Wednesday, 31 December 2008

*Happy first sub-prime period.

I wish you all a happy allegedly 'first' sub-time period within the next
larger time period imposed on us by the pseudo-scientifisc lackeys of
international finance capital in order to facilitate their exploitation
of the world's working classes!

(Received from a fellow member of Green Left and too good not to recycle)

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Climate change fight could create many jobs: aid experts

by Andrew Newby
DOHA, Nov 30, 2008 (AFP) - Aid specialists support a claim by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that efforts to adapt to climate change could create "millions of jobs" if enough funding is available.

"There is huge potential," particularly in developing countries, according to Poonam Ahluwalia, president of Youth Employment Summit, a US-based group which specialises in the creation of sustainable employment for young people.

"I would like to see a climate change fund that would put money aside to fund youth employment projects in (climate change) mitigation, emission reduction, energy conservation and clean energy production," she said in Doha on Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Financing for Development, Ahluwalia said developing countries have been disproportionately affected by climate change compared with countries where carbon emissions are highest, "and that should be reflected in aid funding."

The UN's Ban said in Doha on Friday that studies show 10 million jobs could be lost because of the global economic crisis.

Taking strong action to adapt to climate change could lead to renewed growth and implementing the relevant technologies could create "millions of jobs," he said.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told delegates on Saturday that efforts to deal with climate change "will fail" unless poorer countries are helped to adapt to the environmental and technological challenges.

A conference on climate change is scheduled to open in Poznan in Poland on Monday, to be followed by a summit next year in Copenhagen, where new emission reduction targets are scheduled to be agreed to follow those of the Kyoto accord.
"Doha and Poznan have to move forward together, hand in hand. Indeed, Copenhagen will not succeed without a serious solution on adaptation," Barroso said.

He told AFP on Friday that projects to deal with climate change and provide energy security can contribute to growth, while renewable energy projects such as solar power "can be a great source of revenue" in developing countries.

Ahuwalia said developing countries need help with funding in order to pay the upfront costs of implementing sustainable technology.

"One project in India is for renewable energy lanterns" which can be assembled locally, creating jobs, but cost 80 dollars -- around eight times the cost of a non-renewable lantern.

But the renewable lanterns cost very little to operate, "so over time can lead to big savings as well as a reduction in carbon emissions," she said.

The YES campaign, funded by the US government aid programme, Microsoft and Levi Strauss, aims to create two million green employment opportunities by 2012.

"We can no longer view addressing the climate crisis, poverty eradication efforts, and providing employment opportunities for youth in developing countries as separate from each other," Ahuwalia said.

Dan Timms, senior spokesman for Oxfam, said the organisation is already implementing many climate change adaptation projects which will maintain existing low-energy occupations or create sustainable new jobs.

"In South Africa, for example, farmers are planting faster-maturing crops, making the most of less-reliable rains. In Bangladesh, villagers are creating floating vegetable gardens to protect their livelihoods against flooding," he said.

"In Vietnam, communities are planting dense mangroves along the coast, to diffuse storm waves."

Timms said it is important that new funding is found to help developing countries adapt to climate change, as there is a threat that some donors may otherwise simply divert aid from other vital projects such as in health or education.

Hilde Frafjord Johnson, deputy executive director of UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, said that for poverty reduction goals to be met, jobs must be found for the large numbers of young people in developing countries.

Adapting to climate change could help fill this need, she said.

In Afghanistan, which Johnson visited recently, 68 percent of the population is under 25 and it is "absolutely critical" that young people there be given opportunities to keep them from being tempted astray.

Globally, UNICEF has previously focused its education work on children of primary school age, but has begun doing more with adolescents to prepare them better for opportunities they may have as adults, she said.

Andrew is a member of Barnet Green Party, but now based in Cyprus.

*Sustainable Investing"

This is the latest book by Nick Robbins, Green Party activist in Merton.

Sustainable Investing

Hardback
October 2008
272 pages
ISBN: 9781844075485
£19.99

Related Subject Areas:
Business and Environmental Management
Economics


Sustainable Investing
The Art of Long-Term Performance
Cary Krosinsky and Nick Robins
Series: Environmental Market Insights
(other books in this series)




'Buy and read this book. Without it, you are playing yesterday's game.'
Robert A. G. Monks

'Essential reading, whether you are an investor, a CEO or simply someone wanting to enjoy both a pension and a world fit for future life.'
John Elkington, co-founder of ENDS, SustainAbility and Volans, and co-author of The Power of Unreasonable People

'A significant contribution to a rapidly growing field ... This is a must-read book for practitioners and investment analysts alike.'
Gordon L. Clark, Oxford University

'This book richly deserves to be read by everyone in the investment community - and many beyond.'
Rob Lake, APG Investments, The Netherlands

Sustainable Investing is fast becoming the smart way of generating long-term returns. With conventional investors now scrambling to factor in issues such as climate change, this book captures a turning point in the evolution of global finance. Bringing together leading practitioners of Sustainable Investing from across the globe, this book charts how this agenda has evolved, what impact it has today, and what prospects are emerging for the years ahead.

Sustainable Investing has already been outperforming the mainstream, and concerned investors need to know how best to position themselves for potentially radical market change.

Reviews
‘This splendid book provides up to date analyses of virtually the entire spectrum of socially related investment possibilities. The field is in a rapid state of change - Steve Viederman’s lovely piece on the Fiduciary remains a constant guide - I recommend to everyone that you buy and read this book. Without it, you are playing yesterday’s game.’
Robert A.G. Monks, shareholder activist and leading founder of the practice of Corporate Governance
next review >>
About the author(s)
Cary Krosinsky is a long-standing expert on the intersection of equity ownership and Sustainable and Responsible Investing, and is now Vice President, North America of Trucost Plc. Nick Robins, former Head of SRI research and SRI funds at Henderson Global Investors, is now Head of the HSBC Climate Change Centre of Excellence.
Contents
Foreword by Steve Lydenberg * Introduction * Part I: The Rise of Sustainable Investing * The Emergence of Sustainable Investing * Sustainable Equity Investing: The Market-Beating Strategy * Investors: A Force for Sustainability * Sustainability Analysis * Part II: Confronting New Risks and Opportunities * Observations from the Carbon Emission Markets: Implications for Carbon Finance * Carbon Exposure * Clean Energy Opportunities * Water * Part III: Sustainability Across the Other Asset Classes * Fixed Income and Microfinance * Sustainable and Responsible Property Investing * Private Equity: Unlocking the Sustainability Potential * Social Businesses * Part IV: Future Directions and Trends * China * India * Civil Society and Capital Markets * Fiduciary Duty * The Global Agenda * Conclusion: Sustainable Investing - The Art of Long-Term Performance * Index

Saturday, 13 December 2008

*ASDA PARKING SCANDAL.

Good little video on the Brent Green Party campaign against Asda lorries

http://uk.youtube.com/BrentGreens

Friday, 12 December 2008

*Green Party eBay auction.

I'm writing to introduce you to the first ever London Green Party online auction. The items have all been donated by Green Party members and whilst anyone can bid for items,all the proceeds from this auction will go towards the London Federation's campaign funds to get Jean Lambert re-elected.

We hope that the four items on sale will be of particular interest to Green Party members and that knowing that your money will be going towards a good cause - you'll feel encouraged to bid.

BIDDING ENDS VERY EARLY ON MONDAY MORNING

Please click on the links below or search for all items on sale in ebay for the user greendean.2009 (there's a '.' in the middle).

(1) A piece of history from the 2008 US Presidential elections.Two pens - one from the Obama campaign and one from the McCain campaign.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250339542517

(2) Another piece of world history - but this time from 1994.A genuine ballot paper from the 1994 Presidential Elections in South Africa with Nelson Mandela standing for the ANC.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250339541602

(3) Where you a member of the party in the early 1980s? A rare example of a sweatshirt sold by the Ecology Party as it was. Likely to be in the early 1980s as the party changed its name in 1985. The label refers to "fibres from Monsanto" but I have been reassured that this is before Monsanto got into GM.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250339539559

(4) Finally, a Lewes Pound. Introduced by the Lewes Transition Town. A lovely article in its own right, but further it symbolises the desire of a local community to ensure that the local economy is strengthened and enhanced. As a gift it will at the very least provoke interesting discussions amongst family and friends this Christmas.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250339537939

If the items listed are not really what you're looking for but you'd like to make a contribution to the campaign funds , then please make a cheque payable to "London Green Party" and send it with your name and address to Graham Lee, London Green Party Treasurer, 58 Beech Avenue, Ruislip, HA4 8UQ.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

*Hornsey Journal article about the Green Room


http://www.hornseyjournal.co.uk/content/haringey/hornseyjournal/news/story.aspx?brand=HCEJOnline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newshcej&itemid=WeED03%20Dec%202008%2011%3A16%3A43%3A810



Newspapers used to become tomorrow's chip wrappers - but one title, detailing a historic event, has managed to survive 108 years.

Tucked away in a small Highgate shop you can find the original newspaper published during the Siege of Mafeking in 1900 detailing when the British Army fought back the Boers after a 217-day siege.

The Green Room in Archway Road has been described as the most unusual shop in London - and it is not hard to see why. Along with the newspaper, which carries the masthead "Published daily, shells permitting", you can find an 80-million-year-old dinosaur egg, a Maggie Thatcher flatulating doll, a piece of dinosaur dung and a Zimbabwean $500,000,000 note.

Noel Lynch, who runs the shop, said: "A friend of mine got the newspaper for us and was kind enough to donate it. I've put a £50 tag on it but it's not something you can really value and you certainly couldn't put an accurate price on it. It will be worth different amounts to different people."

The shop, which is owned by Barnet Green Co-op Ltd, is a not-for-profit charity which promotes and raises funds for environmental causes. It opened in its current location in 2005 and Mr Lynch uses all his resources to make sure it is stocked with the weird and wonderful.

He said: "We have stuff coming in every day. I've got a newspaper from the French Revolution from 1798 and also a letter from the fellow who shot Martin Luther King. Sometimes I look for stuff myself but I have a lot of people who owe me favours and support the shop looking for us."

But Mr Lynch admits that with a low footfall on Archway Road the shop has had to resort to different methods to get prospective customers in the door. He said: "There's not a lot of pedestrian traffic along here so to get around that we proactively try to stock unusual and quirky things that are not too expensive. For us to be able to survive we need to have stuff that people will talk about and remember. We rely on people sending their friends in."

Also in stock are an ancient Roman bronze ring, a replica of the tribute penny used by Jesus Christ in render unto Caesar, a 13th century horseshoe and medieval English ship nails.

*Council leaders offer Lake District as nuclear dump

From The Guardian:

The Labour leadership team at Cumbria county council has agreed to make an "expression of interest" that would pinpoint an area around the Lake District as the most likely place for Britain's first high-level nuclear waste dump. The controversial move was taken on a vote of the council's inner cabinet amid allegations democracy was being stifled and despite a warning from a top scientist that new studies showed a link between atomic sites and incidents of cancer.

Tim Knowles, the council cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues, insisted the decision did not involve "commitments" but merely brought the local authority to the negotiating table. "We're a long way from deciding whether Cumbria is the right place to store nuclear waste deep underground and there's a huge amount of detail required on what community support packages are acceptable, long-term environmental safety and potential site locations," he said.The expression of interest follows a government white paper, which invited local authorities to volunteer to host the burial of nuclear waste in return for investment in roads, schools and other public services. Without a new high-level waste dump the government's plan for new atomic power stations would be hard to achieve.

Friday, 5 December 2008

* Green solutions to recession

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/05/1

Green solutions to recession
The environment is more important than ever and its campaigners must ditch those fancy buzzwords

By Darren Johnson


If past experience is anything to go by, recessions are not kind to green politics. I recall the buzz of campaigning for the Green party in the late 80s. We had an unprecedented explosion of environmental awareness that was rapidly followed by the virtual disappearance of the environment as a political issue when the impact of the early 90s' recession started to bite. After securing 15% of the nationwide vote in the 1989 European elections, those of us who stood on the Green ticket in the subsequent general election three years later were struggling to get 500 votes apiece.

That mustn't happen this time. It is vital that the environmental and the economic challenges we face are dealt with in an integrated fashion. As the Stern report made so clear the economic cost of not dealing with climate change would be devastating compared with the cost of dealing with it.

We also need to make very clear that tackling the recession in a green way is not about producing a gameplan to get us back to growth, credit binges and wildly escalating house prices as quickly as possible. If we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and tackling rather than adding to environmental devastation we need to change our economic priorities, not just while the recession lasts but permanently.

The political mainstream is failing to come up with really creative solutions and seems fixated on short-term answers to boost consumer spending. Yet, so far, the green movement has failed to make its voice properly heard. This is not for the lack of brilliant ideas. The Green New Deal for example, written by a cast of prominent figures from the green movement, puts together a raft of impressive proposals such as a massive home insulation programme to create jobs and cut bills, as well as measures to boost manufacturing of green technology and properly regulate the finance sector.

But are we doing enough to convince people? Especially in times of recession, Greens need to tackle people's everyday fears and aspirations in a way they can relate to in a language that is relevant. Otherwise, environmental concerns will just be seen as an abstract luxury for the good times that can easily be dispensed with once the going gets tough.

I still see far too many leaflets, articles and press releases, however, whether from the Green party or from green pressure groups, that are full of impenetrable jargon, far removed from the everyday conversations in pubs, cafes and workplaces. This has got to change. If we are concerned about dwindling oil supplies then let us say that, rather than use the technocratic geek-speak of the "peak oil" debate. If we want home insulation programmes and green energy schemes to create lots of new jobs for plumbers, roofers and electricians then let's say that, rather than making vague pronouncements about "green collar jobs" and expecting people to know or care what we mean. Jobs that don't sound real, don't look real and don't seem like they will ever pay real money to real people are unlikely to ever capture the public's imagination.

Yes we can be pleased that the green movement is packed full of intelligent, highly-educated and well-read individuals. But if we look back to one of the biggest achievements of the 20th century, few were better educated and more articulate than William Beveridge. Yet he was able to build mass public support for a new welfare state and get millions of people buying copies of a parliamentary report, not by talking elitist gobbledegook, but by talking of the need to tackle the five "giant evils" of want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. The challenges we face today are even greater but if we communicate our solutions effectively there is no reason why we cannot achieve similar levels of popular support for them as Beveridge did.

*IS GOLF CAUSING DIABETES?

IS GOLF CAUSING DIABETES?

HD Pesticides Commonly Used on Golf Courses Linked to Disease: NIH

By Dan Shapley

How green is your green?

A pesticide commonly used on the turf at golf courses was linked to a
whopping 250% increase in diabetes risk to the workers who apply the
pesticides, according to one of the largest studies of its kind,
by the National Institutes of Health.

The chemical, trichlorfon, was associated with an 85% increase in risk
of diabetes for even infrequent users, and a 250% increase in risk for
those who had applied it more than 10 times. Of those who used the
chemical frequently, 8.5% developed diabetes, versus 3.5% of those who
had never used it. The same pesticide has been used to kill
cockroaches, crickets, bedbugs, fleas, flies and ticks, but its main
current use is on turf, such as at golf courses.

It was the most extreme connection researchers found between pesticide
applicators and diabetes, but not the only one. Use of any of the
pesticides studied for more than 100 days in a lifetime increased
diabetes risk 17%. The other pesticides studied were aldrin,
chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, alachlor and cynazine, all of which
are chlorinated pesticides.

Diabetes affects nearly 21 million Americans, and rates of disease
have been increasing dramatically in recent years, particularly among
children.

"The results suggest that pesticides may be a contributing factor for
diabetes along with known risk factors such as obesity, lack of
exercise and having a family history of diabetes," said Dale Sandler,
Ph.D., chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of
Environmental Health Services and co-author on the paper. "Although
the amount of diabetes explained by pesticides is small, these new
findings may extend beyond the pesticide applicators in the study."

The study focused only on adults whose work requires them to use
pesticides repeatedly. That said, there were more than 30,000 people
in the study, so the results have real statistical weight. Though the
same pesticides are often used in households in off-the-shelf
formulations, and though some can be found on residue in foods,
researchers said the risk to the general population is probably low.
Some of those pesticides studied have already been removed from the
market because they were deemed unsafe for other reasons.

"This is not cause for alarm," Sandler said, "since there is no
evidence of health effects at such very low levels of exposure."

Still, the study raises clear questions about the safety of these
pesticides for workers, and if the results continue along the lines of
similar studies of similar chemicals, health risks linked to lower
exposures, particularly for children, may be only a matter of time.
Families can take this study as another piece of evidence that the
cure may be worse than the ill when it comes to dealing with pests
around the house.

And for golfers, think twice about kissing your ball for good luck.
(Better yet, ask some hard questions of your favorite golf courses and
see if you can inspire some changes that will make the course safer
for golfers, and the groundskeepers.)

Copyright 2008 Hearst Communications, Inc.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

*Christmas without Cruelty Fayre - tomorrow.

Tomorrow is one of the highlights of the year for Animal Rights people - The CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CRUELTY FAYRE at Kensington Town Hall, just a few yards from Kensington High Street Tube. 10am-5pm. It will be packed with stalls, so a great place to pick up ethical seasonal presents. There will also be interesting fringe events.

One of the highlights will be the annual auction that have conducted for several years. I haven't yet seen the auction list, but there are always unusual and tempting ideas. Top lot last year was Tony Benn's pipe. The previous year it was Miss England's bikini.

I will also be running the Green Party stall, so come along and have a word.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

*DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT BY POSTAL SCAM

This comes from Haringey Police:


Be aware that the Trading Standard Office and Royal Mail have advised that a scam is being operated across the country in the run up to Christmas. This involves a card being posted through doors at private residences, or to company post rooms, from a firm called PDS (PARCEL DELIVERY SERVICE) suggesting they were unable to deliver a parcel and they need to contact them on a number beginning 09066611…..DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER!! It is a premium rate number and part of a postal scam originating from BELIZE, once connected you will pay £15.

*London Mayor cancels cycle lanes as new budget pays for red light rephrasing

Jenny Jones has commented on the London Mayor's annual allocation of money from the Transport for London (TfL) budget, to the boroughs. A cut in the planned budget for borough spending on cycling, follows the dropping of London Cycle Network plus (LCN+) from the TfL financial plan.

" The mayor has cut £10m off the budget for cycle lanes in London and used the money to help fund a new £11m budget for traffic light rephrasing. This might well please a few motorists who want to get through red lights faster, but it is a stab in the back for cyclists in London. After years of waiting for more than a few painted lines, cyclists were starting to see real changes made to road layouts, dangerous junctions and roundabouts. The boroughs had bid for £38m of spending to deliver the London Cycling Network on their roads and had expected to get £20m this year, instead they only have £10m."

"Local cyclists have spent the last three years working on schemes, often having to overcome the resistance of reluctant traffic engineers. What we needed this year was a Mayor with some backbone and the desire to remove the physical barriers to cycling in London. The cycling Mayor was meant to be on their side, yet he has now halved the funding for London's biggest cycling scheme"

Monday, 17 November 2008

BBC/JEREMY CLARKSON/"KILL PROSTITUTES" complaint

I have had this reply from BBC to my complaint about the Jeremy Clarkson "Kill prostitutes' outburst:

"Top Gear is BBC Two's long-running motoring show and its audience has clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona and exaggerated humour."

So, what they are saying is that Clarkson can say anything he likes or maybe they are giving him just enough rope:-)

Friday, 14 November 2008

*Campaigner wins pesticide victory

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/7729112.stm

A campaigner has won a legal victory in a long-running battle with
the government over the use of pesticides.

A High Court judge ruled Georgina Downs, who lives near Chichester,
West Sussex, had produced "solid evidence" that residents had suffered harm.

Mr Justice Collins said a European order aimed at defending rural
dwellers from possible exposure to toxins during crop-spraying had
not been followed.

Ms Downs said the government "should now admit that it got it wrong".

Ms Downs, who lives on the edge of farm fields, launched her
independent UK Pesticides Campaign in 2001.

On Friday, the judge granted her application for judicial review of
the policy of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra had argued that its approach to the regulation and control of
pesticides was "reasonable, logical and lawful".

The judge said Ms Downs was 11 years old when she was first exposed
to pesticide-spraying and began to suffer from ill-health, with
flu-like symptoms of a sore throat, blistering and other problems.

Ms Downs argued that the government failed to cater for the needs of
residents "who are repeatedly exposed to mixtures of pesticides and
other chemicals throughout every year, and in many cases, like mine,
for decades".

People were not given warnings about what was to be sprayed near
their homes and gardens, she complained.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Collins said it was interesting to note
that the 1986 Control of Pesticides Regulations stated that
beekeepers must be given 48 hours' notice if pesticides harmful to
bees were to be used.

"It is difficult to see why residents should be in a worse position," he said.

Defra said the protection of human health was "paramount"

Ms Downs has collected evidence from other rural residents reporting
health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease, ME and asthma
which they believe could be linked to crop-spraying.

The judge said "defects" in Defra's approach to pesticide safety
contravened a 1991 EC Directive.

He ruled that the result of his judgment was that Environment
Secretary Hilary Benn "must think again and consider what needs to be done".

Ms Downs said she was very pleased with the ruling.

"The UK government's relentless and extraordinary attempts to protect
industry, as opposed to people's health, has been one of the most
outrageous things to behold in the last seven years of my fight."

A Defra spokesperson said the protection of human health was "paramount".

"Pesticides used in this country are rigorously assessed to the same
standards as the rest of the EU and use is only ever authorised after
internationally approved tests," he said.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

*MONSANTO IS WATCHING YOU

Following yesterday's GM post, I got a message from the moderator of the Haringey GP blog that Monsanto had been on their site having come through The Green Room blog.

Talk about 'Big Brother' At this rate I most have quite a file in Monsanto:-)

The Green Room blog is also banned in China.

Monday, 10 November 2008

*10 reasons why we don't need GM foods

This article's taken from the new banGMfood.org website - part of a project aimed at helping people ensure their voices are heard amidst the current wave of pro-GM propaganda.

If you want to print this article as a leaflet for distribution to family,
friends, colleagues etc., then you can download a PDF that will enable you to
print a double-sided A4 leaflet:
http://www.bangmfood.org/images/stories/10reasons.pdf

The leaflet also encourages people to take action and refers them to the website for this purpose and for the supporting references.

TAKE ACTION: For how to take action if you're in the UK:
http://www.bangmfood.org/take-action

10 reasons why we don't need GM foods
_http://www.bangmfood.org/publications_


With the cost of food recently skyrocketing – hitting not just shoppers but the poor and hungry in the developing world – genetically modified (GM) foods are once again being promoted as the way to feed the world. But this is little short of a confidence trick. Far from needing more GM foods, there are urgent reasons why we need to ban them altogether.

1. GM foods won't solve the food crisis

A 2008 World Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices.[1] GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of the lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) — while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!

QUOTE: "The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis; and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry." - Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent[2]

QUOTE: "The cynic in me thinks that they're just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that's bullshit." - Prof Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales[3]

2. GM crops do not increase yield potential

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialised crops.[4] In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya,has suffered reduced yields.[5]

QUOTE: "Let's be clear. As of this year [2008], there are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil.Not one." - Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman, former biotech specialist for the US Environmental Protection Agency and former advisor on GM to the US Food and Drug Administration[6]

3. GM crops increase pesticide use

Official data shows that in the US, GM crops have produced an overall average increase,not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.[7]

QUOTE: "The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield. But let me tell you none of this is true." — Bill Christison,President of the US National Family Farm Coalition[8]

4. There are better ways to feed the world

A major recent UN/World Bank-sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists,and endorsed by 58 countries, concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change,because better alternatives are available.[9]

5. Other farm technologies are more successful

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world.[10]

Other plant breeding technologies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GM genetic mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.[11]

QUOTE: "The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us understand crops better. That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [than GM]." - Prof John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics, John Innes Centre[12]

6. GM foods have not been shown to be safe to eat

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects.[13] Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food.[14] It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up.

QUOTE: "We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences." - Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)toxicologist

7. Stealth GMOs in animal feed - without consumers' consent

Meat, eggs and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labelled. Studies have shown that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products.[15] As GM foods have been shown to affect animals' health, eating such "stealth GMOs" may affect the health of consumers.

8. No one is monitoring the impact of GM foods on health

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored theconsequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.[16]

9. GM and non-GM cannot co-exist

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the US rice supply and seed stocks.[17] In Canada, the organic oilseed rape industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM rape.[18] In Spain, a study found that GM maize "has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible".[19]

The time has come to choose between a GM-based, or a non-GM-based, world food supply.

QUOTE; "If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods,soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It's a one way choice,like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it's made, it can't be reversed." - Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development[20]

10. We can't trust the GM companies

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception.[21] GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world's food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating farmers for the "crime" of saving patented seed or "stealing" patented genes - even if those genes got into the farmer's fields through accidental contamination by wind or insects.[22]

QUOTE: "Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use and cannot sell." - Tom Wiley, North Dakota farmer[23]

References at _http://www.bangmfood.org/publications_

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

*Ofcom set to clear Jeremy Clarkson over prostitutes quip

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article5081378.ece

Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent / November 4, 2008

Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, is set to dismiss complaints about a joke by Jeremy Clarkson, the presenter of BBC's Top Gear, about lorry drivers killing prostitutes, The Times has learnt.

The controversial broadcaster made an offhand remark on Sunday night's programme, on BBC2, as he and fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond found out what it was like to drive heavy goods vehicles.

Clarkson suggested that "murdering prostitutes" was as much an issue for lorry drivers as fuel economy.

He said: "This is a hard job and I'm not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it's a hard job.

"Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."

Notorious prostitute killers Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, and Steve Wright, also known as the Suffolk Strangler, were both lorry drivers.

This morning the BBC said it had received 517 complaints about the joke, with Ofcom also confirming that it had received calls about the show.

But it is understood that the industry regulator, which is thought to have received only a handful of complaints, is likely to rule that the comments did not fall foul of the broadcasting code.

An Ofcom spokesman said: "We are looking at complaints we have received but are not currently investigating the programme."

The complaints come in the week after the corporation was shaken by the row over obscene phone calls on Radio 2, which saw Jonathan Ross suspended without pay for 12 weeks, and Russell Brand and Lesley Douglas, the station controller, resigned.

Prostitute welfare groups said that the remarks were insensitive. A spokeswoman from English Collective of Prostitutes said: "This is a truly heartless comment."

Brian Tobin, director of the ICENI Project, an Ipswich charity that had worked with some of the prostitutes killed by Wright, said: "I just think it was highly distasteful and insensitive. Maybe people on the BBC should think a bit more before saying some of the things they keep coming out with.

"It is around the time of the anniversary of the girls' deaths and it's a very delicate time. I saw it on Top Gear. It made me cringe."


A BBC spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona.

"This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence."

May defended his colleague. Speaking on Radio 5 Live he said: "We did put it through the compliance lot and they said it was okay. Lorry drivers are free to go and kick Jeremy's head in if they see him by the side of the road.

"It's Jeremy. He's being bombastic. I don't think for a moment anyone imagines that he actually means it. He doesn't really believe that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes or that they should. He's being deliberately fatuous. It's what he does."

.....................................................

So what the BBC and James May are saying is that it's OK to be offensive as long as you are Jeremy Clarkson.
noel

Monday, 3 November 2008

Jeremy Clarkson: ' Kill prostitutes'

It will be interesting to see if the right-wing press have the same feeling of moral outrage over the disgusting remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson on last night's Top Gear.

Clarkson in describing the work of truck drivers said "....Change gear.....kill a prostitute....change gear....kill a prostitute..."

I hear that his co-presenter has been defending him with the comment "Oh, that's just how Jeremy talks. He does not mean anything"

WRONG!!!! It's totally unacceptable!

Interestingly, last night's show does not seem to be available on the web.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

*Thames Estuary airport

MAYOR QUESTION TIME:

Thames Estuary airport
Question No: 2032 / 2008
Jenny Jones
Will the study being undertaken by GLA officers in to your proposal for an airport in the Thames Gateway consider the difficulties to construction that could be posed by the wreckage of liberty ship SS Richard Montgomery, which sank off the coast of Sheerness in 1944 carrying a cargo of explosives, around 1,500 tons of which are reportedly still on board the wreckage?


Answer from the Mayor:
Thank you for highlighting this important issue.
I will make sure that my officers consider the implications of this in their current evaluation of Thames Estuary airport options.

....................................

Funny that Boris should embark on his cock-eyed proposals without knowing of the existence of this wreck, which if exploded, would take a fair bit of the coast with it.

Friday, 24 October 2008

*An evening with Percy Schmeiser

What would GM crops mean for British Farmers?

An evening with Percy Schmeiser

Chaired by Jenny Jones, Green Party Member of the London Assembly

Wednesday, 29th October 2008

6.30pm Drinks and buffet at Gaia House
(18 Well Walk, London, NW3 1LD)

7.30pm Talk and discussion at Burgh House
(Opposite Gaia House, New End Square, London NW3 1LT)

The British public has shown it has no taste for GM crops. Now, however, climate change and world food shortages have placed them back on the political agenda.

Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser is in the UK to talk about the effect that growing GM crops commercially is having in his home country. He will share his astonishing experiences about the knock-on effects of GM contamination, which have gained him worldwide recognition, and will discuss what GM crops could mean for British farmers and the right to choose food free of GM contamination.

Book a place please contact Sarah Nicholl on sarahn@gaianet.org or 020 7428 0055.
Reserve your place online at http://www.gaiafoundation.org/learning/online.php or send a cheque for £10 to
The Gaia Foundation, 6 Heathgate Place, Agincourt Road, London, NW3 2NU. Booking for this event is essential.

Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada. He specializes in breeding and growing canola. He became an international symbol and spokesperson for independent farmers’ rights and the regulation of transgenic crops during his protracted legal battle with agrichemical company Monsanto. He is recipient of the 2007 Right Livelihood Award.

For more information see www.percyschmeiser.com

Jenny Jones is an ex-archaeologist and former chair of the Green Party. She has been a Member of the London Assembly since 2000 and was elected as the first Green member on Southwark Council in 2006. In her former role as chair of London Food, Jenny played an important part in shaping the mayoral Food Strategy for London. She is also the former Deputy Mayor of London and in 2004was named as one of 200 ‘women of achievement’

Thursday, 23 October 2008

*On BBC Essex

I have just been interviewed on BBC Essex about the Cherie Blair suit and the story of her knickers.

Yesterday's write-up in the Daily Mail is here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1079505/RICHARD-KAY-Sir-Jocelyn-tame-marry.html

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

*Cherie's bargain

The Green Room is mentioned in to-day's Daily Mail - page 41 Richard Kay column.

It's a story about a dress previously owned by Cherie Blair which is now for sale in the Green Room.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

*New arrivals in the Green Room

Star lot in this week is a small piece of hair from the head of John F. Kennedy.

Celebrity hair is, pound for pound, now the most valuable commodity in the world.

Also just in:

Original ballot paper for the first free South African elections. Features Nelson Mandela - Zimbabwe $500,000,000 note - Roman Nails - Medieval English Ships nails - Victorian coffin nails - A Gladstone calling card -Bush Snr. and Saddam puppets - Roman bronze fire starter.

Among the other unusual items for sale:

Charles Manson autograph - Ancient Egyptian Ushabti - Casanova Tarot Cards - "Iraq Most Wanted" playing cards - DINOSAUR EGG, approx. 80 million years old - A COMMEMORATIVE BRICK made for Charles & Di wedding - GORDON BROWN DOG TOY - A pipe previously owned and autographed by TONY BENN - FOSSIL FISH, 56 million years old - An original Denarius of Tiberius, the TRIBUTE PENNY as used by Jesus Christ in 'render unto Caesar' - An old 78 rpm record of Ramsay MacDonald's speech at the 1929 Labour convention - A Piece of DINOSAUR DUNG - An ancient ROMAN BRONZE RING - Piece of HAIRY MAMMOTH tusk - A MAGGIE THATCHER FLATULATING DOLL - A rare 1917 CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR MAGAZINE and thousands of books and records.

The Green Room is open seven days per week, 10am to 6pm and often later. Only 200 yards from Highgate Tube with busses 43, 134 and 26s passing the door.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

*Mavericks object to McCain.

Samuel Augustus Maverick, went to Texas in the 1800s and became famous for not branding his cattle, which led to unbranded cattle being called "mavericks."

The Maverick family has been active in progressive politics for generations, including Fontaine Maury Maverick, who was a congressman and his son, a firebrand lawyer who defended draft resisters.

The Mavericks object strenuously to McCain's being labelled a maverick, saying: "He's a Republican. He's branded."

*THE PRAYER OF SIR FRANCIS DRAKE

Disturb us Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us Lord, when, with the abundance of things we possess, We have lost our thirst for the waters of life. Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity. And in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us Lord, to dare more boldly. To venture on wider seas. Where storms will show your mastery; Where, losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; And to push into the future, in strength, courage, hope and love.

Friday, 17 October 2008

*OFFICER ‘FELT FOR MENEZES KILLERS’

That headline appeared in one of yesterday’s papers! No word for the innocent man executed for ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’ to quote the Pogues song about another miscarriage of ‘justice’

The officer also goes on to say that his officers ‘were prepared to shoot dead the suspect without orders from bosses’

Actually the gunmen came within a hair breath of shooting the very brave officer who had effectively tackled Jean Charles, pinning his arms to his sides, making shooting totally unnecessary.

Judicial executions were banned many years ago, but it seems that there are armed and legalised executioners loose on our streets. What happened to Jean Charles could have happened to any of us.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

*Speech by Rosa Clemente

http://www.votetruth08.com/index.php/component/seyret/?task=videodirectlink&id=53

An inspiring speech by Rosa Clemente, the latino, hip hop journalist from New York who is the Green Party’s Vice Presidential candidate.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

*Majority say keep hunt ban

A new MORI poll shows a majority of Tory supporters want to retain the Hunting Act, despite the party itself pledging a repeal as soon as it gains office.

But the poll itself has sparked fury among hunt supporters amid claims the question asked a sample of more than 2,000 voters by the respected polling organisation MORI was biased against hunting.

It is understood the Countryside Alliance is to complain about the way MORI conducted the poll, eight months after having a similar complaint against the polling organisation upheld.

The results of the poll revealed 59% of people who consider themselves Tory voters wanted to see the ban on hunting kept, and only 30% wanted to repeal it.

Among voters of all parties, 75% supported the ban, while MORI said there had been a marked decrease in support for repealing the ban - down from 22% to just 16%. And of voters in a rural area, 71% supported the ban on hunting, according to the poll.

*Green New Deal

From Darren Johnson. Green Party Member of the London Assembly:

Greens have been warning for several years that London's economy has been massively over-reliant on the financial services sector. It was folly to think we could rely so much on the City and the inevitable fluctuations in global finance to deliver London's jobs and economic prosperity. That is why Green Party Leader, Caroline Lucas MEP, unveiled proposals for a Green New Deal to get our economy on a more secure and a greener footing.

The plans are inspired by President Roosevelt's 'New Deal' - his comprehensive plan to pull the USA out of the Great Depression. This time, the Green New Deal is about providing solutions to the credit crisis, climate change and dwindling oil supplies. The Green New Deal proposes schemes like free insulation for every home and low cost loans for green energy projects, both of which would create many thousands of new jobs in green industries.

These, combined with measures to properly regulate the banking sector and crack down on tax evasion will help us beat the credit crunch, tackle unemployment and dramatically cut carbon emissions. It is definitely time for a change in direction.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

*Roseanne supports Green candidate.

Roseanne Barr comes out with some typically feisty comments re the US elections and her support for Cynthia McKinney and the Greens.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/uselectionroadtrip/2008/oct/14/roseanne-barr-marc-maron


She has really upset some of the Guardian's more moronic readers:-)

Saturday, 11 October 2008

*Brigitte Bardot denounces Sarah Palin

Sixties sex idol Miss Bardot has described Mrs. Palin as 'disconcertingly stupid' for ‘denying the responsibility of man in global warming’ and ‘by advocating gun rights’.

She also told the mother of five, who once dubbed herself a 'pitbull with lipstick': 'I know dogs well and I can assure you that no pitbull, no dog, nor any other animal is as dangerous as you are.

'You are a disgrace to women and you alone represent a terrible threat, a true environmental catastrophe.'

*EXPOSURE TO CHEMICAL MAY AFFECT GENITALS OF BABY BOYS

By Lisa Szabo, USA Today

Baby boys are more likely to have changes in their genitals -- such as undescended testicles and smaller penises -- if their mothers were exposed to high levels of a controversial chemical during pregnancy, a new study shows.

Virtually everyone has been exposed to the chemicals, called phthalates, which are used in countless plastic products and are found in everything from drinking water to breast milk to household dust, according to the study, published in the current issue of Environmental Research.

Until recently, most studies have been conducted in animals. Those tests suggest that phthalates interfere with the male sex hormone testosterone, causing a "phthalate syndrome" in male fetuses that changes the way their genitals develop, says study author Shanna Swan, a professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Swan says her study of 106 mothers and sons suggests this syndrome may be occurring in humans, too.

In her study, doctors measured phthalate levels in the mothers' urine during pregnancy, then examined the babies at 12 months.

Boys whose mothers had the highest phthalate levels were more likely than others to show three anatomic differences: smaller penises, a shorter distance between the anus and base of the penis, and undescended or incompletely descended testicles, Swan says.

Swan also notes that most boys had normal sex organs. Twelve had incompletely descended testicles, while 29 babies fell into a category with "shorter" anogenital distances.

In most cases, these aren't serious problems, Swan says. Babies with undescended testicles often need no treatment, because the organs descend on their own by age 1. Others can be helped with hormone treatments or surgery. And even the smaller penises appeared to be within the normal range.

But Swan says she's concerned that these changes indicate a deeper problem -- that phthalates may have made the boys "less masculine" in key ways. In animals, males with these genital changes also had lower sperm counts, she says.

Swan says she is also concerned about girls. It's possible that any effects from pre-birth phthalate exposure may not surface until the girls hit puberty or try to have children, she says.

In her paper, she notes that other researchers have linked phthalates to reduced sperm quality and DNA damage, as well as hormone changes, reduced lung function and premature puberty.

Friday, 10 October 2008

*Green industry has power to create new green jobs

Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London, launched her new report Green Work: Employment and skills – the climate change challenge. The publication finds that the UK is failing to expand its green industries and in doing so is trailing many other European countries when it comes to creating new green jobs.

Around 40% of Europe’s total wind capacity is located in the UK, but we produce little more than 4% of its wind energy. This lack of investment in green industries means that the UK has, at very best, 26,000 jobs in renewable energy, while Germany has 250,000.

Jean Lambert, who is a Member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, said:

“There is high unemployment in London and an urgent need for skills training and investment in green industries. The government must enable the UK to prosper as a green industry leader to reap the associated environmental, economic and social benefits.”

For more information see Green Work: Employment and skills – the climate change challenge, at www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Thursday, 9 October 2008

*Booklet on animal protection.

This new booklet explores the achievements of the UK Green MEPs, Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas, in the European Parliament.

They continue to demand better protection of animals and push animal rights to the top of the political agenda.

It covers the following topics:

• EU ban on battery cages for laying hens

• Animal experiments

• Cat and dog fur trade

• REACH legislation and animal testing

• Seal products trade

• Wild animals and habitats

• Animals in ‘entertainment’

• Live animal exports

• Intensive farming

It is available at http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/document_detail.php?id=87


For hard copies of this publication please contact jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk

*US debt clock runs out of digits

US debt clock runs out of digits
The US government's debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.

The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.

The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.

The clock's owners say two more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.

Douglas Durst, son of the late Seymour Durst - the clock's inventor - hopes to replace the Manhattan clock with its lengthier replacement early next year.

For the time being, the Times Square counter's electronic dollar sign has been replaced with the extra digit required.

For its part, the digital dollar symbol has been supplanted by a cheaper version - perhaps a sign of the times for the American economy.

Some economists believe the $700bn bail-out plan for ailing US financial institutions could send the national debt level to $11 trillion.

From the BBC website.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

*Myth-busting report criticises London Mayor's demonisation of youth

A report issued today by Jenny Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly and of the Metropolitan Police Authority, has condemned the unremittingly negative portrayal of young people by journalists and politicians.

The report, 'Young People and Crime: Busting the Myths,' is released as London Mayor Boris Johnson AM takes the chair of the MPA for the first time; Ms Jones has criticised Mr Johnson for encouraging fear of young people in order to win support for his Mayoral campaign.

Jenny Jones said:

"71% of media stories on the young are negative. Boris Johnson rode to power on the back of rising fear of youth violence embodied by those stories - a fear he stoked with paranoid rhetoric on soaring gang-membership and rising knife crime. This report shows that rhetoric to be baseless. Youth violence fell by over 10% between May 2007 and April 2008, while just 2000 of London's 1.72 million young people are involved with gangs."

"That is still unacceptably high, but using young people as a political punchbag clearly won't help. Teenagers simply feel alienated from a society which responds to their problems with indiscriminate tools such as knife-arches which make everyone a suspect. That alienation and suspicion ultimately undermines real efforts to tackle crime.

"Boris Johnson must promote a positive attitude to the young, and to do so he must challenge the myths he started."

1. 'Young People and Crime: Busting the Myths' is available here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/files/reports/2008/Youth_Crime_Jenny_Jones_Oct08.pdf

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

*The credit crunch and sub-primes

For a bullshit free explanation of the present financial problems see Bird & Fortune in the following clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwRFoxgEcHc

Sunday, 5 October 2008

*Charles targets GM crop giants in fiercest attack yet

In a provocative address to an Indian audience, the Prince echoes Gandhi
with a stinging attack on 'commerce without morality'. Geoffrey Lean reports


It is less than two months since Prince Charles was on the receiving end of a fusillade of scientific, political and commentariat criticism for voicing,yet again, his concerns about GM crops and foods. He was widely accused of "ignorance" and "Luddism"; of being too rich to care about the hungry, and even of trying to increase sales of his own organic produce. It was put about that Gordon Brown was angered by his intervention.


Yet the Prince has responded by stepping up his campaign, making his most anti-GM speech yet, in delivering – by video – the Sir Albert Howard Memorial Lecture to the Indian pressure group Navdanya last Thursday. And he made it clear that he was going to continue. "The reason I keep sticking my 60-year-old head above an increasingly dangerous parapet is not because it is good for my health," he said " but precisely because I believe fundamentally that unless we work with nature, we will fail to restore the equilibrium we need in order to survive on this planet."

True to his word, he plunged straight into the most controversial and emotive of all the debates over GM crops and foods by highlighting the suicides of small farmers. Tens of thousands killed themselves in India after getting into debt. The suicides were occurring long before GM crops were introduced, but campaigners say that the technology has made things worse because the seeds are more expensive and have not increased yields to match.

The biotech industry strongly denies this, but two official reports have suggested that there "could" be a possible link.

Prince Charles expressed no doubts in his lecture, delivered at the invitation of Dr Vandana Shiva, the founder of Navdanya, and one of the leading proponents of the technology's role in the deaths. He spoke of "the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming in part from the failure of many GM crop varieties".

Much of the controversy surrounds claims of failures by a Monsanto GM cotton called Bollguard. The GM company says that "farmers in India have found success" with it, and cites a survey in support. Its opponents produce evidence of their own to show the opposite.

But Prince Charles did not stop there. Broadening his offensive, he said that "any GM crop will inevitably contaminate neighbouring fields", making it impossible to maintain the integrity of organic and conventional crops. For the first time in history this would lead to "one man's system of farming effectively destroying the choice of another man's" and "turn the whole issue into a global moral question." He quoted Mahatma Gandhi who condemned "commerce without morality" and "science without humanity". He added: "One must surely ask the question whether – if only from a precautionary point of view – it might be wise to keep some areas of the world free from GM-based agriculture."

The Prince attacked the contention that "GM food is now essential to feed the world", saying that the evidence showed that modified crops' yields were "generally lower than their conventional counterparts". He called them "a wrong turning on the route to feeding the world in a sustainable or durable manner" and "a risky and expensive distraction, diverting attention and resources away from those real, long-term solutions such as crop varieties which respond well to low input systems that, in turn, do not rely on fossil fuels." There was substantial evidence "to show that a growing world population can be fed most successfully in the long term by agricultural systems that manage the land within environmental limits".

Recent research had shown, he added, that organic farming techniques had increased yields in Brazil by 250 per cent and in Ethiopia were up fivefold, while the world's biggest international agricultural study – headed by Professor Bob Watson,now chief scientist at Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs – had backed organic farming,rather than GM to tackle word hunger.

Kirtana Chandrasekaran of Friends of the Earth said: "Prince Charles is right that GM crops and industrial farming are profiting big businesses, not feeding the world's poorest."

To have your say on this or any other issue visit
_www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs_

Thursday, 2 October 2008

*Meltdown

From the Green Humour list:

......and looking specifically at the problems facing the Japanese economy:

Following the problems in the sub-prime lending market in America and the run on Northern Rock in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan.

In the last 7 days Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.

Yesterday,it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after they nose-dived.

While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.

Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that staff may get a raw deal.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

*10 WAYS GLOBAL WARMING COULD HURT YOUR HEALTH

By Sarah Baldauf
From: U.S. News & World Report,

Scientists the globe over have observed changes that are impacting
individuals' health and have also created models to predict where we might be headed. Here's a sampling of what we could be discussing with our doctors in the decades to come.

** Stepped-up sniffling. Allergies -- from ragweed in the fall to tree pollen in the spring -- are predicted not only to become stronger but also to enjoy lengthened seasons because of less frost and earlier blooming. Fungal spores (those outdoors and in moist basements) will most likely thrive, tickling the throats of many.

** Algae-related complaints. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, thrive and bloom in the rising temperatures of bodies of water, from municipal water systems to the Great Lakes and Florida's Lake Okeechobee. The algae have been linked to digestive, neurological,liver, and dermatological diseases.

** Painful kidney stones. Because of higher temps and more dehydration, the crystallized calcifications that must be passed -- often painfully -- through the urinary tract could plague an additional 2.2 million people a year by 2050, researchers estimate. The current "kidney stone belt," which includes southern states like Florida, the Carolinas, and Arkansas, could extend up into Kentucky and northern California.

** Exotic infections. Dengue fever, malaria, and encephalitis, while not exactly household names, have seen U.S. outbreaks and upticks in incidence in recent years. Mosquitoes and plankton, which flourish in warmer water temperatures, play a key role in transmitting such diseases.

** Itchier cases of poison ivy. Poison ivy appears to become more potent as carbon dioxide levels rise, research has suggested.

** Surplus of stings. Alaska's warming has heralded a sixfold rise in severe stings reported, and the buzzing bees, wasps, and yellow jackets are showing up in spots never before seen. Alaska may be a harbinger for the rest of us, as its temperature changes have been the most significant in the United States.

** Fewer fruits available. The value of crops produced in the Yakima River Valley -- more than 6,ooo square miles of orchards and farmland east of Seattle -- may drop almost a quarter as temperatures rise over the coming decades. Less water for irrigation from nearby mountain snowpack could drive down fruit availability and drive up the cost of the produce.

** Upsurge in summertime hacking and wheezing. Cool breezes coming down from Canada could diminish, driving up ozone pollution at ground level -- particularly in the Northeast and Midwest -- say some Harvard scientists. Possible result: irritated lungs, especially in people with respiratory illness.

** Deluge of heat-wave deaths. Already a risk to the very young and the very old in the summer months, strings of hot and humid days are expected to become more frequent and more severe, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In California, for example, such deaths could double by 2100.

** Bigger coastal storms. The flooding associated with the likes of Katrina and Ike and the physical and mental stresses that ensue are expected to occur more frequently as storms surge around the world. By 2050, a 1-foot rise in sea level is predicted, which could worsen flood damage by 36 to 58 percent.

*CELEBRATING (?) EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY

From: Global Footprint Network, Sept. 23, 2008


CELEBRATING (?) EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY

On September 23rd this year we marked an unfortunate milestone:As of that day, humanity will have consumed all the new resources the planet will produce this year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations. For the rest of 2008, we will be in the ecological equivalent of deficit spending, drawing down our resource stocks -- in essence, borrowing from the future.

The recent bank failures in the United States have shown what happens when debt and spending get out of control. We are seeing signs of similarly disastrous consequences from our ecological overspending.

Climate change, shrinking forests, declining biodiversity and current
world food shortages are all results of the fact that we are demanding
more from nature than it can supply.

Humans now require the resources of 1.4 planets

Just like any company nature has a budget -- it can only produce so
many resources and absorb so much waste each year. Globally,we now demand the biological capacity of 1.4 planets, according to Global Footprint Network data. But of course, we only have one.

Earth Overshoot Day (also known as Ecological Debt Day) was a concept devised by Global Footprint Network partner NEF (New Economics Foundation). Each year, Global Footprint Network calculates humanity's Ecological Footprint (its demand on cropland, pasture, forests and fisheries), and compares this with the amount of resources the world's lands and seas generate. Our data shows us that in less than 10 months we consume what it takes the planet 12 months to produce.

Earth Overshoot Day creeps earlier every year Humanity has been in overshoot since the mid 1980s, when the first Earth Overshoot Day fell on December 31, 1986. By 1995 it was more than a month earlier, arriving on November 21. Ten years later it had moved another six weeks earlier, to October 2, 2005.

What contributes to our increasing demand? Part of the story is that there are simply more people on the planet requiring nature's services. In some areas of the world -- most notably in high income regions like the U.S. and Europe, as well as industrializing nations like China -- per capita resource consumption has also been
increasing.

In other areas of the world, however, including India and parts of Africa, per capita Ecological Footprints have actually declined, likely as a result of there being less resources available per person.

Carbon is also a big part of the story, as it is the greatest contributor to ecological overshoot. Humanity is emitting carbon faster than the planet can re-absorb it. Our carbon Footprint has increased more than 700 percent since 1961.

United Nations business-as-usual projections show humanity requiring the equivalent of two planets by 2050. (For details see Global Footprint Network and WWF's Living Planet Report 2006). This would put Earth Overshoot Day on July 1, and means it would take two years for the planet to regenerate what we use in one year. Reaching this level of ecological deficit spending may be physically impossible.

What Can I Do to End Overshoot?

Global Footprint Network and its international partner network is focused on solving the problem of overshoot, working with businesses and government leaders around the world to make ecological limits a central part of decision-making everywhere.

Citizens can take action to get out of overshoot in their own lives:

eating less meat, driving and flying less, and using less energy in the home. They can also encourage government and business leaders to build communities with smart infrastructure planning and best-practice green technology. Use our interactive calculator to determine your own Ecological Footprint and learn what you can do to reduce it.

With international commitment to end overshoot, Earth Overshoot Day can become history instead of news.

==============

Global Footprint Network 312 Clay Street, Suite 300 Oakland CA 94610

Friday, 26 September 2008

*Media pluralism: EU Parliament opposes regulation of blogs

Yesterday the European Parliament adopted a resolution on media concentration and pluralism, which was tabled by the Greens/EFA, PSE and ALDE political groups. Green MEP Helga TrĂ¼pel, vice-president of the media and culture committee, commented:



"Parliament has sent a clear signal that media pluralism is essential in democratic societies. Citizens must have access to a wide range of media and information. Media concentration limits this freedom.


"Parliament has expressed its support for a Charter of Media Freedom. There must be social and legal guarantees for publishers and journalists. Greens oppose any move to assign a legal status to blog authors and publishers, as well as calls for disclosure of interests and voluntary labelling. We do not want to regulate private blogs or set a legal framework that would encourage lawsuits.



"Unlawful content is already covered by national civil and criminal laws. Extending regulation would only endanger the freedom of press. Copyright in new media does pose some new questions however. Granting police powers to service providers is not the answer. New solutions must be found to pay royalties to artists."

Thursday, 25 September 2008

*Creating Millions of New "Green" Jobs

...A report released yesterday shows that a new green economy is emerging,
creating millions of jobs in the next decades that will help tackle climate
change. Whether creating clean-burning fuels, installing solar water
heaters, or improving the energy efficiency of homes and offices, new jobs
will form a key part of the market for environmental products and services,
which is expected to reach $2.7 trillion by 2020.

The landmark study, funded and commissioned by the UN Environment Programme under a joint Green Jobs Initiative with the International Labour Office,the International Trade Union Confederation, and the International Organization of Employers, was produced by the Worldwatch Institute, with technical assistance from Cornell University's Global Labor Institute.

Read: Global Economy Special Focus: Green Jobs
Read Also: Press Release: Landmark New Report Says Emerging Green Economy

http://www.unep.org/civil_society/Features/greenjobs-launch.asp
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5840?emc=el&m=148698&l=4&v=6c75fce517
http://www.unep.org/labour_environment/features/greenjobs.asp

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

*A Good idea!

Aimee Nathan, is an 18 years old and attends North London Collegiate School in London.

She currently involved in a campaign called ‘Battlefront’ which involves 20 young campaigners campaigning for something they feel passionately about.

Her campaign is for people to bring their own coffee mugs with them when they go to a coffee store. Currently, over 400 billion cups of coffee are sold every year world wide. The cups that coffee come in are completely non-recyclable, and although some are made from recyclable materials, they themselves cannot be disposed of in a ‘green’ way.

Her particular campaign is one of 5 within Battlefront to be filmed by channel 4 for a series which will be shown later on this year, probably around November time


Here is a message from her:

Last year I was involved in a young enterprise company called 'Original Sin' and we made environmentally friendly organic cotton bags. The aim of the bags was to stop people taking plastic bags from supermarkets, but rather use ours and make a positive difference to the environment.

I started to think about other environmental issues which add the most to the problem of waste and ruining our planet, which led me to coffee cups. Every year more than 400 billion cups of coffee are sold, meaning that billions of plastic and cardboard cups are being thrown into the environment. I realised that taking your own mug to a cafe or coffee chain is one of the simplest things to do, yet nobody does it. For those who buy one, two or even three coffees a day, they could personally save between 365-1095 cups a year just by taking their own with them when they get a coffee.

I also plan to find out which coffee chains offer lowered costs for those who bring their own mugs with them, and find out why these schemes are not more widely publicised.

Hopefully, towards the end of my campaign I will have changed the views of both the consumer and the coffee chains. People will start taking responsibility for their actions, to take a mug with them when they get a coffee, and start to think more about our environment and the planet we live on.

Aimee Nathan
aimeenathan@hotmail.co.uk

Monday, 22 September 2008

*NEW ARRIVALS IN THE GREEN ROOM.

Among the recent arrivals for sale in The Green Room are:

Charles Manson’s autograph.

A hair from JFK.

An ancient Egyptian Ushapti.

A Soviet Communist Party ID document.

Victorian hand-made coffin nails.

Medieval hand made shipbuilding nails.

A Flexidisk c1969 ‘Songs for swinging voters’ published by the Tories.

An LP of Dylan Thomas reciting poetry.

Book: ‘Simple meals for the working classes’

Pack of ‘Iraq Most Wanted’ playing cards.

Ancient Roman bronze ring.

Rare 1917 Conscientious Objector magazine.

Neolithic East African trading beads.

Collection of 1938 London wrestling cards.

Maggie Thatcher Spitting Image jug, to join our Maggie Thatcher flatulating doll.

Hundreds of books and records piling in nearly every day.

We are open seven days per week, 10am-6pm. However, we will be closed on Sunday next due to the London Green Party AGM.

Last week, the Daily Mirror sent down a reporter and photographer, so the Green Room will be appearing on that publication in the near future.

We also appeared in Times Online.

*Mayor challenged over estuary airport plans

London's Mayor will be asked to justify his proposal to commission a study into the feasibility of a new airport east of London.

The Mayor has agreed to Darren Johnson's request that his officers meet the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to discuss their concerns over the impacts on migratory birds and the legal protections which cover wildlife on the proposed site of the airport.

"The Mayor has committed to working to cut London’s CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025. Effectively moving Heathrow to outside of London looks like a crude attempt to export London’s CO2 emissions instead of trying to reduce them"

"Instead of pursuing madcap ideas to move Heathrow airport to an island in the middle of the Thames, the Mayor should be looking at how we can reduce the volume of air traffic at Heathrow in order to cut CO2 emissions, cut air pollution and cut noise levels."

Thursday, 18 September 2008

*Battle in Seattle

From: Mark Sanders-Barwick

About two years ago I became aware of a fantastic movie called Sharkwater that followed a young filmmaker named Rob Stewart aboard a Sea Shepherd vessel in the Galapagos Islands.

The movie records the plight of a species that is at the point of extinction and exposes the corruption behind the cause of its demise. At the time I was a volunteer for the Shark Trust and got them in touch with Rob who agreed to work with them as the official conservation partner in the UK

. On the board of Shark Trust Trustees was Steve Roest - the Twickenham Green Party candidate. Steve and I worked hard with Sharkwater Productions eventually getting the movie into sixteen cities around the UK.

The movie and the work of Sea Shepherd had such an impact on us that we "jumped ship" to Sea Shepherd and joined forces with activists in the UK that had served on Antarctica campaigns to strengthen to presence of Sea Shepherd in the UK. Steve is now UK director of Sea Shepherd and is off to Antarctica in November to join Operation Musashi against the Japanese whaling fleet.

Yesterday evening, I received an email from Sharkwater productions, the makers of Sharkwater, advising of a new movie to be released in the US based on the events of November 1999 in Seattle.

In November 1999, 50,000 people protested against the WTO summit, when free speech was taken away in favour of free trade. Despite a police crackdown, they showed their support and made history as a plan to expand the WTO's reign of corporate globalization was derailed.

On September 19 in the US, a new film, Battle in Seattle, which tells the story of what really happened, opens in select theatres. Starring Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Woody Harrelson and others, this is your chance to support free speech. Will you join the battle?

I'm trying to get the movie into the UK so please visit:

www.battleinseattlemovie.com to see a trailer and click on "Bring Film to Your City" to request the film to come to London.

I've already contacted the distributors directly. Please distribute to as many lists as possible & post to your Facebook pages to get this movie over in the UK.

It worked for Sharkwater!


Mark Sanders-Barwick
83A Langham Road
Teddington
Middlesex
TW11 9HG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 8274 0625
Mobile +44 (0)7973 268916

*JASON AND THE SECRET CLIMATE CHANGE WAR

From the Sunday Times

By Naomi Oreskes and Jonathan Renouf

Today the scientific argument about the broad principles of what we
are doing to the Earth's climate is over. By releasing huge quantities
of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the
atmosphere we are warming the world.

Since the early 1990s there has been a furious debate about global
warming. So-called climate change "sceptics" have spent years
disputing almost every aspect of the scientific consensus on the
subject. Their arguments have successfully delayed significant
political action to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. Recent
research reveals how the roots of this argument stretch back to two
hugely influential reports written almost 30 years ago.

These reports involve a secret organisation of American scientists
reporting to the US Department of Defense. At the highest levels of
the American government, officials pondered whether global warming was
a significant new threat to civilisation. They turned for advice to
the elite special forces of the scientific world -- a shadowy
organisation known as Jason. Even today few people have heard of
Jason. It was established in 1960 at the height of the cold war when a
group of physicists who had helped to develop the atomic bomb proposed
a new organisation that would -- to quote one of its founders --
"inject new ideas into national defence".

So the Jasons (as they style themselves) were born; a self-selected
group of brilliant minds free to think the unthinkable in the
knowledge that their work was classified. Membership was by invitation
only and they are indeed the cream. Of the roughly 100 Jasons over the
years, 11 have won Nobel prizes and 43 have been elected to the US
National Academy of Sciences.

For years, being a Jason was just about the best job going in American
science. Every summer the Jasons all moved to San Diego in California
to devote six weeks to working together. They were paid well and
rented houses by the beach. The kids surfed while their dads saved the
world. Less James Bond, more Club Med.

Today the Jasons still meet in San Diego in a quaint postwar
construction with more than a hint of Thunderbirds about it. In 1977
they got to work on global warming. There was one potential problem.
Only a few of them knew anything about climatology. To get a better
understanding they relocated for a few days to Boulder, Colorado, the
base for NCAR -- the National Center for Atmospheric Research -- where
they heard the latest information on climate change. Then, being
physicists, they went back to first principles and decided to build a
model of the climate system. Officially it was called Features of
Energy-Budget Climate Models: An Example of Weather-Driven Climate
Stability, but it was dubbed the Jason Model of the World.

In 1979 they produced their report: coded JSR-78-07 and entitled The
Long Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate. Now, with
the benefit of hind-sight, it is remarkable how prescient it was.

Right on the first page, the Jasons predicted that carbon dioxide
levels in the atmosphere would double from their preindustrial levels
by about 2035. Today it's expected this will happen by about 2050.
They suggested that this doubling of carbon dioxide would lead to an
average warming across the planet of 2-3C [3.6 to 5.4 degrees
Fahrenheit]. Again, that's smack in the middle of today's predictions.
They warned that polar regions would warm by much more than the
average, perhaps by as much as 10C or 12C [18 to 21.6 degrees
Fahrenheit]. That prediction is already coming true -- last year the
Arctic sea ice melted to a new record low. This year may well set
another record.

Nor were the Jasons frightened of drawing the obvious conclusions for
civilisation: the cause for concern was clear when one noted "the
fragility of the world's crop-producing capacity, particularly in
those marginal areas where small alterations in temperature and
precipitation can bring about major changes in total productivity".

Scientific research has since added detail to the predictions but has
not changed the basic forecast. The Jason report was never officially
released but was read at the highest levels of the US government. At
the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Frank Press,
science adviser to President Jimmy Carter, asked the National Academy
of Sciences for a second opinion. This time from climate scientists.

The academy committee, headed by Jule Charney, a meteorologist from
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), backed up the Jason
conclusions. The Charney report said climate change was on the way and
was likely to have big impacts. So by the late 1970s scientists were
already confident that they knew what rising carbon dioxide levels
would mean for the future. Then politics got in the way. And with it
came the birth of climate change scepticism.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected president. He was pro-business and
pro-America. He knew the country was already in the environmental dog
house because of acid rain. If global warming turned into a big issue,
there was only going to be one bad guy. The US was by far the biggest
producer of greenhouse gases in the world. If the president wasn't
careful, global warming could become a stick to beat America with.

So Reagan commissioned a third report about global warming from Bill
Nierenberg, who had made his name working on the Manhattan Project
developing America's atom bomb. He went on to run the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography where he had built up the Climate Research
Division. And he was a Jason. Nierenberg's report was unusual in that
individual chapters were written by different authors. Many of these
chapters recorded mainstream scientific thinking similar to the
Charney and Jason reports. But the key chapter was Nierenberg's
synthesis -- which chose largely to ignore the scientific consensus.

His basic message was "calm down, everybody". He argued that while
climate change would undoubtedly pose challenges for society, this was
nothing new. He highlighted the adaptability that had made humans so
successful through the centuries. He argued that it would be many
years before climate change became a significant problem. And he
emphasised that with so much time at our disposal, there was a good
chance that technological solutions would be found. "[The] knowledge
we can gain in coming years should be more beneficial than a lack of
action will be damaging; a programme of action without a programme for
learning could be costly and ineffective. [So] our recommendations
call for 'research, monitoring, vigilance and an open mind'."

Overall, the synopsis emphasised the positive effects of climate
change over the negative, the uncertainty surrounding predictions of
future change rather than the emerging consensus and the low end of
harmful impact estimates rather than the high end. Faced with this
rather benign scenario, adaptation was the key.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. Similar arguments have been
used by global warming sceptics ever since Nierenberg first formulated
them in 1983. Global warming was duly kicked into the political long
grass -- a distant problem for another day. At a political level,
Nierenberg had won.

But this was only the beginning of his involvement in what eventually
became a movement of global warming sceptics. A year after his report
came out he became a co-founder of the George C. Marshall Institute,
one of the leading think tanks that would go on to challenge almost
every aspect of the scientific consensus on climate change. Nierenberg
hardened his position. He began to argue not just that global warming
wasn't a problem, but also that it wasn't happening at all. There was
no systematic warming trend, the climate was simply going through its
normal, natural fluctuations.

The creed that Nierenberg originated all those years ago still has its
dwindling band of followers. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-
presidential candidate, recently responded to a question about global
warming by saying: "I'm not one who would attribute it to being man-
made."

==============

Professor Naomi Oreskes is a historian of science, researching the
history of climate change. Dr Jonathan Renouf is producer of Earth:
The Climate Wars, 9pm tonight on BBC2

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

*National Anti Fur March and Rally

Saturday 27 September, London.

Meet at noon in Belgrave Square, SW1

For more details and a map go to
http://www.caft.org.uk/furmarch/2008.htm

Ten days to go to the biggest anti-fur demo of the year. Please make every effort to attend this important protest and encourage your friends and colleagues to attend too.

If you're travelling from other parts of the country and can offer lifts to other campaigners, please let us know and we can put you in touch. Also, contact us if you can display or distribute flyers to advertise the march.

Following the very successful anti-fur march in London in December, we shall be marching against fur again on Saturday 27September around the Knightsbridge area, taking the anti-fur message right to the heart of the UK's retail fur trade.

As well as reaching thousands of shoppers and tourists, the march will take
us past some of the most notorious retailers and designers of fur, including Gucci, Prada, Escada, Versace, Fendi, Joseph, Armani and Burberry, as well as the notorious Harrods, the only department store in the UK still selling real fur.

For more details nearer the time keep an eye on this page, or if you have
any questions contact london@caft.org.uk or 07899 775493, or 07866 879851

http://www.caft.org.uk/furmarch/2008.htm

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

*Boris does another u-turn.

Only a few months after leaving ‘Mayor’s for Peace’, Boris Johnson has made the following statement to the London Assembly:

"I have reviewed my initial decision and decided that London will remain a member of Mayors of Peace.

"Membership of Mayors for Peace does not involve any significant use of GLA resources. I agree with the principles of Mayors for Peace, which deplore acts of violence and that cities should be spared the scourge of war. In this context, I consider my continuing involvement with the network to be efficient, reasonable and a good thing for Londoners."

*"Power to the disabled people"

Commenting on a DWP conference, 'No-one written off' at which no speaker from any disabled people's organisations had been invited to speak or even to participate, Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party Alan Wheatley today said, "I have learned that when New Labour talk about 'service user involvement' what they really mean is service user enslavement.

"As Disability Action Network said in gatecrashing the event, 'Nothing about us without us; our expertise cannot be written off.'

"While there is currently much talk about global recession, the Government's plans for welfare reform as directed by investment banker David Freud amount to state sponsored human trafficking and a drive to keep wages low." David Freud of think-tank the Portland Group believes that it is 'economically rational' to award private companies £62,000 for each disabled person on Incapacity Benefit they can get into paid work. It is not surprising that the DWP excluded disabled people from such an event as this.

At a recent RADAR debate open to disabled people's organisation, before David Freud spoke most of those present voted in favour of the motion 'This house believes that most disabled people can and should work" After two speeches for and two against that motion, the motion was heavily defeated in a U-turn.

A replacement motion, "This house believes the majority of disabled people can work — and should do so with effective support and benefits protection" received 74 votes in favour and none against.

Speaking from the floor, Mr Wheatley pointed out that disabled people on Jobseekers Allowance are not allowed to work even an hour on the national minimum wage without it affecting their Jobseekers Allowance. The £5 per week 'allowable earnings entitlement' for jobseekers on unemployment-related benefits has not changed since 1988, and Jobseekers Allowance admin call-centre lines are now in meltdown, leaving JSA claimants who do part-time, temporary paid work in danger of severe hardship. "The Government's welfare reform guru had no answer to what I said from bitter personal experience," the Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party stated. Power to the disabled people.

'Community Spirit, Sharing Skills Award' runner up 2007 with Peter Bedford Housing Association, Alan Wheatley assists as a volunteer in teaching Web Design skills to people with mental health problems, while being a Jobseekers Allowance claimant.

*The Green Room on TIMESONLINE

Post Office closures, a "green" secondhand shop, and Britt Ekland's chamberpot
By John-Paul Flintoff


http://timesonline.typepad.com/environment/2008/09/post-office-clo.html

Sunday, 14 September 2008

* Guerilla sunflowers spring up around London

On May 1, International Sunflower Guerilla Day, eco-warriors around Europe planted sunflowers in celebration of the first day of summer and nature's fertility.

Guerilla gardening is a slightly subversive way of making ugly, neglected bits of public space beautiful by planting seeds and plants in the dark of night and waiting for them to grow. The result of the midnight efforts of one brave group of gardeners is now in full bloom.

London's guerilla gardeners planted sunflowers across the Thames River from the Houses of Parliament. They found an abandoned rose garden, cleared away the weeds and rubble and threw hundreds of sunflower seeds there. Four months later, despite the gloomiest August in the UK since records began--105.5 hours of sunshine, against an average for the month of 165 hours--a field of splendid tall sunflowers have appeared. They bloom in defiant optimism, thanks to the tolerance or neglect of the municipal garden keepers. A great reason to participate in your neighbourhood; or start a group yourself.

Barnet Green Party has done several pieces of guerilla gardening, most notably at Tally Ho in North Finchley. This is the site of a huge monstrosity misnamed ‘The Art Centre’ In the planning application there was mention of ‘landscaping’, but when Barnet GP brought up the issue after building was completed, we were told: “There IS landscaping – several large concrete pots” Apparently ugly and empty concrete pots fulfilled Barnet Council’s idea of ‘landscaping’. Barnet GP planted shrubs and flowers over two years and now local residents are themselves tending them.

Some years ago, Barnet Council got rid of their gardeners. However, the gardeners had the last laugh. Before they left, they did some seeding outside the council offices. Some months later the leader of the council looked out of his office window and saw a very rude word growing on the lawn:-)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

*'Poverty: Just a fact of modern life?'

Guest posting from my friend Alan Wheatley, Disability Spokesperson of the London Green Party.

'Culture of Poverty' theory underpins the 'no such thing as society, only individuals and their families' administering of contemporary social work outlined in Mark Ivory's discussion, 'Poverty: Just a fact of modern life?' (Community Care, 11 September - online title 'Poverty taken for granted in modern society'). The public relations strategy of this approach works hypocritically when complaints leak to the media: "We cannot comment on individual cases," they say.

A 19th Century churchman said, "For every person who's poor because of drinking, I'll show you a person who drinks because they're poor."

In response to the gin addiction problem highlighted by Hogarth's works, 19th Century government gave cash incentives to farmers toward getting people off gin and onto beer which was thought to be more nutritious. The French poet Baudellaire cited wine, poetry and virtue as options for getting drunk on.

In the 21st Century, "The Learning & Skills Council exists to make England better skilled and more competitive." I would argue that the LSC is drunk on its own rhetoric while incidentally promoting 'Culture of Poverty' propaganda and wasting resources. "Education, education and education" is not "resources, resources and resources."

In reality, I know people in poverty and with criminal records who have learning difficulties and have been let down by lack of quality time and resources in education. Crime is a social construct — how about a maximum wage? Families with disabled children are more likely to be poor. The cut-off between adult and children's social services denies lifelong continuity. Too much of 'education' is oriented to getting individuals to attempt to 'make the grade' in a 'knowledge economy' world of diminishing resources.

I connect with people through volunteering, poetry etc as the Green Party way is toward equipping social actors to develop and implement a Manifesto for a sustainable society.

Alan Wheatley, BA Interdisciplinary Subjects (Major: Sociology)
Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party