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Michael & John's Story

Get Thinking

We hope that you enjoyed Michael and John’s story about their experience of Bude’s Repair Café. We now invite you to delve a little deeper and explore how this relates to climate change and what we can do as individuals and as a community.

The good news is that our community has all the tools and knowledge we need to avert the worst effects of climate change, so all we need now is for everyone to act!

Bude is way ahead of the curve when it comes to forward thinking. The Repair Café is one shining example of many climate-savvy initiatives and businesses that have emerged from our area in response to the challenges we face. As well as thinking ahead to the future, there’s also great value in reflecting on the past, when we naturally lived a lot more sustainably. Before the advent of the ‘consumer society’ and technology we are familiar with today, many people used the materials they had around them to make what they needed and repaired when necessary. As a result, they built up a library of skills that were then passed down. As goods became more readily available, the temptation to buy rather than make or repurpose increased and as a result, valuable skills were lost. Many of us will remember this way of living and may still have skills from that time that we still use or could pass on.

​We all know by now that we need to reduce how much we buy and use, but knowing and doing are very different things. It can be very hard in our day-to-day lives to consume in an environmentally responsible way, especially as sometimes it feels like our current system makes it difficult. The truth is, it does a bit. But that is why community organisations like the Repair Café are invaluable. The more we make use of community cooperation like this, the more likely it is to keep popping up, and the easier it will be to reduce our contribution to climate change.

Think Circles!

The easiest way to reduce waste is to aim for sustainability and circularity. What does that mean? For many of us it is a way of living that we have experienced in the past.

In nature there are no waste products. Everything is reused to form something new, such as the carbon dioxide that we breathe out is taken in by plants to help them to grow. Materials flow like this through the entire web of life, one process feeding another. When these processes are in balance we say they are sustainable. It means that humans and nature can thrive together in harmony.

circular economy diagram (M&J story) copy_edited.jpg

Currently our system is linear, which means we extract materials, manufacture a product, use it, then throw it away. Organisations and businesses around the world, including Cornwall Council, are now moving to a circular system, where materials are kept in the system by being reused, repurposed, or as a last option, recycled.

The most important change we need for a more balanced way of life is to slow down how much we buy and use. Over time our culture has become used to buying cheap products that do not last long and end up in landfill. Things are slowly changing, so in the future items we purchase will hopefully be better quality, last longer, be relatively easy to fix and less expensive in the long run. Remember the old saying – buy cheap, buy twice?

Get Inspired

Although it can be tempting to point at China or India as heavy polluters, we consumers are responsible for a lot of their emissions as they make a lot of our products. In fact, the UK is responsible for 5% of all global emissions to date. The average UK citizen uses roughly 1.5 times more energy than an average Chinese citizen and nearly six times more than the average person in India. So rather than placing the burden on developing nations, we need to do our bit by considering our own lifestyles and making positive changes. 

We have compiled some tips on what we can do individually and as a community to make the most impact – changes that not only reduce our contributions to the climate crisis, but also improve the quality of life for everyone in our area.

All of us have invaluable skills and knowledge that the wider community would benefit from. In fact, many of the ideas we’ve suggested below may have been instilled in you as children or might remind you of how things used to be in the past.

  • Storms
    As temperatures increase, the amount of water that evaporates into the atmosphere increases and is released as extreme rain, hail and snowfall. Storms passing over warmer water absorb more energy, increasing wind intensity. In Bude this means an increased risk of storm surges and flooding. Numerous waterways in and around Bude put many of us in river catchments and we therefore need to think seriously about how we can adapt to flood risks. Floods damage not only our homes and livelihoods, but also impact on water safety. Our outdated drainage systems cannot cope with additional water flows, which leads to sewage being discharged into rivers, making its way onto our beaches at Crooklets and Summerleaze.
  • Heat Waves
    In the UK we now experience twice as many warm spells a year, as in the 1990s. In 2020, 2,556 heat-related deaths were recorded, a figure predicted to increase threefold by 2050. What may feel to some like a beautiful summer’s day can put others under extreme stress. People with underlying health conditions or over 65, as well as young children and those on low incomes are particularly vulnerable to heat stress as they are less able to adapt to the heat. But as temperatures continue to rise we are starting to see fit and healthy people being affected too.
  • Extreme Cold
    Weather systems are highly complex, so although it seems strange, climate change also increases the risk of extremely cold weather events, as we saw in March 2018 with the ‘Beast from the East’, which brought icy temperatures and snow even to Cornwall.
  • Droughts and Wildfires
    As the climate changes, we’ll experience more rain falling but less frequently, which means more flash floods and more periods of drought. This combination of factors leaves us susceptible to drought and therefore wildfires, as land and vegetation dry out. Already we’re seeing changes – in 2020, Cornwall Fire and Rescue attended 80% more wildfires than the previous year.
  • Water Shortages
    By 2050 water demand will outstrip supply as the population continues to grow and water availability reduces, according to predictions by the UK Committee on Climate Change. In the UK we use an average of 143 litres per day per person and water conservation is essential for reducing drought and wildfire risk.

Get Sharing

Stories trigger more stories, so we hope this has sparked some of your own memories and provided an opportunity to reflect. 

Was there a culture of Make Do and Mend in your childhood home or community?

Can you describe this?

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Have you personally repaired anything that has been broken? How did you feel?

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What skills do you think you could pass on to a young person today?

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What kind of things do you generally throw away? Have you ever thought about this?

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How do you think we can help people to change their mind about our throw away culture?

Get Together

If you’re part of a local group and would like to explore this theme more through additional activities, then you might like to use our ‘Hands On’ toolkits. Contact Us to find out more.

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Dive Deeper

Below are some useful links to help you dive deeper into the science we’ve introduced in the ‘Get Thinking’ section.

Could Bude become a front runner in setting up a more circular economy? Check out these links to find out more:

Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Circular Online

 

Follow this link for a detailed description of Cornwall recycling guidelines.

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Michael's & John's Story

Get Involved

Bude is already bursting at the seams with enthusiastic environmental groups and great initiatives

if you want to get involved. These are the future of our communities and the economy.

Here’s a few relevant to the theme of Michael and John’s story.

The Repair Café

This group aims to reduce landfill by mending household items. Get items repaired for free or volunteer your skills.

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Thank You

We hope our suggestions and advice leave you feeling inspired. Climate change can be challenging to think and talk about, so if any of your questions haven’t been answered or you need support or you have an idea you want to pursue, then please get in touch with the Bude Climate Partnership. We’re here to help you.

This Toolkit has been developed by Storylines.

Storylines is a Community Interest Company who use the common language of story to bring people together to share, celebrate, learn and connect.  Storylines supports organisations and communities to unearth and share their own stories through bespoke story projectsdigital storytellingeducation, oral historyworkshopsinterpretation

training and consultancy.

Share your memories and reflections here

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