Quick Links 24th May 2016 (With A New Look)!

Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read or just sparked my interest in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.

This week I’m going to try something a little new, and give a little background to why I’ve included the link, and maybe cover some of the other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. A bit more newsletter style than just a list of links for you to click. (I’d appreciate any feedback, good or bad)!

My garden birdlist has reached a new record of 25 species in a year, I suspect that this is because I’m around more during the day than I have been before and therefore see more, particularly as my “office” looks out over the garden, something I have yet to see though is this new arrival to UK shores (assuming it’s not one that’s escaped from it’s falconer) Spectacular bearded vulture spotted for first time in UK [The Guardian].

I posted a couple of videos by Dave Goulson last week, he’s written a couple of books [Amazon link], but he’s made me much more aware of the plight of bees and other insects. I’m not sure though whether we have a problem with hive thefts in the UK, like the ones reported here Sticky fingers: The rise of the bee thieves [The Guardian]. Dave Goulson has also posted another video this week:

I regularly read “The Last Word on Nothing” website, this post, Environmentalism Lost set me thinking though about whether it really is too late to save our planet though. I damn if I’m going to stop trying in my own way though. Although I’m not going to get started on what I really think about politicians and governments that just don’t give a 5h1t and aren’t prepared to lead, even where that might mean doing the right thing for everyone.

I also like this list on Michelle Cushatt’s website. There’s no rocket science involved in some of the things you can do to help someone who really needs it, but sometimes it helps to have a few ideas!

I’m not particularly in favour of nuclear power, but I’ve posted quite a few links in the past about the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. I’ve even questioned whether it would go ahead if the UK votes to leave the EU. So interesting to read that President Hollande of France is all for it! Although I wonder if he sees it as a way of getting energy without having to build a new plant in France (via the UK-France inter-connector)? It works both ways after all! Also interesting to see that there is now a rival bid to build a plant in Wales [The Guardian].

2015-05-23 07.41.102015-05-23 07.38.43It’s the time of year when I see carpets of Wych Elm leaves and their “fruits” lying on the path in the woods. This reminds me of the loss of our English Elms from the 1970’s to 1990’s – the two are different species and although the Wych elm can be infected by Dutch Elm disease it is a little resistant, and the trees in the woods where I walk are quite young.

That said we are seeing many different pest species spreading, including new infections to other species, such as Ash die back, but I was disappointed to read [The Guardian] that pest eradication is being cited as a reason to clear fell in Europe’s last primeval forest, Białowieża. There’s something that doesn’t quite ring true, it almost seeming like an excuse to make money (£124m) from an environmental issue. If a targeted felling was being proposed, i.e. only those species infected or vulnerable, whilst still regrettable it would make more sense. This may after all be the only way to tackle Ash die back in the UK, but clear felling and removing all trees is just plain wrong, and hints at corruption.

I’ve just come in from the potting shed and have filled the last two troughs out there with soil, and planted some more sweet pepper plants and tomato plants, and then on looking through my emails I saw this guide [Gardeners World] on how to look after your tomatoes.

I post The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures [The Guardian] every week. It is one of my weekly highlights and there are always some amazing pictures. I don’t think it really needs much more of an introduction or explanation than that.

I sometimes feel like I have a target painted on my back, as I frequently find myself on the receiving end of bird poo – looks like I’m not the only unlucky one [Last Word on Nothing Blog].

Usually have an egg for breakfast? Check out this one that one of my friends David’s hens laid. Enough for breakfast and lunch.

I hope you liked this new version of Quick Links – if you have any feedback for me, either good or bad, then do please leave me a comment. Thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Quick Links 24th May 2016 (With A New Look)!

  1. Hello, Alan and Ann. Thanks for the link! I’m honoured to have made it into your Weekly Quick Links entry this week. The new format looks great and I really like the added commentary. Nice work! I hope you don’t find this to be too much work to keep up, because I really enjoy reading your thoughts about the links/articles that you’re sharing.


    1. Thanks David, I’m glad you like the new look, and I just had to include that egg video. I probably will keep up the new style, it didn’t feel like a lot of extra work, as generally it evolves over the week anyway and I add to the post during the week, rather than sit and write it in one go anyway. Thanks for reading it and for commenting.

  2. I was reading the article about “Environmentalism Lost” and thought I’d share my view on the subject. I think that relying on government or other institutions/organizations to force society to live a certain way (especially through taxation or other methods of penalizing its citizens) is the wrong approach. This approach always brings with it feelings of contempt, anger and ultimately resistance.
    The only way I see of making a positive and long lasting impression that can truly change the way people live, and ultimately changing the world, is to live by example. Say what you do and do what you say.
    Look at how you and I (and our spouses) are living right now. We may not be perfect, but talk about making a positive change to our little corners of the world! And with our blogs and YouTube channels, if we can even get one other family or household to think about becoming a little more self sufficient, I think we’ve done a wonderful service to the planet and (because of my spirituality and beliefs) God’s creation. Because we’ve done so without forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to do, but rather show them how we’re doing it, I think a change like that will have a much better chance of being a permanent one.
    Of course, this is something completely opposite to the way our government representatives function, as they do not lead by example, but by subjugation. There’s rules for us, but completely different rules for them. And this is why I think the environmentalists lost.
    Good article, though.

    1. Hi David, Yes I agree that living by example is the best way to inspire change in others and is certainly how I will continue to try and lead change in my own way. I’m not sure that it will be enough though, and there are examples of where legislation can have a positive influence. About thirty years ago in the UK the government changed the law to force everyone to wear seatbelts in cars. At the time there was a lot of complaining about how this was forcing people to change. It did however massively cut the number of fatalities and serious injuries in road accidents, and now the vast majority think nothing of wearing their seatbelt. I know it’s a very different example, but done in the right way it can have a positive impact. I don’t however think my current government will ever be able to achieve a similar step change in environmental thinking. The PM once promised that his would be “the greenest government ever”, he’s wholly failed in that ambition, and I don’t think it was ever more than spin in the first place. It does dishearten me to think that they’re not in it for the long term but it won’t stop me from leading by example even if they won’t and have no intention to. You’re right I’m not perfect, but that gives me room to improve!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Alan

      1. Very good points, Alan. When legislation is done right, I agree with you that it can work well.
        But too many times we get forced into legislation that is meant only benefit a small group, and not the general public. Like here, in Canada, you’re allowed to buy cigarettes and alcohol, yet it’s against the law to sell raw milk. So, unless I own a cow or goat, I can’t legally buy raw milk, but am allowed to give myself lung cancer or pickle my liver. Doesn’t make sense, at least to me. And now our government is putting through a law to make doctor assisted suicide legal and easy to obtain. So, I’ll be able to legally kill myself, but still not drink raw milk. But, I digress.
        I think that if those in the public eye (government officials, sports celebrities, television personalities, big business owners, etc) would just follow your lead, it wouldn’t take much to get the rest of society on track, without having to institute legislation. Instead of convincing people that they need the latest and greatest smartphone, gaming system, or athletic shoe, they just need to convince them that growing a tomato plant on their balcony is a wonderful experience.
        But, what do I know? We gave up our T.V. several years ago, now. So, we’re a little dis-connected out here, on the prairie. ;o)

      2. I don’t think it’s you who’s disconnected David but those you list in the public eye, they perhaps see “leadership” as popularity. But then I’m not really in that public eye myself.

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