, acrylic or stainless steel kitchens can be fitted."

    Here's the link to Tim's article: 
    Help local people cut energy bills
    Places available on two free schemes

    There's still time to book your free place on one of our schemes to learn about reducing energy use in the home, and share that knowledge with others in your area.

    We have a very comprehensive two-day training course for residents of Allerdale, Carlisle, Copeland and Eden on 29 & 30 November. We'd then ask you to visit with local households to carry out an energy assessment, spotting ways they can stop draughts, use less energy and reduce their bills. Eligible households will get free draughtproofing and LED bulbs, thanks to funding from the Ebico Trust.  Email or call us on 01768 210276 if you'd like a free place. 

    For those in and around Brampton/Carlisle, we have a free half-day workshop on home energy use, which will enable you to give people advice on using less energy in the home. This scheme is funded by the William Milburn Charitable Trust and supported by Sustainable Brampton . Email to book onto the workshop, which is on 29 November in Carlisle.
    CAfS meets Natalie Bennett
    Flood resilience work highlighted

    We were fortunate to have had some time with former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett when she visited Cumbria this month to find out how the county's recovering after last winter's flooding. 

    As well as talking to her about the work we're doing around flood adaptation and climate change generally, we shared our thoughts for what the Green Party could be lobbying for nationally that would be helpful to groups like us. 

    Our chief executive, Hazel, sums it all up really well in this short video:

    How can we help you?  
    Share your views on workshops

    We're putting together a new programme of training courses and workshops designed to help you reduce your carbon footprint. We'd like to hear what topics would be most helpful to you. In your home life, what do you struggle with most when it comes to living more sustainably? How about in your professional life?

    We're also keen to hear from specialists who could offer training courses linked to sustainability - whether for individuals or professionals. 

    Please email your suggestions to
    Forthcoming Events
    Freegle Give & Take | 26 Nov | Masonic Hall, Kirkby Stephen
    Like a jumble sale, but everything is free! Bring along things you don't want any more. Have a rummage and find things you need. Free entry. 11am to 2pm.

    The Atom: A Love Affair | 6 Dec | Friends Meeting House, Penrith
    Watch a test screening of a new film about nuclear energy and share your suggestions afterwards to help the producers improve it. Free entry. 7pm

    Got a sustainability event you'd like us to mention? Email

    How low can you go?

    The festive season is nigh and the annual challenge begins... how can we consume less and waste less at this time of year? Here are a few tips for a more sustainable Christmas...

    * Buy goods made locally to reduce transport miles and support local businesses.
    * Give homemade gifts... a Gift in a Jar needs no special skills, or if you're crafty how about giving a cake, jam, something sewn or made from wood.

    * See our Winter Droving article above for some alternatives to buying new wrapping paper.

    * Give gifts that help loved ones save money on their energy bills - how about some LED bulbs or a draught excluder you've rustled up on the sewing machine! 

    You might have noticed a new Facebook group that launched in Cumbria this month, encouraging people to pledge #nocrapthischristmas. Check it out

    CAfS is registered company 6492907 and a registered charity 1123155