Category Archives: Environment Centre News

Farewell To Our Italian Intern

Over the past 2 months we have had an Italian student, Susanna Maderna, on an internship with us. We’re very sad to see her leave as she has been a great help with the Green Fayre and updating our social media. We wish Susanna all the best for the future. Susanna wrote a short piece about her experience at the Centre, a little insight into what it is like coming to work at the Centre….

“When I applied for an internship at the Environment Centre I didn’t know what to expect. As a student of foreign languages who has always been interested in environmental issues I saw this as a great chance to improve my English skills and to get a deeper knowledge of everything concerning sustainability and Fair Trade. At the same time, however, I must admit that I felt a little bit scared as I had never been to Wales before, I had never stayed away from home for such a long time and most importantly I had no idea of what working at this centre would be like. All these fears disappeared at once when I first walked in on my first day of work. What I found was a friendly and welcoming environment full of people who made me feel part of the team and helped me to make the best of my time here. Working at the Environment Centre is never boring because you are asked to carry out a wide range of different tasks. Duties include: serving customers in the shop, answering the phone, website updating and event posting. Additionally, I was involved actively in the organisation and the promotion of the Green Fayre and I had the chance to take part in it by working on the organisation’s stall.

Now that my time here has come to an end, I must say that I couldn’t have made a better choice. Working here has doubtlessly been a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. I feel that I have learned a lot from both the linguistic and the environmental points of view and I’m glad I had the chance to join this amazing team even if just for a short period of time.”

Cyclists Gearing Up For Paris To Swansea Cycle Ride!

Not long now until a few Environment Centre trustees and supporters will be heading off from Paris on a huge week-long ride to Swansea, to raise money for the Centre. Keep an eye out for updates here, but in the meantime please show your support and sponsor them HERE

We’re also planning a wonderful welcome back celebration with refreshments and cakes on Saturday 8th August, 2pm at the Vivian Hall, Blackpill, Swansea, SA3 5AS. The cyclists will also be launching the Gower Cycling Festival. Friends, family and Environment Centre supporters all welcome, if you’d like to come along please let us know by e-mailing hannah@environmentcentre.org.uk or tel. (01792) 480200.

publicity photo jul 15

What a brilliant conference! #FairtradeBristol2015

Bristol is only a couple of hours away from Swansea, but it did seem another world when I visited there earlier this month.
I was attending, thanks partly due to funding from Fair Trade Wales as a delegate at the ninth International Fairtrade Towns Conference .

I was very proud to be ther representing Swansea Fair Trade Forum

ft conf

Day one: Green Capital Day

I arrived in Bristol in beautiful sunshine on Friday July 3rd, for their Green Capital Day, which preceded the man conference.

Bristol is European Green Capital  in 2015 www.bristol2015.co.uk and this event included an exploration of the green city sites on foot, by boat and in conversation with Bristol’s City leaders. We started off at Open Space Bristol www.openspacebristol.co.uk and finished off at the Create Centre www.createbristol.org.

triodos   A tour of Triodos Bank’s sustainable building

ecohouse  Ecohome at Create

sedum roof create  Sedum roof on bike sheds at Create

bristol pound  The Bristol pound, a thriving local currrency!

Day two: International Fairtrade Towns Conference

I was one of 240 delegates from 20 countries. The theme for the next two days was Fairtrade for Sustainability.

This was a day packed with interesting talks and workshops. I attended the workshop on Fairtrade and the Sustainable Development Goals.

One talk that sticks in my mind was from Fatima Ismael, an environmental expert from Fairtrade Co-operative Soppexcca in Nicaragua She told us how climate change is reducing coffee yields and threatening the livelihoods of millions of farmers in developing countries. It was impressive that they had taken action to adapt though, including planting fruit trees to reduce erosion and diversifying into Cacoa trees.

Harriet Lamb, CEO at Fairtrade International, explained how Fairtrade is working with farmers to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, as well as employing increasingly sustainable farming methods as part of the Fairtrade standards, to ensure resilience and sustainability in a changing climate.

I also met two great ladies from Faritrade Mosely, who were busy snapping portraits of delegates with Fair Ted. He is quite a local celeb, with his own column in a local magazine and a following in local schools. They will be showing our photos to show how far reaching Fairtrade is!

Another highlight of the day was a brand new Fairtrade film, you can view it at http://www.bristolfairtrade.org.uk/#!resources/c1k2n

conf logo  Fair and Funky’s great conference logo.

ftbristol phot0 Photo of most of the delegates – I hid at the back!

fairted Janet and Phyllis and Fair Ted

 

Day three: International Fairtrade Towns Conference

My third day in Bristol included a really useful workshop on Fairtrade campaigning in the digital age. Lots of useful hints and tips.

We also  heard that  a Fairtrade Towns and Villages campaignis to be launched by CLAC for Caribean and Latin Americian countres.

The Conference concluded with the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, and 2 mayors from Fairtrade towns in Lebanon all signing “The Bristol Resolution”, committing to take one step for Fairtrade that will contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This can be viewed at http://www.bristolfairtrade.org.uk/#!resolution/c1jy

After the Conference I visited the Make Sunday Special market and opicked up a lovely fairtrade scarf, it will be a great memento of an inspiring long weekend in Bristol!

Swansea Vegfest a hit!

On 6th June 2015 the Environment Centre hosted the second ever Swansea Vegfest and my oh my what a turn out! The organisers estimate over 600 people came through the doors within 4 hours, a big “well done” to the Vegfest committee and volunteers who made it happen, i think we were all slightly overwhelmed by the fantastic response and enthusiasm from the Vegfest-goers.

 

11406430_10153410628456591_2149945270857340196_n
Vegfest committee and volunteers

There were lots of vegetarian and vegan goodies on sale, as well as information on how to live a cruelty-free lifestyle and talks in the Centre’s garden. Stalls included:   Fancy That Bakery -100% Vegan, Heavenly Organics Skin Care, Naturally Kind, Health & Herbs Swansea, Pop Cycle, Mr Nice Pie, Friends of Swansea Horses – FOSH, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Govinda’s Vegetarian Cafe Swansea, Simply V, Bohemian Chic Minerals, and South Wales Hunt Saboteurs.

If you missed out why not join the Vegfest facebook group https://www.facebook.com/swan.vegfest to find out what they’re up to next.

 

Following the veggie theme, Environment Centre has a couple of fantastic Raw Food workshops coming up:

Sat 20th June 2015 – 11am – 3pm Raw Food Introduction https://www.facebook.com/events/1591071807817186/

Sat 27th June 2015 – 11am – 3pm Raw Food Intermediate https://www.facebook.com/events/1635473130008254/

Book on one course for £20 / £16 (conc) or on both courses for £35 / £30 (conc). If you would like to book on one or both workshops, e-mail bookings@environmentcentre.org.uk

ECO-CENTRE NEWS

eco centre flag

 

Welcome to the Environment Centre’s fourth edition of Eco-Centre News! Following on from having received Eco-Centre status last year, we have been continuing in our efforts to reduce our environmental impact. The Eco-Centre scheme recognises environmental commitment and active promotion of sustainable living, and we’re very proud to be flying the Eco—Centre flag in our Eco-Info-Hub. Come down and take a look if you haven’t already!

In this edition of Eco-Centre News, we will be sharing with you our achievements for 2014 and what we’ve been up to in the past year, what’s new at the Centre, Centre improvements, and information on Fairtrade and the Environment!

 

Our achievements in 2014 

 

January

  • Green Map taster day at St Thomas Library

March

  • Business breakfast workshop on the environmental and financial benefits of good water management
  • Free sustainable development seminar for managers and leaders
  • Adds Literacy and Numeracy In the Outdoors Sessions

April

  • Workshop on raw/living foods

May

  • Swansea Veg Fest held at the Environment Centre

June

  • Willow weaving course
  • Summer swishing event
  • Swansea Sustainable Schools Scheme Celebration Day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

July

  • Love Food Hate Waste free training session for individuals, families, and businesses
  • Work on Visitor and Info Area completed

August

  • Eco-Tote Bag making workshop (making a tote bag out of scrap material)
  • Garden revamp and planting completed

September

  • Community Open Day at the Environment Centre
  • New coffee shop menu (now serving lattes, cappuccinos, chai lattes and others with a new espresso coffee machine)

October

  • Kitchen Pharmacy workshop (learning how to make home remedies out of kitchen ingredients)
  • New website launched, allowing easier access to environmental info with our ‘Information Portal’

November

  • Green Fayre at the National Waterfront Museum, with approx 1,815 visitors on Saturday, and 2,072 on Sunday

December

  • Shop makeover after Green Fayre
  • Eastside Energy Scheme back on

 

Monitoring our Consumption

 

As part of being an Eco-Centre, we regularly monitor our consumption and how much waste we produce, and we have some figures for 2014.

Water

We’re happy to say that our water usage significantly reduced in the first half of 2014, having decreased by approximately 30% compared with the figures from the same time in 2013.

Gas

Despite the cold winter we’ve had, our gas usage has decreased by approximately 5%. It may not seem like a big difference, but every little helps!

Electric

Our electric use has also decreased, by 18%.

Waste

We have found that we have a bit of improving to do with reducing our waste – the number of recycling and landfill bags we put out during 2014 was higher than 2013, therefore this is something we will be working on in the next year. We did notice however, that the number of landfill bags decreased in the latter half of the year, when we reduced the number of bags that could go out to two.

 

 

Ecover Refill Station – 2014 Figures

 

The Environment Centre’s Green Shop runs a self-service refill station for eco-friendly Washing Up Liquid, Laundry Liquid, Fabric Conditioner, All Purpose Cleaner, Hand Soap, Shower Wash, and now also including Toilet Cleaner! Bring your eecover refillmpty Ecover bottles and refill for much less than it costs for a new bottle, and best of all you’re reusing bottles instead of putting them in the bin.

In 2014, we sold 815 litres through the refill scheme, and basing this on the average customer using 1 litre bottles, we can deduct that this means we saved 815 plastic bottles from going to the recycling plant, or landfill.

 

Visitor Centre Makeover!

 

If you’ve popped in to see us and had a cup of Fairtrade coffee recently, you will have noticed we have a flashy new coffee machine (new to us that is..) which allows us to make fancy Fairtrade and /or organic lattes and cappuccinos and spicy chai lattes. This means our menu had a bit of a makeover, and we have more options to choose from! Plus, we also have a loyalty card available in the coffee shop, with which if you buy six coffees, you get one free!

Around the same time, our Green Shop had a bit of a revamp, as we’ve had a move around and found new homes for some of our products. In addition, we have a few new lines in, including Clean and Fair, the new ecological AND Fairtrade cleaning line from Traidcraft. They definitely tick the ethical boxes! Pop in to see what other new products we have in stock.

 

Pond and Garden

 

Our garden h10660350_808155869206047_3829021025201877593_n (2)ad a bit of TLC last spring and summer. Its design is based on permaculture principles, and 2014 saw us striving towards an even more wildlife friendly space, which works with nature, and focuses on everything grown playing an important part in the dynamic of the space and having a use. We also did a lot of work on our pond, clearing it out, creating habitats within it, and building a homemade water filter. Come down and take a look, and ask us how to make a do-it-yourself pond filter!

 

 

Fairtrade and the Environment

 

As most of you know, it’s Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd Feb – 15th March), and there’s lots of events going on around Swansea to help raise money for the Fairtrade cause. Were you aware that choosing Fairtrade can be beneficial to the environment, as well as Fairtrade producers?

Fairtrade producers have one of the lightest carbon footprints, and usually very sustainable lifestyles. By purchasing Fairtrade products, you are helping to fund organisations and individuals who work sustainably off the land, with sustainable materials, and who allefairtrade colour logoviate harmful pesticides. To achieve the Fairtrade mark, producers have to adhere to certain environmental standards, and nearly all Fairtrade products are shipped, rather than flown in.

So when you buy Fairtrade, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying ethically, and are supporting an eco-conscious cause. The Environment Centre sells a range of Fairtrade products, from tea and coffee to snacks, to cleaning products and gifts. Make
sure you look out for the Fairtrade mark.

 

Go to http://fairtradewales.com/ for more information.

 

Keep an eye out for future blogs with more information on what’s mentioned here.

Welcome to the Environment Centre Blog!

Welcome to the Environment Centre Blog, this is our new place for up to date information and news regarding everything happening at the Environment Centre.

 

We recently changed our website to match the growing use of online media and as part of this we decided to develop an EC blog. In this blog we will be covering a diverse range of subjects from the Environment Centre garden, latest project news, and items of interest in our green shop.

 

If you haven’t had a look at our new shiny website take a peak here.

 

We have redesigned the way that our site works from the ground up, with new interactive social media areas that allow you to keep up to date with the latest news and events at the Centre. The way we inform you about events is changing, using our new online diary you can find out about local events as soon as they are announced.

 

One of the new features on our site is the interactive and immersive information portal. This feature is rich with online resources on all topics of interest, from climate change and recycling, to fairtrade and nature. Use this resource to find out about local groups, watch videos and documentaries about the latest discoveries, and learn new skills.

 

In connection with this blog is our dynamic news feed, this lets us present news and information to you as soon as it happens. Each month we group articles together and send them to our members in our redesigned media rich Green Light newsletter.

 

We look forward to hearing from you about our site, we want to make sure that you find it easy to use. If you have any ideas or requests please contact us or comment below.