Thursday, 30 September 2010

Environmental Law Foundation: air and noise pollution meeting in Bristol 6 Oct








The Environmental Law Foundation invites you to a free public meeting with local experts.

Air Pollution, Noise Pollution
· How does it affect you?
· Does it matter?
· What needs to be done?

Speakers:
Simon Tilling, Solicitor at Burges Salmon, expert in noise pollution

Neil Morgan, Associate Director of Innovative Acoustics

Steve Crawshaw, Air Quality Officer at Bristol City Council

There will also be Q & A sessions after each presentation, your chance to ask questions of the speakers

THIS IS A FREE NON-POLITICAL EVENT !!!

Date: Wednesday 6 October
Time: 6.15pm to 7.30pm
Venue: Trinity Centre, Trinity Road, Bristol, BS2 0NW
Contact: Peter Wiggins on 020 7404 1136 or scp@elflaw.org

This event is part of E.L.F.’s ‘Know your Rights’ project to raise awareness of environmental rights.

* If you are interested in attending, please do get in touch

If you have an environmental concern and would like an event or workshop to help your group, please let us know.

This event is brought to you by the Equality & Human Rights Commission and the Sustainable Communities Project funded by the Communities & Local Government through the Empowerment Fund

Pensioners need resident wardens!

Scandalous way to treat older people by removing resident wardens....Good to see this issue, previously covered well by BBC Points West, reported on again...

PENSIONERS in Bristol who live in council-run sheltered accom- modation are suffering because they no longer have resident wardens to look after them. A survey by the Bristol Older People's Forum shows that more than two-thirds of the elderly say the quality of their lives is now worse than it was when there was a resident warden...Greens opposed this right from the start through Cllr Bolton and others (see here and here).

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Blog Action Day 2010, Oct 15: Water

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

About Blog Action Day
Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.


Our Goal
First and last, the purpose of Blog Action Day is to create a discussion. We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue. By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue.


Out of this discussion naturally flow ideas, advice, plans, and action. In 2007 with the theme of the environment, we saw bloggers running environmental experiments, detailing innovative ideas on creating sustainable practices, and focusing their audience's attention on organizations and companies promoting green agendas. In 2008 we covered the theme of poverty, and similarly focused the blogging community's energies around discussing the wide breadth of the issue from many perspectives and identifying innovative and unexpected solutions. Last year, the conversation around climate change brought our voices around the globe to discuss an issue that threatens us all and mobilized tens of thousands of people to get more involved in the movement for a more sustainable future. This year, with the theme of Water, we are eager to shed light on this often-overlooked topic.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Epetitioner: Ashton Vale Town Green

Epetitioner: We, the undersigned, request that Bristol City Council(and in particular the Public Rights of Way and Greens committee) follow the recommendation of the independent inspector to grant Village/Town Green status to the area of green-belt land (Ashton Vale Fields) adjoining Ashton Vale village.

Background Information
Ashton Vale Fields are very important to the Ashton Vale Community for recreation, relaxation and exercise - and have been used, unimpeded & continuously for over 60 years.In addition to being a Site of Nature Conservation and an important Wildlife Corridor, the area is also described as The Lungs of Bristol. It has been described by Avon County Council as 'an area of semi-natural marshy grassland.., the site's mosaic of wet grassland, open water, ditches, hedgerows and scrub is particularly important for wintering and breeding wildfowl and waders'.Significant evidence has shown beyond doubt that the site has been in continual use by the local community for over 20 years. If the Council follow this recommendation, Ashton Vale will retain it's unique identity and open spaces for the use of future generations.


http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/community/confirm/8bKAL5OTD8LDwc9

One Tonne Life

One Tonne Life

Is it possible to live a One Tonne Life today?
One tonne of carbon dioxide per person and year is a major challenge bearing in mind that the global average today is about seven tonnes.
However, house specialists A-hus, power supplier Vattenfall and Volvo Cars believe that with the right know-how, the right technology and confident, consistent behaviour it is possible for the test family to approach the one-tonne target figure without departing significantly from its regular lifestyle or standard of living.
Much of the technology and the solutions the family will use are already available to the general public or will be in the near future. The necessary preconditions are there – right now!


According to The Independent 'Three Swedish companies are looking for an 'average' family to live in Stockholm for six months and reduce their environmental impact.' Click the link to find out more.

Friday, 24 September 2010

England's wildlife areas are failing species, finds government review | Environment | The Guardian

England's wildlife areas are failing species, finds government review Environment The Guardian

England's nature reserves, national parks and protected areas are failing in four out of five key quality benchmarks, according to a major year-long government-sponsored review.
The report by leading
wildlife experts warns that England's wildlife protection areas are not effective enough at preserving species due to poor management, small size, ease of reach by the wider public (especially in urban areas) and lack of inter-connections between wild areas. The only measure met by the sites is their ability to support the full-range of England's wildlife and habitats.
To help improve the quality of England's wild areas for
conservation and stem the loss of two species per year to extinction, the authors recommend the creation of 12 huge "ecological restoration zones"...

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace - Home News, UK - The Independent

Aren't even ardent royalists appalled by this?

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace - Home News, UK - The Independent

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.
Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to "adverse publicity" for the Queen and the Government...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Latest Climate Change Denier? (Jonathon Porritt)

The Latest Climate Change Denier? (Jonathon Porritt)

...this might be the first speech by a Party Leader [Nick Clegg] in the 21st Century that doesn’t even mention climate change? Indeed, could it be the worst speech ever, from a sustainability point of view, from a Lib Dem Leader in modern times?...

BBC News - UN asks for action on nature loss, citing poverty

BBC News - UN asks for action on nature loss, citing poverty

"Biological diversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services essential for human well-being," says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a document setting out the reasons why he called for the day's discussions.
"Its continued loss, therefore, has major implications for current and future human well-being... The maintenance and restoration of natural infrastructure can provide economic gains worth trillions of dollars a year."
The argument is that nature provides "ecosystem services" that humanity uses - such as pollination of agricultural crops by insects. If this is lost, the food supply falls....

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Green Party | New video of Lucas on Lib Dems: “on a whole range of issues they’ve sold out”

People who voted Lib Dem last time, locally and nationally, should switch to the Greens...

Green Party New video of Lucas on Lib Dems: “on a whole range of issues they’ve sold out”

...the Green Party reiterated its alternative policy – investment in job-creation funded partly through higher taxes on higher incomes, partly through scrapping projects like Trident, through cracking down on tax evasion and tax avoidance, and though a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions.

The Greens say they “believe this is a policy package most Lib Dem voters would be likely to prefer to a programme of savage spending cuts.”


And Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP accused the Lib Dem leadership of “selling out on a whole range of issues” – not least the “horrendous, brutal, savage cuts” which she said evidence showed “will hurt the poor ten times harder than the richest.”

Monday, 20 September 2010

A BIKER travelling at 109mph on the Portway and a car driver doing 144mph were among 113,000 people caught speeding last year in the Avon and Somerset police force area.

People simply should not be speeding. In my view fines should be heftier, punishments tougher and rehabiliation through driver education, training and re-testing compulsory before its legal for persistent speeders to return to driving. You dont have to be out on the roads for long to see irresponsible and poor driving so we should be installing more safety cameras, which after all only contribute to enforcing the law.

A BIKER travelling at 109mph on the Portway and a car driver doing 144mph were among 113,000 people caught speeding last year in the Avon and Somerset police force area.

The figures...released by Avon and Somerset police under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that 113,255 motorists were caught by speed cameras in the force area between April 2009 and March this year.

Clone Town Britain 2010: High street diversity still on endangered list | the new economics foundation

This is yet more excellent work by the New Economics Foundation who are in many respects leading the way with their work on economics for a sustainable, green society.

Clone Town Britain 2010: High street diversity still on endangered list the new economics foundation

41 per cent of UK towns are clone towns and a further 23 per cent are on the verge of becoming clone towns, according to the widest ever Clone Town survey results released... by leading independent think-tank nef (new economics foundation).

Only 36 per cent of the high streets surveyed retain their distinctive character with more than two thirds of their shops being independents.

The nef report, Re-imagining the High Street: Escape from Clone Town Britain, also brands the multiple chain outlets as “fair weather friends” who have either abandoned the high streets entirely or given up so-called secondary locations.

The report says that overall trend towards “Clone Town Britain”, continues, despite widespread publicity about the loss of local identity following the 2005 Clone Town report...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Save Valley Walk, Pigeonhouse Stream, Hartcliffe: petition

When I was a baby my parents lived in Faber Grove, Hartcliffe before moving to Knowle - my grandparents lived in Hartcliffe for many decades. I've been helping campaigners in this area get a petition together to submit to the council's ruling Cabinet. Please sign this petition and help save one of the 60 or so green spaces across Bristol that the council plan to sell off. Pass petition details on if you can: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/valleywalk/

We the undersigned are strongly opposed to the proposals in the Area Green Space Plan and Site Allocations documents to sell off land in Pigeonhouse Stream (Valley Walk, from Blackthorn Close and along Wroughton Drive in Hartcliffe) at BSA 1311, BSA 1313, and petition Bristol City Council to abandon these plans. They are not ‘low value’ areas but an accessible public open space of great value to wildlife and the local community and have been well used for decades. We would like to see these places improved for wildlife and for children’s play.

There is a value to this green space and other green spaces well beyond cash - leisure, recreation, entertainment, health benefits, storm water drainage and thus flood protection, taking carbon dioxide from the air thus helping to fight climate change, provision of wildlife habitat and food supply, which aids biodiversity. Green spaces are vital to the quality of our lives, offering relief from the all too common congestion and other negative effects of development and helping us to connect with and appreciate the natural world – vital to wellbeing and to encouraging respect for nature. In addition to the specific areas described above we are generally concerned about all local green, open spaces.

We do not feel that we were /have been properly consulted regarding this process and urge the council to be much more proactive about fully informing and involving people, giving much more weight to local views.



Friday, 17 September 2010

   Stockwood Pete: Spare a thought.....

Stockwood Pete: Spare a thought.....

The news is breaking that a Planning Inspector has recommended Town Green status for the Ashton Vale land that was targetted for Bristol City's new stadium (plus assorted other developments). Spare a thought for the City fans whose hopes of a new stadium have been so carefully cultivated, and ruthlessly exploited, by the club as it pursued this speculative high-risk business venture.

How to object to or comment on Tesco's Friendship Inn plans

To object or comment on Tesco's plans for the Friendship Inn email: development.management@bristol.gov.uk or go to www.bristol.gov.uk/planningcomments

Planning application numbers:10/03436/F and 10/03451/A and 10/03457/F

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Objection to Tesco's latest planning applications for Knowle's Friendship Inn site

Please refuse Tesco planning permission for an ATM (cash machine), for installation of a new shopfront and external alterations, and for internally illuminated fascia signs and projecting signs:

a) the proposed cash machine will attract even more traffic (in addition to the car park already permitted) and is very likely to result in irresponsible and dangerous parking habits on an already busy road in a residential area - its location anywhere on the site would do have this effect but its location on Axbridge Rd is particularly dangerous. The look of the cash machine is entirely out of tune with the rest of this traditional style building.


b) use of red, blue and white signage and lettering in a modern style in several places - and of a large size - is entirely out of step with the rest of the building


c)the design all the ground floor windows and doors are a complete mismatch with the upper floor windows and also completely out of tune with the general traditional style of the building


d) by making applications bit by bit, first car park, now signs etc and with a future planning application (for 'plant') in the offing, Tesco have not been completely open as to their full intentions and have made it much more difficult for the public, for councillors and for officers and for planning committee members to see the development as a whole and assess its impacts as a whole (see photos of before vs during car park construction work). This is a deliberate and dishonest, underhand tactic designed to make it more likely that they will get their way.

The latest on Tesco/The Friendship

Knowle's Friendship Inn - now a site Tesco are trying to develop into yet another store - is currently surrounded by a very high fence so that its difficult to enter or see into the building site in the key place. Its not easy finding the door to the site to ask people anything either and on several occasions I've found it locked. However, I'm reasonably tall and so I took the photos below by peering over the wall that surrounds part of the site (formerly a pub garden being developed into a car park). Contrast these with the images before work started (towards bottom of page) - believe it or not I was told by a council planning officer early on in this saga that there would be no significant loss of trees but, despite that, all the larger trees at one end of the site have been chopped down and cut up....

Now that work is ongoing (two photos taken today):























Before work began...



Plans for a £92 million stadium at Ashton Vale have once again been thrown into turmoil.

This is an excellent decision by the inspector. The council should now proceed to formally register the whole site. There is a value to this green space well beyond cash - leisure, recreation, entertainment, health benefits, storm water drainage and thus flood protection, taking carbon dioxide from the air thus helping to fight climate change, provision of wildlife habitat and food supply, which aids biodiversity. Green spaces are vital to the quality of our lives, offering relief from the all too common congestion and other negative effects of development and helping us to connect with and appreciate the natural world – vital to wellbeing and to encouraging respect for nature.

Plans for a £92 million stadium at Ashton Vale have once again been thrown into turmoil.

Plans for a £92 million stadium at Ashton Vale have once again been thrown into turmoil.
Residents who live near the site have won their fight for the 42-acre site to be designated as a town green.
An independent inspector has recommended that the whole site where the stadium would be built - including the former landfill site - should be given town green status.
If approved, it would effectively rule out any development on the site for ever...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Farmers could be allowed to kill badgers from 2011 - News - The Ecologist

Farmers could be allowed to kill badgers from 2011 - News - The Ecologist

It strikes me that this Government is doing well in continuing the trend of successive Governments in not following the best available scientific advice and taking action of the type, scale and speed that the evidence suggests. Just off the top of my head in addition to the badger culling issue there is also: drugs and their classification; climate change; over-fishing...The grasp of science, scientific issues and their interrelationship with socio-economic and environmental factors in Parliament, in political circles generally and in the media is, with few exceptions, pretty poor.

More here, with useful links to some of the scientific debate on badger culling
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11303939

Green tips on the theme of clothes

Copy of a short article to be published in the local newsletter/magazine
'Knowledge', part of the regular 'Green Scene' series I write. This one's on the theme of clothes - topical give my recent blog entry on rising food and clothes prices the other day.

Money-saving, no cost or low cost ideas for being green:

*buy second-hand and where affordable buy clothes made from natural and ecological or recycled materials

*put old clothes to new uses and turn into draft excluders, cleaning rags, a patchwork quilt/blanket, furniture stuffing...

*take old clothes to charity shops and good quality recycling schemes like Oxfam, Scope

*think through what you are buying: Do you really need it? Will the item last well?

*don’t wash clothes at 50 degrees, cut the temperature down to 40 or 30 degrees – some detergents are designed to clean well at even 15 degrees

*think about whether what you are buying has been made by oppressed, abused, extreme low paid, slave and/or child labour – ask shops questions and if they don’t satisfy you then buy elsewhere

Cut Trident, dont replace, save £97 billion

From Greenpeace UK: Right now the government is discussing exactly what to cut from national budgets. Over the next few weeks final decisions will be made - in the firing line are schools, hospitals, housing and disability benefits and essential support for renewable energy.

At the same time they seem determined to green light spending £97bn on a new generation of nuclear weapons. Spending which is due to start at the end of this year.

How can it be that spending on building weapons of mass destruction is protected while investment in the 20 year Schools for the Future programme is scrapped?

And how can they justify giving the nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston an extra £1billion funding every year to build new nuclear warheads - while scientific research funding is cut?

Again and again polls show that the public don't want new nuclear weapons. Weapons that the international community is working to eliminate.

Meantime senior military figures are warning against spending billions on Cold War weapons that are irrelevant to our military needs, while troop numbers face sharp cuts.

Please make your voice heard. Write to Chancellor George Osborne today. Let him know that you want to protect essential public services and cut Trident.

Louise Edge
Greenpeace Peace campaign
Please pass this message on.

More Greenpeace...on the web
We're also on
Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, del.icio.us and twitter

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Greens win extra bus journey for Downend | News

Greens win extra bus journey for Downend News

Great work by Green Party Councillor Alan Richardson on Downend and Bromely Heath Parish Council.

Food and clothes prices: much more than narrow economics

For me there has never been any such thing as cheap food and clothes because someone or something, somewhere is paying the costs or suffering the consequences of 'low' prices such as in our supermarkets...joined up, systems, thinking shows this. However, even those who have formerly had other perspectives are increasingly saying that the era of 'cheap' food and clothes is over (see the link to the Daily Express article and Primark comments below).

Fascinating interview on Radio 4 today about this (see link below). World demand for meat is up and so is demand for wheat and other grains to feed the animals, land that could or did grow food is being taken for energy crops or other purposes, human population is rising, climate change is cutting yields in key locations - factors like these are increasing demand whilst also lowering supply and that means the dominant overall trend in food prices over time is definitely upwards. Adopting greener lifestyles would over time moderate the upward prices trend.

BBC News - Today - 'Upward long-term food cost trend'

The rising cotton and food prices are driving fears that our weekly shopping could soon become more expensive.

Natalie Berg from the research group Planet Retail examines whether consumers would have to bear the brunt or whether companies would be able to absorb any price rise.

See also:

NEW logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.

For me this is £73,000 wasted - and the work didn't even go to a local company, supporting the local economy! Its a crazy system that requires a council to go out to tender for this kind of work much of which is perfectly do-able to the same standard in-house with half decent computers and software. Just think of how many care workers could be employed for a year for £73,000...This kind of council waste - and there may well be worse examples - must be cut out now.

NEW logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.

New logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.
Bristol City Council paid Manchester design company True North £73,200 to come up with new identities for all of its museums...

Greens agree to join the yes campaign for the alternative vote referendum

Green Party Greens to campaign for AV

This is a good sense, pragmatic decision. The alternative vote (AV) system has many flaws - not least that its not a proportional system - but nothing like as many as the current first past the post system. AV is a step in the right direction and has the advantage of demonstrating that electoral system change is wanted, if voted through. AV undermines tactical voting because every vote - not just votes for the eventual winner - will count given that voters can express first, second, third - and further - choices as appropriate. The referendum outcome may have an influence on the choice of electoral system for the second chamber/House of Lords when it is reformed also.

This is how the Electoral Reform Society make the case for AV:

The case for AV

*All MPs would have the support of a majority of their constituents. Following the 2010 election 2/3 of MPs lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history.

*It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link.

*It more accurately reflects public opinion of extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes.

*Coalition governments are no more likely to arise under AV than under First-Past-the-Post.

*It eliminates the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.

*It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one doesn't want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies.

AV in Practice

*Leadership elections for Labour and Liberal Democrats
*Elections for UK parliamentary officials including Select Committee Chairs.
*Elections for the Academy Award for Best Picture
*Australian House of Representatives.
*Most UK Student Union elections.
*Australian Legislative Assemblies ("lower houses") of all states and territories (bar Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which both use STV).
*Australian Legislative Council in Tasmania.
*Irish Presidential election.
*By-elections to the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish Parliament).
*By-elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
*Papua New Guinea National Parliament (1964-1975 and from 2007).
*Fijian House of Representatives.
*Numerous American Mayoral and district elections.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Trouble with the Pope: challenging my own preconceptions | Peter Tatchell | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Trouble with the Pope: challenging my own preconceptions Peter Tatchell Media guardian.co.uk

• Peter Tatchell presents, The Trouble with the Pope, Channel 4, Monday 13 September at 8pm

Sherrie Eugene Hart: questions for the Pope??

Bristol-based TV broadcaster and presenter Sherrie Eugene-Hart will play a leading role when the Pope comes to London later this month, leading in prayer a large crowd plus all those watching on TV ('TVs Sherrie to lead prayers with the Pope', Post 13 Sept). I wonder if she shares the deep concerns that many Catholics and people in general have on issues of equality and human rights? I've written a letter to the local paper along the lines of this blog post, inspired by the work of Peter Tatchell on this issue (see link below and The Trouble with the Pope, Channel 4, tonight, 13 Sept, 8PM).

Sherrie will be yards away from the Pope on this occasion and will have had close contact with the Pope's staff. Will she ask questions about his offensive, anti-humanitarian polices, such his opposition to women priests, gay equality, fertility treatment for childless couples and
condom use to prevent the spread of HIV? Will she ask him to reverse his decision to lift the excommunication of the holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson?

Will she ask the Pope to apologise for his own personal failure to bring child sex abusers and request that he hands over to the relevant police forces worldwide the Vatican’s sex abuse files?

In 2001, when he was a Cardinal, the Pope wrote to every Catholic Bishop in the world, requiring them to report all child sex abuse cases to him in Rome. He thus was fully aware of the abuse that was happening. Incredibly his letter did not urge the Bishops to report abusers to the police. The Pope bears co-responsibility for inaction and cover-up and should apologise for his own personal shortcomings.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Grassroots activism in Knowle West

Great example of local activity aimed at strengthening sustainability and community...

HORSES are at the heart of a new venture in Knowle West that makes the most of the area's strong link with the equine world.

The Grassroots Home for Horse Culture is based at The Park centre in Daventry Road and has been founded to provide an area for equestrian activities and a local produce market.

Work has been going on for some time to create an urban horse and pony club for the many people in Knowle West, Hartcliffe and Withywood who ride or drive horse-drawn vehicles. But the aim now is to expand it further to promote the use of horses in a sustainable future.

Tracey Pool, founder and chairwoman of the project, said heavy horses had already been used to plough allotments and people were driven round the Knowle West Arts Trail in a carriage...

Read more via the link above.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Time to kick sexism out of football | Beatrix Campbell | Comment is free | The Guardian

Excellent piece about sexism, racism, football, Rooney, Ferguson...

Time to kick sexism out of football Beatrix Campbell Comment is free The Guardian

Football has dealt with racism on the terraces, but still ignores sexism among the players

The News of the World devoted its first five pages today to yet another sleazy story about a footballer's private life (sordid allegations about
Wayne Rooney this time). But for all the sound and fury, footballers' misogyny is apparently sanctioned. When footballers sexually exploit women, go to lap dancing clubs, buy sex or "harvest" local girls to line them up for shagging parties, it still doesn't count, somehow, as sexism. It attracts only a fatalistic sigh; a notion that there's nothing you can do about young men with more money than sense – often shadowed by a kind of class contempt that these working-class heroes can't cope with the ludicrous wealth that people who are born to rule somehow manage instinctively.

The campaign against
racism – once routine, embedded and sanctioned in football – has been a triumph. What was once regarded as ungovernable and inevitable in popular culture has been transformed – football's governing bodies have been forced to confront it. Now, clubs, players and fans all know what racism is, what it does and why it won't be tolerated. Everyone has been enlightened, and football culture has been redeemed. Why then does sexism – an equivalently embedded culture of contempt – attract so little interest, so little comprehension? Why does anti-sexism carry no commitment or confidence in football?

Footballers' ridiculous and indefensible earnings apparently generate a sense of masculine entitlement. And there's nothing in the club culture that challenges that: managers don't engage with players about what sexism is, or why it is unacceptable, nor do they take responsibility for helping these young men "not to be sexist and not to behave like a pillock", as one Man U fan put it.

Clubs do not, it seems, include sexism, sexual exploitation and sexual betrayal in the portfolio of their duty to care. They certainly don't see it as part of their duty of care to the game itself. It is as if blokes cannot be blamed for blokey bad behaviour.

But racism was once an ingredient of popular culture, too: racism and sexism were the vernacular of sport talk. Now racism has lost its legitimacy. Fans explain that booing the black players in the other team lost its logic when black players acquired critical mass, when all the great teams hired black players. Mark Perryman, the convener of the London England Fans supporters' group, reckons that the anti-racism is fragile, but agrees that it became nonsensical with the rise of black players.

Perryman does see some cultural shuffles around sexism, however. Ashley Cole lost his allure not because of his performance as a player but because of his performance as a man, he says: "Cole was very rich, very bling, but he became one of the most unpopular players in England because of his treatment of Cheryl Cole."

Sexism may not yet be recognised for what it is, but something about masculine attitudes to morality is shifting on the terraces. Men taking their kids to the game don't want them to hear the c-word any more than they want to hear the n-word.

But if there is a critique of sordid, cheating, whoring sexism, then it isn't coming from the places with the institutional power to do something about it: club management.

When Sir Alex Ferguson was asked at a press conference to comment on the
scandal involving an estimated 30 Manchester United players whose Christmas 2007 bash resulted in allegations of rape and "roasting", he said he had nothing to say about it, except that he'd been "dealing with situations like this for 21 years. I know exactly what to do." He fined the players – who included Rooney – and ruled that the next Christmas knees-up would be a family affair. The club announced: "He doesn't expect them to be virtual saints but he puts a lot of store in them involving partners, and knows it will keep them all on the straight and narrow."

The fact is, Ferguson doesn't know what to do. He refuses to know: "I will not be guided or instructed by anyone," he said after the Christmas bash. And so he continues to rely on the Wags to sort out a cultural crisis that he won't confront.

Promoting re-use with award-winning art by local artist and designer

A local reclamation company are working to raise the profile of re-use. They have started working with award-winning Bristol artist Claire Danthois who re-uses reclaimed materials in her designs. See
http://www.rmills.co.uk/

Bristol's Claire Danthois is at the forefront of the sustainable design movement and expresses her personal belief in environmental responsibility through the creation of provocative, functional sculptures built exclusively from reclaimed materials. Danthois’ philosophy is rooted in the belief that the former lives of found objects provide a rich context and an intrinsic beauty that enhances her work.

Finding inspiration in human anatomy and the natural world, Claire began working with metals during her time at Plymouth University, shaping furniture into organic forms, using steel rods. This experience fuelled Claire’s further exploration in building three-dimensional forms, ultimately resulting in her reclaimed timber series titled "Once Discarded"(see pictures). Danthois first gained recognition in 2007 for the "Once Discarded" collection; the "Once a Door" chair in particular was awarded first place in British newspaper The Guardian’s "Top 10 Eco Furniture" article and METRO Home magazine named it one of "Finest Recycled" designs of the year.

Claire’s works have been displayed primarily in London, at the Eco Design Fair, New Designers Fair and The Islington Contemporary Art Fair, to name a few. In late 2007, Claire’s award-wining piece, "Once a Door", was exhibited at the Utterubbish SIT UP [re]Design in Singapore. A recent project was a collaboration with Newton Vineyard entitled "Re-Inspired Elements: A Tasting Installation."
 
Robert Mills Ltd is one of the largest suppliers of architectural and decorative antiques and is one of the original reclamation companies in the UK. In partnership with Robert Mills Architectural Antiques, Claire is currently producing custom commissions of her award-winning "Once a Door" chairs. In the coming year Claire aims to create a series of public art pieces in partnership with communities that share her hope for a more sustainable future.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Charles: Cabot [Carbon] Circus

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited Cabot Circus shopping centre the other day to launch an 'environmental/sustainability' initiative. The claims that were made in local newspaper and tv reports about the 'green' credentials of Cabot Circus simply dont stand up to even the most basic scrutiny. The claims show just how weak and loose mainstream 'environmental/sustainability/green' thinking, standards and practices currently are...

THE Cabot Circus shopping centre had its first royal visitors yesterday, but the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were not in the city for a bit of retail therapy – they were here to paint the town green.

...James Bailey, Cabot Circus centre manager stated,

"As a centre, we have a strong track record of sustainability, having been recognised as the UK's first retail project of its kind to achieve the highest rating of 'excellent' by the Building Research Establishment.

"Environmental considerations have always been integral to Cabot Circus – from the overall design philosophy and integration with the existing city centre, to waste minimisation and use of energy and water efficiency features."

The distinctive energy-efficient domed roofing of Cabot Circus even seemed to get the thumbs-up from the Prince, who is known to often have unequivocal opinions on modern architecture...

If Cabot Circus is about 'green' Bristol and the West where does it prominently feature local and regional products? If it's consistent with Bristol’s green city/capital ambition why the focus on driving to the huge car park (pictured top left) and shops that import products from all over the world? Where are the genuinely green products and businesses? Why are plastic bags given out left right and centre?? Why no mention of how it has increased Bristol's already very large and unsustainable carbon footprint, both directly and indirectly? Cabot Circus is all about the celebration and advocacy of mass consumerism, the belief that the more we consume the better off we are, something that is remarkable in these pretty unprecedented times of credit crunch, economic downturn, resource depletion and environmental degradation.

The focus of Cabot Circus is much more global economy than local economy, much more about a small number of people getting rich than local people meeting their needs. Debt-funded mass consumption around the globe is causing extremely serious and urgent economic and environmental problems. So what have we done in Bristol? Build a massive shopping centre, including one of Europes biggest car parks!! Mass consumerist societies eat up resources (sparking oil price rises) like there is no tomorrow and spew out vast amounts of climate change causing carbon and very large amounts of all kinds of wastes

Would it not have been much more valuable to individuals, neighbourhoods and communities in Bristol to get together a proper strategy to maintain and develop shops, services and jobs in each locality? We need development to be localised. Cabot Circus is a million miles from local production for local needs yet this is the pattern of development we need for a happier, healthier, fairer, greener and more convivial city!

Comment: Why should I pay for the Pope? | The Jewish Chronicle

Comment: Why should I pay for the Pope? The Jewish Chronicle
By Peter Tatchell, September 7, 2010

...Part of Benedict's visit to Britain is being funded by the taxpayer. A Comres poll found that 77 per cent of the public oppose us footing the bill...[estimated cost, according to BBC reports, is £12 million]

...Peter Tatchell presents The Trouble with the Pope, Channel 4, Monday September 13 at 8pm

Tesco unfairly treated in Bristol?

Tesco has 17 stores within a two and a half mile radius of the centre of Bristol but despite this thinks its planning applications are unfairly treated here! Has it not entered their head that many people think we've got more than enough of their stores already and that we dont need or want any more?? More power to all those people scrutinising planning applications and taking part in the planning process...

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco claims it is being unfairly treated in Bristol when it comes to planning applications for new stores.

The company is trying to open two new shops in the city and is considering bidding for a third on the Harbourside.
But Tesco claims its plans have been bogged down and delayed by red tape, while rivals have been met with little or no opposition.
It intends to open stores in Knowle and Stokes Croft but on both occasions its plans have come up against fierce opposition from residents and politicians...

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

MORE than 50 people gathered on College Green to protest against plans to sell off plots of green land across Bristol.

MORE than 50 people gathered on College Green to protest against plans to sell off plots of green land across Bristol.

Residents representing more than half a dozen of the 62 sites Bristol City Council is considering disposing of assembled in front of the Council House ahead of last night's council meeting.
Inside they submitted five petitions with thousands of signatures opposing the proposed sales, and public speaking time was extended twice to allow 15 statements to be read out, to roars of applause from the gallery.
Outside protesters chanted slogans including "Don't be mean, keep it green" and "Save our green spaces", while holding placards and banners....

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Archbishop’s fear of unruly demonstrations by the Protest the Pope campaign is ill-founded

Received via Facebook: Archbishop to meet Pope protesters...Catholic Church requested meeting...Post-meeting press conference at 12 noon Wednesday 8 Sept...on the pavement outside New Scotland Yard immediately after their meeting with the Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith.

The meeting has been called at the Archbishop’s request and with the approval of the Catholic hierarchy and Papal visit organisers.

In response to the Archbishop’s request for a “neutral” space, New Scotland Yard has agreed to host the meeting. It is being facilitated by Sergeant Nicholas Williams, head of the Met’s Communities Together Strategic Engagement Team.

The meeting will start at 11am, tomorrow, Wednesday.

The Archbishop will meet a delegation of Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association and Marco Tranchino and Peter Tatchell of the Protest the Pope campaign.

“The Archbishop’s fear of unruly demonstrations by the Protest the Pope campaign is ill-founded. We plan no disruptions,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who is also a spokesperson for Protest the Pope.

“When I meet him, I will advise the Archbishop that the best way for the Pope to avoid protests is by dropping his offensive, anti-humanitarian polices, such his opposition to women priests, gay equality, fertility treatment for childless couples and condom use to prevent the spread of HIV. Many people would also like him to reverse his decision to lift the excommunication of the holocaust denier, Bishop Richard Williamson.

“The Pope should apologise for his own personal failure to bring child sex abusers to justice and he should agree to hand over to the relevant police forces worldwide the Vatican’s sex abuse files.

“It is no use Benedict meeting victims of priestly sex abuse if he is not willing to hand over his own bulging files on clerical abusers.

“In 2001, when he was a Cardinal, the Pope wrote to every Catholic Bishop in the world, requiring them to report all child sex abuse cases to him in Rome. He cannot claim that he was unaware of the abuse that was happening. His letter did not urge the Bishops to report abusers to the police.

“As the Catholic theologian Hans Kung has said, the Pope bears co-responsibility for inaction and cover-up. That’s why he should apologise for his own personal shortcomings, instead of apologising for the behaviour of other clergy,” said Mr Tatchell.
More from:

A WHITCHURCH farming family are standing firm to save Bristol's green belt, despite offers of up to £8 million for their land.

Setting a superb example...

A WHITCHURCH farming family are standing firm to save Bristol's green belt, despite offers of up to £8 million for their land.

Paul and Jill Britten say they are standing up against a "tsunami of property development" to try to protect the countryside on Bristol's doorstep – although property developers are offering £50,000 per acre for Whitewood Farm, which is more than 3,000 per cent higher than offers made a little under five years ago.

As the Brittens survey the rolling fields of their farm on the edge of Whitchurch, the city of Bristol looms beyond the hedge to the north.

At Whitewood Farm, the concept of the "green belt" is immediately apparent, as the urban sprawl halts in a perfect green line.

But all that could change. For the past five years the family, who have farmed their 160 acres of land since 1957, have had a metaphorical JCB digging arm hanging over their heads.

Mr Britten, 65, said: "I look at the streets of modern housing down there, and it feels like a rising tide heading towards us. Since my father took on this farm in the 1950s, when I was just 12 years old, I've watched all these houses rise up and I've never minded a steady trickle. But what we're faced with now is more like a tsunami."

Bath and North East Somerset Council's Regional Spatial Strategy had plans for this verdant swathe of land – and it involved 9,000 homes swamping the Britten's organic beef farm and many of the nearby properties.

The Brittens have regularly had to turn away property developers flashing their chequebooks at the farm door...

Monday, 6 September 2010

News analysis - Toxic dispersants in Gulf oil spill creating hidden marine crisis - The Ecologist

News analysis - Toxic dispersants in Gulf oil spill creating hidden marine crisis - The Ecologist

More than 200 million tons of crude oil have gushed into the Gulf of Mexico since the rupture of Deepwater Horizon. The chemicals used to clean up the spill have received less attention but could have devastating long-term effects on the marine ecosystem

Nationwide One-Off Screenings - No Impact Man

Screening - No Impact Man
September 7, 2010 - No Impact Man - Bath - The Little Theatre Cinema

[see link for details of other venues screening the film on 7 Sept)

Colin Beavan decides to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for the next year.

It means eating vegetarian, buying only local food, and turning off the refrigerator. It also means no elevators, no television, no cars, busses, or airplanes, no toxic cleaning products, no electricity, no material consumption, and no garbage.


No problem – at least for Colin – but he and his family live in Manhattan. So when his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two-year-old daughter are dragged into the fray, the No Impact Project has an unforeseen impact of its own.

Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's film provides an intriguing inside look into the experiment that became a national fascination and media sensation, while examining the familial strains and strengthened bonds that result from Colin and Michelle’s struggle with their radical lifestyle change...

Michelle Conlin is Colin Beavan's wife, and had absolutely no idea what she was getting into when she agreed to do the No Impact Project. Along with their daughter, Michelle bears witness – and is obliged to participate in – the experiments in environmentalism that Colin designs for the family.

In the hours when Michelle enjoys life on the other side (with electricity), she is a senior writer at BusinessWeek. There she covers the Working Life, a beat that includes the culture of work, social issues, work-life trends, and the labor market. Michelle has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, CNN, NPR’s All Things Considered, NPR's Marketplace, CNBC’s Kudlow & Cramer, Fox News, and MSNBC. She has also been a regular panelist on PBS's To the Contrary and CNNfn's Business Unusual.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Valuing our Parks and Green Spaces | Green Spaces

Valuing our Parks and Green Spaces Green Spaces

Given the determination of Bristol City Council to flog off large amounts of our green spaces to developers people may be interested the longstanding and continuing opposition of Bristol Green Party to this sell-off. No other political party takes this stand. This policy (click on link above), which I co-wrote with Pete Goodwin, details why we need to genuinely value all our parks and green spaces. Green spaces have long been listed by both locals and visitors as in their top three 'best things about Bristol'.

Incinerator fight goes on

The planning system is irrational, unfair and undemocratic in my experience. The power most definitely lies most with developers, planning officers and associated legal advisors, who also have good access to each other. Councillors and especially local individuals and communites have restricted influence - decent information and opportunities to fully participate on an equal footing dont exist. Even when councils clearly take a stand they find it very hard to stop unwanted development...

A COMPANY is fighting Bristol City Council's decision to stop it building a £200 million incinerator at Avonmouth.

Viridor has appealed against councillors' refusal in June to allow the plans for the Severn Road site – a decision which was made against the recommendation of planning officers who analysed the application.

A planning inquiry must now be held to decide if the waste management company can build the incinerator and associated "resource recovery centre", which would handle up to 500,000 tonnes of rubbish a year and accept waste from Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset.

It is the second public inquiry the city council will face in the space of three months after W4B, the would-be operators of a £70 million biofuel plant also planned for Avonmouth, took their application to an inspector last month...

Friday, 3 September 2010

No Impact Man: in cinemas from today

The modern day "Good Life" - Time Out

**** - The Times

Synopsis: Can you save the planet without driving your family crazy? In No Impact Man, Colin Beavan decides to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for the next year.

No problem - at least for Colin - but he and his family live in Manhattan. So when his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two-year-old daughter are dragged into the fray, the No Impact Project has an unforeseen impact of its own.

---

To find out which cinemas No Impact Man will be playing in, visit gonoimpact.dogwoof.com including the special nationwide screenings next Tuesday 7th September. This will be the only chance for many areas of the country to see the film.

If you sign up you'll be entering a draw to win one of 3 prizes kindly donated by
www.nigelsecostore.com.

We're also giving away copies of Colin Beavan's book Saving the Planet One Family at a Time. All winners will be selected at random and notified directly by Dogwoof. For a chance of winning either of these fantastic prizes SIGN UP today!!

dogwoof.com

UK politicians hide our total carbon emissions

In debates whilst standing in the local and general elections - and in debates for yrs before then - councillors and MPs have always told me that UK carbon emissions were falling (Kerry McCarthy even sent me a graph in the post). As someone who has worked and campaigned in this area for yrs I've known that this is not the case and have thus argued the toss with people from all the big parties. You can see why the story below might catch my eye then...

BBC News - Openness urged on UK's emissions

The UK government's chief environment scientist has called for more openness in admitting Britain's apparent cuts in greenhouse gases are an illusion.

Robert Watson says that if emissions "embedded" in imported goods are counted, UK emissions are up, not down.

He says the same syndrome is true for other rich nations which offshored manufacturing industry.


That means developing countries - particularly China - are blamed for goods they buy for export to the West.

“We don't have jurisdiction over emissions embedded in imports, they're difficult to calculate accurately”

He said: "At face value UK emissions look like they have decreased 15% or 16% since 1990. But if you take in carbon embedded in our imports, our emissions have gone up about 12%. We've got to be more open about this."...

Click on the BBC link to read more.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

   Stockwood Pete: Defending our green spaces

Stockwood Pete: Defending our green spaces

On Tuesday 7th September - an hour before the council meeting - there's a photocall outside the council house for all Bristolians who don't want the city's precious green spaces sold off. Gather by 5pm, bring a placard if you can! And spread the word!

Participatory Processes and Techniques for an Ecosystems Approach

- Participatory Processes and Techniques for an Ecosystems Approach

Passing on details of this consultation on decision making:

Consultation Status: Open. Open date: 30 August 2010. Close date: 17 September 2010

Views are invited on a draft introductory guide explaining how participatory processes and techniques can be used as part of an ecosystems approach to decision making.

The work has been funded by Defra as part of its Natural Environment Strategic Research Programme on embedding an Ecosystems Approach in to decision making.

We welcome constructive feedback on the quality and usefulness of any aspect of this document, as well as any suggestions for potential additions. The draft materials are at an advanced stage but they are not finalised.

We will consider all responses carefully and thank you for your time

This document is not endorsed by Defra.

Best wishes
Robert Fish
Project LeaderUniversity of Exeter.

Friends of the Earth - Join the MOOvement

Friends of the Earth - Join the MOOvement

Put your hoof down for rainforest-free meat and dairy
This autumn, MPs will be voting on a new law to break the hidden link between animal feed in factory farms and wildlife and rainforest destruction in South America.
Please join our MOOvement today - together we can make sure they support UK farmers to feed their animals a diet that doesn't cost the planet.