Bulldog Tools Forged Edging Knife – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Bulldog Tools Forged Edging Knife
Ref No. 5680083210
Price: just under £40 incl. VAT
Ash Handle with "T" Grip
Unique Forged Blade
Forged In Britain

This forged edging knife from Bulldog's Clarington Forge in Wigan, England is by far the strongest lawn edging iron I have so far seen and used. It is one that, even in professional use in Parks and Gardens should last for a generation or two rather than just for a couple of seasons.

Yes, the tool not cheap with just under 40 Pounds Sterling but then again the blade is forged exactly in the same way as a quality spade and from the same strength of steel. There is no weld point that can give way under the strain of use and abuse.

The handle is solid Ash with a “T” grip and is, once again, the same kind that would be found at a good strong spade and also, unless really misused, stand up to the rigors of whatever the job throws at it.

This Bulldog Edging Knife of the Premier Range – although the website seems to putting it into the Evergreen Range – is a true professional tool and is most definite the dog's proverbials of all edging irons. I do not think that, unless on purpose and with malice, or by being driven over, this tool can be broken even in the most arduous and most prolonged use.

Talking of use: When using this particular edging tool on curbs and such the back of the blade, the straight part, must be the one meeting the stone of the curb or the concrete slab. That way the turf is cut clean and no excessive amount of soil if pulled up.

Another great tool from Bulldog that I am most happy to endorse as a professional gardener and forester.

© 2010

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article other than being allowed to retain the tool.

Corruption on the increase in Britain?

We seem to be learning from the Afghans for sure and not just in the field of corruption and the taking of bribes...

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

It would appear that the longer our involvement with the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan the more the UK turns out the same, at least as far as corruption is concerned and this corruption seems to extend all the way into government. However, when you have the likes of Hamid Karzai as bedfellows something of their methods become part of yours.

This would also apply, it seems, to torture regardless of the “C” of MI6 recently claiming that “we do not torture”. Manuals discovered recently seem to paint an entirely different picture and seem actually actively to encourage the use of inhumane methods.

Britain is slowly becoming, it would appear, like a tin pot dictatorship with someone else in power that the elected government.

Recently we saw the publication of the Transparency International annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and the UK is now 20th in the index. Britain has thus plummeted like a stone from 11th place in 2006 to it's current 20th place.

Both Barbados and Qatar, on the other hand, have overtaken the UK, ranking 17 and 19 respectively. It is time that we really did sit up and took note here.

The index is compiled by aggregating thirteen sources together, ranging from the Economist Intelligence Unit's Country Risk Service through to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. These are boiled down into a set of measures which are then used to rank each country out of ten.

Over the same period as Britain's dramatic fall, four of the top five have remained the same: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore all scoring over 9.0, with the latter two leading the pack this year on 9.3.

The bottom of the index is traditionally propped up by Somalia, but over 40 per cent of countries score less than 3.0 in the index and can be considered to be very or highly corrupt.

Since 2006, Britain's score has lost 10 per cent, falling from 8.6 to 7.6. However it is not the only country to have suffered a sudden drop in confidence.

In 2006 Iceland was part of the gaggle of Nordic countries leading the index, ranked first with a score of 9.6. This year it comes in in eleventh place with a score of 8.5. This may have something to do about the way it ran its banks, however.

The US, in the meantime, has always struggled to maintain a place in the top 20. This year it comes in at 22nd with a score of 7.1 and is, along with the UK, far below the standard Transparency International labels "very clean".

In comparison, Qatar and Barbados have undoubtedly cleaned up their acts. In 2006 they were 32nd and 24th with scores of 6.0 and 6.7 respectively. This year they score 7.7 and 7.8 respectively.

In addition to that, as I have said above, it now would appear that, much like the USA, the British security services and the military are using harsh interrogation techniques that are tantamount to torture and recently it was revealed that some manuals even support this.

Therefore it is rather laughable when the chief of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, aka MI6) make statements to the effect “we do not torture”. No, not at all. We just call it something else and thus it mo longer is, in the same was as do the USA.

Maybe, just maybe, if we cut the tin pot countries of Iraq and Afghanistan loose and let them get on with their own affairs – and please no one come me with “establishing democracy” in those countries – the better it will be for the us, whether in Britain or the United States and maybe, just maybe, we can then clean up our acts.

When one has to bribe the likes of the Iraqis and Afghans and have to allow them to use torture and have to condone it or the good of whatever operation then we get dirty, as nations, and it is more than high time to cut our losses, which were high indeed, and get out.

As far as Afghanistan is concerned let's listen to the Russians. They know what they are talking about when they say that Afghanistan will be another Vietnam and that for the US and all of the NATO forces. The Russians have great experience there as, in fact, have the British. Only the latter have learned nothing from the fiascoes of some centuries ago.

Those that do not remember their history are bound to revisit and relive it.

© 2010

Airbus renews its support for the UN biodiversity campaign

Company engagement recognised by CBD at COP10 in Aichi Nagoya, Japan

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus recently extended its support for the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It builds upon an existing partnership which since 2008 has seen the company use its global reach to help educate young people worldwide about the importance of biodiversity – the rich variety of life on earth.

The announcement comes from the sidelines of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP10) in Aichi Nagoya, Japan. Senior Airbus representatives are guests of the CBD at the landmark summit, where more than 10,000 delegates from over 190 countries are gathered to set new targets for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

In recognition of its support to date, Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD presented Airbus with an award. Previous recipients include the likes of Mr. Lee Myung-bak, the President of the Republic of Korea. Airbus is among a number of leading companies invited to attend a ministerial dialogue: ‘Business Solutions to Achieve the Aichi Nagoya Biodiversity Targets’. The session will feature plans for a UN-led initiative on ‘business and biodiversity’. Others present include Japan’s Minister of Environment and the President of The World Bank Group.

Receiving the award on behalf of Airbus, Dr. Rainer Ohler, SVP Public Affairs, Communications and Environment said: “We want to help the CBD in raising awareness amongst young people and industry about the crucial role biodiversity plays in our lives and our futures. Not only is this the right thing for any global company to do, but if the aviation industry is going to further improve its environmental performance, nature may just hold some of the answers.”

Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD, added: “Companies also depend on biodiversity and its loss represents a very real business risk. As users and beneficiaries of biodiversity, businesses have an integral role to play in its preservation and management. We at the CBD are delighted that Airbus continues to demonstrate its support and we call upon more companies to follow its example.”

Drs. Djoghlaf and Ohler hope to encourage others to join Airbus in using its global reach to back The Green Wave. The CBD’s initiative encourages young people to celebrate life on earth and in particular on the International Day of Biodiversity, 22 May. As the celebration passes through the world’s time zones it creates a ‘Green Wave’ of awareness and activity from east to west around the planet. This year it was very special as 2010 was designated the International Year of Biodiversity by the UN. www.greenwave.cbd.int

Source: www.airbus.com

This press release is presented with minimal editing for your information only.

Drone planes almost collided with helicopters over Wiltshire

Army UAV's two near misses in a day prompt safety investigations

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Two official safety inquiries took place into the military use of drones over southern England after near-collisions with helicopters. So, just in case you did not know, there are UAV's (drones) flying around the British countryside and probably not just the countryside.

The investigations are the first of their kind involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are increasingly being flown in British civilian airspace after extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those UAVs are not just here on exercises; they are here to spy on us, the British public, as we will come to see further on.

The inquiries by Airprox, the body that investigates reports of near-collisions, relate to flights on 12 February 2010 by a Desert Hawk 3 (DH3) drone owned and used by the army. The drone was being flown in military airspace over Salisbury Plain and operated from the ground.

The areas in Wiltshire over which military drones are permitted to fly have been significantly extended since then. They were widened on 1 July to enable testing of Watchkeeper UAVs – winged drones that are based on Israeli military technology and operated by the Royal Artillery as remote spotter and targeting planes.

Announcing the additional "danger areas", the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) circular warned: "The unmanned aircraft that will be operating within this airspace are not capable of independently detecting or avoiding other aircraft. In other words, there is no pilot on board to 'see and avoid'.

"In addition, their color scheme and relatively small size may result in them being difficult for other pilots to acquire visually when airborne. Pilots who may be unable to comply with the conditions ... should not request a crossing clearance."

There is growing concern over the dangers of drones in our airspace as well as to our privacy as several police forces, government agencies and commercial operators are testing them or, in fact, using them already, some extrensively.

Most have shown interest in or use micro-drones which are rotor-propelled aircraft that hover at heights of about 60 meters and can be fitted with video cameras, thermal imaging devices, radiation detectors, mobile telephone jamming and air sampling devices. They weigh less than 20kg and, when used for surveillance, require a license to fly.

They are said by manufacturers to be virtually invisible from the ground, making them ideal for covert surveillance. The Home Office endorses their use and says that UAVs can be a useful tool for law enforcement agencies in fighting crime and safeguarding the public.

The CAA, which regulates UK airspace, last week warned that misuse of drones could lead to deaths by seriously harming or even bringing down a civilian or military aircraft.

Once again we are told that those things are being used to protect us, the public. Protect us from what? From ourselves?

© 2010

Why we can't find Osama Bin Laden?

Bin Laden living comfortably in Pakistan, says NATO official

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The main reason that we cannot find Osama Bin Laden (and other al-Qaida) leaders is that our powers that be don't even intend to. With the treat to AQ Terrorism it is so nice to keep the people under control and oppress them with this or that law to protect them from terrorism.

Osama bin Laden is living comfortably in Northwest Pakistan, protected by local tribes people and some members of the Pakistani intelligence service, a NATO official has been quoted as sating. This news severely undercuts the U.S. government's depiction of the al-Qaida leader as on the run.

U.S. intelligence officials have long believed that bin Laden is living in the remote tribal region of Northwest Pakistan, but have claimed that the al-Qaida leader has had to move frequently from one safe-house to another, impairing his ability to plot attacks.

The NATO official's comments undermine that claim and exposes the lie that Bush and Obama have been telling us since 9/11, that he was running from rock to rock and cave to cave.

"Nobody in al-Qaida is living in a cave," said the unnamed official.

"Bin Laden lives among people who: a) regard him as an Islamic hero; and b) whose tribal mores require them to protect a guest with their own lives. Despite what the powers that be are claiming, a guy who's not moving around is not vulnerable to attack, especially not when protected by the kind of people that seem to be doing the protecting.

Some time earlier, Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed optimism that bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, would eventually be caught. But this evidence that bin Laden is living in relative comfort and stability cuts against that expectation.

Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, denies that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are in Pakistan, but they keep denying everything, each and every time, simple because they do not want to admit that they are not in control of their own intelligence service.

I am convinced that the powers that be have been well aware as to where Bin Laden and the rest of the leadership of al-Qaida have been all this time and it is convenient for them to leave then exactly where they are. It suits them to have the supposed treat of international Islamic terrorism so that they can use that as a pretext for often draconian laws against the freedoms of the citizens.

In the UK this can be seen with regards to the fact that anyone who may be taking photos not of building and certain other places could face arrest and questioning under the Terrorism Act and don't even think of being part of an anti-nuclear power protest or such.

All the search for Bin Laden has been a pretense and this statement from this unnamed NATOO official will make not difference here either, with the exception that this may be used as a pretext to finally take Pakistan proper into the Af-Pak conflict, as the Afghan “war” is by now being called.

Pakistan is the one piece in the jigsaw still needed to be occupied in order to be able to move against Iran. Iranian oil is the target, and this more so now than ever since the powers that be have finally understood Peak Oil, including and especially the military people.

© 2010

Homeowners call on Government to help in reducing energy consumption and CO2

A new YouGov survey undertaken on behalf of the Heating Helpline, to support the national Energy Savings Week, revealed what action homeowners would like Government to take to help them save energy and contribute to reducing climate change.

28 October 2010 – Findings from the recent online YouGov survey reveal important new evidence about where Government support will produce the most meaningful action from householders on reducing their energy consumption and their carbon footprint. Findings included:

  • 53% of people support the boiler scrappage scheme

  • 44% of people asked for targeted reduction of VAT on high cost energy saving improvements – such as controls for the heating system or solar panels

  • 36% would like to see the Government match their investment

Findings from the YouGov survey also highlighted that solar energy saving (32%) and a more efficient boiler (27%) are the most popular options for investment by homeowners. This is supported by results from the previous, popular, Government ‘national boiler scrappage’ initiative, where over 140,000 people applied for a boiler replacement voucher from which 118,000 boilers were replaced.

The Heating Helpline is backed by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA) and operates to provide consumers with free, impartial advice on every aspect of home heating. Chief Executive Robert Higgs says: “We hope this strong, clear message from householders to Government will inform their thinking in preparing initiatives designed to secure an energy–efficient future. In the meantime, the Heating Helpline is helping to find highly experienced installers who are already providing cost-effective solutions to thousands of households.”

Issued on behalf of the HVCA by Next Step Marketing Ltd

This press release is presented without editing for your information. The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered, as we have no direct knowledge if them. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.

E-Documents: The Greener Choice

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Electronic documents, which can be sent to the recipient via email or otherwise via the Web, such as, for instance, via Instant Messenger or Skype, are the obvious choice for invoices and other documents. Ordinary word processor documents can be sent as they are, and the same is true for spreadsheets, etc.

If you don't want them to be changed, however, they need to be converted to a different format and we will come to that in a moment

This practice of using electronic documents saves paper, envelopes and postage, thus reducing the eco footprint of such documents and of you, as a company or as an individual doing business.

Any document, in fact, any file, almost, and now we come to the securing of signed documents so that they cannot be changed and manipulated, can be converted into a “portable document format” (PDF) file and with the right software a PDF file can be signed also, and this signature cannot be change or removed by the recipient.

However, the document should be signed – digitally, by use of a jpeg of the appropriate signature – before conversion really, thus taking away the need for adding a signature afterwards.

PDF documents are secure in that the contents cannot be change, altered or manipulated and thus make sending orders, invoices, etc. in a green way possible.

Every computer, basically, comes with a PDF reader as standard (though there are others and better ones than the standard one). In the case of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems this, invariably, is the Adobe (Acrobat) Reader.

There are other readers, as indicated above, better ones, available also for free, for the price of a download, and one (yes, the reader) is capable of adding a signature to any PDF file and saving this.

However, as said, ideally and best you insert the appropriate signature as a picture already prior to conversion into PDF into the document and this is much better.

Oh, yes, making the PDF...

No, you do not have to pay out lots of money for proprietary software, such as Adobe Acrobat, in order to create PDF files. There are a fair few Open Source PDF making programs available for free, again to be hand just by downloading.

As for most cases, as I indicated, there is no need for proprietary software for which you often end up paying through the nose, be this a PDF maker or an office software suite.

The PDF Creator, a virtual printer, from Source Forge does the job equally well as zero cost. While it may lack some of Adobe's sophisticated tools it does exactly what it says on the virtual box.

If you use OpenOffice.org instead of MS Office you have a build-in one click PDF maker which, however, I am afraid to say, is not as good as the PDF Creator from Source Forge. PDF Creator's compression ration is the best of all the free PDF makers I have so far seen and tested and its total cross-interoperability, from documents to pictures to printing from the Web just makes it my first choice always.

In order to create a signed document a picture, a .jpeg, of one's signature is required which is then inserted in the same way as any graphic, and most letters one receives nowadays, say, from local authorities, government departments, companies and such, even though they are not E-documents, are signed in that selfsame manner and are legal as documents. Therefore the same is true in PDF.

It does not take much to create E-documents of this kind and there is no financial outlay required. However, depending on how many of those documents you can send this way great savings can be made, which is good for you and for the Planet.

© 2010

Not talking to your neighbours? Blame the traffic

UK Charity Sustrans launches ‘Quality Streets’ campaign

With government’s Big Society ambitions of empowering communities still to take shape the charity Sustrans is giving people the means to improve their local area by demanding local authority investment in ‘Quality Streets’, where people feel safe to walk, cycle and socialise.

Sustrans is encouraging everyone to take the first step towards turning their roads into quality streets, the key element of which is a 20 mph speed limit. So Sustrans is asking people to lobby their local councillor for slower speeds at www.quality-streets.org.uk between now and 28 February 2011.

Alex Allen Sustrans’ expert in street redesign explains: “When we surveyed 2,000 individuals last year, 85 per cent of them said they faced problems from speeding traffic or nuisance parking. People feel powerless to deal with the problem: 90 per cent of those people we spoke to didn’t know how to make improvements to their street, yet 70 per cent were willing to get involved in making changes.

“People think of traffic as something that affects the physical environment - taking up space, causing noise and pollution - but its effect on our social lives may be even more profound. At its worst, traffic prevents community interaction and wellbeing. It is a part of modern life but it doesn’t have to dominate our lives and we want local authorities to make the first move towards more quality streets by lowering speed limits to 20mph in urban and residential areas.”

Sustrans’ work with hundreds of residents reveals that unsurprisingly people don’t like their streets being used as “rat runs”. The overwhelming majority are concerned that the street outside their front door is not safe for their children or even a place to meet and chat to friends, family and neighbours.

Over the last three years Sustrans has worked hand-in-hand with local communities to improve their streets with inexpensive, cost effective re-designs aimed at minimizing speeding traffic, rat-running, anti-social behaviour. Simple ideas such as slowing down traffic using brighter reflective road surfacing, using greenery to act as natural chicanes and tidying up rubbish bins to clear pavements have all been done with minimum cost but big benefits.

In the streets where such changes have happened residents now feel much safer, with their fear of traffic greatly reduced, Their streets have become more pedestrian friendly, half of residents agreeing that traffic speeds have been reduced and 36 per cent saying they’d be happy to let their children play outdoors (compared with just nine per cent before the changes were made).

The changes are also improving quality of life and bringing people together, with 40 per cent of residents now socialising much more with their neighbours, and 67 per cent enjoying being outside their front door because it is now a greener more pleasant environment.

The most recent project completes on 30th October in Oxford, where residents of Beech Croft Road have transformed their street which had previously been blighted by speeding traffic, and cars parked on pavements. The innovative new high visibility reflective road surfacing, strategically placed planters and bike racks all serve to slow down traffic and turn the street from race track and car park to somewhere for the people who live there.

Visit www.quality-streets.org.uk before the end of February, 2011 to lobby your local councillor.

Source: Sustrans

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

Vacuum Cleaners Crawl out of the Waters

Next Chapter of Vac from the Sea Initiative Revealed

Electrolux has revealed five unique vacuum cleaners that have been made from plastic waste collected from the world’s oceans. The event marks the next chapter and continuation of the Vac from the Sea initiative that aims to raise awareness around ocean plastic waste and inspire consumers and industry to more recycling.

“I would like to thank everyone that has brought attention to the issue and express my deepest gratitude to our partners, for providing us with knowledge and working with us in gathering plastic from the world’s oceans,” says Hans Stråberg, CEO and President, Electrolux.

Each of the vacuum cleaner demos represents the ocean from which the plastic originates. The vacuums embody the plastic paradox: oceans are full of plastic waste, yet on land there is a shortage of recycled plastic for producing sustainable vacs. Today, Electrolux offers Green Range vacuum cleaners with up to 70% post consumer recycled plastic. The ambition is to reach100%.

“Our intention is to bring awareness to the situation and the need for better plastic karma. So far, over 60 million people have been reached and we are continuing the initiative following the great response,” says Cecilia Nord, Vice President – Floor Care Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Electrolux.

Electrolux is looking into auctioning off one vac, where the revenue goes to research. At the moment, the quality and the logistics needed for cleaning and sorting ocean plastic makes it difficult to use in mass production.

“Right now, only post consumer plastic on land meets our commercial safety and quality standards. However, as part of our commitment to researching new materials, we should explore how the ocean plastic might be used in the future, and one such step is to make a single concept vac that we can auction off,” says Cecilia Nord.

The next step is to get the official tour schedule for the vacs ready. Dialogue with industry and environmental organizations has intensified following the wake of the campaign. Updates will be communicated continuously.

Follow the development on: www.electrolux.com/vacfromthesea, Twitter: @vacfromthesea or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/electroluxappliances

The Vacs from the Sea

All the models have been built using the same core structure (chassis, engine, and bag compartment) as the UltraOne Green-model. All are fully functional.

Vac from the Sea – Pacific Edition

Collection site: Hawaii, USA Method: Beach cleanup Partner: B.E.A.C.H.

The Pacific Edition concept vacuum cleaner is made up of the drifting plastic grain that fills our oceans. The plastic has been bleached by the sun and corroded by salt water. This plastic grain is dangerous because it can easily be swallowed by fish and continues through the whole food chain to both animals and humans.

Red/dark objects often attract birds, fish and other sea animals since they believe the plastic is food. The plastic that is left in the sea and that washes up on beaches is usually blue, green or white. Some of the found objects were covered with barnacles and annelid worms. Other objects had traces of bite marks from sharks.

The plastic gravel has been poured onto fiberglass moulds and covers the entire hood and the hub caps. By studying how small these plastic particles are one understands how hard it is to remove the plastic once it is in the oceans. It is a wake-up call and a reminder of one of the most important environmental issues today.

Vac from the Sea – North Sea Edition

Collection site: Skagerrak, Sweden Method: Coastal cleanup Partner: Sotenäs Municipality

The plastic that was collected on the Bohuslän beaches in western Sweden consists largely of various rinse aid and detergent bottles, cans, plastic buckets, and all kinds of plastic packaging. The plastic has not been bleached in the same way as in the great oceans. It is still loud and strong in color. A lot of the found plastic was also drenched in spill oil.

The plastic was washed clean and cut in pieces. The bright colored pieces were then punched into circular tokens. The tokens were then applied onto a fiberglass weave, molded after the shape of the vacuum cleaner.

Vac from the Sea – Mediterranean Edition

Collection site: St Cyr-sur-Mer, France Method: Beach cleanup Partner: Surfrider Foundation

Most of the plastic collection from St Cyr-sur-Mer is composed of plastic objects thrown or washed out to sea from the great beaches. PET-bottles, food containers, beverage cans and beach toys are some such objects. Tourism litters the Mediterranean Sea with tons of plastic on a daily basis. Most of it remains in the sea forever because of slow plastic degradation.

The plastics were cut into heart shaped pieces and then attached to a thin shell of industrially recycled plastic. In order to form the plastic close to the vacuum cleaner the designers used hot air.

Vac from the Sea – Indian Ocean Edition

Collection site: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand Method: Coral reef diving Partner: Blue View Divers

The plastic from Thailand is collected from beaches, corals and the underwater seabed. It consists largely of fishing gear such as nets and plastic ropes. The divers had to cut the nets and plastic bags loose from the staghorn coral reef. There were also large chunks of styrofoam drifting in the waters and large amounts of household garbage, plastic bags, buckets, drink bottles and detergent containers.

The collected plastics were split in a shredder into thin strips. The white and colored plastic strips were then mounted in a pattern that covers the entire top and the hub caps on the vacuum cleaner.

Vac from the Sea – Baltic Edition

Collection site: Sandhamn, Sweden. Gdansk, Poland. Ragaciems, Klapkalnciems, Latvia Method: Coastal cleanups with locals. Partners: Islanders, Sandhamn, Sweden. The Hel Marine Station, Poland. Pedas, Latvia.

For the Baltic Sea Edition concept vacuum cleaner, plastic was collected from three different sites in Poland, Sweden and Latvia. In Sweden, special Vac from the Sea-envelopes were distributed to people in the small harbor of Sandhamn in the Stockholm archipelago. The envelopes were filled with litter and sent to Electrolux.

In Poland, the collection was organized in cooperation with the Hel Marine Station, a field station part of the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Gdańsk. Beach cleaning is part of its educational program and a group of school children from a Słupsk elementary school helped to collect plastic on the Hel peninsula beaches.

In Latvia, there was an organized beach cleanup at Ragaciems, Klapkalnciems, about 40 kilometers west of Riga, with NGO Pedas.

The plastic litter from the three countries covers the vacuum cleaner. Different objects range from ice cream packaging to plastic bottles to flipflops to numerous bottle caps and beach toys. The found objects were mounted on a hood made of industrially recycled plastic and then heated up with hot air – to follow the sleek contour of the Ultra One machine.

Vac from the Sea – Atlantic Edition

Collection site: Waters outside UK Method: Trawling Partners: KIMO International/Fishing for Litter

Electrolux is a global leader in home appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, AEG-Electrolux, Eureka and Frigidaire.

N.B. This press release is presented without significant editing for your information.

Award Winning Vacuum Cleaner Goes Green

A green vacuum cleaner keeps both your home and the world tidy. The new improved UltraOne Green contains 70% post consumer recycled plastic and no PVC. Also, to highlight the severe issue of plastic debris in our oceans, concept vacs of the UltraOne Green have been crafted from marine plastic for exhibition purposes.

With the new Green Range, Electrolux introduces more models, more recycled plastic and more energy efficient motors. The flagship model is based on UltraOne, that recently received best in test in eleven countries.

“It is the best vacuum cleaner we have ever made. Being PVC-free and made from 70% post consumer recycled material, it is an important step in our quest of making 100% sustainable vacuum cleaners,” says Jonas Magnusson, Business Segment Manager, Electrolux Floorcare.

However, to continuously increase the percentage of recycled plastic in the products, Electrolux depends on the supply of recycled plastic – of which there is a shortage.

To address the paradox of the shortage of recycled plastic on land, while the oceans are filled with plastic waste, Electrolux launched the initiative Vac from the Sea earlier this year. Together with environmental organisations from all over the world, plastic debris was gathered from major oceans. From this plastic Electrolux has now made vacuum cleaners, each symbolising a specific ocean and Electrolux’ goal of manufacturing 100% recycled vacs.

“By building and exhibiting a limited number of UltraOnes, made from plastic debris like shark bitten bottles, we hope to highlight a pressing issue while breathing life into the subject of recycled plastic,” says Cecilia Nord, Vice President – Floor Care Sustainability and Environmental Affairs.

260 million tons of plastics are produced each year and less than 20% are recycled in Western Europe. The usage of recycled plastics saves in average 90% of the water and 80 – 90% of the energy used when producing virgin plastics.

UltraOne Green contains 70% post consumer recycled plastics and no PVC at all. The packaging is made from 100% recycled material and the vacuum cleaner comes with s-bag® Green, a dust bag made entirely out of corn starch.

The models in the Electrolux Green Range are made from 55% – 70% post consumer recycled plastics and save up to 50% energy, compared with an average 2000w cleaner. All green products are known from their twin siblings UltraOne, UltraSilencer, UltraActive, ErgoSpace and Jetmaxx. Wattage is reduced in all green high performance cleaners by 1000 – max 1300 watt, without significant loss of suction and pickup. Airflow and the nozzle construction ensure superior performance and compensate for lower wattage.

Vac from the Sea: www.electrolux.com/vacfromthesea

Electrolux is a global leader in home appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, AEG- Electrolux, Eureka and Frigidaire.

N.B. This press release is presented without editing for your information.

B&Q Q&A with Jasmine Guinness

Model, designer and Mum-to-be, Jasmine Guinness interviewed by B&Q

1) What is your number one eco tip?

I think lots of little things all add up. However I think the most important thing we really need to teach people of all ages is to switch electrical things off. Why do huge office blocks need their lights on all night? They don't! Why leave your computer plugged in all night or all day? Stand by does not mean off. It is so easy to make sure everything is off before you go to bed or to work. We could save a massive amount of Co2 and money! Surely people want to save money these days. I love the idea of a monitor in every house so we can all see how much money we could save every day.

2) Which eco champion do you most admire?

I have two eco-heroes at the moment. The first is Prince Charles who I admire for his long standing support of green issues, organic farming and caring for our countryside as the finite resource that it is. Not only his support but he has put his time and money where his mouth is and really made a difference to how we think about our environment. He has always stuck to his guns no matter what criticism has been put his way and I really admire that.

My second eco-hero is Lucy Siegle who writes for the Observer on their eco page. She always has new and exciting ways to help us all make life greener and cheaper and is very informative about things we would never otherwise have heard about. She makes you think about things in a different way which is always good and she is also a great writer too!

3) How do you try to live a more sustainable life??

I just try to incorporate small things into everyday life and teach my kids respect for our planet and what she gives us. We recycle, bicycle, buy organic meat, buy vegetables and fruit from the market but none of these things make us truly sustainable. However we do plan to move to Wales where we have bought a small farm. Once there we plan to be as sustainable as possible. I want us to have our own power supply, chickens, fruit and vegetables. It will be hard work but I can't wait!

B&Q launches petition and cuts the VAT on energy monitors permanently

Feed the green piggy bank and cut the vat on green goods

B&Q, the UK’s largest home improvement and garden centre retailer, announces that it is launching a petition for customers, colleagues and MPs to sign up to its campaign to get the VAT reduced on green goods. Customers are being encouraged to sign up to the campaign by posting their support in a giant green piggy bank in store.

The green piggy bank first made an appearance at The Prince of Wales’ ‘A Garden Party to Make a Difference’ staged in the gardens of Lancaster House, Clarence House and Marlborough House and now ‘forest friendly’ cardboard versions of the green pig will go in to B&Q’s largest stores and postcards will be sent to MPs.

B&Q believes energy saving should be affordable for all and when surveyed, 95 per cent of its customers agreed that reducing VAT would encourage them to buy energy efficient products. And in an energy saving move B&Q will from this week pay the VAT on energy monitors meaning customers will be able to benefit from an extra 12.5 per cent off.

Using an energy monitor could lead to substantial savings each year. The average home can save £37 every year by turning off appliances rather than leaving on stand by. Lights and appliances account for 23 per cent of a household’s electricity consumption.

B&Q has evidence that price reductions through VAT cuts drives up sales of energy saving products like insulation and light bulbs. There is real urgency to this - the UK and the EU will miss targets for insulating homes and reducing carbon emissions without swift action to help customers do the right thing.

Euan Sutherland, CEO of B&Q and Kingfisher UK says; ”At B&Q we are committed to making it easier for our customers to green up their homes and we believe the Government and the European Commission must do more to help us make energy saving products affordable to all by cutting the VAT to five per cent. That’s why we’re launching this petition which we will present to the Treasury later this year.”

B&Q and its parent company, Kingfisher plc have been lobbying the Government and the European Commission for over five years to reduce the VAT on green goods.

VAT is currently charged at the reduced rate for certain energy saving goods and services, but only if these are professionally installed by a third party. Examples include solar panels and insulation materials. If somebody wishes to buy goods and services of this kind and fit them to their own home themselves, VAT is charged at the standard rate.

Boilers, including very efficient combi-boilers incur VAT at the standard rate unless they are installed under a Government grants programme and there are some energy efficient products that are charged at the full standard rate in all cases, such as low energy light bulbs. There is also currently no VAT reduction for the electrical goods that are the most energy efficient in their product category e.g. goods that are A rated.

VAT is an EU-wide tax on goods and services. The European Commission gives Member States some discretion as to which goods and services incur VAT, and at what rate, but all Government decisions have to be approved by Brussels.

Goods and services are either zero-rated (e.g. children's clothes, water supply and medical treatment) or are charged at either the standard or the reduced rate.

In the UK currently, the rates are as follows:
Standard: 17.5%. Reduced: 5%

"Join B&Q's campaign to cut the VAT on green goods to make living a more sustainable way of life easier and more affordable for everyone. It's as simple as popping into store and signing the petition.” Just log onto www.diy.com/eco to find out how to sign up.


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

RenewableUK applauds Government’s ‘vision and drive’ in retaining the Ports Fund

RenewableUK, the country’s leading renewable energy trade association, has welcomed the Government’s announcement on Monday, 10/25/2010 to retain a £60m fund for port infrastructure upgrades in support of the massive pipeline of offshore wind projects the UK has planned.

Launching the National Infrastructure Plan Prime Minister David Cameron stated: “We need thousands of offshore turbines in the next decade and beyond… To help secure private sector investment in this technology, we’re providing up to £60 million to meet the needs of offshore wind infrastructure at our ports. And to help move things forward, the Crown Estate will also work with interested ports and manufacturers to realise the potential of their sites. It’s a triple win. It will help secure our energy supplies, protect our planet and the Carbon Trust says it could create 70,000 jobs.”

RenewableUK Director of Policy, Dr Gordon Edge, said: “We are delighted with the Prime Minister’s announcement today on the decision to retain the ports infrastructure fund, even more so as we are seeing an immediate positive reaction from turbine manufacturers detailing their investment plans.

RenewableUK has over the last few months built a compelling case on the need to retain this funding. We have also conducted an extensive campaign to raise awareness of the opportunity to build a world beating supply chain on the back of the UK’s current lead in the offshore sector.

This is a great day for the UK’s wind industry. We are set to realise the full potential of offshore wind both in terms of energy and job creation, and are happy that the Government has shown vision and drive over this particular issue.”

But, while doing this, at the same time the government looks at nuclear power stations and at roads for cars rather than at real alternatives to both the energy side as well as transportations, such as a proper cycle infrastructure which would make people safe on bicycles and thus, probably, increase the use of bicycles hundredfold.

© 2010

Dismay over EU decision not to ban baby bottle chemical bisphenol-A

Unlike Canada, for instance, the EU decides not to ban BPA – WHY?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that there is no convincing evidence to cause it to ban or further restrict exposure to the controversial chemical bisphenol-A used in plastic bottles and containers.

Health campaigners have reacted with dismay after EU officials decided against restricting or banning bisphenol-A (BPA), despite evidence of links to breast cancer and other health issues.

BPA is a synthetic chemical used to make plastic drinking bottles, baby bottles and storage containers as well as the lining of some food and drink cans. It is applied as a coating to the insides of food cans, which can then be heated to kill off bacteria without the metal in the can contaminating the food contents.

European food safety officials say the current evidence does not provide convincing evidence of the toxicity of BPA. It is amazing, however, that Canada banned it and other countries consider doing the same on the evidence the Canadians have. The Canadian government health department seems to be having evidence which the EU just tosses aside. Or is there more to this?

Is there, maybe, just maybe, something else behind this. Could it be that the origins of BPA are found in one or the other EU member states and that big bucks are made by the chemical companies making it?

The re-assessment came after new studies reported adverse effects on animals exposed to BPA at low doses, including on their nervous system, immune system and susceptibility to breast cancer.

There have also been studies suggesting a link between exposure to BPA and coronary heart disease and reproductive disorders.

Earlier this year, an alliance of groups, including WWF, Breast Cancer UK and The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) backed an open letter sent sent by 21 scientists to EFSA saying they feared exposure to BPA could damage health, particularly among vulnerable groups such as babies and pregnant women.

The National Cancer Institute in the US has also recently called for the use of BPA in consumer products to be more tightly regulated.

However, in a statement issued this week, Efsa said: 'These studies have many shortcomings. At present the relevance of these findings for human health cannot be assessed, though should any new relevant data become available in the future, the Panel will reconsider this opinion.'

A spokesperson for HEAL said it was shocked and dismayed by Efsa's decision, which comes despite other countries such as Taiwan, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and France all pronouncing BPA as toxic and hazardous to health.

Breast Cancer UK said it would be continuing to push for a ban on BPA being used in baby bottles.

'We will continue our No More BPA campaign until this public health issue has been acknowledged and we call on the UK Government to ignore EFSA and take the initiative by banning the use of BPA in baby and toddler products throughout the UK,' said chair Claire Dimmer.

It is astonishing that the European Union, generally always in the forefront of banning anything that just remotely could be a problem, has decided against banning BPA despite evidence to its dangers and other countries having banned the substance or intending to ban it. I smell something rather fishy in this here.

© 2010

Golden opportunity to fix broken transport system missed, says Sustrans

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

London, UK, 10/26/2010: Reacting to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond's announcement today, Jason Torrance, Sustrans Policy Manager, said:  "Sustrans is dismayed that government is missing a golden opportunity to put right a broken transport system, despite its green promises.

"The Secretary of State for Transport proudly boasts that his lengthy list of road transport schemes bring benefits of £6 for every £1 spent. But sustainable transport schemes that encourage active travel offer much better value, at £8 for every £1 spent. And they directly address the congestion issues that today's announcement claims to resolve.  

"And there are other benefits.  Given that 1 in 20 UK people are now being treated for type 2 diabetes and 1 in 10 for obesity - both illnesses that are exacerbated by physical inactivity - improving the health of the nation, and tackling the costs attached to that, has to be seen as critical.  With this in mind not prioritising walking and cycling should be unthinkable."

The greenest government ever they said they would be but so far there seems to be little to show for it but talk, talk, and more talk and claims but very little, is any, action.

The UK needs an alternative transport policy, a proper one, and it needs it now.

We needs cycle paths that are proper ones, like in countries such as Holland, Germany and Denmark, which are physically separated from the road traffic to make people feels safe to cycle but all we get, and not just from the coalition government, is stupid replies as to how difficult it would be to do it.

© 2010

Anti-Castor train website taken down

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Internet presence of a groups of anti-nuclear power protesters who use their website to publicly call for the blockade of the Castor train was taken down by the provider after the investigating authorities told the provider about this.

Castor is the abbreviation (acronym) for “cask for storage and transport of radioactive material”, in other words “containers for the storage and transport of radioactive materials”. Castor-flasks are special containers for the storage and the transportation of highly radioactive materials, such as fuel rods and highly radioactive waste on their way to reprocessing.

Amongst the opponents of the Castor transports a new form of resistance has developed, the so-called “graveling”. This means that gravel is being removed from the rail-road track bed in order to make a particular section of the track impassable for the train. Many activists had announced on the Internet that they were intend on using this procedure against the train.

One of those groups, the Infogruppe Rosenheim, had now had its website closed by the provider because they had called for this action of “graveling” of the tracks. The website has been closed by Beepworld, the provider who hosts the domain of the group. Reasons given for the closure of the site give was that the call for such acts of resistance goes against the company's rules. Obviously the activities of Nazi groups that are hosted on their servers do not. The company said, however, that they did not act on their own initiative. A special unit of the CID Rosenheim had pointed out to them the existence of the site and the activities.

Like in Britain it would appear that actions against the nuclear power industry are seen as the highest form of treason while right-wing organizations can promote their hate against all and sundries, especially against Gypsies and coloreds.

© 2010

New Eco Products Seen As Game-Changers For Government And Ordinary Americans

Industry Innovations Ecoplex™ and Smart-e™ Unveiled Today

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 2010: Terradime Modular™, a manufacturing and innovation enterprise focused on energy efficient technologies, today held an international product launch to unveil cutting-edge products designed to help people conserve energy and live cleaner, healthier lives. The products were created by alumni from Carnegie Mellon University.

The Ecoplex™ is the first mass produced modular trailer for use in natural disasters (and many other applications) that does not contain cancer causing toxins and is 100% recyclable. It is a fresh solution to the “toxic boxes” that have been used to shelter people in natural disasters like those that have occurred with the BP oil spill or Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The Smart-e™ is a unique energy monitoring system that replaces the traditional home or office thermostat and allows remote access to home or office from anywhere in the world. Both products can have a compelling and positive impact on the lives of millions of people.

“Our first product, the Ecoplex™, is focused on the current, multi-billion dollar modular trailer industry, which is filled with trailers that contain high levels of cancer causing formaldehyde,” said George Mongell, President and CEO of Terradime. “In this industry, it is still acceptable to have people living and working in trailers known to contain dangerous toxins that compromise the health and well-being of its occupants. Today, we are unveiling a product that will change what we feel is a totally unacceptable industry standard.”

The product is designed for use for disaster relief, mobile offices, medical clinics, schools and by the entertainment and construction industries.

In July of 2008, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported on elevated formaldehyde levels in trailers used as temporary shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi for people displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The CDC report recommended the immediate relocation of any residents still living in these trailers because of the toxic levels of formaldehyde and other toxins that existed. After a typical 7-year use, these trailers are typically dumped into a landfill thereby emitting toxic or harmful chemical and pollutants into the Earth.

The Ecoplex™ is the first temporary green trailer that is cost-effective, easy to ship and can be mass manufactured. It’s made purely of healthy materials and is 100% recyclable, so it won’t leak toxins into a landfill. For use in natural disasters, the Ecoplex™ is the first, true solution that many entities like FEMA have been waiting for.

“The Ecoplex™ is an affordable solution for use in catastrophic situations like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Mongell. “In certain areas of the trailer, there is up to ten times more daylight in the Ecoplex™ than in a conventional trailer and the air quality is also significantly better than the trailers that are currently in use. It is wind resistant up to 120 mph and adaptable to climate-specific regions.”

With an exterior made of a structurally insulated panel, the Ecoplex™ self-levels by wireless remote. Residential models are 40 feet long and 8 ½ feet wide, among other size variations, and boast a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room. Prototypes are complete with mass-production planned and orders pending. Competitively priced, the product can be customized for office or temporary residential use and ranges from $30,000 to $40,000 based on inclusions like bathrooms and kitchenettes. It will be available by January 1, 2011.

Terradime also unveiled Smart-e™, a unique energy management system that is designed to replace the traditional home thermostat. Password protected, this new product allows people to control their home or office from anywhere in the world via computer or smartphone and makes subtle recommendations that increase comfort, conserve energy and save money.

“Over time, Smart-e™ learns the preferences an individual has for a home or office and makes recommendations that increase comfort, conserve energy and save money,” said Mongell. “On vacation? Smart-e™ makes it easy to remotely turn on and off lights, adjust temperatures, or unlock an alarm system to let a repair person in, then realarm the security system. It can be set for a week at one level, or changed as often as an individual would like. At work or stuck in traffic? Smart-e™ allows an individual to connect via a computer or smartphone to see if their kids turned off all of the lights before leaving the house or turn up the heat an hour before arriving home from work. It offers a simple way for anyone to conserve energy.”

Smart-e™ also gives people the ability to check their energy bill at any given point in the month, rather than having to wait for a bill that could hold unpleasant surprises. Available for new or existing construction, the product allows consumers to check their eco-score on a scale of A-F and recommends ways to improve your grade. Smart-e™ will be available in the Fall of 2011 and will retail at a base price of $399 for a basic unit, with options at $699 and $999 that include more robust versions, additional sensors and expanded software options for larger homes or office spaces.

“It’s always wonderful to see Carnegie Mellon alumni creating solutions to real-world problems,” said Rick McCullough, vice president of research at Carnegie Mellon. “Our alumni have enjoyed great success by using technology in creative ways such as this, and we wish the Terradime team, which includes many Carnegie Mellon alumni, all the best.”

Terradime™ is a manufacturing and innovation enterprise focused on energy efficient technologies. Led by alumni from Carnegie Mellon University, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based company is creating innovative products and technologies designed to help people conserve energy and live cleaner, healthier lives.


This press release is presented without editing for your information. The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered, as we have no direct knowledge if it. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.

GreenQloud taps Scality's storage technology to launch world's first truly green cloud service

GreenQloud's service powered solely by Icelandic geothermal- and hydropower

Reykjavík, Iceland: GreenQloud, the industry's first carbon-neutral cloud hosting and storage service provider, has announced a technology partnership with Scality, the pioneer of object-based cloud storage. The move will allow the Icelandic cloud service provider to launch its range of ground-breaking services later this year to users around the world.

GreenQloud's partnership with Scality represents a union of two schools of thought, one being that a cloud service offering should include features such as flexibility, scalability and "five nines" (99.999 per cent) up-time - while drastically cutting costs; the other that ecology and sustainability should be a primary concern for all IT companies and providers.

According to Eiríkur Hrafnsson, GreenQloud's CEO, carbon neutrality is going to be the number one requirement of forward-thinking companies looking to go beyond their regulatory commitments to meet ecological targets.

Carbon neutrality will happen, he says, as shareholders wake up to the fact that a green strategy is not only desirable, but can also be cost-effective as energy prices continue to rise and carbon taxes are being implemented.

Hrafnsson said GreenQloud is set to become a leader in the cloud services arena, because its platform scores on three main fronts: carbon-neutrality, performance and deployment flexibility.

"GreenQloud not only embodies the true advantages of cloud services - elastic scalability of storage and virtual servers, pay as you go business model with no CapEx and automation of scale via APIs - but it raises the bar in terms of its ecological advantages and performance," he said. "This is why GreenQloud was honored with a most promising cloud computing award at the Structure 2010 conference in San Francisco this summer. The company is certain to further hit the headlines as its services enter beta testing in the weeks ahead."

The GreenQloud CEO went on to say that his firm's range of cloud services are the first in the industry to be compatible with Amazon's Web Services' APIs which gives the users of GreenQloud the option of many 3rd party tools from the get-go.

GreenQloud is also strategically located in Iceland, a mid-Atlantic network hub, for the best latency possible from one location to North America and Europe.

All of the storage features for the cloud service provider's object storage, says Hrafnsson, are made possible thanks to Scality's RING object-storage technology, a cutting-edge platform giving total control over the storage infrastructure, defending it against all forms of failure.

Jérôme Lecat, Scality's CEO, echoed Hrafnsson's enthusiasm and said that designing cloud services to maintain system uptime, come what may, is an important feature that a growing number of companies are building into their cloud service level agreements.

"All magnetic storage drives fail - it's a fact of life. Our technology starts from this premise and allows service providers to develop a fault-tolerant storage platform that works, whatever happens," he said, adding that it does this, along with unlimited scalability, thanks to inherent features designed and built into the core of the storage platform.

Back at GreenQloud, Hrafnsson echoed Lecat's comments, saying: "We are delighted to be working with a likeminded innovator like Scality, and the value this partnership brings to our carbon-neutral cloud services. One of our missions is to be a truly green alternative to Amazon's cloud offering. By leveraging the Scality platform we can offer our customers an enterprise class, secure and infinitely scalable S3 compatible storage service at a competitive price and we will continue to work with Scality to bring new, awesome features in the object storage space in the near future."

"Thanks to these key advantages, it is clear that our services are a win-win-win offering, offering advantages to the storage industry, our clients, and the eco-world as a whole. Our new cloud services are set to become a must-have for companies looking to better their IT efficiencies, and stay green in the process," he added.

GreenQloud is the world's first truly green public compute cloud. GreenQloud offers a fully automated self service cloud server hosting environment and a variety of online storage services aimed at regular consumers, smb's, enterprises and high performance computing users alike. GreenQloud is Truly Green because it exclusively uses geothermal and hydro energy and only operates in ultra high efficient data centers.

Companies or individuals can rent GreenQloud's services by the hour and completely remove their IT's carbon footprint. Customers only pay for what they use so they can grow their online presence without any initial investment in IT infrastructure.

GreenQloud can do this because it is based in Iceland where there is an abundance of truly green energy and free cooling. Iceland is also the only place in the world with redundant high speed fiber connections to Europe and N-America from one location thus reducing the need to have servers and data at many locations when targeting those markets. The cloud is compatible with Amazon's AWS API's making it easy to switch or to scale out to GreenQloud and is compatible with multiple 3rd party services that were built for AWS.

For more on GreenQloud: http://bit.ly/bUmPgh and www.GreenQloud.com

Scality is the developer of RING, a software platform enabling cloud storage to easily scale up to exabytes using commodity server hardware with direct attached storage.

Scality delivers the performance and reliability of a SAN- or NAS-based architecture without the hassles of volume management at one third to half of the cost.

Scality is used by Service Providers to deploy Storage-as-a-Service offerings, by Email Providers to store emails for millions of users, and by web services managing billions of files with very high performance expectations, either for Web 2.0 or business applications. Scality RING is based on a patented object storage technology, which delivers high availability, ease of operations and total control of your data.

For more on Scality: http://bit.ly/ck3G9r and www.scality.com or follow Scality on Twitter: @Scality.


This press release is presented without editing for your information. The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered, as we have no direct knowledge if it. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.

Christmas Gifts from Harrod Horticultural

Christmas Gifts can often be staid, uninspiring and quickly forgotten - and imaginative gardening gifts are very hard to come by - so this year, treat the gardener in your life to something really special. Our Sneeboer engraved tools are a great place to start and combine the quality hand-made workmanship you come to expect from such a well-respected name with your own unique message - and the result is a highly personal gift which will last a lifetime! But an engraved tool is just the tip of the gardening iceberg as we've also got various other gardening quirks, curios and good old fashioned tried and tested favourites which will all make wonderful presents and all can be delivered to the recipient's door. You'll find quality gardening boots and gloves along with welly warmers - very seasonal and useful - and plenty of stocking fillers such as labels, seed organisers and lots of products for both the kitchen and greenhouse.


Engraved Sneeboer Heart Shaped Trowel GGT-695 £32.95

This thoughtfully designed 26cm long Heart Shaped Planting Trowel by Sneeboer combines a fine cherrywood handle with a very sharp point making it ideal for bulb planting. You can make your gift extra special and include your own personal engraved message on the blade.


Asparagus Knife GGT-341 £19.95

The two-in-one Asapargus Knife combines the two most popular methods of harvesting asapargus spears; those who like to saw off the spears below ground level will no doubt opt for the serrated curved blade whilst gardeners who like to clinically cut the stem will be pleased to see this carbon steel bladed knife has a sharpened cutting blade at the tip.



Garden Seed Organiser GRE-323 £14.95

Start the growing season as you mean to go on with this handy, wall mounted storage unit. The 12 monthly pockets marked January-December ensure that you won’t miss the month to sow your seeds. Complete with pencil, dibber and screws for mounting. (See image attached)

Cuttings Tube Set GRE-328 £12.95

Propagate the old fashioned way with this stylish Cuttings Tube Set and raise plants from cuttings in the six glass phials, securely held in position by the cast iron frame.


6 Slate Markers with Engraver GRE-327 £14.95

There's a danger these spectacular slate marking labels will overshadow your border plants and shrubs and you can almost picture each 19.5cm long x 3cm wide label being hewn out of a Welsh hillside!


Haws Handy Indoor Sage Green Watering Can 0.7 litre GWT-849 £4.75

The Haws Handy Indoor Watering Can is our latest offering from world-renowned British watering can manufacturer Haws, and this 0.7 litre capacity, injection moulded plastic can is sure to find favour with gardeners who have plants to water inside as well as out. The Haws Handy Indoor Watering Can - available in attractive ruby red and features a detachable fine brass-faced rose complete with handy storage point and in fact, everything to do with this attractive little 11.5cm high by 30cm long (spout to handle) is handy!



Wire Cupcake Tree PRE-076 £19.95

The Wire Cupcake Tree gives 23 of your finest cupcakes or muffins the stage they deserve and will certainly be the focus of attention for your afternoon tea on the lawn or dinner guests!

Nutcracker PRE-075 £14.95

No sledgehammer required here as this attractive Nutcracker really looks the part positioned by a roaring log fire in the depths of winter, effortlessly cracking all sizes of delicious home grown edible nuts or those gathered on a countryside forage, by way of the traditional screw thread press.


Rigamonti Passa Pomodori Passata Machine PRE-069 £29.95

Roughly translated into a tomato press, this highly efficient, tomato-red Rigamonti Passa Pomodori Passata Machine originates from Italy - a country which knows more than a little bit about tomatoes, cooking and sauces!


For further information on any of these products please visit our website Christmas Gifts section - http://www.harrodhorticultural.com/HarrodSite/category/Gifts/


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

Vacation 2.0 – Danger of burglary due to vacation notifications given on Social Networks

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

There is a serious danger of experiencing a burglary in one's home and/or office if, like so many, one announces that one is going on vacation on social networks.

Time and again on an almost daily basis, even amongst the people that I am in contact with, someone will post a notification that he or she is going to be away for a couple of days or weeks because of vacationing or trip to here or there, etc.

This is a virtual and real invitation to any criminal to scoot over and have a look at your place with the view of liberating a few of your possessions.

This is especially dangerous if you use Facebook's location service or it you happen to be careless with your personal information on Facebook or elsewhere in your profile. Neither your address nor other sensitive info belong there.

If you want to, at some stage, share this with someone you have come to know as trustworthy then that is a different story. On the general profile such information has nothing to do.

Also, unless you know that no one knows your direct location do not tweet or blog (on Facebook or elsewhere) as to your location of anything of that nature, e.g. being away on vacation in Timbuktu or even just in Blackpool.

Facebook plugins such as the “My Location” or whatever it may be called also does not belong onto your cell phone or laptop. While it may be nice to let everyone of your friends know how things are where you are there is a much better and safer way; it is called email.

Vacation updates on social networks are also a very bad ideas, as indicated, and should be an absolute no, no, and that even if you have not disclosed your location, your address, etc., in any of your profiles. Chances are that some criminal reading the entries might just know where you live and bingo. A nice opportunity burglary. Not something you would want.

If, as I have said already, you wish to share holiday information with friends and family do not do that via Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or MySpace or what-have-you.

Use email or instant messenger. You never know who is reading your blog entries and that includes material on platforms such as Blogger, etc. Blog about your vacation, you trip to wherever, or whatever, when you are back home safely.. Much better, in my opinion.

Let's remember that it is a jungle out there and the animals in this jungle do not play fair and by the rules.

© 2010

Real “green” wedding means no special dress

If you want a “green” wedding then the first thing to do is drop the white, use only once, wedding dress

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If you want a truly “green” wedding then the first thing to do is drop the white, use only once, wedding dress. It is something that only came about not so long ago. Anything else “green” is more or less additional. The dress is the one things that is (1) expensive, often horrendously so, and (2) then only is designed to be worn once.

So, how came the white, wear once only, wedding dress come about.

Let's look a little at history, and in fact it had to do, originally, with frugality, would you believe it. So I guess it was maybe changed afterwards and worn for other occasions.

It was Queen Victoria who chose white for her wedding dress but not because it symbolized purity, but because she wanted to show her people that she would run the country in an economical way.

White was a much less expensive color to make than the colors typically popular for wedding dresses at the time (red, black, and purple). Plus, it gave her the option of using some lace that she already owned, rather than having something specially made. So basically, the white dress was originally a political move and one of frugality.

Before the white wedding dress was popularized in the 1800s among women of wealth, most brides just wore whatever dress was their best.

Wealthy ladies had gowns designed for one wearing, but merchant and commoner classes seldom had the money for such luxuries, so the bride simply wore the nicest thing she had, or had a new dress made that she intended to wear again, and it is that way, as far as I am concerned, that we should think again if we look at green weddings.

Today white or cream is the “normal” color for the wedding dress, claimed to represent purity, but not all cultures see that color at that. In some the color white, in fact, is the color associated with death and funerals; it was thus amongst the Romani People, the Gypsy, though even there now the white dress is used mostly.

When it comes to being green no one time wear only dress of the voluptuous wedding dress in white with train and veil and all that jazz makes any sense whatsoever.

Most of us men don't have a special suit made for that occasion and then would but wear it once, so why should there be this dress with its extravagance of material and made to be worn, to all intents and purposes, only once, and then put away, in most cases. Put away for what? This does not make sense and never will.

There is a lot of talk nowadays about “green” weddings and the designers use natural materials and recycled stuff and all that but no one ever, so it would appear, seems to advise the bride against the extravagance of the (white), wear on the day only, wedding dress.

I thought this must be changed and therefore I am doing just that, namely advising against the use of the (white), wear on the day only, wedding dress.

Look for a nice dress that you could and would wear again, and not just once afterwards, and one that can be combined with a variety of things to create a great outfit each and every time and that could, therefore, be lasting a long time. That is the way people used to do it, many years ago, before someone invented the current tradition and we must come to this again.

The is a war on, you know. A war against the ravaging of the environment and all that, and like in the two world wars when rationing made it a must that the wedding dress would later serve another purpose this must be thus again.

Only with a non-disposable wedding dress can a wedding be truly green.

© 2010

Energy Saving Week 25-31 October 2010

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Monday, October 25 will see the start of this year's Energy Savings Week. The whole week is dedicated to helping you to take control and start to save energy at home and in how you travel.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Live Q&A session about saving energy in association with Money Saving Expert.

  • Live Q&A sessions on Facebook with Energy Saving Trust experts throughout the week covering insulation, energy saving products, generating your own energy and transport.

  • Downloadable banners and buttons.

  • Special 'Tell a friend' email tool that lets you quickly inform friends or family how they can save energy too.

  • Chance to win a £20,000 eco-refit for your home: includes a new boiler, glazing, insulation, energy efficient appliances and a television, plus more!

  • MPs blogging about what they're doing during the Week.

  • Plenty of local events and activities, including the chance to visit an energy saving show home.

Have a look at the Energy Savings Week page for more information.

The Energy Saving Trust will be giving groups, organisations and people like you the advice, tools and support needed to take control of managing and reducing energy use – whether that’s at home, at work, or travelling. Each day of the week will have a theme:

  • Monday: Launch day

  • Tuesday: Insulation

  • Wednesday: Generate your own energy

  • Thursday: Energy saving products

  • Friday: Transport

So, do check it out from Monday proper.

© 2010

Carbon Gold Biochar

Product Review and other comments

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

At the Garden Press Event 2010 I ended up with a sample bag of biochar by the name of “Carbon Gold” and I must say that the ancient ones, who we have to thank for the original invention of biochar, definitely knew what they did when they used charcoal to enhance soil fertility.

I used the Carbon Gold biochar in a container where I sowed some cabbages and carrots and not, I have no idea as to whether the two work as companion plants and the cabbages for one, and for once, have turned out real well.

On the Internet someone recently was lecturing in a video as to making of biochar oneself and how it was a different production process to the making of “ordinary” charcoal in that it would be created at higher temperatures to that of your common garden varieties of lumpwood charcoal. Ordinary charcoal, so this person said, thus would not work as a soil improver like biochar.

I must beg to differ there in that being a gardener at a former stately home the plant beds here are full of bits of charcoal that was used as a soil improver. This charcoal simply came from the charcoal cooking ranges in the great house and the gardeners of old used it to improve the soil and to add carbon matter to it, and that for all beds, whether flowers or vegetables. And I am sure they knew what they were doing.

The black earth areas of the Amazon where charcoal had been used as a soil improver to create highly fertile food growing areas I am sure where made also by simply adding carbon matter from the fires rather than special charcoal. Let's get back to terra firma. All the old gardeners and farmers knew of the value of adding charred wood to the soil, and also wood ash.

Maybe the process of making biochar today is better as to carbon capture than normal charcoal burning but that does not mean that ordinary charcoal does not work; it does. The stuff that the gardeners of old used was just that, ordinary charcoal and wood ash. Both arr good for the soil, and slowly release the carbon remaining the remains of the wood into the soil, thus adding food for the plants.

The results using the little sample bag of Carbon Gold, I must say, are very good indeed and the plants have done extremely well.

The stuff definitely seems to be working.

© 2010

Repair: Don’t simply Replace

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

These days we have so many opportunities to buy new tools in order to replace the ones that have lost their shine or been dinged up from years of use, often rather cheaply too. But are they are same quality as the ones that have lost their shine, so to speak, or have been dinged a little? Probably not. And that would mean that buying new might mean to have to buy new soon again thus wasting money.

I have a number of hammers. For instance, from a tiny, light-weight furniture upholstery ones over tin-smith hammers to bolsters suitable for breaking things up, and others. But my favorite is an old, wooden handled little hammer that I found tossed out by someone.

I also have some other great old tools that I more than likely would be hard-pressed to find the same kind of replacement for today in this throw-away society of ours.

That little hammer does need a little TLC as it has some burs around the head but that can be sorted out with a little work with a file. My other favorite is a small old ball preen hammer that was my Grandfather's in the knife-grinding trade and became mine when I began that work. It needs a new handle, really, but it is the perfect hammer still for the jobs it is intended for.

I also have a new hammer that, too, was found. One with a metal shaft and a rubber handle but I have yet to become really impressed with such ones. Give me a proper hammer with a wooden handle any day and the same is true for hatchets and small axes, etc.

I have seen too man y metal handled hammers fold – literally – under strain; I am referring to the handle here, and then the hammer is useless as no new handle can be fitted.

I can often be found looking for old tools in thrift stores and such like and will, generally, take home any old tool that looks like it can be rescued, and this is especially true for tools and such that we find tossed out into the countryside.

First always consider repairing a tool before you even think of buying new...

© 2010


The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) believes that the economic and social value of our natural capital must be remembered when representatives of 200 countries meet in Nagoya to discuss how to stem the rate of biodiversity loss, despite coming at a time when most countries are more focused on the strength of their economies.

The global economic downturn was heralded as a great opportunity to change things for the better, providing an opportunity to build new economies based on greener infrastructure and principles. However, the draft declaration of the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 acknowledged that the targets set at the 2002 summit were summarily missed. It warns that without significant changes there may be increased rates of species extinction, and even possible ecosystem collapse if certain thresholds are crossed. CIWEM believes that business as usual is clearly not an option.

Clearly more concerted effort is required to halt the rate of decline in biodiversity. Central to this is full and proper recognition of the value provided to humankind by this biodiversity resource. The scale of the economic and social value of ecosystem services is slowly being recognised but this growing understanding must be matched quickly by political will to put in place the structures required to ensure that biodiversity is respected as being more economically valuable alive than extinct.

CIWEM’s latest Policy Position Statement on Deforestation emphasises this, urging the value of rainforests as the most biologically rich ecosystems on the planet to be better recognised, utilising an ecosystems approach. CIWEM highlights Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman’s statement that the global cost of one year’s worth of deforestation is estimated at between $2 and $5 trillion, and in the long term our natural capital is just as important to our economy as our human and financial capital.

This vast monetary value demonstrates why conserving and enhancing our natural capital should be prioritised as quickly and robustly as other cost-saving measures that Governments around the world are currently implementing.

CIWEM Executive Director Nick Reeves says: “It would be a tremendous signal if representatives of 200 countries can agree a 2020 target to significantly reduce losses in biological diversity. We must hope that the failure to agree a target for 2010 will provide the impetus to act this time. In these straightened times, the world must recognize that a strong economic future is reliant on a strong ecological future. Simply, we must assign ecology, biodiversity, and the services it provides us, with a value and stature commensurate with its importance to our economies. Despite a difficult economic climate, developed countries must contribute sufficient resources to help developing countries play their part.”

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM, is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world. www.ciwem.org

Source: CIWEM