Monday, 17 July 2017

Travel - Roads And Cycling

There are many problems with cars and roads.

Some of them would be ameliorated if we had nicer, greener roads. Line them with trees and bushes and wildflowers wherever possible. Like this:

Sunset on a road in Bolgheri, Italy - Photo by Tiziano Pieroni

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wildflowers On Campus

It's nice to point out positive things when they occur. One of the main reasons most developments are worse than they should be (housing estates and so on) is because they don't incorporate enough wildlife-supporting environment. If a house was built on a bare green field, then an orchard was added, and flower banks, and bushes and other trees, it would be a net gain. Councils and the government let us down by not enforcing that. Instead they cram houses on, with no wildlife corridors, just predominantly roads, paths, foundations, fences (instead of hedges), small patches of manicured lawn rather than bushes and flowers. Councils and the government extend the ruin over our countryside.

Anyway, as an example of ways that can mitigate change, Aberystwyth University recently cut back some bushes - but instead of leaving the earth bare, they planted wildflowers. You can read more about it here. Councils should adopt this strategy (and other green ideas) whenever there are new developments.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Kettles Forever Breaking - Waste

The interior of a kettle. Fragile connections, parts near heat,
lots of plastic moving parts. What could go wrong?

Planned obsolescence is horrible. We mentioned it here and here. Ah, kettles.

I would rather have a no-frills kettle that is reliable. No water-level window (they're a point of failure and leaking), no fancy bases, no filters, no internal lights. Just a kettle with minimal parts, high-quality, with fewer things that can break. Although the Morphy Richards kettle looked nice I was immediately concerned by the on/off switch (that lights up) - it is the most handled component in the kettle and seems to be intentionally of the flimsiest design. It didn't feel sturdy, and I suspected it would be an inbuilt failure point. I was almost right.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Animal Fat In The New Bank Of England Notes

Tallow. Yum.

If you are in the UK, you might be aware that the Bank of England uses tallow (rendered fat - a slaughterhouse by-product) in the production of the new £5 notes, and the bank has plans to do the same for the future notes they are going to release. We get those notes in Wales, too.

The bank is doing a consultation as to whether this bothers people. I know it bothers me and many vegetarians. If it bothers you too then the details of the consultation can be found here and you can respond here.

Vegans and most vegetarians exclude animal products because of the cruelty involved in their production. By using animal products in the production of the money, the bank is excluding many people from using those notes. For many other people it is offensive to know that the money is connected to slaughterhouse byproducts.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Welsh Government / Labour Want To Kill Badgers (Again)

It's sad to see badgers being targeted again. This is following on from Wildlife Trusts and Forestry Commissions persecuting wildlife, livestock farmers doing the same, and an upturn in prejudice and discrimination from speciesists. Well, this is the latest:

On 28th March the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop, set out her plans for badger culling in Wales at a Bovine TB Symposium in London. Here is the BBC report of an interview she gave them and comments from a scientific expert that are critical of her plans. In the interview the Chief Veterinary Officer admits the proposed culling might actually increase TB.

Wales has had real success in reducing bovine TB over the past 8 years through increasing cattle measures and biosecurity without culling badgers. It has achieved a 47% reduction and now has the lowest number of new incidents for a decade with 95% of herds TB free. It makes no sense to jeopardise this success through the introduction of reactive culling of badgers which the science does not support and which has previously been shown to increase TB levels. Welsh Labour had committed to being science-led regarding bovine TB in their 2016 manifesto.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Speciesism, Immigrants And Natives

We recently wrote about Wildlife Trusts And Forestry Commissions Persecuting Wildlife and Farmers Campaign To Kill More Wildlife. A week full of hypocritical people wanting to kill badgers, deer and other wildlife, yet calling themselves environmentalists. Following on from that, one of our members had an interesting chat about this with someone claiming to be an environmentalist yesterday. For the whole conversation the anti-squirrel person (ASP) kept focussing on "native" versus "non-native" species, yet they couldn't recognise their own speciesism. Just as with racism or sexism, it is the assigning of more value to one kind of being than another based on arbitrary preferences. Here are some parts of the discussion.

Anti-Squirrel Person (ASP): "Are you content with one non-native species causing the local or nation extinction of another?"

CIN: After this many generations non-native species ARE native species. Or do you think children of immigrants aren't "proper" citizens?