Monday, January 31, 2011

Campaign for Dark Skies: CPRE/CfDS Orion Starcount

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What you can do to help reduce light pollution

If you are as concerned about us with the amount of light wasted into the night sky, please consider doing one (or all!) of the following.

Ensure all your lights are pointing downwards, and that they are not spilling into the night sky.

Contact your local councilor via, and ask them what they are doing about the energy and money wasted by inefficient street-lighting in your area.

Contact you local MP via, to see what they are doing to reduce light pollution in your area and around the UK.

Contact any local businesses that have bad lighting, and recommend that they use efficient lighting instead. The cost of replacement can be saved in electricity bills in just a few years.

Contact the local press, to encourage more people to use efficient lighting in your neighbourhood.

CPRE/CfDS Orion Starcount

Forest Sell-Off: New Wrapping Same Poisonous Proposal (Jonathon Porritt)

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Forest Sell-Off: New Wrapping Same Poisonous Proposal (Jonathon Porritt)

Ugandan Government - Stop abuse and murder of gay people in Uganda |

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Please sign this petition and pass details on:

Ugandan Government - Stop abuse and murder of gay people in Uganda

Targeting: The President of the United States
Started by:
Shupiwe Suffolk

As the advocacy officer for a rights group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, David Kato was one of Uganda's most high profile gay rights activists. Just weeks after winning a court victory over a tabloid that called for homosexuals to be killed he has been bludgeoned to death in his home.

David was one of a team of activists who took action against Uganda's Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper which had been running a campaign both naming and showing people it claimed were homosexual. The pictures featured on the front page, with an accompanying headline - "hang them". David was one of those pictured.
In response to the murder of David Kato, the managing editor of the weekly Rolling Stone, said in a statement that he had "no regrets about the story. We were just exposing people who were doing wrong."

Homophobia has increased in Uganda recently because of church action but also because of political action. An anti-homosexual bill currently before parliament calls for gays and lesbians to be jailed for life. This bill was sponsored by Ndorwa West, MP David Bahati, a legislator from President Museveni's ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM),

It is time for the Ugandan government to act. It is time for the government to publicly condemn the murder of David Kato, condemn homophobic publications such as the Rolling Stone, and to publicly condemn homophobia in Uganda. It is time for the Ugandan government to start educating Ugandans to stop homophobia. Please sign this petition to the Ugandan Government and to President Yoweri Museveni to end homophobia in Uganda.

""Homophobia is like racism and
anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood" - Coretta Scott King

Sunday, January 30, 2011

BBC News - Andrew Lansley plays down risks of his NHS changes

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Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has admitted there is "risk" involved in his English NHS shake-up...No s**t Sherlock...but says there is a greater risk from doing nothing...but no-one is arguing for doing nothing and what he plans is a massive change forced from the centre with far too much haste and no democracy, that will result in huge private sector involvements and so a change in motivations.

He said spending was set to rise...really? isn't the NHS budget at a virtual standstill that will be wiped out and become a cut due to rising drug and technology costs plus the impact of an ageing population? but the Labour years had shown that spending more money "isn't the answer"., no, no...doing nothing but spending more money would not be the answer - we need bottom-up, agreed reforms not privatisation, decent health spending not the Coalition cuts!

BBC News - Andrew Lansley plays down risks of his NHS changes

All Out: Brenda Namigadde

1 comment:
Dear Friend, I just signed an urgent petition to support Brenda Namigadde, a young Ugandan lesbian who is scheduled to be deported from the UK and sent back to the life-threatening persecution she fled from eight years ago.

More than 50,000 people in 160 countries have successfully pressured the High Court into granting her a temporary reprieve, but we need to keep the pressure on to make sure she wins her appeal.

Will you join me and sign this urgent petition right away to stop Brenda's removal -- it could very well save her life:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sophistry, banks and being green

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The green investment bank: neither particularly green, nor a bank Caroline Lucas Environment

A green investment bank: what's not to like? Banks might not be flavour of the month, but if they invest in the right things, that's good. And there are any number of projects that would benefit the environment, yet struggle to raise backing from conventional financial institutions. Many environmental campaigners had been calling for a green bank for years. So this is an initiative we can welcome, right?
Well, politics is a funny world. Even when you think they've listened, and the words they use are just the ones you'd have chosen yourself, it's always best to check the small print. And with the coalition's version of a green investment bank, testing each word is an education in sophistry...


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Ruscombe Green: Nuclear subsidy U-turn by Condems

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Ruscombe Green: Nuclear subsidy U-turn by Condems

From control orders to...well...control orders

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Control Orders (restricting a person's liberty, without a trial or prospect of one, to protect the public...) introduced and supported by the Blair/Brown Labour Governments...

What they look like after the Con/Lib Coalition Governments review, debate and announcement the other day...

...the new terrorism prevention and investigation measures retain much of the existing control order system...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clarkson 'weighs in' on Sky Sport sexism

Er... Jeremy this was not an issue of what Gray and Keys thought but how they behaved and what they said - in a workplace. Sexism in the workplace is illegal, along with racism, homophobia, ageism...but is still an issue and it will remain an issue unless determined action is taken. The rights of people should be protected and workplaces should not ignore the law and allow any kind of disrespectful, disciminatory culture to persist. Efforts are needed from all employers and employees to ensure that people are treated fairly and with respect.

Last night controversial Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson also weighed into the [Sky Sports sexism] row - and said he would have been sacked '100 times' if the same rules were applied to him.
Talking backstage at the National Television Awards, he said: 'We've arrived at a stage where you actually can be busted by heresy by thought, which is a terrifying place to live.
'While we try very hard on Top Gear not to be sexist... if a man wants to think that... that's fine. You should be allowed to think what you think.'

Quoted in this story:
Richard Keys resigns from Sky Sports over sexist 'bully boy' behaviour Mail Online

Horizon: Science Under Attack

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Great program, very revealing. Climate sceptics/deniers - or at least some of them - put faith and ideology before experiment, evidence and reason. Science is imperfect but faith and ideology tells us not to question and not to test things out to discover what's really going on.

Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse examines why science appears to be under attack, and why public trust in key scientific theories has been eroded - from the theory that man-made climate change is warming our planet, to the safety of GM food, or that HIV causes AIDS.
He interviews scientists and campaigners from both sides of the climate change debate, and travels to New York to meet Tony, who has HIV but doesn't believe that that the virus is responsible for AIDS.
This is a passionate defence of the importance of scientific evidence and the power of experiment, and a look at what scientists themselves need to do to earn trust in controversial areas of science in the 21st century.

BBC - BBC Two Programmes - Horizon, 2010-2011, Science Under Attack

Bristol Local Exchange Trading Scheme - About Bristol LETS

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Now online...L.E.T.S. stands for Local Exchange Trading System. It is a way a community can trade skills, services or goods without needing or using real money. It's a bit like a barter system, but you don't have to do a direct swap - that's why you use a local currency. In this new scheme, we are using a currency called "ideals".

Bristol Local Exchange Trading Scheme - About Bristol LETS

BBC - Justice - A Citizen's Guide on BBC TV

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Well worth a watch. Saw a very interesting discussion, part of this justice season on the BBC, called Juctice: Fairness and the Big Society the other day, see

BBC - Justice - A Citizen's Guide on BBC TV

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is social mobility good?

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Yes, social mobility is good, its fallen a lot and we should be doing something to improve it but we should reward that which contributes to moral and not just material worth. In this instance I agree with, no, no, not Nick but...the third approach to justice, that of virtue ethics, associated with Aristotle. The virtue ethicist would want to ask whether a socially mobile world rewards certain kinds of ability more than others. For example, someone with skills in banking or sales can do pretty well in a market society such as ours. But someone with skills as an artist or a mother may well find it hard to make ends meet.

Further, the virtue ethicist asks, does a socially mobile world actually undermine certain roles that are great goods - such as the arts or being a mother?

These things contribute to the common good. They are part of any just, flourishing society. And yet, social mobility may sideline them by not appreciating them.

This is not to say that a virtue ethics approach is against mobility.

What it would suggest, though, is that a good society needs to have ways of rewarding individuals that contribute things of moral, not just material, worth.

That might be a society which funds the arts, encourages the humanities as well as sciences, and doesn't forget that what goes on in the home matters at least as much as what goes on in the marketplace.

BBC News - Is social mobility good?

Broadcaster Andrew Neil says the meritocracy - in politics at least - is grinding to a halt. Today's MPs increasingly come from privileged stock. His documentary Posh and Posher is on BBC Two, 26 Jan at 2100 GMT

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Petition : The Big Save Our Parks Petition

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Please click on the title above or the link after the petition wording to sign up. I'm happy for Neighbourhood Partnerships to take decisions on green spaces provided local people are fully informed and involved in them at all times.

“We, the undersigned, call on Bristol City Council to reconsider the proposed land sales as part of the Parks & Area Green Spaces Strategy. We consider the consultation process undertaken by the Cabinet to be flawed and by signing this petition, we want the Cabinet Councillors and officers to hear our concerns. Neighbourhood Partnerships should decide on any green space disposals in their area - making sure local people are involved in the decision making, unlike the decisions taken so far by Cabinet. We support continued investment in green spaces but not at the price of selling off the green lungs of our City.We understand that, under new rules, petitions with 3,500 or more signatures will be debated at Full Council. The 20-year green space strategy is so important to Bristol and will affect communities for many years to come, so we believe it is right for all Councillors and the public to have their say at a meeting of the Council."

Background Information
Under recently adopted rules governing petitions, the Authority is obliged to bring a matter to Full Council where an issue attracts 3,500 signatures from people who live, work or study in the city.Once this trigger point is reached, petition organisers can advise Council Officers that they wish to take up this opportunity for debate at the next available meeting.We hope that by getting enough signatures from across the city that we can call for a debate at the March Council meeting and SAVE OUR PARKS.

Petition : The Big Save Our Parks Petition

Monday, January 24, 2011

Foresight Report: Urgent action needed on global hunger

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A UK government-commissioned study into food security has called for urgent action to avert global hunger.

The Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures says the current system is unsustainable and will fail to end hunger unless radically redesigned.

It is the first study across a range of disciplines deemed to have put such fears on a firm analytical footing.
The report is the culmination of a two-year study, involving 400 experts from 35 countries.

According to the government's chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington [pictured], the study provides compelling evidence for governments to act now...

BBC News - Report: Urgent action needed to avert global hunger

Kick sexism out of football

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Sexism should be kicked out of football and I'm fed up of hearing people make excuses for it. Sexism should be treated as seriously as racism, homophobia and other forms of unfair discrimination. Organisations need to ensure that they have adopted and are enforcing effective policies and procedures. They should be developing and encouraging a culture of respect and equality throughout the game, in boardrooms and out, from respect for rules, referees and assistants, to fans, and viewers... Great to see that Kenny Dalglish and Rio Ferdinand have spoken out against discrimination. It may be that dinosaurs like Andy Gray, Richard Keys (pictured) and their ilk need kicking out...

Sky Sports duo Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been stood down from Monday's game between Bolton and Chelsea after their comments about a female official.
Believing their microphones were off, Keys and Gray agreed that Sian Massey and other female assistant referees "did not know the offside rule".
The remarks were made before Saturday's match between Wolves and Liverpool.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: "Their comments were totally unacceptable."
Keys and Gray have been the face of Sky Sports football coverage since the satellite broadcaster started showing English top-flight matches in 1992.
Speaking ahead of the game, Keys added: "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her."
Gray quipped: "Women don't know the offside rule."

...Host Keys and pundit Gray also discussed comments made by Brady in the Sun newspaper on Saturday about the levels of sexism in football.
"See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour love," stated Keys.

For further details click links below.

BBC Sport - Football - Sky discipline Andy Gray & Richard Keys over comments

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BBC - Richard Black's Earth Watch: H for 'human': The missing climate link?

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Governments reliance on technical solutions alone to cut carbon pollution causing climate change is doomed to failure. Technical progress tends to be straight line whereas environmental impacts are growing on an accelerating upward curve (geometrically, exponentially) - one thus cant keep pace with the other. Social, economic, political, behavioural and technical changes are needed in a coherent combination to cut carbon emssions to a level we can sustain. This includes: not thinking that issues can be summed up by a simple equation; tackling multiple causes through joined up thinking; and changing the attitude to wealth that currently dominates in particular.

As many commentators have pointed out down the years, virtually all the hopes expressed by governments in terms of reducing carbon emissions ultimately hang on technology.

It stems from the famous IPAT equation:
Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology

...sometimes expressed as...

Impact = Population x GDP/capita x Impact/GDP

BBC - Richard Black's Earth Watch: H for 'human': The missing climate link?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

BBC News - Survey finds opposition to privatisation of forests

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A [large] majority of the public opposes plans to sell some of England's forests, a survey suggests.
Three-quarters of the 2,000 polled by YouGov for the 38 Degrees pressure group said they were against the plans.
Ministers want to transfer power from the Forestry Commission, which owns 18% of woodlands, to the private sector...

BBC News - Survey finds opposition to privatisation of forests

BBC News - A Point of View: Has our relationship with nature changed?

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Interesting article and good to see Alain de Botton writing on this topic. Several aspects of it I dont agree with though eg this statement, "Nature doesn't remind us that we are small, but rather provides chilling, awesome evidence of our size and strength". He vastly overrates the power and influence of human beings - yes the evidence is that we can and are having a big impact on our planet but in the full scheme of things we are a blip, dust in the wind in fact.

BBC News - A Point of View: Has our relationship with nature changed?

Friday, January 21, 2011

M Shed price tag rises yet again

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M Shed - m for more Money, more Madness, more Mismanagement, more Muck up...feel free to suggest more M words fitting this partner has just suggested Mishandled, Mayem, Moronic,
Mis-spent and Massive-cuts-elsewhere...

The price tag for Bristol City Council's flagship museum M Shed has gone up again – to £27 million.
"Unforeseen construction costs" have added a further £570,000 to the cost of the much delayed project, in the latest in a series of overspends.
It now means the museum will cost 42 per cent more than it was going to four years ago.
The council hopes to fund the extra cost with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but if that isn't successful council tax payers may have to foot the bill...

Bristol City Council's flagship museum M Shed up to £27 million

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Plot 6 - a breakthrough? | Cabinet Councillor Hopkins confirms a proper transport hub

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This has all been prompted by the excellent, persistent campaigning of Stockwood's Green Party Campaigner Peter Goodwin and work on the council by Green Party Councillor for Southville Tess Green. We must hold Councillor Hopkins and his Lib Dems to the words he has spoken on Radio Bristol.

Campaigners in Bristol are giving a guarded welcome to hints that Plot 6, at Temple Meads, could become the city's core transport hub.

In a BBC Radio Bristol interview on Wednesday, the city's executive member for Transport, Gary Hopkins, showed unexpected enthusiasm for the Green Party policy, which has previously been shunned by other politicians. Answering questions from presenter Steve Le Fevre, Cllr Hopkins confirmed that so far as the council is concerned, Plot 6 is definitely going to become a transport hub, bringing huge potential benefits...

Plot 6 - a breakthrough? News

BBC News - Labour loses vote to stop scrapping of EMA grants

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Education Maintenance Allowances should not be scrapped! They enable many young people to continue their education, which is good for them and our society. Its already targeted at those families who have less income and is not a large sum of money! Very bad decision by the Coalition Govt to go ahead with getting rid of them.
BBC News - Labour loses vote to stop scrapping of EMA grants

Campaigning earlier on EMAs Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said :

"Scrapping EMA is one of the most damaging things this government could do. It would destroy the aspirations of so many young people, by wrecking their chances of further education."

"Scrapping EMA is the equivalent to a huge income tax rise for the families in question"

Green Party education spokesperson Rachel Fryer commented:

"The EMA helps to make further education accessible to the most vulnerable young people. There is evidence that it has reduced the number of young people not in employment, education or training, and has improved attendance and punctuality.

"This is yet another cut which will affect the poorest people in our society and widen the gap between rich and poor. Saving EMA is an important stepping stone towards a fairer and more equal society.

"Anyone whose children will no longer get EMA will have to find that extra cash themselves. If you take a parent earning £25,000 a year for example, whose child currently gets £20 a week EMA, for the parent to replace that £20 is the equivalent of more than a 20% increase in the parent's income tax."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A BRISTOL political expert says another General Election could be held later this year.

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Nuts! Wild nuts in fact!

A BRISTOL political expert says another General Election could be held later this year.

Mabinogogiblog: Debating Lansley's NHS reforms on Bristol Radio

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Well said Dr Richard Lawson!!

...I said that this is a major step towards privatising the NHS, because GPs will be required to put out to tender. It will cost £3 billion, which is stupid in a time of austerity. And that change should come bottom-up, not top-down. And I said that people should get out on the streets if they want to keep an NHS...

Mabinogogiblog: Debating Lansley's NHS reforms on Bristol Radio

BBC - Democracy Live - What is happening in the House of Lords?

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Abuse of the system sufficient to bring them into disrepute I'd say! How dare the unelected, unrepresentative House of Lords act in a way, especially by time-wasting 'talking out', that may prevent the people having a referendum on a new, fairer voting system. Beneficiaries of the current undemocratic system they certainly are. The sooner the House of Lords is replaced by a properly constituted and elected second chamber the better.

BBC - Democracy Live - What is happening in the House of Lords?

BBC - Richard Black's Earth Watch: Summit misses the 'C-word'

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...On the other hand, if world governments do decide in coming years that they're seriously concerned enough about climate change to initiate a full-scale transition to renewables-based generation, a massive investment in renewables manufacturing and deployment now could prove to be a good long-term move...

Indeed Richard Black. They should follow the best quality evidence - and that says invest, invest, invest in efficiency and renewables now, its best for both the economy and the environment!!

BBC - Richard Black's Earth Watch: Summit misses the 'C-word'

BBC News - UK unemployment total rises further

1 comment:
Fat bonuses for bankers who, with the help of Labour and Tory politicians, help form a UK and world capitalist economy that went into a crisis that's far from over - and a coalition government that is taking us even further down the capitalist road. Not only do we have rising inflation but the capitalist 'genius' is also bringing simultaneous high and rising unemployment (not to mention inequality, resource depletion, pollution, waste, falling quality of life...). Get these people out of power!

UK unemployment rose by 49,000 to almost 2.5 million in the three months to the end of November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.
One in five 16 to 24-year-olds are now out of work, after a rise of 32,000 to 951,000 without jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992...

BBC News - UK unemployment total rises further

See on inflation worries for families

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oppose forest flogging: Petition and Early Day Motion

1 comment:
Please sign the 38 degrees petition opposing plans to flog our forests.
The government is planning a massive sell off of our national forests. They could be auctioned and fenced off, run down, logged or turned into golf courses and holiday villages. We can't let that happen. We need to stop these plans. National treasures like the The Forest of Dean [pictured], Sherwood Forest and The New Forest could be sold off. Once they are gone, they will be lost forever. A huge petition will force the government to rethink its plans. If we can prove how strongly the public are against this, they will have to back down. Please sign the petition now.Find out more: Visit the save our forests action centre to find out more about the forest sell off and download campaign leaflets and posters.

Copied below is Green Party MP Caroline Lucas' motion to the House of Commons opposing the sell-off of the country's forests...No Bristol MPs are signed up...

UK Parliament - Early Day Motions By Details

EDM 1199


Lucas, Caroline

That this House is alarmed at the 25 per cent. cut to the Forestry Commission announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review; opposes plans to sell off parts of the Public Forest Estate in England which could result in 30 million trees being cut down and job losses in England and Scotland; notes that the Forestry Commission in England manages 258,000 hectares of public forest, employing 856 people; further notes that the Commission manages the highest number of sites of special scientific interest, with 99 per cent. of these in favourable or recovering condition; regards forests as a priceless carbon storage resource and essential to the Government's efforts to achieve climate change mitigation targets; is concerned that education courses and public health programmes would be inhibited by the sale of public forests; acknowledges that public rights of way are lost under private ownership of former Forestry Commission land; furthernotes that at 9 per cent. the level of forestation in England is one of the lowest in Europe and that 69 per cent. of forest is already privately-owned; further notes that hits on the Forestry Commission Trades Union's website increased by 560 per cent. to 80,000 per month after this cut was announced; and calls on the Government to bring forward proposals to amend the Public Bodies Bill [Lords] to remove this threat to forests.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Organic milk has 'less harmful fats' than traditional variety | Mail Online

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So its healthier for us - and the animals are looked after better and its better for the environment.

Organic milk has 'less harmful fats' than traditional variety Mail Online

BBC - BBC One Programmes - Human Planet

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Human Planet is an awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping landmark series that marvels at mankind's incredible relationship with nature in the world today.
Uniquely in the animal kingdom, humans have managed to adapt and thrive in every environment on Earth. Each episode takes you to the extremes of our planet: the arctic, mountains, oceans, jungles, grasslands, deserts, rivers and even the urban jungle. Here you will meet people who survive by building complex, exciting and often mutually beneficial relationships with their animal neighbours and the hostile elements of the natural world...

BBC - BBC One Programmes - Human Planet

Sunday, January 16, 2011


No comments:

...accessible (and hopefully entertaining) summary of current research into the psychology of climate change- in particular the key question explored by this [George Marshall's] blog: why it is so hard to accept ?

The Big Fish Fight - Channel4 - 4Food

1 comment:
Help ease the pressure on our seas and swap your cod, tuna and salmon for more sustainable mackerel, herring, sardine and others [click picture to enlarge list of 20 examples] - they are very tasty, healthy eating too. Ask your chippie if they will try offering mackerel...Find out more here: The Big Fish Fight - Channel4 - 4Food
Channel 4's top chefs join forces in the Big Fish Fight championing sustainable seafood and celebrating lesser known delicacies of the deep.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hugh's Fish Fight

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Around half of the fish caught by fishermen in the North Sea are unnecessarily thrown back into the ocean dead.

Join the fish fight here

The problem is that in a mixed fishery where many different fish live together, fishermen cannot control the species that they catch. Fishing for one species often means catching another, and if people don’t want them or fishermen are not allowed to land them, the only option is to throw them overboard. The vast majority of these discarded fish will die.

Because discards are not monitored, it is difficult to know exactly how many fish are being thrown away. The EU estimates that in the North Sea, discards are between 40% and 60% of the total catch. Many of these fish are species that have fallen out of fashion: we can help to prevent their discard just by rediscovering our taste for them.

Others are prime cod, haddock, plaice and other popular food species that are “over-quota”. The quota system is intended to protect fish stocks by setting limits on how many fish of a certain species should be caught. Fishermen are not allowed to land any over-quota fish; if they accidentally catch them – which they can’t help but do - there is no choice but to throw them overboard before they reach the docks.

We need to diversify our fish eating habits, and we need to change policy so that it works for fish, fishermen and consumers.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is the political framework for the quota system, is currently being reformed for 2012. Scientists and environmental groups have suggested a number of ways that that the policy can work to protect fish stocks. Some details of these can be found on our solutions page.
Re-writing the Common Fisheries Policy is going to be an enormously complicated business, and unfortunately there is no one easy solution to ending discards. Many people agree that the answer will lie in a combination of different ideas and policies.

• Sign up to the campaign on the
sign up page. You will be writing directly to policy makers in Europe to let them know that the unnecessary and unethical discarding of perfectly good fish must stop. We can make a difference. If enough people sign up to the campaign, they have to listen to us. We aim to get 250,000 signatures by summer 2011.
• Write to your MP to ask them to support the Fish Fight Early Day Motion.
• Expand the selection of fish that you eat by trying some of the lesser-known species of local fish currently being discarded as trash. In the UK, cod, salmon and tuna account for more than 50% of the fish that we consume, and tasty, exciting and nutritious fish such as flounder, dab, coley and pouting are overlooked and thrown away.
• Spread the word, tell all of your friends and family about Hugh's Fish Fight and get them to sign the campaign too.Together we can stop this ridiculous carnage. Join Hugh’s Fish Fight now!

Thanks very much,

Hugh's Fish Fight - Half of all fish caught in the North Sea is thrown back overboard dead

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Environment Agency - Viridor Waste Management Ltd

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Comments on the application for a permit for waste incineration due in soon...

Environment Agency - Viridor Waste Management Ltd

Name of applicant: Viridor Waste Management Ltd. Application number: EA/EPR/GP3834HY/A001 Type of regulated facility: Disposal of waste by Incineration. Address of regulated facility: Severn Road Resource Recovery Centre, Severn Road, Bristol, Avon BS11 0YU

The Environment Agency has received an application for an environmental permit under the Regulations from Viridor Waste Management Ltd.

The Environment Agency must decide whether to grant or refuse the application. If it grants the application, it must decide what conditions should be included in the permit.

Your chance to comment - Any comments should be made in writing by 09 February 2010

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Council's shaky evidence for green sell-off revealed | News

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Copy of Bristol Green Party press release on green spaces issues. Well done to all Greens, Stockwood's Pete Goodwin and Southville's Cllr Tess Green [pictured] in particular, for their ongoing campaigning against green spaces flogging and exposing poor decision making on it.

Council's shaky evidence for green sell-off revealed News

Key Green Space documents have been released - months after consultation ended!

10 weeks after Bristol City Council closed its consultation on controversial plans to sell off so-called 'low-value' green spaces, documents showing how they were chosen have been revealed. The decision to sell was confirmed last week in the face of opposition from many individuals and groups and from Green, Labour and Conservative councillors.

The documents come in a delayed response to a Freedom of Information request from Stockwood resident Pete Goodwin, and have been placed on line on the "What Do They Know?" website .

Southville's Green Party councillor Tess Green commented:
"A quick look at some of the sites shows just how weak some of the recommendations were; there are too many assumptions made, evidence is disregarded, and public opinion seems to be something to be overcome, not to be weighed up as part of the decision."

"What we're left with is an over-hasty decision bulldozed through on the flimsiest of evidence, that will lose much valued green space without any great benefit to the remaining parks. If only the other parties had listened to the Greens before they agreed this disastrous strategy to pay for park improvements. People who value these spaces will now have to defend them using the planning process, or other legal moves."

Her fellow Green Mr Goodwin, who had put up a case against selling the Stockwood sites, added
"With no way of knowing why particular sites were judged as low value, it was very difficult to challenge the plans. That's why I lodged the Freedom of Information request. The information should have been made public much earlier, certainly in time for the decisions in council. The legal deadline was November 19, and the documents themselves date from summer of 2009, but it's only been released now. There can't be any excuse for that delay"

"It appears that a few Parks officers were set impossible targets, then had to cope with the massive public reaction to their proposals while still following a political mandate. The whole exercise has been a travesty."


Pete Goodwin, 01275 543280
Cllr Tess Green, 0117 377 2070

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BBC - BBC Two Programmes - Horizon, 2010-2011, What is One Degree?

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Comedian Ben Miller returns to his roots as a physicist to try to answer a deceptively simple question: what is one degree of temperature?
His quest takes him to the frontiers of current science as he meets researchers working on the hottest and coldest temperatures in the universe, and to a lab where he experiences some of the strangest effects of quantum physics - a place where super-cooled liquids simply pass through solid glass. Plus, Ben installs his very own Met office weather station at home.
Ben's investigations in this personal and passionate film highlight the importance of measurement and accuracy in the 21st century.

BBC - BBC Two Programmes - Horizon, 2010-2011, What is One Degree?

Say NO to Legal Aid Cuts Petition

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Please sign

Say NO to Legal Aid Cuts Petition

Target: Ministry of Justice, Government

Web site:

Background (Preamble):

The Government proposes to make cuts to Legal Aid. These cuts will severely reduce the availibility of free legal advice in debt, welfare benefits, employment, housing and immigration law. Research has shown that free advice not only helps 1/2 million of the most vulnerable in society each year but also saves the tax payers money in the long term (every £1.00 invested in Legal Aid provides a societal saving of at least £2.98). The removal of this advice will have a negative impact on society at a time when the demand for free legal advice has never been higher.

We, the undersigned, request the Government do not reduce the provision of free legal advice in debt, welfare benefits, employment, housing and immigration law by independant advice agencies.

Friday, January 07, 2011

New beginnings?

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“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” said Seneca, the stoic Roman philosopher, in the mid-1st century AD.

In this new year of a new decade can we begin the green society and bring to an end an age we can’t in any case maintain for much longer? This would mean putting the concept of sustainable development into action in place of just signing up to the concept, speaking warm words about it but carrying on essentially with business as usual!

Its long been put about that sustainable development is a slippery concept, hard to define fully and properly, not well understood. But is it really? I think many people have a decent general grasp that it’s about achieving a balance, giving as well as taking and ensuring a decent future for generations to come ie not more and more jam, for some, today but an ongoing availability and decent supply of jam, fairly shared.

The features of sustainable development are good sense and not rocket science. It’s clearly not a good idea to be wasteful, yet one bag in every three bags of food bought in the UK ends up being thrown out, many buildings rapidly leak heat and we still don’t make products to last. Efficiency must replace waste.

It’s irresponsible to rapidly squander resources, especially those whose supplies are limited or those that require careful, sensitive management if they are to remain available. Yet we remain hooked on high use of oil, coal and natural gas, build over the limited supply of green spaces and take from forests, soils and seas faster than resources are naturally replaced. Renewability must replace squandering.

Sustainable development means assessing progress through the health and wellbeing of people and their environment. Yet we continue to pollute on a scale that causes human sickness and environmental imbalance and we retain increasing the flow of money as the number one political and socio-economic aim despite coalition government warm words and research into assessing wellbeing. We must live within environmental limits and set new social and economic goals.

I assume no-one wants to see growing dependence and poor community development. Yet we see power centralised, local character and variety eroding, goods and services imported and many jobs exported and we encourage other regions and countries to do likewise, so they suffer dependence and sagging spirit too. Strong local communities need to be built.

Waste, resource squandering, pollution, money for a few before health and wellbeing, weakening community, means people and environments in this generation and those to come, the world over, are not getting their dues. Fairness is inseparable from sustainable development – in fact all the features of sustainable development are interrelated so solving problems and taking opportunities requires joined up thinking.

Enacting and practicing the required combination of behavioural and technological changes on the required scale, at all levels of societies, across the globe, in the face of entrenched vested interests, takes leadership we are just not getting however.

Illogical and unreasonable Cllr Hopkins

Those campaigning to save their local green spaces from being flogged certainly wont be thinking that their concerns are 'facile', though Knowle's Cllr Hopkins does (see quote below from today's Post). But we've come not to expect reason and logic from Cllr Hopkins and the Lib Dems on this. The consultations have, as very large numbers of people agree, been rubbish. The planned sell-off is a dud even on its own money raising terms because its very far short of its target - and not all income gained would be spent on parks and green spaces or in the localities that lose spaces in any case. As for buying more land than is sold: most will find this idea ludicrous and unbelievable at this time of huge spending cuts - and spending money undermines the amount available to spend on improving green space quality and access. Since Cllr Hopkins Lib Dems would be buying existing green spaces that are limited in supply the total green space of all kinds in Bristol will decrease as flogging proceeds and so people will lose the valuable functions their green spaces provide.

Liberal Democrats on the city council have used their majority to block an attempt to reconsider selling off parks and green spaces....
...The executive member responsible for the scheme, Gary Hopkins (Lib Dem, Knowle), rubbished any criticism of either the consultation or the plan.
He said: "It is facile to concentrate on things being flogged off.
"We know not everyone is going to be happy about every decision but that is what we are there for – to make those decisions strategically.
"Lots of people do want a large number of things in their parks but all of that costs money and it can't be magicked out of thin air."

Mr Hopkins said the council would also acquire more new land than it sold off...

Lib Dems Bristol City Council green spaces rethink

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Stirrings in the Forest of Dean (Jonathon Porritt)

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HOOF (as in Hands Off Our Forest – the Forest in question being the Forest of Dean) organised a Rally on Monday to drum up support for its campaign against the possible sale of the Forest. It was an inspiring occasion – around 3000 people from within and beyond the Forest, single-mindedly intent on doing everything in their power to de-rail the Government’s Privatisation proposals...

Stirrings in the Forest of Dean (Jonathon Porritt)

   Stockwood Pete: Green Space "Call-in" and an FoI Failure

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Apalling council failures overseen by this Lib Dem administration...

Stockwood Pete: Green Space "Call-in" and an FoI Failure

BBC News - US oil spill: 'Bad management' led to BP disaster

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Shouldn't have been drilling in this deep water location to begin with but both BP and the US Govt were happy with this. Should use joined up, systems thinking to run their business. Oil as a finite, non-renewable, polluting but very useful and valuable resource should only be used minimally and highly efficiently - all legislation, regulation, control and international agreement should be geared to achieving this.

BBC News - US oil spill: 'Bad management' led to BP disaster

Supermarkets relentless growth

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Excellent letter in todays Post from Gil Osman, copied below.

ACCORDING to recent BBC research, the big four supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons) are expanding at an alarming rate.

In the last two years, planning authorities have granted permission for at least 480 new supermarket stores in England. It is argued that this will give more choice to local shoppers – but will it? Unfortunately, many councils are persuaded to give planning permission, because of the financial benefit to themselves. Often an agreement is made, whereby the store has to build a community resource, or provide funds for such a venture, in order to gain planning permission to build a store. Thus the council does not have to pay for such facilities. In this age of recession councils will be even more tempted.

Supermarkets can attract many shoppers with the lure of lower prices (and even more so in a recession). Local traders cannot compete with such huge organisations, which buy in vast bulk at cheap prices. Therefore it leads to forced closure, which, in turn, leads to less choice and variety in an area. The independent High Street shop has been a feature of villages, towns and cities for generations and helps to form the character of an area. Napoleon called us a nation of shopkeepers, in a derogatory way, but, surely, the small trader is a tribute to British enterprise and individuality.

The closure of any small shop leaves our High Streets depleted and, eventually, leads to a loss of identity. 12,000 independent shops went out of business last year.

In their search for ever more cheaper products, the Big Four seem to have scant regard for many concerns.

The farmer who cannot afford to accept the wholesale price offered by the supermarket goes out of business. Question marks hang over the sources of some of the clothing offered so cheaply by the Big Four

And what of quality? Cheapness and quantity triumph here. Mass-produced food, using vast quantities of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is often tasteless when compared to organic produce, or that produced by the local allotment-holder. The effects of imbibing the residues of these chemicals have yet to be seen. And standardisation has reduced variety (take apples and potatoes, for example).

And what of animal welfare? The generality of people have demonstrated their abhorrence of intensive farming methods with their boycott of the battery-produced egg (at least Sainsbury's has banned these).

Yet, I do not doubt that the Big Four will buy milk from the huge factory dairy being proposed in Leicestershire – if it gets planning permission. Like battery chickens, these cows will spend their whole lives inside huge sheds, never placing their feet on a green field. The entrepreneur behind this enterprise has the effrontery to state on television that cows don't belong in fields anymore! It's like a Victorian factory-owner stating: 'Workers (i.e. men, women and children) don't belong in villages anymore!' And, of course, the small dairy farmer will not be able to compete and will go out of business.

Tesco made £3.4 billion profit last year. It cannot possibly make such a profit on its cheaper ranges, which suggests its customers are paying over the odds on other items. But, once in a supermarket, most people will buy everything there. After all, it's so convenient!!!

Gil Osman

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

   Stockwood Pete: Plot 6 revisited

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A council truly tuned in to creating a quality integrated and sustainable transport system in Bristol would surely be lobbying hard for a proper transport hub??

A very timely question has been raised about Plot 6 - the wasted space alongside Temple Meads station. "Is this a suitable moment to renew the pressure on using Plot 6 for a more convenient Coach Station and Transport Hub? "

Good point. Plot 6 is in the joint ownership of Network Rail and development agency SWRDA - but their plans to cover this key site with another uninspiring development of offices, flats, and retail have stagnated - and now SWRDA is to close its doors, and its wallet, by March 2012.

Stockwood Pete: Plot 6 revisited

Planet Bristol: Peter Madden: green city, green stadium...

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Keep up Peter Madden, keep up Forum for the Future - I've been putting this idea to Bristol City FC since the beginning of the consultation process on stadium designs! And I've given them the same examples. If I was involved in talks between Bristol City and the Town Green supporters in Ashton Vale a first class stadium built to the very highest sustainable, green design standards would be something I would want to see on offer. I'd also like to see some guarantees about keeping the surrounding area green and on no further developments in this area. There are always going to be issues about why any green land at all should be taken up - and also the poor transport links in the location proposed BUT as I've said before the offer of a top notch green stadium design and surroundings would be some compensation and would certainly have its attractions for me. Having said all this I'm not someone who lives in Ashton Vale.

Planet Bristol: Peter Madden

So, what of this could a new stadium incorporate? Open green space – if not for grazing livestock, then at least for walking dogs, running and playing, or free events.

Could the stadium make a positive environmental contribution? Could it be carbon neutral, through generating its own clean energy? Could it enhance biodiversity, through areas protected for wildlife and a 'green roof' with plants growing on it? Could traffic problems be lessened by making tickets cheaper if people walk or use the park and ride?

There are educational possibilities, too. If it was a state-of-the-art environmental stadium, facilities could be used to engage City supporters and other Bristolians – as well as visiting fans – on green issues, further multiplying the positive impacts.

Other clubs are doing this. Ipswich Town went carbon neutral. And lowly Dartford FC built the UK's first sustainable stadium from renewable timber with a grass roof and sunk two metres below ground level to reduce noise and light pollution.

So, why shouldn't Bristol have the greenest major football stadium in the country, a beautiful building that shows what can be done, is useful to the local community as well as the fans, which provides the benefits of a village green and has a zero environmental footprint?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Knowle West regeneration | This is Bristol

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Good report in the Post on plans to demolish many homes in Knowle West under the banner 'regeneration' (extract below*) - showing that with few exceptions the buildings are not defective. Reminds me of a quote in Robert Goodman's After the Planners (1972). He describes a placard from 1967 which said,

No war declared
No storm had flared
No sudden bomb so cruel
Just a need for land
A greedy hand
And a sign that said "urban renewal"

Goodman believed that the interests of communities in cities were ignored and suppressed. The fundamental theme of "After the Planners" is the notion that planning and architecture are not ends in themselves, but instead exist to meet the needs of real people. Huge-scale urban construction projects, invariably serve to trivialise the importance of the individual in the urban landscape (more here). I hope that the community of Knowle West is not ignored and in particular that the 'greedy hand' rferred to on the placard is absent from the regeneration plans.

Knowle West regeneration This is Bristol

*Only one out of 192 homes threatened with demolition as part of the Knowle West regeneration scheme has any major defect, it has been revealed.
The council is considering five options on the Knowle West Regeneration plan, which could see up to 1,000 homes demolished as part of a £1 billion investment scheme.
Public consultation carried out earlier this year has shown that the majority of people in the area prefer the residents' own option of infilling the estate with new homes.
Residents have obtained a stock report on the condition of properties in the
Inns Court area...