Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Do you make resolutions as the calendar trips over from one year to the next? If you're stuck for ideas and want to get healthier in 2012 then consider some of the following. Note that it is best not to be too ambitious!
  • Eat more fresh fruit and fewer sweets.
  • Give the dog an extra walk each day.
  • Involve friends or family in exercise (sports, walks, games) - then you can socialise and exercise at the same time.
  • Drink more fresh water each day, avoid tea/coffee/fizzy drinks.
  • Park the car as far from the work entrance/shops as possible, so you walk more each day.
  • Use stairs, not lifts or escalators. 
  • Adopt regular exercise, sleep and eating habits.
  • Walk to your friend's house instead of driving.
  • Run or cycle to work instead of driving.
  • Adopt some form of exercise you enjoy doing (you'll be more likely to stick to it).
  • Go vegetarian or vegan! If you do, then consider joining an organisation that will support you with advice and recipes, such as Viva!, The Vegan Society, The Vegetarian Society, Animal Aid, or PETA.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

When will they learn?


First, the good news - Defra figures show cattle TB is down 37 per cent in Dyfed without killing any badgers (bear in mind this is the county where the killing of badgers has been proposed by the Welsh Government). David Williams, chairman of the Badger Trust said: "Surely any decision to kill badgers cannot now be justified. This reduction in Dyfed is too big, too rapid and too sustained to be ignored [...] Furthermore, Wales as a whole saw a 28 per cent fall over the same periods, again too big to be brushed aside."

However, it is disappointing that bovine TB figures for England show a provisional 6 per cent increase in the number of new TB incidents for January to July, a result of less stringent testing and movement controls in England.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Community meeting about Mill Street developments in Aberystwyth

Homes are under threat due to Ceredigion County Council and Tesco wanting to have a huge Tesco store in Mill Street, Aberystwyth. (We're not sure where Aberystwyth Town Council stands on the issue).

A community meeting has been organised for Wednesday 14th December in the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth, 6-8pm, in order to discuss these proposals and suggest alternatives. What would be better? (CIN would say - turn half of the car park into a green community park with lots of new trees, and keep the Day Care Centre!)

Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Tetra Pak recycling in Aberystwyth

Tetra Pak waste piles

We've been informed that CK's supermarket in Waunfawr, Aberystwyth, has insisted on the removal of all recycling banks (thanks for contributing to the local community, Mr Supermarket!). Unless Ceredigion County Council can find alternative locations then that is one recycling site in Ceredigion lost.We tried to contact CKs but their online form did not work at all if you typed anything into their comments box. Well done CKs!

That site included Tetra Pak (and glass) recycling, so was important because Ceredigion County Council don't collect either of those in their kerb-side recycling schemes. Hopefully they will relocate the recycling facilities soon. In the meantime there is another Tetra Pak bank in Mill Street car park, opposite Matalan, until that site gets built on by Tesco (thanks for contributing to the local community, Mr Supermarket!).

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ethical Consumer


Stuck for gift ideas? Maybe an Ethical Consumer subscription could be a good option. Informative and empowering, it enables you to put consumer power into practice. Their subscription includes online access to back issues and reports, providing a wealth of information to enable informed decision making.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Sainsbury's want to muscle in too?


What is it with supermarkets? Aberystwyth has a number already, with an Aldi coming in the near future. The other day it was announced that people might be kicked out of their homes for a Tesco; now it turns out that Sainsbury's want to invade the town too, with a huge out-of-town development on a greenfield site. This would destroy a huge green area and lead to more traffic and journeys, and a further pull out of the Aberystwyth town centre.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Threats to homes

Are there enough houses for everyone in Ceredigion? Obviously developers and the County Council think not, since new greenfield spaces keep getting built on or earmarked for houses. Surely it would be madness to knock down homes to make way for yet more shops and car parks?

It could happen in Aberystwyth. On top of which it is patently unfair to force anyone to leave their home, let alone for shopping; to make money for chain supermarkets and developers.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Identify wildlife

A moth  of some kind awaiting identification...

iSpot is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. Once you've registered you can add an observation to the website and suggest an identification yourself or see if anyone else can identify it for you. You can also help others by adding an identification to an existing observation, which you may like to do as your knowledge grows. Your reputation on the site will grow as people agree with you identifications. As well as being a useful community, this seems to offer great educational potential. If you have used it please let us know what you think in the comments.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Cycle paths

In Wales we have a fairly good cycle network and it is improving all the time, opening up options to replace car-culture for something that is cheaper, healthier, environmentally friendly - and fun. We're also lucky that in some cases there is clear provision for different uses.

Unfortunately sometimes people don't observe the distinctions. It is a common complaint from cyclists when pedestrians choose to walk on cycle paths instead of nearby pavement. One example that has been drawn to our attention recently is from Aberystwyth, where there is a route from Plascrug Leisure Centre to Plascrug Park (the route is called Plascrug Avenue - see image above) that has road, pavement for pedestrians, and a cycle path, which should keep everybody happy and safe.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

World Vegan Day

Tuesday was World Vegan Day - an annual event which has been running on 1st November since 1944! As part of the celebrations there was an event in the UK Parliament which culminated in the World Vegan Day debate introduced by vegan MP Kerry McCarthy.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bamboo, the wonder material

Bamboo has long been considered to be an amazingly versatile material. One of the reasons that it is becoming even more popular is because the environmental benefits of bamboo are now more widely known and accepted. It can be processed into a fantastic textile for making clothes from:
"Lightweight, almost silk-like, Bamboo material has a superb natural softness.  A material that is ideal for wearing next to the skin, it has antibacterial properties and is naturally hypoallergenic. Also, due to the natural hollow cross-section in the fiber it is 3-4 times more absorbent than cotton and very breathable so it might be your first choice when you want to get sweaty. Add this to the fact that bamboo clothing is naturally anti-static so will not stick to you and that it is 98% UV protective ( this equates to an approximate Sun Protection Rating of 50 ) it begins to look like a miracle fabric."
Muchbetteradventures site

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ideas to improve the world #1 and #2 - Food!

We are taking part in Blog Action Day 2011 (as mentioned here). The topic this year is food. This also happens to coincide with a new series on CIN - 'Ideas to improve the world'. Suggestions for things that could be changed, whether by governments or by personal action, that would improve the world in some way. We are going to put the first two into this post since both are food-related. As usual, feel free to send us suggestions for things to cover.

Monday, 10 October 2011

'Regeneration' through more shopping?

Following recent news about 'regeneration' and funding for it, one of our readers has submitted the post below. We are publishing it in its entirety.

"Recent news that Tesco is in the tender of the preferred bidder for the Mill Street building works is not greeted with glee by everyone in Ceredigion. Some people feel that with five supermarkets already (Morrisons, Co-op, Lidl, CKs, Spar, not including Iceland), Aberystwyth is pretty well served on that front providing sufficient choice for shoppers. What would Tesco, or any other supermarket, provide that these don't? It will provide low paid jobs for some people, and competition to all the small, local, independent stores in the town centre.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Blog Action Day 2011 - Food!

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. It aims to raise awareness and trigger global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. Fellow bloggers - this year Blog Action Day coincides with World Food Day so the topic is food. If you want to take part then just register on the site before 16 October 2011 and do a post about food on that date. Soem of the topics they suggest as possible ones to consider include the following, which fit the green credentials of CIN:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

We've been nominated!

The CIN blog was nominated for the category of ‘Best Political Blog’ in the Wales Blog Awards 2011 - and has been shortlisted as one of three finalists for that category of the awards! This is excellent news. The prestigious awards were set up to help encourage people to blog, and to highlight those who do it well, so all the writers who contribute to CIN are honoured to have got this far. The judges are making their minds up and will announce the results at an awards ceremony in Cardiff at the end of October. There is also a 'People's Choice' award where you can vote for the single blog you like the most, with a deadline for votes of 21 October. Vote here (at the end of the post). We're grateful to everyone who has supported us and voted for us so far, and to anyone who does in the future. However there are loads of excellent blogs shortlisted so we won't ask everyone to vote for us - look at all those on shortlists and vote with your heart (we have even promoted one of the other finalists in the past). There are so many excellent blogs in Wales that whoever wins, we're sure it will be well-deserved. Diolch yn fawr!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Bunk Beds at Aberystwyth University


The press and students have referred to it as the 'Bunk Bed Situation' and 'Bunkgate'. Basically this year Aberystwyth University accepted more students than they could house (and also more students than they were meant to - which can lead to fines of £3,700 per student). As a 'solution' the university has decided to add bunk beds to single rooms so that it can cram in two students per room, and actually increase profit for the institution at the same time. How? By only reducing the cost for each student by a third (£55 per week as opposed to the single-occupancy charge of £88.96) it means that they will then be making more profit per room than they would with single occupancy, even though students get less than half a room in some cases (e.g. there is apparently only one desk per room, so if both students have desktop PCs only one can set it up, the other doesn't get any space at all).

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Moving Planet

On the 24th September there will be a global day of climate action (organised by
"Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis. Come on bike, on skates, on a board, or just on foot."
Moving Planet Aberystwyth, 10.00 till 2.00
Meet at Barclays, Sgwar Owain Glyndwr

Friday, 2 September 2011

Aberystwyth University Sports Centre expansion

Aberystwyth University again. We mentioned plans to build on another green field space back in June (see the 'Yet more building plans' section of this post). A blog follower sent us this image yesterday - that was a green field area by the Sports Centre running track.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Carmarthenshire blogger

We have regularly criticised Ceredigion County Council for their bad decisions with regard to planning - allowing building on greenfield sites, promotion of road building schemes etc. It was interesting to see that other counties in Wales have councils which behave in questionable ways.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The value of nature

A common argument against protecting the natural environment is that 'it costs too much'. The idea being that humans make more profit by destroying it. Obviously that is the argument favoured by the exploiters.

A recent report has been published which shows that the argument above is spurious; that protecting our forests and open spaces has financial value.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Nant y Moch wind farm

Many people have heard of the controversy that the proposed Nant y Moch wind farm presents. On the one hand it would produce renewable electricity and is far better than nuclear; but on the other hand it will lead to c.285 ha of tree felling, access roads through forests, road widening, impact on rights of way and bike trails, damage to land and habitats, creation of on-site electricity sub-station, and will affect a historic landscape (though to be honest that seems to be the least important issue, since the original landscape would have been fully forested, not the bare hills of today).

Friday, 8 July 2011

Have your say about the forests

A few months ago the government were convinced to abandon their plans to sell our forests. However the forests could still be at risk. When the government abandoned their forest sell-off plans, they said they'd set up an “independent panel of experts” to help decide the future of our woodlands. Now, the panel is up and running. They’ve said they want to hear ideas from thousands of us about the best way to protect our beautiful forests.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

UK badger persecutors again

The press reports that Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, will recommend that badgers be culled in England in a misguided attempt to curb bovine tuberculosis (bTB). However the slaughter of thousands of healthy badgers will not make a significant difference to the incidence of bTB yet will, in some instances, make the situation worse.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

More pressure on greenfield sites in Aberystwyth

Depressing news - more greenfield sites under threat for housing. As one of the comments on Alun's blog points out (and we have also stated numerous times), population is one of the key problems that leads to demand for housing and therefore loss of precious greenfield sites forever. All this on top of the Aberystwyth University post!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Aberystwyth University dissections

In our last post we briefly mentioned the animals killed or experimented on at Aberystwyth University. Since then a few students have contacted us complaining about the cruelty that they felt was involved. One student sent details of how they were forced into doing animal dissection at Aberystwyth University against their will. We have included (with permission) an anonymised version of their email below which shows the embedded cruelty behind closed doors.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Aberystwyth University super bundle

Many apologies to all the people who have sent text and photos in over the last few months about Aberystwyth University - we do look at everything we are sent but sometimes are just too busy to post it all. Nonetheless we're incredibly grateful to our roving reporters and supporters. Sadly we've had lots of complaints about Aberystwyth University building on greenfield sites in the past - skim through some previous posts on the subject. We get so many emails on this subject that it is obviously one of huge concern, as is the issue of overdevelopment in general. We have decided to feature some of the things we have been sent, though this risks becoming another large blog post! After all, Aberystwyth University rates as awful on environmental grounds - 111th out of 138 universities in the new People & Planet report (see summary in The Guardian). This is not surprising if you look at some of the topics we have covered in previous posts, which is only a selection of what we receive, which in turn is only a selection of the things the university is doing. So much is hidden or behind closed doors that if it was included as well things would look even more bleak. Anyway, on with the summary of news we have been sent about the University's continued building projects, animal killing and high salaries to the top dogs... Apologies if some of it is a bit out of date now, we only have so many volunteers and hours in the day...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Increased pressure to reverse the cruel badger cull

Joyce Watson, Labour AM for Mid and West Wales, recently sent the letter below to John Griffiths, the new Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development in the Welsh Government. It concerns the former Rural Affairs Minister’s decision to carry out a cull of badgers in west Wales. Thankfully because Plaid Cymru's Elin Jones lost her post there may be an opportunity for positive change, and Elin's plans for cruel and unscientific culls may be overturned. Anyone who cares about badgers will be pleased with the content of the letter.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Flowering Elbows (to go with green fingers)

We just want to promote an interesting website that we came across recently, Flowering Elbow. They are:
"a small group of people based in Mid-Wales, dedicated to imagining and making better futures. Futures that are rich with creative energy, in which we are empowered to invent, think innovatively and playfully experiment. We will devise solutions to problems big and small and inspire and enable others to do so. Flowering Elbow is committed to progressive environmental and social policies, which, in particular, encourage the re-invention and re-use of materials."
A good partner to CIN then, their website is full of ideas for re-using or making things, go and see!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Nature reserve at Clarach

Stuck for somewhere to go this summer? How about visiting Coed y Cwm nature reserve woods near Clarach? This was established last year but we didn't report on it at the time. Make the most of these special places, and post any thoughts or experiences from this new 25 acre reserve in the comments below.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Huntsman in West Wales found guilty of battering a pensioner

Huntsman Huw Green pled guilty at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court after being charged with battery against a 75 year old man who was observing the hunt at the time. It shows that violent pastimes (hunting) attract violent people (such as Huw Green).

Mr Green was fined a paltry £55, a £15 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £100 in costs.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Badger action in Aberystwyth

We have been asked to promote a free screening of the short but powerful Pembrokeshire Against the Cull film "Why we believe culling badgers is a really bad idea" at The Morlan Centre, Morfa Mawr, North Parade, Aberystwyth (Next to Spar) on Wednesday 13th April at 7pm. All welcome.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Crooked cattle farmers

The Welsh Assembly Government has used every dirty trick in the book it push badger killing through - ignoring science, ignoring the results of consultations, publishing false information. Read previous posts with the badgers label for details. The truth is that TB was falling due to stricter measures being imposed on farmers and transport. Guess what? Some farmers have been flouting these regulations and defrauding the public in order to increase their profits. The more this has been investigated, the more widespread the fraud has been found to have spread. The result is an increase in TB - not caused by badgers, but selfish and cruel cattle farmers. Read about it here, and keep an eye on the Badger Trust website. When politicians come to your door, make sure tell them what you think of them if they support killing badgers.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Ceredigion Animal Rescue and Education

With the closure of Ty Agored, are there any other animal rescue centres in West Wales? Yes! Here's one that focuses on dogs - Ceredigion Animal Rescue and Education. Their website shows the costs involved in getting a dog 'up to scratch' for re-homing - donations to them are always welcome, as well as re-homing a dog if you can, or volunteering to help out in other ways. Their site includes some happy endings. Ways you can help (from their site):

Monday, 28 March 2011

Don't vote for badger killers

Click this image then download and print it as a poster for your window

Our last post had a lot of news about badgers and suggestions for things you can in light of the upcoming wildlife slaughter. The incidences of bovine TB continue to drop without any badgers having been killed.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Many in the Welsh Assembly Government are undemocratic wildlife killers

Many of you may now know that Elin Jones has, once again, ignored science and the voice of the public, and has decided to kill badgers in Wales.

She took the decision after the 'consultation' - inverted commas because the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) just paid lip service to the theory of consulting. Not only were the questions so badly written that a primary school child could have spotted the bias towards the pro-killing brigade, but the greatest affront is that of the 13,431 responses, more than 11,300 were against a cull - yet the voice of this massive majority is being ignored by Elin Jones and WAG because it does not fit the decisions they had already made to renew their attack on Welsh wildlife in an attempt to win votes from a subset of farmers. If you want to see the responses people made to the consultation they can be viewed here. The decision by the Minister can also be viewed on the same page - in Annex 1 Summary. That document outlines how many responses there were.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Aber Students Against Cuts

In the past we have criticised Aberystwyth University for two issues. The main one is its continuing hollow lip-service to environmental issues, whilst acting like any other selfish organisation - for example, we will soon be covering their plans to build on a huge greenfield site, even though they have a brownfield site that would serve the purpose just as well.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

History lessons

Time for a blast from the past. One of the CIN writers dug up an essay they had written over 18 years ago, in February 1993. After initially laughing at how badly written some of it is, the question formed: have things improved much since then? Knowing the environmental problems we faced 18 years years ago, what has human society done to improve matters? In the interest of fostering debate we have decided to post the old piece below. Feel free to email us with thoughts or comment on this post.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

There goes the neighbourhood

Heol y Bont roundabout (Llanbadarn Fawr) being dug up

The large green space within the red triangle has been dug up by Ceredigion County Council so they can build more roads

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Is more evidence needed?

The Department of Health in the UK recommends people to cut down their meat intake to reduce their risk of bowel cancer. Good news! There has been a long record of evidence for this but rarely has this turned into advice or recommendations - because the Government is scared of the powerful farming lobby. But people's health is important and it's good that they are being told the truth about their diet, even if the recommendations are still too weak. The advice comes from the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition for the government. More here.

Monday, 21 February 2011

UK forests saved!

That was the fastest victory yet! The proposed sell-off in our last post has been 'axed'. The House of Commons speech can be found here. Lots of organisations are celebrating.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Save the UKs forests

Image from the Woodland Trust

The UK coalition government wants to privatise and sell off the public forest, currently managed by the Forestry Commission. There's no knowing what private companies could do - unsustainable logging, blocking public access (many public rights of way have been lost under private ownership of former Forestry Commission land), destroying wildlife habitats etc. It could also result in 30 million trees being cut down.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Construction continues

It has rained a lot recently, and many people in Aberystwyth have been heard grumbling about flooding. However in most cases it is not the rain that is the problem - it is the continuous human development of green spaces, roads and buildings covering hills that would have absorbed huge amounts of water, leading to the combined problems of run-off and compression from the weight of developments squeezing water out. Both lead to flooding lower down and loss of topsoil. Problems that get worse as we cover more and more green spaces in concrete.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Badger snippets

Some recent news from Pembrokeshire Against The Cull.

Bovine TB rate dropping - without a cull!
DEFRA have published statistics for incidence of bovine TB in Wales up to the end of September 2010. These continue to show the incidence is declining overall in Wales. An estimated projection shows a drop of approximately 29% on 2009. But most importantly, the drop is even more pronounced in Dyfed - the area that contains the Intensive Action Area where there was a 34.8% reduction in 2010! This shows that a cull is unnecessary, as well as cruel and unscientific.

BBC blog comments
The BBC's Nature UK blog asked for views on culling. Have a look at some of the comments!