Saturday, 27 December 2008

The human population is the biggest threat to the planet

The global human population grows by a city the size of London every month. This growth is the greatest threat the planet faces.

The article below is from the excellent Resurgence magazine, issue 51 (Nov/Dec 08), pp. 14-17. It should be standard reading for everyone who cares about the environment, or who is thinking of bringing yet more children into the world (click on the images to enlarge).

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Animal-free diets and the environment

We have covered this in the past. If we eat a diet based on animal products it is bad for the environment and human health (and other animals!). Thankfully this message is appearing with more frequency - however the angry denial and resistance each time it appears (even when the message is only to cut down the amount - not even to cut it out completely!) is out of all proportion to the valid message, showing that most humans are unwilling to contemplate any way of life except the one that is easiest and most familiar to them. It's a fact of life that most people are stupid.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Litter dumping by the stream

A group of people in Llanbadarn Fawr regularly pick litter and clear the stream in Bronpadarn Mansion woods. In contrast the developer who owns the site, Mr Fenton, has contracted builders who have, in sight of dog walkers, tipped builders' rubble and other litter just off the public footpath and into the steep gully which then slides into the stream. On one occassion the dog walker was able to get a vehicle registration number and has a Police Report for this incident.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bursaries for veganic gardeners in Wales

Anyone considering a career in vegan organic gardening should take a look at the Vegan Organic Network who can offer bursaries to assist students in appropriate cases with the Organic Horticulture courses at the Welsh College of Horticulture, Mold, North Wales.

The college has a 10 acre stockfree farm. For information on the course click here and contact contact Rob Mackey at the college - 01352 841000.

The pick of the green web

There are so many excellent green websites out there, covering every topic - how do you know where to look? CIN is here to help! See our new delicious account - also linked to from a box on the right of the blog.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Clampdown on displays

[From The Cambrian News, Thu 16 Oct 08, p5]

As the article above mentions, there has been a clampdown by Ceredigion County Council, threatening fines for shops which have displays on the pavement.

Towns which have independent shops are more interesting, and keep money in the local economy. Over the years Aberystwyth has lost a lot of independent shops due to being unable to compete with chains and supermarkets, which is a great shame. However Chalybeate Street has fantastic independent shops the town can be proud of - a baker, hardware shop, health shop, hairdresser and greengrocers, amongst others.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Ceredigion County Council plans to encourage traffic

There was a piece in the Cambrian News this week on the counting of traffic coming into Aberystwyth (Cambrian News, 12 November). It is a shame the County Council won't run the same exercise on a school holiday when there is considerably less traffic. Then they would see that if it is school-run related, an unenvironmental bypass is not going to make a difference.

The final line of the article says: "The study is also relevant to any future Llanbadarn Fawr by-pass, reducing daily traffic congestion at Llanbadarn Fawr’s mini-roundabouts, and a feeder lane for traffic heading south from Llanbadarn Fawr." However the study is not relevant as a by-pass is not the most sustainable long term solution for Llanbadarn or Aberystwyth. The inevitable rise in oil prices, the recession and the impact of climate change mean that only through serious investment in reliable, cheap, plentiful alternatives to cars and the school run, will the traffic 'problem' be solved.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Development on Aberystwyth University's Penglais Campus - a retrospective

In another post concerns were raised over the future of Llanbadarn Campus. However the University's Penglais campus, visited and used by many thousands of people every year, is increasingly under threat of development. There are rumours of new buildings, though no official announcements have taken place. Any new buildings would impact on greenfield sites. Even if they were built on a car park, a car park would then be created on a greenfield site (as happened with the International Politics building), so the impact on green sites is the same. Below are some images cataloguing a few of the changes and views of the last ten years, in no particular order. CIN members would like to thank everyone who submitted photos and information for this piece - please keep the photos and comments coming in. Aberystwyth Arts Centre is covered in separate posts.

The view across the campus. It shows clearly why the green spaces should be maintained, not built on.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Mid-Wales transport consultation

TraCC is the transport consortium for the Mid Wales region. They are currently seeking views on the draft Regional Transport Plan (RTP). Anybody who wants to comment on it can do so by downloading the form here and returning it to them by 31st October 2008. If you want priority to be given to public transport, walking and cycling then now is your chance to say so!

Cwmpadarn School's controversial car park

Below is the coverage from the Cambrian News, 23rd October 2008, page 11 (click to enlarge - this applies to all images on this page).

In that article the school Governor, Ben Davies, makes a number of misleading comments in an attempt to deny the ineptitude of the school administration in reducing school traffic on an unsuitable road.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Ysgol Cwmpadarn - misled by Estyn, or just mistaken?

This is an update on the Ysgol Cwmpadarn situation covered on 12 October, where the school was found to be digging up a green bank on a rural lane in order to build car parking spaces. There has been a lot of support from locals for raising this issue, with some of them becoming vocal about their irritation caused by the school traffic which makes it hard for them to leave for work in the morning; others were just disappointed to see a pleasant grassy bank ripped up by diggers. It seems that the school has created some bad feeling

The issue has been raised with Estyn, and Ceredigion County Council's departments of Highways, Property and Works, and Education and Community Services. The issue has also been featured in the Cambrian News.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

What will be the fate of Aberystwyth University's Llanbadarn Campus?

This week the bulldozers moved in on Aberystwyth University's Llanbadarn Campus halls of residence, home to so many students over the years. The demolition of the halls is expected to take many weeks.

What will be the long-term fate of the campus? There has been no announcement from the University yet, and no consultation with residents of Llanbadarn Fawr, so it is impossible to say what the current plans of the University are. There are many other questions. Will those demolishing the halls damage any of the green areas and trees? Will the campus be replaced with a housing estate? What will be the impact on Coleg Ceredigion, University Departments and the local community? Will the current green spaces on the beautiful campus be retained and protected? CIN members will be monitoring developments on the campus.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

School traffic, car parks, and disdain for local communities

We have covered school runs before. However there have been some disturbing new developments re: Cwmpadarn Primary School, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberywtsyth. Yesterday a digger was seen digging up a grassy embankment by the school (photos below). Upon investigation a school Governor said that the school was digging it up to make more car park spaces, and that this had been a recommendation from Estyn for many years.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Cambrian Mountains - open for rally cars?

Ian Mole of Welsh Country Magazine has asked for more exposure of the proposal from the Welsh Assembly and Ceredigion County Council to allow far more access to the Cambrian Mountain, to the detriment of the natural environment. Ceredigion County Council is accepting comments over a consultation period on the draft strategy ending on 13th October 2008, so please read on if you want to know more, and consider sending your comments to the council by that date. The text below was written by Ian Mole.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Save the Levels

© Campaign for Better Transport is a website for a group that have been set up to try and prevent the development of a massive new section of the M4 in Gwent. The Wildlife Trusts are involved in this movement. The website shows the proposed route of the new M4 on the ‘Motorway Proposals’ tab - the politicians have said on the news that much of it passes through poor industrial landscape - but for the reality look at how much of it passes through the spectacular and important Gwent Levels SSSI.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

School runs

Cwmpadarn School in Llanbadarn Fawr does some great things - it has done a particularly good job with the playground area and conservation garden. The latter in particular will no doubt help the children to appreciate nature, as well as being a wonderful feature for the school.

However, one problem the school faces - and it is not alone! - is that at school start and end times during term many of the children’s parents speed up and down the lane to drop their children off. This poses a danger to local residents and children who would like to walk to school, since there are no pavements, the road was not designed for lots of traffic, and the parents are invariably in a rush (and sometimes frustrated by the traffic going the other way). This potential danger also discourages some parents from letting their children walk to school, leading to a vicious circle that leads to further car use.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Seagulls in coastal towns

If you live in a coastal town (e.g. Aberystwyth) then you will occasionally hear grumblings about seagulls, and suggestions to kill them, or sterilise their eggs (both expensive and temporary options), so that they don't come into town. Or if you don't hear the whinging, you will read it in the Cambrian News.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Dealing with Ceredigion County Council

The last post mentioned some of the problems in dealing with Ceredigion County Council. Unfortunately they are not exceptions, but the rule, when contacting them about the environment. The general problem is one of communication.
"Do you want to find out about this planning application near your home? No problem. Come to Aberaeron. What, you live in Aberystwyth and don't have a car and work full time? Tough. We prefer to use council tax to construct a new building for ourselves rather than to put planning applications online where they would be accessible to all."

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

MPs urge rethink on Welsh TB cull

The BBC has reported on the pressure being put on Wales not to go ahead with the cruel and invalid cull of badgers - a cull based on prejudice rather than science. Read the full article here. This is good news - the more bad publicity there is for the Assembly's ridiculous decision, the more chance there is of getting them to revoke it.

Nine MPs, eight of them Welsh Labour, want the Welsh Assembly Government to halt plans to cull badgers.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Good news for English badgers; Welsh persecution continues though...

"The government has decided against a cull of badgers in England to control TB in cattle, the BBC understands."
From the BBC Website.
We have covered the subject of badger culls a number of times (see the topic listing on the right). Currently Wales is going ahead with a mass cull; whereas according to the news item above, England will not be doing so, which is excellent news.

Any sane person would be extremely unhappy with the decision by the Welsh Assembly Government to kill badgers, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary. Obviously some people here make decisions based on politics and votes, not good science (Elin Jones, Minister for Rural Affairs, and supporter of badger-killing, can be emailed here).

Brown bear - persecuted then made extinct in the UK by humans

Friday, 30 May 2008

Why is being Vegetarian and Vegan good for you and good for the planet?

There is a growing awareness that following a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is better:
a) for the planet;
b) for people; and
c) for animals.
Here are some facts and figures as to why this is so.

A) Good for the planet

Climate Change: The UN's Report: 'Livestock: the long shadow' stated that the world's livestock industry "are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport." Also, the world’s livestock "generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2." See also this news item.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

World Lab Animal Day

Thursday 24th April is World Lab Animal Day. Many of you may not know that MEPs have just voted to adopt a Written Declaration calling for an end to experiments using apes and wild-caught monkeys and for a timetable to be established to phase out all experiments on monkeys. It would be nice if UK Universities took this opportunity to realise that experimenting on animals is an old and useless science and stopped all its animal experiments. The near-fatal TGN1412 drug trial had proved 'safe' in monkeys who were given doses 500 times that of the humans. The way forward is in modern technology and much more reliable methods using tissue and other models. The European Parliament have recognised this. For more information on animal vivisection go to, or

Friday, 18 April 2008

We spoke too soon...

Despite the research mentioned in other posts showing that slaughtering badgers has minimal or no effect on TB in cattle, the Welsh Assembly [mis]Goverment has decided that they will go ahead and kill badgers anyway. This was decided last week, but debated in plenary this week.

Another example of a political decision being forced through despite scientific evidence to the contrary. The quotes below are from the plenary debate itself.
In the battle of the scientists—Sir David King versus Professor John Bourne—Bourne has stated that King’s report was hastily written, superficial and selective. Given the amount of work done by the Independent Scientific Group—which was over 10 years’ worth of research, costing anywhere between £35 million and £50 million and involving 11,000 dead badgers—and given that David King and his team only met for one full day and that he admitted that his remit did not extend to the economics or practicalities of badger culling, I know who my money is on.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Woodland Trust 'tree for all' site

A new campaign worth promoting here - the site has lots of information on the importance of woodlands and trees, and an excellent .pdf from Iolo Williams, in which he states that the Welsh Assembly Government should commit to every citizen having a certain % of woodland a certain distance from their house.

From Iolo's document:
Woods are crucial to sustaining life on earth. They take in carbon dioxide and return oxygen to us. They enhance the quality of our lives and environment with their richness and biodiversity. It is surely our collective responsibility to protect, restore and enhance the distinctive woods, parklands and forests of Wales.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Ceredigion Local Development Plan Candidate Site Consultation

The 'Ceredigion Local Development Plan Candidate Site Consultation' is now taking place - see this page on Ceredigion County Council's [CCC] website for more information.

It is all part of the CCC's move to a Local Development Plan [LDP], after abandoning all the work on the Unitary Development Plan [UDP] and deciding to start all over again - meaning that all the objections to development written for the UDP were wasted and have to be submitted AGAIN for the new plan (see quote below). Though of course, in the meantime many of the sites you might have objected about will have been built on... It is no wonder that people are sceptical about the benefits of getting involved in local government!

Friday, 29 February 2008

EDM 4: Use Of Animals To Test Food Additives

We recommend contacting your MP to ask them to sign the EDM 4: USE OF ANIMALS TO TEST FOOD ADDITIVES

There are many reasons why testing human foodstuffs on animals is wrong - ethical and scientific reasons. There is no reason why these procedures cannot be carried out using alternative methods. Several organisations, such as the Dr Hadwen Trust, fund research into non-animal testing and their research shows that it is not necessary to use out-moded animal tests when reliable non-animal research can be done. Many scientists realise this and are now switching to non-animal tests, e.g. this group from Oxford University.

Friday, 22 February 2008

'Save Our Sea' - Save Cardigan Bay Campaign

Cardigan Bay is an amazing wildlife habitat in Ceredigion - and as long as we can keep out the oil companies who want to drill for oil here, it will remain so! There is a campaign dedicated to protecting the bay, click here to go to their website. From there you can read more about the campaign, and write letters to try and prevent oil exploration from taking place here. Please support them!

[Image from the SOS site.]

One of the campaign organisers is Leila Kiersch, of the Wales Green Party, who has her own blog here.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Kill all the wildlife!*

[* Note - being ironic there.]

Mankind in general has always had an appetite for killing. In terms of wildlife we continually see calls to kill this, or 'cull' that species - badgers, squirrels, ruddy ducks, deer, foxes, seals... The reasons given are usually laughable considering the fact that humans have overpopulated the majority of the world, and pushed other species to the point of extinction in doing so.

Another badger article

We have already covered the futility of badger culling here. The article below (click to enlarge) is from Animal Aid's 'Outrage' magazine, #148 [Autumn 2007]. It includes more information about the pointlessness and cruelty of killing badgers because of the misunderstanding about their links to TB in cattle.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report Consultation - January 2008

More consultations from Ceredigion County Council - see the documents here and pass your feedback on to the council if you wish, by 4th February 2008.

Many people who care about the environment would generally agree with the points in their Non Technical Summary, but there are some exceptions, and comments worth making.

Labour Supports Bloodsports

Yet more evidence of the Labour Party's hostile policies towards animals.

Although Labour succeeded in pushing through a ban on hunting with dogs, the government is trying to appease bloodsports enthusiasts by its wholehearted support for the production each year of some 40 million pheasants and partridges to be shot for 'sport'.

At its recent Party Conference, Labour vice chair and Reading West MP Martin Salter hosted a reception for pro-shoot lobby group, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Salter was recently made a BASC 'Centenary Patron'. Ministers who gave pro-shoot speeches at the event included the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe; Rural Affairs Minister, Jonathan Shaw; and Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Tetra Pak

Many dedicated green people have managed to get to the stage where most of their waste is recycled or composted. However they may then find that the bulk of what is left (and therefore goes to a landfill site) is Tetra Pak cartons from fruit juice, soya milk and so on. Many authorities cannot recycle these because of their complex and non-biodegradable components.

Tetra Pak - in a good example of obfuscation - claim that their cartons are simple - and in the very next sentence state that they have seven layers of material, most of them plastics and foil! Likewise the website talks about recycling the cartons, but doesn't explain in what way. Are they actually broken down into constituent components for reuse? If so how much more energy does that use, on top of the energy to create these complex cartons in the first place?