Thursday, January 17, 2019

Achieving a Sustainable Bristol

The Green Capital Partnership has launched its Vision for an Environmentally Sustainable Bristol.

It lays out practical actions and timescales on: energy, food, nature, resources and transport. These were established through the collaborative work of specialists within the Partnership and aim at achieving a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all.

The document features 25 key areas for action for each of energy, food, nature, resources and transport. Examples of what is included are:
> expanding renewable energy generation
> increasing the amount of land used for community food growing
> doubling the abundance of wildlife
> reducing residual household waste
> increasing the number of journeys made by active modes

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sustainability: free online course

Generally interested in sustainability and want to develop some transferable skills? Here's a great opportunity to take a free online course about sustainability via Future Learn.

The course is called Unleash Your Potential, Sustainable Futures. It's run by the University of Bristol and begins on 11 February. It's a four week course that will take you around three hours of study per week as a minimum (though you will get access to the course for a six week period).

Future Learn give this description of what the course involves:

Learn about the sustainability challenges of the modern world, and make a positive contribution to society.
Find out how to deal with world sustainability issues
United Nations (UN) countries have adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

On this online course, you’ll learn about these UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the different roles people can play in creating a sustainable future.

You’ll get an introduction to the sustainability challenges the modern world is facing, and gain the skills to play a part in solving them.

You’ll learn how to make a positive contribution to society on a local and global scale, and create a happy and fulfilling sustainable future for everyone.
What topics will you cover?
  • Happiness and Purpose, and their links to Sustainable Development.
  • Responsibility, Purpose and Foresight in response to Sustainability challenges.
  • How different individuals and organisations take different roles, and work together, to tackle sustainability challenges, explored through a number of case studies.
  • Making a difference at the local and regional level: Case studies in Food Waste, Energy and Homelessness.
  • Making a difference at the global level: Case studies in Microplastics, Industrial Greenhouse Gas emissions and Sustainable Tourism.
  • Understanding the challenges and obstacles those ‘making a difference’ face, and how they find support.
  • Approaches to personal self reflection on the path to ‘make a difference.’

Monday, January 7, 2019

Greening Bristol

Sustainable Knowle was for several years a member of the Green Capital Partnership because we shared their aim of building a 'sustainable city with a high quality of life for all' (see the wording of our aims here and you'll see the clear coming together).

For various reasons Sustainable Knowle activity decreased a good deal in the last few years and our membership of the partnership ended. However, there is now a concerted effort to revive activity and we have re-joined the partnership with a firm intention to be as involved as possible.

We have re-joined not least because of the recent proposals to create a zero carbon city by 2030 - a radical and challenging notion that requires a lot of work to achieve a practical action plan, its implementation and its ongoing monitoring and adjustment.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Half price allotment plots: Grow your own in 2016

If you’ve ever considered joining the growing revolution, what better time than the New Year? The National Allotment Society found that those tending allotments reported higher levels of satisfaction, thanks to the fresh air, home grown produce, healthy lifestyle and new friendships the activity offers.

Properly managed allotments can supplement a household’s weekly shop with fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year, saving money as well as providing healthy, local food.

Bristol City Council has a number of allotment plots available to rent immediately, with prices starting from as little as £25/year for smaller, beginner-friendly plots.

A number of plots are offered – with no waiting list – at half rent for the first two years. These plots are overgrown so you'll need to clear the plot and remove any rubbish you find.

“It doesn’t get much fresher than growing your own,” says allotments officer, Steve Clampin. “Our allotment holders find that they not only earn a new hobby and the satisfaction of growing their own, tasty food, they become part of a friendly new community too.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bristol solar energy workshops, 9th May and 13th June

DIY solar charger workshops

Build your own low-cost solar PV charger; take it home

May and JuneWorkshops in Bristol by Demand Energy Equality.

Create your own folding, portable solar charger from re-used materials able to power phones; USB devices // Learn off-grid design principles and gain practical skills to build future systems.

Great value for money - and all profits reinvested into our
social objectives.

Demand Energy Equality is a not-for-profit dedicated to increasing energy literacy, reducing energy demand and working with others to ensure equality of energy access.
  • No prior knowledge required

  • Take your charger home at the end of the day

  • All materials provided, including charging components

  • Bring a friend and get 20% off

  • Central Bristol location (Old Market)
95% of public workshop attendees rated our course as 'excellent'or 'very good'

Build your own solar charger

Build a 20W panel for charging phones and USB devices on the go:
  • The electrical basics: current, voltage, resistance, power, series and parallel circuits.

  • How to build DIY solar PV panels.

  • How to test and understand your panel.

  • How to connect charging components to use your power on the spot.

  • Information about the energy dilemma in the UK, and possible solutions.

We can also provide further information and guides on consolidating your learning and how to tailor DIY solar to your needs.

For more information on course content, click here.


DIY Solar Charger, 9:30am - 5pm

Saturday 9th May and Saturday the 13th of June

To book your place - click here.

Courses start at £60, reductions on multiple/combined bookings - redeemable vouchers also available

Please enquire for concessionary rates.

Booking is essential as some of our courses will be fully booked weeks in advance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reducing your fuel bills

Would you be willing to lend us a hand? USmart Consumer is an EU research project that explores useful services to help people reduce their fuel bills, linked with the roll out of new metering technology. 
We’d like to find out your preferences about:

  • how you like to learn about your home fuel use
  • services that could help you reduce your fuel bills linked to new metering technology.

Please can you complete our short survey. By completing it and telling us what is 
most important to you better services can be designed to meet your needs. Any information
will only be used anonymously by the USmart Consumer project for research purposes.

USmart Consumer public preferences survey

Thank you for your help!

Best of wishes

Karen Smith  

Project Worker

Household Energy Services 

0117 934 1405 (Direct Line)  0117 934 1400 (Switchboard)

Call the Home Energy Team on 0800 082 2234

Visit our advice website |

Sign up for our latest newsletter | Home Energy News

Centre for Sustainable Energy3 St Peter's Court, Bedminster Parade, Bristol BS3 4AQ

Friday, September 12, 2014

Almorah Road / Hill Avenue Sale Trail

Passing on this message from Carlo Bonura: 

We are organizing a sale trail next weekend  (Saturday 20 Sept, 10-4) on Almorah Road and Hill Avenue (and some surrounding streets) between Victoria Park and Victoria Park Primary School, just down the hill from Knowle. for any enquiries

Go along and see what's on offer - perhaps pick up a bargain and be environmentally friendly by reusing stuff.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Totterdown/Knowle to host Bristol’s first Sale Trail

Sunday 6 April, 10am to 2pm will see many residents of Totterdown and Knowle becoming the first in Bristol to test out a sustainability-friendly idea from Australia when they take part – as sellers or buyers - in a pioneering front garden/front room sale trail.

The initiative began via posts of the BS4 Connect and Totterdown Facebook pages asking if anyone else wanted to join Pam Beddard, of Brecknock Road, and Sam Hearn, of Somerset Road, in staging a neighbourhood-wide walkabout version of a car boot sale as a way to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Pam Beddard explains: “The idea originates in Australia where Sale Trails now happen regularly in most major settlements and are credited with prolonging the useful life of more than a million items that might otherwise have gone to rubbish dumps. They work because bargain hunters enjoy being able to browse a lot of stalls during one outing and because households can turn much more than a car boot’s worth of stuff the no longer need into cash for themselves or their favourite charities.”

So far, around 20 people have indicated that they will be taking part in the inaugural Totterdown/Knowle Sale Trail on Sunday 6 April but more are welcome. 

To register an interest or find out more, find the BS_SaleTrail group on Facebook, visit the website; follow @BS_SaleTrail (#saletrail) on Twitter account or email

Participation is free for both sellers and buyers. Big thanks to Omni Digital for artwork and online tools.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Talk in Bristol by 'environmental legend' Jonathon Porritt, Tues 18 Feb

Jonathon Porritt talk in Bristol next Tues 18 Feb, about generating real hope of sustainability by 2050. 

Want to have realistic hope for our survival in 2050?  Interested in future business, energy, economics, food distribution, technology etc.? 

You can meet environmental legend and futurologist, Sir Jonathon Porritt at his presentation of "The World We Made" at Yes Group Bristol, 7.30pm -10.15pm next Tues 18th Feb (doors open 7p.m), Engineers House, The Promenade, Bristol, Avon BS8 3NB

His ground breaking, illustrated book in the words of Alex McKay, a teacher looking back from 2050, tells the story of how we got from where we are today (in a pretty bad way, environmentally) to a much better place in the future. More details here

Best value tickets are online, 2 for £5 each, 1 for £7 or £10 on the night from 7p.m (includes complimentary tea and coffee). 

Reviews by Richard Branson, Joanna Lumley and others...

'Jonathon Porritt's book dreams big, as if our future depends on it. And it does.' Richard Branson

'I am absolutely bowled over by the brilliance of The World We Made. Its far-sightedness and complete grasp of all the challenges the world is going to face is one thing; to write this charming, easy, accessible, optimistic vision, is really something else.' Joanna Lumley

'A brilliant evocation of how it could turn out right for us by 2050!' Oliver James

'Jonathon Porritt does not avoid calamity, nor does he cave in to Doomsday. His crystal ball throws light on the world of our grandchildren. Uplifting stuff from the pen of one of the world's great futurologists!' Bob Brown

'Only Jonathon Porritt could have produced such an imaginative but believable book about sustainability. Alex Mackay's account of how, by 2050, human ingenuity has cracked it, makes me wish I was going to live to see it.' Prue Leith

'Jonathon Porritt has found both the facts and the spirit required for imagining the future!' Bill McKibben

There will be time for Q & A, and book signing.
Tickets here

More on Jonathon Porritt:  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tackling Bristol's food waste: Gleaning Network UK, Bristol hub launch

Gleaning Network UK, featured in BBC Radio 4's Food ProgrammeThe Guardian, and Al Jazeera, and organised by Tristram Stuart and Feeding the 5,000, is an exciting new initiative to save the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year. Farmers across the country often have no choice but to leave tonnes of their crops unharvested and get ploughed back in the soil. These crops often cannot reach the market either because they fail to meet the strict cosmetic standards of supermarkets or because of overproduction.

We coordinate teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage this fresh, nutritious food and direct it to those that need it most, such as homeless hostels and charities. To date, we have salvaged several tonnes of excellent unmarketable British produce, including apples, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens and kale, and redistributed them to charities such as 
FareShare. Here's some more info, our video, and pictures of our last gleaning day (our debut in Sussex, with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage along for the day!). The movement is gathering pace, and we're rapidly expanding into a national network. Join the Arable Spring!

We're launching our Bristol hub at the moment, and we need your help! We'll have gleaning events coming up over the next few months, and we need volunteers to come help harvest that tasty wonky fruit and veg, as well as local drivers. If you'd be interested in volunteering over the next few months, just sign up to our gleaning list to be the first to know when we have our debut Bristol gleaning day set, or if you have any questions contact

See you in the fields!

Many thanks,

Maddy Longhurst

Haven’t signed the Feeding the 5000 pledge yet? Go to and make your voice heard!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

'Big Bike Day' at The Park

31st July, 11am to 3pm event being organised at The Park, Daventry Rd, Knowle. It is the Park 'Big Bike Day' and will consist of a Life cycle Family Cycling event along with other activities put on by the Park it self. It will include

- a kids bike swap - an opportunity for kids to trade up their bikes (for no charge). We will bring along a stock of refurbished bikes. We also sell these at £10 each

- bike rodeo - an opportunity for kids to test out their cycling skills

- Dr Bike - get the bike checked over

And much more

More info can be found via the web link. The event is free and will include the send off for two park employees on a cycle ride from Lands End to John O'Groats.

If you had any means of promoting the event please do (and please come along!)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Big Green Week 2013

The UK’s festival of eco ideas, art and entertainment is back in the centre of Bristol from 15th to 23rd June. Join more than 40,000 visitors who will start early and stay late to enjoy two weekends of free family entertainment and nine days of inspiring talks, workshops, art, music, poetry, comedy and films.

See some some festival highlights and the latest news . View our festival programme here. 

And don’t forget your limited edition money saving Festival Discount Pass on sale here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Earth Day 2013

April 22 Earth Day to Put a Face on Climate Change - Interactive Digital Mosaic to Be Shown at Thousands of Events Worldwide
Earth Day, April 22, is less than one week away. The theme of Earth Day 2013 is The Face of Climate Change. This campaign seeks to harness the power of Earth Day to personalize the massive challenge that climate change presents, while uniting people around the globe into a powerful call to action.

Earth Day Network is collecting images of people, animals and places affected by climate change, as well as images of people doing their part in the fight against climate change [see the photo top left of one Sustainable Knowle action - our attempt to stop a car park being built over The Friendship Inn pub garden - that is featured in the interactive digitcal mosaic]. On Earth Day itself, an interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of events around the world. The display is also available online to anyone who wants to view it, show it or read the stories.

Although climate change still seems a remote problem to some people, the reality is quite different. This past year marked many climate-change milestones. Arctic sea-ice cover reached a record low in September. The United States experienced its hottest year ever; this after the World Meteorological Organization announced that the first decade of this century was the hottest on record for the entire planet. Public perception of extreme weather events as “the new normal” grew, as unusual super storms rocked the Caribbean, the Philippines and the northeast United States; droughts plagued northern Brazil, Russia, China and two-thirds of United States; exceptional floods inundated Nigeria, Pakistan and parts of China; and more. Meanwhile, international climate change talks stagnated.

But as these Faces of Climate Change begin to multiply, others are multiplying, too: people stepping up to do something about it.

“The goal is to depict the very real impact that climate change is having on people’s lives and to unite thousands of Earth Day events around the world into one call for climate action,” said Franklin Russell, director of Earth Day at Earth Day Network. “The more people who participate, the more of an impact it will have.”

Earth Day Network is encouraged by the level of participation in this year’s activities.

Examples of stories collected so far include a mountaineer in New Zealand who reported on receding glaciers and an organization in Thailand who installed solar panels at a refugee camp on the Myanmar border. With more than 1 billion people across 192 countries participating in Earth Day-related activities each year, the potential is enormous.

People can also post photos to Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FaceOfClimate for inclusion in the mosaic. To view The Face of Climate Change photo display, go to To learn more about Earth Day 2013 and The Face of Climate Change, go to More on Sustainable Knowle in Bristol here:


· Kathleen Rogers, president

· Franklin Russell, director of Earth Day

If you are interested in specific stories from The Face of Climate Change or in scheduling an interview with an Earth Day Network spokesperson, contact Bryan Buchanan, communications director:, 202-518-0044 x 14

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Recycle your unwanted bike

BikeBack is a bike refurbishment scheme, run by local charity Life Cycle UK. We take unwanted bikes and teach prisoners at Horfield Prison how to fix them up, getting them back on the road at affordable prices.
The project:
• Saves old bikes from landfill

• Teaches prisoners new skills

• Helps people on low incomes start cycling

But we need your unwanted bikes to keep going!

Drop off at:   > The Create Centre, BS1 6XN (Mon - Fri) or
                 > Horfield Prison, BS7 8PS (Tues only)
What are you waiting for... donate your bike today!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bristol Green Capital finalist

Bristol, Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana have been chosen as the four finalists to proceed to the next stage of the European Green Capital 2015 Award organised by the European Commission. The European Green Capital Award is an annual prize that goes to one city every year, singling out its environmental performance.
Bristol, Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana have been shortlisted from 8 entries across Europe. An independent panel of 12 experts assessed each entry on the basis of 12 indicators:

· Local contribution to global climate change

· Local transport

· Green urban areas incorporating sustainable land use

· Nature and biodiversity

· Quality of local ambient air

· Quality of the Acoustic Environment

· Waste production and management

· Water consumption

· Waste water treatment

· Eco innovation and sustainable employment

· Environmental management of the local authority

· Energy performance

Bristol, Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana, will now go forward to present their vision, their potential to act as a role model to other cities, and their communication strategy to the Jury in Brussels on 24 May. Following the Jury’s deliberations the final result, the European Green Capital 2015 will be announced at an official Award ceremony in France on 14 June 2013, hosted by the current European Green Capital, Nantes.


To date, five cities have been awarded the title of European Green Capital: Stockholm 2010, Hamburg 2011, Vitoria-Gasteiz 2012, Nantes 2013, and Copenhagen 2014. The Award is presented to a city in the vanguard of environmentally friendly urban living. The Expert Panel assesses the cities on the basis of 12 environmental indicators. The jury evaluates cities on their record of achieving high environmental standards, their commitment to on-going and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development, and the extent to which they can act as a role model and promote best practice in other European cities.

The jury comprises representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Environment Agency, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Covenant of Mayors Office and the European Environmental Bureau.

For more information:


Twitter @EU_GreenCapital

See also:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bristol Festival of Nature

Bristol Festival of Nature celebrates a decade of discovery. A new challenge to uncover Bristol’s hidden environmental hotspots is launching in May to celebrate Bristol Festival of Nature’s 10thanniversary.

 Bristol99 will give the public the chance to discover the natural world in their own neighbourhood, with exciting wildlife events being held across the city’s 99 best sites for nature.
It will encourage people to explore their local area and celebrate the wildlife in Bristol’s green spaces including everything from hidden gems to the city’s best known parks.

It begins with a ‘BioBlitz’ at Kings Weston Estate on May 3 and 4, where the festival team, will seek the help of members of the public to discover as many species as possible in a designated area over 24 hours. The events will then continue over the next six weeks before culminating in the main Bristol Festival of Nature weekend.

The festival is the UK’s largest free natural history event and takes place at Bristol Harbourside on the weekend of 15-16. On June 14 the annual Festival of Nature Schools’ Day, supported by Clifton College will welcome over 1,000 primary school pupils to the site for a day of hands-on science and nature activities.

Giving wildlife enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city, the public festival brings together over 150 organisations for a programme of interactive activities, live entertainment, hands-on experiences, a market packed with local produce and much more.

The highlights for the weekend include:

· The first screenings of new wildlife films produced by the next generation of natural history filmmakers, who are studying a new MA course in wildlife filmmaking run by UWE and the BBC.

· A pop-up butterfly garden run by North Somerset Butterfly House which will give visitors an immersive experience to learn about some of the world’s most beautiful butterflies.

· The Seeds of Change Garden which will connect the natural world to the city’s history of trade and migration through a ballast seed garden produced by Arnolfini and the University of Bristol.

 More than 150,000 people have attended the festival since 2004, and the past 10 years have seen it grow significantly to become one of Bristol’s most popular festivals, helping to raise the profile of environmental issues and natural history in the city and across the UK.

Savita Custead, Chief Executive of Bristol Natural History Consortium which organises Bristol Festival of Nature, says:

“The Bristol99 challenge will help to take the Festival of Nature out into the city and directly to the people of Bristol. The Festival has always aimed to inspire people about the natural world and this is a fantastic new way to take the initiative and help the public to find nature on their doorsteps.

“Bristol is the home of natural history in the UK and we are proud of the contribution the Festival of Nature has played in developing that reputation. It is the only event that brings together all of the key environmental organisations in the city, and over the last 10 years we have seen these relationships go from strength to strength.

The festival was named “Tourism Event of the Year 2011” in the Bristol Tourism and Hospitality Industry Awards 2011, and was awarded Bronze in the Tourism Event of the Year category at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2011-2012.

The Bristol Festival of Nature takes place on the Bristol Harbourside and is open from 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday June 15, and 11 am – 5 pm on Sunday June 16. Admission is free.

For further information, interviews or images please contact Max Boon at Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email  
Also see
The Bristol Festival of Nature is an initiative of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, which is a charitable collaboration between 11 of the biggest natural history organisations in the city, and it is the strength of this partnership that has helped the festival to flourish for the past decade.

The Bristol Festival of Nature aims to engage the widest possible audience in the UK’s biggest celebration of the natural world.

Its main objectives are:

  • To deliver a memorable celebration of the natural world and to recognise Bristol’s reputation as a leading centre for the understanding and appreciation of natural history

  • To attract new audiences and widen participation in the understanding and enjoyment of the natural world

The festival is an initiative of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, a charitable collaboration between: Avon Wildlife Trust, BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Defra, Environment Agency, National Trust, Natural England, University of Bristol, University of the West of England and Wildscreen.

The festival is supported by British Ecological Society, Bristol Water, IOP Publishing, At-Bristol, Clifton College, Space Engineering Services and Company of Biologists.

In 2013 the Festival of Nature is part of the British Ecological Society’s centenary Festival of Ecology, held from 15 June to 4 August 2013. The BES will be working in partnership with over 60 organisations celebrating the science of ecology through public events for adults, schools and families.;

The Festival of Nature is part of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival (15-23 June), the UK's annual festival of environmental ideas, art and culture.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Self Build Housing Workshops Bristol 2013

Half-day and one-day courses for people exploring the possibilities and realities of self build/custom build and community-led housing.The future of housing: low impact, affordable, empowering.
Would you like to design and/or build your own home? Working with others to do this is a creative and empowering process through which we can actually create affordable homes which meet our needs. See Ashley Vale self build in St. Werburghs in 2003, pictured.
Facilitated by Ecomotive an experienced community self build co-operative, these interactive workshops are a place to explore ideas and examples of self build, ask questions, progress projects and meet like-minded people. There will be a well blended mix of information, inspiration, discussion and reflection to help you on the path to understanding your options, forming choices and making decisions.

"A fantastic session. Clearly the course designers are knowledgeable and passionate about self building." Participant 2012.

  • Open to all. Recommended for those new to self build / custom build who want to explore the different options, background and approaches.
Monday 18th March
Monday 13th May
Monday 15th July
£45/£35 (concs) for individuals.
£60 SME (less than 15 employees)/Charity/Non-profit
£80 corporate / local authority.

  • There are four dates for individuals and groups who want to set up and develop a self build project, and two dates for professionals looking to participate in, facilitate or develop self build projects.
For individuals and groups.
Saturday 9th March
Saturday 20th April
Saturday 8th June
Saturday 6th July
£90/£70 (concs) for individuals.

For professionals.
Monday 15th April
Monday 17th June
£120 SME (less than 15 employees)/Charity/Non-profit
£160 corporate / local authority.

All courses include a tour of Ashley Vale self build project and refreshments. Lunch is also included in the one day course.
*We use the term 'self build' to refer to the full spectrum of self build and custom build projects.


“What if each household in the UK had the option to build their own place...? We’d see people sharing skills and saving money. We’d see neighbours working together on community self build schemes and local construction economies thriving. And we’d certainly see more energy efficient buildings and a wider embracing of green technologies.Kevin McCloud