US Administration seems to have lost control

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

central-intelligence-agency-seal-floorIt would appear that the US Administration has lost control of the intelligence services as well as the military. In other words – and now please everyone put on the tinfoil hat – there may have been a coup in the US that no one has, as yet, really noticed, especially not in Washington DC.

In March 2017 Wikileaks suggested – I will call it that for the moment – that the CIA was operating a hacking station from a location in Frankfurt/Main, in Germany and that they had systems in place that could make the hacks operated by them appear to be coming from foreign countries and their governments, especially Russia, in order to put the blame there.

Why blame Russia? Because the hawks in the intelligence community of the US and the military want to start a war.

We therefore have to assume that, if the US administration of whichever President, in the present case Trump, and before that Obama, either knows about all of this and gives itself as not knowing or, the other scenario, that the intelligence and military apparatus has, behind the scenes, actually taken the reigns of important areas.

It is either a case of the administration knowing exactly what is going on but pretending to be dumb and that nothing is happening or the alternative scenario that there are powers no behind the throne that work against the interest of peace and even the interest of the United States to further their own agenda. There is no third option.

If the second scenario is the case, not that the first would be any better, then the world is in very grave danger of a war, a global war, instigated by powers behind the throne of the President of the United States, people and powers of which said President appears to be completely unaware.

It would appear that the departments and agencies say one thing to the President's face and that of the people while behind the scenes they are laying the groundwork for something very sinister indeed.

We appear to live in dangerous times indeed and much of the danger does not come from terrorists or foreign powers but from our own governments and that of our “allies” and supposed “friends”.

© 2017

WHAT TO DO WITH THINGS YOU CAN’T RECYCLE

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Recycling is an excellent way to conserve resources, reuse materials and decrease the amount of raw materials being mined, logged or produced from scratch. It’s one of the environmental movement’s most successful enterprises in terms of raising awareness, soliciting public cooperation, and making it part of daily life with recycling depots and curbside recycling pickups.

It’s also why we at Earth911 exist.

In its early days, Earth911 was a simple recycling search engine designed to help you find the appropriate place to recycle virtually anything. By typing in the material you wanted to recycle along with your city or town, you’d be able to see a full list of recycling locations that would accept the product. And while our easy-to-use recycling search continues to help eager recyclers everywhere, today we’re going to go one step further and discuss what happens when you can’t recycle something.

Let’s say you use the recycling search for something you’re not quite sure about — beverage caps without a recycling code, for instance, or those strange plastic mesh produce bags that hold oranges or sweet potatoes. You discover that there aren’t any facilities nearby that recycle the item in question — now what?

Trust us, you still have options! Read on for three fab alternatives to tossing things you can’t recycle into the trash.

Read more here.

5 packaging materials you didn’t know are difficult to recycle

Recycling bin

Recycling is confusing, even for the most well-intentioned and informed conscious consumers. Capabilities of municipal recycling facilities vary from region to region, and items that are difficult-to-recycle sometimes get looped in with regularly accepted items.

Not all paper, metal, glass and plastic packaging is created equal, and many common items that seem to fall in the “recyclable” category are far from it. Knowing to “watch out” for these common household waste items will help you prevent contamination at your local municipal recycling facility (MRF) and ensure that the items you do recycle are kept at their highest value at all times:

1. Black plastic
Plastic is plastic, right? With regards to the types of plastic accepted curbside in general, we know this to be vastly untrue, but black plastic is a big recycling “watch out” that many people are unaware of. The optical scanners used to identify types of plastic at municipal recycling facilities using the reflection of light deem black plastic unrecyclable in the current infrastructure. Why? Black plastic does not reflect light. Thus, the rigid plastic of black microwave food trays, takeout containers and other items are not accepted by most MRFs, even if the resin number on the bottom is accepted in your bin.

2. Gradient glass
Glass is one of the most highly recyclable materials accepted by MRFs, but depending on where you live, some curbside programs require residents to sort colored glass from clear glass, or only accept clear and brown (both of which generally have high market demand). Once colored, glass cannot be turned into another color, so when it comes to gradient or multi-colored glass, the material is not recyclable because these colors cannot be separated.

When contaminants (i.e. different color glass or other materials) are mixed in with glass, it decreases the value of the recovered glass, increases costs and slows production. Gradient and multi-colored glass, then, is basically a contaminant to itself in the current recycling infrastructure. But on the up side, this discarded glass, if captured, is often milled and ground for use in concrete.

Read more here.

Ed.: While the original article states with regards to the PlantBottle, a durable bioplastic alternative to traditional PET bottles made by Coca-Cola, that it can be recycled with traditional PET containers and bottles, I have expressly told by several waste management companies, and not just in the UK, that this is NOT the case.

Recycled containers for seed starting and gardening

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

bucket_garden1Spring is the time of year when gardeners everywhere look to getting their seeds started and to get going with gardening. And every year the same question as to the cost for such container creeps into the minds of all of us gardeners. How much will the seed trays and seed starting pots cost us, etc.

More and more people who have little real space for gardening also want to get into growing their own and for them the question of costs for containers in which to do their growing. Buying containers for container gardening does not come cheap.

Recycled containers come into the game here, whether for seed starting or general gardening, and most of them, if not indeed all, can be has for free.

Seed starting

You do not have to to get special seed starting pots, containers and kits. You can use many items of waste, especially plastic waste, for the purpose, from yoghurt pots and such like to the bottoms of plastic (milk) bottles/jugs. Use the bottoms of the latter for seed starting “trays” and the top as cloches.

Do not bother with using the cardboard tubes from toilet- or kitchen rolls – or bother making newspaper pots. While many say that it works I have found that in most cases it leads to dampening off of seedlings and/or to fungal growth.

For small pots for more or less single seedlings empty yoghurts pots are ideal. Just don't forget to put a hole or two for drainage and the same goes for any container that you recycle. The bottom half of small plastic bottles also will make useful seed starting pots. In the same way you can use the tubs that contained fresh cream, sour cream, and such like. While they are, in general, bigger and deeper than yoghurt pots, they work just the same and may be best used for any seedling that required a lot of room for their roots to grow.

You can, obviously, also use the bottoms of other plastic bottles that you may be using in the home, such as those that may have contained cleaning fluids – as long as they have been cleaned out properly – as many of them are a relatively hard plastic though not as hard as those of yoghurt and cream pots.

Container gardening

For gardening in small spaces or for those that are reliant on using patios or balconies, or those that have mostly hard standing in the yard, containers are the way to go. Also for those of us who do not want to do the digging. OK, you can go no dig gardening, which is the best anyway, but you will still first of all have to create the beds, which you lather do not dig again, thus using containers is a good alternative.

I know of one market gardener, in the USA, who grows all his produce for sale (and for his family's needs) in those one to five gallon buckets. But you can use smaller ones as well and also many other different kinds of containers, most of which can be had for free.

Gallon buckets: The buckets I am referring to here are those in which catering establishments, for instance, get their mayonnaise, cooking oils, etc. they are great for container gardening and especially as you can, generally, get as many as you want for the price of asking from places that use them.

When it comes to using recycled containers for seed starting and gardening per se, especially food growing, many people are concerned that there could be harmful chemicals leaching from the plastic through the soil into the food plants. However, plastic plants pots and other planters that are bought in the stores are, well, also plastic. Whether they are food grade, as many of those containers that you would be using when recycling in this way is rather questionable. Thus the question is as to whether we really should be worried?

If, however, the containers may have had some chemicals, pesticides, oils, or whatever else, then using them for growing food crops and produce should be a definite no. The other thing never to use for growing food crops are car tires and that despite the fact that many advocate just doing that, such as for growing potatoes. While in years gone by those tires would have been fine as they would have been natural rubber and not have been containing anything iffy modern tires are first of all more often than not no longer natural rubber but other substances and secondly most, nowadays, are steel radial belted tubeless which are known top leach cadmium into the soil. You certainly do not want that, being a heavy metal, in your potatoes or other vegetables. In general, however, recycling all manner of plastic (and other) containers in the garden should be fine.

© 2017

THE WORLD’S FIRST MALL FOR RECYCLED GOODS

Last week I wrote about the Edinburgh Remakery, and how they are trying to foster a culture of repair. It’s one of the most shared posts I’ve ever written, and there’s clearly a real interest in this whole idea. Lots of you have been in touch to share similar projects, including this one from Sweden.

ReTuna Återbruksgalleria is a mall dedicated entirely to repaired and upcycled goods. It combines a traditional municipal recycling centre with a shopping centre, so that people can drop off goods that they no longer need, and then browse for something new – perhaps stopping off at the cafe in between. It’s the first mall of its kind in Sweden, and as far as they know, the first in the world.

Staff at the recycling depot intercept and sort incoming goods as they are dropped off, putting aside those that can be repaired or refurbished. They are then passed on to workshops to be renovated and sold on in one of the 14 shops in the shopping centre. There are specialist outlets for furniture, computers and audio equipment, clothes, toys, bikes, gardening tools, and building materials. Everything for sale in these stores is secondhand.

The centre also includes a cafe/restaurant with lots of organic options, an exhibition area, conference facilities and a training college for studying recycling. And if you’re wondering about the name, the ‘tuna’ is short for Eskilstuna, the town where you will find this intriguing place.

Read more here.

The Billionaire on a Mission to Save the Planet From Trump

TOM STEYER ISN’T your average California tree hugger. The former hedge fund manager—number 1,121 on Forbes’ wealthiest people list, with $1.61 billion—was once best known for turning $15 million into $30 billion in about two decades.

But then he went hiking. Steyer and environmental activist and author Bill McKibben spent a day trudging through the Adirondacks. Not long after, Steyer parted ways with the leadership of his company and his oil and gas investments, began to fight the Keystone XL pipeline, and then reinvented himself as a one-man superfund for climate causes. His organization, NextGen Climate, has spent $170 million over the past four years advocating for policies and politicians that help the environment and advance renewable energy.

It’s an uphill battle. Steyer was the largest single donor on either side of the 2016 election—$86 million of his own money. Yet climate change skeptics rule the federal government and many statehouses. Somehow, though, Steyer isn’t acting like a loser. Since November he’s become an even more vocal representative of the nearly two-thirds of Americans who do think human-caused climate change is a real problem. He talked to WIRED about California’s role in science, his own po­litical ambitions (“governor” has a better ring to it than “former hedge fund manager,” right?), and whether Donald Trump could ever possibly, conceivably help save the planet.

Read more here.

Fiskars PowerGearX bypass pruners PX92 – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

powergear-x-pruner-m-bypass-px92-1023630_productimageThe PowerGear™ mechanism is not new to Fiskars. In fact some years ago it was launched but this is a new version of it.

I then had the opportunity to test the P92 bypass secateurs and found them very good indeed. In fact it is the pair that travels with me to my garden – well, it is not a long travel but – each and every time. The P92 also has a very nice little plastic holster that came with it. Alas, that is the one thing that I am sorely missing with the PX92.

The Fiskars PowerGearX bypass pruners PX92 is intended For cutting of fresh branches up to Ø 20 mm, that is just someone under one inch for those that work in old money. Bypass pruners are not – theoretically – meant to be used for dry dead wood.

Unique PowerGear™ mechanism makes cutting up to 3.5 times easier vs standard mechanisms, says Fiskars, and that is certainly does.

Light-weight and durable FiberComp constuction and blades from extra hard, corrosion resistant steel (CrMoV) with PTFE coated upper blade for ultimate performance. Conformed SoftGrip™ handles for optimum comfort and balance. Optimized for small and medium hand sizes.

To some extent the PX92 is, more or less, a slight upgrade to the older P92 (shame they left the holster away), though with somewhat more oomph, as the cutting seems to be easier still. The PX92 is also significantly larger than the P92, which, in turn, also increases the cutting action and power.

A very powerful pair of pruners in small package.

© 2017

VBITES OPENS POP UP CAFÉ IN VIENNA

A new pop up takeaway serving award-winning plant-based foods from ethical food firm VBites has opened in Vienna, Austria.

Located in the busy Mariahilferstraße 101 shopping area, the ‘vegan to go’ takeaway is open six days a week and offers a selection of vegan foods along with vegan beers and iced tea.

Visitors to the pop-up can choose from the delicious VBites meat-free pizzas, burgers, fries and wraps along with Thai curry soup and salad.

Stand out options include the vegan doner kebab featuring VBites’ meat-free ‘lamb’ as well as hoisin ‘duck’ wrap.

The first of VBites’ expansion into Europe, the potential franchise is initially set to run for two months and could become a permanent fixture if it proves a success, according to Paul-Josef Colloredo-Mannsfeld, a potential franchisee and promoter of the vegan takeaway.

“Vegan food is really booming worldwide,” he said. “With VBites we have a strong and established partner. If the pop up is successful, we plan to establish a year-round business. Feedback so far has been extremely positive.”

All VBites foods are made from 100% natural plant-based ingredients and free from animal products/derivatives, cholesterol, lactose, hydrogenated fats, artificial colours and GMOs, so suitable for vegetarians, vegans, people who are lactose or casein intolerant, meat reducers and those looking for healthier and more ethical lifestyles. Many VBites foods are also kosher and halal approved and pareve.

The VBites ‘vegan to go’ takeaway is open from 10am till 8pm, Monday to Saturday. There is also a small pub garden for those who want to 'eat in'.

For more information about VBites Foods, please visit www.vbitesfoods.com
For information on VBites cafes, visit www.vbites.com

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

5 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Seeds Instead Of Buying Seedlings

It's a little extra work upfront, but the benefits are pretty astounding.

seedlings in biodegradable pots

Sure, it’s easy to pick up a few “six packs” of tomatoes and marigolds at the garden center. But why do that when you can have a greater selection of veggies (and fruits), huge yields for way less money, and plants that have never been treated with chemical fertilizers or herbicides? Seems like a no-brainer to us.

Here, we cover the 5 most compelling reasons to start your own seeds this growing season.

Bigger Yields For Less Money

Even after you figure the cost of seed-starting supplies, growing your own transplants is still cheap. At the garden center, a flat of 36 petunias, for instance, will cost you about $12, but a packet of 100 seeds costs only about $2.

Read more here.

CUTTING EDGE TOOLS FOR EVERY GARDENER

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Fiskars, one the UK’s leading gardening tool suppliers, is proud to unveil its exciting new PowerGear™ X range. The innovative cutting tools are a true evolution of engineering and ergonomics, making pruning and lopping easier than ever before.

This brand new generation of gardening tools is surprisingly powerful, with the pioneering PowerGear™ mechanism creating 3x the power in each and every cut, significantly reducing the physical effort needed to prune.

With super sharp PFTE coated precision blades, designed to slice effortlessly through the toughest wood, the PowerGear™ X range is weather resistant, virtually unbreakable and feature a brand new structural 3D soft grip for increased grip and optimal comfort. For the more intensive tasks, a robust aluminium shaft to reduce weight and increase control, complements the lightweight loppers.

Every aspect of design, performance and usability has been considered. Vibrant orange handles increase visibility, making tools easy to locate in even the most overgrown setting. With rivets replaced by bolts, maintenance is easy, increasing tool performance and longevity.

The new Fiskars PowerGear™ X range gives power to all gardeners - whether novice or seasoned.

PowerGear™ X Pruners

With 3x the cutting power of traditionally designed pruners, the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X pruners are easy to use. The patented gear mechanism and impressive power means that bigger, more efficient cuts can be made with a fraction of the effort.

The ergonomic rotating handle follows your hand’s natural clenching motion, reducing stress and fatigue. With a textured soft grip providing optimal comfort, the PowerGear™ X is the perfect pruner for those with large scale pruning tasks, as well as those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism or carpal tunnel syndrome.

With increased visibility and a new locking mechanism, the pruners are easier to locate and safer to use. The advanced FiberComp™ construction results in a lighter, weather resistant tool, perfect for serious gardeners.

The new PowerGear™ X pruner range is available in Bypass pruner M, Bypass pruner L and Anvil pruner L.

Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears

The innovative design for the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears incorporates ergonomic principles with advanced technology, resulting in a lightweight hedge shear with more balance and control than ever before.

It is hard to believe that the patented gear mechanism can improve productivity so dramatically, but with 3x the power to every cut, this hedge shear cuts effortlessly through growth.

The new soft 3D contoured orange handle provides optimal grip and comfort, reducing fatigue and improving visibility in the garden. Fiskars hedge shears cut along the full length of the blade and the new construction makes it easy for tool maintenance.

The Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears are the tool of choice for gardeners that need to take control.

Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper

Cutting through tough woody branches should be hard work, but with the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper, it’s surprisingly easy. The ingenious PowerGear™ mechanism creates 3x the cutting power in every cut, without increasing effort for the gardener. When you take the precision ground stainless steel blades with friction reducing coating into account, and the robust lightweight aluminium handles, it is easy to see why the Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper has the best in class cutting power.

The new handle design utilises the soft grip material and with its 3D contour surface increases control and reduces the need for excessive grip, reducing the strain often associated with lopping. The lightweight aluminium shaft results in a tool that can be comfortably used for extended periods. Like every tool in the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X range, the new loppers can be dismantled and maintained with ease, providing gardeners with powerful tools, designed to last.

For more information on Fiskars gardening tools and the brand new PowerGear™ X range visit www.fiskars.co.uk.

Fiskars is a leading global supplier of branded consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. Products are renowned worldwide for their functionality and cutting-edge design, and the group boasts a strong portfolio of trusted international brands such as Fiskars, Iittala, and Gerber. Our most iconic product, the orange-handled scissors, was born in 1967 and is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The orange scissors revolutionized the everyday cutting experience, being the first plastic-handled scissors in the world. Fiskars is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. The group recorded net sales of 768 million euros in 2014, and employs some 4,800 people in over 20 countries. Founded in 1649, Fiskars is Finland's oldest company.

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.