Category Archives: Latest News

Our Current Appeal: Help Heat Our Hall!

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The Environment Centre is currently raising money to replace the heating system in the hall. If you’re a regular user of the Centre, you’ll know that our heating system is old, inefficient and in desperate need of replacing! It may be warm now but Autumn and Winter will soon be upon us, as a small charity we do not have the funds to undertake such a large project, which is why we have launched this appeal.

Lots of local community groups and charities regularly use our hall including Swansea Carers Centre, Wheelrights, Swansea Organic Gardening Group, Swansea Friends of the Earth, Bikeability, The More Green Project, Women 4 Resources, Sustrans, RSPB, Swansea Ramblers, Oxfam, NCT, Barnardos, Helping Groups To Grow, and many more. It is used for training sessions, talks, board meetings, courses, meditation, tai chi, and film showings. We would love to provide a warm and welcoming meeting space for our users.

If you can help, please make a donation via our Local Giving page . We have already raised over £800 to date (07/07/17) however there’s a long way to go! We can also accept donations over the phone or by dropping money in in person.

Thanks for your support!

Community Solar Power Share Offer

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Having carefully nurtured the project from concept since 2014, Gower Regeneration secured a £1m loan from Welsh Government to build a solar farm in Swansea by the end of March 2017.

With a proven track record of putting assets into community ownership, they are offering you a chance to co-own a solar farm that is already in operation! 

Offering a 5% annual interest payment, and a forecast surplus of over £500k to support other social enterprises in the local area, they invite you to join them on this fantastic journey. The share offer has been extended to 28th July 2017, and so far they have received over £600k investment.

To invest or find out more about the project, visit http://regengower.co.uk/ 

 

New Swansea Green Spaces Map From Sustainable Swansea

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Sustainable Swansea have produced a brand new Swansea Green Spaces Map, the latest of a series of Green Maps that they have produced over the past 12 years. The map shows some of the many amazing green spaces in and around the Swansea area, from nature reserves to small community parks, there is something for everyone to explore and enjoy. Some of the places will be well known but they hope too, that you will find many sites that you haven’t heard of before.

You can pick up a paper copy from the Environment Centre, download the PDF from the Sustainable Swansea website,  or there is an online version on the Open Green Map website.
In the online version you can find more sites that couldn’t fit on the printed map, and also the opportunity to comment on your visits. Sustainable Swansea would like to find out what you think about Swansea’s green spaces, so be sure to leave a message on the website.

Paper copies will also soon be available in museums, cafes, housing offices, community centres and lots of other venues around Swansea. So get yours now in time for summer and get exploring!

A catalogue of all the previous Swansea Green Maps can be found here , including maps for Central Swansea, Penderry, St Thomas & Port Tennant, Gower, Pontarddulais and Morriston.

Sustainable Swansea is a project of Swansea Environmental Forum and have an office in the Environment Centre building. Contact Dai or Delyth on (01792) 480200 if you’d like more information.

2017 Environmental Events Leaflet Out Now!

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The 2017 Environmental Events leaflet is out now, jam packed with events in Swansea covering April – December. This year the booklet is in a slightly bigger A5 format to include the information in both Welsh and English. Paper copies of the booklet can be picked up from the Environment Centre 10 – 4 Mon – Fri, or 10 – 2 Saturdays, or at other tourist locations across the county, or you can visit this link to view the online version.

The booklet provides well over 200 events taking place in and around Swansea including guided walks, cycle rides, workshops, training courses, childrens activities, festivals and events such as our annual Green Fayre.  There really is something for everyone!

The Environmental Events booklet is produced by the City and County of Swansea’s Nature Conservation Team with funding from the Welsh Government Single Revenue Grant.

 

Volunteering Opportunities At The Environment Centre – Do You Have Some Spare Time?!

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The Environment Centre has a fantastic team of volunteers who help run the Green Shop and cafe, we currently have vacancies on Fridays and Saturdays. Do you have spare time to volunteer?

This is a great opportunity to learn customer service skills, learn hygiene and service skills, find out about different eco-friendly products and local groups, and meet and greet different people every day in a friendly local charity. We offer volunteer opportunities to a wide range of people including people looking for a job, people on a work break, part-time workers, students, or retired people. We provide training and regular meet-ups with the other volunteers.

If you’re interested please contact Anita Houten T. (01792) 480200 or email education@environmentcentre.org.uk

Fairtrade Fortnight 2017: It’s Time To Put Fairtrade In Your Break!

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There will be lots of events and activities in Swansea helping to raise awareness about Fairtrade this Fairtrade Fortnight, from 27th Feb to 12th March 2017. Fairtrade gives better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade to farmers and workers – you can help transform lives every day. Find out more at the Fairtrade Foundation website.

This year the theme is to put Fairtrade in your break, using certified products such as tea, coffee, chocolate, fruit and cakes.

fairtrade-farmer

Photographer: Theo Hessing/OBR Studios

Leonidas is a banana farmer. Before Fairtrade, he struggled to attract a price for his bananas that even covered his costs.

 ‘Before Fairtrade we were losing money… now we are getting a better price when selling our boxes of bananas. We used to sell our boxes and see no profit out of it; we were not calculating the exportation costs. Fairtrade has trained us, now we know the real price of a box and that allows us to negotiate.’

‘We feel valued, respected. Even the traders see that we are stronger in that sense.’

‘If it weren’t for Fairtrade we would have sold our land.’

You can find out more about Leonidas’ co-operative BANAFRUCOOP here and in this video featuring fellow BANAFRUCOOP member, Julio Mercado Cantillo.

Swansea Fair Trade Forum have put together a list of events and activities happening in Swansea – see the pdf poster below. Also here at the Environment Centre’s Exchange Cafe we will be holding a Fairtrade Cake Break on 1st March 2017 between 10am and 4pm. There will be freshly made vegan cakes on sale created with Fairtrade ingredients (only available while stock lasts!) alongside a selection of Fairtrade teas and coffees. Info about fair trade and the Swansea Fair Trade Forum will also be on display – everybody welcome!

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Wising up to waste this Autumn

Eeya plastic free living

 

Green Shop During September we have been talking to customers in our Green Shop about helping to reduce the 100 billion disposable plastic coffee cups which go to landfill each year. 2.5 billion disposed of in the UK alone.

We were asking people to chose to reuse and buy one of our great new bamboo Ecoffee cups. We were also asking people to switch to reusing and refilling their Ecover, BioD and Suma household cleaning and toiletries instead. Last year our Green Shop customers saved 840 litre plastic bottles by using our refill station. This year we want to double this!

In the Exchange Café here at the centre we screened the Clean Bin Project during Zero Waste Week, an annual awareness raising week trying to reduce landfill.

September clothes swapWe also held a clothes swap to encourage local fashionista’s to swap instead of shop. Thanks to those who came! You saved 58 kg of clothes which otherwise may have gone to landfill.

Waste is a big issue for all of us. At the Environment Centre we often talk to people who want help in changing their lifestyles so they can lighten their impact on the planet. Recently we met Eeya who has been trying to reduce the amount she throws out since 2003. We feel inspired by Eeya every time she comes into the centre and we wanted to share how she feels and some of the things she’s done to reduce, reuse and recycle more. Over to Eeya…

I moved to the UK from the US with hardly anything, just 2 suitcases. Settling in Swansea in 2003 I was amazed that there wasn’t many recycling facilities. That was a surprise because ever since I was young we had been recycling plastic bags, tins, paper and many other things in America.

I’ve moved a lot since 2003, I’m on my 10th move. Every time I found myself taking things which I never used with me. I would always be thinking… but what if I need it? I was keeping clothes which were 4 sizes too small for me. I found myself getting annoyed and thinking I can’t believe I am wasting my time packing all this stuff! I started changing my thinking. I don’t enjoy shopping but when I do go, I spend more money on things so they tend to last longer. I tried the 10 item wardrobe and now I’m doing the 333 wardrobe which has helped me reduce my clothes.

Eeya plastic free livingNow I’m really trying to limit the plastic in my life. Plastic is everywhere and I’m always thinking, why are we just throwing it out? We talk about running out of oil but plastic is made out of oil and we just keep on making things with plastic.

Coming to the centre’s Exchange Café Big Problems Small Action programme of events has made me think about plastic more. In particular watching the Clean Bin Project. Seeing the bottle tops in the birds in the remotest places really made me think. I always thought that birds living near us had plastic inside them but to see these birds so far away that had swallowed it too was really shocking.

I’ve found some good alternatives which have helped me reduce plastic in my life. I’ve got a great deodorant recipe which has just 4 ingredients including potato starch, bicarb, coconut oil and an essential oil for fragrance. I’ve found that a good way to avoid all that wrapping is to find a good farmers market and take your own bags off course. My favourite find is my stainless steel Bento Box and Abeegoo wraps which has helped me avoid so much. Oh and of course, I use the Green Shop’s refill station, that was great to discover. I’ve changed my toothbrush to one of the bamboo Humblebrush from the shop because just think off all those toothbrushes out there, we use so many. The first toothbrush I used is going to still be out there when my grandchildren are around and even their grandchildren!

We’d like to thank Eeya and everyone who have come along to the centre and shared how they feel about waste. We are always interested in your thoughts and views on the issues facing the planet. We hope that if you haven’t visited our Green Shop in a while that you will come some time soon. We are open weekdays 10am – 4pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages for updates on other events coming soon. 

Our Green Shop is now open every Saturday from 10am – 2pm

shop saturday opening

We’ve been listening to feedback from our Green Shop customers and from the 6th of August we trialed opening on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm and we would like to thank everyone who came in and supported the Saturday trial.

We’re pleased to announce that we will now be open perminantly on Saturdays!

We’ve got a great range of refillable and plastic packaging-free goods which is expanding throughout this year. New in we have E-Coffee Cups, a reusable bamboo cup that will last for years and it will biodegrade. Our cafe will also be open so it’s a great opportunity to have a quiet cuppa, and for the Pokemon players we have a Poke Stop right outside!

Come down and make a stand against single use plastics and support a good cause, we’d love to see you.