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Working on Hyperlocal Rainfall

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 26.01.2016

Time: 17:58

So I have been with Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) for three whole months now and what an enjoyable time it has been so far – from being a part of a great team, to getting to meet and work with so many people around Peterborough and even planting a few trees along the way!

I am the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall, where we are developing an app that will be able to accurately predict rainfall within 5 minute intervals for the hour ahead of you, for your specific journeys, to help support and encourage Peterborough residents to use sustainable transport around the city.

I came to PECT late last year for this project having recently graduated from the University of East Anglia studying Environmental Science. I have had a passion for nature and environmental issues from a young age and my focus has grown around communicating and engaging people and communities with these environmental issues, such as sustainability and climate change.

I saw the Hyperlocal Rainfall project as a great opportunity to get involved with something truly innovative, getting people engaged with sustainable actions in a way that hadn’t been done before, and giving people a tool they themselves can use to make a real difference to their lives and their local environment. I am a true believer in ‘think global, act local’, and once I started to read up on PECT and the work it carries out I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

Over the past few months I have learnt bucket loads and Hyperlocal Rainfall is developing nicely, having received input and help from nearly 40 people across Peterborough in how they would want this app to work for them and how best it could benefit the city.

All the feedback has been promising and I am really looking forward to getting even more people involved with Hyperlocal Rainfall over the next year. It will be great to meet more of you and to see the difference the app will be able to make in supporting the use of sustainable transport in people’s daily lives and in having a positive impact on our local environment!

Freya Herman is PECT's Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



New Year, New Year’s Resolutions

Category: General

Date: 26.01.2016

Time: 10:41

I know that, without fail, once January appears there’s always an influx of articles and incentives encouraging the creation of a ‘New You’ for the New Year. The majority of these seem to suggest that last year can be written off, and that a new year brings with it the chance to start afresh.

I personally don’t believe that the arrival of a New Year should be a chance to discard what’s been before. Everything that’s happened previously – and the lives of those who’ve come before us – offers a great learning experience. Surely it’s by learning from mistakes that we can avoid them in the future?

Rather than starting afresh, perhaps a New Year affords a wonderful opportunity to look at what’s gone before and to see how we can improve our decisions for the future. Perhaps rather than just the ‘all or nothing approach’ of initiatives such as Dry January and Veganuary (although these can be a great starting point), we should also be looking to take gradual steps that will make a lasting difference? Perhaps we could use these initiatives as a kick-start to long-term change?

If everyone looked to make small behavioural changes then together we could make a massive difference. Just cutting back on your meat intake by 20% or by making ethical choices about where you shop (supporting local and independent) you can help to reduce carbon emissions, food miles and create a lasting impact.

I’m pretty sure future generations will look back to where we are now in incredulation (on topics such as plastic production or battery hen farming). But looking back is a good opportunity to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again and, with social media and the internet enabling the spread of knowledge to happen at the rate of knots, there’s no excuse for not making informed decisions.

So here’s a healthy, ethical 2016 and beyond!

Laura Fanthorpe is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



Reflecting on a Sustainable Christmas

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 08.01.2016

Time: 15:42

Each year at PECT we run a Secret Santa between the staff with the condition that any gift must be ethically sourced, handmade or second hand. Whilst obviously this isn’t a requirement for the rest of the gifts I give it does influence the rest of my Christmas and I think it is a good reminder for the rest of the year too.

From gifts, to food, to wrapping paper, and all the other elements of my Christmas time this PECT tradition makes me question how I do things. Last year I gave a lot of family and friends homemade cakes, biscuits, or other sweet treats as their present or part of it. Not only was this a great way for me to save money, at what is always an expensive time of year, but I think it shows more care and attention than simply giving someone a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine.

This year, although I gave fewer homemade gifts, I did reuse a lot of old gift bags from previous years and attempt to be ethical in my gift giving where possible with Fair Trade items.

Outside of gifts (and the birth of Jesus!), one of the biggest things people associate with Christmas is the big roast dinner (or dinners) which many of us make our way through over the festive period. This is an opportunity for us to think about the sustainability of the choices we make.

Many people will be eating turkey, sausages, and bacon, probably in greater amounts than normal. Whilst switching to a nut roast and some extra Brussels might be the most sustainable option it isn’t realistic to expect everyone to do that. However, at Christmas and throughout the rest of the year we can be conscious about where the meat we buy comes from.

Free range chickens and turkeys, pork and beef from high welfare farms (look for the RSPCA assured logo) and seafood from sustainable fisheries (look for the MSC logo) are all ways in which we can shop more ethically. With all the varieties of accompanying vegetables we can shop seasonally, locally and organically. This helps to keep your carbon footprint down, and reduce the demand for less sustainably grown fruit and vegetables, whilst often providing a higher quality of produce.

How and where we shop has a big effect on how sustainable we are as individuals and households, and although Christmas is a time when we do more food and other shopping than normal and excess is in our minds, good habits are needed for the whole year, so why not try and make a change for 2016 and be more ethical with how you shop?

This blog was written by Andrew Ellis, Fundraising Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust.