Thursday, 18 January 2018

Aberystwyth University Removing Greenery


I think we were premature in praising Aberystwyth University for planting wildflowers. As if to make up for one move that increased plant cover and biodiversity, they then chopped down bushes across the campus. See "What has become of the Penglais campus?" for more information.

(Not as bad as Sheffield, but it would be hard to match how awful the situation is in that city which is now infamous for cutting down historic trees. See here, here, here. And, unexpectedly, it is a Labour Council in Sheffield that is paying billions to private companies, arresting their citizens, and cutting down thousands of trees.)

While we are talking about Aberystwyth University:
Hence the university losing so many jobs at the start of 2018. The Mauritius Campus was widely mocked, including by university staff, ever since its harebrained inception. At a time when we should be more environmentally-conscious, Aberystwyth University was implementing schemes that involved even more wasteful international flights and building empty campuses on nature-sensitive locations. A stupid idea, doomed to fail.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Tories have voted that animals can't feel pain


A horrible piece of UK news from The Independent:

The Tories have voted that animals can't feel pain as part of the EU bill, marking the beginning of our anti-science Brexit

Every single Conservative and DUP MP present voted that all animals (apart from one category of mammal - humans, of course) have no emotions or feelings, including the ability to feel pain. All MPs there from the Labour, Lib Dem, Green and SNP parties voted to keep the protection and the acknowledgement that other species can suffer.

The Tories won the vote.

This is some of the follow-up, including David Attenborough's comments.

Please sign the petitions below and share them!
With enough publicity and pressure we could get this terrible and selfish decision reversed.

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.

[January 2018 update: see this.]

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.