Pedalling for PEDAL

Jane, Chris and Callum are tak­ing part in the Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh sponsored bike ride (51 miles) to raise money for Portobello and Leith Community wind energy project.

This is a pro­ject run by PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town and Greener Leith, to con­struct and oper­ate the UK’s first community-owned wind tur­bine in a city on land at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, Edinburgh owned by Scottish Water, who fully sup­port the initiative.

Callum and Chris cycling past the Falkirk WheelFeasibility work shows the site to be favour­able in terms of poten­tial wind resource. The tur­bine might gen­er­ate between 2 and 4.5 mil­lion kWh of elec­tri­city per annum, enough to meet the aver­age needs of 300‑1300 house­holds. The elec­tri­city gen­er­ated will be sold to Scottish Water or the national grid and gen­er­ate money for the local communities.

The pro­ject is now at a cru­cial stage and we need to secure a fur­ther £10,000 of income by the end of September to pro­gress the pro­ject to plan­ning stage.

Visit the PEDAL web­site for more inform­a­tion on the pro­ject.

We have agreed to match any money we receive in spon­sor­ship up to the value of £500 – so your con­tri­bu­tion will have double its usual value!

You can either send your con­tri­bu­tion by post (cheques pay­able to PEDAL) to:

Jane Lewis and Chris Booth,
PEDAL wind tur­bine,
252 (1F2) Portobello High Street,
Edinburgh EH15 2AT

Or donate via Paypal:

All money must be received by the end of September.

We’ve all been heav­ily involved in PEDAL over the years and would really value your sup­port to help get this pro­ject off the ground!



I never cared much for moon­lit skies,
I never winked back at fire­flies,
But now that the stars are in your eyes,
I’m begin­ning to see the light.

Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass — I’m Beginning To See The Light

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Arrived in Chicago last night after a reas­on­ably stress-free jour­ney. The sys­tem in Dublin is that you get grilled and fin­ger­prin­ted in “US Pre-clearance”. We thought this just meant the first stage of the pro­cess, but actu­ally when we go here, we found that we had already cleared cus­toms and immig­ra­tion, and that it was actu­ally treated as a domestic flight. It makes sense I sup­pose — bet­ter than fly­ing people across the Atlantic if you’re not going to let them in. It was a bit odd to see Obama’s pic up on the wall in Dublin air­port though.

So we got out of the air­port quite quickly, and found the place where the shuttle minibuses to take you to hotels were. We spot­ted the one for Comfort Inns and jumped in and a friendly driver with an incom­pre­hens­ible accent whisked us to a hotel. The only prob­lem was that it was the wrong hotel — we ought to have been at the Comfort Suites. It seems that like domain names, names for hotels are in short sup­ply. Nobody wants to be Heartbreak Hotel, Irritation Inn or even Mild Annoyance Motel (though I have stayed in some of those places, believe me).

Mike came to res­cue us any­way and we were soon cor­rectly installed. Nature encountered so far includes poison ivy (seen but not touched!) and fire­flies on sub­urban lawns, which are a delight.

Be patterns, be examples

Be pat­terns, be examples in all coun­tries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your car­riage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheer­fully over the world, answer­ing that of God in every one.

George Fox, 1656

That fam­ous Quaker quote seems appro­pri­ate as we set off to new coun­tries, places, islands nations. We’re in the air­port, about to board our flight for Chicago and catch­ing some time to blog. Last time I wrote, we were busy not fly­ing around Europe, and writ­ing about why plane travel is such a bad idea. So why are we about to waste over 2 tonnes of CO2 each on this trip?

Well of course we’ve a good reason: the main pur­ose of the trip is to visit Jane’s sis­ter and her fam­ily in Michigan — we’ve not been to visit in the 12 years she’s been there. Mike, her hus­band hasn’t been well and we’d like to give the fam­ily a wee bit of sup­port and of course to spend some pre­cious time with them. A clas­sic example of George Monbiot’s love miles. As he puts it:

If your sister-in-law is get­ting mar­ried in Buenos Aires, it is both immoral to travel there, because of cli­mate change, and immoral not to, because of the offence it causes.

When I told our friend Julian that we were going to break our no fly­ing vows, his response was that the prob­lem was not so much the actual car­bon diox­ide emis­sions, but the example. People will think “if Chris and Jane — who seem to think care­fully about these mat­ters — are fly­ing, then it’s OK if I do too”. I thought that was a really good point, and I sup­pose I hadn’t really thought before that people might be tak­ing me as a pat­tern. But since we did our over­land trip to Greece, quite a few people we know have been inspired to make sim­ilar travel decisions, or at least to think very ser­i­ously before they jump on a plane.

If we aspire, as George Fox put it to “be pat­terns, be examples”, then we need to real­ise that that is quite a ser­i­ous under­tak­ing, and that people might actu­ally fol­low our examples, pos­it­ive or neg­at­ive. It’s not that we should feel guilt, more that we need to be mind­ful in our choices for action as we walk cheer­fully over the world.

Just Saving

Sara, who we know as the Powerpod Worker for the Woodcraft Folk, is doing a sponsored cycle trip to Morocco. At 2,400 miles by pedal power alone it makes our train trip seem a very cushy num­ber! She’s ask­ing every­one to spon­sor her, but not in the usual, bor­ing way of giv­ing money to some worthy cause. Instead, she’s ask­ing people to make pledge to make carbon-emission-reducing life­style changes. The web­site has sug­ges­tions of prac­tical actions you can take.

What are you wait­ing for? Visit the Just Saving web­site and sign up now. They’ve already saved 5 tonnes of CO2 and they haven’t even star­ted yet!

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