Village cleanup on 31st October
Do you need a grant for a community project?
Community orchard
Book review
Green news

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Newsletter of Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) -   October 2015, no 41
Village clean-up on 31st October
As tradition demands we will meet at 10am at the Chapel on Saturday 31st October where you will be given an area for litter picking, gloves, sticks to pick the litter up with and plastic bags for the rubbish. 

Afterwards there will be tea, coffee and cakes at the Chapel – in line with tradition.

Many hands make the job easier!
A public meeting on Thursday 12th November at 7.30 pm at the Chapel will decide which project will receive the grant. So if you have a project that will benefit the community and need some cash for the project please email with some details of the project.

You will be able to explain your project to the public meeting for up to ten minutes and to answer any questions. If you want to use a powerpoint presentation there will be a projector, screen and laptop.

The grant will be at least £300 – paid by BEAT. However, any money donated to BEAT via up to the 12th November will be added to the £300. Any donation to BEAT can be Gift Aided if you are a taxpayer, which will add 25% to your donation.

At the public meeting we will also have two speakers: Olivia Walter will speak on her trip to Indonesia helping tigers avoiding being caught by hunters and Ashley Sharp will be speaking on his Transcontinental  Race bicycle trip from Belgium to Istanbul.

Community orchard
Asylum seekers from the local Together We Grow project have done further work on the steps from the entrance to the community orchard to the picnic table and the bench making it easier for anyone to come and enjoy the views. You are welcome to eat and drink there. All we ask is for you to take any you litter with you when you leave.

This winter we will arrange a free pruning workshop and plant a handful of fruit trees on the site with Mark Simmonds. BEAT has some tools for this but if you also have some feel free to bring them.
Book review
Geoff Tansey & Tony Worsley: The Food System – a guide, Earthscan 1997, £13.95 (although also available for £2.16), 259 pages

Although this excellent book is now 8 years old it is still a good introduction to the food system. The basics are still the same today. However, it would be worth updating the book as certain things have changed since it was written: like the spread of food banks and the growth of community food businesses.

Our food system is now a global market, with the biggest and richest players setting the rules. The book explains how this global food system is primarily aimed at benefitting the rich countries and a few global food corporations.

There is a good description of how the food system interacts with the biosphere (water, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and minerals), how soil is over-intensively used and depleted at an alarming rate across the world. “Throughout the world’s arid zones, half a million hectares of irrigated lands become desertified each year…”

The book gives a short history of how humans obtained food – from the first hunter-gatherers to today, what they ate when. It describes the first, second and third food revolution.

Food is not just eaten for its nutrias value. It is very much related to our culture and certain food affects the brain (like a feeling of pleasure – which can lead to addiction) Social status also affects what you eat.

The second part of the book looks at the key actors – from production, transport, processing and retailer to consumer. The general trend is toward concentration into fewer bigger players: bigger farms, bigger corporations, and bigger retailers. In such a system the consumers have limited powers.

Part three of the book looks at food control, tool for control, food law and policies and what new policies should include.

Although the book describes the global food system there is also a lot of details on the specific UK situation. It is a book than can empower the reader.
Green News
  • You'll probably be surprised at how much water went into making your t-shirt and jeans.
  • The world produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2013 alone.
  • There are now a billion automobiles on the road worldwide.
They say you get what you pay for — but in today’s global marketplace, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to know exactly what it is you are actually paying for even when buying something as simple as a t-shirt.

Washington D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute seeks to fill that gap in consumer knowledge with Vital Signs, Volume 22: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future, a new report that examines trends in global production and consumption patterns along with the proper context for understanding the impacts these trends are having on our health and the planet.

“Consumers often do not know the full footprint of the products they are buying, such as the embedded water in a t-shirt or steak, the pesticide exposure of cotton farmers, or the local devastation caused by timber companies cutting down forests to produce paper,” Michael Renner, Vital Signs project director for Worldwatch, said in a statement.

For instance, did you know that there are now a billion automobiles on the road worldwide — with all of the carbon emissions that entails?
Also, ever wonder just how much plastic we actually make?

We produced nearly 300 million tons of plastic in 2013 alone, but recycling rates are still very low. The majority of plastic products, according to the report, end up in landfills or the ocean, where they pollute ecosystems and ensnare wildlife. In the US, less than 10 percent of plastic was recycled in 2012, with the rest constituting some 13 percent of solid waste disposed of by Americans that year.

And lest you assume that a rising economic tide is lifting all boats, consider that we’re producing twice as much coffee globally as we were in the 1960s, yet despite the increased demand some 25 million coffee growers’ livelihoods are threatened by extremely volatile coffee prices.

The amount of meat produced worldwide has quadrupled over the last 50 years, reaching 308 million tons in 2013. According to the report, this has had “considerable environmental and health costs due to its large-scale draw on water, feedgrains, antibiotics, and grazing land.”

Even though global hunger is decreasing, as the report notes, 1 in 9 people still go hungry.

So how much water is in your shirt? A t-shirt takes 2,720 liters of water to make, per the report. Your jeans? 10,850 liters.

Renner writes that “untrammeled consumerism” is responsible for many of the health and environmental challenges facing the world’s population today, including air and water pollution and climate change.

“As various articles in this edition of Vital Signs show, consumption choices matter greatly.”

Article published by Mike Gaworecki on September 16, 2015.
Britain's wildlife sites at risk of Government's fracking revolution
Hundreds of precious wildlife sites are at risk from the government's "fracking revolution", says the Daily Express, reporting on RSPB research. Nearly 300 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are within areas recently licensed for possible fracking exploration, says The Guardian. Ministers laid out the "national need" for fracking in a policy statement and planning statement to parliament yesterday. Stuart Winter, Daily Express

UK poll reveals 'overwhelming' public support for community renewables
More than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community, a poll has found.
Europe will have 'climate refugees tomorrow' without ambitious Paris deal, warns Juncker
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has called for an ambitious climate deal in Paris in December, and warned rising temperatures could worsen the migrant crisis Europe is currently facing. In his State of the Union speech, Juncker said Europe's priority is to adopt a robust and binding global deal, reports Carbon Pulse: “Let me be very clear to our international partners: the EU will not sign just any deal."

Juncker also warned that the future refugees would come to Europe to escape the worst impacts of climate change: "We are tackling the root causes of the next migration wave in the coming decades," he said. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Bangladesh is going ahead with an ambitious plan to reclaim land from the sea to help relocate people who have lost their homes to sea level rise, erosion and extreme weather. Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
The governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney warned that climate change poses huge risks to financial stability. Speaking to Lloyds, the world's largest insurance market, he said that physical and financial costs would jump due to the rapid increase in weather-related catastrophes.

The world's leading countries should do more to ensure their companies come clean about their current and future carbon emissions, he said - and highlighted the risk insurers were particularly exposed to.