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March 15th, 2008

Hello lovely darling people, the time to take action in now!!!

We now have a petition lodged with parliament, the text is as follows:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to pass legislature that all paper used by public companies will be 100% post-consumer recycled paper."
More details are found on the website, please read the text:
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/post-consumer/

We REALLY need your help with this!!! Spread the word!

I would ask you kindly to email all your British friends and ask them to sign, we mean to get serious now and we only have a couple of months!!!!

Love and all the best from the Cfis!!!

February 29th, 2008

The Cost Of War

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The Cost Of WarCollapse ) 




Clip from the movie of George Orwell's 1984 on the purpose of war:

February 27th, 2008

One of the most serious environmental problems facing us today is the erosion and degradation of our soil, and modern industrialised farming has precipitated this, turning one solution into two problems.

The natural state of affairs is thus; farms combine livestock and crops, rotating their fields so that manure from the animals replenishes what is taken from the soil by arable produce. Sometimes parts of the farm are left fallow to recover and grow grass which feeds the animals. There is no soil erosion, a perfectly sustainable ecosystem and plenty of jobs for farm workers.

The current state of affairs is vastly different. Our farms are now generally specialised, concentrating totally on crop production, or meat and milk. This has divorced the natural manure fertiliser from the arable land, replacing it with chemicals that ultimatley end up washed into rivers, while at the same time turning a valuable resource into a dangerous bi-product, slurry, which is highly toxic and also causes severe pollution to rivers, streams and water supplies.

For the animals it is far worse than that. They are kept in shocking conditions in the race to produce as much meat, eggs and milk in the quickest time on the smallest amount of resources.

A major factor in the fall of the Roman empire was overfarming of the land (see A Green History Of The World). The problem is this is no longer only happening in one country, but across the globe. It can take hundreds or a thousand years for nature to form even an inch of topsoil but since farming began in America they have lost at least a third of theirs. The climate is on our side in Britain so we really shouldn’t have any soil erosion at all except what nature can replace, but intensive farming has caused it.

Supporters of intensive farming claim that non-chemical farming cannot feed the world, but this is nonsense, especially if all the money and resources that are currently spent on researching new chemicals was channeled into making of natural food production more effective. More pertinently though, chemical farming definately cannot feed the world as long term it simply isn’t sustainable! Soil isn’t just dead matter! It’s made up of billions of tiny organisms and bacteria, which form the new soil and keep it healthy. If the pesticides in intensive farming don’t kill these creatures, the herbicides will kill the vegetation that they feed on having a knock-on effect. If we continue this soon we won’t be able to grow anything at all!

Pesticides have been shown to cause all sorts of horrible things like birth defects, cancers and gene mutations, I feel like eating organic!

Permaculture describes a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem. Combining plants, animals, water, buildings and the local landscape, more energy would be produced than expended, all nutrients, materials and resources would be recycled and nature would be interfered with as little as possible. Sounds great doesn’t it?

To learn more about this important issue refer to chapter eight of the fantastic book It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This.
I recommend everyone buy it quite frankly, especially since
you can usually get a copy for £0.01+postage second hand on amazon. Or a fiver from the official site.

Postscript (added 09/12/07):
Permaculture Magazine has been recommended to us by Small Fish Online.

Postscript (added 15/12/07):
This blog was originally featured here:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=267014809&blogID=335479306&Mytoken=1FB7DD9F-A5E4-4D76-897FE8C3ECAF6C5F23969310 
Scroll down and read comments for a wonderful article which was kindly added by our good friend and associate Kindness Of Strangers.

Postscript (added 27/02/07):

February 16th, 2008

CFIS is proud to announce we have been invited to make our first ever presentation on the 6th of March at a new event called The Brixton Supper Club. Infront of up to 500 people Antony, one of our affiliates, will be giving an educational presentation for 45 minutes on various environmental issues including Conscious Cosuming and what we can do to unplug from the destruction of the planet.

This will be followed by an evening of live music and more!


Would be wonderful to see you there if you can make it! 

February 3rd, 2008

Trees For Life

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While most of the environmental campaigns today, including out own, are focused (rightly) on attempting to limit the destruction of the planet, Trees For Life - a Scottish charity, is actually working to regenerate and restore the native Caledonian Forest. Less than 1% of the original survives...
Caledonian Forrest
Scotland is one of the counrties which has suffered most from environmental degredation in the past but Trees For Life will eventually reintroduce the missing species of wildlife which formerly lived in the original forrest in this small area of.

More than a thousand volunteers, from teenagesrs to seventy year-olds, have taken part in their forest restoration work. If you are interested in taking park, from as little as £50, or just making a donation to this worthy cause see their website.

Natural forests are of course on decline on every continent with a resultant extinction of wildlife species which depend on them. For information on your local forest restoration group leave us a comment and we'll see what we can do to help you. 

December 26th, 2007

Sugar and Health

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Sugar and Health:
I once read that "sugar is the most prevalent drug in our society." While some may disagree with the analysis of sugar as a drug, how many know about the way which the body deals with C12H22O11 (table sugar) ?

The type of sugar in the processed stuff we commonly use is sucrose which usually comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. Your digestive system turns this into glucose which is a key regulator of your body that is naturally produced when you need it. What you put in through your mouth acts on receptors that control the release of insulin and other neuropeptides from the pancreas, drastically altering how you feel and process food - putting you in sluggish, fat-storing mode. The consumption of sugar affects the pineal gland in the brain and interferes with it's production of serotonin. Once this is depleted depression can be triggered and a lot of people in this state are often attracted (if not addicted) to sugar products like chocolate, cola and energy drinks such as Red Bull to lift their mood.

Shocking Fact:
Sugar turns acidic to a potentially lethal degree when you digest it. If it wasn't for your bodies response of releasing massive amounts of calcium from your bones and teeth to nullify the acid one sugar cube would be enough to kill you! Does that sound terribly far fetched? If you consume a lot of sugar there is a chance that the bones and teeth begin to show the consequences, one of which can be osteoporosis.

Fruits have a different kind of sugar called fructose. If you have cravings for sweet food this is what I recommend!

We usually think of lemon as very acidic but infact it turns very alkaline when it hits your digestive system, does that sound crazy to you? It's True! So integrating more lemon into your diet or eating it to balance out sugary foods is a great idea. It can also help cure a number of afflictions. If you do not like the taste of it on it's own (I eat whole lemons) you can try putting a slice in a glass of water or herbal tea. Another great idea I bet many will enjoy is squeezing a half lemon over a portion of rice, perhaps with parsley or corriander!

Sugar Substitutes
Before you rush to grab your canderell and switch to diet drinks I want to briefly inform you about aspartame, though I'm aware that many of you will have heard about it already. It has been alleged that aspartame (present in most sweeteners and "diet" alternatives as well as "sugar free" gum) is yet worse than sugar and can be responsible for all sorts of negative effects ranging from headaches to brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma. I will leave it to you to do further research on this, but may add links (feel free to submit) in further reading.

I personally recommend Stevia Leaf Powder which is a natural powder taken from the Stevia plant. The same FDA that won't ban aspartame ruled that it may not be sold as a sugar substitute but only as a dietary suppliment under industry pressure, even against it's own regulations. Stevia Leaf Powder has no callories or carbohydrates, no effect on blood sugar (very suitable to diabetics and persons suffereing from hypoglucaemia) and is not bad for your teeth - infact when mixed in a glass of water it can be used as a mouth wash. It is widely available on Ebay.com and Ebay.co.uk or from other sources online. I bought a packet for a friends mum who is pre-diabetic and she now always uses it instead of saccharine which I think is a very positive change of diet.

I hope you found this article useful and informative, please link to all your friends. Peace, Love and Good Health to all.

November 28th, 2007

 Bad Choices for Environmentalists

 

1) Paper from sustainable forrests is no substitute for recycled paper (especially 100% post-consumer recycled paper) and recycled wood products. It still takes years as well as resources to grow and drains the soil of water.

You can order recycled printer paper, envelopes and other products here:
recycled-paper.co.uk

For more recycled stuff have a look here:
recycledproducts.org.uk

2) Bottled Water is an Environmental Disaster! As well as possibly bad for you as the minerals may gather in your arteries and block them long term. The best thing to do it buy a water filter jug, and put your tap water through it, Kenwood is a good brand.

Find one here:
Water Filter Jug search on ebay.co.uk

Or here:
Filter Jug search on ebay.com

If You Want Completely Pure Water You Must Invest in a Reverse Osmosis Filter

For more on why to avoid bottled water:
Article on bottled water on ttrp.co.uk

3) Meat. We're not going to ask anyone to go veggie, thats absolutely your dietary decision, but be aware that meat does take rather a lot more resources to produce than non-meat - so if you pass up even one or two meat dishes a week you're making a big difference and bless you for it.

Companies like McDonalds and Burger King cut down rainforrests to graze their cattle, and I read somewhere that passing up just one of their burgers saves as much water as skipping 40 showers, I'd rather you smelt good and boycotted those corporations.

4) Most Cigarettes. Ok this is a sensative subject and understandably so, those of us who smoke like our smokes! But many cigarette companies exploit workers and oftentimes will offer huge subsidies that make it unattractive for farmers to grow food or anything other than tobacco... then will force them to poison their land with so many chemicals and additives that they won't grow anything but tobacco for years!

Have  no fear! There are alternatives!

American Spirit is the most widely available additive free tobacco, but as of 2002 Reynolds American owns The Sante Fe Tobacco Natural Tobacco Company. Please visit Black Hawk Tobacco to read about other alternatives that are actually owned and grown by Native Americans.

October 27th, 2007

 
Conservation of Energy betters producing more every time, and there are many ways in which conservation measures be integrated at little or no inconvenience at all.

Here is some information on Nuclear as a means of energy production:

- First of all, nuclear power was not introduced to produce energy as such, it was introduced in the 50s as a front for producing plutonium for nuclear weapons and offset the cost. It's proven time and time again to be the most expensive form of energy production.

- Doubts as to whether carbon emissions are the cause of global warming aside - the anti-greenhouse argument for nuclear energy is very weak. Students have found that every pound spent on energy efficiency saves seven times as much carbon as every pound spent on nuclear power.

- Fossil fuel energy is needed to mine the uranium and transport it, produce the cement and transport it, build the reactor, deal with the waste and many other things. The processes of purifying what comes out the ground (which is becoming increasingly inpure) requires processes which create a lot of carbon emissions. This totals around 250,000 tonnes carbon dioxide per reactor per year, according to Nigel Mortimer, an energy analyst.

- Mining for the fuel is an environmental disaster which has destroyed the lands of native peoples like American Indians and Aboriginies. As supplies become rarer and rarer more sites need to be located for aquiring it at the expense of natural landscapes and indigenous peoples.

- Plutonium 239, just one of the bi-products of nuclear energy, has a half-life of 24,400 years - 4 times longer than recorded history! It could takes over 500,000 years for even a small quantity of it to become harmless. The lethal dosage is a thousandth of a gram.

I hope this sways you towards the belief that nuclear is not the answer. Consuming less is the answer, because (contrary to popular belief) it doesn't need to be at the expense or inconvenience of anyone, here are some examples:

- Did you know that many appliances such as TVs, fridges and toasters could be 75-90% more efficient but there is no legislation, tariff or subsidy to encourage this?
Electrical appliances should be made as efficient as possible or face financial penalties.

- In 1993 the book Energy Without End by Michael Flood featured a house built in British Columbia, which has a climate similar to South England, that received an Annual Electric Heating Bill (albeit in 1986) of £12. It was four times the size of an average British house.
What is the best way to eliminate hypothermia which kills many older people in their own homes evey winter? To produce more energy at great cost and hope they can afford it or to insulate their houses so that they retain heat at less expense? The government should spend money on grants for insulation instead of nuclear power.

- More heat is thrown away from our powerstations every year than is generated by the entire production of North Sea gas every year. Most of the potential heat is poured into the sky as flue gases and steam. Instead this "waste steam" could be piped in order to heat homes an workplaces! Thats energy efficient in two ways, also saving on seperate energy being used in heating.

- Waste oil from nearly 3 million car oil changes in Britain is not collected and a litre of oil can pollute a million litres of fresh drinking water. If this oil was collected properly it could meet the annual energy needs of 1.5 million people according to the Scottish Oil Care Campaign
.

- Energy efficiency also creates more jobs.
The Association for the Conservation of Energy estimate that 81,000 jobs could be created in Scotland alone by "a comprehensive programme of energy efficiency and training."

October 23rd, 2007

The justification for having a nuclear weapons deterrent is pretty weak, and appropriately named MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction.) The idea is that no one will use nuclear weapons because they will be retaliated against in kind. Surely then, it would be easier if no one had them in the first place.

We have four British Trident submarines that hold 16 nuclear missiles. The waste released by the Chernobyl explosion was only half a kiloton, the nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima was 13 kilotons, and a modern nuclear bomb is equal to 1667 Hiroshima bombs. This means that any country using a missile will also suffer from the fall out and the resulting nuclear winter, as good an incentive as any not use one.
 
The case is made time and time again that North Korea, Iran and Libya have all been suspected of trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and India and Pakistan have even set off nuclear test devices in 1998. The sad fact of the matter is though, if we can make an argument for a deterrent so can they, especially considering the volatile nature of global politics in recent years. If we had agreed to disarm after the Cold War and banned the bomb under international law we wouldn't be facing this problem. The only answer is setting an example by unilateral nuclear disarmament.

For our own part, the government will be making a major decision on whether to replace Trident before 2010 and this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the bomb on these shores altogether. In 1980 the decision to replace our Polaris-Chevaline nuclear weapons system with Trident was made by Maggie Thatcher without any parliamentary discussion, let there not be a repeat! Projected costs of a replacement are in the order of £25 billion, enough to pay for 60,000 newly-qualified teachers for 20 years or save 900 million acres of rainforest, it's a ridiculous sum of money to spend on weapons we hope never to use.

It isn't easy to see the practical return we have got from the exorbitant amount of money we have spent on nuclear weapons systems in the past. They won none of our wars, and they deterred none of our enemies. Argentina was not deterred from seizing the Falklands even though we had the bomb and they didn't. More to the point, nuclear weapons are non-discriminate and entirely irrelevant to combating what is perceived as the main threat we face today, terrorism. Surely even those who justify the military spending would rather see it go on stopping terrorists.

The way to create peace is not to ensure that everyone can kill everyone else, but that everyone can defend themselves vigorously, while being unable to make agressive attacks. Brazil and Argentina mutually agreed to end their rival nuclear programmes, Ukraine and former soviet states renounced their inherited nuclear capacity, and South Africa abandoned their nuclear programme post-apartheid. Isn't it our turn?

Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament:
Visit The CND for the UK
Visit The CND for Scotland

 
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