Saturday 20 August 2011


Litter: ever thought what it costs?

A day out in the country, a trip to the local park, or a visit to the beach - sat enjoying the surroundings you finish your picnic and pack up all the rubbish into a bag. Now you could take it home with you or just leave it by the path for one of the rubbish collection teams to pick up the next morning.
Almost everybody would agree that the first option is preferable but unfortunately that consensus isn't always translated into action. And it's not just about the unpleasant sight of that rubbish spoiling someone else's picnic scene. How many people have ever stopped to think how much it costs to clean up that waste, how much time it takes - and perhaps most pertinently at this time of cutbacks and budget squeezes, what this money could otherwise be spent on?

It costs a staggering £885 million a year to clean up the rubbish on our streets, in our parks, around the places where we live, work and play. That's £885million of your money, which could be better spent on other things.
We all need to accept that litter is everyone's responsibility. When you buy a can of drink or a packet of crisps it becomes your responsibility. You don't rent the can until you've finished with it. You have bought it and it is down to you to dispose of it correctly - to find a bin or take it home with you.

To highlight the scale of the litter problem in this country, and the cost involved in cleaning it up, Keep Britain Tidy joined forces with The Royal Parks to conduct an experiment in Hyde Park to see what would happen if the cleansing teams simply did not turn up.

For 48 hours over a weekend, the north east corner of Hyde Park was not cleaned in order to see how much litter was left by visitors to the park - and the results were astounding. Volunteers and the cleansing contractors arrived at Hyde Park early Monday morning to be greeted by rubbish strewn across the experiment area and piled up around the railings - cigarette butts, remains of food, empty packaging, bottles, and even used nappies. After two hours, the team had collected 109 bin bags of rubbish, weighing over half a tonne. A shocking insight into our littering habits.

It can be difficult to show people in a meaningful way just how their behaviour impacts on their environment. This was a very clear and simple way of drawing attention to a problem that does not need to exist if everyone takes a small amount of responsibility for their own behaviour and loves where they live, work and play.

Next year, this country, and London in particular, will be seen by a global TV audience of billions when the capital plays host to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. People from across the world will be descending on the city. If we want them to form a good impression of our country, we cannot rely on others to clear up our mess. We have to take responsibility for our own waste and dispose of our litter properly.

Quite simply we all have the power to reduce the £885 million cost of clearing up our streets - at no cost to ourselves. Use the bins which are out there or take your rubbish home with you.

Love Where You Live, a campaign launched this year by Keep Britain Tidy, businesses, government and voluntary groups, is about inspiring people to get back that feeling of pride in our country.

From the very small action of people simply taking responsibility for their own litter and using a bin, through to businesses, manufacturers and councils making it easy for people to do the right thing, every one of us can make a difference to clean up our streets and restore pride to our local areas. It's time we all started showing that we love where we live.
Shared from t'internet

Monday 15 August 2011

Hi, I guess I'm what you might call an untrained polymath. Largely self taught.          Student of the University of life. Child of the Universe. Believed to be terminally retarded (the punishment for which in those days was repeated thrashings) until diagnosed in my early teens as severely myopic.
Neither of my parents wanted me, but after a short and disastrous marriage my mother drew the short straw. Proceeding to remind me on a daily basis and at every level of rage, just what a useless, stupid, good for nothing excrescence of a burden to her I was.

Thrown upon my own devices for much of the time (nowadays it would be called neglect and abuse) I made my connection to the world through Nature. Observing, absorbing and learning from and with the flora and fauna I shared this wonderful world with. Here I was accepted. Gerald Durrell, David Attenborough and the Library fed my curiosity.

Small wonder then that the housing estate built upon my favourite Poppy field, the cutting down of trees,the filling in with rubble of my wild pond, home to three species of newts and the disappearance of the skylarks all felt like physical blows to me.
"What WILL happen to all the plastic bags,if they won't decay?" I would ask, only to be laughed at.
"What will happen to the birds, if you keep using pesticides?"  etc... It just didn't matter, back then. Not relevant to the important business of making money.

I let them laugh. I knew what was important. I was 'that nutter who keeps chickens' on Smith's Estate. 'That southern nutter who grows veg.' before then, at College in Manchester. I 'discovered' and have followed the progress of CAT since 'Those Hippy nutters' built an oasis in a welsh quarry. Kept the faith alive while watching appalled as the world has shrunk and been destroyed wholesale,by people (my elders and betters)who taught me to respect and never harm life. To be kind and considerate to others. To be honest and reliable.
I have never found it easy to live in a world that breaks it's own rules to suit, is inconsistant and dishonest. It is hard to reconcile the super-egotistical righteousness of men, as they preach about goodness and integrity while enslaving the world to base greed and wanton destruction.

Be that as it may. Six years ago life as I knew it ended. I died. Not without some relief, it must be said. I'd worked myself to death trying to keep up with the consumer race. Providing a home for my children, and all the things I never had. Which was quite a lot.

For the past few years I have been reconnecting with what is important to me. My garden being the main aid to my recovery. And the timely disposal of the TV.
Free of the barrage of mind numbing distraction I began to form a plan. Which, having planted the seed, has sprouted into a growing shoot.
I am here to see that SUSTO does it's very best to mitigate, in a small but significant way, some of the terrible harm we have done to our mother Earth.

Most of all, to be an example of how to live 'with' the earth, not in conflict with it.
It's time to wake up folks.
We must be prepared for the consequences of our actions.

Make no mistake, we are building an Ark...and the rain is already falling...

Blowin in the Wind

CNN , 25 July 2011
Ayesha Durgahee and Matthew Knight
Former hippy speeds into new energy age
It looks flash, goes faster than a V12 Ferrari, but this is no ordinary gas-guzzling sports car says its creator, Dale Vince.
Nearly two years in the making at a cost of around $1.6 million, the Nemesis is an electric car powered by wind energy.
That's a lot of time and money to invest in one car but Vince, CEO of UK clean energy company Ecotricity, thinks it's all worthwhile if it helps raise awareness of alternative energy.
"We call our car a wind-powered car because we think it's important not to lose sight in the debate. We all need to switch to electric vehicles, but that energy has to come from somewhere," Vince said.
Borrowing the chassis of a Lotus Exige, the Nemesis is powered by two 125 kilowatt motors which produce 330 brake horsepower. The lithium polymer battery can be recharged in less than two hours and will run for 100-150 miles before it runs out.
UK drivers alone clock up 150 billion miles every year, Vince says, burning 25 million tons of oil in the process.
"If we all had electric cars we could do that with 10,000 of today's windmills or 5,000 of tomorrows because they double in size every few years," he said.
Vince hasn't stopped at cars. An electric tractor is in development and he entered an electric bike at this year's Isle of Man TT Zero Race.
"Motor sport generally is a place of drama and excitement and if we can demonstrate green technologies there, we can show that actually living a more sustainable life isn't about giving something up you can still have fun but we can just do it cleanly," he said.
Vince's passion for renewable energy dates back to 1991, when he was traveling around in a clapped-out bus and living in a trailer pursuing what he describes as "an alternative way of life."
Back then he was unemployed. Today, he employs nearly 200 staff and provides clean power for over 50,000 UK customers.
His transformation from traveler to green tycoon started on a hill outside the town of Stroud in Gloucestershire where he built his first windmill to power his trailer.
He did everything himself from digging the foundation hole to fighting protracted battles with power grid companies and planners. The experience, he says, served as a blueprint for what became Ecotricity, which eventually launched in 1995.
Sixteen years on, Vince operates 52 turbines at locations all over the UK, with dozens more being built or in the pipeline.
Vince never doubted that the company would be a success, but the scale of it has surprised him.
When he started out he hadn't thought that he would be supplying other people with their electricity.
"I just wanted to make big windmills. I used to simply sit around at night and say, why don't they build windmills to make electricity?" he said.
"And it dawned on me, who are 'they?' Why not me, why don't I do it? So I did."