The Green party pledges green furture for economy

Green Party pledge

The Green Party have released details about a new deal that could aid the conservation of our planet, as well as attempting to tackle the issues of mass production and consumption, and economic inequality.

Caroline Lucas from the Green Party has described, in an article in The Guardian newspaper, the types of changes that she would like to propose in the battle against capitalism and the destruction of our environment.

The heart of this approach is centred on rejecting the current government’s plot to make huge budget cuts, especially within the public services.

Instead, the Green Party are suggesting this country invests in a new “green infrastructure”, which would not only help in the fight against climate change and towards nature conservation, but it will also help create a huge number of jobs in the trade sector.

By regenerating every building in the UK to be highly energy efficient and partially self-reliant on their own energy supplies, this scheme could produce a huge number of jobs for numerous trades – such as engineers, plumbers, builders and electricians, to name just a few.

The possibility of implementing a new zero-waste strategy could also help create tens of thousands of jobs in the public service sector, especially for refuse collectors, and the party’s idea to train thousands of people in horticulture in order to produce more locally sourced food, would also produce many more jobs for people in their local areas.

This new Green “deal” is proposed to be funded partly by the new tax revenues generated by the scheme, as well as from private funding, repaid from savings on homeowners’ and businesses’ energy bills.

Could this be the future for an environment-friendly, economic equality-driven society? Only time will tell. Get in touch and give me your views on this proposal.

Discount on electric cars could be fried

Convey of i MiEV's on Broad Street, Birmingham

The new government’s cost-cutting drive has been reported to be considering axing the planned £5,000 discount on all new electric cars, which was due to be introduced next year.

This would be a huge set back for the electric car market, as the industry has already began marketing their new range of electric cars with the idea that this proposed discount would remain in place.

Electric cars are expensive to buy, and it has been said that only the most environmentally conscious amongst us would be prepared to pay out for one. Even the £5,000 discount may not help attract many more buyers, so with the possibility of this discount being scrapped before it has even been put into practice, it is hard to see how the future of electric cars can get ahead.

The holidays are coming…

With the summer drawing in there is always one big question on the agenda…where do you take the kids? The six weeks holidays are a long time to fill, and most parents would agree that their days out with the little ones should be both fun and educational.

Get outdoors in Brum

Well hunt no more, as The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country hosts a number of weekly activity days down at their EcoPark in Small Heath. The EcoPark is an educational centre for children of all ages, which aims to teach children about their local environment and how to help protect it.

Children can take part in all kinds of exciting activities such as growing trees and vegetables, pond dipping, “minibeast” hunts and nature-themed arts and crafts. Most importantly, these activities will get the kids out in the fresh air, getting their bodies and minds active for the day.

More to offer

There are plenty more environmental activities on offer in the West Midlands. The kids will be spoilt for choice!

The Birmingham Nature Centre (run by Birmingham City Council) is home to a wide range of animals, such as red pandas, lemurs, cranes, otters and meerkats. The centre also has a wide collection of endangered reptiles, such as lizards and snakes.

With so many fascinating and unusual animals on display, those days of driving miles to the nearest zoo may be behind you. Birmingham’s Nature Centre is sure to impress and with entrance fees as little as £3.50 for adults, £1 for children aged 5-15 and under-5s going free, you could certainly afford to visit more than once this summer.

It gets better, as Birmingham is also home to an Outdoor Education Centre (BOEC), which offers exciting activities such as rope courses, zip wire, orienteering and even some water activities.

Not only does the centre offer a great day out for all the family, but it also aims to leave a lasting impression on its visitors about the importance of environmental and conservation work in the local area.

Join the midnight mass for moths

The moth: a nightime butterfly

According to a recent article on the BBC website, nocturnal bats and moths are facing a “crisis” of survival.

Both the Butterfly Conservation and Bat Conservation Trust are urging people to take part in the “National Moth Night” on May 15th, to help aid research into both species and their habitats.

Our local “National Moth Night” is being held at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, Brandon Lane, Coventry, CV3 3GW starting at 7pm.

If you can’t make it down to the public event, then why not take the advice of the conservationists and set up your own moth and bat watch night in your back garden? You don’t need to own fancy recording equipment, as simple household concoctions can work just as well. Items such as sugar, wine-ropes,  blossom and even bright lights can all attract moths to your garden.

So give it a go, and send any information you record to National Moth Night for the chance to win some great prizes.

“Green Exercise” is good for the mind

Fresh-air fitness

UK researchers are claiming that just five minutes of exercise in a park or other “green space” can boost a person’s mental health.

According to the latest analysis, combining activities such as walking, jogging or cycling with a natural area can increase your well-being, vastly improving your general mood and self-esteem.

The BBC have released the results of this study from the Environmental Science and Technology journal, who have suggested that the strongest impact of this combination of exercise and “green space” was felt by the younger generations.

Five minutes of walking, cycling, fishing or horse riding (among other activities) gave participants an immense feeling of well-being. Longer periods of exercise in a green environment gave continued positive effects, but the magnitude of these effects was much smaller.

Earth and Water

Further research showed that a greater effect was seen when exercise was conducted in an environment that also contained water – such as a river or lake.

Study leader and researcher at the University of Essex, Jules Pretty, claimed that those who were stressed or suffering with a form of mental illness could potentially benefit most from this “green exercise”.

Paul Framer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, also showed support for this research, saying:

‘It’s important that people experiencing depression can be given the option of a range of treatments, and we would like to see all doctors considering exercise as a treatment where appropriate.’

Well, it’s got to be better than sweating it out on a treadmill in your living room, hasn’t it? What good could possibly come of staring at the reflection of your hot, red face in the TV – knowing that a kitchen full of junk food is just in the next room?

I say out with the in, and in with the out!

I’m not happy!

I'm not a happy bunny

I am extremely disappointed with the ignorance I faced from the Birmingham branch of the Wildlife Trust over the last week. I have been researching the local Eco Park volunteer days that the organisation runs on a weekly basis, and I contacted a local centre to ask for further information on the project.

After speaking to a very nice gentleman on th phone, I was told that the best person to speak to was a “Colin” from the BBC, and was given his email address. I emailed this “Colin”, explaining who I was, and what information I was looking for and I have still yet to receive so much as a short email back.

I was quite surprised that I didn’t receive anything back from what I would have considered to be such a highly regarded organisation, especially given that I was offering to write about (and therefore promote) the brilliant work that they do to help the conservation of local areas all across the UK.

So, I’m simply going to write the article with whatever information I can lay my hands on, given that I clearly am not going to get the information I requested from the organisation. It’s a shame really…I did expect better.

“Lord Of The Rings” bog wins grant

A Birmingham nature reserve, which had been the inspiration for the Old Forest in JR Tolkien’s famous novels “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”, has won a £376,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Tolkein's Mysterious Old Forest

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country will be undertaking the restoration of Moseley Bog and Joy’s Wood Local Nature Reserve, in an attempt to reverse the many years of underinvestment the site has suffered, and instead aim to conserve the key heritage features and biodiversity.

This is an important break-through for the bog – which was at one point destined to become a landfill site – as it is home to numerous forms of habitats and a high volume of species, including birds, invertebrates and small mammals.

The area, which is part of a wildlife corridor between Woodgate Valley and Kings Heath, will receive treatment which includes hedgerow restoration, meadow management and tree safety. There is also to be a range of learning materials including resource packs produced and an outreach programme for schools and community groups, as well as a website and self guided MP3 tours for the site.

So why not take a trip down to Mosley Bog and Joy’s Wood Local Nature Reserve, and find a little magic and mystery for yourself? Who knows, maybe you’ll even spot a hobbit or two along the way!

Bees in need

Could you adopt this bee?

Beekeepers all over Britain are urging bee lovers to “adopt” a hive, to help improve the future for the common honeybee.

With the numbers of the honeybee declining steadily, the British Beekeeper’s Association (BBKA) are promoting a new campaign to encourage bee lovers – especially those who are unwilling or unable to keep a hive of their own – to help fund the protection of our fuzzy, winged friends.

The money will be used to aid research into the health of bees and support the training for beekeepers around the UK.

With the commercial value of honey weighing in between a massive £10 million to £30 million, it’s no surprise to learn that numerous areas of the UK’s economy could be affected.

Agriculturists and chefs alike could suffer if the number of honey bees continues to decline. So much so, that the Telegraph has reported that Michelin-star chef Raymond Blanc is backing the campaign.

If you would like to adopt a hive, visit the BBKA for more information.

Internet is hotspot for illegal animal trading

The dangers of the Internet

The internet has become one of the main threats to endangered species, according to conservationists.

Our high-tech age of constant consumerism means that we can buy and sell anything we want – including live animals or their fur – through online auctions and chatrooms.

According to recent findings, it is the anonymity of these online auction sites and chatrooms which causes such a problem – as the illegal activities of buying and selling either animals or their furs is severely difficult to trace back to the perpetrator.

These websites clearly need to have a higher level of regulation around them, as these activities are illegal and a serious problem to the conservation and protection of our endangered species.

Curzon Street Station could be back on track

Curzon Street Station

Birmingham’s iconic Curzon Street station could be reopening to connect with the new high-speed rail service from Birmingham to London.

Lord Adonis of the House of Lords was reported by the BBC as saying:

“Subject to this consultation, the London terminus for the high-speed line would be Euston [and] the Birmingham city centre station would be at Curzon Street…”

This would seem to be good news for old station, situated at the rear of Millennium Point, as it would not only be back up and running, but it would once again be at the forefront of the cutting edge rail business – as it was when it first opened in 1938.

However, the Birmigham Conservation Trust has warned of a possible clash between building conservation and landscape conservation.

The National Trust in the Thames and Solent region are said to be “dubious” about the proposal, after the BBC reported Patrick Begg – director for the National Trust’s Thames and Solent region – as saying that the route could cause “serious and significant impacts on the landscape”.

The National Trust appears to be fretful about the environmental issues in opening the new HS2 line, and claim that they are “yet to be convinced” that the government have fully taken into consideration the environmental factors surrounding the proposal.

It seems then, that this could be a long and difficult battle between building conservation and restoration and landscape conservation.

Whilst the idea of the Curzon Street Station being conserved and restored to its former glory could heavily sway many of Birmingham’s residents, organisations such as The National Trust will not be alone in flying the flag for the conservation of Birmingham’s natural areas and landscapes.

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