The 99% speak out

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

the 99% speak out The “Occupy” movement is catching fire across the world and has achieved a radical shift in the way we think about our politics. And it is going further, in some ways, now, that just occupying Wall Street, the LSX, or such. Now, the world is asking, how can the movement win?

Unfortunately, from New York to London, politicians and the police have been bought off to protect corporate interests. Police are forcibly evicting the peaceful protesters from public spaces and and politicians, local, regional and federal, are discrediting the movement in the media as “dirty hippies” and “violent criminals” with no clear agenda.

In NYC the park was cleared under the pretenses of “public health” concerns and in London at St Paul's Cathedral the claim was made that the church had had to close because of “health and safety” fears. Both of it utter rubbish.

The protest camps at ST Paul's Cathedral of the “Occupy the LSX” campaign was nowhere close enough to present a safety issue whether as regards to fire or anything else.

It is not hard to see why the powers that be are nervous: the occupiers have sparked a vital battle of ideas, and the corrupt, elite 1% stand to lose everything.

It is now three years since the financial crash exposed the greed and recklessness that drives our financial system and destroys our economies. We are losing jobs, homes, and benefits, yet politicians continue to throw public money to keep big banks afloat to speculate and hand out fat bonuses. The 1% get their way every day, through massive spending on lobbyists, revolving door networks with current and former politicians and using the media to spread threats and fear.

Enough is enough! We know ordinary people working together can shake even the most entrenched powers; we have seen it over and over this year, beginning with the Arab Spring that turned into an Arab Autumn and, if we are not careful, into an Egyptian Winter. However, in the last two months the occupiers' message has resonated in homes, bars, and workplaces everywhere; people are beginning to speak out against the rotten financial and political systems that wreck our democracies, if democracies they actually really are, which I doubt.

Many so-called police officers do not deserve to wear the uniform for they behave like JBTs and not the public protectors that they are meant to be. The power they have been given to, for instance, smash demonstrations, has gotten to many of their heads and they are behaving in the same way as did the SS in the Third Reich.

Anyone who will pepperspray an old lady is worse, probably, than many a SS officer of Hitler's guard.

In the UK it would appear that they are going to try their damnest; the regime of Cameron-Clegg, to outlaw demonstrations and protests and will make all protest actions and demonstrations a criminal act come 2012.

So much for the Mother of modern Democracy, which Britain likes to, so often, be portrayed at and portray itself.

When it is illegal to camp out for democracy but legal to do so for commerce, as is the case time and again when the big sales start, such as at Black Friday, then we must reexamine our systems.

Time to take our countries back from the bankers, bent politicians and jack-booted thugs in police uniforms.

© 2011

Professor Wangari Maathai honoured with the 2nd International Green Awards™ Lifetime Achievement Award

Prof Wangari Matthai - Winner 20_web LONDON, November 2011 – The 6th International Green Awards™, in association with Climate Change - The New Economy (CCTNE), is proud to announce the Kenyan visionary, Professor Wangari Maathai was posthumously awarded the inaugural ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ sponsored by First Eastern Investment Group for her lifelong commitment to environmental protection. The Nobel Peace Laureate; environmentalist; scientist; parliamentarian; founder of the Green Belt Movement; advocate for social justice, human rights, and democracy; elder; and peacemaker; was honoured for her vast contribution to sustainability at the annual gala dinner, which took place on 24th of November 2011 at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London.

As it is the United Nations’ International Year of the Forests, it seemed fitting that the prestigious 2nd Lifetime Achievement Award be given to a woman who established perhaps the greatest tree planting initiative in the world - the Green Belt Movement. Having already become the first Eastern African woman to hold a Ph.D., Professor Wangari Maathai went on to establish this movement, which has now planted over 45 million trees in Kenya.

However, after the movement was established, it soon became clear that Maathai was fighting for a cause that spread far beyond the ecological. She insisted that the tree planting be carried out by women in the villages of Kenya, who through protecting their environment and ensuring paid employment for planting the trees, are now able to better care for their future generations. Essentially, Maathai’s unique insight was that social and economic issues were fundamentally intertwined with the environment.

In fact, the Green Belt Movement helped to profoundly improve the lives of Kenyan women and all Kenyans, through education, food-security and income, and rights- standing up to the then dictator Moi which lead to the first democratic elections in Kenya. In 2004 the Nobel committee awarded Maathai the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to link peace, sustainable development and democracy. This was a momentous achievement, as she was not only the first African woman to win the award, but the first environmentalist, indicating that her efforts had demonstrated that environmental protection in itself, was a path to peace.

Sadly, Maathai passed away in September 2011, and the world lost a true heroine and environmental luminary. Nevertheless, we can look back over her life and celebrate her remarkable selfless dedication to improving the environment, and enhancing the lives of women in Kenya, where her legacy continues to inspire leaders around the world. It was for this reason that the 6th International Green Awards decided to celebrate the life of Wangari Maathai by awarding her the Lifetime Achievement Award which she agreed to receive before her untimely passing.

The award was presented to Francesca de Gasparis, Europe Director of the Green Belt Movement who worked closely with Wangari for six years. The award was handed over by sponsor Ms. Elizabeth Kan, Managing Director of First Eastern Investment Group who came from Hong Kong for the occasion. A celebration of her life was screened which included a goodwill message and thanks from Wangari’s daughter Wanjira Maathai.

Francesca de Gasparis, Director of the Europe office of the Green Belt Movement commented “The International Green Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Laureate 2004 has come at a time when we are grieving her loss to the world and celebrating her life. Wangari committed her life to planting trees, protecting forests and inspiring us all to do our bit to help create a sustainable future. Through this award, in recognition of her life, more people will come to learn of the deep commitment, humour and energy Wangari brought to the Green movement. Going forward, as Wangari used to say when she told the wonderful story of the little hummingbird- we will do the best we can!”.

For further details of the International Green Awards please visit or follow us on Twitter
To view the celebration of her life and message from her daughter visit

The mission of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) is to mobilize community consciousness- using tree planting as an entry point- for self-determination, equity, improved livelihoods and security, and environmental conservation.

A private equity and venture capital firm specializing in expansion stage. The firm seeks to invest in manufacturing, construction, financial and real estate industries. It prefers to invest in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The firm typically invests between $1 and $10 million and a minimum annual sale of $12 million is required for all portfolio companies. It also looks for a seat on the Board of Directors and a minor stake in the portfolio company. First Eastern Investment Group was founded in 1988 is based in Hong Kong with additional offices in Shanghai Province, China; Beijing Province, China.

Launched in 2006 to critical acclaim, the INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ were set up to recognise strategies that use creativity in an engaging and effective manner, leading to more sustainable outcomes. It is now an established event on the global sustainable business-calendar.

By showcasing “best in class” examples of effective, innovative and creative approaches to sustainability, the INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ aims to be an agent of change. To this end, the Awards team searches the globe every year to find true influencers, leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, identifying worldwide sustainability success stories that inspire and motivate others.

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World’s first night flowering orchid discovered on the island of New Britain

Botanists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis have described the first night-flowering orchid known to science. The discovery is published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.

The new night flowering species, Bulbophyllum nocturnum, from the island of New Britain near Papua New Guinea, is the first known example of an orchid species with flowers that consistently open after dark and close in the morning. Its flowers last one night only.

A relatively small number of plant species have flowers that open at night and close during the day (1). Until now, no orchids were known among them. This in spite of the fact that many orchids are pollinated by moths. But these moth-pollinated orchids all have flowers that remain open during the day, even if they are mainly pollinated after dark.

Bulbophyllum nocturnum was discovered by Dutch orchid specialist Ed de Vogel on a field trip to the island of New Britain, where he was allowed to collect some orchids in a logging area for cultivation at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Under the care of garden manager Art Vogel one of these plant soon produced buds. Their opening was eagerly anticipated as de Vogel and his colleagues had already established that this plant was a member of the Epicrianthes group of orchids of the genus Bulbophyllum. Epicrianthes contains many rare and bizarre species, most of which have only been discovered recently as they occur in some of the remotest jungle habitats on earth (2).

Frustratingly, however, the buds all withered once they had seemingly reached the size at which they should open. Wanting to get to the bottom of this, de Vogel took the plant home with him one evening in order to find out exactly what happened to the buds.

To his surprise, the bud that was then present opened up at ten in the evening, long after dark, revealing the flower of an undescribed species.

Observations on subsequent buds confirmed that they all opened around 10pm, and closed the next morning around 10am (3). The flowers lasted only one night, which explained why the buds were seemingly about to open one day and withered the next.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew orchid specialist, André Schuiteman, and Leiden Bulbophyllum expert, Jaap Vermeulen, teamed up with de Vogel to investigate and describe this remarkable new species.

Says André Schuiteman of the discovery, “This is another reminder that surprising discoveries can still be made. But it is a race against time to find species like this that only occur in primeval tropical forests. As we all know, such forests are disappearing fast. It is therefore increasingly important to obtain funding for the fieldwork required to make such discoveries.”

Why Bulbophyllum nocturnum has adopted a night flowering habit is unknown and requires further investigation. However, it may be speculated that its pollinators are midges that forage at night (4).

In February 2012 Kew’s Tropical Extravaganza festival (4 February – 4 March 2012) will celebrate the beauty and diversity of orchids. Orchids make up what is probably the largest plant family on earth, with an estimated 25,000 species. Their flowers show a tremendous range of variation in size, colour and shape. For more information about Tropical Extravaganza see

Bulbophyllum nocturnum is not yet in cultivation at Kew Gardens. It is growing at Hortus Botanicus in Leiden. An alcohol-preserved specimen of Bulbophyllum nocturnum is held in Kew’s Herbarium

Species page with further information about Bulbophyllum nocturnum

(1) Examples of plant species with flowers that open after dark and close before or shortly after sunrise include the queen of the night cactus (Selenicereus grandiflorus), the midnight horror tree (Oroxylum indicum) and the night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).

(2) Bulbophyllum nocturnum belongs to a group of species, Epicrianthes, within the genus Bulbophyllum, that are noteworthy for their bizarre flowers with strange appendages, which often resemble leggy insects, small hairy spiders or intricate sea-creatures. These appendages are often attached by extremely thin filaments, which cause them to move erratically in the slightest breeze. The wriggling flowers look more like small creatures than like parts of a plant.

(3) This was observed in cultivation in the Netherlands in winter, which implies that the flowers closed a few hours after sunrise.

(4) Orchids with insect-like flowers are often pollinated by pseudo-copulation, as they usually mimic female insects to attract males (the orchid genus Ophrys is a well-known example). However, this is probably not the case for Epicrianthes species, nor is it likely that the flowers mimic prey animals to lure carnivorous insects. The midges observed to visit some Epicrianthes species did not display behaviour consistent with pseudo-copulation, while they were evidently too small to act as ‘attackers’. The authors point out the striking resemblance between the appendages of the flowers and the fruiting bodies of certain slime moulds (Myxomycota). It may be speculated that the pollinators are midges that normally feed on slime moulds or small fungi.

Kew has probably the largest team in the world dedicated to the description, cataloguing, research and conservation of orchids. Their subjects range from taxonomy (classification), pollination biology and orchid-fungus interactions to anatomy, biochemistry and DNA profiling. As orchids become more threatened in the wild by over-collection and destruction of their habitats, Kew’s work is becoming ever more important to ensure that every possible opportunity is taken to protect them.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract nearly 2 million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew and its partners have collected and conserved seed from 10 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25 per cent by 2020, and its enormous potential for future conservation can only be fulfilled with the support of the public and other funders.

Kew receives funding from the UK Government through Defra for approximately half of its income and is also reliant on support from other sources. Without the voluntary monies raised through membership, donations and grants, Kew would have to significantly scale back activities at a time when, as environmental challenges become ever more acute, its resources and expertise are needed in the world more than ever. Kew needs to raise significant funds both in the UK and overseas.

For more information about the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden

For more information about the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society. Founded in 1788, the Society takes its name from the great Swedish naturalist, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) who developed the system of binominal nomenclature. This system today provides the fundamental framework for knowledge of the biota of the Earth, supporting effective conservation measures and the sustainable use of biodiversity. The Society is the custodian of Linnaeus’ original library and collections and is creating a digital archive, enabling full global access. It encourages and communicates scientific advances through its three world-class journals, open meetings and website. The Society’s Fellowship is international and its Fellows are drawn from all walks of life including professional scientists and amateur naturalists. The Society welcomes anyone interested in natural history, in all its forms.

The Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society is published on behalf of the Linnean Society of London, and publishes original papers on systematic and evolutionary botany and comparative studies of both living and fossil plants. Review papers are also welcomed which integrate fields such as cytology, morphogenesis, palynology and phytochemistry into a taxonomic framework. The Journal will only publish new taxa in exceptional circumstances or as part of larger monographic or phylogenetic revisions.

Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit or

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The Bra Recyclers Exceed Goal During Bra Recycling Month for a Second Year

66fe31c8088fbae897f8b031cbf65e28_g October 2011 marked the second annual Bra Recycling Month, hosted by Arizona based textile recycling company The Bra Recyclers.

The Bra Recyclers launched the event with a goal to collect 10,000 bras during the month of October in an effort to help reshape a life and bring awareness to domestic violence and breast cancer in a unique way. The Bra Recyclers are excited to report that so far they have collected 11,000 bras and still counting!
The annual bra recycling event sparked numerous local events across the country hosted by Bra Recycling Ambassadors. The team of Bra Recycling Ambassadors leaped at the opportunity to promote recycling bras to reshape a life in their community. Commenting on her participation in a recycling event in North Carolina, Ambassador Charlene Bassett noted, “I feel like one of Santa’s elves! Thanks to you [The Bra Recyclers] for the inspiration of bra recycling; I am so excited.”

This year’s Bra Recycling Month’s ambassadors were very diverse. The 2011 Bra Recycling Month campaign inspired women’s organizations such as Sisters of Esteem in California, offered a unique bonding opportunity to mothers and teenage daughters who formed ambassador teams, and helped launch new municipal bra recycling programs at Tucson Environmental Services in Arizona, and in Cecil County in Maryland.

Individual Bra Recycling Ambassadors were not alone in their effort to recycle bras this October, partnering with local businesses in their area to expand their recycling effort. Ambassador Laura Hoffman of Illinois partnered with Lake Health to provide local women a location to donate their bras and ultimately collected over 1500 bras. Additionally, retailers such as GAP Body in Roseville, CA joined in the month long recycling effort recycling 170 bras.

This most recent accomplishment for The Bra Recyclers is only one of the many accomplishments for 2011. CEO and Founder, Elaine Birks-Mitchell said, “I am so excited about the results of bra recycling month. When we set the goal we knew it would be achievable because of the passion and commitment to support women and girls in transition from our Bra Recycling Ambassadors, individual recyclers and partners. In 2011 we have exceeded every goal we have set, from expanding our charity connection outreach to recycling more than 11,000 bras during Bra Recycling Month. We look forward to 2012 and continuing our efforts to spread the word about bra recycling and influencing the lives of women and girls in communities around the world.”

This year’s bra recycling month was even more special because The Bra Recyclers had the opportunity to donate post-surgery bras and prosthesis to Alala in South Carolina. Alala provides these specialty bras to women battling and survivors of breast cancer who cannot otherwise afford them. Alala has also been in contact with a transitional home of 21 women and they will be doing complimentary post-surgery bra fittings.

For more information about The Bra Recyclers, including charity organizations they support, and more Bra Recycling Month details, please visit

The Bra Recyclers is based in Gilbert, AZ. A textile recycling company specializing in recycling bras, the organization does its part to help the environment by delaying the amount of unused bras and textiles that go to landfills, thus reducing the pressure on virgin resources. For more information, visit

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

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.

What's the difference?

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Herb Storage Jar_mine1-1Herb Storage Jar 

You see two glass jars in the two different pictures, both intended from home-grown herbs. Can you tell the difference?

Well, the difference is not in the looks, as you may have thought. Nay, it is in the price. The one on the left with the fancy writing costs £2.95 while that one on the right, with the Brother labeling machine label, costs nothing bar the label.

How come? Well the one with the yellow label is reused, being previously a mustard jar, while the other one is on sale at some “green” outlet, the name of which shall not be mentioned here.

Paying £2.95 (that is the best part of US$5) for a glass jar to put your home-grown and dried herbs in when all you have to do is to reuse a jar that you get anyway with this or that product you get from the stores does not make sense. To me at least it doesn't.

The one for sale does not even, as is so often though the case, make the claim of being made from recycled glass, and even if it were it still would be silly to buy one when one can get one free the other way.

Our parents and grandparents, and it must be noted that was before green came into fashion, would never have thought in a million years about going out to buy something like that when they were keeping jars back for such purposes anyway.

I am not sure where we have gone wrong and where we have taken the wrong turning but I think it would be a good idea if we retraced our steps and got back onto the good road.

© 2011

Gtech SW20 Cordless Floor Sweeper – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

SW20 Close up Lower res_web The Gtech SW20 new premium sweeper is the powerful big brother of the SW02. It has the same undisputed cleaning power and performance but has an additional two key differences. 

Those are:

This unique antibacterial additive exclusive to Gtech is built into the handle and bin. It's action traps and kills over 99.9 of bacteria including MRSA, Salmomella, Listeria and E-Coli.


Eco fast charge station.
This allows the machine to fully charge from empty in 5 hours – 3 times faster than the SW02. It’s auto cut off device allows you also to safely leave it on the stand to maintain full charge.


As per manufacturers information provided with the unit the charging of the battery does take four hours, plus/minus some minutes and one should ensure that the charging cycle is, definitely, complete. The green light indicates that and then, and only then, should the unit be removed from the ecocharge charger.

Too many people interrupt the charging cycle of rechargeable battery powered equipment, from cell phones, over two-way radios to power tools, and then wonder why the battery does not retain a charge and such. So, always allow the charging cycle to finish before removing the unit from the charger.

The sweeper is a little noisier than I had expected but then again, what had I expected, in comparison to a mechanical (carpet) sweeper but less work than one of those, especially on rather dusty areas, and also with better results, probably.

Compared to a vacuum cleaner, the ones referred to in Britain often as a Hoover, the SW20 is quiet and, obviously, much better as regards to energy consumption.

This is a very powerful sweeper for its size which, in test, even tackled dust on a carpet with relative ease where a vacuum cleaner was struggling.

One thing I would pray the use to consider is that the dust tray needs frequent emptying in comparison to a vacuum cleaner and also remember not to pull the tray out over a carpet. Hold the entire unit over the dustbin while doing is.

You could say that it all started with cordless drills (if you don't consider flashlights) but since then cordless tools of the various types have advances, and that in more than just one sense of the word.

Don't get me wrong! I still love my push mower and my push sweeper of the Bissel-kind (the sweeper is a Bissel not the mower, obviously) but the Gtech SW20 is one of them – sweeper not mower – on steroids.

Cheaper to run than any vacuum cleaner and in many ways and cases a sweeper, especially with this kind of power, is much more convenient (and versatile) to use than a Hoover.

The SW20 will earn its keep in daily floor cleaning tasks, as said, such a sweeper is so much more convenient than a vacuum.

The SW20 is not the only one in the range of Gtech's powered sweepers but is one of the latest which are “greener” than the others, especially due to the new ecocharge charger.

© 2011

Government advice for winter

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

snow020209 Now that British Summer Time has ended, and winter is seriously knocking at the door, the government says that now is a good time to think about what winter weather preparations you, your family and community may need to make.

A dedicated web page gives suggestions for the simple things members of the public can do to help themselves and their family keep warm, healthy and safe through the cold weather – as well as saving money. Links to specific information and advice are listed in the 'Useful sources of help' panel. These come under the headings:

- protecting your home

- health and well-being

- travelling

- communities

Go to the dedicated web page.

It can just be hoped that people will actually head any advice given on the website (and elsewhere). The problem, all too often, is, however, that they all think that it can never happen to them.

How many people have enough food and such at home to be able to get through a power outage, for instance, on through sinply being snowed in for a day or two? Most don't.

Far too many rely on being able to get to the stores as and when they want to get things. But that does not always work and also stores, in case of severe weather, might and will run out of supplies, and that simply because of the fact that they work like many people; on a “on demand” basis.

When it comes to travelling the advice must be: of you don't have to in severe weather then don't and even if you, theoretically, should and need to be at work, if the weather is bad don't travel, at least not by car.

Use common sense and you and everyone will get through any such eventualities...

© 2011

Highways Agency reminds drivers to 'Make Time for Winter'

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

gritter As we head into the winter season the Highways Agency, which is responsible for England’s motorways and other strategic roads, is urging road users to make time for winter and ensure they are ready for severe weather.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “The Highways Agency is ready for winter, but the experience of recent winters is that we must all play our part and be prepared. A few very simple steps taken now, such as putting together a severe weather emergency kit for your car, can reduce the risk of being caught out by the weather.

“Not every journey is essential in severe weather, but if you really must travel in the worst conditions, check your vehicle before you set out; take a severe weather emergency kit; check traffic and weather conditions and always plan your journey. For more information and advice I’d urge all drivers to make time for winter and visit the Highways Agency’s website, where there are lots of tips to help keep winter journeys safe and trouble free.”

The Highways Agency is well prepared for winter, with a fleet of 500 state of the art winter vehicles on stand-by, supported by tried and tested winter resilience plans. The Agency has reviewed salt stock levels, and started this winter period with stocks of more than a quarter of a million tonnes – 25% more than at the same time last year.

As well as snow and ice, strong winds, heavy rain and thick fog can affect journeys in the winter season. Met Office weather forecasters based at the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre will provide information on weather conditions across the motorway and trunk road network.

Alyson Bedford, Head of Government Business at the Met Office, said: “We work closely with Highways Agency throughout the year and during the winter period our forecasters work with Highways Agency staff to provide them with the very latest weather forecasts. When making any journey always make sure you check the weather forecast for the latest weather information.”

While the Highways Agency may be ready for winter, and the councils too, with grit and all that at the ready, the majority of motorists, unfortunately, are not.

It is simply criminal that drivers in Britain do not have to consider, by law, that they have to have different tires on their vehicles in winter than in summer.

In other countries of the EU, such as the Scandinavian ones, Germany, Netherlands, etc., it is a legal requirement by November to have winter tires, often referred to as “mud & snow” tires on their vehicles. And, in the event of serious snow it is legal requirement to have snow chains on board and being able to fit those as well. And, yes, there are still weather-related accidents even in those countries.

I am sure that in the UK we could, however, reduce our rate of winter accidents if motorists would make time for winter and also be prepared.

Making time for winter means driving at an appropriate speed, leaving a bigger gap between the car in front and also not jumping into a gap left by another motorist for that purpose.

Time and again when winter arrives, even just with banks of fog, there are multiple pile ups (and yes, they also happen in other countries for, it would appear, the majority of drivers behave like idiots) simply because drivers did not adjust their speeds to the weather.

Make time for winter and its weather...

© 2011

Urban Wildscapes – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Urban Wildscapes
Anna Jorgensen (Editor), Richard Keenan (Editor)
272 pages paperback 24.8 x 17.8 x 2 cm
Published by Routledge 24 Oct 2011 1st edition
ISBN 978-0415581066

Urban Wildscapes Urban Wildscapes is one of the first edited collections of writings about urban ‘wilderness’ landscapes. Evolved, rather than designed or planned, these derelict, abandoned and marginal spaces are frequently overgrown with vegetation and host to a wide range of human activities. They include former industrial sites, landfill, allotments, cemeteries, woods, infrastructural corridors, vacant lots and a whole array of urban wastelands at a variety of different scales. Frequently maligned in the media, these landscapes have recently been re-evaluated and this collection assembles these fresh perspectives in one volume.

Combining theory with illustrated examples and case studies, the book demonstrates that urban wildscapes have far greater significance, meaning and utility than is commonly thought, and that an appreciation of their particular qualities can inform a far more sustainable approach to the planning, design and management of the wider urban landscape.

The wildscapes under investigation in this book are found in diverse locations throughout the UK, Europe, China and the US. They vary in scale from small sites to entire cities or regions, and from discrete locations to the imaginary wildscapes of children’s literature. Many different themes are addressed including the natural history of wildscapes, their significance as a location for all kinds of playful activity, the wildscape as ‘commons’ and the implications for landscape architectural practice, ranging from planting interventions in wildscapes to the design of the urban public realm on wildscape principles.

Both valued and feared, urban “wildscapes” evoke contradictory responses; but, in addition to their vital ecological and environmental role within urban green networks, they present the urban dweller with an alternative to the overly homogenous, mono-functional, sanitised and potentially excluding environments that are the mainstay of much contemporary urban development.

The Urban Wildscapes project began in 2007 as a partnership between The University of Sheffield and freelancers Richard Keenan and Katy Mugford.

For some reason I had been expecting the railway yard in Berlin (Südbahnhof) that has returned to Nature since being abandoned some years ago to be featured in this book and I have not been wrong there. Somehow I would have been disappointed, I guess, had it not been thus, as it is such a great ewxample of how resilient Nature is in reclaiming old sites, including industrial ones, and at what speed it can work.

The examples in this book are proof as to Nature's speed and ability of reclaiming derelict (urban) areas even to such an extent that within a decade or two those zones can be productive woodlands, amongst other things.

Urban wild spaces have and can have a number of (different) uses, from amenity, over wildlife to coppicing for firewood, etc., , all at the same time, as neither of them have to be, nor should be, exclusive. They go, in fact, very much together.

Dulwich Upper Wood in Southeast London is a great example here too, with food growing areas also incorporated. It can all be done and can benefit wildlife and us at the same time and on all levels.

Urban wild spaces must become, and Parks too have their place here, also productive if localism is to work, and that not just in regards to wood production. It is possible without interfering in their wilderness and wildlife value.

The book “Urban Wildscapes” should become a manual for all who are involved in Parks and Open Spaces, and especially all who are tasked with greening the urban environment.

© 2011

Smart Grid is NOT very smart

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The recent computer hack that disabled a water utility company in the US should be a lesson for all of us that having computers in control of everything is NOT a good idea.

I am sure we can all imagine what could happen if a cyber attack aims for the entire computer controlled infrastructure, such as water, electricity and gas, and this without a total “smart grid” in place so far.

With the smart grid in total control any cyber attack will, effectively cripple the country and maybe even more than just one country and everyone is still advocating the “smart grid”. May the g-ds help us when the proverbial hits the fan.

The “smart grid” is not going to be very smart at all when a cyber attack hits and it is way too easy, it would seem, to disable computerized controls of water and other utilities by a more or less simple hack.

Best to rethink but then again... the “smart grid” is being designed for totally different reasons than claimed; let's not forget that. It has to do with people control and nothing else.

© 2011

Nappy Bundles Make the Perfect Gift for New Parents, Says gNappies

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Those shopping for new parents can help invest in the future of the child and choose a stylish and practical gift.

Choosing the right present for expectant parents can be a tricky task and can often result in duplication of gifts – but the arrival of the full gNappies range in the UK, providing a hybrid non-disposable nappy solution, means an alternative gift idea is available which also helps protect the future of the planet.

Kim Graham-Nye, founder of gNappies who was recently named in the top 10 of the Fortune 100 Entrepreneur list, says: “A green baby means a happy planet, and with society increasingly trying to reduce its carbon footprint now more than ever, gNappies offers an opportunity for eco-aware new parents to do just that. People often don’t know what to buy new parents and it can result in lots of items or clothing that just don’t get used – so gNappies is a good practical and thoughtful alternative gift.”

A starter pack such as the gNappy baby bundle contains everything needed for new parents to get started with gNappies. The bundle contains both tiny and small sized cute and colourful little gPants; which accommodate any new-borns growth, complete with the cute ‘g’ logo on the back. The bundle also comes with 80 biodegradable gRefills, which are designed to fit into the little gPants and can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. They can be home composted or disposed of in the domestic waste.

Not just eco-friendly and practical, the gPants are stylish and come in a variety of colours and patterns. The gRefills create biodegradable nappies that are trendy, colourful and nature friendly whereas the washable gCloths can be used over and over again, offering a cloth nappy option. The bundles can also be personalised for boy or girl by adding the new gWipes which are also 100% biodegradable.

When we were kids there were no such things as disposable one-way diapers (nappies, in Britain) and, while it must have been a rather messy affair in some ways, if not all ways, with the soaking of them and all that, the Planet was better of.

Then came the disposable ones, in the same way as almost everything else became disposable, from beer bottles and soda bottles to razors and diapers and everything else in between.

The rubbish that this has all created is choking the Planet and we are still working on the BAU model, not wishing to give up the disposable aspects of our lives and such.

We only have this one Planet Earth upon which human life is possible and the way we are going about it we are about to be one of the last generations that still will be able to live on it.

Time we took steps to seriously change that and real nappies (diapers) instead of disposable ones that linger in landfills for centuries is one small step.

The full range of stylish nappy ‘pants’ comes in a range of colours, patterns and sizes, and is now available for purchase via a dedicated gNappies UK website, where buyers can opt for bundle packs or individual gPants, gRefills and gCloths. To see the range visit

© 2011

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.

61% say Energy-Saving is most popular reason for replacing windows & doors

Nick-Ross-and-Tony-Pickup-Ombuds Manchester, United Kingdom - DGCOS (The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme) commissioned a survey by Opinium Research , which revealed that 61% of homeowners now consider reducing energy bills as the most popular reason for replacing windows and doors. This radical change constitutes a major shift in consumer priorities. Over the last 30 years homeowners have usually cited improving the comfort or look of homes, or improving security as their top reasons. Now the next most important reasons trail 18% behind energy-saving in the survey: 43% say making their home more comfortable is their most important reason, and 42% say it is making their home look better.

This summer, newspapers were full of headlines of soaring domestic energy price increases which may have prompted homeowners to give energy-saving as their number 1 reason for replacing their windows and doors.

Tony Pickup (DGCOS Founder) says “Energy-saving used to be an accidental by-product of installing new windows and doors; it wasn’t even on the radar but suddenly it’s front of mind because of rocketing energy bills this summer: gas prices rose 22% and electricity prices rose 12%. People living in outlying areas are particularly hard-hit and almost being held to ransom by a price hike of 28% in heating oils since last September, so homeowners have grasped an important message that more energy-efficient windows and doors will help them cut fuel bills.”

In response to continuing consumer misery highlighted in TV programmes such as Rogue Traders and Cowboy Builders, Tony Pickup founded The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) to help the industry clean up its image. DGCOS provides the most comprehensive consumer protection cover in the home improvement industry and has over 200 members nationwide who install double glazing products, conservatories, doors, porches, fascias, soffits, roofline products and orangeries.

The organisation’s ambassador is TV presenter and consumer champion Nick Ross, who fronted BBC Watchdog and Crimewatch for many years.

Tony observes “Even when energy price rises headlines fade, the need to reduce fuel bills long term remains strong because of the recession and squeezed incomes because even more energy price rises are expected.”

But before signing contracts with an installer, Tony recommends homeowners do their research into the strength of consumer protection being offered. He says ‘There are numerous trade bodies and organisations offering very different levels of consumer protection. You have to read the small print or, for genuine peace of mind, use DGCOS members who automatically offer full deposit protection and Insurance Backed Guarantees.”

Under DGCOS, in the unlikely event that an installer goes into liquidation or ceases trading, consumers are still protected unlike other schemes which may leave consumers stranded. DGCOS also provides a completely free dispute resolution service, whereas other schemes may charge for these services. Most importantly, the DGCOS Ombudsman has the authority to adjudicate and make legally binding awards backed up by a Compensation Fund so consumers are comprehensively protected.

Tony’s parting shot is ‘If you invest in new energy-efficient double glazing, you not only insulate your home but you future-proof your wallet against energy price increases as well! And if you use a DGCOS member, you are guaranteed a job completed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction!”

The online Omnibus survey of 2,014 nationally representative UK adults over 18 was carried out between 27th and 30th September 2011. Of these, 1,224 or 61% were homeowners.

Reducing their carbon footprint seems to have failed to convince homeowners or capture their interest, with only 12% of respondents placing it within their top three reasons for replacing windows or doors.
18-34 years olds emerged as more influenced by making their home look better than older age groups, with 45% of 18-34s citing aesthetics an important reason for installing windows and doors as opposed to only 39% of over 55s.

Making their home look better was significantly more important to homeowners in Yorkshire & Humberside (48%), East Midlands (51%), West Midlands (49%) and the South East (44%) than in the South West (25%).

Over 55 year olds (48%) emerged as more likely to replace their windows and doors to make their home more comfortable than 18-34s (32%) but increasing the value of your home emerges as of less importance as homeowners get older. 34% of 18-34 year olds cited it compared with 25% of 35-54 year olds and just 18% of over 55’s

The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS - offers homeowners effective peace of mind and protection if jobs go wrong and communications break down. Homeowners who use DGCOS members get access to professional mediators, independent inspectors and a legally binding dispute resolution service, all free of charge. DGCOS ensures that every customer of every member has deposit and work-in-progress insurance and an insurance-backed guarantee, provided by an approved supplier.

Issued by MRA Marketing on behalf of: The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS)

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.

Celebrate a Greener Cyber Monday with Sustainable Skincare Company Marie Veronique Organics

Shop Green and Save Green on Award-Winning MVO Skincare Made from Natural, Organic and Fair Trade Ingredients Packaged in 100% Recyclable Materials.

gI_73947_AAK-NEW-385-WebsiteFor most people, Cyber Monday has become the holy grail of holiday shopping – the coveted deals day that also allows consumers to be a smarter, green shopper. On November 28, to celebrate the holiday season’s busiest online shopping day, natural skincare company Marie Veronique Organics is offering 25% off their entire line of award-winning products.

Sourced as close as possible to their Berkeley headquarters, MVO products are not only made with natural, organic and fair trade ingredients packaged in 100% recyclable materials – you’ll never find toxins, petroleum-based products, nanoparticles, or anything else that’s potentially harmful.

“MVO’s skincare products are not exclusive to those who live in the Bay Area," said Hillary Peterson, CEO of Marie Veronique Organics.

" allows you to shop comfortably from home and have natural skincare from a sustainable, thoughtful company delivered right to your door."

Savings will begin midnight on Sunday (November 27) and continue through Cyber Monday, November 28, 2011. All products purchased during this time will receive the 25% off discount, when special offer code CyberMonday is entered at checkout.

Founder and former chemistry teacher, Marie Veronique Nadeau, believes science and nature have a good thing going. In creating her products Marie uses scientific studies and direct research to better understand skin, turning to nature to find ingredients to minimize and counter those effects.

Marie Veronique Organics is recognized by the Environmental Working Group as one of the safest skin care lines on the market and is a proud singer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. Most recently, MVO’s Moisturizing Face Screen has won the coveted Beauty Bible’s Anti-Ageing Award for Best Tinted Moisturizing with SPF.

As a former chemistry teacher, Marie developed Marie Veronique Organics with her daughter, physicist Dr. Jay Nadeau. Marie’s goal was to create a skincare line that would allow her to age gracefully and naturally. “We are honored to provide you with the smartest anti-aging products on the market. We have a deep scientific understanding of the aging process and we look to nature to provide ingredients that will nourish the skin and aid in slowing down the aging process”, says Marie.

Marie Veronique Organics operates responsibly and sustainably, sourcing fair trade, organic, and/or locally grown whenever possible, and using biodegradable ingredients, labels, and easily recyclable packaging. Ten percent of company profits are donated annually to support the environment and create better opportunities for women and children in Third World countries.

Marie Veronique Organics’ award-winning facials are available in select spas including:

-- Solage, voted #1 spa in the Americas and Caribbean by Conde Nast Traveler readers.

-- The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, recognized by Travel + Leisure as the #1 spa in the U.S.

-- Esperanza, recognized by Travel + Leisure as the #1 spa in Mexico.

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.

Eco-friendly and thrifty gift wrapping

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet and all those presents you will be buying for your nearest and dearest? But before even deciding which presents to buy, also get thinking about how to package them.

Usually most people seem to buy wrapping paper around Christmas time as there are lots of deals on and some thrifty souls buy it in such a way that it will last them all year, thus they try to buy neutral patterns.

But, if done right you can get away without buying wrapping paper. Here are some ideas for Eco-conscious thrifty alternatives to traditional wrapping paper:

  • Wrap your clothes in fabric (you could even use old clothes). The wrapping can then be used again and again.

  • Package them in a reusable box
  • Place them in a paper or card gift bag. You could punch holes at the top of the gift bag and tie it up with ribbon so that the present still has to be 'unwrapped', but the 'wrapping' can be easily reused.
  • Use old newspaper. You could jazz it up a bit by wrapping a nice tasteful ribbon around it.
  • Old unwanted maps may make nice wrapping paper. If you don't have any lying around you could look in charity shops. It may be cheaper than buying wrapping paper and is definitely more environmentally friendly.
  • Posters that are past their best or totally past their sell by date would be great for wrapping up large items, or they could be chopped up to wrap up smaller ones. If you don't like the picture .
  • Use colorful pages from old magazines.
  • Gift baskets - these are a present in themselves. Instead of covering the top with cellophane, just tie a ribbon around it, or alternatively buy one with a lid. You could look in second hand shops for these, as they can be pricey.
  • Fabric shopping bags - again these are a present in themselves. You could even make one from old clothes if you are feeling very green and thrifty. You could tie the handles together and put a ribbon around the tied up part.
  • Glass jars and tins could be used to package small items. If you tie a wide strip of fabric around the glass jar or a circle of fabric over the top of the tin, you wouldn't be able to see the goods inside.
  • Use the present as the packaging. If you have bought someone a scarf, hat and gloves for example, you could wrap up the gloves and hat within the scarf. Tie a strip of fabric or a ribbon around the package and it could look quite enticing. You could even hide something unexpected like a bag of chocolate coins inside.
  • Plant pots can accommodate a number of items, you could stick to a garden theme or mix it up a bit. They have the added advantage that they can be personalized and reused

The Japanese have a way of wrapping gifts in reusable cloth wraps and they really know how to do it. There are web sites and -pages dedicated to this and it is easy. You don't have to use special cloth either.

Personally, I like the “using old newspaper” idea for wrapping gifts because, as I always say, it is the gift that counts and not the paper. If I buy a present for someone I rather spend the money that would go on the paper, which often is not paper and thus an hazard to the environment, on the gift.

A great way, especially when giving a gift to a child, is to make the wrapping yourself. My favorite idea is a gift-bag from this or that cloth material which they can them use as a bag also.

Your imagination is the only limit here as to how and what to use for gift packaging rather than paper.

© 2011

Green Planet Water in a 100% Plant-Based Bottle Keeps “The Rosie Show” Audience Happy and Hydrated

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

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Category innovator Green Planet Bottling is delighted to provide Green Planet Water to “The Rosie Show” studio audience for the show’s debut season. Emmy Award-Winning comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell made her return to daytime television this fall on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). Chicago’s Harpo Studios is producing 130 original hour-long episodes of the new talk show. “The Rosie Show” airs on weeknights at 7pm/6pm central and 10pm/9pm central.

Green Planet will provide water for the studio audience before the show, in the green room, for the talent and staff at Harpo Studios, as well as for prizes in Rosie’s Gift Bag Giveaway.

“Green Planet is thrilled to provide water in our completely plant‐based bottle to The Rosie Show audience, the green room, and the staff at Harpo,” says Danny Rubenstein, President and CEO of Green Planet Bottling. “Green Planet bottles reduce dependency on oil and provide an alternative to petroleum-based plastic bottles.”

Green Planet’s petroleum and BPA free bottle is filled with vapor distilled water, with minerals carefully added for taste. Green Planet Water is available in three retail sizes: 350 ml (MSRP $.79), 500ml (MSRP $.89), and 1 liter (MSRP $1.69).

Green Planet’s unique plant-based bottle is derived from completely renewable plant resources. The bottle is recyclable, commercially compostable and reusable when hand-washed between uses.

“We are a society on the go and access to bottled water is a necessity,” says Janet DiGiovanna, Chief Marketing Officer of Green Planet Bottling. “When we’re traveling, especially in airports, we need an alternative choice, and Green Planet is the better bottle. The Rosie Show offers a wonderful opportunity for us to share our innovative product with consumers and educate them about Green Planet Water.”

Here a few of the environmental benefits claimed by Green Planet Water:

  • Making the Ingeo source material for Green Planet’s bottles produces 60% less greenhouse gases and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than producing traditional plastics like PET & PS. (1)

  • The bottles are commercially compostable in 84 days. (2)

  • The bottles are reusable (when hand-washed between uses), which helps to reduce waste.

  • The bottles are recyclable (in all recycling programs that accept #7 bottles). (3)

  • Bottles are filled by regional suppliers using water that has been treated by vapor distillation to remove all impurities, with minerals added for taste.

  • Regional distribution ensures that less fuel is wasted to transport the bottles.

Founded in 2009, Green Planet is the leading bottled water company to market a 100% plant-based bottle. Offering the better bottle solution, Green Planet’s bottle is recyclable, reusable (when hand-washed between uses), petroleum and BPA free and will commercially compost in just 84 days. The water in Green Planet’s bottles is vapor distilled for purity with minerals carefully added for taste. It is bottled regionally for distribution, reducing transit miles and total carbon footprint.

Green Planet Water has rapidly growing distribution and is available in the greater Chicagoland area at select Dominick’s (in all by Jan 2012), Sunset Foods, Potash Markets, Lemontree Grocers, Walt’s, The Goddess and Grocer, and Country Fair Foods. In the West and Southwest, it can be found in Albertson’s, Lucky, SaveMart, Lunardi’s, Nugget Markets and Mother’s Markets.

Travelers will find Green Planet Water in many international airports, including San Francisco, San Jose, Phoenix, San Diego, Ontario and Portland, Oregon, as well as in hotels such as the SF Hilton, The Del Coronado in San Diego, Mandarin Oriental in Miami, and Hotel Felix in Chicago. In addition, it can be found in museum cafés around the US, including the California Academy of Sciences and The Chicago History Museum.

It is served at Apple, Inc.’s corporate headquarters and many fine dining restaurants such as Greens in San Francisco. Health, wellness and sporting facilities (Yoga Works), various golf and country clubs, as well as college (University of California at San Diego) and high school campuses across the US have embraced Green Planet Water for their members and students.

(1) NatureWorks,
(2) From independent study by Biodegradable Products Institute,

The entire press information that was released by this company and its PR agency just screams “greenwash”, doesn't it.

While the bottle may compost in a commercial facility within 84 days, which is great, and while it may be reusable without leaching any chemicals, which is great also, it is still bottled water, and that is the problem.

The real problem is that the companies and consumers are not getting the real issue, namely the abstraction of water unnecessarily in order to put the stuff into plastic, whether plant-based, even 100% plant-based, as seems to be in this case, bottles when you can as easy and much cheaper, and much better, use tap water in reusable bottles.

The issue is the water, people, and not necessarily the bottle, though PET bottles are a pain and bane. It is that point that everyone – or most everyone – seems to be missing, and especially businesses.

© 2011

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.

Beautiful Christmas decorating tips and ideas on a budget

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Decking the halls this Christmas season doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Thrifty entertaining is quickly becoming a trend for many reasons. Not only is it easy on the pocketbook, it’s good for the environment, benefits local charities, and the finished look is beautiful and unique. Below, Thrift Town provides a few quick and easy tips guaranteed to wow guests and thrift critics alike.
  1. Putting battery operated lights into clear or crystal vases, decanters, or jars are a great way to provide additional light and add a classy, festive vibe to holiday décor.
  2. Don’t just put stemware on a silver tray and pass it around the party for people to take drinks off of, jazz it up by filling the tray with brightly colored ornament balls.
  3. Bring life to your holiday buffet table by using a bright and festive flat bed sheet as a tablecloth. Traditional tablecloths are usually conservative by design, whereas bed sheets come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and are inexpensive at thrift stores.
  4. Create a holiday food display or cake stand by stacking candlesticks and colorful plates making multi-tiered platters. Be sure to glue the plate to the candlestick for stability.
  5. Don’t throw away your burnt-out outdoor Christmas light bulbs. Putting them into a clear vase makes a cute, free, and earth friendly display.
  6. Wreaths don’t just have to be hung on doors; flip one on its back and create a beautiful centerpiece. Place a large candlestick in the center and voilà, beautiful and unique. In fact, that is just how Advent wreaths are used in mainland Europe, for instance, only that they have four candles; one for each Advent Sunday.
To see the above tips come to life and for more inspirational décor and gift ideas, watch Thrift Town’s YouTube video, or visit .

Thrift Town is full of treasures just waiting to be found. Thrift Town is open seven days a week. Our friendly crew members are happy to help in the hunt for treasure! Click here to see if there’s a store location near you.

And remember, as Vice President of Thrift Town Wendy Steinmetz put it, “elegance and style don’t have to be compromised when you are on a budget. You can find so many wonderful, and very unique, treasures at Thrift Town – holiday decorating with a thrift style is fun and responsible, and the best part is your home will look & feel absolutely spectacular!"

Thrift Town lives its vision statement of being committed to making a difference every day, raising nearly $85 million dollars for their charity partners by purchasing goods from their charity’s household recycling programs. Thrift Town’s clean, bright, and organized stores put out 4,000 new products daily, setting them apart in the thrift world as the premier thrift destination. Thrift Town is owned and operated by Norquist Salvage Corporation, which has spend nearly four decades dedicated to socially responsible recycling.

© 2011 

Disclosure & Disclaimer Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.
This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.


A Dartmoor Pony Adoption Gift Pack makes a perfect present

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

henry and smartie If someone in your family or amongst your friends – young or old – loves horses and ponies, but buying a real one is simply not an option, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) has the perfect solution: ADOPT A PONY – and follow its progress all year round.

The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) runs an Adoption Scheme as part of its work to ensure that the traditional type of Dartmoor pony does not disappear. Single-coloured with long manes and tails, Dartmoor ponies still run wild and free on Dartmoor, but their numbers are in serious decline.

By buying an Adoption, you will be helping to fund the DPHT’s work to support the ponies on Dartmoor, to ensure they can continue to thrive as a vital part of the preservation of the Moor and its traditions.

To Dartmoor the ponies are not just some small horses running loose on the common. They are vital for the survival of Dartmoor and its environment as it is as those ponies are the lawnmowers and scrub clearing saws of the forest.

The cost of adopting a pony is just £20 per year. The Adoption Pack includes a beautiful line drawing and an adoption certificate and you’ll also receive updates on the development and progress of the pony you have chosen.
The pony you adopt, whether male or female, will be one of a small traditional herd cared for at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre, at Parke, Bovey Tracey, Devon. These are ponies for everyone to enjoy and here you will be able to visit them, follow their interesting lives, discover their true value and how important they are to the Dartmoor landscape.

These ponies, all of which are owned by the pony keepers and farmers on Dartmoor, are part of Dartmoor’s heritage. Your valuable support will help to ensure the continuation of the wild native Dartmoor pony gene pool so vital to their survival.

To start off your relationship with your Adopted Pony, why not come to our FREE ‘Meet Your Pony’ Event – on 27th December, between 11am and 1pm. It will be an opportunity for anyone who has adopted, is considering doing so, or would like to find out more about our work to come and visit the two and four legged folk at our centre. Hot drinks, mince pies and a walk with the ponies (weather permitting). Booking is essential : please phone 01626 833234.

George, Charlie, Smartie and Rolo look forward to meeting you and to becoming part of your family.

If you are interested in adopting a Dartmoor Heritage Pony please write to:
DPHT – Dartmoor, PO Box 397, Newton Abbot, TQ12 9AT or visit our website or phone 01626 833234.

If you simply wish to make a donation to assist with our work, please do get in touch – your support is greatly appreciated by the Trust, as would be any spare time that you may have to volunteer with the Trust?

© 2011

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.


Horizon’s Help for Heroes range

The most popular Christmas present with a twist!

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We all know socks are one of the most popular Christmas presents and an ideal stocking filler. This year, Horizon hopes to make this present an even more worthwhile purchase with their Help for Heroes range. The collection features socks for all activities so you will be sure to find the ideal sock for your loved ones.

Introduced as part of a commercial partnership with the military charity Help for Heroes, the custom designed collection has socks designed for outdoor (pictured), ski, golf, sport and formalwear. A percentage of the sale from each pair will be donated to Help for Heroes.

SRP: from £6.99 for the formalwear sock to £14.99 to the two-pack Deluxe Merino outdoor sock. For stockists: tel. 01202 874874 or see

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

This article is for your information only and the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not (necessarily) approve, endorse or recommend the product, service or company mentioned.



(26th November – 4th December)

Planting one tree may seem but a tiny step on the road to ameliorating local climate change, but The Tree Council says that every tree matters.

During National Tree Week 2011, The Tree Council is urging everyone who cares for their environment to take that step and put one tree – or more – in the ground. Not simply because it is a carbon sequestration and storage tool and a regulator of the urban microclimate that takes up air pollution, nor because it ameliorates adverse effects of weather, reducing windspeeds on blustery days, giving shade on hot days, cooling the air, reducing heating and air conditioning costs and saving energy, which in turn cuts down air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels – though it is, and does, all of these things. No, the benefits of a tree extend far beyond.

Every tree has a role in moderating rainstorm impact as part of sustainable drainage systems and storm water management, lessening the likelihood of flash floods. Each one makes a major contribution to the restoration of derelict and degraded land after the ravages of industrial development, waste disposal or other man-made blights, and creates a more pleasant environment in which to live. The UK’s native trees, individually and in woodlands, provide great habitats for wildlife and the sustainable cultivation of trees for renewable low-energy construction materials, charcoal, food, and as an alternative energy source are significant ways in which every tree will matter, more and more, in years to come.

“A tree planted close to where you live, work or study is good for you and for the nation’s condition; trees have been proven to have positive effects on mental health and as an antidote to stressful lifestyles, even aiding recuperation from illness.” commented Pauline Buchanan-Black, Director-General of the Tree Council. “However, to be able to look out on a tree simply lifts my soul and gladdens my heart. That, at bottom, seems to me to be one of the most compelling reasons to argue that everyone should be able to see a tree from their window - and if you can’t, then now is the time to set about changing the view. Every tree matters as much for the beauty, growth and renewal, whether in urban or rural settings, that it demonstrates year on year as for the very practical benefits it brings.”

National Tree Week also sees the first anniversary of the launch of The Big Tree Plant, the partnership between civil society and Government in England to encourage the planting of trees by communities. Buchanan Black added “Thousands more trees will be planted across the country as a result of this initiative, helping local groups create neighbourhoods that we can be proud of.

Many people have already successfully applied for Big Tree Plant funds to start their own community projects and we hope that events during National Tree Week will help more and more people to appreciate why every tree really does matter.”

The 37th annual National Tree Week will run from 26th November to 4th December 2011 and marks the launch of the tree planting season. First run in 1975, National Tree Week was launched to follow up the success of National Tree Planting Year, with its slogan “Plant A Tree In ‘73”. Every year, upward of half a million adults and children take part in around 2000 events across the UK, organised by Tree Council member organisations, many of its 8000 volunteer Tree Wardens, local community groups and schools across the UK.

Most events involve tree planting, but many also use other ways of raising tree awareness such as walks through woodlands, tree identification tours and tree surveys as well as tree identification workshops, Wood Fairs, talks, woodturning demonstrations and storytelling. Many local authorities also give out free tree packs to those who wished to plant their own.

Environmental charity The Tree Council is the UK's lead charity for trees in all settings, urban and rural, promoting their importance in a changing environment and it works in partnership with communities, organisations and government to make trees matter to everyone. As the coalition body for over 180 organisations working together for trees, it focuses on getting more trees, of the right kind, in the right places; better care for all trees of all ages and inspiring effective action for trees.

It works with its national volunteer Tree Warden Scheme and member organisations to engage people in biodiversity and environmental issues and to promote planting and conservation of trees and woods in town and country. A major part of this is achieved through its annual Community Action Programme that includes Walk in the Woods month, (launched in 1996,) Seed Gathering Season (launched as Seed Gathering Sunday in 1998 and refreshed in 2006) and National Tree Week (first run in March 1975), and through supporting groups organising local events.

It operates a tree-planting grants programme for UK schools and communities to plant trees and create woodland habitats, as well as working on an agenda for change that includes its annual Tree Care Campaign, begun in 1999, the Green Monument Campaign and Hedge Tree Campaign.

The Big Tree Plant is a campaign to encourage people and communities to plant more trees in England's towns, cities and neighbourhoods. It is a partnership bringing together national tree-planting organisations and local groups working with Defra and the Forestry Commission to plant trees throughout England. Anybody can get involved by planting and caring for trees to help make neighbourhoods more attractive, healthy places to live. £4m has been made available to support community and civic groups, or other non-profit organisations to establish community-led tree planting projects in streets or in green places that are open to all to visit or where local people will benefit from them in towns, cities and residential areas throughout England.

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


by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

SW20 Close up Lower res_web In October 2011 David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, urged utility companies to investigate ways to cut energy bills and encouraged both utilities and the general public to use less energy for the sake of the economy and the environment.

The vacuum cleaner is one of the highest power consuming appliances a household will own and whilst fuel prices are out of the consumers’ control, long term energy savings can be made by identifying household energy drains, adopting lifestyle changes and investing in energy efficient technologies that will not only save energy but also pounds in the pocket.

Chairman of IEC SC59F, the International vacuum cleaner performance measurement committee which looks after energy measurement, Mr Grahame Capron Tee is known by many as “Mr Vacuum Cleaner” due to his more than 45 years involvement with floorcare. He comments: “Of all the products in your home, the vacuum cleaner is easily the most wasteful of energy. Many vacuum cleaner manufacturers and own-brand importers have tended to act irresponsibly in continuing to specify high wattage products which often clean worse than carefully designed energy-efficient products. For example, a typical 1800 watt vacuum cleaner produces only around 300 watts of suction power; the remaining 1500 watts end up as wasteful hot air.”

The European Commission is currently finalising regulations for an energy-labeling system to be used on vacuums. The regulations will include tests to measure how well vacuums remove dust and dirt as well as how much electricity they use. However for a real saving right now, according to Grahame, is to consider using an alternative. “For everyday cleaning it is simply not necessary to use a vacuum cleaner of anything up to 3000 watts. Powered sweepers use a fraction of the energy and by switching to them for your everyday clean and using a vacuum every 2 to 3 weeks instead, indeed Europe could probably close 2 power stations altogether if everyone adopted this strategy.”

Nick Grey, founder of British sweeper manufacturer Gtech says “Switching from a vacuum cleaner to a cordless rechargeable sweeper could be the answer for millions of home owners for efficient cleaning that not only saves energy but also pounds in the pocket. Our customers tell us how much less they use their vacuums once they own a sweeper and how their homes have never looked cleaner. Using a 2000 watt vacuum for 2 hours a week on a 0.30 tariff, will cost £300 over 5 years. Using a Gtech sweeper for the same period and tariff costs £7.80 and an energy saving of 55.5 KWh per year, per home.”

Gtech estimates that if 20 million UK households made the switch from their standard vacuum cleaner to a powered sweeper 1.11 TWh (Terra watt) of energy could be saved. “At this level of energy saving, Sizewell B power station could be shut down for 1 week a month,” explains Grey. “Another way to make a similar energy saving is for every household in the UK to turn their TV off for the next 21 years!”

Gtech manufactures domestic and commercial cordless electronic sweepers. Lightweight, bagless and rechargeable, the Gtech SW02 and SW20 sweepers are powered by energy saving yet powerful 7.2V motors charged via a conventional domestic electricity socket providing 60 minutes cleaning time. RSPs start at £54.95 for a domestic model to £74.92 for a commercial sweeper. Stockists include; Currys, Comet, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Robert Dyas and The Range. Visit for information about its full range of cordless powered sweepers or call 01905 345891.

Based in Worcestershire, Gtech was founded by engineer and director, Nick Grey in 2000. Launching initially with its X sweeper, the company has gone on to develop further lines including V-Tech, Germguard, X and the latest Advanced and Premium SW range of sweepers. Globally, Gtech has sold over 16 million sweepers through its international partners making them experts in cordless technology for the floorcare and garden sectors. Gtech sweepers can be found online and throughout the nation in stores including Currys, Comet, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Robert Dyas and The Range.

Grahame Capron-Tee, who has worked for and headed the technical teams at Hoover, Vax, Shop Vac and Goblin since 1963, was a Director of the Design Consultancy IDC for 10 years and led his own consultancy, Mearsdon Associates since 2001. He has also been chairman of the BSI Domestic Appliance performance committees, the American ASTM international vacuum cleaner committee as well as being a member of the IEC SC59F surface cleaning appliance performance committee since 1980 and chairman since 1986.

A review of the SW20 Gtech powered sweeper is to follow shortly. So, look out for this in the pages of the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW in the next week or so.

© 2011