Thursday, 31 January 2008

Act of kindness at Pret A Manger in London

Been on a training course all week in London. It is amazing what a culture shock it has been. Loud, busy, scruffy and at times, unfriendly. On my way back to the hotel in the cold and wet, I spotted a Pret A Manger and decided to get a coffee.
Placed my order and a lady got on with making it. Got ready to pay when she said "I am sorry that I did not give you my full attention so please accept the coffee as a gift".
I was a bit shocked and said there was no need and I was happy to pay. Then I realised that she was being sincere and looked a bit disappointed.
You don't expect people to offer you gifts, especially strangers working in Pret on The Strand. So in the end I accepted the gift and thanked her for the kindness shown.
It is far too easy to become suspicious of people and sometimes, like this evening for me, a person just wanted to be generous.
Thank you whoever you were. You made my day. Just the sort of person you want working for you. Give her a pay rise Pret A Manger! :-)
Also, well done Pret on going organic and Fairtrade. You can find out about their sustainability efforts from their web site.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

EU debates patio heater ban

The EU will debate a ban on patio heaters tomorrow. It seems a bit mad for us all to be encouraged to save energy and produce less greenhouse gases, only for these things to be allowed to heat up the night sky outside pubs. bars and restaurants. Fingers crossed that the EU can take the lead on this and vote to ban these devices of doom.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Happy Burn's Night!

Managed to get a haggis. Even in Norfolk!
Not sure about the sustainability of the haggis industry but we have at least got a veggie one for this year and the tatties and nips are local.
Proper haggi (is that the plural of haggis?) are making use making use of the bits that might otherwise get wasted. Ok, it is still offal but with the whiskey as well, you soon forget such minor details.
Happy Burn's Night to you all. Especially those in Scotland. :-)
I'm off to remember the good old days at University when I picked up my taste for haggis and put on my Tartan Amoebas CD!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Get ready to join in this weekend for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Over the weekend of 26th and 27th January, you are asked to spend an hour counting the birds you see in your garden or maybe your local park.

The instructions are these:

Taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch is simple and fun.

All you need to do is watch your garden or local park on either Saturday 26 or Sunday 27 January 2008.

Simply spend an hour counting the birds, recording the highest number of each species seen in your garden (not flying over) at any one time.

It's important you don't count all the birds you see because some birds will return to your garden many times in the hour. Seeing the same blue tit come back 10 times does not make 10 blue tits.

You can do your Birdwatch in your garden or a local park. Either way it's best to decide on a place where you can see the birds well and where you can sit quietly so they are not disturbed.

Even if, like me, you know very few birds and are not a birdwatcher, you can this opportunity to try to learn some new ones and spend an hour doing something relaxing, and a bit different.

The RSPB site gives you all the info and lots of advice.

You can download and print this sheet to help you count the birds you see.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Shame those green claims - your chance to rate the greenwash in those advertisements

Came across a great web site, the EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index which encourages consumers to submit examples of advertisements by companies making dubious environmental claims about their products.

The site defines "greenwashing" as:

It’s Whitewashing, But With a Green Brush.
Everyone’s heard the expression “whitewashing” — it’s defined as “a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context.”

“Greenwashing” is the same premise, but in an environmental context.

It’s greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.

A classic example might be an energy company that runs an advertising campaign touting a “green” technology they’re working on — but that “green” technology represents only a sliver of the company’s otherwise not-so-green business, or may be marketed on the heels of an oil spill or plant explosion.

The Greenwashing Index is well worth a browse, and if you are out and about and see a dodgy claim on a billboard, why not take a picture, upload to the site and rate it accordingly for its degree of greenwashing?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Support the Save our Puppet Theatre Campaign

The Evening News newspaper has been running a campaign to save the Norwich based Puppet Theatre following the planned cut to Arts Council cuts.

These cuts are tantamount to what has been described as "cull" for arts in the region, and may be the death nell for the Puppet Theatre.

The strategy appears to be to kill off arts at smaller venues and centralise it in larger metropolitan cities.

As only one of two such theatres in the country, this is essentially killing off a national treasure that has over the years given children and families pleasure and has fed their imaginations.

Information about the campaign, the petition, and video news items can be found on the Evening News web site.

Last weekend saw an event organised with hundreds of people attending and staging a march in the city to show support for the theatre, and protests against the cuts and the shambolic and questionable way in which decisions appear to have been reached on the funding.
You can watch a video of the event here.
You can download and display these campaign posters from the site.

Poster 1

Poster 2

Saturday, 12 January 2008

End of an era - Co-op to sell dairy business

Got a letter from the milkman this morning. Co-op are looking to sell their dairy business and transfer the Society's milk rounds to Dairy Crest this February. What a sad day. We just hope Dairy Crest don't give up as well and enough people pay a fairer price for their milk rather than the unfair supermarket ones.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Have a Green Start the New Year - Recycle your Christmas Cards

Happy New Year !

Why not support the Woodland Trust and Recycle Now's joint campaign and recycle all those Christmas Cards you might have received this Christmas? Apparently we sent about 100 million!

Various retail chains have tubs for you to post your cards including, Marks & Spencer, TK Max, Tesco, and WH Smith's.
The campaign runs from 2-31 January 2008 and more details can be found on the Woodland Trust's web site.