Monthly Archives: November 2012

National Tree Week 2012

It’s National Tree Week and communities all over the country are being encouraged to celebrate the winter tree planting season by getting involved and doing something for the environment.

Every year, upward of half a million adults and children take part in thousands of events across the UK, arranged by The Tree Council‘s member organisations, many of its 8,000 volunteer tree wardens, local community groups and schools.

Most events involve tree planting, but many also use other ways of raising tree awareness such as woodland walks, tree identification tours, workshops, talks, tree surveys as well as Wood Fairs with woodturning demonstrations and storytelling. Many local authorities also give out free tree packs to those who wished to plant their own.

Launched in 1975, as a response to Dutch Elm Disease, the national week takes on special significance in 2012 because of the rapid spread of ash dieback, which is affecting increasing numbers of our ash trees.

The Tree Council’s Director-General, Pauline Black, said: “We couldn’t have foreseen that we’d be faced with the losses of ash dieback just as we go in to National Tree Week. But this seems a timely moment to ask the public to think carefully about what will happen to their view across the countryside and in their towns, and what they will do to restore it for future generations. Anyone with land of their own, whether it be a garden, woodland or field, can make a difference to their view by adding a tree.”

Protesters blockade nuclear power station

More than 200 people are blockading a nuclear power station in protest at plans to build new reactors at the site.

Members of several anti-nuclear groups that are part of the Stop New Nuclear alliance say they are barring access to Hinkley Point power station in Somerset in protest against EDF Energy’s plans to renew the site with two new reactors. The new reactors at Hinkley would be the first of eight new nuclear power stations to be built in the UK.

The protesters began their blockade at about 7am on Friday, with a theatrical troupe who “enacted a nuclear disaster scenario similar to Fukushima”, the power plant which was badly damaged during the earthquake which struck Japan on 11 March. Most are local people but demonstrators also came from Belgium and Germany.

Stop New Nuclear spokesman Andreas Speck said: ”This is the start of a new movement. We intend this day to be a celebration of resistance against the Government and EDF Energy’s plans to spearhead the construction of eight new nuclear power plants around the UK.

“This blockade shows that people who understand the true dangers of nuclear power are prepared to use civil disobedience to get their voice heard.”

Many thanks!

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A big thank you to Dear Kitty. Some Blog for nominating me for the “Blog of the Year 2012″  Award. It was a lovely  surprise and much appreciated. 

The “Blog of the Year” is a little different from some other awards, because you accumulate stars. Here are the ‘rules’ for this award:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve this award.

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number  required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5 You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

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Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect! Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different! When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect. Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs, and even if they have already been given the award by someone else, then you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

For more information check the FAQ on The Thought Palette.

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There are so many great blogs, it’s been very difficult to make my own nominations. I’ve decided to choose 15 of my favourite blogs, but will no doubt have forgotten many others that deserve this award.

Here, in no particular order,  are my nominees:

Country Corners

Science on the Land

Dear Kitty. Some Blog

Cristian Mihai

How to spy on birds

The Secular Jurist

The Foraging Photographer

Experience the Wilderness

Passion for Cats

Why Watch Wildlife?

WILDEN MARSH

Canadian Hiking Photography

sliceoflondonlife

Morning Meadow Cottage

Wildlifewatcher’s Blog

Badgers get their own crossings

Drivers are being asked to take special care on rural roads  because the breeding season is fast  approaching and  the young start to leave their families. Experts estimate that vehicles kill 50,000 of the animals each year, particularly when  they emerge at night in search of food.

The Badger Trust said: “Traffic is the number one threat and new roads can divide territories and result in more deaths as badgers continue along their traditional routes. Motorists need to be particularly careful and go around corners ready to brake. If a vehicle is coming the other way you can see its headlights, but animals don’t have headlights.”

The Highways Agency now considers badger safety when building new roads. As part of the £175m upgrade of the main route between England and Scotland, badger-proof fencing and tunnels are being created to give wildlife a safe route under the motorway.

A dozen such “badger mitigation” schemes are being developed around the country and will join the 250 badger tunnels and some 200km of fencing already along some of Britain’s roads. The proposed high-speed rail line form London to Leeds will also feature these badger-safe accessories.

But the Badger Trust says more needs to be done and  is calling for a co-ordinated policy and greater funding to protect the animals from traffic.

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

The Brenner Brief

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BP will pay a record $4.5 billion in fines and plead guilty to a dozen felony counts under a deal with the U.S. government to settle criminal charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident that killed 11 workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal prosecutors also announced new indictments against two BP supervisors for manslaughter and a former BP executive for hiding information from Congress and lying to law-enforcement officials.

The settlement would resolve the British oil company’s criminal liability over the disaster — the worst oil spill in U.S. waters — but still leaves it to face civil charges in a trial that is set to begin early next year.

In addition to pleading guilty to the 11 felony counts of misconduct or negligence tied to the rig workers’ deaths, BP will also plead guilty to one misdemeanor count each…

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New action plan to tackle ash dieback disease

The Department for the Environment has unveiled a new action plan to tackle the outbreak of ash dieback, but admits it cannot eradicate the disease.

More than 100,000 newly planted and nursery trees with ash dieback have already been destroyed, but mature trees will not be burned because they are important for other wildlife and may help identify resistant strains.

Some 129 sites are now confirmed as being infected after an unprecedented nationwide survey involving around 500 people. Fifteen of these are in nurseries, 50 in recently planted sites and 64 in the wider countryside.

Cases have now been reported in Sussex, Berkshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Northumberland, Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and Essex. Several National Trust sites, including Ashridge in Hertfordshire, have put up signs as an extra precaution to prevent the disease spreading.

Under the latest measures, affected new and young trees will be destroyed immediately and the search for the Chalara fraxinea fungus that causes ash dieback fungus will widen to include towns and cities.

Defra officials have worked with the Forestry Commission and other agencies to find the best way to contain the spread of the disease. The public, along with foresters, land managers and environmental groups, will be told how to spot ash dieback and what to do if they find it. Experts are also searching for trees that have a genetic resistance to the disease that could provide stock for a new breeding programme.

Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, admits it is impossible to wipe it out now that it has been found in mature trees but insists the ash can still be saved.

“If we can slow its spread and minimise its impact, we will gain time to find those trees with genetic resistance to the disease and to restructure our woodlands to make them more resilient,” he said. “We now have a window of opportunity for action because the disease only spreads in the summer.

“Wildlife and countryside groups will play a major role in minimising the impact of the disease and so will the general public, especially when it comes to spotting other areas where the disease has taken hold.”

RSPB Conservation Director, Martin Harper, said: “The plan is a vital part of stopping the spread of this disease. However, it is essential we do not divert resources away from other vital environmental services. Money must be found from central government coffers or we will simply be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

A short history of bees

I Love Bees

Bees are one of nature’s most prolific pollinators. It is estimated that a single bee, at the peak of its performance, can visit literally thousands of wild and cultivated flowers across an area spanning hundreds of miles. Bees are known for enhancing crop production as well as producing one of nature’s finest food products: honey.
Bees don’t just produce honey, though – they also produce royal jelly (an energy-rich substance naturally produced by bees which is added to food supplements to enhance physical performance and maintain wellness).

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