Info, news & debate

12/2015 posts

Our experience of generating our own electricity for 25 years

Andy Reynolds of the Ecolodge | 30-Dec-2015 | 5

We bought a house with a demolition order on it, not something that many people will do, then we rebuilt it, not something many people will do, and we always repair stuff, not something that many people will do – you get the idea. Read more

Slavoj Žižek and why local democracy is not enough when there are big decisions to be made

Dave Darby of | 29-Dec-2015 | 0

Ah, Žižek – he’s so weird, often quite inaccessible and yet so right about almost everything. Below is a video in which he is very accessible, and as usual, right. Read more

Getting into the allotment groove: reasons for getting an allotment

Recently I hosted a radio show where I asked the question What Does Your Allotment Mean to You?, what was interesting was just like the many approaches to growing your own, there were just as many reasons for doing so. Read more

What will TTIP mean for small companies and local economies?

Dave Darby of | 27-Dec-2015 | 0

Promoters of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) claim it’s good for all business, but is this really true?  The European Commission (EC) and the USA say it will especially help SME businesses (small and medium-sized enterprises), not just multinationals. Read more

How has the 2008 financial crash affected the wealth of the rich and the poor, and what can we do about it?

Dave Darby of | 26-Dec-2015 | 1

Have we all suffered equally since the crash of 2008? Have we all shared in the austerity? Well, no – the gap between the rich and the poor is widening in the UK, the US and in fact, in the OECD. In the US, Robert Reich reports that 95% of economic gains since 2009 have… Continue reading How has the 2008 financial crash affected the wealth of the rich and the poor, and what can we do about it? Read more

It’s time to listen to the prophets

Dave Darby of | 25-Dec-2015 | 7

Today, Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of their prophet. We’re not sure of the date of Jesus’s birth or even whether he definitely existed – but that’s not the important point. The important point is his message of anti-imperialism and love. Read more

Diggers and Dreamers Communities Directory is back with a 25th anniversary edition

This is the publication that inspired me to visit intentional communities, eventually join one – Redfield Community in Buckinghamshire, where was founded. It’s a handy directory of communities / communes / co-operative living in the UK and elsewhere Read more

Keeping the chickens out of the garden with a woven birch fence

After a number of incidents where our hens ran riot through the vegetable garden, we realised that a permanent barrier was the only way to keep them at bay, and so looked around for a solution. Inspiration came when we visited the Ulster American Folk Park, and saw a woven birch fence. Read more

3 shopping days to Christmas – a plea not to buy any more tat

Dave Darby of | 22-Dec-2015 | 6

Last minute Christmas shopping? Well, this is our last-minute plea for you not to do it. I was recently invited to a party with a ‘secret Santa’ that invited people to buy presents for less than £5. It’s a nice thought, but it inevitably resulted in a barrage of plastic trinkets that won’t last until… Continue reading 3 shopping days to Christmas – a plea not to buy any more tat Read more

Spain’s election means the ‘political landscape has changed forever’? No, not at all

Dave Darby of | 21-Dec-2015 | 1

Yesterday’s general election in Spain ended the domination of Spanish politics by the Popular Party (PP) of the ‘right’ and the Socialist Party of the ‘left’, who between them have formed all the Spanish governments of the last 30 years. Read more

Unless your house is old, you probably don’t have rising damp, and if you do, modern damp-proofing methods probably won’t work

Dave Darby of | 20-Dec-2015 | 0

Twentieth-century homes tend to contain a lot of non-breathable materials – cement, metal, plastics, impervious paints and renders. Damp-proof barriers prevent rising damp, but the sealed, waterproof, non-breathable approach of modern building brings its own problems Read more

How superstores destroy jobs and local resilience

Dave Darby of | 19-Dec-2015 | 4

A report by the National Retail Planning Forum (partly financed by supermarkets) found that in a catchment of 15km around 93 new superstores, around 10,000 new retail jobs were created and 35,000 destroyed – a net loss of 25,000 retail jobs (full-time equivalent). Read more

Build your own top bar beehive

Dave Darby of | 18-Dec-2015 | 0

Here’s a woodwork project for you. If you want to know what a top bar beehive is, see our beekeeping topic introduction – but basically, it’s a relatively new style of beehive that mimics a space that bees would seek out for themselves naturally Read more

The ridiculous (and hilarious) philosophy of Karl Lagerfeld

Dave Darby of | 17-Dec-2015 | 3

You probably don’t know who he is and to be honest, neither did I – I just came across his ‘philosophy’ (he calls his quotes ‘Karlisms’) and found it hilarious. He’s the head designer of fashion house Chanel, and so I don’t suppose you’d expect anything particularly deep from him. Read more

Can I have a compost loo instead of a chemical toilet in a camper van or a narrowboat?

First of all, why would you want to do that in the first place? Well, it’s because of the toxic nature of the chemicals used in chemical toilets – but we’ll blog about that later. For now, let’s talk about whether there’s an alternative. Read more

Can constantly-moving livestock help prevent desertification?

Dave Darby of | 15-Dec-2015 | 7

Desertification is the process whereby grasslands slowly turn into deserts, and suggesting that we can help reverse this process with livestock sounds counter-intuitive, especially as livestock is usually named as one of the major contributors to desertification. In the video below, Allan Savory, who has spent a lifetime studying and working towards poverty eradication and wildlife conservation,… Continue reading Can constantly-moving livestock help prevent desertification? Read more

Take back the city – if you’re not “proud that London is the natural habitat of the billionaire”

Dave Darby of | 14-Dec-2015 | 0

People of Britain, are you proud that your capital city is geared towards attracting billionaires (that’s a quote by Boris Johnson by the way)? Read more

TTIP: investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) may be illegal under EU law

Dave Darby of | 13-Dec-2015 | 0

ISDS is a legal instrument within international trade treaties that allows corporations to sue elected governments if they introduce legislation that can be shown to be detrimental to the profits of corporations active in their country. Read more

How to buy, dismantle and re-build a second-hand greenhouse

A large good quality greenhouse can cost anything from £500 to well over £1,000, which can make a substantial dent in anyone’s budget. So, having decided that I really wanted a greenhouse, I scoured the local papers “for sale” columns. Read more

Corporate cruelty

Dave Darby of | 11-Dec-2015 | 3

This particular corporate cruelty is down to Hormel (industrial food corporation and makers of Spam) and highlighted in a secret video made by Compassion Over Killing. But Hormel are not the only corporation involved in these kinds of practices. Read more

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