Ghost Fleet

British company, Able UK Limited, has completed a deal with the Bush administration to bring dilapidated ex-US navy vessels to the UK for disposal.

Some of these ships are more than 40 years old and contain large amounts of highly toxic chemicals – such as PCBs and asbestos.

Friends of the Earth has already won an injunction to stop the break up of these ships pending further legal challenges.

But a number of them are already on their way – and will be in UK waters in a matter of days.

The UK Environment Agency has the power to turn them back – but we need your help to persuade them to do so.

For more infomation and to take action please go to: and ask the Environment Agency to stop the US Ghost fleet.

Cars Smell!

I’ve just had a week away at Centre Parcs in the West Country. Nice to be away from the hustle and bustle for a while. What’s even nicer is Centre Parcs car policy, where you can bring your car onto the site when you arrive and leave, all other times if you want to get around you have to travel by foot or bike.

Returning to sunny suburbia and after a week of no cars it’s amazing how much you can notice that they smell, not to mention how noisy they all are.

Reducing your ecological footprint – Part III

Use the car less
Something like more than 50% of car journeys made in the UK are under a distance of under 2 miles. Now the vast majority of the population are perfectly capable of travelling this distance without resorting to using a car. If it’s not far, don’t take the car!

My journey to work is seven miles by road, it takes me half an hour, I can go when I want, come back when I want and am not effected heavily by traffic congestion. I don’t use a car for this journey, neither do I have to wait for a train or a bus, it’s door to door. Wonderful things bicycles.

Obviously their are times when walking or a bicycle is impractical, these are the times I use buses, taxis or lifts from generous friends and family. The point is it’s possible to use the car a lot less than we generally do.

Reducing your ecological footprint – Part II

Continuing the series of tips on reducing your footprint, today we have…

Use energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances
It’s so simple to swap out all the bulbs in your house for energy efficient ones, yes they will cost you a little more to purchase but they cost you less to run, last longer and cost the planet less to boot.

Kitchen appliances; fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers etc. all come with an energy efficiency rating. The ratings start at A and go down to G, the closer to an A rating the less energy a particular applience will use.

Our dishwasher, washer/dryer and fridge freezer are all rated A, a decision that again cost us a little more than not bothering about it but as before costs us and the planet less in the long run, and that’s what’s important, the long term. People don’t see the big picture in general anymore.

Reducing your ecological footprint

Last week I showed you a way to calculate your ecological footprint. Now here are some methods by which you may reduce your footprint. Firstly today we have…

Switch to a green energy supplier
Change your electricity supplier to one which makes use of renewable energy. Renewable energy comes from sources which can not be used up, such as sun, wind or water power. There are only finite supplies of fossil fuels to be dug up, drilled and sucked dry. In the future when the fossil fuels have run out we will all have to use renewable, sustainable sources of energy but why go to the effort of using up all the fossil fuels as they get harder and harder to extract from the planet when you can switch TODAY to a renewable resource.

Not only are renewable resources sustainable but they are much, much cleaner.

Our household electricity supply is provided by unite[e], the only UK provider that is 100% renewable, they deal in only green energy.

The Friends of the Earth publish a league table of green suppliers which can be found here.

More tomorrow.

Calculate your ecological footprint

What impact does your lifestyle have upon the world? How much land do various people use to support your current lifestyle? Do you think you could reduce this area? These questions and more can be answered by calculating your ‘Ecological Footprint’.

Have a look at this Ecological Footprint Calculator, be honest with your answers and see how big your footprint is compared to the average Northern American.

Some of the results can be quite shocking. It has certainly made me stop and think about my ecological footprint and what more I can do to reduce it.

I’d be interested to see other peoples results, just leave a comment by clicking the “incoming” link below.

Government get’s it wrong again.


Congestion toll on air travellers

Airline passengers are facing congestion charges to ease crowding in the skies and cut pollution from planes.

The charge is being considered to raise and extra £600million to offest the damage aircraft cause to the environment.

Congestion charging is being proposed by the Goverment-funded think-tank Commision for Integrated Transport. It warns the number of flights is growing by five percent annually from the present figure of 162million a year.

Ten years ago, planes caused 3.5 per cent of the man-made grehouse gases in the world. By 2050, the figure will rise to 15 per cent.

Commision chairman Prof David Begg said it was ‘nothing short of a radical reform to make operators and passengers confront the environmental consequences of their actions’.

But British Airways said: ‘The way to relieve congestion is to meet demand and that means extra runways.’ – Metro, Monday, September 1, 2003
Well you might not have known this but airlines in Britain pay NO TAX on aviation fuel, surely that’s the obvious place to get back some cash to fight pollution, tax it at the actual source of pollution, the damn kerosene.

We live in a country where people argue about whether pensioners should pay tax on their fuel bill or not while the airlines are getting off scott free!

Okay, yes taxing aviation fuel will be a cost that is passed onto the passengers, but as opposed to charging people for flying at a certain time it seems rather less removed from the cause of the pollution.

And as for adding more runways, I’m sure that will eventually prove to be just as futile as widening and adding roads has always proved to be.

Even as far back as ~100AD the Emperor Harian wisely noted the contradictory phenomenon we think of as modern: “This luxury of speed destroys it’s own aim; a pedestrian makes more headway than a hundred conveyences jammed end to end along the twists and turns of the Sacred Way”