ANOTHER PLANET?

sea_ice_polar_bearThe United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement in a move campaigners immediately hailed as a significant advance in the battle against global warming.

Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite, with scientists saying it is another ominous signal of global warming. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point  extending 4.14m sq km (1.6m sq miles). That’s behind only the mark set in 2012, 3.39m sq km.

Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study. The Guardian reports that researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”. The Amazon accounted for nearly a third of the “catastrophic” loss, showing huge tracts of pristine rainforest are still being disrupted despite the Brazilian government slowing deforestation rates in recent years. A further 14% disappeared in central Africa, home to thousands of species including forest elephants and chimpanzees.

Orangutan3WE NEED TO SAVE THE ORANG UTAN. WE REALLY DO.  The Bornean Orangutans are now officially classified as “critically endangered” – meaning they’re on the very brink of extinction. Greenpeace are campaigning to stop oil palm producers destroying their natural habitat and end deforestation. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS.

A coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, has warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to US national security and international security” that requires more attention from the US federal government. The prominent members of the US national security community warned that warming temperatures and rising seas will increasingly inundate military bases and fuel international conflict and mass migration, leading to “significant and direct risks to US military readiness, operations and strategy”. More here (Three Bipartisan Groups of Military and National Security Leaders Urge Robust New Course on Climate Change).

beesUnpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research. The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

The UK will fail to meet its targets on renewable energy generation, with take-up of clean fuels for heating and transport falling badly behind aims, MPs have warned. The findings of the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) show that ministers have little clear plan for meeting the 2020 target to meet 15% of UK energy needs from renewable sources. This includes a target to generate 30% of electricity from wind, solar and other low-carbon sources by the end of the decade, and to generate 12% of heating energy and 10% of transport fuels from clean sources by the same date. The UK is not legally bound to meet the heat target, which is advisory.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotThe soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. The oceans have already sucked up an enormous amount of heat due to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, affecting marine species from microbes to whales, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report involving the work of 80 scientists from a dozen countries.

The UK’s new flood defence plans anticipate significantly higher extreme rainfall, after new research was published as part of the government’s National Flood Resilience review. The government, which had been criticised for not taking full account of the impact of climate change in driving up flood risk, will now plan for 20-30% more extreme downpours than before. The review, prompted by severe flooding in recent winters in towns and cities including Carlisle, Keswick, Kendal, Cockermouth, York, Manchester and Leeds, also found that 530 critical infrastructure sites, such as water and telecoms, are at serious risk from floods, each potentially affecting at least 10,000 people. Utility companies have pledged to have new protection in place by the end of the year. The government’s official climate change advisers recently warned that flooding could cause a cascade of emergencies by knocking out energy, transport, water and communications links. The review allocates £12.5m for more temporary defences, such as barriers and pumps, at strategic locations around the country. By this winter, the government said, four times more temporary barriers will be available. More here.

HoneyBeeMore bad news for bees: Beekeepers around the south-eastern US fear a new threat to their livelihood: a fine mist beaded with neurotoxin, sprayed from the sky by officials at war with mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. Miami fears Zika virus may hit $24bn tourism industry hard but earlier this week, South Carolina beekeepers found millions of dead honey bees carpeting their apiaries, killed by an insecticide. Video posted by a beekeeper to Facebook showed thousands of dead insects heaped around hives, while a few survivors struggled to move the bodies of fellow bees. “This is what’s left of Flowertown Bees,” a despondent keeper says in the video. Company co-owner Juanita Stanley told the Associated Press her farm looked “like it’s been nuked” and estimated 2.5 million bees were killed. In another Facebook post, South Carolina hobbyist Andrew Macke wrote that he had lost “thousands upon thousands of bees” and that the spraying had devastated his business. “Have we lost our mind,” he wrote, “spraying poison from the sky?”

Even more bad BEE news – please GIVE BEES A CHANCE:  the Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated. The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France. While not considered a threat to humans, the arrival of the hornets add to the woes of Britain’s honeybees, which are vital for pollination of many crops but have been suffering declines for decades.

mantaray2The UK is to ban commercial fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean around British overseas territories. In total, the UK government is creating marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, including the designation this week of one of the world’s biggest around the Pitcairn Islands. A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area. And President Barack Obama will establish the first US national marine monument in the Atlantic, a move that’s designed to permanently protect nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the coast of New England. The White House said the designation will lead to a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling, though a seven-year exception will occur for the lobster and red crab industries. Also, recreational fishing will be allowed within the monument.

african-elephant2The government must implement a total ban on ivory sales in the UK, according to scores of politicians, conservationists, scientists and entertainment stars including William Hague, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking and Ricky Gervais. Ministers this week announced a ban on ivory younger than 70 years old, but stopped short of a total ban. The group have written to prime minister Theresa May “appealing to the government for a total ban on ivory sales”, which was a pledge made in both the 2010 and 2015 Conservative party manifestos. The Guardian says elephants are being slaughtered by poachers for their ivory in huge numbers and, while the international trade is illegal, critics say legal domestic trade allows illicit ivory to be passed off as antique and therefore legitimate. “The legal ivory trade in the UK feeds one of the largest markets for ivory in Europe,” write the group. “The closure of all ivory markets, both international and domestic, is critical for elephants’ survival.”

And finally – a loose coalition of more than 100 countries, including the US and European nations, is pushing for an early phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas that if left unchecked is set to add a potentially disastrous 0.5C to global temperatures by the end of the century.  At a meeting in New York on Thursday, world leaders called for an “ambitious phase-down schedule” for HFCs, which are commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems, and pledged adaptation money for developing nations where HFC use is rapidly increasing.

ADE Green announces a special panel, workshop and Dutch Awards ceremony for October 19th

adeMore and more festivals are going green – and new initiatives and exciting collaborations are becoming evident and used by more and more events!

Together with Green Events Nederland and A Greener Festival, ADE Green have programmed a workshop, an in-depth panel and a special Netherlands’ award ceremony for A Greener Festival, to help events go even greener!

Last year at ADE Green, seven Dutch festivals signed the ‘Green Deal – Waste free festival’ pact, collaborating on the aim to reduce waste and increase recycling. This year they will share the measures they took and talk about the results and the challenges of getting festivals greener. One of the measures that proved to be highly successful was the introduction of reusable hard cups (instead of disposable ones). Although this very common in some countries including Germany, there seem to be many  obstacles for the Dutch events industry. In the planned Zero-Waste panel, experts will discuss those obstacles, plus the do’s and don’ts from three different points of views: visitors, organisers and breweries.

Festivals who haven’t yet started going green can get their starter tips at the Go Greener Workshop. This introductory workshop will teach you where to start,  how to manage sustainability and different sustainability-related themes like energy, waste, traffic, transport and catering.
And last but by no means least, ADE are excited to announce that the ceremony for the annual ‘A Greener Festival Award’ is back in the Netherlands! A new scheme has been introduced as a way to help festivals to adapt or refine their behaviour and become more environmentally conscious. Several Dutch festivals have applied for an Award – and during this ceremony they will hear if they are to be rewarded for their efforts.

If you want to stay updated on ADE Green, subscribe here

ADE Green is a collaboration between ID&T and ADE, supported by Green Events Nederland, A Greener Festival, Greeen Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle and Open House.

Date: Wednesday October 19th

Venue: De Brakke Grond

Tickets for ADE Green (E35) are available here. The event is also accessible for  ADE 1- & 5- day conference ticketholders.

ANOTHER PLANET?

paris smogThe planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, who says “in the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory”.  This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat. But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium. More here on RT.

greatapesContinents and oceans in the northern hemisphere began to warm with industrial-era fossil fuel emissions nearly 200 years ago, pushing back the origins of human-induced climate change to the mid-19th century. The first signs of warming from the rise in greenhouse gases which came hand-in-hand with the Industrial Revolution appear as early as 1830 in the tropical oceans and the Arctic, meaning that climate change witnessed today began about 180 years ago. Researchers in Australia found evidence for the early onset of warming after trawling through 500 years of data on tree rings, corals and ice cores that together form a natural archive of Earth’s historical temperatures.

A group of 130 institutions that control US$13tn of investments have called on G20 nations to ratify the Paris agreement this year and accelerate investment in clean energy and forced disclosure of climate-related financial risk. More here from the Guardian.

orcaBarack Obama has created the world’s largest marine protected area by expanding an existing ocean reserve off Hawaii to cover 582,578 square miles, providing what’s likely to be the grandest, and final, chapter in the president’s conservation legacy. The sweeping move quadruples the size of the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument, which was originally designated by George W Bush in 2006 and was declared a World Heritage site in 2010. The monument, which is now now double the size of Texas, stretches outward from the north-western Hawaiian islands and includes Midway Atoll, famed for its former military base and eponymous battle that was crucial in the US defeat of Japan in the second world war. President Obama has also given  two major speeches on climate change in the space of a day, one in Nevada and another in Hawaii, after Air Force One managed to safely dodge two hurricanes lurking in the Pacific. “No nation, not even one as powerful as the United States, is immune from a changing climate,” Obama told an audience of Pacific island leaders in Honolulu. “I saw it myself in our more northernmost state of Alaska, where the sea is swallowing villages and eating away at shorelines, where the permafrost thaws and the tundra is burning. Where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times. It’s a preview of our future if the climate changes faster than our efforts to address it.”

Cosmetics companies must be banned from using plastic microbeads in scrubs, toothpaste and beauty products because of the marine pollution they are causing, say a group of MPs. Members of the environmental audit committee have called for a ban within 18 months after hearing that trillions of tiny pieces of plastic are accumulating in the world’s oceans, lakes and estuaries, harming marine life and entering the food chain. About 86 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment every year in the UK from facial exfoliants alone, they were told. Microplastic pollution comes from the fragmentation of larger pieces of plastic waste, small synthetic fibres from clothing and the microbeads used in cosmetics and other products. The microbeads in scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes are an avoidable part of this plastic pollution problem. A single shower could result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean, said the committee chair, Mary Creagh.

rjfp3A group of researchers has published a study in the science journal Elementa in which they describe various models that compare 10 eating patterns: the vegan diet, two vegetarian diets (one that includes dairy, the other dairy and eggs), four omnivorous diets (with varying degrees of vegetarian influence), one low in fats and sugars, and one similar to modern American dietary patterns. What they found was that the carrying capacity—the size of the population that can be supported indefinitely by the resources of an ecosystem—of the vegan diet is actually less substantial than two of the vegetarian diets and two out of the four omnivorous diets they studied. https://www.elementascience.org/articles/116

If Italian MP Elvira Savino has her way, parents in Italy could go to jail for forcing their children to follow a vegan diet. Savino, who used to work in public relations and now holds a position as deputy for the Forza Italia party, believes that parents should be prosecuted for imposing such “reckless and dangerous eating behavior” on children 16 and under. Treehugger has more.

More than 3,500 churches across Britain have moved their electricity supply to renewables, or are planning to do so, according to data released on Thursday. Those switching away from fossil fuels include the majority of the Salvation Army’s sites, about a third of Quaker meeting houses, and about 2,000 churches belonging to 16 Catholic dioceses which are running entirely on renewable energy. But the number represents a relatively small proportion of the 50,000 Christian churches estimated to be active across the UK.

desertAustralia is the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change, according to a comprehensive assessment before the G20 summit in China. Under China’s leadership, this weekend’s G20 in the eastern city of Hangzhou has had a strong focus on climate-related issues. By analysing the policies and actions of each of the 20 countries, which together produce 75% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Climate Transparency produced a report, scorecard and series of country profiles detailing their findings, revealing Australia was not pulling its weight. On the scorecard, Australia was the only country to receive a rating of “very poor” in a majority of categories.

Festival Vision: 2025 unites UK festivals for a sustainable future.

FV2025_logo-300x300Over 40 UK music festivals have pledged to work together to create a more environmentally sustainable festival industry by signing Festival Vision: 2025 — the vision and roadmap for a sustainable future presented by industry think-do tank Powerful Thinking in its seminal environmental report, The Show Must Go On.

Festivals both large and small, with genres from rock music to words, are united around the vision. Bestival, Hay Festival, Shambala and Secret Garden Party have taken the pledge, and Festival Republic have signed up their entire portfolio of 11 UK festivals including: Latitude, V Festival, Reading, Leeds and BBC Proms in the Park.

The Vision: 2025 Festivals aim to halve festival emissions and reach 50% recycling rates by 2025. They have also pledged to reduce travel-related emissions and improve the sustainability of food sourcing. Integral to the pledge is the intention to measure, record and share key environmental impacts from festival operations using credible methods, such as the Julie’s Bicycle free Creative Green IG tools or by working with the A Greener Festival Awards, in order to track progress.

A full list of the participating Festivals and details of the pledge can be found on the Festival Vision: 2025 webpage along with key resources from The Show Must Go On report to help festival organisers make successful changes toward sustainable practices.

Festival Vision: 2025 Webpage: www.festivalvision2025.net

About Powerful Thinking: Powerful Thinking is a not-for-profit industry think-do tank working towards an energy efficient, low carbon and cost effective future for festivals. They are a coalition of industry stakeholders, working together to drive positive change for businesses, audiences and the environment. Powerful Thinking’s steering group members include: Julie’s Bicycle, A Greener Festival, The Association of Independent Festivals, Firefly Clean Energy, Festival Republic, Shambala Festival, Bestival, Kambe Sustainable Events, The Association of Festival Organisers, The Production Services Association and The National Outdoor Events Association.

 

Follow Powerful Thinking on:

Facebook : @powerfulthinking.org

Twitter: @powerthinkorg

#FestivalVision2025  #PowerfulThinking

 

Further information:

www.festivalvision2025.net

http://www.powerful-thinking.org.uk/resources/the-show-must-go-on-report/

For press enquires contact: bethan@powerful-thinking.org.uk / 07841558445

ANOTHER PLANE?

plastic-334546_960_720-300x200The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest. More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The “carbon footprint” for the pollution caused by UK consumption has increased slightly, official figures show. The amount of greenhouse gases linked to goods and services consumed by UK households, including emissions from the foreign manufacture of imported products, rose by 3% between 2012 and 2013, the most recent data shows.

The Glastonbury Festival has  ditched plastic portable toilets after organisers decided they were causing too much anguish. The portable toilets – last year there were 3,000 on site – have been replaced almost entirely by organic compost toilets designed to minimise smells. These are supplemented by open-air “long drop” toilets. The festival management team felt the plastic “Tardis-like” toilet had passed its sell-by date. There was particular concern at how the toilets filled up too quickly and frequently overflowed. Jane Healy, Glastonbury’s sanitation manager, said: “The old plastic Tardis style is gone. Toilets have always been a massive talking point, and no one ever talks about toilets in everyone’s day-to-day life, but as soon as they get to a festival that’s all they want to talk about.

The European Commission has launched the world’s first system for classifying and banning endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), against a barrage of criticism from scientists, NGOs, industry and consumer groups. Endocrines are hormone-altering chemicals common in everyday substances from paint to pesticides that have been linked to an array of illnesses including cancer, infertility, obesity, diabetes, birth defects and reproductive problems. The Guardian reports that attempts to regulate them have been plagued by missed deadlines, buried official papers, censure from EU courts, and US pressure within the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations.

We’re one step away from a glyphosate-free EU. For the third time in a row, member states have refused to back the Commission’s proposed licence extension for weedkiller glyphosate. But the Commission won’t take no for an answer, and will try to force through a last-ditch appeal in Brussels June 24. Otherwise, a whole lot of Monsanto’s Roundup will be coming down from shelves across Europe this year. SumofUs.org tells us that instead of heeding the cancer warnings of the WHO, the European Commission has tried to do Monsanto’s dirty work by pushing through a licence extension despite experts agreeing that a ban of the pesticide is necessary to prevent contamination of our food, water, and soil. Make your voice heard and Tell EU member states to deal the final blow and reject any extension of the glyphosate licence on June 24.

greatapesForest wildfires rampaging across Russia are being significantly under-reported by authorities, according to analysis of satellite data. Climate change is making wildfires much more likely in Russia, but regional officials have been reluctant to report the true extent of the problem, and campaigners are warning that the harm to forests, property and human lives could rise. While the recent forest fires around Fort McMurray, Canada, destroyed more than 580,000 hectares, those in Russia have burned up to 3.5m hectares since the start of 2016, according to Greenpeace Russia. It said at least 1m hectares were in flames at the end of May in the country, which is home to the largest forests in the world.

The Guardian tells us that a UK shale gas company is considering dumping waste water from fracking in the sea, emails from the company show. Ineos, which owns the Grangemouth refinery and holds 21 shale licences, many in the north-west, North Yorkshire and the East Midlands, has said it wants to become the biggest player in the UK’s nascent shale gas industry. In an email sent in March to a resident in Ryedale district, North Yorkshire, where councillors gave the go-ahead to a fracking application by another company in May, a senior executive said that water produced during fracking could be discharged in the sea after being treated. It has not previously said where treated water would be released.

Norway’s parliament has approved a radical goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2030, two decades earlier than planned. MPs voted for an accelerated programme of CO2 cuts and carbon trading to offset emissions from sectors such as Norway’s oil and gas industries, which are unlikely to be phased out in the near future. The minority government’s ruling Progress and Conservative parties withdrew their support for the motion at the last minute. But their argument, that ambitious emissions reductions now could interfere with future climate negotiations, was roundly defeated.

Following a series of new heat and melting records in the Arctic, nearly 400 international scientists have called on Barack Obama to rule out further expansion of oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters under US control. The letter, signed by prominent Arctic, marine and climate specialists – including a former member of Obama’s administration, urges the president to rule out any future hunting for oil in the waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. “No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future, including in the next five-year leasing plan,” the scientists write in the letter.

coffee-mugs-1387830_960_720“I’ve got a megaphone and I’m not afraid to use it!” yelled Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on BBC One last night as the TV chef-turned eco warrior took his ‘War on Waste’ to the high street coffee shops. The problem: more than 5,000 coffee cups are now thrown away every minute across Britain, but less than 1% of those cups are actually recycled due to complex sorting and contamination issues. So, what’s the solution? More innovative cup designs? Better recycling infrastructure? Consumer behaviour change programmes? Or supply chain collaboration? Listen to edie’s latest podcast episode and read the stories that follow to find out how we can solve the great coffee cup conundrum.

badger-44202_960_720Badgers and cattle never came into close contact during a new field study examining how tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted between the animals. Most TB in cattle is contracted from other cattle but some infections come from badgers. The new research indicates that the disease is not passed on by direct contact, but through contaminated pasture and dung, with potentially significant implications for farm practices such as slurry spreading. It also suggests why TB in cattle is so hard to control even when cattle and badgers are culled, as the bacteria can survive in fields for months. Eradicating TB will require addressing this risk, the new research implies. TB is a serious problem for farmers, with 36,000 infected cattle slaughtered in Britain in 2015 at a cost to the taxpayer of about £100m. One key element of the government’s control programme, England’s controversial badger cull, is set to expand. Foremost experts say this “flies in the face of scientific evidence” and that the cull is a “monstrous” waste of time and money. The new research has not changed their conclusion.

amazon-indians-69589_960_720Plans to build a giant hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon rainforest have been halted by Brazil’s environmental protection agency because of mounting concerns about the fate of indigenous communities and wildlife living in the area. The 8,000-megawatt São Luiz do Tapajós (SLT) dam would have been the sixth-largest hydroelectric dam in the world, spanning the five-mile wide Tapajós river and drowning 376 sq km (145 sq miles) of rainforest that is home to some 12,000 Munduruku Indians.

Can a house where wood is burned for heat really be called green?  After writing “From the straw bale wrap to the lime plaster finishes, this cottage is as green as it gets” there was a huge amount of comment about the use of wood for heating. “…as green as it gets”? I would like to respectfully disagree. It’s unfortunate that “renewable” is now equated with “clean”, “green”, “healthy”, and “good-for-the-planet”.Yes, wood is renewable, but burning it as fuel has none of these positive attributes. Make up your own mind by reading the article on TreeHugger.

Small is Beautiful is back at CAT!

flyer vectorThe Small is Beautiful festival returns to CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) in Wales for 2016 in a ‘lite’ format –  pulling together all the key elements; talks, workshops, debates, arts and music – and the event will be a microcosm of the main event, squeezed into one day.

Organisers say that”With the political maelstrom triggered by the EU referendum vote, and the uncertainly this has caused, not least towards the future of UK environmental policy, it was deemed a theme that was too important to ignore”  and the content of the festival for 2016 will address the following question:

“Does the UK’s vote to withdraw from the EU tell us that human scale change must be achieved at the local level or should we redouble our efforts to form new international partnerships?”

The keynote addresses will come from current Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and the recently appointed director of Practical Action, Paul Smith Lomas. This year’s discussion on the above theme is sure to be hotly debated and will be chaired by Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation, who spoke compellingly at last year’s event.

The festival offers a wide selection of engaging workshops and mobilisation groups for you to share your thoughts and get your hands dirty. This year these will range from aquaponics to wind empowerment, and from green economics to community action. Something for everyone, as they say!

After dinner there’s a chance to dust off your dancing shoes and get on down to some of the finest hand-picked artists in the UK: Count Drachma, The Saltcutters, and – in what is fast becoming an annual tradition – the Small is Beautiful All Star Ceilidh Band. The colourful sounds of Hi-Five Hi-Fi will keep us dancing into the wee small hours… for those with a bit of stamina.

Small is Beautiful will also be curating talks and debates on each day of the weekend at Festival No.6 in Port Merion, only an hour away from CAT, the week before Small is Beautiful. Should you be at the festival, do come and listen to the talks, and come and say hello to the team. They would love to see you there!

Another date for your diary is 9th – 11th June 2017, when the festival will be returning to CAT as a full weekend affair, taking on the theme of housing from all angles: socio-economic, policy, building materials, global approaches etc. Tickets will be on sale from 10th September, and there will of course be discounts available for those buying them at the event.

Small in Beautiful at CAT, 10th September 2016. Tickets from £30, with concessions available. Visit http://www.smallisfestival.org/ for more info and to book.  If you’d like to stay at CAT before or after the festival, call Becky on 01654 704973.

CAT: Llwyngwern Quarry, Pantperthog, Machynlleth SY20 9AZ

OSWALD’S GIANT GROWTH LEAVES THE LADIES GASPING

OSWALD GRIMETHORPE

Oswald Grimethorpe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mr Grimethorpe’s  marrow

A Wigan pensioner has been left ‘shocked’ and outraged’ after his win in the Wigan Rotarian Annual Flower and Vegetable Show was reported in the local press with a huge dose of  ‘smut and innuendo’. Oswald Grimthorpe, a retired boilermaker, said he was furious after reports that his giant marrow had won the ‘biggest growth’ category (marrows, courgettes, pumpkins and squashes) were captioned with headlines such as ‘Oswald still has a whopper’ and ‘Grimethorpe unveils his growth for the ladies’ in various local newspapers. The Wigan & District Herald ran their article under the strapline ‘Pensioner rears enormous fleshy growth to impress  his audience’ – a comment Mr Grimethorpe said ‘reeked of smut and innuendo.

Mr Grimethorpe, of 33 Colliery Road,  Ince in Makerfield, said his life had been ‘left in tatters’ after the the win. He told reporters ‘I was at Wigan Wallgate Station yesterday when a young lady and her friends, all may I say unknown to me, approached me and asked if she could ‘measure my marrow’. One of her friends said she fancied ‘a look at my courgette and any plums I might have to hand’. ” This is OUTRAGEOUS.

Mr Grimethorpe has said he did not personally enter the Marrow or indeed any of his vegetables, and this was done by his ‘idiotic’ nephew, who he now claims labelled the winning entry as ‘Oswalds’s whopper’ which has prompted the press melee. Young nephew Ben (who could not be reached for comment) had also entered a plate of courgettes under the entry name ‘Oswald’s super sized veg’ and a stick of asparagus under the entry of ‘Grimethorpe’s spear’. Mr Grimethorpe added that the labelling of his jar of gherkins and a pair of prize walnuts ‘could not be repeated in a family newspaper.

Mr Grimethorpe won a £5 voucher for ‘Cyndi’s Private Massage Service’ for his best in show victory (vegetables). He added that his prize tulip had wilted so he had not been able to enter the flower competition, leaving a  red hot poker the stand out winner.  Other winners at the show, held on Saturday at the St Mary Mead Parish Hall on Digben street, included  Mr Makefield’s enormous cucumber which won ‘the most impressive’ crop category, and Mum of eleven Mrs Markham who won the ‘bun in the oven’ prize.