Green blog archive
Together we can unpick the problems and find solutions for achieving zero waste.
Guest writer Katy Anderson, People's Design Lab
However hard I try to cut down on waste, I still end up throwing stuff away. Last week it was a kettle that started to blow our electric fuses. I'm not very confident with electronics, but I did try to fix it. I couldn't work out how to get the screws off so I gave up and took it for recycling. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/peoples_design_lab_40120.html
Friends of Taff Bargoed in South Wales has found itself in what has become an all too familiar situation for community energy generation projects. Despite being backed by all relevant parties and confirmed to be viable and potentially lucrative, the project is being held up by financing issues. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/community_energy_hydro_taff_bargoed_wales_40109.html
A few weeks ago I met Paul Kent, Chair of the community energy project Bedlinog Wind, in South Wales.
As we sat and flicked through artists' impressions of what the three turbine wind development would look like, what I consistently noticed was how well-suited the site is. A bowl shape in the land near the village of Bedlinog in the Taff Bargoed Valley funnels the south-westerly wind, creating the perfect site to harness its clean energy via wind turbines. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/community_wind_development_bedlinog_wales_40106.html
Digging up the earth in a cemetery usually only means one thing. I have to admit to being a bit nervous as I put my foot on the spade for the first time. But thankfully the only things that'll be springing up between the gravestones in Walthamstow Cemetery are wildflowers. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/sowing_seeds_for_new_life_old_40045.html
Depending on your preferences, the news from China puts our horsemeat scandal into the shade. Apparently they've had fox, mink, rat and other meat passed off as lamb. They are also finding their rivers filling up with dead pigs. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/broken_food_system_40022.html
Industry has criticised us for raising concerns about the burning of trees in power stations. But is it right?
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has accused Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and RSPB in the Guardian of "spreading misinformation" when we have called for limits to "green energy" subsidies being paid to support the burning of wood in power stations.
So what's the story here? more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/40000.html
Great news that the European Commission has voted for a two-year ban on three pesticides that have been linked to bee deaths. But down at the hives we're currently more concerned with our bees and the cold weather.
Late springs are not unusual, but 2013 has been exceptional because of the unremitting cold. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/bees_&_cold_weather_39956.html
Like millions of people working in the UK I'm saving money for my retirement by paying into a pension fund.
I like to think I make ethical choices when I shop for food and clothes. But when it comes to my pension, I have next to no idea what my money is being invested in.
So I was shocked when I found out that pension funds are reportedly the largest investors in land grabs. Land grabbing is the rapidly increasing practice of companies buying up large amounts of agricultural land in poor countries, often under dubious circumstances. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/pension_land_39931.html
It's a testament to the power of community regeneration that Cwmclydach Countryside Park, a former colliery near Swansea, is now a beautiful nature haven.
The site where one of the last major mining disasters took place in 1965, in which 31 people died, has become a peaceful park lake for the enjoyment of local residents. A few weeks go, I went to take a look.
The park is in Cwmclydach town, a particularly deprived community in the Rhondda valley, South Wales. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/black_to_green_39849.html
Industry, the fishing communities, governments and NGOs can work together to tackle waterborne waste, particularly plastic.
So much sea plastic
I come from Denmark and have watched how our beaches have become more and more polluted. Coming from a family of fishermen I've seen with my own eyes how much waste is being brought to the surface when nets are pulled on board. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/mining_for_plastic_sea_39789.html
Poetry and climate change may seem like a strange combination. But as the charity Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) found, it can be incredibly powerful in conveying the realities of a changing climate to wider audiences.
I was able to visit ATT in January of this year, located in Cwmllynfell, in the beautiful valleys and hills of South Wales. This multiple award-winning community energy charity has worked on a diverse range of green projects. From solar panels to air-source heat pumps, it has been largely successful in bringing clean energy to the picturesque hills. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/walescommunityenergyprojectblog_39828.html
What great campaigning moments stick in my mind?
- The Suffragettes
- Nelson Mandela
- A poster of Desmond Tutu saying: "I don't know which Bible people are reading when they say that religion and politics don't mix."
- My Mum taking her own bags to the market and refusing South African fruit
- Greenham Common women's peace camp, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marches and blockades
- Christian Aid, Amnesty International, FairTrade
These were the wallpaper to my childhood. I wasn't physically there; but I was part of a liberal family who took political action, and these were the conversations and media chat going on around me. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/come_help_me_answer_some_39821.html
It's amazing I cycled all the way from London to Edinburgh in just 6 days, blogs Susie Hewson - a participant in last year's Big Green Bike Ride.
Cycling with my 23 year old son Andrew was fantastic because we supported each other during the exhilarating challenge. We shared beautiful landscapes, sang in the rain, and shed tears of joy at the finish. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/big_green_bike_ride_39788.html
At Friends of the Earth, we have always confronted businesses when they pursue profit at the expense of the environment and of people.
So it's a real pleasure when a company really embraces the environmental challenges of the 21st Century. We want to celebrate these entrepreneurs and show that successful business need not cost our planet. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/acorn_wind_turbine_39768.html
As an avid Fairtrade supporter, I'm a great believer in well-labelled products on supermarket shelves that explain their origins. Fairtrade and other schemes such as Rainforest Alliance guarantee that the processes and materials behind a product are all earth and human-friendly. Quite simply, they promote the idea of companies being transparent about their supply chains. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/mibecofashionblog_39687.html
"GM isn't the answer to our food problems," blogs Mute Schimpf from Friends of the Earth Europe as a new campaign to stop a new wave of GM crops being approved is launched.
Last week a young activist asked me why politicians don't get the facts right on genetically-modified crops (or GMOs). "Why do governments push for GMOs in our fields?" she asked. It is a valid question. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/stop_crop_for_sustainable_gm_39661.html
Playing cat and mouse with security has been a bit of a pattern for me of late. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/apple_leeds_opening_39630.html
Unbelievable. The self-proclaimed "greenest government ever" has decided that climate change is not important enough to be in the geography curriculum.
Ministers say they want schools to teach "in a way that best meets the needs of their pupils". Yet the greatest need for everyone is surely to live in a world that can support them and their children in the future. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/cutting_climate_curriculum_39583.html
Well, it took over 64,000 petition signatures, a tonne of messages on EDF Energy's Facebook page and letters in local papers across the country. Not to mention a special web site created to help people switch their electricity from EDF to another provider, and criticism from businesses and commentators.
But eventually the energy firm EDF has seen sense, backed down and withdrawn its ill-thought-through threat to sue 21 protesters from No Dash For Gas for around £5 million. About time. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/public_pressure_no_dash_for_gas_39526.html
It struck me the other day that the availability of IT tools like Google Maps has led to a resurgence in the ancient art of map making. Everyone from the UN to music bands seems to have realised that maps are cool. But when it comes to campaigning can they help change the world? more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/mappiness_why_our_new_green_39498.html
Well strictly speaking I've been framed. I slightly dread it when the optician tells me I need new glasses, the daunting prospect of having to select a new pair is not one I relish. Thankfully I have found a solution. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/39397.html
The award-winning nature diarist Esther Woolfson celebrates the signs of spring in the first of her guest blog posts for Friends of the Earth.
In the darkness of evening, I heard the sound of the first oystercatchers of the year.
Their arrival was three days earlier than last year but eight days later than the one before. It could be that I just didn't hear them on the day they came back. Perhaps they didn't take their usual, time-honoured route, past my house to the hospital up the road where they like to nest. All the same, I'd been waiting for them. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/spring_journal_field_notes_39334.html
I get most of my clothes second hand, and a lot of these are from charity shops. I love the feeling of finding unusual items and supporting a good cause. Even better, research shows there's plenty of environmental benefits to buying from charity shops.
I have more than 50 suits and 27 jackets ranging from vintage to the latest designs, and have only ever bought three from new.
When my friends comment on my outfit, I always make a point of telling them where I bought it, as part of my personal mission to spread the word charity shops are fun, fun, fun! more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/charity_shop_tips_39242.html
Training is tough at the very best of times. And never more than when the British weather is at its wintery worst. But there is very little that is more satisfying than achieving a goal you have set however big or small. That's why I want to encourage you to sign up to the Big Green Bike Ride and challenge yourself to ride from London to the New Forest to raise money for Friends of the Earth. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/Alex Gregory on Big Green Bike Ride.html
Looking through the images from CIWEM's Environmental Photographer of the Year 2013 , I was heartened by a sense of positivity. I don't mean that climate change, social inequality or development issues are no longer there to be photographed. Rather, the tone of the photography is changing. This series of images demonstrates that beauty can be as powerful as negativity in portraying the challenges we face.
Like so many others last October, I was incredibly impressed by the campaigners from No Dash for Gas who spent a week occupying EDF's new West Burton gas-fired power station in Nottinghamshire. more ...http://www.foe.co.uk/news/EDF_legal_threat_39237.html
21 Feb - Facing the future: making and saving money by sharing - Benita Matofska
15 Feb - Learning how to repair and value electronics - Janet Gunter
15 Feb - How to make double chocolate cupcakes - Karen Simmons
15 Feb - The future of mobile phone design - Nithya Natarajan
14 Feb - Sneak preview of George Monbiot's 'Feral' in our Book Club - Annabella Macris
11 Feb - Keeping bees part 9: Bees and cold weather - Alison Benjamin
07 Feb - Facing the future: share to survive - Benita Matofska
01 Feb - Big wins on bees, nuclear dumping and Shell - what a week - Neil Kingsnorth
30 Jan - What has nature ever done for us? Q&A with author - Annabella Macris
29 Jan - How to make momo - Shilpa Shah
15 Jan - Tony Juniper's new book: What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? - Craig Bennett
11 Jan - How we created a new bee haven in Brighton - Brenda Pollack
10 Jan - Guilt-free eating - Annabella Macris
20 Dec - List-eria strikes again. Our 10 most popular blog posts of 2012 - Adam Bradbury
19 Dec - Compelling TV: Is our weather getting worse? - Brenda Pollack
13 Dec - Co-operatives - an answer to the economic crisis? - Annabella Macris
05 Dec - Christmas gifts all sewn up - Amelia Collins
29 Nov - 10 tips on keeping chickens - and why they're not just for Christmas - Tom Wright
29 Nov - Why did we take a giant phone down Oxford Street? - Rich Hines
29 Nov - Bee Lovely - last chance to sign pesticide petition from Neal's Yard Remedies - Peter Kindersley
29 Nov - A World in One Cubic Foot by David Liittschwager - Annabella Macris
23 Nov - Bangka - my trip to Indonesia's tin island - Julian Kirby
23 Nov - Climate goals at risk as energy plans unveiled - Andy Atkins
22 Nov - Are the kids putting us to shame? - Amelia Collins
21 Nov - Free Christmas ecards are here - Amelia Collins
20 Nov - Why we need activists: lessons from a life well lived - Brenda Pollack
15 Nov - Soil raked, seeds sown and another wildflower meadow created - Ted Burke
15 Nov - Ash tree disaster: why politicians must see the wood for the trees - Oliver Hayes
14 Nov - Who'd be in your Fantasy Football Energy Team? - Simon Bullock
14 Nov - On air. What do you think of our podcast? - Adam Bradbury
13 Nov - London Marathon - what have I let myself in for? - Louise Gebbett
09 Nov - Getting into a planning Pickle - Charlotte Chan
07 Nov - Honey we've shrunk the honey harvest: a challenging year for honeybees and their keepers - Angela Woods
31 Oct - Who won this year's party conference popularity contest? - Emi Murphy
30 Oct - Annus horri-bee-lis - Paul de Zylva
24 Oct - Meet the neighbours while you store your stuff - Maryellen Clare
19 Oct - Green is working, says Deborah Meaden outside the Treasury - Marie Reynolds
17 Oct - Will Osborne let us reach the renewable heights of Europe? - Pascoe Sabido
09 Oct - Prix Pictet Photography exhibition - Amelia Collins
05 Oct - What's your favourite graphic novel? - Adam Bradbury
03 Oct - Pesticides and bees - all you ever wanted to know - Keith Tyrell
03 Oct - Doing something to help bees - the Bee Cause Day of Action - Ted Burke
24 Sep - Keeping bees part 8: making honey - Alison Benjamin
13 Sep - Bringing eco music to a town near you - Jess Gold
12 Sep - Bee friendly apps for your smartphone - Tom Coupe
12 Sep - Saturday's Bee Cause Day of Action was not to be missed - Tom Coupe
06 Sep - The Children's Eyes on Earth - new photo competition - Amelia Collins
15 Aug - Buzzing about Conference 2012 - Ted Burke
12 Aug - Keeping bees part 7: an extension to the beehive - Alison Benjamin
03 Aug - Can you guess where this photo was taken? - Amelia Collins
30 Jul - Italians: sustainable food pioneers? - Antonella Scimemi
23 Jul - #50ShadesofGreen - Marie Reynolds
20 Jul - Latitude festival 2012 - Big bee review - Phil Byrne
09 Jul - Secrets of our success - caught on film - Joe Jenkins
09 Jul - We need your awe-inspiring photos - Amelia Collins
06 Jul - A buzz in Norwich: bee campaign hots up - Tom Wright
05 Jul - Prix Pictet photo exhibition coming to London - Amelia Collins
03 Jul - Our new green gardening column - Bob Sherman
27 Jun - Top hotel opens in Reading: only bees welcome please - Amy Golledge
27 Jun - Keeping bees. Part 6: Inspecting your beehives - Alison Benjamin
22 Jun - Where the real action is at Rio+20 - Elaine Gilligan
21 Jun - Friends of the Earth kills TV Dragon - Marie Reynolds
20 Jun - Why the Rio+20 Earth Summit matters - Melanie Kramers
15 Jun - Let it rain: why there's more to wellbeing than the weather - Dave Powell
14 Jun - Clean British Energy flows into my flat and lights up my life - James Dubrey
12 Jun - Bee-autiful poppies: friends of the bees - Amy Golledge
11 Jun - Bee-friendly flowers and black cats - Rita Marcangelo
01 Jun - Time for me to switch to Clean British Energy - James Dubrey
28 May - Welcome back to the short-haired bumblebee - Sandra Bell
25 May - Keeping bees. Part 5: Collecting your bees - Alison Benjamin