Of all the things we’ve tried to do to keep our house warm and our energy costs down, one thing we’d not had done was the cavity wall insulation.
Our path to getting this done started with an inspection where a couple of guys turned up and drilled a hole in the wall – Yep, we’ve got cavity walls in our 1964 house. We were told that there was no charge, no catches and if we wanted our loft insulated they could do that too – all under a government-funded grant scheme.
So, I signed up and asked if they did sheep’s wool loft insulation; the surveyor said no, they only did regular fibreglass loft insulation. So I politely declined and waited for the installation date. Sheep’s wool loft insulation is more expensive than fibreglass but the advantages of sheep’s wool is that it isn’t itchy like fibreglass (which is a bit of a hazard to health in my opinion), sheep’s wool is natural, sustainable & breathable and has good insulation properties. But back to the cavity wall insulation…
Today was installation day and the crew turned up 45 minutes early, which makes a change. I had to apologise to my neighbour, who didn’t expect there to be drilling going on until 9am, but he was totally cool about it.
A couple of hours later and the job was finished. We had free cavity wall insulation, all paid for by a Government grant to ensure that we stay insulated this winter and reduce our carbon footprint. Apparently 35% of a home’s heat is wasted through the walls so that should certainly help toward keeping the heating costs down. Although this may just be a timely way to stabilise the costs when British Gas started the ball rolling on an energy price rise by cranking up the price of gas by 9%. We’re with another provider but I’m sure they’ll follow suit and push their prices up beyond the rate of inflation too.
So if you want to keep your energy costs down then get your cavity wall insulation done. Thanks ever so much to local firm InstaGroup for their Instabfibre cavity wall insulation service. Give them a call to arrange a survey on 0845 602 4696 or email email@example.com
Picture the scene: a small communal galley kitchen in a building full of serviced offices.
There are two bins – One clearly labelled “Recyclable”, the other clearly labelled “Non Recyclable”. In addition there is an extra sign over the “Recyclable” bin reiterating that it is for “recyclable” stuff and in BIG CAPS it further clarifies that “NO FOOD ITEMS” are to go in the recyclable bin.
Now, if that’s not clear enough there is also a little sign above the area with a list of all the things that safe to be considered recyclable and those that are not.
Chicken legs, rice, coffee grinds, salad, banana skins etc have all appeared in the recycling bin on a regular basis despite all these clear signs.
So what does this say about people?
We’ve taken to the skies, put a man on the moon, split the atom, sequenced the human genome and created numerous intelligent devices and systems and yet some of this simian-descended race do not understand the clear and simple difference between recyclable and non-recyclable.
Some people are too stupid to recycle!
It’s Earth Day 2012, folks. What are you doing to mark the fact?
One of the main thrusts of the day is to promote green awareness and especially to push for people to be more aware of and involved in their environment. The “billion acts of green” is a good start, and amongst the suggestions I’ve seen a number of actions or pledges made for Earth Day 2012, some of them being… (more…)
To mark Earth Day 2012 Google put up their Google doodle this morning in the form of a flowering Google logo.
Just go to www.google.co.uk right now and have a look.
Blooming marvellous, aye?
Image courtesy of Crowcombe Al on flickr
One of my mountain biking friends forwarded me a link the other day to a campaign to protect the Quantock Hills. Whilst I don’t recall having cycled in the Quantocks, the name was instantly familiar as it regularly crops up in the biking calendar for our MTB group’s day rides.
What’s happening is that Somerset County Council is finding money a bit tight and is looking to sell off 2,000 acres of woodland and moorland to pay for schools and roads in the county. Great Wood, Customs Common and Thorncombe Hill are all up for sale and, whilst the Quantock Hills are designated as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the proposed sale has naturally angered a lot of people.
Locals are mystified that Somerset County Council would actually wish to sell the 2,000 acres of land anyway, especially considering that the land is apparently so protected that nothing can be done with it – even neighbouring landowners won’t touch it!
Friends of Quantock have lodged a formal complaint against the sale and action group 38 degrees, who have had a number of social and environmental victories in the past, have waded into the action. The campaign, Protect the Quantock Hills, already has nearly 40,000 signatories!
So, if you’re a fan or a friend of the Quantock Hills, you’ve walked or biked there or you just want to stand up for the protection of our natural habitat in this country then feel free to go over to the 38 degrees and sign their petition… Protect the Quantock Hills!
The WoodPad is a solid wooden iPad stand that comes in a range of finishes – Ash, oak, cherry or maple.
Handmade in England by a traditional cabinet maker, each WoodPad is made from solid hardwood, has two viewing angles and has non-slip rubber feet.
What’s more, the WoodPad is just £20 and comes with FREE international shipping.
So hurry, get a WoodPad for christmas, whether it’s for you or for someone cool, the lovely WoodPad, the perfect green xmas present, will enhance any environmentalist’s desktop
NB: There’s also a WoodPad for your iPhone too, so if you want a stylish solid wood iPhone dock on your desktop to present your iPhone at the perfect viewing angle, grab yourself a WoodPad for iPhone too (and just £16 too!)
Photographers Sebastião Salgado and Per Anders Pettersson present a selection of previously unseen photographs from the ongoing “Genesis” project at Somerset House, London. Showing images shot entirely in the Amazon, the exhibition is in aid of the Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign, a joint venture between the broadcaster Sky and the WWF.
For the last seven years Salgado’s Genesis project has documented the life of the Amazon rainforest, capturing its breathtaking beauty. He has spent time with Amazonian natives and lived amongst them, describing their life as a very “pure” one.
Pettersson, by contrast, has recently documented the devastation to this natural wonder, and shows the affect of deforestation and the work by Rainforest Rescue to try and save a tiny area of the Amazon Rainforest.
You’ve got until the 4th of December to see these images at Somerset House, Holborn, London and admission to the exhibition is free. Visit the Amazon exhibition at:
And see the website at http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/amazon
Editors comment: This exhibition must be seen. To understand the beauty in a part of the world that most of us may never visit should bring home the sadness that the loss of such natural wonder will mean. The rainforest must be saved. No more should be destroyed and much of it should be allowed to regenerate.
The Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign is apparently just a 3-year joint venture whereas I feel it should be a permanent alliance but with the work of Salgado and Pettersson the natural environment not just at home but far away should be at the forefront of world issues. Of course, people need jobs and stable economies but none of that matters without a stable environment.
Today the UN published its Human Development Report 2011.
The report has shown, for a number of years now, how human development has raised living standards across the world. But this year’s publication highlights how a reverse to this trend is affecting poorer populations. The Human Development Report 2011 places the blame firmly on environmental degradation and social inequality as factors affecting human development.
Whilst the report argues that human development should continue for the benefit of all mankind, it points straight at the fact that sustainability needs to be taken more seriously. That’s not just environmetal sustainability but also economic and political sustainability.
The HDR focuses on the human right to a healthy environment but also highlights then need for equity in environmental policy, pushing the point that some members of the world society may be disenfranchised by their lack of say in environmental issues which may effect their immediate environment more directly than more developed nations.
Editors Comment: Whilst the Human Development Report 2011 is very welcome, it merely puts into print what has been said on the ground for years. Most of the people I know and talk to acknowledge that the environment is pretty damned important. They also understand that the developed and developing world can’t keep using the planet’s resources at the rate they have been since the industrial revolution.
Of course, it has been noted that it’s very hypocritical of “the west” to turn around and condemn China and India for their increased use of natural resources when the west has been so greedy itself – The UK, less than 1% of the world population, apparently uses 3% of the world’s resources. The USA, at nearly 5% of the world’s population, has been using 25% of the world’s resources. So when China alone, at around 19% of the world population, is being scolded for apparently building two coal-fired power stations a week, you just have to get that into perspective.
We can always take a “been there, done that” attitude in the west and say that China should learn from our mistakes. But “we” haven’t learned from our own mistakes, have we?! That does play to the point that the HD report makes that people should be more involved in democratic processes. It’s big business, the rich and the lobby groups, the political elites who have their hand on the tiller. If we can prise their grip off the controls of power then maybe we can have true and genuine democracy at long last.
The times are a-changing. We’ve had populist movements in Egypt, Libya & Tunuisia. The riots in the UK were a wake-up call and there have been violent demonstrations in Greece. The Occupy Wall Street movement has splintered and spread across the world. Conversations between friends about inequality being the greatest threat to the world are manifesting now as public talking points.
Human Development will only advance and be beneficial to all mankind if we can just STOP what we are doing right now, think about it and put into place all the controls that will wrest power from the top and place it at ALL levels. People need to be educated, the birth rate needs to come down, there should be no more environmental degradation let alone devastation. we should all respect the world and know our place in it, knowing that we are all equals.
Let’s hope that the Human Development Report isn’t just another wad of expensive research and that we all finally act for the benefit of all not just our selves.
My wife found this on facebook this morning. Doesn’t this just hit the mark? Here’s a transcript of the image text:
[Image of spoon]
It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to
- Extract oil from the ground
- Ship it to a refinery
- Turn it into plastic
- Shape it appropriately
- Truck it to a store
- Buy it, and bring it home
…is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it.
Sorry, plastic spoon manufacturers, but your time is up!