July 2008
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The PM on the Post Oil Energy Economy

The PM on the Post Oil Energy Economy

On 13 th July Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, made an important environmental speech which was little-reported in the UK press, except the part about building new nuclear power stations. Addressing an organisation called the Union for the Mediterranean, which consists of EU and Mediterranean states, Brown outlined a post-oil energy economy for the future.

He said:

“We must now leave behind the old wasteful, oil dependent ways of yesterday and embrace the new cleaner and sustainable energy future of tomorrow. The increases in oil and food prices we have seen over recent months are causing hardship to families and businesses in Britain and throughout Europe. They threaten economic instability and their production is environmentally not sustainable.

The years of cheap energy and careless pollution are behind us. We need a new strategy. Past total dependence on oil must give way to a clean energy future.”

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Government Launches £50 Billion Renewable Strategy

Government Launches £50 Billion Renewable Strategy

Photo: Solar Panels by Kevin Thoule

The good news is that the government has launched its £50 billion renewable strategy. The bad news is it's another consultation. It aims to boost UK renewables to meet the EU target of 20% by 2020.

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Remineralise Your Soil – Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Remineralise Your Soil – Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Photo: www.remineralize.org

Every gardener knows that growing plants take nutrients out of the soil. There are many methods to return the goodness, from the short term fix of chemical fertilisers, through organic enhancers such as seaweed meal or manure, to nitrogen-fixing plants, and many others.

A new idea has slid quietly onto the scene: soil remineralisation . This term means the addition of fresh minerals to depleted soil using “rockdust” or “mineral fines” – the tailings of quarries, which are normally regarded as waste material. This is rather like a person taking a vitamin or mineral tablet to restore their health. Soils which have minerals added create richer, tastier crops, prevent soil erosion, increase pest and disease resistance, and provide an environment for the micro-organisms that enrich the soil to multiply.

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Businessweek reveals Saudis have nearly reached Peak Oil

Businessweek reveals Saudis have nearly reached Peak Oil

Photo: Oil Pipelines in Saudi Arabia by Saudi Aramco

A remarkable document has been leaked to US magazine Businessweek this month. In it “a person with access to Saudi oil officials” reveals that Saudi Arabia will have reached the peak of its oil production by 2013. Peak Oil is when around half of an oil field's production has been reached – all the easy to extract oil has been sucked out – and the lower grade, harder, more expensive oil is left. The oil has not run out, but the good days are over.

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Mayor scraps £25 Congestion Charge for Gas Guzzlers

Mayor scraps £25 Congestion Charge for Gas Guzzlers

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has scrapped the CO2 Charge, which would have charged owners of large family cars £25 a day to drive in the Central London Congestion Charge zone, a large increase from the £8 they pay currently. This means there will be no increase in charge for drivers of Band G vehicles from October 2008. The Band A and B discount, which would give free entry to the zone for low or zero-emission vehicles has also been stopped.

The discount for alternative fuel vehicles will remain in place and the existing Congestion Charge scheme will not be affected.

The London Low Emission Zone, which seeks to reduce harmful emissions from the largest diesel-engined vehicles like lorries, buses and coaches, is also unaffected.

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Radiator Booster™

Cut your heating bills and make your home warmer (as seen on Dragon's Den)

Radiator Booster™

Radiator Booster™ is an innovative, brand new and eco friendly product that uses small fans to capture the heat that comes out the back of your radiator, circulating it better into your room. It will heat your room faster, save lost energy, and reduce your heating bills.

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The Age of Stupid - Climate Change Film

The Age of Stupid - Climate Change Film

Forthcoming Climate Change film, The Age of Stupid, is a drama-documentary, ostensibly set in the future of 2055, which shows five human stories weaving themselves around all sides of this complicated issue.

It features fine actor Pete Postlethwaite as a future archivist looking back on footage taken in our times, showing the problems we have created for ourselves. He asks why we let climate change destroy us, when the evidence was all around for us to see.

The Age Of Stupid is a “crowd-funded” film. The first £250K came from donations and selling "shares" to ordinary people in 2005. The organisers are expecting that the film will be released in the UK in October 2008. It has already been shown at Sundance and other festivals. It took four years to make and is directed by Franny Armstrong, who made McLibel , about the McLibel case where McDonalds took two activists to court for libel and produced by the Oscar-winning John Battsek of One Day In September

Website: The Age of Stupid

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Top Tips for Remineralising your soil

Soil Remineralisation is a simple process that can be easily achieved by anyone, from the balcony urban gardener, to the full-scale farmer.

Firstly locate a source of rock dust, like the SEER Centre.  

Throughout the industrialized world the aggregate industry stockpiles rock dust as a byproduct (within the industry it is known as “rock dust,” “rock flour,” “minus #200 mesh” or  “float“).  The nearest gravel pit is the best place to ask first.  Not only is this waste material readily available but it is very affordable.  

Apply this very fine rock dust on top of the soil area that you want to remineralise. 

On a small scale it can be applied by hand while commercially it can be applied with orchard sprayers. 

Either way it is helpful if the rock dust is dry so that it takes on a powdery consistency (avoid breathing the dust, preferably wear a mask).   In most cases this fine powder can be distributed using a lime spreader or a shovel. It can be applied liberally wherever there is plant life in your garden. 

Since rock dust releases its minerals and elements slowly and because it is not a fertiliser there is no risk of over-application.

You might want to check the soil acidity before and after application - SR routinely counters soil acidity.

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Fruit Tree Grafting - A half-day course
August 9th, 2008

Venue: Stanmer Park, Brighton, East Sussex

Learn how to propagate fruit trees by grafting on this half-day practical course.

Contact Details:
brightonpermaculture.co.uk

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Editor: Julian Jackson www.julianjackson.co.uk