For this little dog, it makes all the difference in the world

An old man was going for a walk on the beach, when he noticed a little boy feeding a thin, shaggy looking dog with bits of bread.

He went up to him and asked him why he was sharing his bread with the dogs.

The little boy answered: “Because they have nothing. No home, no family, and if I don’t feed them they will die”.

“But there are homeless dogs everywhere”, the old man replied. “So your efforts don’t really make a difference”.

The little boy looked at the dog and stroked him. “But for him, for this little dog, it makes all the difference in the world”.

Unknown, from the Internet

SAVORTEX launch leading energy efficient hand dryer into FM sector

British Manufacturer SAVORTEX today sees a stylish addition to their sustainable hand dryer range, with the launch of the Vortex 540 Diamond White model.

SAVORTEXSAVORTEX, the young and ambitious, technology-driven British Manufacturer of energy efficient hand dryers has launched a new addition to its Vortex EcoSmart Range: The Vortex 540 Diamond White hand dryer. The anti-bacterial gloss-finished product boasts significant improvements to their established low energy and sustainable power hand drying range. This is set to change the way in which hand dryers are selected by facilities managers and specifiers due to its patented energy recovery technique and low life cycle operating costs.

The Vortex Diamond White, priced competitively at £599.99, dries hands in seconds and boasts unique digital ‘brushless’ bypass motor technology with patented energy recovery system; which put simply, means they are super energy efficient, through smart air flow movement, when compared to the similar power hand dryers that are available.

The Vortex motor runs at just 19,200 revolutions per minute (RPM) creating output air speed of 30 L/s per second; maximising the energy efficiency of the motor without compromising performance.

Syed Ahmed, Managing Director, SAVORTEX said: “Today’s launch is a key milestone for our Vortex 540 range. We remain absolutely firm in our ambitious roll out of such a sustainable, clean, energy-efficient power hand dryer and one that is available immediately. We have invested heavily in British Manufacturing to develop a range of hand dryers that will deliver quick paybacks to our customers. Our Vortex Diamond White now uses the more improved lower power consumption of 545W, the hand dryer allows for unrivalled market-leading cost and energy savings that can boost the bottom line, this is why we spent 4 years developing a home grown - superior hand dryer that saves money, energy and that powerfully dries hands. Clients such as British Airways, Marriott Hotels and Atomic Weapons Establishment are testament to the hard work our engineering team have put in to the development and launch of the Vortex range”.

The Vortex 540 Diamond White hand dryer is the result of six years of scientific research and product development, using just 545W of power compared to as much as 2400W with conventional dryers. The Vortex is so energy efficient that 43 hand dries can cost as little as 1p operating cost and it comes with a leading 7 year, no quibble warranty as standard.

SAVORTEX are British Manufacturers of energy-efficient, sustainable washroom power hand dryers. The Vortex 540 is also available in metallic grey.

SAVORTEX holds The Guinness World Records title for most hands dried using 30kJ of energy. This was devised by Guinness World Records officials as a challenge to measure the energy efficiency in hand drying. The Vortex EcoSmart successfully dried four pairs of hands using less than 30kJ of energy. Typically, hand dryers use between 72kJ and 96kJ of power to dry just one pair of hands.

SAVORTEX successfully achieved four pairs of dry hands using just under 25kJ of energy – smashing the minimums set by Guinness World Records officials and claiming the world record.

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.


New study reveals biggest palm oil plantations in Congo Basin and impacts on forests and local people

Atama Plantations SARL will create largest oil palm plantation in Congo Basin

London, February 2013 - Half a million hectares of industrial oil palm expansion projects are getting underway in the Congo Basin rainforest, which will result in a fivefold increase in the area of active large-scale palm plantations in the region, according to Seeds of Destruction, a new report issued today by The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK).

Approximately two-thirds of the total forest area of the Congo Basin’s forests – 115 million hectares – is believed to have suitable soil and climate for growing oil palms. Around 1.6 million hectares of new oil palm developments have been announced since 2009, and palm oil companies are actively searching for larger areas.

Amongst other examples, Seeds of Destruction details the case of Atama Plantations SARL, which will create the largest oil palm plantation in the Congo Basin at 180,000 hectares and catapult its owners, a Malaysian ‘pipe-coating specialist’ firm, into the top ten global palm oil producers. Evidence suggests that the area designated for clearance mostly appears to be virgin rainforest that is a habitat for numerous endangered species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants.

RFUK’s research has uncovered no evidence of social and environmental assessments for the Atama development, and following our request for information, the owners did not provide us with any evidence to suggest that the free, prior, informed consent of the local people had been obtained. Large-scale clearance of the forest has already started.

The identity of some of Atama’s owners is shielded through a web of ‘shell’ companies registered in secretive tax havens. Some of these companies have been used in the past to mask illicit activity.

Singaporean agricultural global commodities trading giant Olam plans to develop 130,000 hectares of palm oil in Gabon, with the potential for significant environmental impacts, and uncertain social consequences, especially for traditional forest communities.

According to McKinsey, the plantation will increase the area of commercial agriculture by 85% in Gabon by 2022, a major threat to the lives of the thousands of indigenous people living in the region.

Simon Counsell, Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, said: “Governments of Congo Basin countries have handed out vast tracts of rainforest for the development of palm oil with apparently little or no attention to the likely impacts on the environment or on people dependent on the forest. There is a need for regional agreement to ensure that best practices are mandatory for any new oil palm development, including avoiding high conservation value forests and ensuring the rights of existing forest dwellers are respected”.

Samuel Nguiffo, Director of the Center for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon, commented: “New large-scale oil palm developments are a major threat for communities, livelihoods and biodiversity in the Congo Basin. It is absolutely not the appropriate answer to the food security and job creation challenges the countries are facing. Supporting small-scale family agriculture is a better solution”.

For the full report or exec summary please visit
Maps, individual case studies and the responses of companies featured, graphics and tables are available for download here.

The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) was founded in 1989 by Sting and Trudie Styler, after they saw first-hand the impact the destruction of the Amazon rainforests had on the Kayapo Indians’ way of life. This sparked RFUK’s first campaign which, in 1993, resulted in the protection of 27,359 km² of indigenous peoples’ land. RFUK has expanded and diversified since, and has worked in more than 20 countries to date towards the mission of “supporting indigenous peoples and traditional populations of the world's rainforest to protect their rainforest homes and fulfill their rights to land, life and livelihood”.

The main focus of RFUK is to protect and save the natural resources of the rainforests by working with those who know the forest best – indigenous peoples and traditional forest dwellers. By supporting them, RFUK is taking a major step forward in the battle to combat climate change. Instead of purchasing land or conserving forests purely for their biodiversity-value, RFUK adopts a rights-based approach and promotes the establishment of community rights over rainforest lands, tackling the root of problems related to deforestation and paving the way for fair benefit sharing from forest resources.

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.

NaturePaint Launches with the First Zero VOC Symbol

AB5382A8-D954-4938-BE3C-473A9F616C34Introducing NaturePaint, the Cornish natural paint manufacturer, who are the first and only paint company to be awarded a prestigious Zero VOC symbol by B&Q.

The lowest VOC symbol awarded to date has been ‘minimal’, however NaturePaint is the first paint brand to prove it has zero VOCs, resulting in B&Q designing a completely new ‘Zero’ emblem which is now proudly featured on all NaturePaint products.

Made from only naturally, non toxic and locally sourced ingredients such as china clays from Cornwall, along with exotic pigments including French ochres and Italian Sienna, NaturePaint’s emulsions are both washable and sustainable, whilst still providing vibrant colour and high quality coverage.

Rich in natural intensity, NaturePaint’s diverse colour palate features a selection of warm Blues & Greys, natural Greens and rich Reds along with an array of classic Whites and distinctive Yellows and Browns. Designed to echo the diversity of nature, the colour range allows you to explore a variety of harmonious combinations, providing you with a perfect finish and individual expression in a safe and happy home.

With NaturePaint a newly painted room is ready for use immediately and the natural protective capabilities and durability of the paint will continue to develop over a couple of weeks.

NaturePaint’s patented dry-powder formulation is presented in recyclable packaging, allowing it to be disposed of easily and in an eco-friendly manner. This unique packaging and powder format also allows NaturePaint to be available by post for maximum convenience. Simply mix the powder with the recommended amount of water in a mixing bowl, wait 20 minutes for the mixture to thicken and then remix briefly before applying with a regular brush, pad or roller. Any left-over paint can be safely mixed with garden compost or left to dry and disposed of alongside normal waste.

From delivery to disposal, NaturePaint’s interior emulsions have been developed with pure, natural ingredients for minimum impact on the environment and maximum impact on your home.

NaturePaint is available by post from

NaturePaint is currently available for purchase online at,, B&Q ( and Brewers (

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.

Coppice management

by Michael Smith, RFS, RFA, EcoFor

The management of woodlands and forests by means of coppicing – Niederwaldbewirtschaftung in German – is often, especially elsewhere in Europe, but also in the UK, only seen as a means to produce firewood and, maybe, beanpoles and some charcoal.

CoppiceHowever, the products that can be made by means of coppice management of woods and forests is far greater and, in fact, this was the way that we managed our woods and forests in Britain for thousands of years, and that very well and successfully. The woods and forests thrived under this case more and better than under any other form of management.

While other countries used this form of woodland and forest management also in the great majority of European countries it has now been abandoned, and has been thus already for many, many decades, in favor of a management that can be done with more mechanized means than coppicing.

The abandonment of coppicing in British woodlands has cost us dearly in terms of almost destroyed woods. In some areas the old coppice stools are almost beyond redemption and this could result in the loss of the entire or almost the entire wood.

The Forestry Commission never did much in that department but then it was not its brief. Its job was the production of timber for the mines and some other applications, including the war effort.

After the Second World War coppicing in our woods started to decline drastically and dramatically, much due to plastic products, and bamboo canes for beanpoles and such rather than wood.

Wooden tent pegs, which were one of the products from coppice woods, were replaced, even by military and scouts with metal and plastic and the same went for so many other products that were once produced from the wood from our coppiced woodlands.

Baskets, once woven from willow from coppicing and pollarding operations, and some other pliable woods, were replaced by plastic and the same for the trugs and such used by bakers and others.

Now, with the revival and renaissance of wood stoves firewood is in great demand but our neglected native woods cannot even provide a small proportion though they could provide it all (at current demand levels) if they would but be managed and we import firewood from as far afield as Poland and Western Russia. Not very sustainable at all.

The same goes for charcoal and most of the charcoal on sale in Britain today, and barbecuing is very much the in thing, also in restaurants, has to come from abroad and, in that case, it comes, primarily, from tropical hardwoods.

The problem, aside from an environmental one, is that that kind of charcoal does not, unlike the local one, light easily and requires chemical accelerants in the form of barbecue fire lighters. Those, however, leave a residue and not just on the coal.

Before the “advent”, so to speak, of coal, charcoal fired the Industrial Revolution in Britain and while it, probably, caused some deforestation, most of it was sourced from coppice operations.

Wooden spoons, spatulas and other wooden kitchen utensils were once made by local craftsmen from local coppiced timber but from a certain time onwards those were made from often imported woods by factories and now the great majority of those utensils are made, in fact, abroad, in the main, nowadays, in China.

In times past almost everything wood came from local woodlands, with the exception of some furniture, that were under coppice management and the woods and the craftsmen prospered.

Coppicing is one of the best ways to maintain the health of woodlands and this system of management has great benefits for the environment. In addition to this this old way of woodland management also will benefit the local economies and that is too very important indeed.

Our woodlands and forest must be brought back under this age old management system in order to restore them to health and for the local economy of craftsmen and -women to be revitalized.

Unfortunately misguided environmentalists for years have been working against this as they, having read only those books that back up their own beliefs, believe that no tree should ever be cut down, for any reason.

In fact many have vehemently campaigned and forced, for lack of a better word, local authorities, woodland and forest owners and managers to leave woods in their “natural” state or allow them too “return” to a wildwood state. But there is no wildwood in the British Isles and has not been any for at least a millennium or more. Not that that has interested those.

Woodlands, many of them state with venom in their voices, do not need to be managed. Nature will do it all itself. Which is a false notion as, alas, left to their own devices those, formerly managed woods, will decay and that will the end of them.

Coppice stools that are not cut will, in the end, break apart and that often almost simultaneously and thus the woods are no more but just a piece of useless “wilderness”.

As soon as brambles and bracken take over – and this is very soon if a wood is not managed – and then not controlled the loss of habitat follows in a very short space of time. Brambles and bracken stop light getting to the woodland floor, and the same is true when the woodland is not being thinned, and anything of value will die and be smothered. But, they keep claiming, Nature will manage it all itself; it just takes a while.

This is not true, however, and man has to keep the regime of management that our forefathers began many hundreds of years ago if we wish to retain those woods and forests.

For thousands of years we have managed our woodlands and forests, more often that not by coppicing, and they thrived under our care and if we want them to thrive again we must bring those woods and forests that have been neglected back under this management regime and it must be done now, before it is too late.

© 2013

Important message from Sainsbury's

Recent events have raised significant questions about the authenticity of beef on sale in the UK.
I wanted to reassure customers that, following a programme of around 250 tests in line with Food Standards Agency guidance, no horsemeat has been found in any of our products.

As you would rightly expect, we have one of the most extensive quality control programmes in the industry and we apply the same checks right across our products - from basics to Taste the Difference. We have used DNA testing for over a decade, as well as checks on country of origin, audits of suppliers and accredited, independent product analysis.

This is not just about our quality control measures. Our entire supply chain, from farm to store, is built around long-term sustainable relationships to offer you the best quality products at fair prices - the bedrock of the trust we know you place in us. We work closely with over 2,500 farmers who are part of Sainsbury's dedicated Farmer Development Groups and have invested over £40 million in developing these relationships, as part of our commitment to double our sales of British food by 2020.

As a responsible retailer we are playing our part in the wider industry discussions and we will not be complacent. We will continue to test our products to our own high standards, as well as participating fully in the Food Standards Agency's work to ensure the integrity of Britain's food.

I hope you find this reassuring. You can also find more information on our Help Centre page.

Yours sincerely,
Justin King
Sainsbury's Chief Executive

This letter is presented for your information only.

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

Help Stop the Privatization of BC's Public Forest Lands!

WILDERNESSCOMMITTEE_LOGOVANCOUVER, BC, Canada, February 2013 : Recently, news has surfaced that BC’s provincial government is planning on introducing a forestry bill that would give private logging companies much more control over our public forest land in British Columbia—a bill that’s been described by experts as a massive “forest giveaway”.

The legislation would essentially make crown forest land more like private land in terms of management and logging rights. Click here to read a recent op-ed about this issue from The Province newspaper, written by Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Given the history of ecological destruction and unsustainable practices on privatized forest land in BC, the idea of handing over more control of crown land to private companies is unacceptable.

The accountability, oversight, and long-term vision needed to create environmentally and economically sustainable forestry in BC is only possible in strongly regulated, publicly-managed forests. Any legislation that shifts control of the province’s vital forest resources from public to private hands - especially without proper public consultation - is not in BC’s best interest.

Giving more control to the big logging companies would make it more difficult and expensive to protect endangered species, create new protected areas, conserve public drinking water sources, or honourably resolve the issue of Aboriginal rights and title – all critically important public initiatives we need to complete.

Public input will be essential in stopping this very dangerous privatization legislation, as well as in improving future forest policy. Right now is a critical time to let our provincial leaders know that British Columbians want to keep the province’s crown forest lands in public hands.

That’s why we're asking you to write to the BC government today, urging them NOT to change BC’s forestry laws to give more control to private logging companies.

The BC government has a responsibility to protect the province's forest resources - not give them away to corporate interests. Write your letter now!

The Wilderness Committee, founded in 1980, is a registered non-profit society with charitable status. With over 60,000 members, donors and volunteers, they are Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness protection group. Our head office is in Vancouver, with field offices in Victoria, Winnipeg and Toronto.

The Wilderness Committee is united in their mission to protect Canada’s biodiversity through strategic research and grassroots public education. It believe that the right, the duty and the ability to act are integral to citizenship and it values wilderness, with all its natural biodiversity, as absolutely vital to the health of people, communities and the planet. The Committee acts with integrity and courage to mobilize citizens to take lawful, democratic action to defend Canada’s remaining wilderness and wildlife.

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.

“Lazy” Brits? Over two-thirds would work for nothing to land dream job

staffbayOver two-thirds of the British public would be prepared to work for nothing for up to three months if it meant landing their dream job, according to a new survey of over 16,000 people from visionary social media-based recruitment website

The survey revealed that far from British workers being lazy and motivated by wages, as some have dubbed them, some 68 per cent said they would go without wages to get the job they coveted – with 10 per cent of them prepared for work for three months without pay.

Tony Wilmot, co-founder of, said: “These results tell us two things: that British workers are far from lazy; and that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to impress their employers. We certainly don’t think that Britain’s jobseekers want something for nothing, and this survey proves it. They’re obviously prepared to get Britain’s economy moving again – and for free.

“The ten per cent of respondents who would work for three months for nothing also shows that some people clearly think they are over-qualified for the job they’re currently in. With so many jobseekers now applying for the same position, many in the jobs market are having to settle for second-best.”

The news comes in the week after Geology graduate Cait Reilly successfully argued at the Appeal Court that her unpaid work placement at Poundland, which she had been required to do to continue to receive benefits, breached laws on forced labour.

Yesterday, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith told the BBC that some people “thought Geology was more important than stacking shelves.”

Also in the news this week has been Adam Pacitti, who rose to prominence last month after he spent his last £500 on a billboard advertisement outlining his availability to work. Promoting himself in a new, innovative way has reaped dividends, as Pacitti has found work at a design agency. He’s since taken another billboard ad out to thank those who supported him during this jobsearch.

Elliot Kidd, co-founder of adds: “As Adam himself pointed out in the press: ‘Employers are bored of looking at a sheet of A4 paper. Do something different.’ We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why we allow jobseekers to upload multimedia files, including video, to the company's website.

“Adam’s original billboard advertisement alerted employers to his website where they could watch a video CV he’d put together. One and a half million people saw the video, and now Adam has landed himself a job.

“I congratulate Adam for the innovative way he’s gone about promoting himself – jobseekers everywhere should take note. Our survey shows that by going the extra mile to attract the attention of employers, jobseekers can find the job they’ve always dreamed of.” was launched in 2011 by Elliot Kidd and Tony Wilmot who, between them, have over 40 years of experience in the recruitment industry.

staffbay's innovative solution combines the best of both methods on one site like never before.

Instead of keeping Employers and Candidates apart, it would bring them together becoming a bridge to build relationships. Instead of expensive fees for adverts and database searches with no guarantee of success for Employers, it would promise affordable flat fee Vacancy Advertising and Candidate Database Searches. Rather than limiting Candidates to an uploaded CV, it would provide a simple to use career profile builder including videos, messaging, webcam skype chat and a whole lot more for employers to review, all designed to help Candidate and Employer get to know more about each other, and that's all before you even consider dedicating time, effort and travel to physical interviews.

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.

Let the woods be wild woods

by Michael Smith (Veshengro), RFA, RFS, EcoFor

Time and again this call is heard from misguided and misinformed self-styled experts on the environment and other individuals when woodland management programs are instigated.

wildwood1They will state that the woods should be left wild and that woodlands do not need to be managed which is, obviously, entirely wrong as there are no wild woods, where Nature “manages” the affairs anywhere in Britain and most of Europe. All our woods have been managed before at some time and thus, in order to thrive, require continuous careful management to benefit wildlife, the community and also the local economy.

The woods in Britain have been managed for thousands of years and until just after World War Two we did manage them well on a proper basis. However, ever since that time the management of our woods, small and large, has gone into serious decline and the woods have seriously suffered from this neglect in management.

If left to its own devices a woodland will become useless, not only on an economical term but also and especially on an environmental term. Brambles and bracken will take over, cut out all light to the woodland floor and thus there will be, in the end, no diversity. All that will be left is a tangle of brambles and other such plants and bracken.

Trees growing too close together will damage each other, create a dark forest floor with no life and, in the end, will destroy each other and die.

For trees to grow properly and thus being beneficial to all they need to be thinned out and good growth encouraged. This is a laborious task but one that benefits the woods and can also be of benefit to the local economy as the wood that has to be removed can be used by a variety of woodland- and wood workers.

Trees, and this is something that many of people also do not wish to understand, who all the time protest against the cutting of any trees, have a limited lifespan and some trees one that is shorter than that of others.

When a tree goes over the peak and begins the slow march towards death it stops becoming a carbon sequester and actually becomes a net producer of carbon dioxide. In addition to that the process of decay that also starts at about this time, rotting the heart wood, which the tree no longer requires, also releases methane; the latter being a greenhouse gas forty times more dangerous to the environment than carbon dioxide, and thus itself contributes to climate change.

Well managed and maintained woods, on the other hand, where there trees that need to are “culled”, if we may call it thus, are beneficial on all levels, and especially in regard to biodiversity.

Allowing, for instance, the once coppiced woods of Britain to return to “Nature”, as it is often demanded, will result, in a very short time, in the coppice stools breaking apart, for lack of management, and the woods turning into a wilderness that has is of no benefit, not even to wildlife.

That is why woods are managed, lending Nature a helping hand. Not by fighting Nature but by working with Her, and thus keeping and even creating a healthy balance to benefit all.

For thousands of years we have managed the woods in Britain (and in other parts of Europe) and we have managed them well. Only in the last half to three-quarters of a century have they been allowed to fall into serious neglect and disrepair and we must manage them once again, including those of our parks and open spaces, as our forefathers did if we do not want to lose them and the habitat that they provide.

The very biodiversity of the British woodlands is a result not of Nature alone but of people working with Nature to maintain a healthy balance to benefit all; wildlife and the community. Left alone those woods will become an impenetrable wilderness that even animals will shy away from.

When there still were wild boar and other animals now no longer in the British woods in our woods and forests brambles and bracken, and other such invasive vegetation, was kept in check. Today this is no longer the case and any woods, as can be seen so very often, allowed to return to “wilderness” turns into nothing but a wilderness devoid of almost anything bar those species.

A wood the trees of which form a closed canopy also does not allow for natural regeneration as the young saplings, if the seeds at all germinate, do not get enough light to thrive and without it they will simply die. In most cases the seeds do not even germinate for lack of sunlight and thus the floor will be devoid of anything, almost.

Only a well managed wood is a productive wood in all senses of the word and that is the reason that our woods everywhere must come back into proper management, a management that woks with Nature and not against Her and a good forester ensure just that.

For the good of the environment and the community all our woods need to managed again and managed well.

© 2013

Dedicated Decorators Help Make House a Home for Dion

Kind-hearted DIY enthusiasts helped to paint a smile on the faces of thousands of people, including the family of 2 year-old boy with leukaemia, last year, by donating over 465 tonnes of leftover re-usable paint to brighten up homes and communities across the UK.

Dion and his brother with Jamie Monks and members of the team.

Over 300 million litres of paint is sold in this country every year, of which an estimated 50 million litres remains unused; stored in homes, sheds and garages or simply thrown away.

In 2012 householders, traders and paint manufacturers donated 387,495 litres of paint to Community RePaint schemes, which then distributed 218,364 litres to some 2,214 community groups and 17,296 individuals, providing 190 jobs and 1,274 volunteer and training opportunities.

Community RePaint South Lancashire, working together with Macmillan Cancer Support, helped the family of young Dion by decorating their new home, after they had no choice but to move closer to the hospital providing the intensive therapy needed to treat their son's condition.

Martin Gamester, Manager of Community RePaint South Lancashire, heard of the family's plight and offered the services of the scheme's Paint Shed programme, to decorate their new council house in Burnage, Manchester. Using paint donated to Community RePaint, The Paint Shed's team was able to decorate Dion's bedroom with a Disney theme and paint the rest of the house, as well as providing furniture and carpets. Volunteers from the local church and Macmillan Cancer Support also helped to spruce up the lounge, lay a floor and tidy the gardens.

"We basically made the house habitable by painting and decorating the whole house," explained Jamie Monks, manager of The Paint Shed, "The family are absolutely made up with the results and are amazed just how many people got involved at no cost to them for this worthy cause."

Community RePaint schemes collect unwanted, surplus paint and re-distribute it to individuals, families and communities in need, improving the wellbeing of people and the appearance of places across the UK. Sponsored by Dulux, the Community RePaint Network is celebrating two decades of bringing colour to life.

Paul Murgett, Environmental Projects Co-ordinator, said: "Over the last 20 years Community RePaint has made a huge difference to families, like Dion's, across the UK through the re-use of paint. 2012 was no different and the figures show another fantastic effort to enhance the lives of those in need through both decorating and work or training opportunities."

"The Community RePaint Network is made up of 67 schemes across the UK, and we will be taking every opportunity to promote our 20th anniversary this year to raise awareness of paint re-use so that more individuals and community groups than ever before can benefit from brighter homes and communities," added Community RePaint Network Manager Martin Pearse.

Getting colour from every drop...

If your family or community group needs paint, no matter how much or how little, get in touch with your nearest Community RePaint scheme by clicking on and entering your postcode or call 0113 200 3959 for more information.

  1. How does Community RePaint work? Donated paint is sorted and stored at the schemes' premises and re-distributed to local charities, community and voluntary groups and individuals in need. Paint is usually offered in exchange for a nominal charge, to help cover costs.
    2. Who runs Community RePaint? The Network has been sponsored by Dulux since its inception in 1993 and forms part of Dulux's ongoing sustainability programme. Community RePaint is co-ordinated by Resource Futures, an employee-owned, non-profit distributing environmental consultancy, based in Bristol.
    3. Contacting Community RePaint includes a postcode search that members of the public can use to find their nearest point for donating paint or for contacting their nearest Community RePaint scheme if they need paint. Alternatively, please call: 0113 200 3959 or email:

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.

Crown Paints Lifts The Lid On Major Recycling Scheme To Mark Climate Week

Householders are being given the chance to free up the sheds, garages and cupboards of the nation to mark Crown Paints’ partnership with Climate Week.

Mark Lloyd, Crown Paints’ Sustai_smlAs a supporting partner of Climate Week, Crown is opening the doors of its network of 119 Crown Decorating Centres across England, Wales and Scotland to enable people to return their surplus paint for recycling, as part of its ‘Kick Out The Can’ scheme.

The two week recycling programme – which starts at the beginning of Climate Week on 4 March – will give people the opportunity to clear out their unwanted paint by just taking the containers and tins back to their local Crown Decorating Centre.

The paint will be processed and then donated for community projects - and the leftover plastic and metal paint containers will also be reprocessed and recycled.

Crown Paints’ partner, the regeneration charity Groundwork, will be distributing the recycled paint to worthy causes nationwide. The donations are being managed by Groundwork Pennine Lancashire, who Crown Paints have worked closely with on a wide-range of sustainability projects.

Mark Lloyd, Crown Paints’ Sustainability Manager, said: “We are delighted to be launching our recycling campaign as part of our partnership with Climate Week. It is a major initiative for us and something that will make a real positive difference to the environment, and many people across the country this year.

“Most households have old paint containers and tins dotted around the home and people are not always sure what to do with them. In fact, statistics show that there are approximately 54 million litres of paint unused in homes across the UK, enough to fill approximately 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools – so there is plenty to go at.

“Our scheme gives householders a useful opportunity to give their spring clean a boost, and to ensure their old paint, as well as the containers and tins are transformed - ultimately helping communities through the donation of recycled paint products.”

Amanda Atherton, spokesperson for regeneration charity Groundwork, said: “One of our biggest roles at Groundwork is to help people and businesses to reduce their environmental impact and to make a difference in their local communities. The ‘Kick out the Can’ campaign does both these things and it’s nice to see such an innovative and truly sustainable approach to doing business.

“The paint that’s brought back to Crown Decorating Centres will be donated to community projects. It can be used to transform community halls, youth centres and green spaces, or be used in the delivery of a project – creating art, for example, or training young people that aren’t in employment or education.

“Ultimately, this campaign will transform the work of a community groups and projects that are struggling for funding. We are really hoping that people will be inspired to go into their cupboards and garages and clear out that unwanted paint -so we can use it to make a big difference in their local community.”

Climate Week is Britain’s biggest climate change campaign, inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future.

Culminating in a week of activities, it showcases practical solutions from every sector of society.

Each year, half a million people attend 3,000 events, run by schools, businesses, charities, councils and many other organisations.

‘Kick Out The Can’ is the latest activity from the UK paint manufacturer to support the environment. In 2008, Crown launched ‘Earthbalance’ a dedicated sustainability programme, featuring an ambitious, long-term target to drive down its own greenhouse gas emissions, with the target of a 10 per cent reduction in 2015 – and 25 per cent in 2020. These two targets are in addition to a sustainability target of zero waste to landfill, originally targeted for December 2012 – which was achieved more than 12 months ahead of schedule.

Crown’s investment in carbon footprinting technology is helping the company achieve these targets. Carbon footprinting enables the company to measure the footprint of all products across its range, including Crown Paints, Sadolin and Sandtex, as well as Crown Trade and Sandtex Trade, and then make the necessary changes to reduce the carbon output, without affecting the quality of the paint.

Vernon Kinrade, Crown Paints’ Sector Support Manager, said: “We are well on track with our green commitment; and results such as the achievement of our zero waste to landfill target more than 12 months ahead of schedule reflect the success of the programme to date.

“However, there’s still plenty to do and we see sustainability as a mission for the entire organisation. It’s not just about filling a market niche; it’s about changing the way we do business.

“Our focus is to minimise energy, reduce, re-use or recycle waste wherever feasible and develop continuous improvement programmes and innovation initiatives to inspire products and processes with the lowest possible ecological impact. All this is undertaken with an absolute commitment not to affect our products’ performance adversely.

“We also apply responsible raw material sourcing, considering the environmental and ethical effects of raw materials used within our business.

“We are not just focused on providing a few niche ‘green’ products. By measuring and evaluating the carbon footprint of everything we do, we can make improvements, without impacting on the quality of the paint we produce.

“This means trade and DIY customers can be assured that they benefit from high performing quality paints, which maintain their protective and aesthetic qualities for the longer term – in itself a sustainable outcome.”

A video giving further details of the ‘Kick Out The Can’ campaign for Climate Week can be viewed at

Terms And Conditions Of Kick Out The Can

Householders can bring back up to ten containers (of any decorative paint) to their Crown Decorating Centre per visit during the two weeks of the scheme.

The initiative applies to mainland UK branches only.

Paint must be in original containers with lids securely attached and no foreign objects or substances in cans. Aerosols and rusty cans cannot be accepted.

About Crown Paints:
• Crown Paints is owned by Danish decorative and protective coatings company Hempel, who employ over 5,000 people and operate in more than 80 countries.
• Crown Paints is the Holder of the Royal Warrant by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, as Manufacturers of Paints.
• Over 1,250 employees work for Crown Paints, which is based in Darwen in Lancashire, with manufacturing sites in Darwen and Hull, which operate to ISO 9001 accredited quality management system and ISO 14001 environmental management system.
• The company also has a network of 133 Crown Decorating Centres spread throughout the UK and Ireland.
• Crown Paints serves every sector of the decorative coatings market, promoting its market-leading paint and woodcare brands – Crown, Sandtex, Permoglaze, Macpherson, Sadolin and Berger – to consumer and professional audiences alike, as well as key export markets.
• Crown Paints has been making paint for over 200 years.
• Crown Paints is committed to delivering its sustainability targets and its work in this field has been recognised at several regional and national awards. The company is also able to measure the carbon footprint of all of its products and has met its targets of achieving zero waste to landfill.

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.

Enviromesh and imitations

AgralanEnviromesh and imitations

A statement by Agralan Limited

Enviromesh was introduced to the UK market in 1991 following several years of development in Europe.

Before it was marketed Enviromesh had been tested for durability with 5 years continuous exposure.

As the years followed, experience allowed us to increase the life expectancy first to 7 years and then to 10 years.

As the usage of Enviromesh increased so a number of companies have tried to copy it.

Unfortunately these copies, even where they claim to be, are not identical to Enviromesh and may well not perform as well in the garden.

Agralan's concern is that poor results with imitations may adversely affect the reputation of Enviromesh.

The qualities which may suffer are weight, air movement, light transmission and durability. While most of these qualities are apparent by inspection of the weave, this is not possible with durability which is dependent on quality of the thread.

To summarize:-

  • Heavier materials may restrict crop growth.
  • If a product is colored, light transmission will be affected.
  • If the mesh size if smaller it will not be suitable for long term covering of crops.
  • If the thread is not the same durability may be affected.
  • If a product has not been in use for more than 10 years any claim that it will last 10 years should be questioned.

Agralan Limited

The Old Brickyard

Ashton Keynes, Swindon

Wiltshire SN6 6QR

This information is presented for your information only.

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

A Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvest – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A Handbook of Scotland's Wild Harvest
Fi Martynoga (ed)
295 pages Paperback
ISBN: 9781887354967

An authoritative new companion for sustainable foraging

hswh_book_coverFrom experts at the Scottish Wild Harvests Association, together with the team who brought us Handbook of Scotland's Trees, comes this indispensable guide to sustainable, responsible harvesting and use of our natural bounty, from its most trusted custodians.

This inspirational guide is packed with invaluable know-how on Scotland’s wild harvest, covering what, where, when and how you can use your bounty in sustainable ways – from the most useful and widespread of species to the less well-known, and from leaves and berries to saps, seeds, seaweeds, mosses and wood. Learn how to begin or extend a repertoire of wild foods and materials that can be used as dyes, remedies and around the home. Complete with recipes, from nettle haggis, blaeberry muffins to elderflower cordial, and and a wealth of woodland and hedgerow materials you can use in the garden or home.

The book is a partnership project between Reforesting Scotland and the Scottish Wild Harvests Association (SWHA), with the information drawn together from expert members of both. Many are professionals in the field, and all of them know their plants and materials thoroughly from years or decades of experience. Their entries abound in useful information on habitat, history, uses, lore, and how to distinguish a useful plant from similar species that are not.

As well as providing a good introduction to foraging in Scotland, the book contains enough detailed tips and insights to be of real interest to experienced gatherers as well.

The Handbook is available direct from Reforesting Scotland - contact the Reforesting Scotland office for details - and also from the publishers, Saraband. Retail price is £12.99 and an app for mobiles and iPads is also being released.

With wild foods and foraging very much in vogue we must harvest Nature's bounty, however, as the book points out, responsible and sustainable and not take too much from any one spot to allow for regrowth, as well as for wildlife's needs.

While concentrating, as the title suggests, on Scotland, in the main, with but a few exceptions, the wild edibles, etc., featured in the book are found throughout Britain.

This is a most valuable boot for anyone wishing to make use of Nature's Wild Harvest and now only are most of those plants, etc., listed in the book found all over Britain, and not just in Scotland, but also in many other places in in Europe and even in the United States.

The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with pen and ink drawings which do not, however, therefore, show the colors and such like. I would, thus, suggest using it together with a good field guide or smartphone app. And for those really serious about foraging I would suggest attending a course with a good teacher or learn from someone who has been doing it for some time successfully.

Many of those wild edibles featured in the book can also, if you would be thus inclined, be grown in your garden and that saves having to go and look for them in the wild. I am doing just that already for a while with a number of them, such as dandelion, sorrel, chickweed, nettles, etc.

© 2013

Your Glowstick Safety Guide from

Glowsticks are a fantastic safety product, in fact they’re the only source of light recognized by the Armed Forces as safe to use in the event of emergency. This is because glowsticks are a contained source of light that do not spark, emit heat or release any gases. They do not require batteries or an external power source to function and so are incredibly reliable providing a safe source of bright light for up to eight hours at a time. More than simply a source of fun, these impressive light sticks are perfect for climbers, divers and those undertaking outdoor activities; in fact glowsticks should be included inside every first aid/emergency pack!

Glowsticks can be relied upon to provide light in emergency situations helping to keep you safe, but how can you be sure that the glowsticks themselves are safe? Glowsticks achieve their bright glow by way of a chemical reaction, namely chemiluminescence. Quite basically, they’re a chemical reaction going off inside a plastic tube (in fact they should be called chemical light sticks!) and so how do we make sure that glowsticks remain safe for us to use? undertake rigorous safety checks and ensure that all glowsticks are:
- RoHS Compliant
- Don’t contain banned chemicals
- Genuine CE approved
- Safe
- Non toxic
- Non flammable
- Cool to the touch
- Fully UK approved

All very impressive, however end users must play their part too and ensure that glowsticks are used for their intended purpose.

Glowsticks must not be repeatedly bent or manipulated, and under no circumstances must they be chewed! Do not allow children under the age of three to handle glowsticks. Do not puncture or cut glow in the dark light sticks; their contents may stain clothing and furnishings. Do not drink or ingest the contents of a glowstick. Keep glowsticks in their wrapper until point of use and out of reach of young children and always follow the instructions upon the wrapper. These are guidelines printed by the manufacturer for your safety.

Whilst these guidelines may appear to be common sense, accidents do invariably happen, children are curious, (dogs even more so!), even adults like to inspect these curious sources of light more closely, and so what should you do should you or a loved one come in contact with the chemicals from inside a glowstick? First of all, don’t panic! The contents of a glowstick are not toxic and so will not cause any long term harm. That said, the chemicals may cause some short term discomfort if they come into contact with the skin or eyes and so it’s recommended that the affected area is rinsed thoroughly with clean water and then medical advice sought should it be required. If you or someone in your care drink or ingest the contents of a glowstick, the same rules apply! Keep calm, rinse out the mouth with water and spit out any remaining residue then seek medical attention if required. Glowsticks have a very strong, pungent taste and smell which means that drinking large quantities of glow fluid is unlikely to have taken place; it’s much more likely that the person in question will have spat out any chemicals very quickly before having the chance to cause any discomfort, the only damage likely to take place is an offended sense of taste!

Take care to respect your glowsticks, use them appropriately and they are a great source of entertainment, and more importantly an invaluable source of light to help you in emergency. Keep your glowsticks safe and they could just help to keep you safe too! Find out more at

About is the glow and flashing novelties arm of The Glow Company Ltd. Traditionally serving the schools, events, fundraising and party markets (key customers have included Warner Brothers for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, the BBC, ITV, Hatrick Productions, Endemol, Schools, Universities and PTA's) with glowsticks, UV makeup and party products. A wealth of industry experience has allowed The Glow Company to become actively involved in the design and manufacture of new glowing and flashing novelties.

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.

Switching Car Coolants Provides Fast Climate Benefits for US, World

Current HFC coolants are super greenhouse gases

Washington, DC, February 2013 : The US can use existing authority to help meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, although Congressional action will be needed to meet the steeper emission cuts needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This is the conclusion of a report issued today by the World Resources Institute, “Can the U.S. Get There From Here? Using Existing Federal Laws and State Action to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

The WRI report concludes that “Eliminating HFCs [hydrofluorocarbons] represents the biggest opportunity for

GHG emissions reductions behind power plants” and recommends that the U.S. Administration reduce HFCs using both the Montreal Protocol and the Clean Air Act.

"The WRI report confirms our finding that phasing out HFCs, methane, and other short-lived climate pollutants are necessary though not sufficient for meeting both US and international climate targets, which in turn are needed to prevent runaway climate change," said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

The US, along with Canada and Mexico, has proposed phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. In addition to support from US industry, more than 100 countries have shown support for the proposal, although China and India and a few remaining countries have yet to agree to launch formal negotiations on a phase down schedule.

“HFCs have been the fastest growing climate pollutant in the US, and phasing them down globally would provide

the biggest single piece of climate mitigation available to the world today,” said Zaelke.

In the US, the biggest HFC target is the car market, where up to half of the HFCs are used in car air conditioning systems. General Motors is already shifting to climate-friendly alternatives and getting credit under the CAFE standards. GM is using a new car coolant from Honeywell and DuPont that has little impact on climate.

“The car sector can eliminate the current climate-damaging HFCs fast. The last coolant switch was done by US car makers in three years (1990-1994), and protected both the stratospheric ozone layer and the climate system,” said Zaelke.

The US EPA is currently reviewing petitions from environmental groups to cancel approval for specific uses of HFCs, when there are clear alternatives, including for car air conditioners. The US EPA also is actively assisting the Climate & Clean Air Coalition to Reduce SLCPs with HFC projects, including organizing workshops to show

that alternatives to HFC are already available in many sectors already, and many others will soon be commercialized.

WRI’s report is found here.

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.


Working as part of an EU research consortium, The Paint Research Association (PRA) has developed a food packaging coating product, called PlantPack, which can replace current packaging coatings based on petrochemicals which are bad for the environment.

PlantPack is an eco-friendly food packaging coating product made from seaweed extracts and starch. It can be applied to paper and cardboard as a spray.

Ian Claris, director of PRA says: “PlantPack is a real breakthrough for packing technology as it means at last there is a cost effective, sustainable alternative to petroleum derived coatings products. And because it’s a biodegradable product, it can be composted and recycled easily. So it’s better for the environment and performs at least as well as the existing products. We expect there to be a big demand for it from day one.”

Food packaging coatings are used on paper wraps, cartons and cardboard. Coatings provide physical barriers which protect food products in the packaging container during storage and transportation.

Although seaweed extracts have previously been used to develop sustainable barrier materials for food and pharmaceuticals products, they have never been applied as a coating for packaging products as they haven’t been as flexible or strong. To overcome these physical limitations, the scientists working on the project blended seaweed extracts with starch and starch derivatives (which have good flexibility and strength) so it could be applied to paper packaging.

Current packaging coatings are based on petrochemical derived waxes and polymers. However, with increasing petroleum costs and recent instability and volatility in some oil producing countries, the food packaging sector is searching for an alternative reliable and sustainable package coating product.

PRA is working with a consortium of European partners with funding from the European Commission under the Framework Programme Seven (from the Research Executive Agency).

The partners are:

  • ITENE - (Spain) Spanish packaging, transport and logistics research centre
  • Mantrose UK Ltd - (UK) world leader in edible coatings and specialty products for the pharmaceutical, confectionery, agricultural, food and industrial industries
  • Altin Gidas - (Turkey) Turkish producer of meat, meat coating products, ready meals and delicatessen products
  • Alexir Packaging Limited - (UNITED KINGDOM) manufacture and produce a wide range of industrial and commercial packaging, mainly cartons and cardboard.
  • Yanko SP. Z.o.o - (POLAND) Yanko’s speciality is in paper packaging for the food industry
  • Seaweed Canarias (SPAIN) - Seaweed Canarias is a biotechnology company which provides solutions based on algae products for industry in the field of agriculture, nutrition, animal health and cosmetics

Paint Research Association

PRA is the world's most complete surface coatings advisor. PRA’s mission is to connect the global surface coatings community throughout the supply chain by providing independent knowledge based services in support of innovation and growth of our members.

PRA operates internationally with a network of partners and associates, and is part of Pera Technology.

Pera Technology

Every year, Pera Technology helps hundreds of companies across Europe and beyond to harness the potential of science and technology to create new and valuable products and processes to create sustainable, valuable businesses.

Pera Technology has extensive in-house capabilities with over 300 analysts, scientists and engineers providing idea and concept generation, business intelligence, IP research and management, technology and project risk minimisation.

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.

Can't eat money

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

PC05This statement, attributed to one of the North American Indian Chiefs, whose name I know not, states it basically all in a simple, easy to understand, sentence. But, is man realizing this?

Some certainly do but the White Man has an attitude that he is the master of Nature and he, more often than not, claims that he has been given mastery over Nature by his G-d.

Already almost half a century ago the Hippies, mostly white people in those days, were the few of that race who realized this truth and warned about it. They warned about the pollution, the devastation caused to Mother Earth, and much more.

The general population, brainwashed, already then, however, dismissed those as crackpots, as misled young people, and as eccentrics, but were not prepared to heed the message. Also not the message of the likes of John Seymour, Fritz Schumacher, and others.

Man, however, is not apart from Nature but a part of Nature, and that applies equally to the Native American, the Gypsy, or the White Man, regardless of what the latter may believe as a result of his theology and religion.

The White Man and many other adherent to the religion of Christianity are in the belief that they were given the right over Mother Earth by their G-d and that they have to, therefore, battle constantly with Nature. What they do not realize, however, that the day that they win they will have lost everything, for we then have lost our Living Planet.

They also believe that they have the right to every resource of Mother Earth as long as they have the means to extract it and then have the right to charger others for it. Some companies go even so far as to put patents of seeds and, in the latest twist, unless The Onion has been at work, even on mother's milk.

They are privatizing the water utilities in Europe and water is to become a trade-able commodity and to be speculated upon and with on the stock markets and the futures exchanges in London and Frankfurt.

To modern man Nature seems to be nothing but a larder of resources that are there to make money of for the already rich to the detriment of the 99% that do not have the wherewithal to exploit those resources and are thus bound to having to purchase them or the products made from them.

Capitalism in all forms, whether so-called free market capitalism or state capitalism, for that is all that communism as we have seen it so far has been, is interested only in exploitation of Mother Earth and Her creatures, including man, rather than in working in harmony with Her.

Modern man has treated Nature's resources as infinite but they are not and some have finally realized that as regards to oil, and other nonrenewable resources. But still renewable resources are not being researched properly, with the exception of some for the generation of electricity, such as solar, wind, wave and water (and, in some cases, methane gas) and even here some countries get the idea more than others.

The oil is, basically, running out and so do rare earths and other nonrenewable raw materials but we don't have to worry, apparently, for, so science says, we can go and mine the Moon and other planets in due course.

As they said on the spacecraft: “Houston we have a problem...” and we sure do for the powers-that-be, science, and the great majority of the general public do not seem to get the message. You can't eat money and no, Prof. Hawkins, there is no Planet B to which the human race can relocate. There is only one Earth and protecting Her we must and we must do all we can to do it, as, to reiterate it once more, we cannot eat money.

© 2013

Tories about to declare war on unions with new strike rules

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

BorisJTrade unions could face fresh curbs on their ability to call strikes under plans being considered by the Conservatives.

Surprised I am not... Here we go again is also a term that comes to mind...

Was it not Maggie Thatcher who was hellbent to destroy the Trade Unions and their power and she was of the same party. The party has not changed and is still anti-working people, anti-working class. As far as the Tories are concerned Thatcher left unfinished business as she did not manage to destroy the Unions entirely. That is what they are now aiming to do, no doubt.

A new plan by the Tories of the current Con-Dem coalition would make strikes illegal unless at least 50 per cent of union members voted in a ballot. But, general elections are legal even if less than 40% of the electorate vote. Different rules, it would appear, for different people and causes.

Right-wing Tory ministers are pressing David Cameron to include the proposals in the party’s next general election manifesto, so it is understood and this planned legislation would make industrial action illegal unless at least 50 per cent of union members take part in a strike ballot.

Supporters of the threshold – who insist the potential policy is “under active discussion” in Downing Street – believe the plan would prove highly popular with the voters. For voters it would be best to read Tory voters and those that are being whipped up by the right-wing gutter press.

The proposal, however, has divided opinion around the Cabinet table, with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, understood to be among the leading opponents.

Ministers are also examining new steps to crack down on the Public and Commercial Services union, representing civil servants and local government staff, which is regarded as the most militant in Britain.

The introduction of a threshold has been championed by Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, following clashes with transport unions in the capital. Mr. Cameron has been careful to avoid ruling the idea out, although has stressed he had no plans to press ahead with the move which, in Whitehall speak, which is related to Washington speak, means that they are seriously considering just such a move.

While it had been thought that the proposal had been put on ice in recent months, it would appear, according to rumors, that the policy is being seriously considered within Downing Street.

There is thought to be no prospect of any new trade union legislation while the Coalition is in office – Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, has said publicly that he would oppose it. Mr. McLoughlin, a former trade unionist, has also argued in private against the move. His opposition has proved important because, as Transport Secretary, he is in the forefront of dealing with industrial disputes.

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, who deals with public sector unions, is also believed to be skeptical about the wisdom of the threshold idea but Tory sources confirmed the issue is being discussed as a possible commitment in the party’s next manifesto. One of the attractions of the policy for supporters would be to put pressure on Ed Miliband, the present leader of the British Labor Party, to state whether supported the move and cast a spotlight on his party’s union links.

It is understood that George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, are sympathetic to the introduction of a threshold, although neither has spoken publicly on the issue recently. Other suggestions are altering the law to allow agency workers to cover for staff who are on strike and increasing the notice period unions have to give to employers before industrial action begins.

Trade union legislation has remained largely unchanged since the 1980s, when the Thatcher Government outlawed the closed shop in the workplace, introduced secret ballots for strikes and banned secondary picketing. In an attempt, I hasten to add, to destroy the Trade Unions in Britain altogether and hence the Tories belief that there is unfinished business to deal with.

This proposed legislation should show everyone where each and every individual Tory minister and MP stands when it comes to it and it is time that the people, for most really should regard themselves as working class are they not most wage slaves like everyone else, woke up to the fact that their rights are under threat.

Each and everyone who is a salaried worker, whatever his job, is a wage slave and thus has benefited from the work of the Trade Unions which has often been in blood.

Without the Unions we all will head back to the conditions of Dickensian England, of that we can all be sure.

© 2013

The horse in forestry operations

by Michael Smith (Veshengro), RFS, RFA, EcoFor

horse extracting timberHorses were very valuable to farmers and gave the farmer extra income by hauling timber in the winter. This was when the horse was in general use on farms but today the horse still should have a place in forestry for one and will, of this we can be sure, soon also have that place again in farming.

The horse, from heavy horses to lighter drafts ones, were a common sight until the Second World War and a decade or so after until the tractor and winch replaced them, though not and never entirely. Some areas carried on using the horse and some do again.

Aside from pulling wagons the horse in forestry was primarily used to pull tree trunks from the felling area to the roadside and such like and has a much lighter footprint on the ground than does the tractor or today's tree harvesters. Thus, our four-legged friends are much better for the forest environment as they do not churn up the ground and destroy the new growth.

With few of protecting the environment and the forest floor and natural regeneration the use of the horse in forestry operations has a future for sure and, in fact, it should be reintroduced at a larger scale right now, before we have destroyed the forests further with the heavy machines.

When it comes to energy-savings then the horse definitely has a lot going for it and the future of forestry definitely will have to consider its use on a large scale again. The large timber harvesters are not sustainable in the long run and not even in the short one.

While it is true that the harvesters replace many men in the woods with chainsaws and even more with crosscut saws those machines are (1) only suitable for complete clear-cutting operations and (2) their heavy fuel use makes them simply unsustainable on all levels. The cost of running them will simply soon be too great for them to be viable and thus a change will have to be considered.

The future of forestry is four-legged and human power, as it once was, as there is simply no other way when it comes to sustainable forest and woodland management. This is also especially true when it comes to woodland management in Britain and elsewhere where we are talking of smaller tracts of land and of coppicing and small scale felling operations.

The horse and its handler are by far more beneficial to the woods as is any machine and without its use, as is the case very often today, the wood from thinning operations simply is left where it falls, as habitat, as it is often claimed, instead of being utilized as it should.

All too often even large trunks are left on site after thinning operations simple because they cannot be extracted with a tractor and winch or in any other motorized way. And this is due very much and often to the fact that draft horses are no longer about in the vicinity and often getting a horse and handler who still work the forests somewhere is too costly.

Those trunks, however, represent wasted resources and should be recovered. Not only do they represent financial value their decay sets free both CO2 and methane, with the latter being an even more potent and dangerous greenhouse gas than the former.

© 2013

Child benefit and the state's ownership of your children

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As soon as parents accept state benefit for their children, called child benefit in the UK, Kindergeld in Germany, and goes by other names in many other countries, they surrender their children to the state.

Not that the state does not consider every child in the country its own anyway but accepting the money actually makes it even more so.

The state considers that by means of the child benefit it pays the parent to look after the children that it, the state, considers its children, in fact, its property.

The truth is that more or less the state also considers this to be the case whether or not it pays the parent child benefit but, it would appear, even more so when it does.

As soon as, in fact, the birth of a child is officially registered he or she becomes, as most countries see it, property of the state and thus the parents are but guardians and carers of those children and that only for so long as the state considers it good.

We have seen it more that we would like that if the parents' views, for instance, clash with those of the state that the state comes and kidnaps those children and puts them into institutions or gives them away to people considered suitable in the eyes of the state to raise those kids.

Most countries in Europe for that very reason also have compulsory schooling – Schulpflicht in Germany – in order to get a hold on the minds of the children from an early age. In fact they believe the earlier the better and that is why they try to impose also compulsory Kindergarten in some countries from age three.

The purpose of compulsory schooling is to create not an educated citizenship but to create obedient citizens who do as they are told and who work in the industries of the country. And people are so brainwashed that they accept that all without any complaints and refusal, almost.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee...

© 2013

EcoFont saves ink

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When it comes to printing from the computer printer printing double-sided documents and using recycled paper are both great ways to make printing more environmentally friendly. Neither, however, is a solution to the millions of leaky ink cartridges piling up in landfills each year.

Using holey cheese as its inspiration, a Dutch communications agency has invented a font designed to cut down on ink consumption.

The new Ecofont, downloadable for free at the company's website, appears at small sizes like any other type, but each letter is actually filled with tiny, inkless circles:


The design is said to minimize ink usage by up to 20 percent, the company claims. But even with a more ink-efficient font, the cartridge will eventually run out. When it does, websites like make it easy – and economical – to keep your used plastic out of the dump.

I have been using this font for some time already, but must say that I do not print much anymore of what I write as I am now publishing on-line but when I do it is with EcoFont in the hope that it reduces my ink usage.

© 2013

The walking stick

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Walk softly and carry a big stick someone, I believe it was a US President, once said and this is a very valid adage.

Walking SticksHowever, there is no need to look at a walking stick primarily as a weapon for defense, though that it sure is and very effective can be too ion this department.

Primarily the walking stick is a truly functional thing and well worth having at hand, pardon the pun. A good walking stick provides that extra bit of support we sometimes seek and need when crossing a raging torrent, traversing shale or loose soil on precarious slopes, or staggering homeward, late at night, from the pub. And, as said, a good walking stick is an excellent weapon when needed.

Walking sticks come in a many different styles, and are made from a wide variety of materials, though all the most pleasing and proper are crafted of close-grained woods. And among these many varieties, though, the penultimate walking stick to a great many is the honorable Irish walking stick, the true Shillelagh, usually crafted of Blackthorn wood, and with a fine hard knot of hardened root at the gripping end.

Having said this, however, with walking sticks, as with so many other things, it is often a case of horses for courses and other hardwoods are also great, and one of my favorites is Hazel, cut from well-managed coppice stools.

It does not have to be Blackthorn, not even for a Shillelagh. The fact is that many a Shillelagh in Eire was, in fact, not made from Blackthorn at all in the olden days but from Bog Oak.

Many people believed, falsely, and still do, that a Shillelagh was and is an Irish cudgel, shorter than a walking stick, crafted of blackthorn wood and featuring a knob or head of root wood.

It turns out that, what many have mistakenly called a Shillelagh all these years, and what is a popular tourist item sold in shops in the town of Shillelagh, after which the stick is named, was once a very popular weapon in 19th-century London. Very handy to have – but not something that the Irish would have used at that time, or earlier.

Their weapon of choice would have been a cane made from oak, blackthorn, ash or holly. An English writer who, on seeing an oak cane and knowing where it came from (the Shillelagh Forest in County Wicklow), coined the term Shillelagh. Eventually, it became synonymous for any Irish walking stick.

Blackthorn is looked upon by some as the best wood for the shaft of a cane. It is a very hard, close-grained wood and if growing from the trunk of the tree or bush, is covered with very sharp, vicious spines.

Those spines are also indicated in Blackthorn's Latin name of Prunus spinosa with the spinosa indicating the spines. Those spines are not thorns at all but hard wooden spines and other varieties of prunus also tend to have those spines.

The most notable features of blackthorn wood are the deep reddish-black bark and often numerous knots. The bark is left on for added toughness and often a metal ferrule is secured at the end opposite of the knob.

While at some time the wood was crafted green and thus to keep the wood from splitting during the drying process, sticks were often buried in a manure pile, or smeared with butter and placed in the chimney to cure, I would recommend, although that makes for harder work, to cut the shank long enough and to also leave wood on in other areas and allow the stick to season gently out of the wet but outside.

If you don’t have good walking stick yet and consider getting one, please bear in mind that the quest to find the right one may take some time.

If you can't find one to buy, though there should be enough good makers about, make your own. Keep your eyes peeled, and when the time comes the right stick will call for you and you will have found a lifelong companion.

Aside from being able to be used for defense a walking stick is, as earlier indicated, a walking aid, a third leg, that can and will give support in a variety of situations.

There are many other types of walking sticks than just the knobkerrie, as the Shillelagh one would be called in Southern Africa. There are thumb sticks, there are the ones with the bent handle, caned with antler and bone handles, and then there are the large staffs, akin to a quarterstaff, used by serious walkers and hikers and by wizards, such as Gandolf in Lord of the Rings.

All those sticks have their uses and the thumb stick, for instance, was, with a large(r) fork originally used as a rest for a musket and later a rifle and many a deer hunter still uses such a stick to rest his rifle for a more accurate and steady aim.

As far as a walking stick as aid in walking is concerned I would never ever put my trust in any of those non-wooden contraption called hiking sticks, hiking poles, or whatever their names and titles may be. They break, as I have found out testing a couple. Only a wooden stick can give the needed support. And as a defensive weapon those modern – often telescopic ones – are entirely useless. Again here only a wooden stick will do.

The shank should be chosen from sustainable managed woods, ideally coppice operations, making it thus a very green choice. Aside from Blackthorn, which coppices well and can be grown for the purpose of making stick, Hazel and Ash are also great choices as woods for sticks, whether you buy your stick or make it yourself. Other countries, obviously, have other woods for sticks, such as Osage Orange, Hickory, etc., in the USA, or Red Mopani Wood in Southern Africa, as an example.

My personal favorite wood from which to craft walking sticks, whichever kind, is Hazel and Ash, taken from coppice woods or as saplings when they are in the wrong place, as far as forestry operations are concerned, such as during thinning.

© 2013

Freeplay Encore Player... from a different angle

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

No, it's not about taking a photo of it from a different perspective. I am going to be talking here about the sustainability angle.

Freeplay Encore Player_smlWhile this Freeplay radio, MP3 player/recorder, cell phone charger and task/work light is made in China on other levels its sustainability scores are very high indeed.

Aside from the fact that the unit is powered by rechargeable batteries which are charged via solar or crank (and also via 12 V DC external source) the packaging is not wasteful at all.

With the exception of a few small plastic bags to keep small items safe while in the box prior to arriving with the customer, and a small bubble wrap “pouch” for the external solar panel, all is compostable.

The box itself is plain brown cardboard with minimal black print and the protection for the unit itself is achieved not, as is so often the case with electronic goods, by means of expanded polystyrene but by moulded cardboard material similar to that of cardboard egg cartons, and thus both can be thrown simply onto a compost heap for Nature to have its way with them. On the other hand they could also be recycled with no effort.

Not having seen the packaging of Freeplay Energy's other products the way the Encore Player is packaged is, surely, the way to go and should be an example to other producers that glossy coated print and other fancy stuff is not necessary.

Another great score for the Freeplay Encore Player and I believe this should become an industry standard.

© 2013