Woodland Matters

Our long partnership with Ancient Tree Forum has involved a fascinating exploration into the UK’s incredible tree heritage. We are pleased to welcome Hannah Solloway, Development Officer at the Ancient Tree Forum, as a guest blogger, to talk about how the V.I.Trees campaign links it all together:

“The Ancient Tree Forum (ATF) held its autumn field visit at Newnham Park near Plymouth. The site was described by our local Devon group as ‘a real gem of the South West’, with its many distinctive and wonderful ancient oaks, and yet the trees on this site, like many others, are not formally recognised and have little or no specific protection in law.

The Woodland Trust’s Very Important Trees campaign supports the work of the ATF and the Tree Council in calling for the establishment of national registers to record, and to help celebrate and protect our nationally important and best-loved trees.

A register would…

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This week every day is #CTWW change the world Wednesday! My challenge? Get as many people as I can to hear about this🙂

Woodland Matters

*Update! Our petition is now live! Please join more than 25,000 others and back our call*

In all of the talk about Common Agricultural Policy reform over the last few months including all those technical policy concepts such as greening, modulation and budgets, a simple fact has slipped unnoticed under the radar. During 2014 and 2015 there will be no funds to allow any new entrants into woodland creation or woodland management schemes in England. This affects landowners, conservation groups, communities, local authorities – anyone wanting to plant trees.

True, if you had rushed to get your forms in by August 2013 and your application is signed off by the end of December, you can carry on planting in 2014 and 2015. And if you are already in an existing five year contract with the Forestry Commission for woodland management or creation management, you will continue to get paid until your…

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Hmm, I might have known – what do you think?

ECO-opia

By Magda Fahsi

Last week, while touring Dakar, Senegal’s capital, President Obama touted his vision to reduce hunger in Africa. He emphasized food security, saying that far too many people on the continent endure poverty and chronic hunger while speaking of a “moral imperative” to rectify this. He also announced that Senegal had become the tenth country to join the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This “alliance,” however, has been fraught with controversy since its launch last year.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a partnership between the G-8, African governments and private companies including Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill and Yara, a Norwegian nitrogen fertilizer company. The Alliance was launched by President Obama in May 2012 at Camp David to “support agricultural development” and aimed at “lifting 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty over the next ten years.”

Officially, the idea is…

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I missed Wednesday again this week. I don’t know where the days go right now, but I did get to see what the Change The World Wednesday (#ctww) challenge was and it’s something that is very do-able: banish paper towels and napkins from your life!

The challenge to banish paper made me smile and it makes total sense. And I thought ‘This one’s going to be tricky’.  Small and the gang have been such a joy to read when I do catch up with them, I’m being so inspired… but straight off I knew this week that I couldn’t do it.

So, fabrics and doing without is the call. I’ll certainly think twice in future at a restaurant, it hasn’t really crossed my mind til now so I’m pleased that already Small and the #ctww crew are helping me as ever. When I started thinking about it, I wondered whether recycled kitchen roll and paper was actually more eco than cloth?

Cloths are more durable but they need to be washed presumably adding grease and food dust plus shudder germs to the water course. Whereas if I use paper on grease, I fold it inside out dip it in some seeds and leave it out for the birds. I spritz my kitchen and bathroom with eucalyptus  or peppermint oil and wipe it off with kitchen roll, which is then composted along with tissues and also when I finish my windows, after a quick clean with white vinegar and newspaper. I wasn’t quite sure tissues were ok for the compost but my friend Clara does so I’ve started composting them too.  I use recycled paper to clean the bathroom along with a plastic scourer and white vinegar and borax. It’s static cloth dusters for furniture already.

I’ve always liked the thought of buying bulk to reduce my footprint and often choose fairly-traded and 100% recycled paper products at a vegan wholesalers, I’m not sure if at Lembas they sell cotton/fabric products in bulk but it’s worth a look.  Cotton, that wonderful material, isn’t grown in the UK – something I keep being asked about my NEAT bags (another blog!) – so then paper produced by sustainable timber and recycled helps keep our flailing forestry industry moving (gosh only knows our trees need help). Don’t get me started on toilet roll produced from intensive agri-timber, though – loo rolls should all be recycled paper, trees are so important! While I’m all about increasing the UK’s lamentable native tree cover, I just can’t reconcile the idea that it’s ok to grow trees just to turn them into toilet roll (it just offends me; I can’t help it.)  But anyway…  cotton is also recyclable of course, and hemp and bamboo fibres are making great cloths. But then, recycling does use a tonne of water; ah doesn’t the initial paper-making process too?

Hmm.  Still, I’m enjoying channeling with the #ctww crew towards Small’s way of thinking. So yep, a little late perhaps but challenge accepted! I could probably do without paper napkins and I can use less rolls. Problem is, I’ve just bought 100.

http://wtcampaigns.wordpress.com/category/nature-in-education/ Three great posts giving a policy, pupil and parent perspective about planned changes in the English primary school curriculum, from Woodland Matters

It’s Wednesday again – already! I’m so glad that Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) has given me an extra reason to remember what day it is, plus a good excuse to blog at the same time.

I seem to be tuned in to Small Footprints somehow because last week, which was manic at work and at home, I suddenly noticed that I’d missed the week’s #CTWW challenge. Imagine my smile though when I did go to see what I’d missed and realised that I’d actually already done it!

Earlier in the week I happened to have a bit of a go at my DVD cabinet one evening, passing on a few films to a friend who hadn’t seen them and keeping a small pile back for the charity bag. Mostly this was because I wanted to use a shelf for a few coffee-table type books, as it’s near to a comfortable chair. But feeling motivated by a good job done, I looked a little more closely around my house and before I knew it I had a small pile of suitcases and travel bags that I’d forgotten I even owned, and – fairly sure I will never need 7 different suitcases and 3 laptop bags – got to add those to the bag as well🙂 Then I felt compelled to fill it up a bit and so in went some clean unused linen and some winter scarves (still pretty useful here in the UK even though it’s April) – and a pretty quickly a decent charity donation was created!

It’s been a bit of a Change The World Week recently. I’ve been busy keeping up with national curriculum changes (http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/our-campaigns/Pages/natureineducation.aspx) and the ‘nature’ theme continues tonight in a meeting to prepare for a public meeting based on ‘Your Environment’ in my local town. I’m part of a small, community-led group and the aim of our public meetings is to share resident’s views about our town with agencies and services like the Council… but the side plan for this upcoming meeting is to help local people understand how they can help change their environment, and not rely on the Council or ‘someone’ to improve things.

It’s funny how this fits so well with my own philosophy, something I often find myself thinking when talking to people who say ‘well done’ or ‘you’re so good to be involved’ when I mention some of the groups or events I’m part of:  if you ever think “someone should do something about that“, why can’t that someone be you

I think this relates to so many things, from taking part in government consultations to getting involved in practical action in the community. And CTWW is certainly going to help me link my unofficial motto to my reality. I haven’t seen this week’s challenge yet, but thanks to Small and the CTWW gang for keeping me on the greener tracks. It must be eco-ESP I’m getting from you guys across the pond or something!

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