Monthly Archives: July 2013


Raspberry by ben cThis has been my most productive summer ever on the allotment – although the British weather still manages to cause problems – with extreme weather now apparently the norm rather than the exception. But periods of drought, heatwave, cold snaps and heavy rains aside, I am now producing masses and masses of home grown and delicious food and the soft fruits in particular have never been better. I have picked kilo after kilo of fresh strawberries from one small raised bed, and the raspberry canes are laden with fruit. It seems never ending, and with the high price of strawberries and raspberries  – a great economic benefit too. Oh, and friends and relatives seem happy with tubs of fresh fruit too!

Along with the strawberries and raspberries I have an great supply of rhubarb and we have frozen quite a few pickings of gooseberries. I had four new red and black currant bushes this year, which I salvaged from a couple who were moving house, and those bushes are still settling in – but the birds had a nice time with that crop this year (must net next) – and around the edge of the allotment plots we have about fifteen small apple and pear trees, mostly traditional varieties, which should start to produce fruit in future years.

marrow by ben cThe other crops that are blossoming this year are squashes (I have endless courgettes and marrows) and a great harvest of broad beans – with runner beans just about to come. The potatoes are looking good  (I have earlies, second earlies and main crop) and this year are looking very healthy with no blight. I should be able to harvest in succession and my second earlies are Kestrel  and Maris Peer, and then I have Maris Piper as and early maincrop and I have planted a blight resistant maincrop (Sarpo Mira) and then a few Setanta as a late maincrop too (it’s a red, great for roasting, and is pretty disease resistant). The recent rain will have helped with the crop, and hopefully the spuds are fattening up down in the now warm soil.

Less productive was the Asparagus bed which didn’t seem to like the cold but there are still a few shoots coming up, even now. And seed germination has been an issue too – I struggled to germinate enough pea and courgette seeds  – many simply never came to life despite love and attention! But, a few did come through and  next to the asparagus I have a small bed of peas to enjoy – alongside a small bed of red cabbages. These  are netted now as they are always a magnet for cabbage white butterflies and whilst I love butterflies – I like my cabbages too!

So, despite the weather – a good year! Barrowload after barrowload of manure seems to have made improvements to the soil, and now we have a functioning water trough filled by gravity from the small beck beside the plots, so I have managed to water in places of need through the dry spells – although that’s not needed now!  We even managed to re-use a couple of tons of scrapings from a local road repair project to re surface our hardstanding area! So everything looks lovely in the allotment gardens …. today!


Green Touring on Go Group’s Berlin Agenda

green touringGO Group Workshop @ Berlin Music Week 5-6 September 2013

“Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin!” (Jack Lang, French Politician)

Berlin is a renowned city of transition. Yes that’s a cliché, but of course it’s true a well. The city still changes at a dizzying pace and creates a pioneering mix of music industry, festivals and club events.

Since 2010 the city has a new platform to tie the activities, commitment, diversity and communication of the music industry into one: The Berlin Music Week.

This year, we’re pretty lucky, to have our first 2-day GO Group workshop within the WORD! Conference of Berlin Music Week on 5-6th September 2013.

The workshop will focus on all aspects of Green Touring and will include:

– Artists/Management
– Travel/Logistics
– Catering/Merchandise
– Locations/Venues
– Technology/Innovation
– Best Practice Cases


Please email Nina – and see

The workshop fee is €200 for both days. This fee includes the Gold Pro ticket for the Berlin Music Week allowing you to visit the:

Annual reception of Projekt Zukunft in Cooperation with Berlin Music Commission and Bureau Export
5. September 2013, 6 pm
Showcase festival FIRST WE TAKE BERLIN @ Clubs in Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain

4. – 5. September 2013 – Subject to capacity
WORD! Conference @ Postbahnhof curated by newthinking & all2gethernow
5. – 6. September 2013 including panels, workshops, networking events, receptions
VUT Indie Days
5. – 6. September VUT Indie Days @ Postbahnhof (incl. VUT Indie Awards)
Access to Delegates Bar @ Fluxbau
4. – 5. September 2013 – Delegates only

Yourope members get €30 discount for 1 participant.

To simplify your travel arrangements we pre-booked some hotel rooms at the Motel One directly at the central train station. Booking Code: GO Group.

Motel One – Berlin Hauptbahnof
Address: Invalidenstraße 54, 10557 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 36410050

Make sure to book early, because besides the Berlin Music Week a big consumer electronics show (IFA) is held in Berlin at the very same time. 


Green Events Europe – back for the fourth time!

green eventsThe 4th GreenEvents Europe Conference is taking place in Bonn from Nov 25th to 26th 2013 at the Wissenschaftszentrum in BonnGermany. Having organized three very successful previous conferences with more than 120 guests from home and abroad in 2012, we are expecting an even larger number of national and international participants, top-quality speakers and experts.

Like in the previous years, GreenEvents Europe 2013 will offer high-level input by speakers of international reputation without losing touch of the practical implementation. In 2013 there will be some innovative additions to the programme. In particular, prior to the main conference session, the organisers will offer sessions for participants with no or little knowledge on green event management on the afternoon of  Sunday Nov 24th: As with last year, there will be plenty of opportunities to network and interact.

Topics to be discussed with all parties involved (promoters, venues, suppliers etc.) will include: “What’s it worth? The waste business”, “The Power Panel”, “From bad to good – Upcycling”, “A healthy session – Catering without meat”, “Again and again – Camping and waste”, “The Triple Bottom Line – Economic, social and environmental aspects of events”, “Talking cups – biodegradable vs. multi-use”, “Audience attitude”, “Technical solutions to special problems – Technic forum”, “Entertainment for everyone – Barrier-free events”. The aim is to connect experts and professionals involved in event organisation to listen to other’s opinion and to start and intensify networks, exchange knowledge and best practise ideas.

The variety of urgent topics requires sessions and workshops to be organized in parallel. Therefore, organisers suggest that you “form a team or bring a colleague”. See the discount on the registration fee for more than one delegate per company or organisation.

The conference aims to deal with challenges regarding environmental protection and sustainability within an event’s organisation and promotion.

Registration fees are:

350 € plus VAT for regular GreenEvents participation
250 € plus VAT for GreenEvents delegates from 2010 and 2011
175 € plus VAT discount for second GreenEvents participant from one company/festival
There’s a discount for Yourope-members and/or Sounds For Nature-Festivals: 50 Euro (for one delegate per company/festival)
Our partners:
GO Group (Green Operations Europe) –
Yourope (The European Festival Association) –
Bundesamt für Naturschutz –
Sounds For Nature –
Bucks New University –
Green Music Initiative –
DB Deutsche Bahn –


goldentoadThe golden toad was a small, shiny, bright true toad that was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests, about 10 square kilometres in area, north of the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Now its gone – but don’t be alarmed if your local bank has a visit from the endearing but extinct creatures. 25 years after the last golden toad disappeared, 15 US actors, lead by the ‘Reverend Billy’,  are visiting banks in the USA – and now in the UK – to explain how decades of irresponsible lending have damaged the environment – promoted climate change – caused the death of nature and lead to social disintegration. The satirical choir come in peace – hand out small trees and pictures of other endangered species to banking staff.

Scientists have said that what looks like a pause in global warming in the last decade is not actually the case – more heat has been absorbed by deep oceans meaning that the heat is being stored up and could fuel rapid temperature rises in the future. The average rise in temperatures between 1970 to 1998 was 0.17C each decade – buy this slowed to 0.04C per decade between 1998 and 2012. The Met Office now say this ‘hiatus’can be explained by natural variations on the solar cycle, low volcanic activity and more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans – below 300M – which has been ‘hidden from view’ – all of which masked climate change. A dangerous rise above 2C is still predicted by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue on the same trajectory.

Glyndebourne Opera House has been accredited for its long-term commitment to reducing its environmental impact and improving its sustainable use of energy, waste, water and travel. Awarded the Julies Bicycle Industry Green Mark certification, Glyndebourne is one of only six organisations in the UK from across the creative industries to have been presented with three stars under the standard – the highest possible rating.  In achieving this, the opera house implemented several measures through its environmental strategy, including embedding environmental criteria into its procurement procedures, engaging audience members with sustainable travel initiatives and reducing its emissions through energy efficiency – it has its own wind turbine generating 89% of the organisations energy needs.

saracensSaracens’ new artificial waterless pitch has brought interest from sports clubs across the country as well as the green community, says club community director Gordon Banks. Installed last year, the pitch is part of the rugby clubs initiative to own the most sustainable sports stadium in the UK. The stadium, Allianz Park, boasts a range of measures that have been backed up by certifications and standards including meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations 2010 Part L policy.

EU1The European Commission has agreed on a new LIFE funding programme to finance projects involved in climate action and the environment over the next seven years. The Commission will provide €3.45bn (£2.97bn) from 2014 to 2020, with €2.59bn dedicated to the environment and €864m specifically for climate action.  Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: “I am happy to see that the new LIFE programme will triple the amount spent on climate action. From 2014 to 2020, the new LIFE foresees over €860m dedicated to climate action.

A former US defence attache, Colonel David McNevin, has been caught smuggling thousands of dollars worth of ivory out of Kenya bound for Holland, just hours after President Obama pledged to fight illegal wildlife trafficking. The Kenyan authorities say they viewed McNevin as a “common criminal”.

The UK’s heatwave has had a sticky end as thunderstorms spread accross the country. The summer heatwave, the hottest since 1976, produced 25,000 lightening bolts from Monday 22nd to Tuesday 23rd July.

Water laden rivers of air will cause more flooding in the UK as our climate changes. Scientists at the University of Reading predict that Atmospheric Rivers will become stronger and more frequent by the end of the century based on forecasts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Projects from a rainwater collecting canopy to bee-friendly neighbourhoods were amongst the winners of the 2013 RSA Student Design Awards.  Charles Anderson from Kingston University won an internship with the Environment Agency for his ‘Dump In Polystyrene’ project, Meredith Thompson and Nicole Shadbolt from Plymouth University won a prize for ‘The Hive’ – a bee focussed community plan, and Christopher Kelly from London Metropolitan University won £1000 for his portable urban rainwater collecting and filtering canopy.

UK food waste recycling company PDM has announced investment of more than £90m before the end of 2014, including two new large-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities in Widnes and Dagenham

green dealThe woeful take up of the UK’s Green Deal continues –although it has marginally improved . The Green Deal scheme had signed 36 customers at the end of June, up from the four households recorded the previous month.  DECC’s figures show there were 306 Green Deal Plans in the system for individual properties at the end of June, compared to 100 at the end of May. Of these, 270 were ‘new’ Green Deal Plans and 36 were ‘pending’, which is when a Green Deal Plan has been signed by the customer, progress is being made to install measures and the Plan is being finalised so that charging can start.

WRAP says that progress om reducing the use of single use plastic carrier bags in the UK has stalled – in fact last year saw an increase in use.

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is backing a £1.2m investment to install a biomass boiler at whisky distillery Tomatin near Inverness. The GIB’s first investment project in Scotland will see £576,733 come from the Equitix managed fund, Energy Saving Investments (ESI), in which the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is a major investor

UK company Lush Cosmetics has begun an anti-fracking campaign as the Government announces tax breaks to companies involved in the UK’s shale gas industry Lush has provided its 105 UK and Irish shops – including windows, staff and online channels – for ten days to activist group Frack Off for their Don’t Frack our Future’ campaign.

A new energy innovation centre which will deliver significant carbon and cost savings for Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) has received planning permission from the Council. The energy innovation centre, which is expected to be one of the largest projects of its type in the UK, will provide low carbon heating, hot water and electricity for Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals. Work will begin on the centre next spring and is set to save CUH £30m in energy costs and cut carbon emissions by 47% over the 25 year contract term.

GREAT BIG GREEN IDEAS – enter now – and win free festival tickets!

GreatBigGreenIdeasA Greener Festival is launching its annual competition for GREAT BIG GREEN IDEAS in collaboration with 3 times Greener Festival Award winner Croissant Neuf Summer Party!

The competition is open to all festival fans to suggest new ideas to promote environmental friendliness at festivals and get events greener.  Some of the very best ideas that improve festivals come from the people that go to them and we want to ask YOU how you want to get greener. Abandoned tents and personal carbon footprints to and from festivals are just two of the things we want fans to think about.

Sometimes really simple ideas are the best so any ideas on reducing waste, recycling and preventing pollution would be really welcome as well. Previous years entries include the winning entry from Natalie Porter which developed a scheme to reduce food waste at festivals, and runners up were a very clever idea from Gearoid Maher called “Reduction by Inflation”, focusing on reducing emissions from private cars, by offering a free tyre check and inflation service to all vehicles queuing to enter festival car parks and Ben Harris’s plans to convert human waste into free energy – by  “putting the ‘pee’ back into power”.

“We’ve been overwhelmed each year by the significant response and useable ideas that come from this campaign. The audience really have the power to help festivals improve their environmental impact on many levels. Croissant Neuf Summer party are pioneers in this realm and we look forward to seeing what actions the combination of these two great forces will produce”  said Claire O’Neill, Co Founder A Greener Festival.

Croissant Neuf 165Great Big Green Ideas 2013 should be emailed to with the subject “GREAT BIG GREEN IDEAS”. They need to be in English or with an English translation and should be no more than 100 words long. The best ideas will be published on this website.

The top entries will be put into a draw for one winning and two runners up festival goodie bags each of which will include various CDs from bands including Gaz Brookfield and The Undercover Hippy, goodies from Fairy Glass and other festival swag including an exclusive CNSP crew T-shirt, AND THE WINNER RECEIVES TWO FREE WEEKEND TICKETS TO CROISSANT NEUF SUMMER PARTY!

Festival Director Andy Hope had this to say:

“Croissant Neuf have pioneered the use of solar power at outdoor events for 25 years and our festival makes use of many great green ideas from top quality recycling to locally sourced everything  –  but we don’t know it all . . . .So,  if you have an idea or cunning scheme to help us make our party even more friendly to the local environment please shout it at us now and be in with the chance of winning 2 free tickets to the UK’s greenest grooviest do!

We look forward to hearing you wonderful Big Green Ideas for 2013! Be the change you want to see!

Croissant Neuf Summer Party, 8th – 11th August, Monmouthshire, Wales.

For more information and see


gmiHot! Bass! Cumbia! Fahrraddisko!
DJ Ipek / Clé / Mother Perera / Dengue Dengue (live)
Sonntag, 28.07.2013 | 17:00 h | Eintritt: 5/3 €
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 1, Berlin Tiergarten

Wir treten in die Pedale bis die Bässe rollen.
Der Strom dazu wird energieautark durch den sportlichen Ehrgeiz des geneigten Publikums über aufgebockte Fahrräder erzeugt.
So können wir interaktiv feiern und nebenbei unseren ökologischen Fussabruck schmälern. Dieses Mal zu dem Cumbia Wahnsinn und Tropical Bass Attacken des Peruanischen Overkill Duos Dengue Dengue Dengue live. Und weiterer musikalischer DJ Leckerbissen.
Mehr Infos:

Am 28.07.13 ab 17:00 gibt es also mal wieder einen guten Grund in den schönen Tiergarten zu radeln und die delikate Aussicht von der grandiosen Dachterrasse aus zu geniessen. Die FAHRRAD DISKO wird zusammen mit dem WMFBorder MovementMorgenwelt Rocks (die echte Fahrrad Disko…) aus Hamburg im Rahmen des “Wassermusik Festivals” organisiert . Dabei wieder unsere altbewährten Freunde von der grossartigen RESET Plattform. Das alles heiss und draussen und zu familienfreundlicher Uhrzeit von 17-22:00 Uhr.

17:00 h DJ Ipek
Seit Beginn der 1990er-Jahre mischt Ipek ?pekçio?lu als DJ, Radiomoderatorin, Partyveranstalterin, Referentin und Aktivistin die Berliner Verhältnisse auf.

18:00 h DJ Clé
Die Berliner Legende: Maertini Bros, E-werk, Poker Flat, Cookies, all time Gentleman und Geschmacksgarant…

19:30 h Mother Perera
Mother Perera, das ist der DJ Alias von Sasha Perera, der srilankisch-britischen Sängerin bekannt als Frontfrau von Jahcoozi.

20:30 h Dengue Dengue Dengue!
Nenn es Tropical Bass, Cumbia digital, Cumbia electrónica, nenn es Dengue Dengue Dengue! Unter diesem Schlachtruf verbiegen Felipe Salmon und Rafael Pereira bewährte Cumbia-Klassiker mit elektronischen Mitteln, verpassen dem Chicha-Sound den Dengue Twist.


g078Wilkolife have published their Complete Summer Festival Survival Guide for 2013 with a lost of festival essentials, some thoughts of festivals that are fun for kids, some sensible advice on safety – and some handy eco-tips as well. With input from Zena Gardener at The Better Festival Group, Romany Greatrex at Festival Kidz  and our very own Helen Innes – it’s all here !

Oh, the shame.  Leeds United striker Ross McCormack has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 for illegally dumping Christmas waste in a layby. The striker, was identified by Leeds City Council enforcement officers after they were called to the littered layby on the A58 Wetherby Road after Christmas.The 26-year-old left packaging, cardboard delivery boxes and plastic bags next to bins at some point between Christmas 2012 and January 3, which was found blowing into nearby hedges and fields. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that McCormack was handed a £200 fine, ordered to pay £883.25 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. Reacting to the verdict Councillor Mark Dobson, the council’s executive member for the environment, said: “Our recycling centres are open throughout the festive period to specifically allow people to recycle the extra waste that’s created at that time of year. In fact, our recycling centres only shut three days a year” adding “While the items in this case may have been left by litter bins with the misdirected idea that they’d be picked up as litter, this is a simple case of flytipping. Litter bins are for litter, not household waste” and “We’re determined to stamp out this kind of lazy behaviour and we will take action against those who fail to help us keep Leeds clean and green.”

Antony Hegarty, he of Antony & The Johnsons fame, has been speaking to the Times about his new Swanlights show at the Royal Opera House on July 25th and 26th explaining that he is addressing ecological disaster and a central message that “scientific rationalism has led the world to the brink of ecological collapse and that we now all need to have a more intuitive feminine way of living saying “there  is a suggestion that an unemotional male mind can establish a clearer sense of truth and its causing us to behave in a way that is ill-mannered in relation to the rest of the planet. Grandmothers know the weather is changing. What will it be like when we reach tipping point with permafrost, with the methane gas released and the temperature goes up several degrees in a month?”

antony hegartyA good read in the Observer in an article by farmer Tobias Jones about our addiction to cheap food –  “Bounty to be gained from getting closer to the land” – where Tobias says “The main problem is that we’ve become so hooked on cheap food that we ignore the hidden costs: the poisoning of our land by pesticides; the consequent collapse of bee colonies, thus declining rates of pollination; the destruction of ancient woodlands and hedgerows; the mass slaughter of cattle because of ludicrous feeding practices that led to BSE – and, lest we forget, 176 people have died in the UK of the resultant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. And the drugs metaphor is entirely appropriate since, like a dodgy dealer, many people have been cutting beef with horse to make it go further.” More on this from food writer Jay Rayner too – the links are and

windturbines_300Planning consent has been granted for what will be the world’s largest wind farm off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast. The 1,200MW offshore facility at Triton Knoll is expected to generate more than £3.6bn of investment in Lincolnshire and Norfolk and create around 1,130 jobs across the country. The 288-turbine wind farm will be larger than the London Array. Europe has installed 277 wind turbines in the first half of 2013, adding more than 1 Gigawatt (GW) of capacity to the grid, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).  From January to the end of June, the UK installed 146 wind turbines. A considerable contribution came from Denmark with 98 new turbines totalling 352.8MW, while Germany’s 21 newly installed turbines added 105MW to Europe’s capacity.  The remaining capacity came from Belgium, which connected 73.8MW through 12 installed turbines

Defra has issued a consultation on a Waste Management Plan for England as part of its requirements under the revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD). The rWFD requires member states to produce at least one waste management plan for the regions they cover. The plan itself is a compilation of existing waste management information and policies.

Eunomia Research & Consulting chairman Dr Dominic Hogg, speaking at the Resource Association conference in London, told delegates that The UK’s reliance on primary materials and its exposure to commodity price rises will be determined to a certain degree by the lifetime of products adding that relying on recycling to insulate the economy from swings in the commodity markets was not a solution to the resource crisis.

Introducing new energy technologies in road transport will mean the current method of measuring the climate impact of vehicles will become increasingly inadequate, says the LowCVP. A new report, Life Cycle CO2e Assessment of Low Carbon Cars 2020-2030, shows how total life cycle CO2e emissions will change for different vehicle technologies in the future and estimates how the balance of emissions will alter for different stages in the life cycle for the varying technologies.  Through the report, the LowCVP aims to facilitate the first steps towards ‘beyond tailpipe’ measurement.

Center Parcs is focusing on reducing its water impact after the company announced an increase in consumption in 2012 despite implementing measures to cut use. Speaking to edie, Center Parcs sustainability manager Chris Brooks said that the rise in water consumption is a direct result of an increase in guests. “We have implemented measures such as efficient shower heads, restricting the flow of the taps to an acceptable level. But when we are adding new accommodation units and new water rides the water consumption has increased.

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted in favour of legislation to cap the percentage of biofuels in European renewable energy transport targets at 5.5%.  Subject to approval, the ENVI committee has also voted for the implementation of indirect land use change ‘(ILUC) factors’.  These are calculations designed to account for additional emissions rising from ILUC, a process by which the displacement of crop production onto previously unused land leads to the conversion of forests and savannah to agriculture.

Infrastructure investment worth £180bn and equating to 12% of GDP is at risk because of the Government’s unclear commitment to a low- carbon economy, according to a new report Commissioned by the think-tank Green Alliance, the report predicts that if the £60bn of low carbon projects planned for the next two years were to go ahead, it could kick start the economic recovery, with a 0.7% increase in GDP by 2015.  However, if the low carbon investment programme is dropped, the report estimates that GDP could fall by 2.2%, which is likely to push the UK back into recession.

Scientists at Bristol University and Bristol Robotics Laboratory have created a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down urine to generate electricity. The team created the microbial fuel cell by growing bacteria on carbon fiber anodes and then placing them in ceramic cylinders. When urine is placed in the cell, the bacteria breaks down the chemicals in the urine, creating an electrical charge which is stored on a capacitor. “No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery,” said engineer Ioannis Ieropoulos. “The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing (human!) waste to create energy.