Wednesday 30 April 2008
Tuesday 29 April 2008
After visiting this exhibition with my Mum we then visited the Aquarium, in the basement of the museum, where we were delighted to see several new species of fish, including the pygmy glass danio, one of the smallest fish in the world.
Monday 28 April 2008
My parents really look after the birds in the garden, having several feeders filled up with good bird foods. Two blackbirds have particularly developed a habit of visiting the garden first thing in the morning for their special fruit snacks!
We also enjoyed a rainy walk round Rivington where we heard willow warblers and robins singing.
Thursday 24 April 2008
Edinburgh to Bolton single £9. Bolton to Edinburgh single £15.
This is what I've paid the last several times I've made the journey! I seem to be pretty lucky getting the cheap deals! (Of course more of our fares should be that cheap). I also enjoy the fact that the train journey between Edinburgh and Bolton passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in southern Scotland and the English Lake District.
I'll be back next week!
The Fuelpod is designed to recycle cooking oils and is therefore environmentally friendly, unlike biofuels made from farmed crops, which have negative impacts on food supplies and rainforests. This week, Jean Ziegler, the UN's rapporteur on the Right to Food, described farmed biofuels as "a crime against humanity" because they divert food from the poor to provide fuel for the rich.
For more information on the Fuelpod, visit: www.greenfuels.co.uk
It is heartening to see that both the European Commission and the UK government are rethinking their targets on biofuels.
Wednesday 23 April 2008
has bloomed since November
while others are still in bud -
leaves slow to unfurl in the cold
late Spring. The nuthatch, a southern
bird welcomed here by recent warmth
fluffs its feathers, delays nesting.
Late Spring for Totally Optional Prompts
Tuesday 22 April 2008
the song of a skylark
into the blue
the blue green flash
of a kingfisher
to the waterfall
of a peregrine
plunging to catch
the prayerful cadence
of a nightingale
in the honeysuckle scent
The RSPB works to conserve birds and their habitat across the UK and beyond.
Time Capsule for Weekend Wordsmith
Earth Day is 22 April 2008. Enjoy the beauty of the earth and help to protect it for future generations.
Monday 21 April 2008
The film was originally intended to be presented with a science fiction narrative, an idea that was abandoned once filming began, but was realized in his later film The Wild Blue Yonder.
Available as part of a DVD boxed set of films by Werner Herzog.
Sunday 20 April 2008
Saturday 19 April 2008
Today we got the bus down to Peebles in the Scottish Borders. The fields were full of lambs and it felt as though Spring was really here! Lots of rabbits everywhere too! We went for a lovely walk in the Glentress Forestry Commission Woodland. Many of the trees were covered in lichens:
The weather was nice, though very windy, especially on the exposed slopes! We heard lots of birds singing and saw wrens, blue tits, great tits, robins, a greenfinch, blackbirds, a song thrush and several rooks building their nests in their rookery at the top of a group of trees. I also saw 2 nuthatches, which although they're common in areas of England are very unusual in Scotland and I think Peebles must be the most northerly point they ever reach. We also saw these two lovely horses.
You can read about an earlier trip we made to Glentress Forest last year here.
Friday 18 April 2008
as I reach the hill top
a robin sings
in the garden -
fresh from the spring -
health for Mad Kane's Haiku Prompt
Thursday 17 April 2008
The book shows up some of the contradictions and hypocrisies of some parts of the environmental movement as well as individuals. Ty really isn't a likeable character, although he's a zealous activist, he isn't really focussed and he doesn't think through the consequences of his actions with disturbing results.
It's a very powerful book that makes the reader sit up and think about what we're doing to the earth. Though there have been mass extinctions in the past (just think of the dinosaurs) this will be the first time it has happened with a so called sentient intelligent species around who could stop the chaos but most of the time seems intent on bring on destruction faster and sooner just for the sake of a few bucks.
The vision in this book isn't always consistent, but it is always thought provoking. Read this book, then think about how you can lessen the environmental impact of your life and maybe we can stop this scary vision of 2025 becoming reality.
I reviewed But n Ben A Go Go by Matthew Fitt, another book about similar themes here.
Wednesday 16 April 2008
Tuesday 15 April 2008
What's wrong with Agrofuels (biofuels)?*Deforestation, peatland destruction and the use of nitrogen fertilisers mean that agrofuels are worse for the climate than fossil fuel. Paul Crutzen (Nobel prize-winner) suggests that rapeseed biodiesel is up to 70% worse for climate change than ordinary fossil diesel (even though it's grown in the UK and involves no deforestation or peatland destruction) due to nitrogen fertiliser giving off nitrous oxide - a 300x more damaging greenhouse gas than CO2. Across the global South people are being evicted, often violently, from their land to make way for agrofuel plantations. According to Jean Ziegler (until recently the UN special rapporteur on the right to food) 12 million more people are going hungry now than a year ago due to rising food prices, something that agrofuels make a large contribution to.
Instead we should:
dramatically reduce fossil fuel use,
live more locally
improve public transport and
investigate environmentally friendly bio-fuels made from waste oils.
Information from Friends of the Earth Scotland
For more info on biofuels visit: www.biofuelwatch.org.uk
Also read the feature on Biofuels in The Ecologist magazine here.
Monday 14 April 2008
Saturday 12 April 2008
Of course though, plastic litter poses a threat to animals. Birds and other animals can ingest small pieces of plastic which can poison them or they can get trapped in torn plastic or bottles. So all plastic waste needs to be disposed of carefully and where possible alternatives should be found for plastics.
Friday 11 April 2008
The launch included a song from Ferial Puren of Waste Innovations, then I read Amazonia and Swifts. Then there was time to chat over snacks, the paper napkins were left over from someone's wedding, which I thought showed a real commitment to re-use.
Thursday 10 April 2008
and there were no books
to tell you
this was not the first -
you created myth
disease and earthquake -
for each you called a spirit.
Later belief in one higher god
and science banished myth
but sometimes on the hill
we hear the chanting,
feel the reverence
for the spirits
Mythology for Totally Optional Prompts
For an earlier poem inspired by mythology, follow the link below:
Mythologies of the Moon.
Wednesday 9 April 2008
Tuesday 8 April 2008
Monday 7 April 2008
I read this book for general interest but also partly as background reading for the Dino Dig at the Science Festival. I would have been better reading a dinosaur book I know! There were several dinosaur fans at the Dino Dig, who put our cobbled-together knowledge to shame. Last year there was a research paleantologist on the Dino Dig team, this year, for half the festival there wasn't even a real dino enthusiast on the team and it showed - though it didn't stop most of the children having a great time!
Edited to add: I've just found a copy of the Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs in the second hand shop across the road. How useful that would have been over the last couple of weeks.... I bought it anyway, my interest has been piqued by the Dino Dig...
Sunday 6 April 2008
Saturday 5 April 2008
For those of who were science communicators, we learned how to survive 13 days work with no day off (though there were a lot of sick days within the team), we learned how to communicate science better, even bits of science we previously didn't know that much about. Personally, I was really very happy to get this intensive experience of informal education before starting work on my first writing workshop course (the new dates for which can be found here).
Thursday 3 April 2008
The shop is a gateway for eco-living, stocking eco-friendly, sustainable, recycled, and organic products. It serves as a stage for innovation and design by adding value to waste materials in the form of marketable products. Dr. Macpherson, director of STIRnetwork, envisions The Portal as a 'creative platform to utilise skills and encourage creativity, so that it’s not wasted'; As the saying goes, one man's waste is another's treasure. The “waste” at The Portal has been creatively modified into “treasure” for the taking!
She notes a 'current climate of waste' contributing to the atrophy of creativity. She wants to eliminate wasted creativity, skills, and opportunities by using those resources on waste materials to produce a final product that incorporates an eco-friendly solution via a people valuing means. To her, waste is not merely the clutter in the bin; it is also the disuse of talents and skills. For example, too much household and commercial waste goes into landfills, when much of it could be recycled. 'One-hundred and nine square miles of Great Britain are currently being used as landfill, not surprisingly as we send 16.9 million tonnes of waste to landfills each year,' says Dr. Macpherson.
'By the age of seven,' she added, 'forty percent of childhood creativity disappears, just imagine how much creativity has declined by the time we approach eighteen. The lack of creativity combined with the UK unemployment rate of 5.2 %, reveals a need for a creative outlet, and STIRnetwork's own creative solution to waste is The Portal.'
Standing for 'Sustainable Technology, Information & Research, STIRnetwork, founded in 2002 is a non-profit organisation, recognised as an Investor in People in 2007, that operates as the head of multiple eco-aware micro-businesses. Waste Innovations is a creative eco-marketing venture from STIRnetwork. Waste Innovations also plan to launch an e-commerce site within the next month.
Wednesday 2 April 2008
dull, dreich, mist covered hills.
Lulled by soft voices and motion of travel
I drop into half sleep and dream of the sunshine.
Jolted awake, my senses are staggered,
disjointed awareness of palm trees and hornbills.
On a rainy day journey to Blantyre, Malaŵi*.
*there is also a town called Blantyre in Scotland
Previously published in Poetry Scotland
Regional Poetry for Totally Optional Prompts
Tuesday 1 April 2008
My Poetry Workshop: TUESDAY APRIL 29TH 6PM (First of 8 consecutive weeks)
Kids Art Workshop: SATURDAY APRIL 26TH 10:30AM (First of 8 consecutive weeks)Teens Acting Workshop: SATURDAY APRIL 26TH 1:00PM (First of 8 consecutive weeks)
Half-Day Paper Making Workshop: FRIDAY MAY 2ND 1:30PM (First of 7 consecutive weeks)
Full-Day Paper Making Workshop: STARTING JUNE 6TH - first Friday of every month 10AM
More information about course costs and organisation from Waste Innovations. If you're interested in the poetry workshop and want to know more, just leave a comment here or email me....
Please note: due to flooding of the Eco Portal these workshops have been CANCELLED.