News June 2020

Looking for the silver lining!
The pandemic and ensuing global crisis are undoubtedly causing unnecessary suffering and tragic loss of life but the situation has demonstrated that, when it is deemed essential, dramatic societal change can happen rapidly and at scale. The crisis response from the grassroots, exemplified by our local Covid-19 Community support groups, has been heartening and reassuring. It's clear that things will never return to the way they were before but we have an opportunity to create a new, fairer and more sustainable 'normal'.

Here are a couple of reflections on the current situation and the opportunities it presents:

More online conversations

    Julie Gibbon has been listening to Ethex (an ethical investment platform) cuppa club and webinars. The discussions are not explicit invitations to invest but do highlight the work of various organisations, including the ecological land co-operative and an array of green transport initiatives, which are supported by Ethex.
    The Hay festival - #Imagine the World - moved online this year and the Hay player (£10 subscription) includes just about the full program of talks and author interviews. I particularly enjoyed Steven Silberman's interview with the Dara McAnulty, a teenager on the autistic spectrum, whose book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, is an astonishing and beautiful work. Then there's Rutger Bregman, who last year took the elite at Davos to task over tax, talking about his new book Humankind which makes the case for the basic goodness of people. And Ester Duflo, co-author of Good Economics for Hard Times, who ended her interview by agreeing with Evan Davis that the majority of economists now sit politically to the left of centre.
    A series of 'interviews' with animals giving their perspective on environmental matters.

Do let me know of other digital resources that you think might be of interest to STS folks.

Serengeti Rules
Our screening of Serengeti Rules planned for May obviously had to be cancelled, however the film is available on iTunes or Amazon Prime

On The Verge 2020

Hooray! An event that, we hope, can go ahead as planned subject to continued easing, rather than tightening, of Covid-19 restrictions in the meantime. We will maintain social distancing whilst walking and identifying wild flowers. Lesley's number is below if you want to check arrangements nearer the time.

Please join us for one or all of our short verge walks
(2 miles there and back max.) to survey wild flowers on or near road verges near Haltwhistle.

Just turn up, no need to book. We’ll be on paths and/or tarmac. We aim to finish by 9pm. Any queries, please get in touch with Lesley Silvera - on 07933326711.

Tues 30th June: Thorngrafton Common.
7pm - Meet at road/ lane junction at western end of Haresby Lonnen. Grid ref: 790661

Tues 14th July: Meet at Cawfields car park
7pm – Meet at car park; we are going to look at Markham. Grid ref: 714666

Tues 28th July: Meet near Caw Gap

7pm – Meet at wide verge near junction of Sook Hill & Caw Gap. We’ll walk along to Ventnor’s Hall and back Grid ref: 726675

Plantlife has lots on their nationwide campaign on road verges and tips for pollinator friendly gardening on their website:

Heat from Mine water project.
At a recent steering group meeting the main contractor for the feasibility study, Ewan Boyd of Teesdale Environmental Consultants, was able to confirm that, despite a period in which he was furloughed, the project is still on track with investigations into the potential of hydro-electricity and P.V. continuing alongside the heat from mine water idea. As part of his investigations he visited the Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre shortly before and after the facility's closure (due to Covid 19 restrictions) and was able to advise on the switching off of a number of background services which, in normal times, are permanently on. The Centre will have made considerable cost savings, so important in a time of zero income, as a result.

Zero Waste Shop - whilst Haltwhistle Partnership are unable to move ahead with this initiative at present, they are keen to hear from anyone interested in being a Director (voluntary) of the new not for profit company being set up to run it; from anyone interested in working in the shop as a volunteer and from anyone interested in the position of paid manager for the shop. Contact Julie Gibbon

Meanwhile congrats to Annie Docwra and Dave Pass who have courageously opened 'The Refill Station' in Hexham's Market Place whilst under social distancing restrictions.

And more reasons for celebration!
  • There's now a charge point for electric cars at Haltwhistle Station
  • And you can buy locally produced, freshly milled flour direct from the newly refurbished mill at Warwick Bridge

Tree Planting Project possibility?
The Tree Council is offering grants to cover 100% of the costs (up to £1500) for tree planting on public or community owned land with the expectation that the planting will be done this winter and preferably during National Tree Week, 28th Nov to 6th Dec. If anyone has an idea for a suitable scheme please get in touch, I'd be happy to put in an application from STS.
The Tree Council is particularly keen on projects involving young people.

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359