Tuesday, 31 July 2007


From ‘Ask Bob Rankin’

Kermit the Frog told us that it's not easy being green, but that
concept also applies to computers and how they can be more friendly
to our planet. Normally, we think of gas guzzling cars, factories,
pesticides, and such when considering environmental impacts.

So what does "green" signify in the context of everyday computing?

In a world where computers are ubiquitous, and environmental concerns are growing by the day, we need to consider how we can build, use and dispose of computers in an earth-friendly manner. Read on to learn how computers impact the environment, and how YOU can practiceGreen Computing to make a difference...


Sunday, 29 July 2007

*Shop staff strip off in protest at packaging


Shop staff strip off in protest at packaging
By Diana Pilkington

Wimbledon shoppers got an eyeful of a cheeky display this afternoon when staff at Lush stripped off.

For one hour, employees at the cosmetics store bared all, with only an apron to hide their modesty.

The luscious sight had a serious message behind it though, as the pinafore-clad workers helped passerby get to the bottom of an important issue - urging people to go naked by purchasing goods with no packaging.

Trainee manager Wendy Reiding said: "The staff at this branch are very much into recycling and being as green as possible, so we were really excited by the idea.

"For the first 10 minutes I felt quite uncomfortable, but it wore off because the main bits were covered".

"Our aprons said 'Ask me why I'm naked' so lots of people spoke to us, and we got a nice reaction. I think we got our point across."

According to Lush, packaging contributes to two per cent of overall greenhouse gases, and plastic uses eight per cent of the world's oil resources.

Lush tries to eliminate packaging by selling solid, naked products - such as shampoo bars, conditioners, massage bars and soaps - which do not need to be put in plastic bottles.

The store's naked campaign was part of a national effort, with similar events happening in 55 cities in the UK.

"Packaging is rubbish and for too long we have had to suffer excessive amounts of it," said Lush founder Mark Constantine.

"Now that the true financial and environmental costs are becoming obvious, customers are challenging manufacturers and retails to cut the wrap."

Friday, 27 July 2007


We have a huge stock of books for sale in the Green Room and more arriving every day. You can see some listed on our on-line store at ABE by hitting the link below:


We have a sale of paperbacks on at the moment:
'Pick your own' - 50 books for £15 (Normal price 50p-£2 each)

We are open seven days per week. Come along and get the bargains!


An economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning.

The theory offered by the economist,Rick Nevin,is that lead
poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the
United States.It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for
fluctuations in the crime rate,and it is based on studies linking
children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their

What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical,decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.

"It is stunning how strong the association is,"Nevin said in an
interview."Sixty-five to ninety percent or more of the substantial
variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by

Through much of the 20th century,lead in U.S. paint and gasoline
fumes poisoned toddlers as they put contaminated hands in their
mouths.The consequences on crime, Nevin found, occurred when
poisoning victims became adolescents. Nevin does not say that lead isthe only factor behind crime,but he says it is the biggest factor.

Nevin says his data not only explain the decline in crime in
the 1990s,but the rise in crime in the 1980s and other fluctuations
going back a century. His data from multiple countries,which have
different abortion rates,police strategies,demographics and economic conditions,indicate that lead is the only explanation that can account for international trends.

Because the countries phased out lead at different points,they
provide a rigorous test:In each instance,the violent crime rate
tracks lead poisoning levels two decades earlier.

"In Britain and most of Europe,they did not have meaningful
constraints[on leaded gasoline]until the mid-1980s and even early
1990s,"he said."This is the reason you are seeing the crime rate
soar in Mexico and Latin America,but[it]has fallen in the United

Lead levels plummeted in New York in the early 1970s,driven by
federal policies to eliminate lead from gasoline and local policies to reduce lead emissions from municipal incinerators.Between 1970 and 1974,the number of New York children heavily poisoned by lead fell by more than 80 percent, according to data from the New York City Department of Health.

The later drop in violent crime was dramatic.In 1990,31 New Yorkers out of every 100,000 were murdered.In 2004, the rate was 7 per 100,000--lower than in most big cities.The lead theory also may explain why crime fell broadly across the United States in the 1990s,not just in New York.

The centerpiece of Nevin's research is an analysis of crime rates and lead poisoning levels across a century.

Other evidence has accumulated in recent years that lead is a
neurotoxin that causes impulsivity and aggression,but these studies
have also drawn little attention.In 2001, sociologist Paul B.
Stretesky and criminologist Michael Lynch showed that U.S. counties
with high lead levels had four times the murder rate of counties with low lead levels, after controlling for multiple environmental and socioeconomic factors.

In 2002,Herbert Needleman,a psychiatrist at the University of
Pittsburgh, compared lead levels of 194 adolescents arrested in
Pittsburgh with lead levels of 146 high school adolescents:The
arrested youths had lead levels that were four times higher.

"Impulsivity means you ignore the consequences of what you do,"said
Needleman, one of the country's foremost experts on lead poisoning,
explaining why Nevin's theory is plausible.Lead decreases the ability to tell yourself, "If I do this, I will go to jail."

Nevin's work has been published mainly in the peer-reviewed journal
Environmental Research

Nevin's finding may even account for phenomena he did not set out to
address.His theory addresses why rates of violent crime among black
adolescents from inner-city neighborhoods have declined faster than
the overall crime rate--lead amelioration programs had the biggest
impact on the urban poor. Children in inner-city neighborhoods were
the ones most likely to be poisoned by lead, because they were more
likely to live in substandard housing that had lead paint and because public housing projects were often situated near highways.

(From The Washington Post)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

*Global Warming has killed over 1m in 7 years!

The World Health Organization estimates climate change has already directly or indirectly killed more than 1 million people globally since 2000.

More than half of those deaths have occurred in the Asia-
Pacific, the world's most populous region. Those figures do not include deaths linked to urban air pollution, which kills about 800,000 worldwide each year,according to WHO.

See the full story on Rachel’s Environment Weekly:

Monday, 23 July 2007


Petition to help dogs in Dublin

Urgent News from Dogs Trust.
Dublin City Council has recently banned 11 breeds of dog (including
Rottweilers, Bull Terriers and German Shepherds) from all their properties,including houses, flats and estates. Existing tenants are being given a chance to rehome their animals, but if alternative accommodation can't be found, then the dogs will be destroyed. It also seems likely that these breeds will be banned from public parks - which means dog owners living in private accommodation will also be affected.

A petition to reverse the decision has been organised by Irish lobbying group ANVIL (Animals Need a Voice in Legislation). So please sign the petition today by clicking this petition link ...


and please pass this email onto everyone you know who cares about dogs.

To find out more about this injustice, you can visit our DoggySnaps
As we all know, it's a small minority of irresponsible owners that give breeds a bad name - to punish an entire breed and all its owners is simply ridiculous. We are urging Dublin City Council to punish "deeds not breeds."

Whilst you may not live in Ireland,breed-specific legislation is
becoming more commonplace all over the world, so please help us to send a signal to legislators everywhere that dog lovers will unite to oppose ill-informed, cruel laws which punish innocent dogs and their owners.

On behalf of everyone at ANVIL and Dogs Trust,thank you for your invaluable support.
Your friends at Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity. Visit us at

DoggySnaps is the online dog community website run by Dogs Trust. To
find out more, visit www.doggysnaps.com

Sunday, 22 July 2007

*Plane/train race.

'Tortoise and the hare' story from John Stewart:

Just occasionally events go wonderfully, spectacularly in our favour.

It happened in the Big Ben to Eiffel Tower plane/train race HACAN
and NOTRAG staged on June 16th.

The racers set off, in the full glare of the TV cameras, from Westminster as Big Ben struck 11 o'clock.

The train people settled comfortably in their seats and left Waterloo on time just after midday.

The plane people made their way to Heathrow and then...the plane sat on the tarmac for an hour because of heavy showers in Paris.

So, at the moment the train arrived at the Gare du Nord around 3pm, the plane was just taking off from Heathrow.

Just after 3.30 (UK time) the train people emerged from the metro near the Eiffel Tower to an enthusiastic welcome from the French campaigners and the French media.

Around 4.00pm the plane people disembarked at Charles de Gaulle Airport and then...because of an immigration alert at the airport could not retrieve their luggage until 5.00pm, i.e. another hour's wait

Meanwhile the train people, having had a civilised beer on the Champs Elysees, were making their way back to the Gare du Nord to catch the train home.

At 6.30, the train people were relaxed, on Eurostar, speeding through the French countryside on their way home while the plane people were just arriving at the Gare du Nord, having abandoned any attempt to rendezvous at the Eiffel Tower.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


The Green Party has donated a batch of brand new t-shirts to The Green Room.

These t-shirts are made from 100% organically grown cotton and using vegetable ink.

5 FOR £20 (post paid)

All are size M, but they seem to be a big medium.

Sunday, 15 July 2007


Many older people who suffer from incontinence are becoming
isolated as a result of public toilet closures. Incontinence is
second only to dementia as a cause for moving into residential
care, yet councils fail to recognise the value of public toilets.

To find out more, read the new research report, Nowhere To Go from Help The Aged -


I campaigned on this when I was on the London Assembly. I got a lot of publicity hanging around toilets:-) Email me if you would like a copy of my report.

People laugh when the subject is mentioned, but it really is a Human Rights issue. I had more letters on this subject than all the other campaigns combined. Some of the letters were really heart-breaking. Young mothers are also badly affected.

Hopefully, I will continue the campaign after the London Assembly elections on May 1st.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

*Man's inhumanity to animals

Conditions for animals in Britain's research laboratories fall short of new Europe-wide guidelines which came into force last month. These deficiencies contrast with the government's frequent claim that Britain has the strictest animal welfare regulations in the world.

Widespread violations of the new guidelines have been highlighted by the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research which funds non-animal techniques to replace animal experiments. It says university labs tend to be the worst offenders.

See the rest of this Peter Tatchell article at


A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain.

Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse. It’s situated in the eastern corner of a 10-million-square-mile oval known as the North Pacific subtropical gyre. The trail of plastic went on for hundreds of miles.

At the same time, all over the globe, there are signs that plastic pollution is doing more than blighting the scenery; it is also making its way into the food chain. Some of the most obvious victims are the dead seabirds that have been washing ashore in startling numbers, their bodies packed with plastic: things like bottle caps, cigarette lighters, tampon applicators, and coloured scraps that, to a foraging bird, resemble baitfish. (One animal dissected by Dutch researchers contained 1,603 pieces of plastic).

And the birds aren’t alone. All sea creatures are threatened by floating plastic, from whales down to zooplankton. Bad enough. But ……. the big, tentacled balls of trash were only the most visible signs of the problem; others were far less obvious, and far more evil. Dragging a fine-meshed net known as a manta trawl, he discovered minuscule pieces of plastic, some barely visible to the eye, swirling like fish food throughout the water. He and his researchers parsed, measured, and sorted their samples and arrived at the following conclusion: By weight, this swath of sea contains 6 times as much plastic as it does plankton.

There’s a basic moral horror in seeing a sea turtle with a plastic band strangling its shell into an hourglass shape or a humpback towing plastic nets that cut into its flesh and make it impossible for the animal to hunt.

More than a million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die in the North Pacific each year, either from mistakenly eating this junk or from being ensnared in it and drowning.

To read the full article, go to:

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

*Things are worse than expected!

A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change – and the size of the necessary response.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007

Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).

The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).

See the rest of the article here:
Things are worse than expected!
A Sudden Change of State by George Monbiot

A new paper suggests we have been greatly underestimating the impacts of climate change – and the size of the necessary response.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 3rd July 2007
Reading a scientific paper on the train this weekend, I found, to my amazement, that my hands were shaking. This has never happened to me before, but nor have I ever read anything like it. Published by a team led by James Hansen at Nasa, it suggests that the grim reports issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could be absurdly optimistic(1).
The IPCC predicts that sea levels could rise by as much as 59cm this century(2). Hansen’s paper argues that the slow melting of ice sheets the panel expects doesn’t fit the data. The geological record suggests that ice at the poles does not melt in a gradual and linear fashion, but flips suddenly from one state to another. When temperatures increased to 2-3 degrees above today’s level 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose not by 59 centimetres but by 25 metres. The ice responded immediately to changes in temperature(3).

See the rest of the article here:

Sunday, 8 July 2007


I have come across a great website called Gristmill.

They have detailed facts and figures and arguments for dealing with deniers.

They have sections on:

· Stages of Denial,
· Scientific Topics,
· Types of Argument, and Levels of Sophistication.

Bookmark their site. It’s at:


Saturday, 7 July 2007

*Items just in at The Green

Items come in every day. Here are a few items just in:

700,000 year old Tektites – from another world!

Chicago doctor's prescription from early 1920, just after the introduction of Prohibition. It’s made out for Spirits Frumenti – the Latin name for Whiskey!

Original ballot paper from the first free elections in South Africa, with photo of Nelson Mandela etc.

A Simpsons ‘expandable underpants’

A 1937 Coronation Plate and various ‘royal’ newspapers.

Original Roman Coins of Constantine, Constans, Tetricus 11 etc.

Two Spoken Word LPs of Dylan Thomas reading his own poetry and stories.

About 100 old banknotes from various countries. We are knocking these out at 50P each.

A Fossil Fish from the Eocene period – about 56 million years old.

A fortune telling cup.

A collection of Australian books, mostly on property investment. We have 1,000’s of books. I am about to have a sale £25 per 100 paperbacks.

Also have hundreds of Videos @ £1 each.

Some nice Peruvian hand made jewellery necklaces, ear-rings and anklets just in.

Some rare Irish items just in including:
A copy of Eamon De Valera’s speech at Earl’s Court in 1949.

A hand-made ‘Welcome Dev’ rosette – probably unique.

An early Easter Lilly from the same event.

We are open 7 days per week. 10am-6pm, and often later.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

*Climate change and the flat earth society

From Green Assembly Member jenny Jones's blog on The Guardian website 'comment is free'

I was almost convinced that Live Earth was one US import that we wouldn't bother watching as it seemed so... well, yesterday. After all, we'd all got the message by now, hadn't we? Global warming, big floods, mass disruption, polar bears treading water and great English wine. Al Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' was a brilliant wake up call, but I had the feeling that us Brits were awake, finishing breakfast and keen to start doing things. I was particularly reassured by a recent poll which showed that four out of five Londoners believed that climate change was a significant problem. But now I find that a majority of my fellow citizens in the rest of the country are apparently still sceptics and are at the yawning stage of getting their brains to work. The big question is why?

I could blame the American oil men who fund the dubious research into climate change which then appears on even more dubious documentary programs. I could blame the media for sensationalist headlines and over kill stories of imminent world wide disaster, which subsequently breeds a healthy cynicism about the science. Except, I've been banging on about climate change for the last twenty years and I know how far we've come in the scientists being allowed to get the truth across in a measured, reasonable way. No, I blame the government.

As one of the government's favourite think tanks (the IPPR), has shown a big reason why people are sceptical about the seriousness of climate change is that there's a huge gap between the catastrophic biblical imagery of rising tides and spreading deserts, and the mundane insignificant actions that are recommended as solutions. There is a mismatch between talk of melting ice caps and ministerial advice that everyone should switch off their lights when they leave the room. On the one hand we had Tony Blair calling climate change the greatest challenge facing humanity and on the other, we have a government reassurance that it won't mean an end to cheap flights, plasma screens, patio heaters and a four by four in the drive. Where is the great personal challenge, when all we have to do is change our light bulbs to low energy? People aren't completely convinced because the government is making it all sound so easy and painless.

Perhaps the reason why 80% of Londoners saw climate change as a serious issue is simply because they are being confronted with some real decision making. Higher parking charges for gas guzzlers are being considered in most local councils and a £25 congestion charge for the big polluters is going to be a hot issue in next year's Mayoral elections. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are having 'advisers' knocking on their doors asking them if they want help with travelling in a more sustainable way and similar plans are being drawn up for schools and workplaces.

Given the wealth of evidence supporting climate change, it is a failure of government that people still fail to realise the significance of this issue. When politicians take a clear lead, as they have in London, the result is clear. Following the introduction of the congestion charge, projects to increase cycling, and work on the energy efficiency of homes, over 80% of Londoners believe that climate change is a significant problem.

Climate change is a classic case of actions speaking louder than words. Rather than producing more hot air, national government should follow London's example and look at measures which support those Londoners who do take climate change seriously. This weekend London is hosting two big events which will promote action on the environment. Both the Live Earth concert and the prologue of the Tour de France will encourage people to do their bit by saving energy and cycling more. But real change can only be achieved if individual action is backed up by hard government decisions aimed at fundamentally changing the way we live.

*Potentially the biggest environmental crime to occur in the UK

How the Environment Agency is gagging the one
eyewitness to what is potentially the biggest environmental crime to occur in the UK

The Environment Agency (EA) is within weeks of letting Monsanto escape its liability for knowingly dumping thousands of tonnes of cancer-causing chemicals – including all the ingredients of the DDT defoliant Agent Orange – in two quarries in Wales. Unless a claim and ‘adversary action’ is lodged with the US bankruptcy courts (USBC) within around four weeks, the UK taxpayer faces picking up a bill for hundreds of millions of pounds to safeguard the environment and public health. Yet for the past few months the Agency has stonewalled the one remaining eyewitness to events as they unfolded in 1967 onwards, and who is prepared to speak out. This man, who now carries a panic button at all times, also has a dedicated police protection officer supervising protective devices installed at his house because of the threats that he has received.

See the full story at:


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

*Metronet's bill for Londoners: £1 a journey

Metronet's claim that Transport for London should cover its £1bn over-spend on works to upgrade the underground, could costs Londoners an average of £1 extra on every journey if paid all in one year. Darren Johnson, a Green Party member of the London Assembly has called on the Government to intervene by sacking Metronet, but only after it has ensured that they cover the full costs of the work they were contracted to do.

With 976 million passenger journeys being made on the tube each year, Darren Johnson has estimated that the £1bn would an extra £1 on every journey, for one whole year. Although it is unlikely that an extraordinary review by the regulator, would award the whole cost to TfL, Metronet have claimed the £1bn in their request for a formal review.

Darren Johnson commented:

” Metronet are demanding £1bn million extra from Transport for London which is the equivalent of every passenger paying an extra £1 on each journey for a whole year. But Metronet's inability to deliver the promised improvement programme means they shouldn't be paid a single penny - they should be thrown off the Underground, their PPP contract torn up and the service brought back in-house."