Monday, 14 July 2008

Save the bees!

After watching an item on Countryfile the other week on the plight of the bees did it drive home the importance of the bees. Not only do bees produce honey but they also are very important to our food supply. Did you know that 40% of our food supply relies on bees? All the orchards and fruit farms are reliant on bees pollinating their flowers. They also have an important environmental role, being responsible for pollinating wild plants which produce seeds and fruits on which birds and wild animals depend.

Einstein said that if the bee died out, that it would only be 4 years until human civilisation would end.

Now the bee population in America are reducing because they are being attacked by colony collapse disorder and this may emerge in the UK. New exotic threats such as the small hive beetle are expected in the UK anytime. In the UK the populations are reducing but nobody understands why? The UK doesn’t know enough about bee disease control and the medicines that are available are inadequate.

In the UK there is virtually no wild honey bees left due to the effects of the parasitic varoa mite and the viruses it carries, and for which to date, there is no cure.

What can you do about it?

* Sign the bee keepers associations petition at
* Make your garden bee friendly by planting flowers that they prefer.
* Make or buy a bee house
* Take up bee keeping, see for advice


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Longbridge to Frankley rail

It is not easy being an optimist and believing we do not have to have conflict and environmental damage. Those who come up with ideas are the ones placed in the sights of the ‘sharpshooters for inaction’.

We are all humans and together we exist at the expense of something else. There are a lot of us, we are organised, we are needy, we are intelligent. As we grow richer, we seem to grow less intelligent and drive expensive miles to save pence at an air conditioned supermarket. We then get home and find not all the food can be stored before it goes bad and has to be thrown away. You notice the use of the word ‘we’ as though there is a standard person and a standard solution. There is not a standard anything as here in Birmingham, we have choice.

Here’s an environmental and transport choice:
You are one of an existing population in a city and it is decided that people need to be able to travel within that city and further afield. A substantial proportion of the adults (and of course all the children) through circumstances or choice, have no car. It is just as well all these people do not each have a car as the residential streets are full and car parking at city centres is expensive to provide (and rather spoils the place).

So, there are feet, cycles, buses, and trains. The buses struggle as they squirm between parked cars in housing estates and travel quickly or slowly, dependent on the time of day, along the major roads.

So what to do ? If you build a railway to run trains, the construction and the operation is not without environmental consequence. Railway maintenance uses weedkiller.
The trouble is, there’s now a practical example in Birmingham where a closed railway long earmarked for reopening, Longbridge to Frankley, beyond Rubery Lane to Frankley, runs through a nature reserve. Should you give up on the people of Frankley, maybe boarding up the houses and moving the folk away? Who decides on the balance between nature, that brings joy to lives, and the quarrying to produce parking for the car growth resulting from the lack of trains. Put on the trains, less wildlife at the railway line, but less destruction and more wildlife elsewhere.

In this Frankley case, you only get to express a view if you respond to planning application S/01814/08/FUL. You can express your view here:

Your thoughts?

John Davison