In news reports Climate Change blamed for Samoan tsunami

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The tsunami that struck Samoa and Tonga in the South Pacific in the last days of September 2009 has been blamed by some on Climate Change.

I have to say that now I have about heard it all.

Tsunamis are not triggered by Climate Change or Global Warming but by undersea earthquakes. But some forces are trying to make this out to be a result of Climate Change as well.

Yet another time that Climate Change is being made to be responsible for something that it cannot and would not be.

Is this yet another attempt to fool the public and force them to believe such stories?

Why are certain powers trying to convince the public that every natural phenomenon is the result of Climate Change, be that tsunamis or what-have-you, when they are not?

Not everything that happens on the Planet, same as the high water recently at the US coast, is due to the changing of the world's climate, as they had to admit in the case of the rising waters.

While the climate appears indeed to be changing and the melting glaciers, whether in the Arctic or the Himalayas and such will, in the end, contribute to a rising sea level, a tsunami is not caused by Climate Change and will never be triggered by Global Warming either.

Help!!!

© 2009

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World Habitat Day, Monday, October 5, 2009

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Let's stand up on World Habitat Day and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere – in our communities, in our towns, in our country, in our world.

The United Nations has designated the first Monday each October as World Habitat Day.


This year on October 5 in Washington, D.C. and around the world, please join Habitat for Humanity in support of this global observance as we come together and declare that the lack of decent, affordable housing is unacceptable.
According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security.

As a Romani-Gypsy I know but too well how many of the world's Gypsy population, those that wish to live a settled or more settled life, are forced to live in slums, shacks and cardboard boxes, entire families of them. Let us not even talk about those that are displaced within their own countries such as in the Balkans, through war and ethnic cleansing attempts, or forced to flee abroad.

Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home.

The U.N. further states that both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability.
Rapid rates of urbanization cause serious negative consequences - overcrowding, poverty, slums with many poorly equipped to meet the service demands of ever growing urban populations.

With over half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas the U.N. believes there is no doubt that the "urban agenda" will increasingly become a priority for governments, local authorities and their non-governmental partners everywhere.

U.S. Housing Facts

  • About 95 million people, one third of the nation, have housing problems including a high-cost burden, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. (National Low Income Housing Coalition: 2004)

  • One in three American households spend more than 30 percent of income on housing, and one in seven spends more than 50 percent. (Joint Center for Housing Studies: 2006)

  • The number of low-income families that lack safe and affordable housing is related to the number of children that suffer from asthma, viral infections, anemia, stunted growth and other health problems. About 21,000 children have stunted growth attributable to the lack of stable housing; 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because of cockroach infestation at home; and more than 180 children die each year in house fires attributable to faulty electrical heating and electrical equipment. (Sandel, et al: 1999)

Global poverty facts

  • By the year 2030, an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, will need access to housing. This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day and 4,000 every hour. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

  • One out of every three city dwellers – nearly a billion people – lives in a slum. (Slum indicators include: lack of water, lack of sanitation, overcrowding, non-durable structures and insecure tenure.) (UN-HABITAT: 2006)

  • UN-Habitat has reported that because of poor living conditions, women living in slums are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than their rural counterparts, and children in slums are more likely to die from water-borne and respiratory illness. (UN-HABITAT: 2006)

  • Housing formation generates non-housing related expenditures that help drive the economy. (Kissick, et al: 2006)

  • Investing in housing expands the local tax base. (Kissick, et al: 2006)

The theme for World Habitat Day 2009 is "Planning our Urban Future".

Celebrations of World Habitat Day in Washington, D.C. will be an excellent opportunity to foster global discussion and raise the profile of shelter and urban issues at the national and international level. Events in the United States and around the world include policy forums, award presentations, luncheons, dinners, house-building and exhibitions.

If you want to help and be part of this there are a number of ways to do so, though at this close stage the only real choice may be to DONATE to be a part of making the world a better place and support Habitat’s efforts. You can Donate online today! by clicking on the link.

Everyone should have a chance to a decent home and no one should have to live in shacks and that often illegally. If someone chooses a life in a small cabin or such out of their free will then that is a different story, for such people exist, but in general...

To help out if you can, as such short notice, follow the “donate path” given above.

© 2009

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Milder cooler summers; milder and often wetter winters

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Not many years ago we were being told that summers in Britain would get drier and hotter year by year and winters would be milder and drier in the future. The last two years, however, have been definitely the opposite.

The summer of 2008 and so far also the summer of 2009 have been cooler and, from where I see it, wetter than the previous five or so years.

In fact English summers have turned once again into the kind of summers they were years ago during my childhood though they do appear wetter now even. But English summers used to be a couple of nice warm and dry days to even a week or two in the right months and then a mix of sun and rain.

While the 2008/2009 winter has snow – lots of it in fact – for about a week and cold for a couple of weeks so far I could not say as to whether the winters are shifting back to “normal” English winters. But there is never anything “normal” with the weather in our Isles as it is so fickle. It changes all the time.

The meteorologists predicted a barbecue summer and have now had to do a very serious attempt of back pedaling while making fools of themselves. They now say they never every claimed such a things. Strange thought that everyone remembers them saying just that. Bit like “what hurricane” in 1987.

The point is that all the predictions do not work even at a few months ahead of time so how can they claim to be able to predict anything 20 years ahead and such. They cannot and computer models of any kind operate on the GIGO, the “garbage in/garbage out”, principle and therefore all such claims as to computer models predicting this or that in the future must be taken with a great pinch of salt, and it would appear to be a case here of the bigger the pinch the better.

Some time in the 1970s a scientist working on long-range forecasts “played” with data inputs b y changing wind direction, temperature and such by just a fraction expecting to get just a minor change and in fact he got a shock. And because of the fact that it went off the scale he pronounced then that long-range prediction would never work and methinks he was right.

The problem is when it comes to the continuing claim that the temperatures in Britain are going to be rising and rising which anyone with a little idea will realize that for he last two years they have done no such thing those predictions do not entirely seem to work out.

I may be no scientist but what I think we may be seeing – in Britain at least – is a return to the weather patterns of years ago when summers were rather damper than they have been in the 1990s and early 2000s.

As far as other countries are concerned I cannot speak but when it comes to the likes of Australia the fact that people have decided to live, in large congregations, in areas that cannot support such amount of people may also have a lot to do with the problems that are being experienced there.

However, as I have said many a times before, I believe the climate is changing but which way it is going to go that remains to be seem. The only one thing that can be said for certain is that we mere mortals cannot stop it in the same was as the little Dutch boy, whatever his name was, cannot stem the tide with a finger stuck in the hole in the dike.

We must stop the pollution of the atmosphere with all the exhaust fumes of cars, trucks, and chimneys for it now found that the glaciers in the Himalayas are not melting because of any global warming and CO2 but because of the so-called “brown cloud”, caused by the pollution from the Indian lowlands. So, once again something that, while a result of pollution, has nothing to do with any man-made CO2 induced global warming.

So, therefore, methinks we have to be very careful as to what we accept as gospel and what not.

© 2009

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A clear view of the climate change landscape

All professions and all sectors are being challenged as never before to understand and respond to climate change risk. The Carbon Yearbook 2009-10, to be published on Tuesday 29 September, offers a much needed compass for professionals struggling to navigate the debate.

The Carbon Yearbook 2009-10 is the essential annual review of climate change, carbon markets and carbon management. Eighteen political commentaries and expert analyses carefully selected by experts from ENDS (Environmental Data Services) distil the key issues for business as well as environmental and carbon professionals.

The Carbon Yearbook 2009-10 will be launched at The Carbon Show (www.thecarbonshow.com) in London on Tuesday 29 September, at a drinks reception from 5pm.

Among highlights of the Carbon Yearbook 2009-10:

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s Minister for Climate and Energy who will host the crucial Copenhagen climate conference in December, give their frank assessment of what is needed to make COP15 a success.

Kjell Olav Kristiansen of carbon market analysts Point Carbon takes a long hard look at the state of international climate politics to provide an independent assessment of what is likely to emerge from the Copenhagen summit in practice.

Carbon emission trading is emerging as the key global mechanism for tackling greenhouse gas emissions. Mark Lewis of Deutsche Bank and Lisa Ashford of leading carbon offset company Ecosecurities provide in-depth but accessible analyses of key trends in the regulated and voluntary carbon markets respectively.

Britain is positioning itself as a global leader on climate change mitigation and the Yearbook takes stock of the government’s ambition and progress. Tom Delay, head of the Carbon Trust, and DECC minister Lord Hunt assert in separate articles that Britain must and can slash its carbon emissions without undermining economic growth.

Nicholas Schoon, Editor of the ENDS Report provides an independent analysis of the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. Daniel Waller of consultancy AEA and unrivalled expert on the new UK Carbon Reduction Commitment explains what the CRC means and how it will work.

The Yearbook also gives a clear introduction to America’s critically important Waxman-Markey bill aimed at tackling US greenhouse gas emissions, and describes how companies are increasingly turning to carbon benchmarking to assess their carbon performance relative to competitors.

In a closing article, Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia argues society cannot simply “solve” climate change. Rather, it poses an inescapable challenge for us to readdress how we relate to each other and to the planet.

The Carbon Yearbook has been produced by ENDS (Environmental Data Services), the respected environmental publishing unit of Haymarket Business Media. Haymarket is the UK’s largest privately-owned publishing company.

The Yearbook is available from ENDS at £25 for print copies and £15 for pdf downloads.

For more information visit www.carbonyearbook.com

The Carbon Show is the first ever international exhibition dedicated to all aspects of carbon, covering everything from carbon consulting and carbon measurement to carbon trading and low-carbon business solutions. It is launched at London’s ExCeL Centre on 29-30 September

2009 before returning in autumn 2010. More information at www.thecarbonshow.com

Early praise for the Carbon Yearbook

  • “The climate change debate keeps moving on, at a faster and faster pace, and keeping up with it gets harder and harder for business and professional leaders. The Carbon Yearbook provides an admirable solution to that problem, and I have found the principal articles to be of enormous value in terms of providing authoritative and timely insights into critical aspects of the debate.”

Jonathon Porritt - Founder Director, Forum for the Future, former chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.

  • "The essential guide to navigating the real world implications of constructing a low carbon economy"

Nick Robins - Head of Climate Change Centre, HSBC Bank

  • “Climate change transforms the landscape of risk and opportunity for the whole of business. It is doing more rapidly and more extensively than many businesses yet realise. Navigating a successful course through the increasing noise and uncertainties of the climate debate will be a core skill for business success. This yearbook provides essential signposts by some of the best informed and most authoritative voices in the global debate.”

Tom Burke - Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London. Environmental Policy Advisor to Rio Tinto Plc

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EcoUsable Offers The Safe Alternative To Aluminum Water Bottles

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As most readers will by now know aluminum water bottle makers Sigg and Laken have now finally publicly acknowledged what many have suspected and that is that water bottles made and sold until recently were lined with an epoxy resin containing Bisphenol-A (BPA).

In scientific studies, BPA is often linked to health issues such as heart disease, cancers, infertility, obesity, and diabetes. It is also seen as a hormone disruptor as it appears to mimic estrogen and can lead to hormone imbalance in boys.

In response to this news, EcoUsable, pioneers of the world’s first stainless filtered water bottle, are excited to launch the “Make The Switch” campaign. This campaign encourages consumers with aluminum water bottles to “Make The Switch” to EcoUsable stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles produced with no lining at all.

“Our customers’ health is the number one concern,” said Joey Mendelsohn, President and CEO of EcoUsable, Inc. “The news about our competitors has been disturbing, however, we’re proud to offer consumers a safe way to live a healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle.”

As part of the “Make The Switch” campaign, EcoUsable is offering a 20% discount to all consumers that purchase an EcoUsable stainless steel water bottle from http://www.EcoUsable.com/MakeTheSwitch through October 31, 2009.

This year, EcoUsable also introduced The ECH2O, the world's only stainless steel bottle that includes its own portable filtration system that provides high quality, great tasting filtered water on the go. Each filter, filters up to 100 gallons of water, approximately six months of use with an average yearly savings of more than $1,600.

Offered in a variety of colors, these bottles can also be customized with EcoUsable’s flagship product, the Water Wrapz™, a removable and reusable band to identify your water bottle.

There are a lot of personal water bottles on the market today, but not all metal bottles are made from 100% stainless steel; in fact the great majority are aluminum with a liner, the majority of which, you can be assured, still contain the same BPA in their epoxy liner.

EcoUsable bottles are made with 304 food grade (18/8) stainless steel, being the highest, making it the most common for food preparation cookware and incision scalpels. EcoUsable bottles also feature a one of a kind simple half-turn loop that ensures a safe, bacteria free and germ free bottle, while most bottles require 3-6 turns to open. In more than 50 colors and designs, there is an EcoUsable water bottle for everyone.

While we still have to see a sample of the EcoUsable bottles for test and review the fact that the bottle is made of 18/8 stainless makes it the best choice compared to any other non-stainless steel metal bottle.

© 2009

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GREEN THING ASKS THE WORLD TO SHOW A LITTLE GLOVE LOVE

Award winning environmental group launches campaign to pair up the world’s lost and lonely single gloves

London, September 2009: Green Thing is asking the world to donate their single gloves to its Glove Love campaign, which is matching up single gloves that have lost their original partners to create new and unique Glove Love pairs. The award winning environmental group is launching the initiative during London Fashion Week and has already received donations from the public, businesses and celebrities including: Eva Green, Lauren Budd and Emma Thompson.

Glove Love is part of Green Thing’s anti-waste initiative called ‘All Consuming’, which promotes the art of wasting nothing and using up everything. There are hundreds of pairs of uniquely matched Glove Love gloves available through Green Thing.

Each newly paired set is washed, repaired and re-packaged by hand with recycled nametags, labels that explain the stories behind each glove and a glorious Glove Love letter of introduction. For more information and to donate or give a home to a pair of glove lovers please visit: www.dothegreenthing.com/glovelove

Commenting on the appeal, Emma Thompson said: “Glove Love is brilliant, romantic, original, funny and green."

Green Thing has already received hundreds of single gloves from partners and a host of

organisations, including: Transport For London, The Natural History Museum and transport operator, First Group to help support the appeal.

Model, Lauren Budd said: “I was excited by the idea of using fashion to encourage people to recycle and help the environment. I think people are becoming more and more aware of the environmental issues surrounding fast fashion and Glove Love shows how to live a little greener but still have fun.”

Glove Love is an example of how to design new products, which blend form, function and systemic sustainability as each glove evades landfill and avoids a new pair being bought using up further resources.

Hollywood actress, Eva Green donated a glove to the appeal and said: “I’m delighted to support the Green Thing in their appeal and to give a glove to Glove Love.”

Powered by the idea of ‘Creativity vs. Climate Change’, Green Thing inspires people to lead a greener life by making it smart, fashionable and fun - turning it from something you ought to do to something that you want to do. Winner of the Best Green Digital at the Green Awards 2008 and endorsed by respected environmental thinkers, Green Thing has engaged people from 201 countries over 4 million times, which has helped save over 11 thousand tonnes of CO2.

‘All-Consuming’ is just one of Green Thing’s seven things you can do to lead a greener lifestyle, which include:

  • You get from A to B without any C when you Walk The Walk
  • It’s delicious but it causes more CO2 than cars so go Easy On The Meat
  • Resist the urge to buy the latest and Stick With What You Got
  • Turn down the central heating and turn up the Human Heat
  • The art of wasting nothing and using up everything: All-Consuming
  • Instead of jetting your way around the world Stay Grounded
  • Don’t leave it on or even put it on: Plug Out

Co-founder of Green Thing, Naresh Ramchandani, said: “It’s the age old scenario when you root through your wardrobe as winter closes in only to find you have one solitary glove.

Glove Love is about finding a sustainable solution to this problem but at the same time making green living simple and fun. The donations of single gloves so far have been fantastic and we’re still appealing for more. We’re hoping the campaign encourages the art of wasting nothing and using up everything – ‘All Consuming’.”

Green Thing is endorsed by nine environmental advisors:

  • Satish Kumar, founder and editor of Resurgence magazine
  • Alex Steffen, co-founder and executive editor of WorldChanging.com
  • Cathy Zoi, chief executive officer of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Outreach and Information Network
  • Jules Peck, Quality of Life Policy Group director
  • Robert Webb, founder and managing director of Quiet Revolution
  • Anthony Turner, founder and managing director of Carbon Sense
  • Ed Gillespie, co-founder and creative director of sustainability consultancy Futerra
  • Dr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Prize winner and tree-planter extraordinaire
  • George Marshall, founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network

Green Thing can be found at www.dothegreenthing.com and Glove Love can be found at www.dothegreenthing.com/glovelove

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CRC registration guidance is soon to be issued. Are you ready? Learn more at The Carbon Show!

The Environment Agency will soon issue registration guidance for the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). Affected organisations could easily underestimate the time needed to gather the necessary information to comply with the scheme’s obligations. The Carbon Reduction Commitment is a major platform in the government’s climate change strategy, and it is very likely that it could affect you. Recent research by Camco and 2Degrees highlights just how unprepared UK companies are. Results show that:

  • 33.2% rate their state of readiness as less than moderate
  • 49% of current energy management programmes are not aligned to the CRC
  • 23.7% of organisations have yet to record their carbon reduction measures
  • 21.9% do not know whether they will be investing in energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures
  • 68.4% believe the CRC will have significant implications on their cash flow

Is your organisation prepared, or do you still have questions about what you need to do, like those surveyed? For example, did you realise that failure to register for CRC, could give rise to penalties of at least £5,000? If you are not yet fully prepared, The Carbon Show is the ideal place to learn more, because the Environment Agency will be running dedicated CRC sessions.

For example, in preparation for CRC, you will, at minimum, need to:

  • Consider whether your organisation may be required to participate in the CRC or
  • whether your organisation may just be required to make an information disclosure.
  • Start gathering the necessary information, including details of all electricity consumed from all of the affected units in your organisation.
  • If necessary, appoint a designated CRC manager responsible for your organisation meeting the CRC obligations.

“Our sessions will provide delegates with a solid overview of the CRC scheme,” says Keith Brierley, CRC Project Business Manager, Environment Agency. “We’ll touch on qualification, registration, compliance, the league table and enforcement. We’ll also discuss the CRC guidance schedule so organisations know what guidance to expect and when.”

Now is the time to start preparing, and The Carbon Show is the ideal first step in your preparations. The exhibition, taking place at ExCeL London on 29 and 30 September, will provide the resources, products and strategies needed to excel in the exciting world of carbon related business and learning opportunities. Featuring a comprehensive range of exhibitors, specialised seminars, interactive workshops, exclusive networking opportunities and plenary sessions, The Carbon Show will deliver the information and and resources needed to help your organisation succeed in the new low-carbon economy.

For more information and to pre-register for general entry to the exhibition, please visit www.thecarbonshow.com

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Leeds bike loan scheme expands across universities

Students will start pedalling around Leeds in ever greater numbers this term, as a successful bike loan scheme expands in size.

Velocampus Leeds will almost double its fleet of bikes to 350 – a year on from becoming the first scheme of its kind in the UK - to help students at The University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University get around more actively.

The loan scheme is part of UTravelActive, a Lottery funded project led by sustainable transport charity Sustrans with additional funding from the two universities, NHS Leeds and Leeds City Council.

Students who benefited in its inaugural year included Tamara Bloom, who was a novice cyclist when she started cycling her daily commute from Chapel Allerton.

Tamara, aged 24, said: ”I’ve found riding a bike to be the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to travel as well as the most enjoyable - much more fun than a crowded bus! It’s also been the best way of getting exercise rather than having to find time to get to the gym or go for a jog.”

University of Leeds student John Pelletier also cycled to university every day, often beating the buses and cars on his journey in, and saving £3.20 in daily bus fares.

He said: “I’d recently lost weight and wanted to keep it off – and was really pleased to shed even more pounds by cycling to university every day.”

The 21-speed hybrid bikes are security stamped and coded. Each bike will be loaned out for the year, complete with lights and lock, on a first come first served basis.

UTravelActive project manager Lisa Brannan said: “We have been delighted with the take-up from students for this scheme. Cycling is the healthiest, most convenient and cheapest way for so many students to get to and from campus – and will also help to reduce traffic congestion throughout the day.”

Other UTravelActive activities include safer route planning and advice; self-help bike maintenance sessions; and bike buddying social rides, walks and events where novice cyclists team up with someone more experienced.

UTravelActive is part of a portfolio of projects being delivered by a Consortium of the leading walking cycling and health organisations and funded through the Big Lottery Fund's Wellbeing Programme. The Programme provides funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve wellbeing.

The Consortium is led by Sustrans and includes British Cycling, CTC, Cycling England, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, the National Heart Forum, the National Obesity Forum, the Ramblers’ Association, Campaign for Better Transport and Walk 21. It is delivering a portfolio of projects that will enable 2 million people nationwide to become more physically active by walking or cycling as part of their daily lives by 2012.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across

the UK since its inception in June 2004.

Sustrans is the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity. Its vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. It is achieving this through innovative but practical solutions to the UK’s transport challenges.

Sustrans’ flagship project, the National Cycle Network, is now around 12,000 miles and runs within one mile of over half the UK population. During 2007 over 354 million trips were made on the Network. It is maintained by a team of 2,400 volunteer Rangers.

Sustrans is an active member of Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of environmental, development, women's, faith-based and activist organisations campaigning to stop climate change.

Project Manager Lisa Brannan recently visited Nantes University to find out how their successful university-based ‘Velocampus' cycle loan scheme operates and learnt some valuable tips from the team there.

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“VirtualiSation and the Other Green Computing Initiative”

By Owen Cole, Technical Director UK&I, F5

Green IT within organisations has to be an initiative that results in positive bottom line impact, or it is doomed to failure as a strategy. Reducing power consumption and management expenses, as well as increasing efficiency of resources through consolidation and virtualisation is an effective route to lessening the impact on the environment as well as improving profitability. This article examines the technologies that can be used to achieve both these aims.

There’s been a lot of hype over the past year surrounding “green” computing and the drive to lower the impact of IT and data centres on the environment. While we’re all for the concept of green computing and reducing the impact of computing on our environment, we’re also cognizant of the reality that every IT organization also has to worry about the other kind of green: its bottom line.

The good news is that there is some amount of overlap between these green computing initiatives. Reducing power consumption and management expenses, and increasing efficiency of existing resources through consolidation and virtualization decreases both the impact of devices on the environment as well as on IT’s increasingly tightening budget.

Reducing Power and Heat

The easiest way to reduce the impact of any device on the bottom line, be it a server or networking equipment, is to reduce the amount of power it requires. Modern servers often draw variable amounts of power based on the processing power in use by applications. Similarly, some networking equipment and other devices provide the same functionality, drawing varying amounts of power based on their load and configuration. This can be beneficial in reducing the operating cost of the server or device, but like dealing with variable costs of bandwidth due to bursts in usage, also makes it difficult to estimate annual costs and budget appropriately.

Another simple, but often overlooked, facet is how many BTUs are generated by any given device. By decreasing the BTUs generated, there is less heat and thus less cooling required within the data centre. The costs of cooling a data centre are larger than those to heat one, owing to the fact that much of the heating needs in a data centre are inherently taken care of by the BTUs generatd by the devices it houses. Reducing these costs can have a significant impact on the operating expenses of any IT organization.

Reducing power consumption and generation of BTUs for devices and servers is something over which IT has no control. While IT can certainly use such ratings as part of its decision making process for purchasing, it really can’t do a thing to affect how much power is consumed or how many BTUs are generated by any given device. It’s simply a cost of doing business.

Yet IT can make decisions, both in purchasing and architecture, which reduce power consumption and heat generation by reducing the number of servers and devices that make up its data centre. Consolidation and virtualization are both ways in which IT can positively impact its bottom line.

The Impact of Consolidation

Consolidation has been an ‘initiative’ in IT for many years, and it generally revolves around the consolidation of the data centre in terms of the number of servers deployed to support mission-critical applications. While reducing the number of servers in the data centre, and thus rack density, both power consumption and heat generation can be positively affected.

Yet capacity needs must be balanced with consolidation efforts, and at some point consolidation is no longer possible. As the volume of users and application usage grows, so must the number of servers – and devices such as application delivery controllers – necessary to scale mission-critical applications.

Striking a balance between scalability and controlling costs is difficult, and thus far it has been nearly impossible to avoid the deployment of additional application delivery controllers as a mechanism for scaling out a data centre. Whether chassis or appliance-based, these devices have only added to the cost of power consumption and increased the generation of heat within the data centre, raising operational costs.

Solving this problem requires effort on both the part of the application delivery controller vendor to reduce the power consumption and BTU generation of devices while simultaneously providing a way to scale without increasing the number of devices required for deployment within the data centre. A single, chassis-based application delivery controller requiring less power and generating fewer BTUs that also scales via a virtualized bladed architecture can address the growing need for capacity without adversely impacting IT’s bottom line, or the environment.

The Impact of Virtualization

By architecting a new breed of chassis-based application delivery controllers that take advantage of virtualization not only at the server level but at the chassis and blade level, these new devices can provide better performance in a single unit than could previously be obtained with multiple appliance-based solutions or legacy chassis-models.

By virtualizing blades and CPUs, essentially creating a single, powerful processing matrix, this new breed of chassis-based application delivery controller can scale nearly linearly. This internal processing scalability means that every last drop of processing power is being used and can provide a much higher capacity than its legacy ancestors. By more efficiently using the processing power available, the performance per power unit is increased, making each transaction processed by the application delivery controller cost a fraction in terms of power consumption than would otherwise be possible.

Figure 1: Comparison of performance per watt for legacy and new chassis model application delivery controllers

Consider the comparison in Figure 1. Regardless of what the cost per kilowatt hour, there is a significant savings in terms of power when moving from the legacy chassis-model to a new, virtualized chassis-model. This has a significant positive impact on the environment as well as on the organizational budget. Given the higher performance capacity of the new chassis model, this also allows for fewer devices necessary to meet the growing traffic management and application delivery needs of today’s IT organizations, which lowers the cost of operations as well as management.

The management costs of such a new breed of application delivery controller are inherently lower than a traditional application delivery solution, owing to its virtualized architecture and the ability for the device – and IT manager – to manage the system as a single entity rather than as individual blades in a larger system. This reduces the amount of management necessary, and in turn reduces the costs associated with managing the device. This is especially true as capacity is added, as it would require multiple legacy chassis-based devices to match the processing power of a single virtualized chassis-based system. Each added device must be managed, and adds to the amount of power consumed and BTUs generated, making it much more expensive to scale.

Also having an impact are the BTUs generated by each device. There is a definitive cost associated with removing the heat generated by these devices in the form of cooling, so the lower BTU generation of the new breed of chassis-based solution is a definite boon both on the environment as well as on the budget.

Conclusion

It’s rare that an environmental friendly movement such as Green IT results in reducing costs, especially in its early stages. And yet in the case of this new breed of chassis-based application delivery controllers, that’s exactly the result. With the decreased management and power consumption costs and increased performance, these new application delivery controllers are both green as in grass and green as in cash.

F5 is exhibiting at Storage Expo, 14th – 15th October, Olympia, London www.storage-expo.com. The UK’s definitive event for data storage, information and content management provides the opportunity to compare the most comprehensive range of solutions and services from leading suppliers with a free and unrivalled education programme.

Courtesy: Eskenzi PR/Storage PR

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Country told to be more self-sufficient in food production

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Much like a Yo-Yo going up and down or a pendulum swinging from side to side the UK government jumps from one extreme to the other.

Not so long ago they basically told us that the country should never ever attempt to become self-sufficient in food production and now they say that Britain must become more self-sufficient in food production.

One can, therefore, but wonder when precisely it may be that government an d its “scientists” manage to work out to where they actually are.

Despite the fact that we had now two successive cooler and wetter summers in a row, cooler and wetter than in many recent years and a little more like the English summers of old, the talk is still about long term computer models predicting olives in the British Isles and us not being able to import food anymore from the Mediterranean area, such as Spain, for instance, as it will have gotten too hot and dry there for most things to grow. Can someone tell me in what universe those people live. If they see olives growing in Britain in the next decades they better start planting those trees now, and I mean now.

Not only must a country be more self-sufficient in food, whether Britain or any other, it should actively strive to be as self-sufficient as at all possible.

As far as the computer models are concerned; we must remember the GIGO principle for the output is dependent on the data initially given into the machine.

Currently, in the UK at least, we have in what is now August 2009, we have had two rather cooler summer with quite a lot of precipitation with summer 2008 probably being wetter still than summer 2009, at least so far, and also a winter of the like we have not had for many a years.

The long-range weather forecast for the 2009 summer was one of a “Barbecue Summer” with sizzling temperatures to match those of the grill all the way from June to end of August but so far this has not happened and the weathermen have had to revise predictions by now. They also did a great act of back-pedaling claiming that they never said that about the hot and dry summer and that the media misinterpreted them. Looks meteorologists and politicians have been to the same spin school.

Olives in Britain? First of it takes decades before an olive tree would ever properly produce fruit to we all better star planting some olive trees right now. Only I would not give them much of a survival chance in current climes here.

Secondly while grapes for good quality wine is one thing and was the case before already in Britain under the Romans the other predictions could be a little problematic.

Why do the scientists not admit that they do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. But no, they have to appear as g-ds to the world.

The climate is changing and it has happened on our planet since time immemorial and while our polluting of the Earth may not have helped it remais rather questionable as to how far human activities have anything to do with the changing of our world climate. The rise in CO2 levels is more attributable to the fact of the wholesale destructions of forests, tropical and otherwise and the loss of those trees that otherwise would absorb that CO2.

As far as food security is concerned Britain and other countries ha to attempt for more self-sufficiency in food production and we all may have to change our diets somewhat. We may have to return to a “war diet” as in WWII rather than the post-war one of wanton over-consumption of meat, especially the expensive cuts, and foreign imports.

A “War Diet” would definitely not be a bad idea and nor would be the turning over of much of the lawn and decking in gardens to food productions. Dig for Victory!

However, the Environment Secretary of Britain, Hillary Benn, says that the country needs genetically-modified (GM) foods in order to ensure food security. This, yet again, shows that ministers of this government do not appear to live in this universe, let alone this planet, and it would also appear which lobby groups are in control.

© 2009

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Electricity from waste meat criticized by campaigning group

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Vegetarian and animal rights charity Viva! - but then what do you expect from an organizations that is called “Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals” - has attacked the UK's leading supermarket TESCO after it said it burnt waste meat for energy.

TESCO, which recently claimed to have diverted 100% of its waste from landfills, is throwing 5000 tonnes of unsold meat into incinerators each year.

The supermarket said this generated about 2500 mega watt hours of renewable electricity – enough to power more than 600 homes for a year.

Viva! campaigns manager, Justin Kerswell, said: “It's a sad indictment of modern life that not only hundreds of millions of animals are killed each year in the UK, but so much meat is left over from greed and indifference.”

“To turn this wasted meat into power might seem like a good idea at first, but you have to ask yourself why is so much left over and why are so many animals dying to provide this excess?”

“Whatever savings are made by turning this meat into energy is more than voided by the huge amount of greenhouses gases generated by the farming and production of the meat in the first place. TESCO should take a long hard look at their wasteful practices.”

TESCO executive director Lucy Neville-Rolfe explained the supermarket chain had a 'responsibility to provide leadership' in environmental technology.

The company has even managed to achieve the target of diverting 100% of waste from landfill a year ahead of its planned schedule.

Whatever Viva! may say, in my opinion, while it is understandable to be concerned about the fact that so much meat remains unsold (and we can but wonder how much other foods, etc. also remain unsold and are thrown away), it is certainly better to use that waste meat for the generation of electricity rather than to have it rot away in landfill and create methane that, eventually, will leach into the atmosphere.

As far as I am concerned I would say a “well done!” to TESCO and hope that others will follow suit, including abattoirs.

A postscript here as well: Viva! would do well to remember that under the British Charity laws political campaigning is not permitted – at least the various Romani-Gypsy organizations have been told that – and maybe the Charity Commissioners should take a closer look at things.

© 2009

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The Carbon Show will be the UK's largest networking event for the carbon community

The Carbon Show will bridge the gap between all sectors of the carbon community at the UK's first exhibition dedicated to trading, managing and reducing carbon. The exhibition, which takes place at ExCeL London on 29 and 30 September, will mark the first time that so many key players in the low carbon industry have been available to discuss the government’s recently revealed Low Carbon Industrial Strategy and the forthcoming Copenhagen summit.

The Carbon Show will open with an exclusive VIP breakfast hosted by the Rt Hon the Lord Michael Heseltine CH, Chairman, Haymarket Media Group, who will deliver a speech on the future of the low carbon economy. Lord Heseltine recognises the value of bringing together professionals to engage with the important topic of climate change: “I think it is particularly important in a time of political instability, such as we are now facing, that the public and private sectors combine resources in engaging with important issues, in order to help secure a stable future for the economy. If we are to succeed in implementing the government’s plans for a low carbon future, we must act now, and we must act together.”

2degrees, an online networking forum which has over 4500 members from the environmental sector, will team up with environmental consultancy AEA to provide attendees to The Carbon Show with an exclusive opportunity to discuss today's CRC issues with industry professionals. Gill Harris, Marketing Manager for 2degrees believes that “networking areas at events such as the Carbon Show are invaluable to the 2degrees Team as they provide the perfect opportunity for our members to meet face-to-face and take their online networking activities offline.”

Visitors are invited to meet Daniel Waller and Mark Johnson, as well as the 2degrees

Solutions Team, and discuss the challenges faced by businesses as Britain transitions to a low carbon economy, whilst relaxing and enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. The networking session will be available from 15:15-16:45 on Tuesday 29th September, but the benefits don't stop there – with the help of the 2degrees team you can find out how to make the most of online networking opportunities for your business.

Also not to be missed is the launch of the Carbon Yearbook 2009/10, which is published by ENDS Carbon. The Carbon Yearbook will provide a definitive guide to all the issues surrounding carbon reduction and the carbon markets, with contributions from key thinkers such as:

- Stavros Dimas, EU Environment Commissioner

- Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group

- Connie Hedegaard, Danish Minister for Climate & Energy

- Lord Hunt, minister in UK DECC

- Tom Delay, chief executive, the Carbon Trust

- Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Meet the authors and selected contributors of the Carbon Yearbook at a special drinks

reception, set to be one of the networking highlights of the carbon calendar. All attendees to The Carbon Show receive free entry to the drinks reception, where they will be able to pick up a complimentary copy of the Carbon Yearbook (worth £75).

To pre-register for free general entry to the exhibition, and to find our more, visit

www.thecarbonshow.com

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Promoting green living and community gardens

Going green in Toledo

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Toledo, Ohio – Leaders with the city of Toledo on Saturday, August 8, 2009, hosted an event at the Erie Street Market to promote green living. The idea was to educate people on various techniques and products they can use to become more environmentally friendly.

Also, in east Toledo the community gathered to kick off an effort to create a community garden in the Birmingham neighborhood.

While we now see that some city leaders in the United States are promoting such green issues openly in the UK we still seem to be missing the government, including local government, with the exception of the London Mayor, involvement in such issues and mostly it is left to NGOs and such to get on with it.

We must all do our bit and we must all come together somehow to exchange information and such like on all issues appertaining to green living on all levels and the Web can be the best tool for this.

Now let's get down to doing just that...

© 2009

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Sustainable Food – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Sustainable Food
How to Buy Right and Spend Less
by Elise McDonough
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, August 2009
Paperback, 4 3/4 x 6 1/2, 96 pages, with Color photos

ISBN: 9781603581417

Wondering whether it’s worth it to splurge on the locally raised beef? What about those organic carrots? New in the Chelsea Green Guides series, Sustainable Food: How to Buy Right and Spend Less helps the average shopper navigate the choices, whether strolling the aisles of a modern supermarket or foraging at a local farmers market.
This down-to-earth, casual guide—small enough to be slipped into your pocket—answers these and other questions for the shopper:

  • What are the differences among organic, local, fair-trade, free-range, naturally raised, and biodynamic foods?
  • How affordable is it to subscribe to a CSA farm—and what are the advantages?
  • Is it better to choose wild Alaskan salmon at $18.99, or the Chilean farmed fish at $11.99?
  • What cooking oils can be sustainably sourced?
  • How can a food co-op increase access to, and affordability of, healthier, Earth-friendly foods?
  • Where can you find sustainably produced sugar, and are there any local replacements for sweeteners from faraway lands?
  • What do the distinctions between shade-grown and trellised coffee mean?
  • Is shark okay to eat? How about mackerel?
  • Why is the war on plastic bags so important?

Sustainable eating just got easier.

While I would never go as far as advocating a total vegetarian or vegan diet and neither does the author of this book the comments of the author as regards meat free three or four days a week makes sense.

This was the was we lived in the “olden days” and also, we must not forget, how our parents and grandparents, of those of us who are older then forty, used to live. Meat was, unless you could go out and hunt it, way too expensive and consigned to Sundays and Feats Days. Hunting too never permitted a daily supply of meat, really, not even poaching, so everyone, bar, probably the wealthy, made do with vegetables in many shapes and forms though often peas pudding, and bread.

Organic – vs – local

This is a subject well covered too by the author in the book and has never and will never make sense to me to bring into the UK, for instance, “organic” French beans from Kenya at the same time when such produce is available from British growers.

However, alas, the perception of the author that local fruit and vegetables in season are cheaper does not work out in Britain, for instance. While this may, possibly, be thus in the United States it certainly is not in Britain. Here in the UK prices are maintained artificially by means of government intervention.

Some years ago there was a real glut of apples in the orchards in Kent (a British county) and farmers were ordered to destroy apples – ordered by the what was then called Agricultural Intervention Board. They were not even allowed to give those perfectly good apples away to the needy.

This seems to be the way where Europe, but especially the UK, might differ from the USA.

Laws also prevent and prohibit nowadays greengrocers and market traders from giving away fruit and veggies with say a few blemishes to those that are not so well off, as they used to do when I was a child. Instead such produce must be destroyed. And then the governments moan about the waste of food.

The author also mentions hunting as a sustainable and socially responsible way to eat meat and I must say that this is the first author of this kind of a book that makes send in this department and it makes a real refreshing change from the usual twaddle one gets to hear as regards to hunting.

The description of feed lot raised animals for food, such as beef, is so true as I know what it looks like there and how animals are treated from family who have worked on the veterinary crews in such places. How this kind of practice can even be allowed to exist beats me and the author did not even go far enough to describe the horrors of such places.

This is, most probably, the best and precise small guide to sustainable food about at present.

The author, Elise McDonough, trained at New York City's Natural Gourmet Institute, but her informal training in counterculture cuisine began at the Cleveland Food Co-op, where she was initiated into the world of food politics, strange ingredients, and alternative diets. She lives in New York, where she volunteers at the Union Square Greenmarket, and is actively involved in many local farm and food issues.

This is a book that I would really like to recommend.

© 2009
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Urban Green Fair – A great day out for all

Report by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Sunday, September 20, 2009 found me at the Urban Green Fair in Brockwell Park in Brixton, South-East London.

Brockwell Park is a very well kept and clean park right in, basically, the middle of Brixton, which was once a real problem zone of London.

This was my first every visit to this event even though it has been running annually for a number of years already.

The Urban Green Fair is very much in the same league with the Camden Green Fair in that is it well organized, well laid out, and with great friendly people and a nice atmosphere.

The Urban Green Fair was well attended and stalls and demonstrations from a variety of organizations, businesses and campaign groups, as well as speakers, on a variety of green and ethical issues.

The weather also held out with some decent sunny spells and the temperatures were not too bad either; in fact it was quite warm despite the wind.

By 3pm though dark clouds began rolling in and it looked as if rain might nor be far behind and that was the signal for me to beat a retreat and think of the trip back home.

In closing I would also like to say that the Urban Green Fair definitely is one that can and must be recommended and the work that is being done by some many groups in the Brixton area, including and especially Transition Town Brixton must be applauded.

© 2009
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Lakeland Late Autumn 09 Catalog – A Preview

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A couple of days ago a Press Preview copy the latest Lakeland catalog dropped onto my doormat and this is yet again one where there should be a number of items that should interest the readers.

Ever wanted to make your own bread from scratch, that is to say including milling your own flour? Now you can without having to send off to the United States for a grain mill.

Lakeland had a grain mill in their latest catalog and, hopefully, we shall be featuring a review of same here in due course.

Until now you basically had to get one from the States if you wanted to mill grain at home so we can but hope that this mill will remain in the Lakeland inventory. You find the grain mill on page 9 of the catalog.

Also in this new catalog, and found on page 22 and 23, are a good number of different slow cookers, also known as crock pots and the humble crock pot sure has come a long way.

Cooking in a slow cooker is a healthy and especially a very economic way to cook and roast as the cost of running one are so very low and in addition to that you have to be standing over it and watching it all the time. Start it up before you leave to work in the morning and by the time you come home at dinner time dinner is done and ready to be served.

In addition to that this latest Lakeland catalog has hundreds of different kinds of storage containers so you can really “love your leftovers”. And this is also good so for way too many leftovers are thrown into the garbage needlessly, often simply because people have no idea how to keep them and in what.

Those containers are also great for BYO lunches to work and school and a neat little container set is found on page 71 in the form of the Bento Boxes, which are a step up from the Indian stainless steel lunch pail things in that the Bento Boxes keep food warm for up to five hours.

Aside from the straight forward, so to speak, green and homesteading ideas that will be of interest to the readers of the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW, I am sure many other items too could tickle the fancy of one or the other reader, I am sure.

So, if one of those catalogs drops onto your doormat don't discard it without having a close look at it first. I am sure you'll find something of interest and if you don't get the catalog hop over to their website and get yourself onto their mailing list.

© 2009
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Free fuel stop and tune up for cyclists in Canterbury

There is no such thing as a free lunch or so we are led to believe, but for the lucky cyclists of Canterbury ’s Pilgrim’s Way Primary School this is not the case. On the morning of Tuesday 22nd September all school cyclists will be offered a free Sustrans Bike It Breakfast.

In a time of economic consciousness we are all becoming more aware of where our money is spent and increasingly searching for ways to save. Bike It Breakfast not only offers a free breakfast, Sustrans Bike It Officers will also be on hand to offer a free bike check service to ensure bikes are road safe.

Taking place at 8am at Pilgrims Way Primary School , Canterbury is one of the latest areas to join Sustrans Bike It scheme, managed by Sustrans, a leading project in England and Wales encouraging children and young people to choose two wheels instead of four for the journey to school. Bike It gives children the skills and confidence to travel independently and gives parents the peace of mind to let them.

Sustrans Bike It Officer David Robert organised the Breakfast, “I am delighted that Canterbury Council has joined the Bike It scheme which aims to increase the number of children cycling or walking to school. We are extending this service by offering all the school’s cyclists to attend Bike It Breakfast and encourage parents to join the growing number of children choosing to cycle.”

Bike it offers more ways to save in terms of the economy and environment. It is estimated that obesity will cost our environment an estimated £50 billion by 2050. By choosing to walk and cycle we are opting fro the healthy choice, a choice that will also benefit our environment by helping to significantly reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced.

Now in its fifth year, Sustrans Bike It project works with over 400 schools and over 89,000 children and young people across England and Wales. It works directly with pupils, parents and staff to help them overcome whatever it is that is preventing them from cycling to school – by organising cycle training, helping to install new bike sheds, contributing to classroom work and providing information about safe routes to schools.

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Studies conclude that urine use in the garden is a good green thing

Recognizing the value of a free, and abundant, fertilizer for your garden

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Wow! It once again required a study – or studies even – it would appear to prove something that our ancestors have known all the time. One of these days those epidemics will be able to invent the wheel even, of that I am sure.

Every time almost when the subject of urine in the garden is raised someone will claim that it is unsanitary to do so. However, it has been done for time immemorial and the Center for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales has been doing it ever since it was founded.

The unsanitary comment is a common statement, as said, when the subject of huma waste comes up but urine is a little different here than other human waste – if you know what I mean. I fact urine can be used as a disinfectant for cuts, for instance, if nothing else is at hand and there are other uses too for it.

Urine is a valuable organic fertilizer but it appears that Americans and some others are way behind in recognizing the agricultural value of urine.

For more than a decade, 130 households in Stockholm, Sweden, have collected their urine – amounting to nearly 40,000 gallons of it per year – and trucked it off to be sprayed on crops. More than 600,000 Chinese households in at a large number of the country's provinces use special urine-diverting toilets to fertilize crops such as sugarcane, watermelons, and peanuts. Farming communities in many African countries have also taken up the practice of collecting urine. And in the central Mexican village of Tepoztl├ín, an environmental group wheels a urine-collecting porta-potty to fiestas and uses the cache on local fields.

Human urine is a very high-quality fertilizer. It is so high-quality, in fact, that it is reckoned that a single person's urine would be enough to fertilize up to one tenth of an acre of vegetables for an entire year. There is a certain grossness factor that would undoubtedly turn some people off of the whole idea of using urine on their veggie garden, but this is not such an outlandish idea at all and before we destine this for the rubbish heap, let us look at what is really going on here.

Let us, for a moment, set aside the issue of bodily fluids and letting them loose in the garden  and look at what good fertilizers consist of. On any bag of either synthetic or organic fertilizer you would buy, there are three numbers that are commonly known as the NPK ratio.

N = nitrogen, which is important for stem and leaf development,
P = phosphorous, which aids root development, as well as flower and fruit production, and
K = potassium, which provides for general overall plant health and disease-resistance.

While I do not have the NPK ratio for human urine to hand, if indeed there is one, it is known that urine it is high in nitrogen, and also provides good doses of phosphorous and potassium.

Urine in fact was also collected for a different purpose in the 16th century in England, for example, and that was for the making of gunpowder. The crystallized urine is basically potassium-nitrate and equal to saltpeter. 

In a 2007 Washington Post story they followed a study in which human urine was used to fertilize cabbage (cabbage was chosen because it requires a lot of nitrogen for strong growth). The study found that the cabbages fertilized with human urine were larger at harvest, grew to their maximum size more quickly, and suffered less insect damage than cabbages grown with conventional fertilizers.

One concern that has been raised about using urine as a fertilizer, especially for edible crops, is that any pharmaceuticals that a person is taking could be passed along to the soil and plants via the urine. In that 2007 Washington Post story one of the leading scientists in the cabbage study was quoted in saying that any pathogens that survived in the urine would have to battle it out with microorganisms that already exist in the soil. He also said that, most likely, those pathogens would lose.

Tips for Using Urine as Fertilizer

It might probably best to dilute one's urine by mixing it with water. A 50/50 mix would probably be best.

Do not apply urine directly to the plants. Use it to water the soil around the plants instead. Applied to the plants it would burn the leaves and destroy the crop.

If you'd rather not use urine to fertilize your garden, you can add it to the compost pile.

This idea may not be for everyone, for some may simply shy away from it for “yuck” reasons and such, but it's an interesting concept, and human urine as a possible option for farmers and gardeners who are low on cash.

In addition to that it is certainly better than using chemical fertilizers that anyway are nothing but a chemical cocktail of NPK.

© 2009
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International Concern over Alleged Illegal Zoo Trade in Indonesia

International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation has joined ProFauna Indonesia in calling for a full investigation into allegations of illegal trading of wildlife products by several prominent zoos in the country. The case of the confiscation operation on the protected animal parts in Jagakarsa, Jakarta (7 August 2009) has been developed by the authorities. The Forestry Department held the second case presentation on 10 September 2009. The government agency strongly alleged that the illegal wildlife crime involved three ex-situ conservation institutions. The documents seized from the suspect showed that the three institutions: Indonesia Safari Game Park (Taman Safari Indonesia/ TSI), Pematang Siantar Zoological Park (Taman Hewan Pematang Siantar), and Bandung Zoological Garden (Kebun Binatang Bandung/ KBB), were allegedly involved in the illegal trade of endangered animals. The documents recorded the transactions between the suspect and the institutions trading these following endangered species: Sumatran tiger, orang-utan, Malayan tapir, sun bear, leopard cat, bird of paradise, and cuscus.

The alleged involvement of these zoos is horrifyingly ironic that the ex-situ conservation institutions must have protected and preserved the endangered animals. According to the 1990 Wildlife Act concerning the Conservation of the Natural Resources and Ecosystem, “Every one is prohibited to keep, own, raise, transport, and trade the protected animals including its skin, body or other parts, by-products, as well as to export (inside and outside Indonesia)” Offenders are liable to a maximum five year prison term and 100 millions IDR (10,000 USD).

The most recent case of illegal wildlife trade happening in a zoo was the death of a Sumatran female tiger in Rimbo Zoo, Jambi, Sumatera (22 August 2009). The poor tiger was murdered, skinned and stolen, only its intestines remaining in the cage.

The Coordinator of Forum against the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Irma Hermawati, SH, stated “We applaud the good job of the Forestry Department team that have succeeded in revealing the illegal wildlife case. The Forum has been suspecting the involvement of some zoos’ corrupt officers in trading the protected wildlife. Zoos management must be strictly monitored to curb such wildlife crimes and prevent the country loss from the illegal wildlife trade.”

The international world also criticises the alleged involvement of the zoos in the illegal wildlife trade. Andrina Murrell from Born Free Foundation said, “Born Free Foundation, international conservation and animal welfare organisation which supports ProFauna, is shocked yet unsurprised to hear about zoos trading their wild animals for profit. On one hand these zoos are claiming to preserve and conserve wildlife yet on the other they are exploiting the animals and encouraging a trade which devastates wild populations. This trade needs to be exposed and stopped.”

ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife protection organization in Indonesia, has been advocating the government to inspect all zoos in Indonesia and check the numbers of the animals kept there. ProFauna Campaign Officer, Radius Nursidi added, “ProFauna strongly recommends the government to put moratorium on Indonesian zoos. The government should not permit any new zoo and should instead focus on assisting and monitoring the present zoos.”

ProFauna Indonesia (www.profauna.org) is a wildlife protection organization in Indonesia established since 1994. With the help of it volunteers all over Indonesia, ProFauna works through campaigns, education, trade survey, and wildlife rescue.

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BYO Lunches on some BA flights

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

British Airways (BA) has announced that it will stop serving meals on most of its European routes. There will not even be a “trolley service” available where people can purchase sandwiches and drinks like on budget airlines the likes of Ryan Air and Easyjet. So it is BYO with passengers having have to bring their own sandwiches and such.

While this, presently, is only going to affect economy class passengers on European routes it may, I assume end up also in the other classes, such as business class. If that is the case that would not be a pad move as I do not think that on a 2 hour flight it is really necessary to serve lunch.

I find it very doubtful that anyone will require food served by the airlines on such short haul flights such as,s ay, from London to Frankfurt, for example. People are hardly going to faint from starvation on such a short trip. Lack of water could be a cause but not food.

BYO lunches should become much more of a routine for air travelers, at least on short haul flights, as much as for office workers and students. It would save a great deal on packaging considering the individual portion packs of the various things, not counting the plastic sandwich packs and such.

Also, and most people, of that I am sure, do not know this: When a flight is canceled at a relatively short notice the food destined for that flight has to be destroyed by the catering company supplying the airline. Such waste just cannot goo on and can also be prevented by the BYO lunches operations.

I do not want to talk about flying per se as it is not a very environmentally friendly way anyway but the food waste issue here is one that can be sorted by going, at least on short haul, to a BYO food system.

While BA is not abandoning the meals service on the European flights because of environmental concerns and the concern of waste reduction – for in  truth it is all about saving money in general – it has that good side effect and hence we can welcome it.

© 2009
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Totem poles and plants to calm traffic in a Manchester street

(Sustrans ) Neighbours in Manchester will re-design their road this weekend in a groundbreaking attempt to banish speeding traffic and re-create a safer, more attractive street.

Penn Street in Manchester is the first of 11 DIY Streets pilot schemes launching across England and Wales to enter its construction phase.

Its residents will spend this Saturday and Sunday (September 19 and 20) erecting totem poles at their street’s entrance to narrow the T junction and installing plants further along the road to act as chicanes.

The construction follows two years of community meetings led by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, and supported by Manchester City Council. The residents’ success in slowing down traffic and stopping shoppers using the street for free parking - in conjunction with the relevant authorities - could see the DIY Streets project rolled out in cities throughout the UK.

Penn Street resident Tracy Ward said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to is just waiting in anticipation and really eager to get cracking so we can change the street for the better. There’s a real sense of optimism that we can sort out the traffic problems on our street and this is spilling over into other communities who are waiting to see what the outcome of all our work will be.”
Sustrans has launched a survey on its website www.sustrans.org.uk this month to find out the demand for similar schemes to Penn Street.

Katherine Rooney, Sustrans Senior Project Officer for DIY Streets, said: “The residents’ enthusiasm has made this scheme possible and we’re keen to hear from communities across the UK who want to sort out their street’s problems – whether it’s over rat-running, nuisance parking, litter or dodgy pavements.”

Councillor Richard Cowell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member Environment, said: “This is an innovative scheme which has brought residents together to try to make their streets safer and environmentally more attractive. This is slightly different to the normal traffic calming schemes that are in place across the city and we look forward to seeing how successful the scheme turns out to be.”

Construction work will take place in Penn Street on Saturday and Sunday (Sept 19 and 20) from 10am to 4pm.

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TERRACYCLE WASTES NO TIME IN EXPANDING TO LONDON

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

NEW YORK September 16, 2009: TerraCycle, a world leader in the field of ‘up-cycling’ where difficult to recycle waste material is turned into affordable, eco-friendly products, will today announce at a reception attended by the Mayor of London in New York, it has chosen London as the location to expand into the UK and Europe. Think London, the foreign direct investment agency for London, worked together with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to further strengthen London’s position as a centre of excellence for sustainable businesses.

The announcement in New York coincides with Think London and UKTI’s North American business roadshow entitled the ‘Route to 2012’. The roadshow is aimed at highlighting the business opportunities open in London to North American companies, especially around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Founded in 2001 by college freshman Tom Szaky, TerraCycle focuses on building a new, more responsible way of doing business. In its native US, it has revolutionised the industry by making eco-friendly and affordable products from waste materials. On announcing its expansion in to the UK, TerraCycle will also reveal details of its first commercial partnership, with Kraft Foods UK which will see Kenco and Tassimo coffee packaging diverted away from landfill.

Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, comments, “It is with great excitement that we’re announcing our expansion; having grown rapidly in the US, we wanted to come to London and use the city as a launch pad to build our business across the UK and Europe. With a partnership already agreed with Kraft Foods UK we hope to quickly raise consumer awareness in the UK around up-cycling.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "It is not just a great compliment, but also a wise decision for TerraCycle to choose London as its base for European expansion. Our commitment to becoming one of the planet's most environmentally friendly cities means we will create a skills base in green technologies that will be the envy of the world, and a magnet for other companies taking advantage of emerging environmental markets.

"On top of that TerraCycle and its staff will receive a warm welcome in our great city and all the help needed to ensure immediate success. Despite the current economic climate we are continuing to invest heavily in our infrastructure, and in our people, to provide a highly trained pool of talent for the capital's businesses. I'm confident that the future is extremely bright for innovative companies with global ambitions, who choose to invest in London."

Michael Charlton, Chief Executive of Think London, said: “With $100m being invested in new waste technologies London was clearly the natural choice for TerraCycle to expand their operations into the UK. London offers a wealth of business opportunities in the sustainable sector, and the current market conditions are creating unique investment opportunities in London now. In fact there has never been a better time to invest in London, with favourable exchange rates against the dollar, and a wider and deeper pool of available labour in London.

British Consul General Sir Alan Collins said: "London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics in competition with some of the world's great cities, and US companies are already showing a very strong interest in getting involved. I hope that those of you who have a successful business in the US will register on CompeteFor.com and look to locate your operation in the UK to better position yourselves to secure Olympic business. I urge you to take advantage of UK Trade & Investment’s support to help you realize your 2012 business ambitions. Once you have done this you will find that the UK is a location that is second to none in enabling your company to showcase its capabilities, as well as providing a launch pad into the rest of Europe."

Over the last decade, Think London has helped more than 1,400 companies from 44 countries set up in London. These include companies from the sustainable sector such as Accord Global Environment Technology (AGET) Asia Carbon Exchange Pte Ltd, Better Generation, Closed Loop London, EarthTradeWater, Enecore, Ralos, Recycle Bank, Reliance Fibre and Tesla.

The ‘Route to 2012’ is a business roadshow being hosted by Think London, in partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), aimed at highlighting the business opportunities London has to offer, specifically around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, and the 2012 Games legacy for those companies wishing to consider the longer term opportunities in London. The first leg of the roadshow took place in June 2009 and took in the cities of Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle and Dallas. This successfully generated over 30 new business leads. The aim of the second leg of the road show is to engage with companies from the sustainable and digital sectors in and around the cities of Atlanta; Washington DC, New York and Boston. The roadshow will culminate with an event in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics. UK Trade & Investment is working with Think London on the ‘Route to 2012’ roadshow by hosting events, offering key note addresses and delivering the broader UK messages for US companies.

Created in 2000, the role of the Mayor of London is to promote economic development and wealth creation, social development, and the improvement of the environment, in the UK's capital city. The Mayor chairs several boards that deliver services for London including the transport and police authorities and sets out plans and policies covering: transport, planning and development, housing, economic development, regeneration culture, health and the environment. http://www.london.gov.uk. Unfortunately, the current Mayor has just caused some controversy in that he has come out against teleconferencing and in support of physical conferences, which, more often than not, involve travel.

Think London is the foreign direct investment agency for London. They connect international businesses to London, helping them set up, succeed and grow. Think London is a not-for-profit, private-public partnership delivering expertise and advice to international businesses.

TerraCycle (www.terracycle.net) represents a new generation of company, putting as much emphasis on its social and environmental impact as its profits. In 2001, college freshman Tom Szaky founded TerraCycle in hopes of building a new, more responsible way of doing business. Since then, TerraCycle has revolutionized the industry by making eco-friendly and affordable products from waste materials. TerraCycle provides jobs in the inner-city, provides free fundraisers for schools and non-profits and inspires kids nationwide to make a difference locally and globally. Join the TerraCycle eco-revolution by signing up for our free fundraising collection programs where we pay you for packaging like drink pouches, yogurt cups and more. To learn more about joining a TerraCycle Brigade, go to www.terracycle.net/brigades.

It is great to see that TerraCycle has finally made it across the Pond and that we will see a reduction in non-recyclable waste such as the coffee pouches and packs from Kenco and Tassimo into snazzy products rather than having such things go into landfills.

One can but wish TerraCycle all the best in their endeavor and I look forward to seeing many more companies join the effort and reduction of their environmental footprint as far as waste is concerned by joining with TerraCycle and their upcycling ventures.

We, in the UK, can sure do with TerraCycle over here as there is a mass of non-recyclables that TerraCycle is known to be able to upcycle successfully.

Welcome to Britain, folks!

© 2009
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Peru makes a big statement about reusing rather than recycling of electronics

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A lot is being talked about how reusing items is usually greener than recycling, and the more an item can be reused, the better.

This is definitely the case for electronics, since throwing them out or even trying to recycle them leads to environmental harm. One nation, it would appear, may just be a leader for this green practice, and that nation is Peru in South America.

Electronics shipped off to developing nations for "recycling" are often still perfectly good and usable, and often end up being broken up in a manner that is neither healthy for the environment nor for those doing the breaking up, the recycling.

A study called "Product or Waste? Importation and End-of-Life Processing of Computers in Peru," and reported at Greener Computing, found that that in Peru imported electronics do not go straight to e-waste dumps to be broken up for recycling but rather 85% of discarded computers sent to the country are reused instead of recycled.

While many countries certainly do not practice this kind of sorting and reuse, it is a practice that could certainly help mitigate the impacts of e-waste in developing nations and should be encouraged – alongside, of course, far better reuse, repair, and recycling practices in the developed nations where the e-waste shipments originate.

Why can we not for that at the country of origin, so to speak? Why can we not refurbish and reuse those computers wherever they are sent from? This could indeed be possible if we would not rely on Microsoft Windows and its need to have lots of memory and powerful processors but instead would migrate over to Open Source operating systems that are not power hungry such as Linux in it various guises.

It is my belief that such e-waste should first of not be seen as waste and secondly should be repaired and refurbished, where necessary, for reuse in the developed nations themselves. It can be done but we must rethink our use and our attachment to proprietary software.

The United States is the primary source of used PCs imported to Peru. Analysis of shipment value (as measured by trade statistics) shows that 87−88% of imported used computers had a price higher than the ideal recycle value of constituent materials. The official trade in end-of-life computers is thus driven by reuse as opposed to recycling.

This starkly underscores both the wastefulness of the US when it comes to electronics, and the great benefits of reusing products instead of recycling them. If other areas where electronics are recycled in toxic ways are helped to create a system for tracking incoming electronics as Peru has developed, perhaps we would see a drastic reduction in e-waste and pollution associated with unregulated e-waste processing.

I am also certain that we can find the same in other developed countries such as Britain and Germany, as an example. That is to say that perfectly good computers and peripherals are being sent abroad as e-waste simply because they have become, thanks to Microsoft and other proprietary software makers, “obsolete”.

But what does being “obsolete” mean as far as computers are concerned?

Primarily it means that those computers can no longer run the latest proprietary software from either Microsoft or other companies and hence upgrades are necessary and, as it is often cheaper, for companies and government at least, to buy new rather than to have refurbished those computers end up in the trash.

The same machines can, however, still can run full tilt and work well also in industry and government with Open Source software in general and operating system specifically and there is no need to discard them.

But very few companies and agencies seem to be prepared to go and use Open Source and hence we end up with all those waste PCs and such.

Time to rethink...

© 2009
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World bank proves Fonterra's claims a sham

Auckland, September 2009 (Greenpeace New Zealand) – The World Bank has suspended funding to Fonterra’s palm kernel supplier, Wilmar International, due to environmental and humanitarian concerns.

Last week Fonterra claimed Wilmar was a reputable producer of palm kernel expeller (PKE) which is used as a feed for New Zealand’s dairy herd.

Fonterra sustainability manager John Hutchings told Radio New Zealand: “They [Wilmar] have been working very hard to ensure that all of their mills and plantations are RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified, and they have almost completed that task.”

“Fonterra has either not done its homework or it doesn’t care about the illegal and immoral activities of a business partner. Fonterra can no longer claim ignorance of what Wilmar and the palm industry is doing to supply palm based animal feed to New Zealand and has no choice but to stop all imports immediately.” said Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand senior climate campaigner.

Greenpeace is also calling on John Key to stop the imports of palm kernel animal feed into New Zealand and on the Indonesian Government to implement an immediate moratorium on forest and peatland destruction for the sake of climate stability, biodiversity and to protect indigenous peoples’ land rights.

Fonterra’s half-owned subsidiary, RD1, has a joint venture with Wilmar, which is the world’s largest trader of palm oil’s and kernel. It has a documented reputation for rainforest destruction, illegal burning and creating social conflicts over community lands.

But the World Bank says on the back of concerns about Wilmar, it has decided to halt all new International Finance Corporation (IFC) investments in palm oil and review existing investments, due to environmental and social concerns.

“Only three of Wilmar’s mills had RSPO certification, representing a minute amount of certified PKE, and the majority of its plantations had no certification at all”, said Boxer

Imports of PKE have increased from 400 tonnes to 1.1 million tonnes per year in the last decade. The secretary general of the RSPO, Dr Vengata Rao, quoted in a recent Sunday Star Times expose said “certainly very little expeller cake coming into New Zealand last year would have been RSPO certified at all”.

The World Bank will suspend funding of the oil palm sector pending the development of safeguards to ensure that lending doesn't cause social or environmental harm, according to a letter by World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

A recent internal audit found that IFC funding of the Wilmar Group, a plantation developer, violated the IFC's own procedures, allowing commercial concerns to trump environmental and social standards. The audit's findings were championed by environmental and indigenous rights' groups who have criticised World Bank support for industrial oil palm development which they say has driven large-scale destruction of rainforests in Indonesia, boosting greenhouse gas emissions, endangering rare and charismatic species of wildlife, including the orangutan, and displacing forest communities.

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Old technology vs new: Carrier pigeon beats broadband service

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Carrier pigeon beats South African broadband service and that by a very long shot.

Winston, the pigeon took two hours to carry the memory stick 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent just about sent 4% of the data.

The company that conducted the test did this in order to be able to complain as to bad service and such but there is a limit to what can be done with broadband (ADSL) depending on the wiring systems used and distance to telephone exchange.

In fact, unless you have rather high-speed, very high-speed, ADSL transmitting some GB over the wire does take an enormous amount of time for, as for instance in the case of the connection that I have, a 1MB (faster speed not possible as copper wire lines), the download speeds never exceed 120/122KB/s which means that downloading the ISO to a DVD, for instance has, once, taken a whole day, nigh on.

So, the problem is not only found in South Africa but also in the UK and let us not talk of the USA where many people still are nowhere near being able to get broadband.

Not all, as we can, yet again see, modern technology is superior to the old ways.

While it is true that a carrier pigeon can get lost, attacked by a bird of prey, shot by someone, or what-have-you, the fact remains that in some case such means of communications and transportation of information still has its uses.

And this, let me add, does not just apply to things such as the above matter but also to other things.

In many instances now horses are used again in forestry for the extraction of timber and many other old methods and technologies, combined with modern ways, are being used, including sailing ships again for certain cargoes.

So, in conclusion, let me suggest here that old and old-fashioned is not always out-of-date and useless.

© 2009
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Diverse Health and Environmental Coalition Calls for Sweeping Changes in U.S. Chemical Safety Law

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition Releases Comprehensive Reform Platform

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

WASHINGTON, DC, August 2009 -- A broad coalition of health and environmental organizations unveiled today a set of key requirements for reforming the nation's antiquated chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The coalition, called Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, includes state and national environmental groups, associations of health professionals, advocates for health-affected individuals and environmental justice organizations.

"Our organizations representing more than four million Americans have come together to demand fundamental changes in the system our country uses to ensure that the tens of thousands of chemicals produced and used every day are safe," said Andy Igrejas, director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.

"The 33-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act is badly broken," said Dr. Richard Denison, senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund. "By failing to identify, let alone address, the long and growing list of chemicals in everyday products that we now know can harm people and the environment, TSCA has forced states, businesses, workers and consumers to try to act on their own to address what should be a national priority."

The U.S. Congress is beginning to consider changes to TSCA, with amending legislation expected to be introduced this fall.

"Emerging science increasingly links exposure to toxic chemicals to the rising incidence of serious and chronic health problems among Americans," said Rebecca Clouse, RN, Environmental Health Liaison for the American Nurses Association. "Adoption of our platform for reform would transform TSCA into a law that prevents toxic chemical exposures before they occur."

Key elements of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families platform include:

Immediately initiate action on chemicals we already know are extremely dangerous.
Persistent, bioaccumulative toxicants (PBTs) to which people could be exposed should be phased out of commerce. Exposure to other toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, that have already been extensively studied, should be reduced to the maximum extent feasible.
Require basic information to identify additional chemicals of concern.
Chemical manufacturers should be held responsible for the safety of their products, and should be required to provide full information on the health and environmental hazards associated with their chemicals. The public, workers, and businesses should have full access to this information.
Protect all people and vulnerable groups, using the best science.

Chemicals should meet a standard of safety for all people, including children, pregnant women, and workers. The extra burden of toxic chemical exposure on people of color, low-income and indigenous communities must be reduced. The development and use of information gleaned from bio-monitoring should be expanded.

The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families platform is available at: www.SaferChemicals.org

A Platform for Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act

A reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) would serve as the backbone of a sound and comprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment, while restoring the luster of safety to U.S. goods in the world market. Any effective reform of TSCA should:

Immediately Initiate Action on the Worst Chemicals: Persistent, bioaccumulative toxicants (PBTs) are uniquely hazardous. Any such chemical to which people could be exposed should be phased out of commerce. Exposure to other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that have already been extensively studied, should be reduced to the maximum extent feasible.
Require Basic Information for All Chemicals: Manufacturers should be required to provide basic information on the health hazards associated with their chemicals, how they are used, and the ways that the public or workers could be exposed.
Protect the Most Vulnerable: Chemicals should be assessed against a health standard that explicitly requires protection of the most vulnerable subpopulations. That population is likely to usually be children, but it could also be workers, pregnant women, or another vulnerable population.
Use the Best Science and Methods: The National Academy of Sciences' recommendations for reforming risk assessment at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be adopted. Regulators should expand development and use of information gleaned from “biomonitoring,” the science of detecting human chemical contamination, to inform and impel efforts to reduce these exposures.
Hold Industry Responsible for Demonstrating Chemical Safety: Unlike pharmaceuticals, chemicals are currently presumed safe until proven harmful. The burden of proving harm falls entirely on EPA. Instead, chemical manufacturers should be responsible for demonstrating the safety of their products.
Ensure Environmental Justice: Effective reform should contribute substantially to reducing the disproportionate burden of toxic chemical exposure placed on people of color, low-income people and indigenous communities.
Enhance Government Coordination: The EPA should work effectively with other agencies, such as FDA, that have jurisdiction over some chemical exposures. The ability of the states to enact tougher chemical policies should be maintained and state/federal cooperation on chemical safety encouraged.
Promote Safer Alternatives: There should be national support for basic and applied research into green chemistry and engineering, and policy should favor chemicals and products that are shown to be benign over those with potential health hazards.
Ensure the Right to Know: The public, workers, and the marketplace should have full access to information about the health and environmental hazards of chemicals and the way in which government safety decisions are made.

As someone from outside the USA it always amazes me how many harmful and outright dangerous chemicals are permitted in the United States which have been outlawed and banned years ago in Britain and later by the European Union.

BPA, for instance, is one example. While Canada immediately outlawed it and with it all Nalgene bottles of the time the US FDA announced that it saw no danger in this chemical that is known hormone disrupter and known to be leaching into foods and drinks from polycarbonate bottles and the linings of tin cans, and declared it safe for use in the USA. No doubt, as in so many other instances, aided by some inducements from the chemical industry.

In the same way as the factor that health care is universally available and free – to a degree – in Britain I am always again glad to live here and not in places where (1) the agencies care more about the big industries than the people and (2) where health care has to be bought at high expense and where the insurance companies call the shots and  set the tune.

© 2009
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