Filberts Bees Moisturizing Salve with Hemp – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Filberts Bees Moisturizing Salve with Hemp is made from artisan beeswax and is rich in English farm pressed hemp seed oil.

Hemp Salve-228x228It is concentrated and smooth and the artisan beeswax, combined with avocado, olive and hemp seed oils, creates a soft, richly colored salve to treat dry or sore areas, including lips, hands and feet. Add a little water for rapid absorption or just let the oils soak in naturally for soft-feeling skin. Great as balm and al-round salve.

This salve, as indicated, works equally well on lips, hands and feet, and patches of dry skin everywhere.

As someone who suffers from dry and often cracked lips, and the same goes for hands, spending a lot of time outdoors, I am always very dubious as regards to claims. However, I must say that, as far as it goes this is a salve that lives up to everything what it says on the tin.

The salve comes in two packaging sizes: 7.4g and 24g and the former is ideally suited as a daily carry one for anyone who tends to suffer from cracked lips, for instance.

It is the same size – or thereabouts – as the small tins of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) but, being all natural and not a product of the petro-chemical industry far better for you and the Planet. It may cost a little more but you also do not need much of it.

© 2013

House about that? 3m young adults live with parents, one in five will care for them too

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The UK is fostering a generation of young people unable to leave home owing to high house prices who, just as many of them manage to save the deposit to buy their own place, will then become responsible for the care of parents they’re living with, according to research from O2 Health. Lack of funds to buy will be quickly replaced with conscience as less social care is available for mum and dad.

Official statistics show about three million adults aged between 20 and 34 still live with a parent or parents. Meanwhile, one in five of us will become a carer of a parent or parents at some point in our lives. That means there are potentially 600,000 Brits who will be living with and then caring for mum and dad.

The research coincides with the availability of O2 Health’s new mobile care service, Help at Hand, nationwide at Tesco. It aims to help the elderly, ill and vulnerable remain independent from carers for longer.

On average, young people have to save for a decade before they can afford to buy their first home, which rises to 24 years in London, stopping 20-somethings from flying the nest. This comes at a time when the population is increasingly elderly with 10 million people in the UK over 65 years old. In large parts of the country nearly two-thirds will have developed a long-term health condition such as dementia, heart disease or diabetes by this age. This creates a vicious cycle, keeping grown children in or near to the family home to provide care when they should be moving out or taking advantage of life’s opportunities.

Not only that, but a staggering one in ten of carers say they have had to give up work or are considering doing so in order to fulfill their caring role.

But why do we think the fact that the children remain at home so strange? It was thus until not so long ago when people lived in multi-generational homes, with grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren. It was the norm and normal. The old folks looked after the little ones while the rest got on with making a living.

But that was also the time when everyone worked on the same plot, so to speak, and families not just lived together; they also worked together.

Is it really such a bad thing? Methinks not. It was and still, to some extent, is the common way with and among the Romani community that all the generations, as well as relations, live together and work together.

When it comes to unable to being able, for the younger generation, to move into a home of their own in Britain we have to thank the now deceased Mrs. T. for that who forced the councils to sell homes and to divest themselves of their own housing stock for rent.

We don't need to have more homes to buy; we need homes to rent, in the public sector, at affordable rents so that everyone who wants a home can have one, even though they may not own it.

Renting your home was common in the UK and still is the norm in many other European Union countries, much more than owner-occupied homes, and in many EU countries the rents in the private sector have to be about the same as in the public sector, thus there are homes available, more or less, for all.

All that it boils down to again is that we need a new system, not a new government. The New Labor government that came after Thatcher also did continue the same policies as did her government and its successor one under Major and the Con-Dem coalition is trying its very best to destroy the remainder of everything that was built up after World War Two.

© 2013

Children and the natural world

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Recently we reported about the fact that many youngsters in Britain have no idea where there food comes from and other issues of the countryside.

One can but wonder how much else they do not know as regards the natural world and products from Nature.

How many, one can but wonder, know or not know that paper, card and cardboard, is made from wood pulp, that is to say that from trees and if they know how many actually know – for far too many adults do not know either – that this wood pulp does not come from tropical rainforests. In fact most paper is made from the pulp of softwood trees such as pine and spruce, and grown specifically for the making of paper, card and cardboard.

How many also do not know that wooden spoons, spatulas, plants, pallets, and furniture once were trees or part thereof? Many, no doubt, believe that that is all made in a factory. They have never, more than likely, unlike most of us did as children, made a catapult (slingshot) from a forked tree branch or a walking stick from a sapling. Sad, this is; very sad indeed.

We are creating, in the UK especially, but more than likely also in the USA, generations of children and young people who have no idea of the Nature and the produce and products that come from Nature, whether from the woods or the farms.

Vegetables with dirt attached are also entirely alien to many of them and they cannot understand that that is how they come, in real life, and therefore they will want nothing to do with them. That vegetables generally, unless grown in hydroponic systems, as so many are today, grow in dirt, better known as soil, and thus have dirt on them that needs washing off is something they just do not know because of their detachment from the natural world.

But it is not entirely their fault. In fact it is not the children's fault at all. It is the fault of society that is trying to mollycoddle kids and keep them away from anything that could be remotely dangerous. So, no climbing of trees, no building dens and playing in the woods, and not even gardening as the tools can be weapons.

Not surprising, therefore, that today's kids, or a great many of them, are so very removed and remote from the natural world. In addition to that, unlike when we were children, they are also not allowed to see the realities of Nature; of birth and death in the wild, whether animal, insect or tree and of eating and being eaten.

That the burger they eat – though probably not at McDonald's – was once a steer and that it had to die for it is something they are totally unaware of. And also that the paper they use or the wooden ruler was once a tree is alien to them. But again, it is not their fault but it is due to the fact that the adult world refused to teach them reality.

Today's children and young people suffer from what has become known as Nature Deficiency Disorder and this being disconnected from Nature is also the cause for many of the problems in and with our children and young people today. It is also, probably, the underlying cause for much of the violence exhibited by kids today.

We must throw away the rule book and allow children to go bush again and experience, also for themselves, the natural world and play with the materials of Nature, including whittling catapults and walking sticks. And yes, that does include the use of a knife, a sharp knife.

© 2013

Filberts Bees first visit to the Natural & Organic Show

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

logo-filbertsbeesNew for 2013 and up from Dorset, Filberts Bees made a first appearance at the Natural & Organic Products Europe Show from April 7 to April 8, 2013 at London's Olympia.

Filberts Bees are makers of handmade beeswax balms, salves and polishes and have made their first visit to the Natural & Organic Show this year. Let's hope they have had a good time and found many customers.

Farm-pressed hemp oil from Devon farms features in their latest range offering an exciting range of balms and salves designed to protect everything from hard-working hands exposed to the elements through to the delicate skin of infants. Hemp oil is a natural source of gamma-linolenic acid and omegas – widely recognized for good skin health.

The range includes Hemp Moisturizing Salve, Chamomile Baby Balm, Tea Tree Salve, Unscented Moisturizing Salve, Farm Hand Salve, Waterman Salve.

Filberts Bees is a family-run business set up in 2008 that has its roots in British farming through beekeeper Mark Rogers. From a love of honey and a reluctance to get stung quite so often (bees hate alcohol and synthetic perfumes, and who can blame them, at least as regards to the synthetic perfume bit) Mark created a moisturizing hand salve with nothing but great, natural ingredients. This product remains one of Filberts Bees best sellers.

All of Filberts Bees products are free from artificial preservatives, synthetic perfumes and mineral oils. They also don't see the need to use water and thus their skincare products are not soggy creams but are firm, sometimes buttery, salves and balms rather. The salves can be applied on to damp skin or applied with a little water to speed up absorption.

Review of Moisturizing Hemp Salve to follow.

© 2013

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

UKIP's right wing tendency

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A political party that openly has members with right-wing links and whose candidates make statements where they claim that the Jews brought the Holocaust onto themselves deserves to be banned, in the same way as the BNP and others of its ilk do.

But the excuse it that we have democrazy and therefore those parties have a right to exist. They do not.

In Germany the NPD, which is basically the successor party of the NSDAP, Hitler's National-Socialist Worker's Party, though claimed by some to be but a fringe party (it is not), is allowed to exist while the DKP, the original German Communist Party has been outlawed even after Hitler, and so has been the SED and the FDJ. Any and all attempt to ban the NPD has, so far, been blocked by the claims that Germany is a democracy and the party has a right to exist. What about the other parties and groups then?

The fact is that the powers-that-be want those fascist parties to exist so as to create a reason for themselves to enact legislation that are basically fascist in nature as, so they claim, based on the popularity of some right-wing policies, the people demand such actions.

The stance of UKIP can be seen in the fliers that have been used for the local government elections in May 2013 by them and one of them is presented below.


The tactics are the same that are being employed by those behind the Daily Mail so-called newspaper, which is everything else but a newspaper, in their headlines that claim that everyone from Romania and Bulgaria is going to come to the UK now that they can, theoretically, in order to claim benefits and to take UK worker's jobs.

While the mention is of Romanians and Bulgarians the real target, in the same way as are recent statements by the German Minister of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich, are not Romanians and Bulgarians per se but the Roma in their midst. And this despite studies that show that very few from those two countries have even the slightest intention of immigrating to the UK.

However, it makes for great political capital and for aiding and abetting the government to impose even greater restrictions on the people of the country.

The British government has hinted that it will reduce the benefits and access to them even for citizens and legal residents in order to be able to discourage, so their claim, members of those two countries to come to the UK.

Here we can, once again, see how the powers-that-be make use of the supposed clamor of the people whipped up by false claims in the media and by parties such as UKIP and the BNP for their own ends so that they can say that it was, after all, the people that demanded those steps.

It makes no difference as to whether UKIP deselects and suspends members and candidates that have right-wing tendencies, and make statements such as did that certain female candidate who said that the Jews brought the Holocaust onto themselves, or the candidate for Kent, England, who called for the compulsory abortion of all disabled fetuses.

Despite the fact that he has been suspended from the party the candidate for Kent, Geoffrey Clark will still stand in Thursday's election, as the election ballots have already been drawn. The latter is an absolute farce and should not be allowed to happen.

The entire party needs to be thrown onto the garbage dump (but then again that would be pollution of the environment) and I say that despite the fact that I have no time whatsoever for the European Union.

UKIP's aim is not only to get the UK out of the EU. It's aim, so it would appear, is to create a fascist and racist country that will be not just anti-immigrants but anti-Jews and anti-Gypsy and anti every other ethnic group.

While I am all for getting rid off people that should not be here and which pose a threat to the security of the country, such as a certain Muslim cleric who even has been disowned by most Muslims in this country, immigrants have given much to this country in the same way that they have to the United States.

And when it comes to threats against the security of the country the fact that British and American troops are in certain countries involved in illegal wars and now flying predator drones from UK soil is much more a threat to the security than any person already on the radar of the security services.

We need a new system, not a new government. Neither Labor, nor the Lib-Dems, nor the Tories, nor any other party, will ever give us what is needed. Only a new system will do so; not another set of new oppressors.

© 2013

One in three youths in Britain do not know where milk, eggs and bacon come from

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A poll of 2,000 people for the charity Leaf (Linking Environment and Farming) found that more than a third of 16 to 23-year-olds, in fact 36% of them, do not know bacon comes from pigs and four in 10 failed to link milk with an image of a dairy cow, with 7% linking it to wheat.

Some 41% correctly linked butter to a dairy cow, with 8% linking it to beef cattle, while 67% were able to link eggs to an image of a hen some 11% thought they came from wheat or maize.

A total of 6% of those questioned knew that salad dressing could come from rapeseed oil, compared with the national average among all age groups of 24%.

Although four in 10 young adults (43%) considered themselves knowledgeable about where their food comes from, the results revealed a "shocking" lack of knowledge about how the most basic food is produced, the charity said.

We often hear reports that our food knowledge may be declining but this new research shows how bad the situation is becoming and despite what they think, young adults are clearly becoming removed from where their food comes from.

It is estimated that 3 in 10 adults born in the 1990s haven't visited a farm in more than 10 years, if at all. It has to be said that this is a real shame as our farmers not only play an important role in food production but are passionate about engaging and reconnecting consumers too.

However, one also has to consider the fact here that schools are basically afraid to take children on farm visits for fear of litigation and health and safety concerns. Topping that is also the fact that it could upset children, so it has been phrased once, to realize that the burgers they consume actually come from cuddly animals.

The charity, which has been organizing an Open Farm Sunday event on the weekend of April 27 and 28, also found almost two-thirds of young adults (64%) did not know that new potatoes would be available from British farms in June, and one in 10 (10%) thought they took less than a month to grow.

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 British adults online between May 11 and 14 on behalf of LEAF.

Surprising this should not be as a study found some ten years or so ago already that children were miles removed from Nature and reality in the UK with many of them thinking that milk came from a factory and had nothing to do with cows and burgers the same.

When asked what a gamekeeper did a great many, at that time, replied that he looked after the Pokemon.

It is high time that children would be reintroduced to reality and not only learned where their food comes from but actually also learned how to grow their own food, and that from a very young age.

That, however, could be a problem with health and safety rules such as we can see when it comes to gardening tools aimed at primary school children where it has to be stated on the tools that they must not be used by children under the age of 10 or 11. Or when, as recently, teachers are suspended and punished for just even showing garden tools to children as they are classed by school authorities as – wait for it – weapons. And we still wonder why our children have become so removed from Nature and reality.

We also do not allow them to “play” in the outdoors all too often now for fear that they could be interfered with or they could hurt themselves and thus removing them from any contact with the natural world and also causing them to become obese.

We have created this generation and we are creating another generation that is possibly even further removed from Nature and from reality if we are not going to put in the reverse gear and that now.

© 2013

War is a racket

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

War is a racket, said Maj. General Smedley Butler, USMC, one of the most highly decorated officers in the US military in his small book of 1933, and he was, alas, ever so correct.

Here is an extract of what Major General Smedley D. Butler wsaid and wrote in 1933:

"In the World War (and he was here referring to World War One. The Second World War was still a few years away) a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows. How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out..."

...war is for the profit of a few, at the expense of many...

-- Maj Gen Smedley D Butler, USMC, 1933.

And one can add very little to that. War is indeed a racket to profit but the warmongers at the expense of the poor man (and woman) in the street.

War also has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, with creating freedom or with exporting democracy, nor any other lofty notions that politicians try to sell like snake oil salesmen.

War is about money and power; money and power of the few at the expense of the rest of us all.

“If only more of today's military personnel would realize that they are being used by the owning elite as a publicly subsidized capitalist goon squad, “ Maj Gen Butler also said, and once again this is something that the men and women of our military really need to come to consider.

They have to think for themselves as to whether they really want to be the good squad for the exploiters of their fellow men. If they do then they must also be prepared to reap the whirlwind that ensues, and not just from the sides of the perceived enemy, the side that they are taught is the enemy, but also from their own countrymen and -women.

War, as Harry Patch, who was the last surviving soldier of World War One, who died in 2009 age 111, said is organized murder and nothing else.

War is organized murder of the fighting men of all sides as well as of civilians of all sides involved in the conflict. And it is all, while done in the name of freedom and democracy, nowadays at least, a racket in which some people make millions and even billions while the poor are forced – and forced it was in Word War One (and also many other wars before and after) – to die for those profits.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think that they are going to profit from it, and this has been the case in the two World Wars as much as in wars before and after. And it is still true for the wars and conflicts in which the likes of the USA and Britain are involved in in the second decade of the 21st century.

While in austerity Britain the poor are being squeezed and all public services are being reduced two budgets are ring-fenced, that of Foreign Aid, and the Defense Budget. Alone getting the British forces out of the foreign battle fields such as Afghanistan and returning them to what their brief is, namely the defense of the realm, and last time I checked Afghanistan and Iraq were not part of the realm, would, more or less, cancel all the debts of the United Kingdom in one foul swoop.

However, the aim is also not, regardless what the snake oil salesmen masquerading as our elected representatives try to tell us, to bring democracy to those countries – as it would not work in the first place – but the target is the mineral wealth of those countries and that is also the reason why, sooner or later, British military boots will be on the ground in Mali. Thar's gold in them thar hills – well, in the desert – and that is the target. Not fighting any illusionary Islamist world organization referred to as Al Qaeda as, in fact, there is no such organization and never has been.

The war – oh, sorry, conflict – in Iraq was to topple a leader who was first of all an CIA assent gone sour and the main reason was liquid gold, aka oil. Nothing to do with bringing democracy, prosperity, and all the other lies. It was about oil, plain and simple.

The Afghan conflict is about oil to a degree – even though, as far as known, Afghanistan does itself has no significant oil – but more importantly it is about the minerals, including gold, silver and copper, in them thar hills (and mountains), and about the rare earths. As the former commander of the US forces in that theater General Petraeus said there are billions – with many S's in that country and that was the reason that he said the US could and should not leave. It is obvious where some high-ranking military men stand in this issue and the issue of the racket; right there with the warmongers.

Many fighting men and -women have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and it has absolutely nothing to do with liberating the country and about bringing democracy.

Bringing democracy to any place by force of arms is not going to work in the first place. But then again, that is not and never has been the intention of such actions.

The intention, as far as Iraq was and is concerned was and is oil and the access to same and the saber rattling against Iran also is for the very same reasons, namely oil.

While Afghanistan does not have oil, per se, it is also there about oil in that by having control of the country and with the control of Iraq and bases in the various -stans to the north Iran is almost encircled in a pincer and thus pressure can be applied and even, in the end, military force, to “liberate” Iranian oil for the world market. Furthermore Afghanistan's hills and mountains are full of valuable minerals and rare earths which are ever so important in today's industry. Hence the reason that the US will want to keep a tight control on that country, either direct by keeping the military there or indirect via puppet governments.

The ones that lose out, as per usual, are the military men and -women who are being sacrificed on the altar of profiteering and the people of the country who are being exploited and the country itself and the environment. It has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom and democracy but everything with profits for the military-industrial complex and the powers-that-be.

“Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy”, said Henry Kissinger and this is exactly how the powers-that-be see the men and women of the military.

War is a racket and until the people, and especially military personnel realize that in the same way as Maj. Gen. Butler did and spoke about, and the people themselves, the powers-that-be will continue with their machinations.

© 2013

EU food control coming?

Crop diversity under threat

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The European Union minions in Brussels/Strasbourg are working on controlling what foods we can eat. No, I am not jesting.

7000161_5c6ead121c_mThey are aiming to ban, as in outlaw, all heirloom and non-hybrid seeds, even for personal garden use, as well as the growing of such plants, the retention of their seeds (and seeds also from hybrid seeds for future use) and the taking and passing on of cuttings.

This way they will regulate what kinds of vegetables we can buy and even grow ourselves, and those will all have to be approved hybrid varieties and thus all only and rare vegetables will no longer have a chance.

As the collection and keeping of seeds and passing on from one gardener to another will also be punishable by law it means that we will have to – annually – go to authorized seeds merchants and buy our seeds for our garden.

Agribusiness, especially the big plant breeders, such as Monsanto, have been lobbying the EU commissioners for the last five plus years to create law that will do this and thus make it impossible for the people to avoid buying seeds from that company and others.

They have been working out, one can but guess, that people were voting with their feet and decided to grow their own food and especially here gardeners were aiming to use non-hybrid seeds and also to keep seeds from the harvests back for future use and also to share with other gardeners.

Therefore the EU commissioners have been lobbied hard to outlaw this practice and if the revised proposed seed regulation becomes EU law then we will all be forced to, if we wish to grow our own food, to grow only what they permit and keeping seeds back from the harvest for use next year will be punishable by this law.

How they are going to enforce this is, obviously, a question but if heirloom varieties are no longer available and organic seeds – for it would appear that they also will fall foul of this proposed legislation – then policing will be hardly necessary anyway.

This proposed legislation from Brussels proves yet again that the European Union is far from being a good thing for the people of Europe; the opposite rather, and the sooner it is put to death the better.

While this issue is all over the news in Germany and some other continental EU countries not a single word is mentioned of this issue in the media in the UK or Eire.

Time for a serious change to our system is needed...

© 2013

Soils in Newly Forested Areas Store Substantial Carbon That Could Help Offset Climate Change

ANN ARBOR, Mich., USA : Surface appearances can be so misleading: In most forests, the amount of carbon held in soils is substantially greater than the amount contained in the trees themselves.

FBIC-spacing-trial_webIf you're a land manager trying to assess the potential of forests to offset carbon emissions and climate change by soaking up atmospheric carbon and storing it, what's going on beneath the surface is critical.

But while scientists can precisely measure and predict the amount of above-ground carbon accumulating in a forest, the details of soil-carbon accounting have been a bit fuzzy.

Two University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues helped to plug that knowledge gap by analyzing changes in soil carbon that occurred when trees became established on different types of nonforested soils across the United States.

In a paper published online April 1 in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, they looked at lands previously used for surface mining and other industrial processes, former agricultural lands and native grasslands where forests have encroached.

U-M ecologist Luke Nave and his colleagues found that, in general, growing trees on formerly nonforested land increases soil carbon. Previous studies have been equivocal about the effects of so-called afforestation on soil carbon levels.

"Collectively, these results demonstrate that planting trees or allowing them to establish naturally on nonforested lands has a significant, positive effect on the amount of carbon held in soils," said Nave, an assistant research scientist at the U-M Biological Station and in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"These forest soils represent a significant carbon reservoir that is helping to offset carbon emissions that lead to climate change," said Nave, lead author of the paper.

Large and rapid increases in soil carbon were observed on forested land that had previously been used for surface mining and related industrial processes. On a post-mining landscape, the amount of soil carbon generally doubled within 20 years of mining termination and continued to double every decade or so after that.

The changes after cultivated farm fields were abandoned and trees became established are much subtler, though still significant. This type of tree establishment which has been widespread in recent decades in the northeastern United States and portions of the Midwest Lakes about 40 years to cause a detectable increase in soil carbon.

But at the end of a century's time, the amount of soil carbon averages 15 percent higher than when the land was under cultivation, with the biggest increases (up to 32 percent) in the upper two inches of the soil.

In places where trees and shrubs have encroached into native grassland, soil carbon increased 31 percent after several decades, according to the study. That type of incursion is occurring throughout the Great Plains, from the Dakotas all the way to northern Texas, and is largely due to suppression of wildfires.

"Our work helps those tasked with understanding and managing the carbon balance of U.S. lands by putting a number on the changes in soil carbon that occur during this sort of land-use transition," Nave said.

Most of the organic carbon in forest soils comes from the growth and death of roots and their associated fungi, he said.

The study involved a reexamination of 46 research papers published between 1957 and 2010, as well as an analysis of 409 soil profiles from the National Soil Carbon Network database.

Co-authors of the Soil Science Society of America Journal article are Chris Swanston of the U.S. Forest Service, Umakant Mishra of the Argonne National Laboratory and Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the U-M Biological Station and a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

The work was supported by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Luke Nave:

Knute Nadelhoffer:

International Soil Carbon Network:

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.

Community Gardens May Produce More than Vegetables

Study suggests health benefits beyond nutrition

People who participate in community gardening have a significantly lower body mass index—as well as lower odds of being overweight or obese—than do their non-gardening neighbors. Researchers at the University of Utah reported these and other findings in the American Journal of Public Health published online on April 18, 2013.

“It has been shown previously that community gardens can provide a variety of social and nutritional benefits to neighborhoods,” says Cathleen Zick, lead author of the study and professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. “But until now, we did not have data to show a measurable health benefit for those who use the gardens.”

To gauge a health benefit, researchers used body mass index, or BMI, a calculation based on a person’s height and weight and which is widely used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. In general, a normal BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9; a smaller number is better than a larger one.

Results showed that women community gardeners had an average BMI 1.84 lower than their neighbors, which translates to an 11 pound weight difference for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. For men, the BMI was lower by 2.36 for gardeners—a difference of 16 pounds for a man 5 feet 10 inches tall—compared to the neighborhood cohort. Gardeners were also less likely to be overweight or obese; 46 percent less for women gardeners, and 62 percent less for men gardeners.

Researchers also looked at the BMIs of individuals related to the gardeners, namely siblings and spouses.

When compared to same sex siblings, a similar advantage to unrelated neighbors was found. Women in the community gardening group had a BMI 1.88 lower than their sisters; for men, the difference was 1.33 lower for the gardeners compared to their brothers. Both differences were statistically significant.

For spouses of married gardeners, there was no difference in BMI or odds of being overweight or obese. That finding was not surprising, as researchers had expected that spouses would benefit from eating food produced in the garden, and perhaps from helping out with the gardening activities.

“These data are intriguing, although they were drawn from participants in a single community gardening organization in Salt Lake City and may not apply broadly until more research is done,” Zick notes. “However, as the percentage of Americans living in urban areas continues to grow, this initial study validates the idea that community gardens are a valuable neighborhood asset that can promote healthier living. That could be of interest to urban planners, public health officials and others focused on designing new neighborhoods and revitalizing old ones.”

How the study was conducted

The study used unique administrative data to examine—for the first time—the relationship between community gardening and a health outcome. Researchers compared community gardeners’ BMIs, and odds of being overweight or obese, with three control groups.

One group included unrelated people from the same geographic neighborhood. This group would share similar physical environments, like walkability and proximity to food shops and stores, as well as economic status.

The second group was same sex siblings, who would be expected to share genetic predispositions for weight and family influences on diet and exercise.

The third group was married spouses of the gardeners, because they would likely share lifestyle and food choices, including food grown in the community garden.

Gardeners were drawn from a pool of individuals active with Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG), a 20-year old non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City. WCG provides a network of urban gardens located throughout the local area, as well as classes, programs and events focused on gardening and eating locally. After gaining assurance from the gardeners that they had no concerns regarding WCG’s involvement with the study, WCG staff provided names and addresses of 423 adults who had gardened on one of the community plots for at least one year between 1995 and 2010.

Data for neighbors, siblings and spouses were drawn from administrative records using the Utah Population Database, a multi-faceted data resource used by health researchers. It includes a large set of Utah family histories, and links to publicly-available historical birth, marriage, and driver’s license records.

A total of 375 gardeners were linked to BMI information in the database; once linked, driver’s license records were used to build a sample of neighbors—individuals matched for age, gender and residential location, and Utah marriage, divorce and birth records to identify siblings and spouses. In the end, data on 198 gardeners and 67 spouses were included in the analyses, and height and weight information came from driver’s license records after they began community gardening.

“We know obesity is costly,” Zick concludes. “This study begins to shed light on the costs and benefits of the choices families make about eating and physical activity. Future research with controlled, randomized field studies across a range of communities are needed to further advance our understanding of the role gardening can play in healthy lives.”

Family and Consumer Studies is an interdisciplinary department where faculty and students examine how the social, economic, political, and physical environments affect families, individuals, and consumers. The teaching, research, and service focuses on expanding the understanding of how welfare of individuals, and the families in which they live, are affected by external forces and internal forces. The department thereby emphasizes applied social science research and teaching with a strong public policy orientation.

The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 32,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 100 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer online at

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 myths of sustainable consumption and sustainable growth

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Across the globe the concept of sustainable consumption is being touted as the way of the future, a change in lifestyle and values that promises “green growth”– economic growth that doesn’t hurt the environment.

The term itself is, however, an oxymoron for it also keeps relying on the other oxymoron, that of sustainable growth.

Permanent consumerism and consumption is not sustainable and there simply is no such thing as sustainable growth. With a finite Planet there cannot be growth, sustainable or otherwise. We have to begin living within the parameters of the Planet and that means the use of renewable resources and their careful management.

Though not without obstacles and controversy, the concept of sustainable consumption has been embraced by policymakers, consumers, and industry alike.

The idea is that, by providing consumers with a choice of products reflecting their new environmental values, the market will self-regulate its way towards a more sustainable future, one in which supermarket shelves are lined with ecologically friendly products, and workers in developing countries are receiving fair wages for their labor. Eco-labeling, taxes on water and energy consumption, recycling incentives, education and communication campaigns, and advertising are examples of methods to promote sustainable consumption, all of which are endorsed by the OECD.

However, sustainable consumption fails to address the root problem: that unfettered economic growth – no matter how ecologically-minded – is still unsustainable, as I have already indicated. On a planet with limited finite non-renewable resources, that we consume at a rate of knots, ever increasing consumption, however sustainable it is claimed, cannot be sustained and thus it is not sustainable. If we believe otherwise we just kid ourselves.

The focus on sustainable consumption distracts us from identifying and demanding change from the real drivers of environmental decline.

Consumption for the sake of it, and we are seeing that coming into the “green” sector as well, is not sustainable however sweet it is being coated in words and terms. By now we have arrived at “greensumption” and the recyclability of products also is beginning to lead to further over-consumption as people believe that just because the product can be recycled it is fine to toss, say the old smartphone after six months or so and replace it with a new one.

We need a new system, a resource based economy, as other systems will not work with finite resources, bar the few renewable ones that we have, and this new economic system would also, by virtue of necessity, bring back repairability of goods.

While the actions of each and every one of us make a difference we need more than just voting with our wallet and choosing green alternatives and hoping that industry catches up with our demand and thus things will change. It just does not and will not work that way alone.

We, plain and simple, need a new system that takes account of the very fact that our non-renewable resources, be this oil, gas, coal, minerals, etc., are finite and many of them are running out or have, basically, run out already.

Growth is not sustainable and neither is an economic model based on continuous growth and there is no such thing as sustainable consumption either, at least not in the unfettered way that consumption and consumerism has been going.

We need a new system, economic and political...

© 2013

USCC Releases Model Rule for Composting Operations

COMPOSTING_LOGO_200BETHESDA, MD (WORLD-WIRE) : The United States Composting Council (USCC) released its Model Compost Rule Template, developed by a Task Force comprised of state regulatory officials, composting facility operators and consulting engineers.

“The Model Rule Template will assist state regulatory agencies in development and/or revision of their composting regulations,” says Lorrie Loder, USCC President. “Model composting rules, based on science as well as experience, are needed as a foundation for operators and regulators to help in the permitting process and aid in regulatory oversight.”

Rapidly growing interest in creating programs to recycle food residuals streams generated by grocers, restaurants, food service providers, food manufacturers and households has created demand for composting facilities to receive and process those materials.

A key component of the USCC’s Model Compost Rule Template is a tiered regulatory approach intended to facilitate permitting and oversight of composting operations processing source-separated organics, including food residuals, ensuring operations are protective of public health and the environment while producing quality compost and soil amendments.

“The template includes a three-tiered permit structure, with design and operating requirements based on materials composted,” explains Loder. “Tier 1 is for yard trimmings, wood and similar feedstocks. Tier 2 includes source-separated organic residuals like food scraps, food-soiled paper and manure. Tier 3 is for mixed solid waste, municipal biosolids and other feedstocks that have a higher level of risk from physical, chemical or biological contaminants. The USCC’s goal of creating a Model Rule Template is to ensure consumer confidence in compost quality and facilitate development of the nation’s compost manufacturing infrastructure.”

Established in 1990, the US Composting Council (USCC) is the only national organization in the United States dedicated to the development, expansion and promotion of the composting industry. The USCC achieves this mission by supporting the growth of markets for compost products, promoting best management practices, establishing standards, educating professionals and the public about the benefits of composting and compost utilization, enhancing compost product quality, developing training materials for composters, advocating for sensible and supportive public policies, and encouraging, supporting and performing compost related research.

The USCC’s Model Compost Rule Template can be downloaded at: Comments and recommendations for revisions can be submitted via the Comments Page provided.

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 Low Carbon Energy Company offers Green Deal clarity

Green deal has caused confusion, but offers opportunities to many

THE Low Carbon Energy Company has announced that it is offering guidance to tenants, homeowners and businesses who are trying to understand the complexities of the government’s Green Deal.

The Burnley-based sustainability experts are one of the very few organisations that are both accredited assessors and approved installers.

The Green Deal comprises two separate elements and there has been much confusion as to who is entitled to what. Basically, homeowners can be eligible for loans, whilst under the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) energy businesses have £1.3bn to distribute every year for next 7 years.

Ged Ennis, Operations Director of The Low Carbon Energy Company, said: “The Green Deal will allow you to make energy-saving improvements to your home or business without having to pay all the costs up front.”

“This means you could make significant savings or be entitled to free energy-saving improvements that can include things such as loft or cavity wall insulation heating, draught-proofing, double glazing or renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels or wind turbines.”

“In the first instance you need to contact an approved Green Deal assessor who will examine your property to see what improvements need to be made and how much money you could save on your energy bills”

People going ahead with improvements will sign a Green Deal Plan - a contract between with their provider stating what work will be done and how much it will cost. The provider will then arrange for a Green Deal installer to do the work. If there is a cost to the work it is paid off in instalments through your electricity bill.

“Despite some of the confusion around Green Deal, it is something we welcome at The Low Carbon Energy Company. We’re all for people making a saving on their bills and if there is support to help them, that’s great. The bigger picture is that energy efficiency is vitally important and this move will help support the sustainability agenda – and that’s something we care passionately about,” added Mr. Ennis.

The Low Carbon Energy Company has been amongst the ethical and environmental vanguard – having with over thirty years’ experience in the environmental and construction sectors.

The Low Carbon Energy Company deliver a complete turnkey approach to low carbon energy solutions from audit to commissioning with up to 20 year guarantee on all the precision engineered quality products we install. The Low Carbon Energy Company are members of Safe Trader and AECB Schemes and are CHAS accredited, as well as being approved installers across a wide range of products and technologies. The Low Carbon Energy Company has been providing high quality renewable energy services and fact based advice about renewable energy for over four years. The founder members of The Low Carbon Energy Company have over thirty years’ experience in the environmental and construction sectors and the business is one of the first multi technology MCS accredited companies; as well as being accredited for the design and installation of air and ground source heat pumps, solar thermal systems and solar PV systems. The Low Carbon Energy Company strives to remain at the forefront of renewable energy technology and is committed to environmental and economic sustainability. We believe that microgeneration and energy efficiency have a big role to play in helping the UK reduce its carbon footprint as well as in reducing fuel poverty and worklessness.

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.

Npower and its shenanigans

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Is Npower the new Starbucks? At the same time as hiking our energy bills, Npower are using accounting tricks to dodge paying their fair share of tax in the UK. On April 16, 2013 it was revealed that they have not paid a single penny in corporation tax for the last three years!

But now that this is out in the open, Npower are vulnerable and just like the PR disaster this issue was for Starbucks when their tax affairs were exposed in later 2012 so it could be for Npower. And just like with Starbucks it could cost them their customers and should.

But this is just one of the shenanigans this company engages in. it also cons the public with their sales pitch where the company claimed to be an wholly British company and one that is green.

As I personally pointed out, in front of many potential customers on a consumer fair to one of the salesmen, the claim is false as the company of wholly owned by RWE AG, formerly Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk AG, as German company and one that had, at that time, the greatest number of German nuclear power stations. I asked the sales rep since when RWE, their parent company, was British and he was totally lost and tried to continue with his spiel.

RWE also owned Thames Water and many other utilities worldwide. RWE produced in 2007 electricity from the following sources: 32.9% hard coal, 35.2% lignite, 1.1% pumped storage, 2.4% renewables, 13.6% gas and 14.9% Nuclear power, with lignite, which is referred to in German as Braunkohle, being one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the market.

As far as the tax scam is concerned NPower’s accounting scam works like this: they are turning UK operating profits into accounting and tax losses by making large "interest payments" to other parts of their own business, based overseas. This is currently legal, unfortunately and the people must push the government to close this blatant loophole.

They make those "interest payments" in the main, more than likely though this would require further investigation, to their parent company in Germany, and thus they are not liable for tax in the UK.

But not only their tax and accounting scams need to be stopped. Also the miss-selling of their services to unsuspecting punters needs to be nipped in the bud and they need to have the knuckles wrapped over this.

In fact, it is time that the utilities, electricity generation, gas, water, etc., be brought back into British hands, and best the way it was; back into the hands of the country itself. Such vital services should never ever be allowed to be owned by foreign companies and investors.

Powergen, now E-on, also makes false sales claims stating to be a British-owned company, which it is neither. Powergen, which took the name of its parent, E-on, is a wholly-German owned company and it would appear that most of the utility companies in the UK which are owned by foreigners, bar EDF (Électricité de France S.A.) who are open about being French, claim that they are British. Time the people spoke up and told them to come clean, and that in more than one aspect.

We have the power to change the system...

© 2013


Good for the environment, the economy and our wellbeing, cycling and walking also provide a range of social and health benefits for individuals. In its latest policy statement, ‘Active Transport,’ CIWEM calls on Government to make Britain’s streets and roads safe for walking and cycling.

Cycling and walking are everyday activities that enhance and complement the built and rural landscape and living environment, yet current infrastructure, facilities, motoring laws and protocols do not support routine cycling and walking. In its new policy position statement published today, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), calls on government to: create a high profile Centre for Active Transport - dedicated to integrating safe cycling and walking into the nation’s everyday lives; promote a safe roads initiative; and allocate greater funding for active transport with cross-departmental cooperation to maximise the benefits from this investment.

Currently, planning policy does not explicitly encourage walking and cycling. Given the expected increase in levels of urban living (60% of the world’s population by 2030), investment and commitment are urgently required to secure cities and towns where walking and cycling are primary transport options.

The statement highlights the need for immediate safety concerns to be addressed; proposing that each local authority should have a road safety plan and a director-level manager or chief officer with responsibility for embedding safe cycling and walking in their communities. CIWEM also calls for full inclusion of all the benefits of active transport when comparing them with other transport investments.

CIWEM痴 Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, says: 展e all know that motorised transport is the main contributor to urban pollution; walking and cycling are not. Government must work harder to make active transport options truly accessible and democratic. Strong policy and more investment in cycling and walking are essential to sustainable and resilient local economies. The health and environmental benefits would also be significant, and transform peoples�lives. By foot and bike, what痴 not to like?

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

CIWEM痴 policy position statement, Active Transport, can be found online at

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group is a cross-party group of MPs, is co-chaired by Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley (Lab) and Julian Huppert, the MP for Cambridge (LD). It has conducted an Inquiry and taken evidence on cycling and will publish its report with recommendations in April 2013.

Peter Treadgold, CIWEM Honorary Vice President, has initiated CIWEM's work in active transport; drawing on his experience in the promotion and delivery of cycling and walking programmes in London, and nationally for the Olympic Games.

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

EARTH DAY every day

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

404610_606503332693041_723313373_nWhile the official Earth Day falls on April 22 every year every day should be Earth Day and you can make it so by making a few small changes in your daily life.

Here are some changes you can make:

  1. Plant a tree in your yard or start a garden: Let's face it, growing your own food, or at least some of it, should be on the agenda and planting a tree or two, whether fruit of other, should also be possible, even in a small yard.

  2. Simply stop using pesticides and use chemical free cleaning products: The Internet and books of the right kind are full of instructions and recipes as to doing just that. One of the best cleaners for your home and kitchen you may already have sitting in the cupboard; vinegar.

  3. Turn off lights and electronics when you leave the room and buy energy-saving, electronics, appliances and lighting.

  4. Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Upcycle. Recycling is the last resort even though often repeated over and over again as the green thing to do. Reducing your waste is one thing of reduction; the other is to reduce consumption. Then reuse, repurpose and upcycle every item what might fall under the category “waste” as far as possible. Only when you really cannot find a use for things, or cannot pass them on to someone else then, as the last resort, put them into the recycling stream... not before.

  5. Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer. Make sure your house is well insulated.

  6. Stop buying bottled water and use a reusable bottle and fill it with tap water. If you are concerned about certain things that may be in your tap water, such as chlorine, possibly fluoride, and other chemicals, etc., then use a filter or even a distiller, but stop buying expensive bottle water which often is nothing but (filtered) tap water in plastic bottles.

  7. Reduce your water consumption - lawn, bathroom, kitchen and washing your car are good places to start. Put in a rainwater harvesting system in the form of water butts in your garden, either fed from the guttering or free-standing and fed by rainsaucers, or better still both.

  8. Start a compost heap in your back yard or on your rooftop. If you grow a garden which you really should, even if small, then you want also to make your own compost.

  9. Buy foods locally and in season.

  10. Ride a bike, walk, or use public transport for your personal travel as much as possible. The two first ones keep you healthy and fit at the same time while saving you money and doing good for the Planet.

  11. At holidays and birthdays, give your family and friends hand-made gifts instead of store bought stuff.

  12. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.

There are certainly many more things we all can do to make a difference. The most important thing is we each take the time and make the effort to make changes! If but everyone would do a couple of things we all together would make a great difference.

© 2013

Nuke it in the microwave

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

This term always leads people to believe that microwave cooking actually is done by nuclear radiation and many thus believe that the microwave is bad for you.

However, cooking in a microwave oven is done by radio waves in the millimeter range which are very hot but are not nuclear radiation despite the often used unfortunate term.

Many lies and scare stories abound, especially now with the Internet, about the dangers of microwave ovens and one lie is being perpetuated time and again and that is the story about the Soviet Union, when Russia still was called thus, having banned the use of microwave ovens in the country. This is, as indicated, a blatant lie as no such order or law was ever issued in the USSR or anywhere else for that matter.

I am always at a loss why people perpetuate such myths and outright lies. They must have some hidden agenda for doing so. Which one it is I do not know.

Nutritional scientists all over the world regarding microwave cooking as (1) safe and (2) as better for some foods than conventional cooking even.

The difference between ordinary cooking and cooking in the microwave oven (microwave stands for the radio frequency that it employs to heat stuff) that food cooks from the inside out, mostly, rather than from the outside in.

The radio waves agitate the water molecules and others in the food placed into the microwave oven and this agitation sets a vast amount of hear free. The microwave radio waves, in themselves, are not hot and whoever, I am afraid to say, claims different has got no idea or is deliberately scaremongering.

Microwave radio frequencies are often referred to as microwave radiation and it is, I guess, for that reason that people believe it to be radiation as in nuclear radiation.

A radio is called a radio why? Because that word has its origin in radiation, namely because electromagnetic wave length is radiation in one way or another. Sometimes radio operators used to talk about the radiation patterns of the high frequency spectrum and so on. But no one would see the radio waves as nuclear radiation and microwave is no different that other radio frequencies, only in a much higher spectrum.

Having said that, we do not know as to, though it does not seem all that likely really, radio transmissions per se over the last century or so may not actually be responsible for the increase in cancers. However, bad nutrition is the more likely cause and pollution, I would guess.

So, just to sum it up once more, you are not using nuclear radiation when heating or cooking food in the microwave and the scaremongers who say otherwise better find themselves another hobby and get a life.

© 2013

Leading landscape and environment experts at Bristol University for unique event to share ideas and research

This workshop at Bristol University on July 18 will appeal to all in grounds management - particularly parks, woodlands, golf courses and local authorities.

Low-maintenance grasses, sustainable landscape maintenance and pollinating insects are some of the subjects.

SOME of the UK’s leading experts in ecology, landscaping and the environment will be guest speakers at a ground-breaking one-day workshop at the University of Bristol on July 18.

They will be tackling issues including pollinating insects, environment change, sustainable landscapes and low maintenance grasses.

There are still places available for delegates at the event, which will bring together various sectors of the landscape industry to discuss sustainable landscape research, design, and management.

“We intend this very special day to be an opportunity for those involved in specific aspects of the groundcare and landscaping industry to share new ideas and research information,” says Howard Wood, environment and sustainability consultant for Grass Engineering and Top Green.

“Discussions will be held between researchers working in the landscape industry looking at future research ideas and opportunities and the workshop is intended as an academic event, not an open platform for commercial activities.”

Among the leading speakers at the event, supported by Top Green, will be Professor Jane Memmott, a leading expert on environmental change, biodiversity and pollinating insects at the University of Bristol.

Her work includes looking at the various ways of attracting pollinators through the use of the right flower planting.

She is a close associate of Dr. Katherine Baldock at the University of Bristol, who is a leading researcher into interactions between plants and their pollinators.

Other confirmed speakers are Professor Nigel Dunnett of the University of Sheffield, Stephen Alderton, of Top Green and Euroflor, landscape architect Kym Jones, soil scientist Tim O’Hare, Rob Donald of Green Global Solutions and leading personalities from local government, including Bristol City Council.

Topics of most seminars will be released shortly but Howard Wood has announced he will be talking about creating sustainable landscape maintenance for Lyon City Parks Department in France, while Stephen Alderton will be explaining carbon sequestration and low maintenance grasses from the grass breeder’s point of view.

As well as the main workshop event, taking place between 9.30 and 4.30pm on Thursday July 18 at the University of Bristol Wills Hall Conference Centre, there will be an optional networking opportunity for delegates staying in Bristol for the evening.

The following day delegates will be able to visit public flower meadow sites in Bristol with coach transport.

The registration fee for the one-day workshop is £85. This includes lunch and refreshments during the day. There will be a small charge for a buffet in the evening and the tour the following day.

To book a place please download and complete the registration form at the website address below and return with payment to cover the workshop and any additional events to: Jo Young, Grass Engineering, Crown Lane, Horwich, BL6 5HP.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. With demand for places high, potential delegates should register by the end of the first week in June.

Registration form and full details at:

Professor Jane Memmott is a Professor of Ecology and Head of School at Biological Sciences, University of Bristol. She runs a research group that uses ecological networks as a way of asking about the impact of environmental change. She works in a variety of research fields including the impact of alien species on natural communities, the impact of farming on biodiversity, pollination, urban ecology and restoration ecology. Field sites range from UK Heathlands to Hawaiian swamps and from Somerset farms to Caledonian Pine Forest.

Doctor Katherine Baldock is a leading researcher into interactions between plants and their pollinators and the study of these relationships using interaction networks.

She manages the research project 繕rban Pollinators: their ecology and conservation� This large-scale project is studying insect pollinators in urban habitats around the UK. The work is funded as part of the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative and is a collaborative project led by the University of Bristol. For further information see

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.

Gun/Knife control is not the issue

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Gun/Knife control is not the issue. Violence is.

We allow ourselves by the media and the powers-that-be more often than not to be directed how we should think and when it comes to the issue of guns and knives, if they both are to be believed, then guns and knives have a mind of their own and will attack people. Obviously, guns and knives are inherently dangerous as they will cause deaths. Well, that is the way most of the media and the powers-that-be portray it.

But, the truth is that both guns and knives are inanimate objects incapable of independent action and thus something else much cause the problem. And it does. It is people who use such guns and knives that are the problem, not the guns and knives and removing them will not make a single iota of a difference. People, violent people, will use then something else; a screwdriver, a brick, a rock, or a cudgel, a tire iron, or whatever else may come to hand.

A gun cannot pull its own trigger no more than a knife being capable of jumping out of its sheath and stabbing someone and thus banning them – or even restricting their ownership and use – is total stupidity.

Evil does not exist within a gun. It exists in the minds and hearts of those who pull the trigger for evil purposes. No gun pulls its own trigger. It is an object and does not have the capacity to do so. Therefore called a gun (or a knife, for that matter) evil is stupid in the extreme.

We must address the violence in society and deal with it.

While it is true that the world has always had violence, and not just human to human, and there have always been murders and such, it would appear that today things have gotten to a stage where no one seems to have any moral compass anymore as to what is acceptable and what not.

I am not talking here about religion but morality for most of us instinctively will balk at the very notion of taking someone's life. It is instinct and also upbringing and it seems that the latter is missing in today's world, especially in the so-called developed world.

Where in years gone by an argument between boys or men would have been sorted out with a fist fight today knives and guns are involved and while it is true that there were duels fought in many instances too here again the morality came to play and often death was not the end result.

However, today death is the aim, it seems, when someone considers that he has been disrespected by someone else, or whatever, and the wrong look can, nowadays, lead to a stabbing or shooting, especially among inner city youths.

But would this violence stop were we to ban all guns and knives in private hands? The fact is that it would not and thus the issue of violence must be addressed and not guns and knives. It only distracts from the real problems and their causes.

Climate Change is not the issue. Corporate destruction of the environment and pollution is.

This is something that already the Hippies who, basically, founded the green movement, warned us about. Namely corporate greed leading to destruction and pollution of the environment and they encouraged us already then, in the 1960s and 1970s, to change and to be the change. But we did not heed their message as the majority saw them just as eccentric dropouts and misfits to society and the same majority was looking to our corrupt government, which all are, more or less, in the pockets of the corporations, for a solution.

It is corporate greed which causes to pollution and the destruction of the environment and it is not climate change or global warming (or -cooling, if we are to believe the scientists of the 1970s over the current ones) and not the other way around.

Thus we need to combat corporations and their greed in order to combat pollution and environmental degradation and destruction and thus the changes to climate and everything else.

Pollution and environmental degradation caused by corporate greed does not just cause climate change. It is the causal agent of many health issues in the developed as well as in the developing world.

However, the corporations seem to be holding our governments in their hands and our governments are deep in the pockets of the corporations that only a total change of the system, with the people taking control, will ever bring about the needed change.

There is also a great deal that each one of us can do to reduce our impact on the Planet and it is all small steps really and if all would just do it things would look altogether different.

Every time you opt against using the car to go to the shops or the library or whatever and walk or cycle instead you reduce your impact in that you are not pushing out pollution into the atmosphere. While it may only a small amount image now thousands doing that and the reductions would already be immense. It also means you need to buy less gas and the car has less wear and tear. At the same time you get exercise in the more-or-less fresh air, depending where you live, walk and cycle.

Each and every time that you reuse, repurpose or upcycle some item of waste into something for your own use in the home, the office, or elsewhere, you reduce you impact and vote with you wallet.

You may not believe it but you have a great impact on things, including corporations and their treatment of the environment, in how you shop and what you buy (and don't buy). Every one of us, through his buying or not buying the products of certain corporation can send a loud and clear message to them that we do not approve of their practices. And, as their bottom line will be affected if we boycott them they will make changes. But we have to be informed as to what's what also otherwise they will just try to bamboozle us.

Security is not the issue. Civil Rights and Liberty is.

While it is true that, as far as personal security is concerned, there will always be those that do not want to work and rather scrounge and rob it should be something that the people should be allowed to deal with themselves rather than having government agencies, too many of them often, deal with and that, more often than not, most inadequately indeed.

We have surrendered our personal responsibility for our personal safety and security to government and then wonder when government takes that as consent to create more and more restriction to our personal freedoms.

Government is not benign and never will be. It is all about control and the more we give them the little finger the more they will take our freedoms from us to such an extent that we have to have a permit for everything, including, possibly, travel from place to place in our own countries.

When it comes to our protection we must (be allowed, as it once was) to look after ourselves and to protect ourselves. Communities must be allowed to protect themselves and their residents by their own militias and vigilance committees or such like. This is how it once was done and in most cases it worked and worked well.

National security is not an issue either if we stop playing about with the idea of nation states and just consider that the world is our home and we are all citizens of this one Planet.

The so-called war on terror has not made us safe in our own countries. It has done the opposite and if we do insist on having armies and navies and air forces then they should just restrict themselves, as their brief in most, if not indeed all, nations is, namely the defense of the territory of this nation, including the territorial waters. In other words, keeping any potential invader out. Going further than that is, to all intents and purposes, illegal and thus an act of aggression.

If we go to other countries and kill their citizens in the name of the war on terror then who is the terrorist? We are. And we then must not be surprised if those people rise up against us and commit violence on our streets. It is but a natural reaction.

The US Supreme Court ruled a couple of years ago that it is not the job of the police to protect the citizens from harm but that the police's job is but to enforce the law. That, I am sure, sums it up as to how the government and its agencies, including the judicial branch, see the people; namely as someone to be controlled. The “to serve and protect” that the majority of police departments in the US have in their seal should be removed as they neither serve the people nor protect them. Unless those words stand for serving and protecting the government and the ruling classes, for that they do very well.

While the police's job no longer is to protect the public they, and the powers-that-be, will also not permit the people to protect themselves and do everything in their power to make the people defenseless against attacks on their persons or property. That, however, they do not want to permit for an armed populous and one prepared to be responsible for its own security and protection is not one that can be controlled by police and other such agencies.

Stop chasing "red herrings" or the "cause du jour" and work for causes that will effect immediate and long lasting change.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”, said Mahatma Gandhi and we must be this change, each and every one of us.. we cannot and must not abrogate our responsibility to government and its agencies, as they will just carry on with business as usual, impose restrictions on the people, and allow the corporations to get away with murder, literally, as has been the case so many times, with the Union Carbide incident in Bhopal in India being just one of many such cases of corporate murder.

Small acts can cause great things if every one of us performs such small acts. Every one of us can do something and together this is going to be a flood. The power of the people is underestimated by the people and especially by the powers-that-be. We have the power and we are the power. Let's use it and be it.

© 2013




UK first carbon neutral cheese is produced with help from the world’s most popular electric vehicle

Wrotham, Kent, April 22, 2013 – A cheesemaker’s quest to turn his business totally carbon neutral has been made possible by Nissan. Deliveries of Winterdale cheese to customers including Fortnum & Mason, The Goring and Biddenden Vineyard, are now being made using a 100% electric Nissan LEAF, finally making the cheese fully sustainable.

Leaf at Farm low res_smlThe Nissan LEAF used by Winterdale Cheesemakers not only produces zero tailpipe emissions, the electricity used to charge its batteries comes from photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels installed at the dairy farm at Wrotham, near Sevenoaks, in Kent.

And the LEAF wears a visual reminder of Winterdale’s commitment to the sustainable production of its two award-winning unpasteurised cheddars – it has been wrapped in a countryside scene, complete with images of cows and a wind turbine.

The man behind Winterdale, farmer Robin Betts, said: “We have been making sustainable cheeses for six years, but a totally carbon neutral product has not possible until now.

“The Nissan LEAF is the perfect solution, allowing us to deliver a high quality product to our discerning customers. Using a 100% electric car powered by sustainable electricity is the final link in the chain to producing carbon neutral cheese.”

The LEAF will be used to deliver the cheesemaker’s Winterdale Shaw and Winterdale Oak Smoked to clients including Fortnum & Mason and a local vineyard.

Deliveries will also be made to The Goring, the hotel in London’s Belgravia where, in April 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge – then Kate Middleton – spent the night before her wedding to Prince William.

Every day, farmer Betts collects morning milk from his herd, which is then transferred at body temperature – 370 C – to the cheese barn where cheese making begins. By keeping the milk warm, no extra energy is required to start the process.

The milk, which by now has cooled to a perfect 320 C, has starter culture, rennet and curd added. It is then cut and cooked using energy created by the PV solar panels and a ground source heat pump. Once cooked, the cheese is placed into a mould and pressed for three days. Then it is removed from the press and stored for 10 months in Winterdale’s cave-like cellar, which maintains a natural constant temperature of 120 C.

So much energy is generated by Winterdale’s solar panels that excess electricity is fed back to the National Grid and dispersed to local villages. This contribution more than outweighs the small amount the farm draws from the Grid on dark, winter days.

These impeccable carbon neutral credentials are now complemented by the farm’s solar-powered, zero-emission Nissan LEAF.

Olivier Paturet, General Manager of Zero Emissions Strategy for Nisan Europe added: “We are delighted that Robin and the team at Winterdale have chosen Nissan LEAF to complete their mission to produce a totally sustainable cheese. We are certain that they will discover that not only is LEAF the perfect solution for sustainable mobility but that it is also great fun to drive.

“And we are looking forward to enjoying Winterdale’s fine cheddars in the years ahead, knowing they are both totally carbon neutral and very tasty indeed.”

Robin Betts added: “We’ve been working tirelessly towards a greener future for the company and to produce delicious carbon neutral cheese. Although the processes have not always been easy, we believe our cheese demonstrates how you can eat great tasting but sustainable and eco-friendly food.”

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.

Using 'Biochar' to cut greenhouse gas emissions

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

'Biochar' is the term used for charcoal when it is being employed as a soil amendment. People add charcoal to land in order to increase soil fertility and agricultural productivity and have done some for thousands of years.

Even though it is being claimed that specially produced charcoal is biochar the fact is that it is simply charcoal, the same that you would be using in your BBQ, that is added to the soil, often ground relatively small.

In addition to these benefits, researchers are now saying that biochar has potential to mitigate climate change as it can help sequester carbon and thus cut our greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent study by the NERC's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) says that adding biochar suppresses CO2 emissions very significantly over several years. Previous studies have found this effect in the lab and over short periods, but this is the first time anyone has looked at bioenergy crops in the field, and at the effects of biochar over a long period.

Results of the study show that by applying biochar before planting energy crops, soil greenhouse-gas emissions can be cut by around a third.

Researchers studied a plantation of miscanthus, a perennial grass which is harvested for fuel. They monitored how much CO2, nitrous oxide and methane came from the plot's soil over two years. They also monitored soil emissions under controlled conditions in the lab.

The plots that had been treated with charcoal emitted 37% less greenhouse gases than neighboring plots that hadn't, while in the lab the impact was 55%. Most of this came from cutting CO2 emissions, with methane playing no significant role and only a small nitrous oxide component.

"There's a lot of interest at the moment in the potential of bioenergy crops to sequester carbon in the soil, because unlike arable land these crops aren't plowed every year so the carbon is not being regularly disturbed," said co-author Dr Jeanette Whitaker of CEH.

"Biochar contains a lot of carbon in its own right, so adding it to the soil is already having an immediate sequestration effect, but our research suggests that it also reduces the CO2 emitted by soil respiration, which makes the case for using it even stronger. It's about maximizing the sustainability benefits of bioenergy crops."

Whitaker explains that in the long term, it is unlikely people will use wood as biochar. Instead, biochar can be made out of anything from municipal waste to chicken manure.

The paper appeared in the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

© 2013