Commercial farmers against the home grower

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

First it was the claim by the farming lobby that allotment holders and home growers growing potatoes were the cause of the blight in 2012 and now the attack goes against those keeping chickens in their backyard for eggs.

The recent upsurge in the old-fashioned “grow your own” and keeping of hens for eggs is hitting the commercial farmer in the pocket already and they fear worse so they have to resort, it would appear, to scaremongering.

The Potato Council of the UK, the body representing the commercial potato farmer, accused amateur gardeners and allotment holder of spreading the fungal blight, the very same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine, in the summer of 2012.

Obviously it would have to be the grow-your-own gardener who would have to be blamed for this. It could not possibly be the industrial farmers with their supposed blight resistant potatoes.

It was blight resistant potatoes that were the ones that, in my garden, were the first to get the blight and then infected a couple of other plants. As far as I would guess the blight resistant potatoes are far from resistant and we would all do best to use old varieties.

Now it is people who keep a couple of hens in the backyard for egg that are coming under attack by the commercial producers – and once again aided and abetted by the Daily Mail in the UK – and are being held responsible for diseases in poultry.

Obviously amateurs and those very small flocks in back gardens are a disease threat to the large commercial flocks. The way they are being kept apparently not, however.

What we are seeing here, in my opinion, is a backlash by the faming industry, and their lobby and representing bodies, against grow-your-own as it undermines the farming industry's profits.

Eggs you can get from you own eggs means you don't have to buy them and the same goes for vegetables, etc. and if more and more people are doing it the farming industry will lose profit.

Hence those that represent the farming industry will use everything at their disposal – and the Daily Mail will always oblige in this department, it would appear – to make backyard hens and allotment and veg plot potatoes responsible for diseases.

The question now is going to be what will be responsible for what next. Maybe it was Ash trees in private gardens that we even the cause of Ash die back disease. I am sure that industry and the Daily Mail will soon be able to construct a case here.

© 2012

Joint Forces for Solar: “Photovoltaic could become the backbone of the US electricity grid.”

Bonn / Somerset, NJ., November 2012: The severe damage caused by the super storm Sandy is still, two weeks following landfall, top of the agenda on the US East Coast. Sandy also dominated discussions among over 90 participants at the final PV Briefing & Networking Forum USA for 2012 hosted by Joint Forces for Solar in Somerset, New Jersey. Both attendees and speakers spoke out in favor of solar energy becoming the “backbone of the US electricity grid”. Faced with several days of power outages, also in New Jersey, and combined with a lack of emergency electricity generators, the majority of participants are convinced that “in such catastrophes solar energy can play a vital role in guaranteeing energy security”.

The significance of the US solar market, particularly East Coast states, was discussed by experts, market specialists and local installers in two sessions. Delaware stood out in particular thanks to both successful market developments and transparency. Positive developments were also noted for Pennsylvania and New York. Connecticut is considered to be a relatively small market but shows great innovation in their financing models.

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, member of the New Jersey General Assembly, concluded that New Jersey is currently the second largest solar market in the US with huge potential for growth. Yet Chivukula also noted “we are only half way through our journey. There is still a lot to be done but we take the role played by solar energy in the US very seriously”. The panel discussion examined local developments, market dynamics as well as the regulatory framework. Lyle Rawlings, Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, as well as Wyldon Fishman, Founder and President of the New York Solar Energy Society chaired the panel discussions.

Participants were also unanimous in their agreement that both training and regular further training play a vital role in successfully expanding the domestic industry. Educating the public is equally important. The panel discussion titled “How technological innovations will transform the technology, organization and financing of the PV Industry“ with Boris Schubert, CEO of Q-Cells North America, Bret Young, US Sales Director of Samil Power and Chris Wood, Sales Director Centrosolar America Inc., was chaired by Dennis Wilson, President of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association.

About Joint Forces for Solar

The organizers of the 9th PV Briefing & Networking Forum USA thank the premium sponsor Samil Power, gold sponsor Q-Cells and catering sponsor Centrosolar America Inc. as well as the media partners pv magazine, Sun & Wind Energy, and Renewable Energy World Network. A further word of thanks also goes to the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA), the New York Solar Energy Society (NYSES), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the International PV Equipment Association (IPVEA) and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

This press release is presented for your information only.

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

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‘Vampire Diaries’ Actor Ian Somerhalder Unveiled as Winner

PrintLondon, November 2012 – After an unprecedented response to the public vote and the short-listing of three passionate and globally recognised nominees, including campaigner Livia Firth and actress Nadya Hutagalung, the International Green Awards™ announced US actor Ian Somerhalder as the overall winner of the Most Responsible Celebrity Award 2012 at a ceremony in Battersea Power Station, London.

Receiving over 50% of the public votes, model, producer and activist Ian was heralded as the greenest international media luminary for 2012 at a glittering green gala dinner.

In his video acceptance speech, Ian thanked the public for their support and appealed to all businesses and individuals to act responsibly and proactively in protecting the planet and its biodiversity.

Star of the ‘Vampire Diaries’ series, and winner of an Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Award, and other accolades as a cast member of the hit show ‘Lost’, Ian is also known as a prolific environmental campaigner.

He set up the non-profit Ian Somerhalder Foundation in 2010, which, among other activities, aims to support renewable energy projects, raise awareness of the impacts of deforestation, and to engage young people in environmental issues.

Ian Somerhalder has also supported the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by promoting World Environment Day– the biggest global day dedicated to positive action on the environment – which is organized every year by UNEP on 5 June.

Ian joined UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors Gisele Bündchen, Don Cheadle and Rahul Bose to film video spots to advertise World Environment Day across the globe.

“We congratulate Ian Somerhalder on winning this prestigious award, and on his extensive environmental work,” said UNEP Spokesperson Nick Nuttall, who accepted the prize on Ian’s behalf at the ceremony in London.

“His work to promote the cause of the environment – as well as that of the other green-minded celebrities shortlisted for this award - can only increase global awareness of the need to live more sustainably, and to bring about an inclusive, low carbon green economy, where more people across the world have a fairer share of the planet’s resources,” he added.

The award carries with it the responsibility to continue to promote a global green agenda through the media.

2012 marks the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy for All; an initiative that aims to bring about concrete action to achieve universal access to modern energy services and double both the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global mix by 2030.

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation is actively involved in clean energy projects and distributes funds towards renewable energy development, as well as supporting green technologies, green disaster relief and promoting environmentally responsible practices in the entertainment industry.

In 2010, Ian helped to clean up after the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster. Through public service announcements, he helped galvanise efforts to clean up the oil spill which harmed wildlife and habitats along the Gulf coast where he grew up. Ian has supported the It Gets Better project to prevent suicide among LGBT youth, and also testified before Congress to support species conservation in July 2011.

Ian has said of his environmental work “I don’t know how to do anything else other than be an actor. If I wasn’t in this, I would be in alternative energy and conservation”.

According to Iain Patton Founder & CEO “The continuing success of the International Green Awards™, the leading platform for sustainability intelligence, leadership and innovation underlines how important sustainability and responsible celebrities have become globally.

Our international platform plays a crucial role in promoting the principles of environmental responsibility to a wider media audience. Awards have always been well placed to act as beacons of innovation and leadership as experts recognise organisations who are paving the way for a more sustainable future.”

To view the video of Ian’s video acceptance speech visit

About International Green Awards

The International Green Awards™ is the leading platform for sustainability intelligence, leadership and innovation. Established in 2006, the awards have a strong global presence, where over 108 countries participated in the 2011 process. Over the past years, the awards have promoted knowledge sharing and innovation towards sustainable outcomes and solutions.

About IS Foundation

The IS FOUNDATION aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.

The IS FOUNDATION will behave in full collaborative spirit by joining with other Non-Profit, For-Profit and governing bodies globally.

This press release is presented for your information only.

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

HRH The Prince of Wales receives international recognition for his unrelenting commitment to promote sustainability

LONDON, November 2012: HRH The Prince of Wales was recognized as this year’s acclaimed Lifetime Achievement Winner at the 7th International Green Awards gala ceremony held at the iconic Battersea Power Station, London. The Royal Society of Arts accredited scheme brought together an influential, and international audience of thought leaders, change agents and sustainability pioneers to showcase best practice.

HRH The Prince of WalesHis Royal Highness, who was unable to attend due to his current tour of Australia, had pre-recorded a message from St James Palace in acceptance of his award. In this he commented “ If we are really going to meet the needs of 9 billion people by 2050 and keep nature’s capital intact we have to bring about a substantial transformation in the way we do things”.

The International Green Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award is a prestigious accolade, bestowed to individuals who have been committed to the sustainability cause and inspired others to positive action. Past winners of this award have included Sir David Attenborough CBE and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Wangari Mathaai.

The Prince of Wales has been an environmental leader for over 40 years, working with businesses, charities, governments and other organisations to help promote sustainable ways of living and working. He has been at the forefront of a growing ecological movement promoting environmental awareness and his work has sought to meet a huge range of modern challenges.

The Prince of Wales’s involvement and commitment to the sustainability agenda is embedded not only in his work with external stakeholders but also in his own ethos. His personal interest in organic farming led to the establishment of the Duchy Originals brand in 1990, which still sources and supplies sustainably produced products.

The Prince of Wales has been involved in a wide range of projects across various sustainability areas – from rainforest conservation to social justice, ethical business to sustainable farming, in balance with one another and working with the same consistent idea that for solutions to work they need to be broad based and integrated with one another. His office at Clarence House is fitted with solar panels and he uses his own initiative, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, to report on the Household’s sustainability performance in published annual reviews. In 2010 His Royal Highness set up the International Sustainability Unit, to help resolve some of the key environmental challenges including food security, ecosystem resilience and natural capital depletion.

His role as an advocate of sustainable living and business is also demonstrated through his involvement wqith the Prince of Wales Business and Sustainability Programme at Cambridge University. In 2010, he also published a book of case studies “Practical Insights – A summary of case studies in embedding and reporting sustainability” which demonstrated how organisations have used accounting for sustainability tools and principles to embed sustainability into their “DNA”.

More recently, he co-authored the book and narrated the film ‘Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World’ which examines the root causes of current global problems we face and proposes solutions. His introduction to the film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival best exemplifies his stance on the need for sustainability : “I tried to indicate here and there that there are other ways of operating. There are alternatives, there are holistic integrated ways, more balanced ways, more harmonious ways of devising the way we interact with the world for the future. It isn't impossible, we made changes in the past when we need to. Now is the time I think, ladies and gentlemen to do so”.

According to Founder & CEO Iain Patton “The continuing success of the International Green Awards™ as the leading platform for sustainability intelligence, leadership and innovation underlines how important sustainability and responsible business has become globally. Our international platform plays a crucial role in promoting the principles of environmental responsibility to a wider audience. Awards are often well placed to act as beacons of innovation and leadership, as experts recognise individuals and organisations who are paving the way for a more sustainable future”.

Battersea Power Station provided the ideal backdrop to this momentous recognition as this year’s event coincided with the United Nations International year of Sustainable Energy for All.

To find out more about this year’s winner visit

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

The Prince opens an anaerobic digester in Dorset

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Prince of Wales recently opened the country's first commercial full-scale anaerobic digester and biomethane plant, situated in Dorset.

15186490His Royal Highness praised the "remarkable engineering feat" which has made the plant the first in the UK to inject renewable gas directly into the local distribution network on a permanent basis.

The plant will provide renewable gas directly to Poundbury – the urban extension of Dorchester built on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

It is based at nearby Rainbarrow Farm and could supply up to 56,000 new-build homes in the summer with renewable gas.

The Prince, who takes a keen interest in renewable energy, has been consulted at every stage of the project, which is owned and run by JV Energen - a joint venture between local farmers and the Duchy of Cornwall.

His Royal Highness was taken on a tour of the plant, met the people behind the project and also unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

Addressing guests, he said: "As far as I am concerned it is a very exciting and encouraging day. "I have been badgering the Duchy and others over the years to find a way of kick-starting the anaerobic digestion sector in this country.

"As we have quite a lot of people here from the Continent, you may well realise that in the Netherlands and Germany they are much further ahead on this front.

"I am particularly pleased and proud that we have been able today to launch this remarkable engineering feat of the first gas-to-grid operation."

When we consider that this methane plant on a farm can provide enough gas for 56,000 homes then someone tell me again why we can't build them on sewage works and on landfill sites and other locations, to make use of methane gas for heating and cooking. After all methane gas from anaerobic digestion is nothing but another form of natural gas.

It is amazing that it can be done in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, etc., but the British government always makes excuses.

Without wishing to offend anyone I wonder how much the vested interest groups pay politicians and political parties to retain the status quo and to have the government keep backing fossil and nuclear.

© 2012


by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Each week millions and millions of upper middle class Americans put on expensive dress clothes and load themselves into SUVs and other expensive gas-guzzling cars and drive past homeless shelters, orphanages, missions and halfway houses on their way to a very expensive church where somebody tells them how to be more like Jesus.

If that is not hypocrisy then what is?

Those people would not recognize Jesus – not that I am a believer – if they fell over Him for they would see him as a bum and as a socialist. And socialism to the majority of those is an anathema.

Consider the feeding of the five thousand or the sermon on the mount. Do you think that anyone of them that every Sunday travel in their finest with their big cars to the big church has the faintest idea what the Be-Attitudes even mean?

As to feeding the hungry their belief is that you should not help those people but that they should go and do some work (which work?) and if they don't (want to) work they should not eat.

Those are the very same people that if you mention to them that there are homeless and hungry and should the church not do something about it will reply that they will have to pray about that first as to whether that is what G-d wants them to do.

Hello! Did they read their Bible? Obviously not.

I have seen this so many times that I go entirely disillusioned with the so-called Christian faith and Christians simply because of that attitude, not to talk of a few other attitudes. All they do is to use that name and title in vain.

They will condemn socialists and communists who go out and help the poor and homeless while they sit in their million dollar church listening to some guy getting a huge salary (from their donations) telling them how to be more like Jesus (as long is it is about making lots of money).

If Jesus would return today to the US or the UK he would, more likely, be arrested as a terrorist for he would cause some real grief to the establishment.

© 2012

BRITA Fill&Go – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

BRITA, the company well-known for its filter jugs, has now added the premium and stylish ‘Fill&Go’ Water Filter Bottle to its arsenal, offering people great tasting filtered water when they are on the go.

Fill&GoBottleThe bottle is durable, BPA free, convenient and looks great. By switching from buying bottled water to a reusable water bottle such as the BRITA Fill&Go bottle will help reduce the sheer number of plastic bottles that are sent to land fill every year, and will be easier on the wallet too, and that even considering that the filter should be replaced about every week.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound that can be present in products made of polycarbonate (e.g., drinking bottles). For years now assessing the risks that it represents has been the subject of controversial discussions worldwide. Public attention is focused on the hormonal effects of bisphenol A (sources: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and Federal Environmental Office).

BPA is also found it PET bottles, such as the “ordinary” disposable bottles used for bottled water and also for soda drinks, etc. and the chemical leaches into each and every of those bottles that may have been sitting on the shelves of the stores for weeks.

The “Fill&Go” bottle has been created especially for people on the go and it has been designed in such a way to make it really convenient for exercise enthusiasts, busy mums, and water lovers who are looking for a more eco- friendly, convenient and delicious answer to constant hydration.

Simply fill the bottle with tap water and the BRITA filtration technology in the Fill&Go Filter Disc will reduce any impurities that impair the smell and taste of tap water such as chlorine. The activated carbon filter is integrated into the lid, out of sight. All you have to do is replace it once a week in a very simple procedure.

The “Fill&Go” filter bottle is intended to be used with water from municipal sources, that is to say tap water, and is not a substitute for filtration systems for water in the wilderness.

Available in four different colors: grey, blue, pink and green, the premium-quality, BPA-free bottle holds around 600ml of water and is dishwasher safe.

The BRITA Fill&Go bottle costs £14.99 per unit and comes with a box of 4 filter refills. Bottles are available in Robert Dyas stores and selective Sainsbury’s. A box of 8 refills costs £12.

Initially I did have some issue with using the drinking straw but once I did get the hang of it I must say this is a brilliant invention. It does away with having to tilt the bottle too much and makes it thus especially great for use in cars and such.

While I don't mind the taste of general tap water – in the main – being able to get it filtered on the go is a bonus. Love it!

For more information please visit the BRITA website:

© 2012

Full Disclosure Statement: The product(s) described and reviewed above was/were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.


DOHA, QATAR, 26 November 2012 - Today, the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) underlined that a successful closure to the work of two Ad hoc Working Groups namely the AWG on the Kyoto Protocol and the AWG on the Long-term Cooperation Agreement will be the first priority for the Doha COP. This would ensure that the new process set up in Durban namely the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform continues its work meaningfully.

The (LMDC) is a platform for like-minded developing countries to exchange views and coordinate positions on the climate negotiations in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the view to contributing to achieving the combined goals of environmental sustainability, social and economic development, and equity. The LMDC met on 23rd November 2012 in Qatar prior to the meeting of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC.
At the climate change talks in Durban last year, several developed country Parties committed themselves to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol following the expiry of the first commitment period at the end of this year. The key deliverable in Doha will be operationalising of this commitment. It is important that the second commitment period is ratifiable and legally binding. It should come into effect on 1 January 2013 and provisionally applied so that there is immediate implementation.
But even more importantly, LMDC would like to underline that it is important that those developed countries committing themselves to the second commitment period undertake ambitious targets so that there is meaningful ambition levels. Currently, the ambition levels pledged are very low. In order to be meaningful, the emission reduction targets must be sufficiently deep and in line with the requirements of actions to stabilise GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.
To address the ambition issue purposefully, LMDC emphasised that it was equally important that developed country Parties that do not commit to targets in the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol should undertake quantified emission reduction commitments under the UNFCCC that are comparable. Those developed countries outside the Kyoto Protocol or opting out should not get away with low emission cut targets. It is this comparability that would ensure environmental integrity in accordance with the principles of the UNFCCC. It will also be in line with the historical responsibility of all developed countries to take the lead in combatting climate change.
LMDC have, instead, noted the distinct reluctance by the developed countries to make substantial emission reduction commitments. This should be viewed against the back drop where developing countries have made higher mitigation pledges than developed countries. Such mitigation pledges have been made by LMDC countries as well, though their over riding priorities have been on poverty eradication and development, thereby signifying the commitment of LMDC to the process of combatting climate change. It was reemphasised by LMDC that developing countries should not be called on to compensate for the low mitigation ambition of developed countries.
However, messages emanating from the developed countries are creating unease among developing countries, that developed countries do not intend to deliver a meaningful and legally effective second commitment period of the Protocol as promised. Talk of 'new and additional' conditionalities, is not helpful and runs contrary to the provisions and spirit of addressing climate change. The message of developing countries is simple and clear. No more conditions, no more delays.
Further, LMDC are convinced that ambition should not just be restricted to mitigation but also be reflected in higher ambitions in adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity building. As we know, Article 4.7 of the Convention states that the extent to which developing country Parties are able to meet their commitments under the Convention will depend on the extent to which developed country Parties fulfil their finance and technology obligations under the Convention. However, weak commitment and ambition levels on means of implementation by developed countries is a cause of concern for LMDC.
Finally, in order to have a successful and meaningful conclusion of its work, LMDC are convinced that the AWG-LCA must make appropriate and balanced decisions on all aspects of its mandate and that no issue should fall off the table. These include supporting developing countries to adapt to climate change; provision of adequate financing and transfer of technology to developing countries; adequate mitigation efforts by developed countries in aggregate terms and comparable efforts for emission reduction among them; nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries, supported and enabled by financial resources and technology transfer; addressing issues of equity, IPRs and unilateral measures; review of adequacy of implementation of commitments under the Convention and shared vision within the framework of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
LMDC reiterate that successful outcomes in the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action plan (AWG-LCA) would contribute to progress on the Durban Platform. The time has indeed come for developed countries to fulfil their side of the agreements reached in Durban and earlier.

(The LMDC is comprised of several developing countries including the following: Bolivia, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela)

This press release is presented for your information only.

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

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UN Climate Talks: Critical Phase

DOHA, Qatar, 26 November 2012 - Today was day one of the UN climate conference as it kicked off with an ongoing battle over the rules of the international climate controls from now until 2020.

Recognizing that this is the critical decade to stop runaway climate change, representatives from civil society groups around the world spoke at a press conference giving context to the main players in the negotiations.

"Without a rules-based system for finance and emissions targets, people living in poverty will feel the worst of climate-related impacts that are getting increasingly severe." Brandon Wu, Senior Policy Analyst, Action Aid USA said.

"The US has obstructed the creation of this system, and is trying to dismantle some of the rules we do have. With a new Obama administration taking office, it's time for the US delegation to change course - otherwise, suggestions of US leadership in Doha will be like a mirage in the desert." Brandon Wu, Senior Policy Analyst, Action Aid USA said.

"Doha is a crucial turning point to address the planetary emergency of climate change. With the current lack of specific targets, adequate finance or real commitment, we are condemning ourselves to a terrifying 6-degree future." Meena Raman, Negotiation Expert, Third World Network said.

"If the EU were really the climate leaders of the world, they would call for a legally-binding, ratifiable continuation of the Kyoto Protocol with science-based targets. Instead, they continue to cheerlead for discredited carbon markets with gaping loopholes." Kate Dooley, Forest specialist, at FERN said.

"China has made a commitment to a rules-based system, but so-called 'global leaders' are backtracking on their existing commitments, If we don't build a science and equity-based regime now, post-2020 may be too late." - Dale Wen, fellow at International Forum on Globalization said.

"When it comes to setting ambitious targets for emissions reductions or providing finance for climate adaptation, the US and the EU are cheating on their commitments by calling for loopholes, flexibilities and conditions." - Meena Raman, negotiation expert, Third World Network said.

Civil society organizations have expressed increasing concern that Doha comes in a crucial year for the UN process to be able to yield a global, science-base, principled and legally-binding agreement on climate change from now until 2020.

Third World Network is an independent non-profit international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South relations.

IFG is a North-South research and educational institution composed of leading activists, economists, scholars, and researchers providing analysis and critiques on the cultural, social, political, and environmental impacts of economic globalization.

Action Aid is a non-profit organization working towards poverty eradication through long-term solutions.

FERN is a European NGO focused on forests and forest people's rights at the European level.

This press release is presented 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.

Is Britain about to privatize and denationalize its road network?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If reports are to believed this is in the offing with the Highways Agency probably being abolished and foreign investors sought to run the roads.

This could mean that other countries have a say how our roads are maintained, who can drive on them, and the toll charges for them.

So far we do not have (many) toll roads in the UK but this could very well change if the current government has its way.

Like denationalizing the railroads, which has proven a disaster, and doing the same to public utilities, will also be a disaster as far as the roads are concerned.

None of such utilities should ever be in the hand of foreigner and that includes foreign investors.

Roads, railroads and public utilities have no place in private hands and should be part of the national infrastructure and controlled by the people.

Ever since British Rail was destroyed by Maggie Thatcher and her cronies, and the same was done around the same time to the public utilities such as gas, electricity and water, the public are being taken for a ride and prices have gone up, up and up, and that even when the wholesale price of gas and oil have gone down.

The British railroads are a shambles with prices the highest in all of Europe and even the next more expensive country as far as rail travel is concerned, France, costs are less than half of those in the UK.

When going by rail is about four times more than going by plane then something is not right and definitely not computing.

And it is not only in the cost of rail travel that Britain is well ahead of other European Union countries as far as prices, though not service, is concerned.

The poor are being fleeced and made to pay so that the privileged can prosper and become ever richer.

© 2012

Tesco launches nationwide food collection for Christmas as new research highlights extent of people going hungry

!cid_image001_gif@01CDC8C7Retailer to hold biggest ever UK food collection ­ Help Feed People in Need

Almost one in ten people in the UK have skipped meals, gone without food to feed their family or relied on family or friends for food in the last year according to new research published today.

The research comes as the retailer prepares to launch the biggest ever food collection appeal in the UK, with the help of food charity FareShare and Foodbanks charity the Trussell Trust.

Help Feed People In Need will take place in more than 800 Tesco stores across the country on December 1st and 2nd and will help provide much needed food for hundreds of thousands of people this Christmas.

The research found that in total, around 10 per cent of people have suffered from some form of food poverty in the last 12 months, with seven per cent of people skipping meals and eight per cent relying on friends or family to provide food.

Significant numbers of parents had also gone without food to feed their children.

Philip Clarke, Chief Executive of Tesco said: “Tesco feeds more families in the UK than any other supermarket, and we work hard to make sure people can eat well even if they don't have a lot of money. This Christmas, we want to use our scale and our links with communities across the country to help tackle this growing problem.

“We recently held some local food collections and were overwhelmed by the support from our customers, who have shown incredible generosity. I hope they'll support the biggest ever food collection in the UK and help us to feed hundreds of thousands of people in need.”

The research shows that:

· In the last 12 months more than one in 20 people have had to skip meals because they could not afford food;

· Nearly half (48 per cent) of the people who said they had skipped meals did so for the first time this year;

· More than half (51 per cent) of the people who said they had skipped meals were forced to go without food for two days or more;

· In the last year almost a quarter (23 per cent) of people had changed their eating habits, buying less expensive food or reducing the amount they eat;

· The research also showed 21 per cent of people had eaten less healthy food, as they believed healthier food was more expensive;

· The main reasons given by people for being unable to buy the food they needed was a rise in the cost of living or low income (56 per cent) or an unexpected bill or expense (20 per cent), while other significant reasons given included paying off debts (15 per cent) and being made redundant or seeing a reduction in working hours (12 per cent).

The research also showed that only a small percentage of people had visited a charity for food, pointing towards a lack of awareness in charities such as FareShare and the Trussell Trust, something Tesco aims to change through the appeal.

Chris Mould, Executive Chairman of Trussell Trust said: “Across the UK Trussell Trust foodbanks are seeing thousands more people in crisis turn to us for help. Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people who are forced to choose between eating and heating. This winter is looking particularly bleak as food and energy prices rise whilst incomes remain static. We are delighted that Tesco is working with The Trussell Trust's network of over 280 UK foodbanks and FareShare to help stop people going hungry this Christmas. We'd like to encourage everyone to give a can or two to help make this Christmas a happier one for people in crisis. Thank you.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: “We are so pleased to be working with Tesco and the Trussell Trust on this campaign. Year-round, FareShare redistributes food to over 700 local grassroot projects in the UK who work tirelessly to provide food and other support to some of the poorest people in our society. In the past year, we provided food for 8.6 million meals and helped feed 36,500 people a day. With the help of Tesco customers, we can provide even more food to people who need it, at a time of real, increasing need. Thank you!”

Details about the collection

Thousands of Tesco staff members, together with Trussell Trust and FareShare volunteers and Tesco Retired Staff Association members will be on hand to help customers who will be given special shopping lists to encourage them to buy everyday food items like cereals, rice, instant coffee, tinned food and sauces. Collections will take place between 9am ­ 6pm in Tesco stores.

Tesco will be utilising their delivery network by transporting food donations to FareShare's 17 regional depots while Tesco colleagues will be holding their own collections at Tesco offices across the UK.

Tesco is the first supermarket to partner nationally with Trussell Trust foodbanks and this pioneering appeal will be the first nationwide food collection for the charity.

The retailer will be topping up total donations by 30 per cent and will also be providing funding to both organisations to help them build on the vital work they do helping people in communities across the country.

As part of Tesco's commitment to helping families and individuals in need, the retailer plans to run further food collections in partnership with the Trussell Trust and FareShare in the coming months to help provide people with food.

Join the Help Feed People In Need appeal on Twitter: #everycanhelps and Facebook:

The research was carried out by Marketing Sciences using a sample of 2,000 adults across the UK.

FareShare is an award-winning charity fighting hunger and food waste in the UK. It does this by rescuing good quality surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and sending it to over 700 charities and community projects across the country including hostels, day centres, women's refuge centres and children's breakfast clubs.

Last year, through its 17 depots, FareShare contributed food towards 8.6 million meals, feeding 36,500 people a day.

The food FareShare provides saves charities and community projects almost £8 million a year, with 81.5% redirecting that money into other support services

For more information on the work FareShare carries out, visit:

The Trussell Trust's award-winning UK foodbank network partners with churches and communities to provide three days nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people in crisis.

Over 90% food given out by foodbanks is donated by the public. Every foodbank recipient is referred by a frontline care professional such as a doctor, social worker or schools liaison officer.

Three new Trussell Trust foodbanks are launching every week. There are almost 300 Trussell Trust foodbanks launched nationwide.

Almost 110,000 people received emergency food from a Trussell Trust foodbank between April ­ September 2012, compared to 128,697 in total during 2011-12 financial year. Since the recession began numbers fed by foodbanks have risen dramatically.

Less than 5% of foodbank clients are homeless, many are working families struggling to make ends meet.

The Trussell Trust's vision is that every town should have a foodbank, creating a nation where no-one needs to go hungry.

For more information on the work carried out by the Trussell Trust visit:

This press release is presented for your information only.

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

Democracy is a farce and an illusion

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Since outright slavery has been discredited, democracy is the only remaining rationale for state compulsion that most people will accept. Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderful submissive slaves. -- Joseph Sobran, “The Myth of Limited Government”.

Democracy is a farce and an illusion to control people by making them believe that they actually are the ones that make the choices as to who run the country and how. It is but an illusion.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship and, I believe, that this is exactly what we saw in Nazi Germany.

People have to realize that they can never be in charge as long as there are a ruling class and a ruled class. As long as others can lord it over us the people are never going to be free.

While the people can be conditioned to believe that democracy means that they are in charge, which they are not, they will allow the ruling class to continue with business as usual and they will fasten their chains to their own ankles.

Democracy is presented to the people, including the USA who is not even meant to be a democracy but a constitutional republic where the rights of the individual are protected, as the be all and end all of all political systems and the one where they, the people, really have a say. But the truth is a totally different one, as Joseph Sobran outlined.

The truth is that democracy is a system where the will of the majority, or should we better say, the ruling class, is forced upon the individual and he or she is made to go along with that. Often dissent is not just frowned upon but suppressed.

The only way that the people will ever be in charge, and ever be liberated, so to speak, is if the system is changed. We don't need a new government we need a new system, and that means we need a new political as well as economical system.

But such a system will only come about if we make the change ourselves and it will not happen via fake elections that we are being presented with all the time and where our votes do not make one iota of a difference. Democracy and democratic governments are but a smoke screen, an illusion, a farce.

When only twenty percent of the electorate turn out to vote that cannot be called a representative election, not even by a long shot. Eighty percent have just told the government that they are would be voting for “none of the above” but cannot do that and that's why they are staying away. We need a new system not a new government.

© 2012

We need a new way

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Governments excel at some things, mainly things we wish they weren't so adept at, namely at collecting taxes, which is, basically stealing property; in incarcerating (kidnapping) its citizens and locking them in cages and in the USA, under the NDAA legislation this can be done for an indefinite period and that totally without trial; killing human beings of different nationalities; and denying natural-born rights to its citizens.

On the other hand, governments fail at many, many things, mainly things we wish they didn't have their noses in, such as the educating our children; providing for the downtrodden; keeping our currency viable; and ensuring the safety of our food supply.

It is time to end the failed experiment of government. We need a new way.

And when we say that all too many people think that we are talking about needing a new government but that is just replacing one ruler with another, and even in so-called democracy.

It is true and also shocking that to this very day there is no consensus in politics as to what constitutes the public good. We must also come to understand that most politicians appear to have no interest in serving the people. They seem to be interested in gaining power and then being able to lord it over the populous.

When we say that we need a new system people who do not understand anything but being government pipe up with “but what would happen in the case of criminal activity if society did not have rules and someone to enforce them?” And they think it's unrealistic to expect that everyone will be 'good' if there is no one to keep order. The fact is that there are other ways to deal with crime that may occur. And they also ask as to how we would defend a country if threatened by outside forces. The answer to the latter is by means of a militia and the former by means of a sheriff's posse.

None of our governments and with it the military has any business in other countries, be this Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. The brief for most military forces if “defense of the realm” (or some words similar) and the realm, as far as, for instance, the UK is concerned, ends at the borders of the territorial waters of the country and those of its dependencies. Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, etc., are not part of the realm.

When it comes to collecting of taxes the fact is that most governments don't so much collect the taxes but have brainwashed people so nicely that the latter send them in. On, when it comes to income tax of employees in, say the UK, the PAYE system (pay-as-you-earn) has the employer deducting the taxes straight from employees wages and salaries. The worker has no control as to how much tax he or she pays and, unlike many other countries, tax rebates are not to be had either.

When it comes to crime fighting government is, actually, not all that good. Most people who commit crime (real or fake) are not imprisoned. Many are never even caught.

Government is only effective as a means of controlling others and putting the costs off to other people. The only thing that governments really have succeeded at is convincing people that they are legitimate and need to be obeyed.

Is the “free market” the answer here? I doubt it as well.

We need to create a new system where people count, and that goes for both the political system as well as the economic system.

© 2012

Green gifting

Handmade is best

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When it comes to gifting, whether for a birthday or for Christmas, Chanukah, etc., gifts that the giver has made him- or herself are more appreciated by the recipient than are bought goods. This is what a study seems to be suggesting and I am sure that this is the case.

The fact is that if you make something as a gift for someone most people appreciate the time and the effort and skill that has gone into making the gift and in most case such an item is treasured for ever (almost); at least by the great majority.

Homemade is also a the greenest way of giving for any occasion and it was the way of many of our parents and grandparents. Or at least of those that did not come from the high classes in society. When I was a child that also was the norm for any kind of celebrations.

Aside from the fact that money was, more often than not, in short supply and thus bought gifts were out of the question, and that was as gifts for us from parents, grandparents or other members of the family or the other way around.

I remember that we seem to appreciate such gifts probably more than if someone had gone out and bought a toy or whatever for us that would not have been much use to us anyway, at least not for long.

A handmade knife, a slingshot, or whatever else, was more appreciated by us than if someone had gone out and bought something that we might not have, as I said, been able to make much use of.

With many people this would, I am sure, still be the case today. Though, that is true, many children today are so spoiled that they think they have to have every new thing they want from the stores. The problem is that it was the parents of the children of today, and maybe already their parents, that caused this by allowing themselves and their children being brainwashed by commercials.

Aside from the fact that we are in a serious economic downturn and money is becoming tight for many homemade gifts are the future, as will be homemade in a lot of departments, if things continue the way that they go.

So, maybe, this holiday season think of making gifts for family and friends rather than going out and buying Chinese-made toys for the kids and things like socks, ties, etc., for the adults.

A homemade handmade gift also shows the recipient that the giver has thought about what the recipient might like, considering his or her hobbies, etc. and this shows that the person cares. Anyone can go to the stores and buy something, but handmade by the giver is a different kettle of fish in the appreciation department all together.

© 2012

A rush of cities join urban food growing project The Big Dig

Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming [1] has announced that six new cities have joined the Big Dig [2] bringing the total number of cities involved to twelve.

BigDigBath, Bradford, Birmingham and Newcastle have all become Big Dig cities following the lead of Oxford and Nottingham. They join the six original cities who together with Sustain and The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens [2] are working to get 10,000 people involved in urban food growing projects.

The project is funded by the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund [3] and co-ordinated by Sustain.

By signing up a minimum of three food growing gardens to the Big Dig each of the cities will receive support to help them get new volunteers onto their site. Sustain will be co-ordinating what they hope will be the nation’s biggest ever community food volunteering event in March 2013 [4] and want at least 20 cities and towns to get involved to make this happen.

The Big Dig’s Clare Horrell said “We are really pleased to have some of the largest cities in England involved in the Big Dig. We want more towns and cities to join us so that together we can raise the profile of urban food growing nationally, get more people involved and highlight the important role it can play in building community and improving the health and wellbeing of people living in urban areas”.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “We are delighted to be the first new city to sign up to the Big Dig. We'd encourage other cities to do the same. It really is just a question of channelling community enthusiasm that is already there for growing your own. Working in partnership with the Big Dig will help us further raise the profile of food growing in the city and encourage more people to get involved”.

1. The Big Dig is co-ordinated nationally by Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming which advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. Sustain represents around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level.

2. The Big Dig is is a nationwide project which aims to engage over 10,000 people in community food-growing projects across England. The following organisations are leading The Big Dig in each of the cities:

  • Bath – Transition Bath

  • Birmingham - Representatives of six food growing initiatives are currently leading the group. More information about the group can be found through Growing Birmingham

  • Bradford – Bradford City Council and Bradford Community Environment Project

  • Brighton & Hove – Brighton & Hove Food Partnership

  • Coventry – Garden Organic

  • London – Capital Growth

  • Manchester – The Kindling Trust

  • Middlesbrough – Middlesbrough Environment City

  • Newcastle – Food Nation

  • Nottingham - Nottingham City Council Parks and Open Spaces Services

  • Oxford – Community Action Groups Project

  • Sheffield – Grow Sheffield

The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens is also a partner in the project and is providing advice to community groups on land issues as well as organising training sessions.

The project builds on the success of Capital Growth which has helped over 60,000 people to get involved in new community food-growing spaces in London. Capital Growth’s Edible Open Garden’s event in 2011 attracted over 1,500 visitors to community growing spaces in the capital.

Follow The Big Dig on twitter @thebigdiguk, or visit our website

3. The Big Dig is funded by the Social Action Fund and is managed by The Social Investment Business, on behalf of the Cabinet Office. The Fund supports social action projects in England from civil society organisations, public sector bodies and businesses with a track record of running social action programmes. The Social Action Fund is part of a broader programme of support for social action that was announced in the Giving White Paper and takes its place alongside two other sources of funding - Innovation in Giving Fund and Challenge Prizes.

4. The March Big Dig event will run from 16th to 22nd March 2013. Volunteer opportunities and events will be taking place across all the gardens involved in the Big Dig to make it the largest ever community food growing volunteer action day.

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.

Flexible use of Biomethane

The 1st international VDI Conference "Biomethane - Upgrading and Utilization" on 19 and 20 March 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany highlights as a central theme the preparation and application range of biomethane

Duesseldorf/Germany, November 2012: The biogas sector is growing worldwide. Feeding biomethane into the natural gas grid has many advantages: it enables the existing infrastructure to be decentralized and used efficiently. Using biomethane is, therefore, a key technology that can play a part in regenerative and storable energy supplies. Biomethane is also becoming ever more important as a fuel. The 1st international VDI Conference "Biomethane - Upgrading and Utilization" on 19 and 20 March 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany will discuss solutions and practical experience involving different upgrading methods in the case of feeding biomethane into the network and using it as a fuel in Europe.

The organizer is VDI Wissensforum in conjunction with the partners European Biogas Association (EBA), Deutsches Bioforschungszentrum (DBFZ) and National & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA). Dr.-Ing. Bernd Krautkremer and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Michael Beil from Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel, will be chairing the conference.

The two-day conference highlights as a central theme the technical, political and economic aspects of the market, and is intended as a platform for exchanging ideas on the latest technological developments for preparing biogas and the biomethane utilization options.

Speakers include experts from the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) who will be reporting on the EU Renewable Energy Directive and the CEN Standard (European Committee for Standardization). A speaker from the NGVA will be addressing the demands placed on biomethane in respect of feeding it into the grid on a standardized basis and regarding biomethane as a fuel. The Swedish Gas Technology Center will be providing an overview of the biomethane market in northern Europe. In brief lectures, users will be introducing established and new biogas upgrading methods.

Experts from Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie will be demonstrating how they produce biogas by way of their own technology in a new kind of bio refinery using residual agricultural products. They are the first biofuel producer worldwide that has succeeded in producing a straw-based biofuel in an industrial standard.

As well as field reports from Göteborg Energi AB and, the program includes an explanation on the preparation experience using various resources to extract fuel and biomethane. Furthermore, lecturers from industry and research will be presenting new developments and technologies such as Bio-LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), Power to Gas and production of biogas under pressure.

For registration and the program, please go to or contact VDI Wissensforum Customer Service, PO Box 10 11 39, D-40002 Düsseldorf, E-mail:, Tel.: +49 211 6214-201, Fax: -154.

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.

Traditional woodland crafts are, once again, becoming a growth industry

Finally traditional woodland crafts are being regarded as valuable again and not before time

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

They are a source of food, fuel, building materials, artistic inspiration and stress-relief, and thus is is hard to believe that the link between Britain's people and its woodlands was ever in any doubt. But it was so.

In the years following the Second World War, traditional woodland jobs such as wheel-wrights and bodgers, clog-makers and other woodland workers, were becoming obsolete as, apparently, synthetic materials were far more exciting to have in your home than boring old wood, and the Forestry Commission was busy creating Sitka spruce plantations.

We must, however, not forget that the Forestry Commission was never tasked with woodlands and woodland jobs and -crafts but to be producing timber for the mines and the trenches.

Within a generation, or less even, the relevance of woodlands to the daily lives of most people had become vague. Most products that ones were made of wood had become replaced by plastics and other synthetics.

However, and thank the gods, in the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century our woodlands are beginning to enjoy somewhat of a renaissance.

Our woodlands, which have existed for thousands upon thousands of years and have been managed for that time also, and that predominately through coppicing, need to ALL come under that management again as, otherwise, they will not survive.

In many parts of England there are old coppice woods that have not been worked now for fifty years and more and if they are not dealt with very soon and efficiently then those coppice stools that are presently standing will break apart and that will be the end of those woods.

The resurgence of interest in using woodlands and woodland culture has attracted a very diverse range of people, from hobby foresters and entrepreneurs to some very skilled crafts people but what they all need is support from us, as consumers, to buy their goods, and from government as those woodlanders are the custodians of our future.

The new woodlanders cannot make a living from the woods if we will not buy the goods that they provide, from firewood and charcoal to treen goods of all kinds.

The New Woodlanders include not just those of the ancient crafts but artists who work with wood, furniture makers, basket weavers and specialist producers, including those who make wooden jewelery, etc.

When Herbert Edlin wrote his classic book Woodland Crafts in 1949 he was sure that many of the crafts he had recorded would not survive the ravages of the Second World War and in a few cases he was right, but in actual fact many of the woodland crafts have persisted or been revived including the skills of chair-makers, turners, charcoal makers, basket weavers, horse-loggers and herb gatherers.

In economic terms, woodlands can offer income to both groups and individuals. However, the consumer has to get behind those that are reviving the use of our woodlands and buy the products that they produce.

A Forestry Commission survey found that nearly a quarter of people questioned had gathered wild plant material from woodlands or forests in the past five years (the most popular things to collect were berries, mushrooms and firewood).

While the economic recession may have taken the main focus off the environment and on to the economy, I believe that it will not halt the great resurgence in woodland culture that is taking place at present

In fact there may be more of us looking for ways of supplementing our income or diet, or reducing our fuel bills, by returning to the woods and there will certainly be more stressed-out folk seeking the solace they can find in the forest.

Over the years, ever since about World War Two, we have forgotten the value of our woodlands (and forests) other than, maybe, for recreation and this could be seen very much during the protests against the proposed “sell off” of Forestry Commission lands.

But, aside from the amenity value of the woods, we must come to understand, and especially many misguided environmentalists, that we must work and manage our woodlands once again in order for them to survive.

Coppice woodlands that are not being worked in the traditional way will die. It is as simple as that. The stools will become top-heavy and, literally, break apart and that will be the end of the trees and thus of the woods.

© 2012

Utilise Government Grants To Make Homes Greener Urges green energy uk

Cavity wall insulation, draught proofing and changing bulbs to lower energy alternatives are all ways to reduce energy consumption and become greener. However, some of these methods may require a significant financial outlay but rather than turning to a bank for a loan people should consider one of the many grants and funds set up by the government which should be utilised, urges sustainable energy supplier green energy uk.

This time of year is often associated with higher energy consumption as the temperatures drop and the heating gets turned up, but making small changes can mean a more energy efficient home that stays warmer for longer and requires less electricity to power it.

“Making your home greener doesn’t mean you have to resort to turning off lights in favour of candles and shivering under blankets for the next few months,” explains Doug Stewart, CEO of green energy uk. “Instead think of the changes you can make to your home that will have a huge impact on your energy consumption in the long term.

“The government offers a number of different grants that can help you to go green. Double glazing, draught proofing and cavity wall insulation are all available at a reduced cost or, in some cases, for free. There are also funding streams available to help with the cost of installing renewable heating technologies, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to reduce your energy bills.”

A number of initiatives are available for home and business owners including the Green Deal which is run by the government and allows you to make energy saving improvements to your home or business, without having to pay the costs upfront. The Energy Saving Advice Service can also help you find out how much you can save by getting part or all of the energy saving changes paid for (0300 123 1234).

Doug also highlights several steps people can take to help reduce energy consumption in their homes such as turning off lights in empty rooms, checking electrical appliances are fully turned off when not in use and only doing full loads of washing.

“At green energy uk, our energy is green but our thinking is multi-coloured; therefore if you need any further advice or information, speak to a member of our UK based customer service team on 0800 783 8851.”

For further information about saving energy, or to find out more about alternative energy sources, visit
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.

The Chips are Down on 5-a-Day

  • 23% of Brits think chips count as vegetables
  • 70% don’t eat 5-a-day

  • 1 in 4 (26%) think five portions of the same fruit or vegetable meets daily requirements

Nearly one quarter of Brits (23%) believe that chips count as a portion of vegetables, according to new 5-a-day research released by Sainsbury's to mark their support of the Government's Responsibility Deal announced today, which aims to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables amongst Brits.

Many Brits don't understand what contributes towards our 5-a-day intake with one third of Brits incorrectly thinking that potatoes count as a portion of vegetables. Of this, almost half (47%) believe that roast potatoes go towards meeting the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake.

While 85% of Brits understand the importance of eating 5-a-day, the research shows that very few actually put it into practice, with 70% of people failing to meet the recommended intake.

It's not just what we're eating that is causing confusion; consumers are also puzzled about varieties, with over one quarter (26%) believing they can eat five of the same fruit or veg in order to meet the daily requirement, although Government guidelines recommend eating a variety of fruit and vegetable types to get the most benefit. Even with this in mind, 15% said they eat three or less types of fruit and vegetables each week.

One third (32%) also admit to worrying more about their children eating the necessary amount, than they do about their own fruit and vegetable intake.

When asked what the barriers are to eating 5-a-day, over one third of people (34%) said they can't find time, while 18% said they think fruit and vegetables are too expensive.

To help educate Brits on the importance of 5-a-day, the Government is calling upon brands to encourage consumers to eat more fruit and vegetables as part of the Responsibility Deal, which launched today, November 14th. Sainsbury's is proud to support the campaign and will drive consumer awareness of the need to eat 5-a-day by highlighting how affordable and easy this is to achieve.

As well as on-pack advice which explains how much each serving the particular pack or item contributes to 5-a-day, the supermarket has also developed new products to encourage customers to eat more fruit and veg, such as a snacking platter containing five different types of fruits, and the addition of seven different fruit bags into meal deal promotions, as a healthier snack choice. Sainsbury's is also using coupons at tills to incentivise lapsed customers to purchase fruit and vegetables with money off vouchers.

Charlie Parker, Company Nutritionist for Sainsbury's, said: "Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet so it's important that people understand the different ways that they can meet their 5-a-day. Eating 5-a-day is a fundamental step towards an everyday healthy lifestyle and we back the Government's desire to increase awareness of this". It is well established that eating 5-a-day can help lower the risk of serious health problems. Fruit and veg provide essential vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and phytochemicals.

"The range of fresh fruit and vegetables in Sainsbury's stores is extensive but consumers can also contribute to their 5-a-day through frozen fruit and vegetables, tinned fruit and vegetables - including soups - and juices and smoothies. Achieving a good mix of daily fruit and veg is easier than many people realise, and more affordable too - our British vegetables packs are priced at just £1 and we have 92 lines within our Basics range that contribute to our 5-a-day."

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.

British Leeks - 2012 Season Launches

Shop Seasonally for Great Flavor and Budget Beating Recipes

Leeks campaign launch 2012The new British leek season is here (November-April). With rising food prices leaving us all feeling short-changed at the checkout, what better time to rely on fresh, seasonal British produce to keep the flavor on our table and the pennies in our pocket.

Delicious dishes don’t have to cost the earth. Try one of our brand new “Recipes for Under a Fiver” a delicious suite of recipes that cost less than 5 Pounds Sterling to feed a family or four.

Developed by Jane Hornby former editor of BBC Good Food magazine and author of ‘Good Food: Budget Dishes’ for affordable and easy to prepare solutions for the whole family. Feast on: -

- Spiced leek, potato and lentil soup,
- Squash, leek and lemon risotto,
- Leek, chorizo and goats cheese tortilla,
- Pasta with leeks, chilli and prawns,
- Hearty leek and lamb cobbler,
- Bacon wrapped chicken with leeks, peas and basil.

If you love the idea of shopping seasonally and saving at the supermarket, read on for some more thrifty tips:

- Pays to plan – planning your family’s meals for the whole week will mean less wasted ingredients
- Flavor fresh – fresh ingredients, such as lovely fresh British leeks, are much more economic than pre-prepared meals – and likely to be far more nutritious
- Stay simple – stick to tasty but simple dishes that don’t require a trolley full of fancy ingredients
- Waste not want not – get creative with leftovers. Older fruit and vegetables make delicious smoothies or soups
- Online only – shop online to avoid being tempted by (often naughty!) extras
- Supermarket survey – investigate different supermarkets for price and quality

For more thrifty shopper tips or to download our brand our new British leeks’ recipes visit

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

UK’s first zero-packaging grocery shop returns to East London with a new café

Unpackaged, a model of sustainable city living, joins forces with talented chef to launch ambitious new site in Hackney in December

Unpackaged, the unique Islington-based grocery shop where customers bring their own containers to re-fill with everything from olive oil to washing up liquid, is expanding to a larger site and launching its first café, which will be offering seasonal and local food in the best Unpackaged's tradition.

From December this year, Unpackaged will be based at Arthaus, a former art warehouse located next to London Fields, a stone’s-throw from Hackney’s Broadway Market where Unpackaged’s founder Catherine Conway set up her first market stall in 2006.

“We’ve come a long way since our little stall on Broadway Market. From those early days, we’ve aimed to sell amazing food and inspiring our customers to bring their own containers to refill,” Catherine explains.

“We’ve loved our time in Islington and can’t wait to expand to Hackney with our shop, cafe & bar. We’re brimming with new refill products and ideas.

“Unpackaged is about making it just as easy for customers to come and refill than go to a supermarket. We sell great food in a really friendly atmosphere which, to us, is what retail is all about. Our new, bigger home, with café and bar will allow us to reach more people and champion the Unpackaged way as a model for future sustainable city living.

Kate de Syllas, a chef acclaimed by UK’s leading restaurant critics for her cooking at Dalston’s A Little of What You Fancy, will lead Unpackaged’s new café and bar with daytime and evening menus emphasizing seasonal, local ingredients in contemporary global dishes.

From December, Unpackaged will be at 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ.

The Unpackaged shop at 42 Amwell Street, Islington, EC1R 1XT will close at the end of November. The Unpackaged team is currently building its new premises and further announcements about the specific shop, café and bar offering will be made in the coming weeks.

Unpackaged was founded in 2006 by Catherine Conway in the belief that there is a better way to sell products, so that customers can do the right thing – for themselves and for the environment.

Catherine set up Unpackaged because she wanted to refill her groceries using her own containers. The dream was to set up a beautiful shop that made it really easy for customers to come and refill all their daily essentials. She started in November 2006 on a market stall, where she met Kate, a fellow stall holder, sowing the seeds of their new partnership.

Alongside the shop, Unpackaged also work with other businesses, large and small, to help them go ‘Unpackaged’.

In 2008, Observer Food Monthly named Catherine one of its Eco Heroes and earlier in 2012, Time Out named the shop one of its Best Shops in London while the London Evening Standard named Unpackaged as one of London’s best independent shops.

Current address (until end of November, 2012): 42 Amwell Street, Islington, EC1R 1XT

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday (except Tuesdays) 10am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 6pm. The shop is currently closed on Tuesdays to allow the team to work on its expansion.

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

Hard-up drivers desperate to save money on fuel – but have no idea what they pay for it

Enthusiasm about cutting costs loses out to love of speed, research finds

Hard-up English motorists are desperate to save money on fuel – but don’t even know how much it costs, a survey released today has found.

Research for the Energy Saving Trust’s Fuel Your Passion campaign found almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of drivers do not know the average price of a liter of unleaded – but nine in ten admit shopping around to find cheaper fuel.

In addition, 80 per cent of car owners say they know following simple smarter driving tips could save them money – but a stubborn 51 per cent REFUSE to follow those tips because they are too set in their ways.

The three-month Fuel Your Passion campaign aims to inspire drivers to save money behind the wheel by driving more efficiently.

An online app produced by the Energy Saving Trust for the campaign shows drivers how much they could save by following a series of simple tips, and is available on their website here

Energy Saving Trust Senior Knowledge Manager – Transport, Tim Anderson, said: “Drivers are so keen to save money on fuel that they’re happy to spend time trying to find the cheapest petrol station – but don’t want to follow simple tips which could save them around £270 a year.

“It’s not hard to see why many people don’t know the actual price of unleaded with prices rising so quickly. The Energy Saving Trust is here to show you how the impact of those rises can be reduced. Our new online Fuel Your Passion app shows how much money drivers could save by following smarter driving tips – and what they could spend that cash on.

“A little bit of knowledge goes a long way, and tips like properly inflating tyres and driving more smoothly can make a real difference at the pumps, which is important when times are so hard.

“Energy Saving Trust advisors are on hand to answer any questions drivers have – they can be contacted through our Transport Advice Line on 0845 602 1425.”

The Fuel Your Passion campaign was launched last month with new findings which showed inefficient driving costs English motorists almost £7bn in wasted fuel every year. The research found drivers could save an average of £270 each – or 20p of every liter spent on petrol and diesel – by simply following a range of simple smarter driving tips.

Now, the specially-commissioned Ipsos MORI survey, of 1,749 English motorists, has found men were less keen to change their driving habits to help save fuel than women, with 65 per cent of male respondents saying they “like driving how they want to drive”, “don’t like being told what to do” or simply “like driving fast”. In comparison, only 45 per cent of female motorists said they wouldn’t change the way they drive to save fuel.

The survey also highlighted drivers’ misconceptions about ways to cut their fuel spend – with some tips making no difference at all, or even costing them money. Amazingly, 14 per cent of those questioned wrongly believe only driving at weekends would make their car more fuel efficient, and only five per cent of motorists stuck to the speed limit on motorways even though driving at 85mph uses around 25 per cent more petrol than driving at 70mph.

In fact, following these smarter driving tips can make a real difference to a car’s running costs:

· Drive smoothly – avoid heavy acceleration and braking.

· Slow down – travelling at 70mph instead of 85mph on the motorway can save around £20 a year.

· Shift up gears early, between 2,000 and 2,500rpm.

· Keep tyres correctly inflated – could save around £31 a year

· Turn air conditioning off – could save around £77 a year.

· Turn off your engine if you expect to be stopped for more than a minute.

· Remove roof racks and roof boxes to cut drag – could save around £3 a year.

· Avoid carrying dead weight – remove unnecessary clutter from your car.

Anyone wanting to see how much smarter driving could save them should check out the Energy Saving Trust’s website at or call the Transport Advice Line on 0845 602 1425.

Energy Saving Trust (EST) gives impartial, accurate and independent advice to communities and households on how to reduce carbon emissions, how to use water more sustainably and how to save money on energy bills.

EST provides impartial advice to fleets to help them reduce fuel use and improve efficiency with benefits to both fleet finances and the environment. Many of the Energy Saving Trust’s transport advice services are subsidised by the Department for Transport.

EST works in partnership with government, local authorities, third sector organisations and businesses. EST’s activities include:

· delivering or managing government programmes

· testing low-carbon technology

· certification and assurance for businesses and consumer goods

· developing models and tools

The Energy Saving Trust is a social enterprise with charitable status.

The Energy Saving Trust was formed in 1992.

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

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How powerful are we when truly organized?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

People don't understand often that they do not have to be the slaves of the political system in any way shape or form and that governments only have the level of power over us that we allow them to have.

Let's take the case of the CB radio issue back in the 1970's as an example of the power of the people. The FCC was trying to get all the truckers to get a license for using CB radios. The truckers, however, flat out refused to get the license that the agency and with it the government was trying to enforce. United together the truckers won and the idea of a license for CB radio in the USA was abandoned.

Collective consciousness equals collective power. Violence begets violence... peaceful non-participation is the answer (Gandhi)

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete" ~ Buckminster Fuller

Violent protests and riots only get the back up of the powers that be. Non-violent non-participation, on the other hand, is something that they cannot handle. It freaks them out, and not just governments.

The British in India and South Africa tried to fight Gandhi's non-violence with violence in an effort to bring Gandhi and his followers to the point of using violence themselves. It did not work and in the end Gandhi and his people won.

Governments are more vulnerable than people think and also than they think. They can collapse in an instant when consent is withdrawn. Take your power back... withdraw consent!

This withdrawing of consent can take many forms, from refusing to fill in census forms, though deemed unlawful not to; not returning this or that other form to be filled in; to not taking part in the process of elections; and much more.

While we are being told time and again that our votes count in the elections the truth, whether in the USA or in Britain, is that it hardly does and the biggest problem is the way it is being counted.

When 100% is the electorate but 70% stay at home and the government the claims to have a majority from those 30% that have voted then that, in my opinion, is fraud. Many of those that decided not to go to the polling stations and cast their ballot may be making a statement that could be defined as “none of the above”, as far as the ballot paper is concerned and thus a majority out of 30% of the entire electorate is not a majority and thus any government taking power under such conditions should and must be considered illegitimate.

This also applies to votes in our current trade unions in Britain say in strike ballots.

Not so long ago a union claimed to have the mandate for a strike when they had about the same amount of returns as the 30% I have just mentioned.

When 80% from those 30% say yes to a strike that means and 20% of those that returned the ballot papers and those that did not return the papers actually combine a majority against a strike.

A reevaluation is needed on this so-called democratic level that will calculate the non-voters not simply as abstainers but as votes against and when that is with regards to the government of a country then that means that “none of the above” has one and any government established on the majority of the minority should and must, as said, regarded and treated as illegitimate.

Take your power back... withdraw consent!

© 2012