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Archive for September, 2007


FareShare is the national charity working to relieve food poverty by providing quality food and other support services to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community. FareShare works with over 100 food businesses to minimise food waste by providing practical solutions to help ensure that the maximum amount of ‘fit for purpose’ food is consumed wherever possible.

In 2005 2,000 tonnes of food was saved from being wasted. This food was distributed to a community food network of 300 organisations. This food contributed to over 3.3 million meals to 12,000 disadvantaged people each day in 34 cities and towns across the UK. As well as also providing 250 work and volunteers placements last year, £5 million was saved by the network of local charities, which was reinvested into the community.

Research by the Royal College of Physicians has shown that at least three in five homeless people have no daily intake of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many day centres and homeless people themselves simply cannot afford a regular supply of high quality fresh food. At the same time, due to stringent company policies, food retailers and wholesalers are throwing away huge amounts of good quality food. This waste frustrates many food suppliers, but they do not have the means to arrange and co-ordinate its distribution.

The food is either collected in refrigerated vans or delivered direct to a FareShare depot where it is sorted and distributed to hostels and day centres according to their needs.

To help by donation or by volunteerng your time click here.

Fareshare’s home page is here, with lots of very interesting information.

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Fifteen million trees were torn down by the Great Storm of 1987, and in our panic to restore England’s landscape in the aftermath, we succeeded only in creating more chaos. Twenty years on, nature has proved it can heal itself without the help of mankind. So what lessons can we learn from our land’s innate wisdom?

Lesson one.

The important thing to remember is that order in nature is not the same as order in the human mind, which has an exaggerated respect for tidiness.

“If you want a woodland in Britain,” says Peter Creasey, “you don’t have to plant trees. You just have to sit back and wait.” The great mistake, typical of people in crisis, is to think that something has to be done. Across the raw skin of southern England in 1987, there was a rush to salve the wounds. In many cases it was the worst kind of first aid, making the patient worse rather than better.

“Most of the planting that was done,” says Peter Creasey, “has been overwhelmed by trees just seeding themselves naturally.” It is this process of force majeure that has brought the change of policy — in effect, a willing surrender to a needless enemy. Instead of nurturing the planted beeches, says Creasey, “we decided to let natural succession take place. It happens in a natural sequence. First you get pioneer trees like birch and, to a certain extent, ash. The birch will last for about 60-odd years and then will be overtopped by the longer-lived trees like oak and beech. Eventually you get a natural broad-leaved mixed woodland, but it does take time and patience.”

Lesson two.

In nature there is no such thing as waste. Life likes nothing better than death. “Some experts reckon,” says Creasey, “that if you want an ecologically healthy woodland, then 50-60% of the timber should be dead or dying.”

This is not as morbid as it sounds. “An oak, for instance, will take 200 years to reach anything like maturity. Then it will sit for 1,200 years being mature; then it will spend another 200 or 300 years slowly dying. Its time-scale is very different to ours.”

You see the evidence wherever old hulks have been left. Woodpeckers feed on insect larvae in the dead timber; bats roost in it; stag beetles breed and joust like their mammalian namesakes; dormice — fastidiously intolerant of anything short of ecological perfection — move in with fixed, erotic intent.

Read more.

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Tourists can now see London on two wheels using the OYBike system of rental bikes. The OYBike System is a street-based rental station network that allows you to hire and return a bicycle via your mobile phone.

The OYBike system is based on the availability of rental bicycles at key locations:

*Tube stations
*Public buildings
*Key transport interchanges
*Car Parks

To use the OYBike system you will need to pre-register with an initial usage credit of £10. Optional theft insurance is available at additional cost. OYBikes are free to use for up to 30 minutes a time! For longer hire times see their Hire rates.

The OYBike concept was spotted at the recent London Freewheel event where more than 38,000 bikes took to the city’s streets.

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This month the top search is for McDonald’s, followed by (Norwegian) grass roofs.

I’ve noticed a significant number of people searching for local information on recycling so putting this type of info onto the web is obviously needed. ‘Effective communication is key to enabling people to implement environment solutions‘ says the cow. 🙂

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The Vespa electric.

The Powascooter PS168, a bike which aims to become the Vespa of the 21st century, is an electric scooter. Fed up with traffic jams, high car taxes and parking charges then this transport option maybe for you.

The concept is simple. Charge the bike for four hours on a standard mains point, via its portable adapter, and you’ve put 20-25 miles ‘in the tank’. Each 30 miles will add just 9p to your electricity bill. This equates to 1,000 miles of emissions-free motoring for just £3. With no internal combustion engine, you can bank on fewer pit stops and running repairs.

Chances are you’ve never noticed one. Because this is an almost silent bike. Turn the ignition key, twist the throttle and you’re away. There’s no clunking kick-start, no throaty misfiring on chilly mornings. If the 1500w motor emits anything, it’s the slight whoosh of a milk float. Out on the road, this can make for an almost eerie experience. Pull away from a junction and watch the heads on the pavement turn. No noise, they’re thinking.

The PS is as easy on the eye as it is on the environment. The slightly dropped handlebars and deep-drum speedo and rev counter crown a smart front end, while the chrome fittings and yellow dials add a handsome gloss to the metallic bodywork.

A new Powascooter ps168 will cost you £1,850. To purchase and for more technical info see Readspeed Scooters. There are many of these on the road already so second hand could be an option.

There are also an increasing range of other makes and models to choose from. For some ideas check this UK site.

US buyers check out this site. 🙂

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Lowestoft has ambitions to become the UK’s wind energy capital. This week it will host a conference with industrial leaders from wind energy companies, including speakers from Germany, Denmark and the UK. The conference will look at current successes and the outlook for Lowestoft within the off-shore wind energy sector. The event is being funded by POWER, an EU initiative.

The first offshore wind farm in the East of England, Scroby Sands with its 30 2MW turbines, was completed in 2004 off the Great Yarmouth coast. The project management, assembly and related engineering was conducted within the two towns. Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth have traditionally a strong industry base in the offshore oil and gas sector, with substantial energy and marine experience. The ports of these twin towns are ideally located for serving a large number of offshore wind farms.

OrbisEnergy – the Offshore Renewable Energy Centre

OrbisEnergy, formerly know as Offshore Renewable Energy Centre (OREC), will be based in a building built in Lowestoft, to be completed by late 2007. It is funded by the Regional Development Agency, Objective 2 and local councils. The Centre will support the development of the offshore renewables sector, providing quality office accommodation, a landmark building for the sector and the region, and the opportunity to closely link research and education with business activities.

Playing on traditional strengths of a region’s economy and skills by taking advantage of a new industry such as offshore wind is the way forward for creating sustainable regional economies.

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We all throw away tetra paks into our bins rather than recycle them because we’ve been told they’re not recyclable. Well, that’s no longer true. Tetra Pak are taking certain actions to make this possible. They began by recruiting a National Recycling Officer in 2006 and now help fund local authority recycling initiatives.

Their site says, ‘Tetra Pak’s National Recycling Officers, are here to help local authorities that want to start collections. To support them with this, Tetra Pak and the carton industry under ACE UK (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment UK) have also created a £1.2 million National Recycling Fund.

NEW! To achieve rapid roll-out, we and our partners at ACE UK are now offering a cost neutral bring bank solution to all local authorities that are not yet collecting cartons.’

To find out more click here.

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