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Friday, 17 March 2017


As one of our projects for the eco group at the Benjamin Britten Music Academy we are clearing up the pond area which is situated out the front of the main building. At present, the current state of the pond area is horrendous and not eco-friendly nor even very nice to look at. We have also noticed a trio of ducks have made the pond their home, so we really want to get the pond cleared out before the spring equinox in order to allow for the ducks to make a nest for their eggs.

The pond prior to the cleanup project beginning
At present, the area covered in many different items of litter which could damage the natural environment surrounding the water or even harm the wildlife nearby.
In the project we are firstly going to rid the pond itself of all of litter (including a tricycle that's been fly-tipped) and following this cleanup we aim to create habitats using the logs of wood which have been collected and cut up from a tree that had fallen over the pond.

The logs which have been cut up, ready for use in creating habitats
Finally, we will then tidy up some of the smaller vegetation and trees that surround the pond, most of which have begun to overgrow round the pond causing the area to look untidy and poorly maintained - which it very much has been up until now.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Following a very long transition from being BBHS Eco to becoming Waveney Eco, the team have finally come together to establish a basic game plan for 2017. In this document we have outlined our aims and objectives as a group as well as a few other details which we feel may be of interest to those who follow along with the group. This post will detail the plan of action as of today and a downloadable PDF version will be linked at the bottom of this post as well as on our about page.

Aims and Objectives

In the year of 2017, Waveney Eco aims to consolidate all project plans that have been discussed previously and set these as sub-projects to accompany the group’s main purpose: to serve as an educational outlet for all things eco. We aim to do this by utilising the website which has been established for a few years as well as hosting events in the local area which will be aimed at under 18s. Alongside with these activities which we aim to host during school holidays and weekends, we will also set out to promote ourselves and the environmental causes that we support through visits to local high schools as well as creating numerous media products with the same aim.
To summarise our aims and objectives,

We aim to:

Promote environmentally friendly behaviours and practices in the local area through the means of education and practical activities with the local youth.

Our objectives to achieve this aim are:

  • Visit local schools to promote our causes
  • Host activities in school holidays such as beach clean-ups, etc.
  • Utilise the website to showcase both our own work as well as the work of other local youths who will be able to contribute to Waveney Eco’s ‘Learning Resources’ section online.
  • Create various media products (Videos, infographics, etc.) in order to further promote our causes.

Structural Organisation

The group, having not yet fully become fully operational following the transition from ‘BBHS Eco’ to ‘Waveney Eco’ will remain structurally organised similarly to previously, as follows:

Chair
Shay Jordan

Vice-Chair
Ellen Goffin

Social Media
Eleanor Smith

Other Members
Jack Hill
Thomas Easton
Thomas Saunders

This structure is accurate as of 22/02/17 however is subject to change at any point in the future. It will be updated as and when any significant change takes place, otherwise will be updated bi-monthly to reflect any additions or subtractions of memberships.

Funding

Although the group’s projects can be done with very minimal monetary expenditure, some funding would come a significant help to the group’s projects to cover costs of:

  • Travel
  • Communications
  • Web Hosting/Domain
  • Equipment
  • Promotional Material

As of yet, no plans have been made for funding opportunities however this is something we are currently looking into and our lack of plans is set to change in the coming months and this document will be updated when necessary.


This information is all accurate as at 22/02/17 however is subject to change and could become inaccurate at any date later than this. To download a PDF version of this information, click here. The latest version of this PDF document will be available from our about page.

Saturday, 12 March 2016


This post was originally posted on sarahssay.com by Sarah Trott. Be sure to visit her blog and read some of her other posts by clicking here.

Recently I've been trying really hard to become more eco friendly however it often isn't easy when we live in such a wasteful society; especially when you're a teenager (and therefore most likely not the person making most of the main decisions about what goes on in your house). So, I've compiled a list of 5 easy ways you can be a little bit more environmentally friendly as a teenager - ENJOY!

Print double sided

Pretty self explanatory, but important none the less! You can actually change your printers default settings to print double sided instead of single sided. This is such a useful tip, especially when printing out long essays or stories etc, you can essentially be saving HALF the amount of paper you're otherwise using!

Take showers, not baths

By having a 5-10 minute shower instead of having a bath you could save approximately between 10-20 gallons of water every time you wash. That is the same amount of water you should be drinking in about 40 days (not that you should be drinking bath water though!)

Avoid disposable food containers

This is something super simple that you can do to reduce how much you are throwing away. If you take a packed lunch with you to school, try putting everything into Tupperware containers (without using foil or cling film!). I have a really great lunchbox that has about 3 different sections in it. I might have pasta salad in one section, some trail mix in one and some grapes in the other or something like that. Try to avoid foods that have lots of packaging like crisps or chocolate bars (especially since these are usually individually packed inside a bigger multipack bag!). Most foods that have less packaging like the ones I suggested are usually less processed and a lot healthier as well, so you'll be doing yourself a favour too!

Another REALLY easy thing you can do is to carry around a reusable water bottle or flask with your chosen drink instead of constantly buying new bottles of water. There is nothing wrong with tap water and you might actually save some money doing this as well! If you are really serious about creating less waste, you can even take your own flask into coffee shops when getting a takeaway and ask them to put your drink in there instead of a paper cup.

Walk or get public transport to school

I know, we've all heard this one a million times before, but that's only because it's true. Did you know that by walking or biking to school you could save 328lbs of CO2 every year and that by getting public transport you could save 984lbs of CO2 every year? That's the equivalent to driving 350 or 1,050 miles! If you can't walk or get public transport you could try setting up a car share with some of your friends as this will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

When I wanted to start becoming more environmentally conscious I calculated my carbon footprint and found it to be really useful in giving me guindance as to excatly how much I need to become more environmentally friendly! This specific calculator is particularly good as it is set out like a survey and is tailored to teenagers and young people.
By calculating your carbon footprint you can see really clearly how much waste you are creating and how much waste you are saving. I know that for me it definitely gave a really good starting point to figure out where I was making mistakes!

Be A Source Of Inspiration!

Encourage your friends and family to be more conscious about environmental issues; a lot of people wrongly assume that just because we aren't directly feeling the effects of global warming and the suchlike right this second, that it's never going to happen. Scientists have now predict that unless we drastically change our ways, global warming could be well underway by 2050. Individuals alone can't always make a difference, but lots of individuals working toward the same goals can. Get people involved! Tell them about what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint and speak to people about why it's important to be more environmentally friendly. In situations like these, nothing works better than good old fashioned word of mouth!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Ségolène Royal, French minister of ecology and energy, recently announced during a press conference that the French government is planning on paving 1000km of road with solar panels over the next 5 years.
French infrastructure company 'Colas' has developed a photovoltaic road surface which is made up of small panels which can be fitted on top of the current road surface. This is unlike other photovoltaic solutions which require the current road surface to be ripped up in order to make way for the new photovoltaic surface.
The first tests of the solar roadway will become in Spring of this year, according to Colas. The trial of the new solar roadways which are being called "Wattway" are to take place in a small town of 5000 inhabitants and will power the street lighting.
Once the project is complete, Colas believe that the new roadways will be capable of supplying electricity to 5 million people, around 8% of the French population.
As of now, the project does however only have limited information surrounding it and there is no indication of which roads will be covered with Wattway and how much the French government will be paying the the new roadways,

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Currently, the G20 contributes over 450 billion US dollars a year towards the oil, coal and natural gas industries, a figure which should be decreasing after it promised to phase out such incentives in favor of cleaner energies. In the UK however, the opposite is happening, with around $10 billion given to fossil fuel production last year, almost twice the amount given to renewables. In a time where environmental preservation should be a priority, why is the government going back on its promises?
According to them, they aren’t. This is due to a stricter definition of what a subsidy is: government action that lowers the gross price below the international average. Because of this, the UK technically doesn’t give subsidies to fossil fuel companies. This flawed definition means that the government can get away with supporting dirty energy while slowing the development of cleaner sources; while not strictly unethical, it does nothing to help the environment in its time of dire need.
This is by no means a call to eliminate these subsidies overnight, as doing so would be disastrous; hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost along with a plethora of other negative effects. The industry claims that subsidies reduce the financial risks in a highly-competitive market, which isn’t a complete lie. Though there needs to be urgency, the UK government should focus on changing priorities over time. Instead, it seems to insist on keeping oil, gas and coal at the top of the energy agenda
As the need for decarbonisation grows, the political stance continues to be one of ignorance; surely the problem will solve itself? Of course it won’t. Governments across the world need to acknowledge in full the potentially devastating effects of global warming before it’s too late. If we can’t work together with them, we will never find a solution. This is the first of an ongoing series of posts investigating the G20’s fossil fuel subsidies.
If you would like to share your ideas, or have any information, be sure to leave a comment down below or tweet us!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Offshore Windfarm
Yesterday, following a recent deal with Associated British Powers, ScottishPower Renewables announced that the port of Lowestoft will be used as its management base for construction for the East Anglia One offshore windfarm from 2017 when building starts.
This deal will result in the creation of thousands of new jobs in the local area as well as around £25m investments in upgrading the port and surrounding harbour in order to make it more suitable for the 30-year lifetime of the project.
Jonathan Cole who is managing director of offshore windfarms for ScottishPower Renewables has said that the East Angla One windfarm is just one of a series of projects building up to the eventual goal of having the world's largest offshore windfarm off of the UK's east coast.
“These projects are so big, the benefit will be spread around,” he said. “Today we are announcing something positive for Lowestoft but the plan is for other areas of East Anglia to also benefit.”
As well as being of huge benefit to our local area, the town of Lowestoft, where thousands of jobs are being created, this is also of huge benefit to the country and world overall. With the huge investments in renewable energy we are one step closer to reducing our carbon emissions to a sustainable level.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Eco Group at The Benjamin Britten High School consists of a range of students, from year 8 (12 years old) up to year 11 (16 years old), all of whom have either been there from the start of the group running under its current format, or have been picked up along the way.

The earliest members who are still present and active in the group today were recruited in September of 2012 by Mr G Champion and joined into a group which was purely focused on raising money for solar panels via 10:10’s Solar Schools Project. Unfortunately, the launch for our project didn’t go as well as anticipated but we didn’t let that affect our motivation as we continued to push for donations and help towards our goal of getting a solar roof. This project was interrupted however when our school signed up to the government’s free solar panel scheme which allowed the school to have solar panels fitted for free which produce energy to be fed back into the national grid, giving the school a discounted energy bill.

Fortunately, this meant that we now had solar panels and we hadn’t had to spend a penny of our raised money which meant we could spend it on other projects. This then led to a spectrum of potential projects being thought up. Although some of them seemed viable, others may have seemed a bit ambitious but we still managed to get through them! One of these projects was the Eco Group website (bbhseco.org) which was originally planned to be hosted by a solar powered Raspberry Pi microcomputer and contain “learning resources” including information about different environmental issues, etc. Unfortunately, we found that the Raspberry Pi would not be powerful enough to host this website so we had to make a compromise and use an online hosting service instead. This however did mean that we now had a spare Raspberry Pi which we could use for alternative projects.

Another project which spanned from our budget being directed away from solar panels is the solar garden project, which would contain a vertical garden, chicken coop and solar panel stand. As of now, the chicken coop is complete following many months of construction by the students, with help from local carpenter Andrew Stanley. We currently have four chickens living in the coop, all of whom are happy with their new homes following the departure from their previous ones including battery farms.

Both the vertical garden and the solar panel stand are underway and we aim to have these completed by the end of the academic year which would then complete our solar garden which has been at our main focus point over the past few years, where we have dedicated our own spare time to working towards the projects – including after school and half term time.

The vertical garden will be constructed from recycled plastic bottles containing plants, and the solar panel stand is set to power a Raspberry Pi camera which will eventually provide a live video feed of the chickens onto our website (bbhseco.org). These finishing touches to our garden will make it a truly amazing place and it will serve as a reminder as to what students can truly achieve through passion, perseverance and determination, with minimal help from teachers and other adults. The garden will be a great legacy of the current Eco Group, located in the heart of the school, and will hopefully remain maintained by younger year groups in the coming years who will be able to continue the projects and create new ones just as amazing. 

Through our hard work and perseverance of projects, we were recognised by those behind the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards who suggested we enter the education category of the awards. Following this, I filled out an application form detailing what our group is about and what we’ve achieved over the past few years. Not only were we lucky enough to be shortlisted, we actually won the category and were presented with our award at the awards event in OPEN, Norwich, which was presented by actress Dani Harmer and TV presented David Whitely. We are thrilled to have won the award and look forward to using our £1000 prize money towards finishing our current projects as well as starting new projects to be completed by the future eco group.