Monday, 9 March 2009


A least, that's what the new Scottish Environment Minister says we should be doing, in today's Scotsman:

Darn your socks to help save planet, says minister
By Jenny Haworth
Environment Correspondent

SCOTS should be darning their socks and looking to their grandparents for advice in order to lead greener lifestyles, according to the new environment minister. Roseanna Cunningham's advice came as a survey revealed that people in Scotland saw the environment as a global issue rather than a local one...

Easy to scoff, but it's a wider message, in our throwaway, Primark fashion society, which is worth considering. Certainly I belong to the generation which did try to make things last; I am even old enough (just!) to recall making clippy and proggy mats from old clothes, a skill which is still seen at places like Beamish Museum:

See the mats in use on page 5:

Super pictures, including one of mat making. I have the implements and I can just about recall how to do it. In times past, the mat went on the floor during the day, and on the bed at night. For anyone who hasn't been, Beamish is a recommended day out. I was at the opening ceremony, wonderful to see how much it has prospered since then.

So, in the interests of planet saving, today here's a post on another blog giving details of HOW TO DARN SOCKS in various ways:

Food waste is another issue; as a nation we throw away a great deal of food which could easily be eaten, thus further saving of the planet gains to be made:

Household Food Waste
An estimated 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is produced each year in the UK, most of which could have been eaten. This wastes good food, costs us all money and adversely impacts on the environment. The amount of food we throw away is a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases in the UK.

To help reduce the amount of food that is thrown away, WRAP and its partners are running a 'Love Food Hate Waste' consumer facing campaign to encourage behavioural change. We are working with the UK grocery sector, food industry, Government and organisations such as the Food Standards Agency to develop practical solutions and improved communications to make it easier for consumers to get the most from the food they buy and waste less of it.

Here's the Love Food Hate Waste site, full of useful tips and recipes:

Unavoidable Household Food Waste
Some food waste is inevitable (e.g. vegetable peelings) and WRAP is working with consumers, local authorities and others to minimise the amount of food waste that reaches landfill.
Home Composting is a fantastic way of recycling food waste such as fruit scraps, vegetable peelings and tea-bags, while making your garden more beautiful. Find out more about home composting and see if there are any low cost compost bin offers in your area.
Local Authorities can also advise about community composting and food waste collection schemes.

As an avid composter, I can recommend it, not to be sniffed at (!) is the therapeutic effect also of seeing all that waste turned into something sweet smelling and full of nutrients to help with the organic veggie growing... another way to cut down food miles and have some control over the quality of food we eat.

By banding together, it's possible to work as a community also to help the environment; here's one example:

Unfortunately, some types of recycling are still not happening; the UK government's Pathfinder scheme is bulldozing on, razing sound buildings which, if grant aid was given to refurbish, could stand for many more decades. That's despite all manner of critical reports about how ineffective, inefficient and downright unpopular it all is, especially with the communities which it is devastating. However, the gravy train is running, the official bodies are being paid, and that means the voices of reason are not being heard.

Sad to find this on the SALVO website yesterday:

Demolition starts on 100 Brierfield homes
Lorries from Hapton firm Howard Stott Demolition rolled into the area on Tuesday 17th February armed with security barriers. These were used to secure properties on two of the streets, Belgrave Street and Claremont Street, where the demolition will began. Around 100 old houses below the railway and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal are being demolished to make way for a new housing development under the Government's Pathfinder scheme.Stone from the houses will be retained and used for garden walls at the new properties.Pendle Council's housing programmes manager Julie Palmer said the demolition has to be completed by the end of March.

You Tube

That video should be a source of shame for all involved, Pendle Council for allowing the place to become run down, Elevate East Lancashire, the Pathfinder body which refuses to consider anything but demolition, and the government, for not pulling the plug on John Prescott's ghastly scheme long before now.

As SAVE showed in its plans for the re-use of Toxteth Street, Manchester:

re-use is sustainable , popular with local communities, and cheaper than demolition. But the council voted for the wrecking ball anyhow.

SAVE has been informed that the Compulsory Purchase Order for 520 houses in Toxteth Street, East Manchester has been confirmed by the Secretary of State. The news comes as a bitter disappointment both to SAVE and residents who have been fighting plans for demolition. The comprehensive redevelopment scheme has been funded by government's controversial Housing Market Renewal (Pathfinder) Initiative.

Another council which just doesn't get the message is Tower Hamlets; here's Dan Cruickshank campaigning in today's Building Design for the re-use of Robin Hood Gardens:

Dan Cruickshank attacks Tower Hamlets and English Heritage over Robin Hood Gardens
9 March, 2009
By Will Henley and Phil Clark

Architectural historian and TV personality Dan Cruickshank has given the east London council and heritage body a drubbing over the Smithson’s estate.

TV presenter and historian Dan Cruickshank has launched a blistering attack on Tower Hamlets council and English Heritage over their failure to back the listing of Robin Hood Gardens, which he warned would lead to a “grotesque acts of barbarism” if it is demolished...

...To destroy [the Robin Hood Gardens buildings] would be one of the most grotesque acts of barbarism, vandalism - architecturally, visually, socially,” said Cruickshank.

“Having failed to maintain and manage those buildings properly… they [the council] are taking what they think is the easiest solution to level the site. They are utterly wrong. What amazes me though is English Heritage – their job is to assess and step back and realise the raw potential of even problematic housing schemes, and they’ve utterly failed to do that.

It is incredible that they are not listed. Buildings of that quality, comparable buildings – the Goldfinger buildings - Trellick Tower [and] Alton are listed - Sheffield Park Hill is listed, Keeling House is listed – why on earth is this one not listed?”

The article with which I began today's blog ended with this, which I quote with some cynical amusement:

THE Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall began their ten-day tour of South America yesterday with the issue of climate change at the top of their agenda. Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in Chile, but they will also visit Brazil, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Highlighting the issue of global warming is a major theme, and this week the prince will give a dire warning on climate change to the world. Their chartered Airbus arrived at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez airport close to Santiago. They were driven away in a limousine, followed by a motorcade of six cars.

It's a lovely day. I think I'll go and talk to the rhubarb.


No comments: