The health, environmental and welfare costs of industrial farming

http://www.ciwf.org.uk/research/policy-economics/cheap-food-costs-dear/

This fascinating report by Compassion in World Farming, examines all of the impacts of industrial farming and makes an excellent case to slam the assertion that it is important to maintain because it is cheaper. Well worth a read at only 12 pages.

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Saving land from becoming desert. So inspirational!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/earth/10176217/The-underground-forests-that-are-bringing-deserts-to-life.html

This is so inspirational!

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Global carbon dioxide in atmosphere passes milestone level

http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-highest-level-greenhouse-gas

Although I know that people prat around re climate change, choosing to argue rather than act, I still find it beyond belief that this is not the top headline. We really are going to go out as the most wilfully ignorant and consequently stupid species ever…

And I don’t want to! This is so so past the point where we can waste time. If you have children we are well on course (or at) the point where their adult lives are genuinely hell. Do you care so little about them that this doesn’t compel you to act? And you can always do something, little people acting is what has always changed the world.

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Hawthorn – a bush for you and for Bee

 

This weekend we noticed that the hawthorn tree at the bottom of our garden was not only looking gorgeous, but it was covered in bees and other tiny flying bugs. If you’re thinking about a way to start making your garden more attractive to bees, I’d suggest this as a lovely bush to consider. About now it is covered in the beautiful flowers you can see at the top of this post, and in the autumn / winter it produces haw berries which are an excellent source of food for birds!

It might not be something to put in the middle of your garden as it can grow to between 5 and 15 metres tall, and it has thorny branches. However it’s an excellent choice for a hedge, as it can be trained and trimmed and will not only provide a fabulous source of shelter and food for birds and bees, but it will probably help keep burglars out, due to its spiky nature! It is also apparently very suitable for water conservation areas, which may be something to bear in mind.

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If you might want to get a group together, the Woodland Trust is currently running a free tree scheme at http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/moretrees-moregood/get-involved/plant-trees/Pages/apply-community-tree-pack.aspx. Packs range from small (60 saplings) to large (420 saplings) http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/moretrees-moregood/advice-centre/pages/packs-of-trees.aspx
If you don’t have a garden but want to improve your local area, this could be something to go for.

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What to do if you find a grounded bumblebee

If you find a grounded bumblebee in the winter or spring, then it is probably a queen who has been caught out in a sudden shower or cold spell! Bumblebees cannot fly if they get too cold, so the bee will need and appreciate your help. Bumblebees are very passive and will only sting if you’re actively threatening them, so don’t be scared to lend a helping hand.

Get the bee onto a piece of card or paper (or get a tiny pebble, they will probably climb on to it) and move it somewhere warmer, drier and safer (for example in a plant pot on its side, under a leaf or some other sheltered place you have). You can also feed the bee using either a 1:1 mix of sugar and water or a 30/70 mix of honey and water (sugar in preference if you have some) – just put a drop of the mix on a suitable surface within the bee’s reach but make sure not to get it on the bee. Once the bumblebee has warmed up and fed, she will most likely fly off.

By saving a queen you may have saved an entire nest.

(If the weather really is awful and not bumblebee friendly, you can keep her somewhere sheltered until it improves, but make sure to remember to provide food, and let the bumblebee out if it starts flying around)

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Fuzzy footed flower bee

Did you even know there was such a thing as a fuzzy footed flower bee? I did not, and nearly died of cute overload when I found out. Even better, their latin name is Anthophora plumipes!

 

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These bees can be seen from late February or early March, and are one of the earliest bees in the garden.

If you want to help these amazingly cute bees and see them in YOUR garden, plant lungwort and comfrey. Also let deadnettles grow.

They nest in soft mortar joints or the ground. Something to bear in mind if you want some to live in your area.

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FAO defines ‘sustainable diet’

DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DIETS
Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which
contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and
future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of
biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically
fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing
natural and human resources.

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