Friday, July 23, 2010

Corporate Social Irresponsibility

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How do you spell Corporate Social Irresponsibility:

A Dutch court has found multinational Trafigura guilty of illegally exporting toxic waste from Amsterdam and concealing the nature of the cargo.

In 2006, Trafigura transported waste alleged to have been involved in the injury of thousands of people in Ivory Coast. Trafigura denied any wrongdoing.

It expressed disappointment in the ruling and is considering an appeal. The firm was fined 1m euros (£836,894) for its ship, the Probo Koala, transiting Amsterdam with its cargo.

The ship then went on to unload its cargo in Ivory Coast.

"It is a good thing that they have been found guilty but it would be even better if they were sent to jail” Guy Oulla Alleged waste victim

Trafigura employee Naeem Ahmed, who was involved in the ship's operation in Amsterdam, was fined 25,000 euros and the captain of the Probo Koala, 46-year-old Sergiy Chertov, was sentenced to a five-year suspended jail term.

This is the first time Trafigura has faced criminal charges since the toxic waste scandal unfolded in Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan, in 2006.

Trafigura, an oil trading company, initially tried to clean up low-grade oil by tipping caustic soda into the hold of the Probo Koala. The company tried to unload the waste in Amsterdam for treatment, declaring it as "harmless slops".

When the treatment company came back with a higher price for cleaning the waste, the cargo was shipped to Africa where it ended up in Abidjan to be handled at a much lower rate....

The full BBC report here.

Trains and transport hub not bendy buses

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I've been to a lot of meetings about bus rapid transit. The more I went to and the more questions I asked the more I realised just how poor the plans are - and that's as a person very strongly in favour of more, better and cheaper public transport. No surprise then that I agree very strongly with this latest press release from Bristol South Green Party and admire the work of Cllr Tess Green, green activist Pete Goodwin and others:

Bendybus is just a vanity project, say Greens

Threats to government funding for Bristol's first bus rapid transit route hasn't yet stopped the council spending on it. At the council meeting earlier this month, only one member voted against.

That member was Southville's Cllr Tess Green. She believes that even if it does win government cash, the new concrete guided bus route into the city from Long Ashton will be a white elephant. She says money would be better spent on schemes that could really make a difference - like light rail from Portishead into the city centre, or a first-class transport hub for all of Bristol at Temple Meads. Now she's lobbying the Department for Transport to explain her concerns.

Bristol South Green Party, meanwhile, has joined Tess and other local organisations in asking the government to refuse an order allowing it to go ahead.

"We've been studying the case made for this first bendy-bus route" said spokesman Pete Goodwin, "and find it doesn't do what it says on the tin. Traffic and congestion in the next twenty years get much worse with or without the bendy- bus. All this project does is encourage more commuting by road from North Somerset. They've conveniently forgotten about climate change, peak oil, and the awful congestion that we already suffer."

"This is a reckless waste of public money at a time when much more vital services are being cut, and community assets are being sold off. So far as we can see, it's just another part of the council's bid to turn the Green Belt around Ashton Vale into a big sports and entertainment venue, it serves no other major purpose. That makes it more a vanity project, at the cost of real public services."

Note: The formal objections from Cllr Green and from the Bristol South party to the Bus Rapid Transit project can be read
here .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BBC News - Peter Tatchell confronts BNP's Nick Griffin

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BBC News - Peter Tatchell confronts BNP's Nick Griffin

Why wont this nazi answer Peter's questions? He owes voters answers?

PLANS for a £92-million football stadium in Bristol have been thrown into disarray after councillors refused permission for a new Sainsbury's superstore at Ashton Gate.

PLANS for a £92-million football stadium in Bristol have been thrown into disarray after councillors refused permission for a new Sainsbury's superstore at Ashton Gate.

This is a good decision. Its proposed that the stadium would be in the green belt where its building would be very likely to stimulate many other damaging developments and further loss of green belt land. The proposed Sainsbury's is huge and would be very damaging both to the environment and to the existing community of small shops and businesses locally. There's been a lot of froth and hype surrounding the benefits of a new stadium, huge supermarket and the mere possibility of a few world cup games being played in Bristol - and few well established hard facts on net benefits. Big business and big money people have for once not got all their own way, though there may well be an appeal of course.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Epetitioner: Save Our Swimming e-petition

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Epetitioner - Save our swimming

Status: collecting signatures - please sign it!!!

The new Tory Lib Dem Government has cut ALL free swimming for under 16s and over 60s in Bristol.Last year 177,000 under 16s and 79,000 over 60s swims took up the Labour government’s free fitness offer. There was a 400% increase in swims for older people and 27% increase for young people. Swimming has undisputed health benefits and gives confidence to young swimmers.The Labour government grant was £317,000. Lib Dem run Newcastle has saved their free swimming. Why can’t Bristol City Council find this money from other savings and save our free swimming?

Free swimming is a great preventive health care aproach, cutting the need to spend money on people who become ill!!

UK sustainability watchdog to be axed | Environment | The Guardian

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UK sustainability watchdog to be axed Environment The Guardian

...The plan to scrap the Sustainable Development Commission is – ironically – scheduled to be unveiled on the same day that the agency will release its annual report into green improvements to the government's operations. This lists tens of millions of pounds worth of savings from fuel costs, water, waste and other things. Many of the changes were prompted by advice from the SDC which has staff of around 60 and a budget of just under £3m...

So much for the Tories and Lib Dems being green and putting sustainability at the heart of governing the country - the claim always was rubbish and here is yet more evidence.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Peru tries to expel 'incendiary gringo priest' - Channel 4 News

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What a man! This is religion not about believing, writing and saying good things but in doing good and living a good life. Peru tries to expel 'incendiary gringo priest' - Channel 4 News

Brother Paul McAuley is a hero among the indigenous tribes ofthe Peruvian Amazon, but the 62-year-old missionary from Portsmouth has made such a nuisance of himself in his campaign for tribal rights that Peru's government has ordered his expulsion, writes Jonathan Rugman.

"If I have to go, I'll get carried out," he told me last week. "I won't resist because I respect Peruvian law, but I won’t have the energy to take any steps to walk. That would be to betray these people."...

...It was Brother Paul who in 2008 filmed video pictures of the River Tigre, blackened by clouds of billowing oil, and he has asked the Peruvian authorities to investigate.

And it was Brother Paul who in the same year obtained a chilling video – which he passed to Channel 4 News - of a man apparently tortured and killed after demonstrating for native rights.

"The death of the native has never been investigated," he said. "We have been going on for two years and we know nothing about how he died."

The Catholic missionary lists his main achievements as helping overturn possible 20 year jail sentences facing Indian protestors, and obliging the government to conduct environmental and social studies before forestry logging concessions are awarded; though he says Peru's President, Alan Garcia, has refused to sign that pledge into law.

The Peruvian press has called Brother Paul a "white terrorist", and an "incendiary gringo priest", and the campaigning charity that Brother Paul founded is certainly causing a rumble in the jungle...

Mabinogogiblog: In Rwanda, Green politician is murdered. Lobby the Commonwealth

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Mabinogogiblog: In Rwanda, Green politician is murdered. Lobby the Commonwealth

Another Green World: Let Iroquois Lacrosse Team play in the UK!

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Another Green World: Let Iroquois Lacrosse Team play in the UK!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Art against oil...

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Art activists did another dramatic 'oil slick' performance at the BP-sponsored British Museum today. Short video (above), pictures and backstory here...

Save Bristol Green Spaces

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Save Bristol Green Spaces - spreading the word about signing this petition (please click on the link and sign up)

We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the plans to build an excessive number of houses across Bristol North West on open space which is of very great value to the local community, under the Council's housing consultation and allocation.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

'Conspiracy theories finally laid to rest' by report on leaked climate change emails


Scientists involved in last year's "climategate" leaked emails controversy, which added to scepticism about the science of global warming, were not open enough with their data and unhelpful with requests for information, an independent review of the affair found yesterday.

They and their institution, the University of East Anglia (UEA), did not embrace the "spirit of openness" enshrined in the Freedom of Information Act, according to a long-awaited report into their conduct carried out by a panel of senior academics.

However, the review found that the researchers concerned, led by the Director of UEA's world-renowned Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Professor Phil Jones, could not be faulted for their "rigour and honesty as scientists", and there was no evidence that they had behaved in a way that might undermine the conclusions of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

(from The Independent)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Let's talk: Transport Matters | Travel+

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Let's talk: Transport Matters Travel+

The West of England Councils are working together to produce a new transport plan for the area.

Transport is an important issue, affecting everyone, and we want your views on it.

A SOLAR and pedal-powered party takes place at Bristol's Create Centre on Saturday.

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A SOLAR and pedal-powered party takes place at Bristol's Create Centre on Saturday.

The theme of the 'Saturday Sun-day' party is low-carbon living, and there will be a whole host of free hands-on activities, workshops and demos to get people thinking about greener living and help them to 'reduce the use'.

Bristol City Council leader, Councillor Barbara Janke, said: "To make sure we meet our ambitions to be the UK's Green Capital, we need to inspire Bristol people in their communities to make changes to the way they live their lives.

"I hope the event will help people to understand more and find creative ways of signing up to a greener lifestyle."

Children can crawl inside an enormous inflatable 'Explorer Dome' to find out all about earth. They'll also have the chance to make a solar-powered boat, create a recycled mural, and decorate their bikes with the help of local artists, ready for September's Bristol Cycle Carnival.

Story sessions and craft activities will be run throughout the day in Create's brand new library space.
Bristol City Football Club will be supporting the event and sending along a player to sign autographs and take part in some footie fun in the afternoon.

Bite-sized eco-home workshops will offer practical advice on insulating your home, choosing renewable energy and monitoring energy use.

There will also be live music and food and drink.

The Saturday Sun-day is from 10am to 5pm at Create, Smeaton Road, Spike Island, Bristol. Entry is free. To find out more, visit

Friday, July 02, 2010

Bristol City Council parks and green spaces sell-off

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Its International Year of Biodiversity this year and what does our so-called green city want to do? Flog off some of our parks and green spaces! Given the very strong reaction from the public to this council plan from all over the city it would be undemocratic to continue with it – in fact they should be planning to increase green spaces wherever it is possible to do so as there is a value to them well beyond cash.

There are leisure, tourism, recreational, entertainment, sporting and health benefits in open, green spaces. Green spaces also help attract and keep businesses and help them to attract and retain the staff they need. There are key ecological and environmental function benefits eg storm water drainage and thus flood protection, as the land soaks up, temporarily stores and then gradually releases rain; taking carbon dioxide from the air, helping to fight climate change; provision of wildlife habitat and food supply, which aids biodiversity.

In an urban area open, green spaces are vital to the quality of our lives, offering relief from the all too common congestion and other negative effects of development. They are a way of connecting with and appreciating the natural world – vital to wellbeing and to encouraging respect for nature. We sorely need this respect in order to build the green attitudes needed to fight extremely serious environmental (and thus security) threats. We would do well to remember that even the scrubbiest, scruffiest bit of land (called poor quality, low productivity, marginal or ‘surplus’ by Bristol City Council) will absorb, store and gradually release rain, absorb carbon and other pollutants, grow wildflowers, provide a perch and perhaps some food for birds, and provide people with a feeling of space.

The Bristol Evening Post is absolutely right to speak out against these plans (‘Council must see bigger picture’, Post June 29) stating that green spaces are ‘not simply there for this generation’ and that we are merely ‘custodians of these open spaces’. I am working with the newly elected Green Councillor for Southville Tess Green following through on the 338 signature e-petition I submitted to the council when the Parks and Green Spaces policy was much discussed back in 2008. They failed to listen then but I hope they will now change their minds in response both to very strong public feeling and to the very clear multiple environmental, economic and social benefits.