Info, news & debate

07/2016 posts

Nature in August – what to look out for

As someone who used to work in university research, it is deeply ingrained in my nature to observe and record what I see, and also, when necessary, to count things (I once spent six years counting weed seedlings). Read more

Volunteer at a crofting / educational centre in the Highlands and learn about the ‘shieling’

This is a farm-based education organisation.  Our story is the ‘shieling’ – a tradition where folk went up to the hills with the livestock. The shieling is a traditional practice of moving up to the high ground or moorland with livestock, to live there for the summer. Read more

A brief history of philosophy, part 11: the splintering of philosophy

Dave Darby of | 27-Jul-2016 | 0

Hegel represented the end of huge, speculative, metaphysical systems. After Hegel, philosophy started to splinter into many ideas vying for dominance – none of which could be said to represent the growing tip, only the branches.  Read more

This is how we should get our fish: interview with Guy Dorrell of ‘Faircatch’

Guy Dorrell of Faircatch | 25-Jul-2016 | 1

I went to visit Guy Dorrell from Faircatch the other day, and was truly blown away by what he’s up to. Now this is how we should get our fish. Here’s my interview with him. Read more

Are you interested in becoming a smallholder and building your own home? Help the Ecological Land Co-op make it happen

If you would like to build your own home on a smallholding, and produce food, fuel and other products for your family and your local community, but can’t see any way that it could happen, then the Ecological Land Co-op want to hear from you.  Read more

In praise of the elder tree, and how to make delicious elderberry wine really easily

Common Elder (Sambucus nigra) is a familiar sight on railway embankments, urban waste ground, and in hedgerows. This small tree thrives in particular in the north and midlands of England, growing rapidly when cut back and giving off a discomforting dusty smell in the process, along with also being very difficult to dig up. Read more

A brief history of philosophy, part 10: Romanticism, utilitarianism and the dialectic

Dave Darby of | 19-Jul-2016 | 0

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), sometimes called the father of Romanticism, is often attributed with the phrase ‘noble savage’, although he never actually said it. What it implies is some golden age when humans lived in a ‘state of nature’ – in harmony with ecology and with each other. Read more

New publication: a knitting and textiles tour of Scotland by folding bicycle has a new publication, about a 57-year-old (sorry Janet) woman’s decision to leave her home in Ayrshire and take a grand tour of Scotland on a Brompton folding bicycle, visiting and giving workshops for textile groups along the way. Read more

Beautiful, meditative video on the art of oak swill basket weaving

Owen Jones of | 14-Jul-2016 | 0

We were approached by a young film maker who has produced a video of Owen Jones at work – no interview, no music, just an almost hypnotic and definitely meditative study of Owen using traditional tools and natural materials to make beautiful things. Read more

A brief history of philosophy, part 9: Enlightenment

Dave Darby of | 12-Jul-2016 | 0

The Enlightenment was a time of great political as well as philosophical change. Much was written about how society should be organised. Locke’s vision of a society that protects and promotes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was cemented in the US Declaration of Independence, and the culmination of the Enlightenment – the French… Continue reading A brief history of philosophy, part 9: Enlightenment Read more

Why do organic farmers have to pay for certification rather than farmers who use toxic chemicals?

It’s always more expensive to do the right thing isn’t it? Like taking the train instead of driving or flying, or buying recycled products, organic food or natural building materials. If you want to do the environmentally-friendly or socially-just thing, it’s going to cost you more money. That can’t be right, can it? Read more

Here’s how to get your electricity from a new co-operative with medium-sized wind turbines on farms

Jon Halle of Sharenergy | 08-Jul-2016 | 13

The Small Wind Co-op is a new co-operative, putting up three wind turbines on farms in Scotland and Wales. Anyone from anywhere in the UK can join – we’re offering good returns of 4.5% to 6.5% and even the opportunity to use the electricity generated in your own home. Read more

A brief history of philosophy, part 8: empiricism vs. rationalism

Dave Darby of | 06-Jul-2016 | 0

The 17th century saw the beginnings of one of the most important epistemological debates in the history of philosophy, that ran well into the 18th – between empiricists and rationalists. Read more

Moving forward without the EU: clouds & silver linings

Dave Darby of | 04-Jul-2016 | 2

I think we all have stories about mad conversations we’ve had about Brexit since the referendum (or is it just me?). I was called a racist, for example, for suggesting that the UK is nowhere near the top of the league of ‘most xenophobic countries’, and I’ve been amazed by the vitriol this has stirred… Continue reading Moving forward without the EU: clouds & silver linings Read more

How can we get our clothes from sustainable and non-corporate sources?

This is an interview with Jessica Smulders-Cohen of Greater London Fibreshed, who are trying to build a network of small-scale clothes manufacturers using natural materials produced in the UK. Read more

Nature in July – what to look out for

The ponds in the garden have been rather disappointing so far this year in terms of the numbers of dragonflies we have seen. There have been very few individuals of only a small handful of the larger species – nothing like the usual numbers that we see at this time of year. Read more

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