Monthly Archives: July 2012


Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. (The Lorax)

The UK Government has set its banding review for the Renewables Obligation (RO) which suggests renewable energy will bring £25bn of investment into the UK. Changes to subsidies for renewable electricity could incentivise between £20bn and £25bn of new investment in the economy between 2013 and 2017 reports  The banding review will support jobs and deliver more clean power with a reduction in costs to consumers between 2013 and 2015, Ministers said.  However, Edie.ner reports that the Government’s new draft energy bill could reduce investment in sustainable energy projects as it proposes to introduce a system of long-term contracts to give power companies a guaranteed price for the low-carbon electricity they produce. According to MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee who have examined the draft legislation the proposals could enforce unnecessary costs on consumers, lead to less competition and deter badly needed investment.  Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said: “The Government is in danger of botching its plans to boost clean energy, because the Treasury is refusing to back new contracts to deliver investment in nuclear, wind, wave and carbon capture and storage.

And EFF, the UK manufacturers trade body, has said that the UK government’s green policies are not ‘fit for purpose’. A majority of firms who were polled on green policies including measuring CO2, rules om energy efficiency and reporting  environmental performance said they often went further than official guidelines and regulations, but said that bureaucracy involved in compliance was time consuming and inefficient and thsat regualtions were far to complex. Some firms said they were covered by five different regulatory schemes.

The Earth has warmed by 1.5C in the last 250 years – with a large part of that in the last 50 –  and human’s are almost certainly to blame. That’s according to a study from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project (BEST), led by Professor Richard Muller, who was previously a climate change sceptic – but who now puts the rise in temperatures down to greenhouse gas emissions. BEST was set up to address the concerns of climate change sceptics and BEST  scientists analysed 14.4million land surface observations going back to 1753.  $150,000 of funding comes from the Charles G Koch foundation set up by the coal magnate who is a key backer of climate change sceptical science.   Whilst the analysis was automated to remove human bias, some scientists remain unconvinced including one member of the BEST team, Professor Judith Curry, who said the method used to attribute global warming with human gas emissions was “way over simplistic”.

The Ellen MacArthur foundation estimates that the EU could save at least £220 billion each year if we designed products in a way that supported resource recovery and eliminated waste streams – shifting from a ‘take, make, waste’ economy to a ‘lease the resource, make, recover the resource, reuse and re-make’ model.

The Environment Agency and Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority are among the beneficiaries of EU funding for eight UK pathfinder environmental projects. The European Commission has approved 20.5m euros in funding for the initiatives under the LIFE+ programme, the EU environment fund. Two of the projects are waste-related and will look at issues around landfill gas capture and public engagement.

EDF Energy has installed monitoring technology at sports venues across the Olympic park to show real-time energy consumption at the 2012 games.

Amended regulations which seek to impose a legal duty on waste companies and local authorities to separately collect paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015 have been laid before Parliament. The proposals, if approved, will apply to both household and commercial/industrial waste streams in England and Wales when they come into force on 1 October 2012.  However, flexibility has been built into the regulations in the form of an exemption if collection operators can prove that a co-mingled approach will achieve certain quality standards, or if the establishment of a separate collection system is not possible. reports that Coca Cola Enterprises is pioneering work around utilising waste-derived natural materials to push packaging innovation to new levels in terms of recyclability and carbon. The company has set an ambitious target to slash the carbon footprint of each bottled drink it produces by a third by 2020 – set against a 2007 baseline. This will mainly be achieved by delivering carbon reductions through its value chain and one area which could play a vital role in this is through sourcing new bio-based recyclable materials.

UK Food and drink manufacturers have cut their operational water use by 14.4% thanks to an industry-wide voluntary agreement.  And A new UK WEEE standard will launch this Autumn to boost confidence in the reuse of waste electrical and electronic equipment, as well as cut down on illegal exports.

Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis is celebrating the installation of a new solar panel roof at Worthy Farm which will generate almost 45,000 kWh of electricity per year.  Eavis has added another 200 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to the 1,100 panels previously installed and Mr Eavis currently owns one of the largest private solar roofs in the UK.  The new panels cover an area larger than a tennis court and will save more than 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while earning money under the Government’s feed-in tariff. The installation of the panels will allow Mr Eavis to generate enough electricity to milk some of his 400 cows and keep their milk cool.  Mr Eavis said: “Generating our electricity using solar PV panels is fantastic and couldn’t get any better. It produces no smell or dirt, there’s no wages to pay for producing it and we get all this wonderful free electricity.”

Businesses are failing to realise the commercial advantages to be gained from adapting to climate change, according to a new Defra report. Companies in some sectors were found to accept the idea that the climate is changing and that clients want solutions, new products and services as a result. This is particularly prevalent for those in the building industry, where businesses are actively developing new consultancy programmes and resources specifically based around climate change adaptation to help drive new product development and differentiate from competitors.  However many other businesses are focusing solely on the risks resulting from climate change, rather than the opportunities, the report concludes.


We need a Lorax

One of my favourite poems of all time is Dr Suess’s The Lorax – written in 1971 and well ahead of its time – with its theme of environmental destruction of  ”Truffula’ trees which the Once-ler has plans to turn into useless consumer articles  – until the whole forest of trees is destroyed:

“You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”

Now Universal have made a new Hollywood blockbuster from Dr Seuss’s poem – but in a move that somewhat misses the point, are releasing 70 (yes seventy!)  product tie ins with companies that include Hewlett Packard – and a Mazda 4×4! A 4X4 ?? Those fuel guzzzling chelsea tractors (which happen to be the worst driven cars on the planets!) – Did anyone actually READ the poem?

That said, HP’s ‘Every Inkling Makes a Difference’ campaign which is aimed at kids and is all about the wonderful things  trees can do for us – and how to recycle, reuse  – and save energy can’t be a bad thing – you can find out more at

“We live on a beautiful planet, with jungles, deserts, mountains and deep oceans, plus the most incredible animals. However, with seven billion people on Earth, many natural environments are being turned over to farming, forest and jungle are being cut down for wood and fuel, and quarries dug for metals”

So remember …….

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Plant some trees in our Festival Wood here

The Dieci Giorni Suonati festival holistic green scheme



We love this holistic green scheme for events – and thanks to our friends in Italy for sharing!


Africa Express, the Damon Albarn curated rolling circus of African and Western musicians and performers, has been asked to take part in the London 2012 Festival during the Paralympic Games with a Barbican organised tour that will go around Great Britain – not in a tour bus – but on a special  train – The Africa Express!  The Africa Express musical adventure will travel through GB, bringing together eighty African and Western musicians for an inspirational week for artists and audiences alike and featuring – amongst many others, Damon Albarn,  Amadou & Mariam,  Rokia Traore, Kano, Baloji, Charli XCX, Fatoumata Diarawa, Noisettes,  Jupiter & Okwess International and Jack Steadman (Bombay Bicycle Club) .  Expect unexpected gigs in unexpected places! Look out for  visits to schools, factories, homes and local clubs. Each day, each town, each show will be different. After a week of magic and mayhem, the tour arrives at Granary Square in King’s Cross, London. A united army of musicians armed with new music will be ready for a final show – a collaborative musical epic that defies musical and geographical boundaries!

All aboard The Africa Express…… with confirmed shows at

3rd September  Middlesborough Town Hall   Tickets: £15 plus booking fee.  / 01642 729 729

4th September   The Arches, Edinburgh   Tickets: £15 plus booking fee. / 0141 5651000

5th September  HMV Ritz, Manchester    Tickets: £15 plus booking fee. / / 0845 2 500 500

6th September  Solus, Cardiff University Tickets: £15 plus booking fee. / 02920 230130

7th September The Big Top @ Creative Common, Bristol Tickets: £17.50 plus booking fee / 0117 922 3686

8th  September  Granary Square, King’s Cross, London    Tickets: £20 plus booking fee.  / 0207 6388891

On top of this there are a number of pop up shows and workshops planned – to keep your eyes peeled if you live in Leeds, Bradford, Carlisle, Salford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol!

The UK music industry is not a carbon intensive industry. However, it has a high public profile and artistes and events are important in influencing and promoting positive change. Africa Express is committed to joining the fight against climate change by promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly touring practices  as well as sustainable lifestyles and low carbon living.  The 2012 Olympic games are meant to be the ‘greenest’ ever.  LOCOG have ’embedded sustainability’ into their plans and is all very aspirational about this – particularly with travel, food and waste.

When London bid to host the 2012 Games, the organisers made a radical proposal to the International Organising Committee.  They weren’t only going to put on the biggest sporting event in the world; they were going to hold the world’s first truly sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games, leaving a legacy far beyond the departure of the Olympic Flame. Its been mixed news so far and there have been some real disapointments and missed opportunities, but nets be positive and LOCOG say this

“From planning and construction and staging the Games to realising their legacy, our principal ambitions are to set new benchmarks in sustainability, inspire behaviour change, and maximise the social, environmental and  economic impact of the Games to Londoners and the UK. This Sustainability Plan reports on the progress that London 2012 – the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) together with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – as well as our stakeholders have made to date”

 A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis acts as the legal advisor for Africa Express, and he volunteered to put together an sustainability and environmental policy for the tour focussing on the three 2012 priorities  – travel, food and waste – as well as reducing energy use – using resources freely available at  and  – and involving other organisations noted below.

On the first point, travel, the Africa Express musicians, all 80 of them, and crew, are travelling by train and playing easily accessible town centre venues which can be walked to and will have public transport links Africa Express and venues such as  Granary Square in London can promote – a big plus: Granary Square is in the newly redeveloped area of King’s Cross served by overland trains, the underground network and many bus connections. we will be asking all of the venues and promoters to prioritise public transport, walking and cycling.

For food, the 2012 ‘food vision’ is online, and Ben recommended that Africa Express looked at the work our friends at Sustain were doing – you can findout more here, and adopt Sustain’s seven principles – 1. Eat the seasons! 2. Support environmentally friendly farming 3. Serve less meat – and buy the best  4. Seek out sustainable fish 5. Choose Fair Trade 6. Don’t bottle it 7. Serve up well-being

On waste, Africa Express will look to minimise waste and priortise recycling at venues – and support  the 2012 inspired  ‘Zero Waste Events’ initiative which Africa Expess decided it could adopt (

And for greenhouse gas emissions Africa Express will be asking all of the event to minimise greenhouse gas emissions using either the Julies Bicycle benchmark standards on Venues or the Julies Bicycle benchmark standards on Outdoor Events  ( .

Africa Express adopted the follwowing guidelines for te 2012 tour:

  • AE will consider sustainability, the environment and the environmental impact of the tour and the Events at the planning stage including the routing; the venue selection; the travel logistics; the goods and service procurement; show power demand and set design.
  • AE will ensure that environmental considerations are embedded into all tour planning decision-making
  • AE will  use the Africa Express green rider to ask venues for information about their environmental performance  and ensure venues adopt environmentally friendly practices
  • AE will use our best endeavours to ensure all Events and the Tour is measured for GHG emissions at the planning stage and upon completion stage of each leg.
  • AE will ensure that the tour will use a routing schedule that will minimise the GHG emissions from artiste and crew travel.
  • AE will make travel choices specifically to minimise the GHG emissions from moving production equipment and personnel on tour – the train!
  • AE will ensure we work with venues which are easily accessible to public transport and which can promote public transport, cycling and walking as well as recycling and sustainable food.
  • AE will to work with venues and suppliers that are also addressing environmental impacts. And ask  venues to  share with us any information it has on local green suppliers.

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.  The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from 21 June until the 9 September 2012.  The London 2012 Festival celebrates the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including comedy, dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hailed as the most revolutionary force in popular music for two decades, Africa Express brings together musicians from different cultures, genres and generations to break boundaries and offer a new perspective on Africa and its music.

Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when co-founder Damon Albarn took the likes of Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T to work with African legends such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Amadou & Mariam and Bassekou Kouyate.  This was followed by a trial London event, then the now-legendary Glastonbury Festival  2007 show, followed by trips to Nigeria, the Congo, Ethiopia and shows at the BBC Electric Proms, for 25,000 people in Paris town centre and with 50,000 people on a Spanish beach show.

That was, without a doubt, the craziest show I have ever played in my life ~ Flea,  Red Hot Chilli Peppers, after playing with Africa Express at The Shrine, Lagos and

MAMA registration open


Discount rate of E80 available to 5th October (then E120)

Hirst guitars raise money for Strummerville

Two Damien Hirst painted guitars will raise money at Summer of Love festival, the festival celebrating Joe Strummer’s life, ten years after the Clash frontman’s tragic death. The guitars will form part of a raffle in aid of Strummerville -The Joe Strummer New Music Foundation.

Hirst has modified and painted a Fender Telecaster and Eastwood acoustic guitar: Tickets for the raffle are £20 each and are available from and attendees at the Strummer Of Love festival are able to purchase tickets for £10: Winners will be announced at the event by Clash and Big Audio Dynamite guitarist Mick Jones on Sunday, 16 August, 2012.

CockRock 2012 battens down the hatches

Whilst London was bathed in glorious sunshine in the South of England, the last day of the CockRock Festival in Cumbria in the North West of England faced rain and very strong winds.  Organisers of the family oriented festival, headlined by Fun Lovin Criminals,  Tinchy Stryder, Senser,  Zane Lowe and the Subways, took the sensible decision on the Sunday afternoon to close the outdoor main stage because of weather conditions. The stage was due to be headlined by Dr & The Medics and Buzzcocks. Organisers re-programmed the next door large marquee ‘Bar Stage’ and moved the headliners indoors meaning meaning a full Sunday festival line up could be completed including the Committed to Rock Choir, The Minx and Lucy Spraggan.

And CockRock (it’s in Cockermouth by the way)  also had some good green activities this year  with the organisers saying “We are very excited to welcome back The Green for CockRock 2012! The Green is an intimate  area that attracts friendly free-spirited people and are delighted that the folks at High Head Green Gathering from just up the road at Plumpton will once again be helping us to create a fab area. The Green Area is powered by renewable energy and play’s host to a variety of activities, with lots of live music and entertainment, lovely food stalls and cafe’s,workshops, ethical market and healing area! The Green area will be as green as possible with minimal impact on the environment and we hope that everyone that attends will help us make this happen. There will be a ‘no generator’ policy and we will endeavour to use alternative energy wherever possible in this area. The green area team will also be promoting recycling throughout the festival weekend.”

Good on yer, me old cock – as we Southerners say.