Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Positive Money is coming to the City of the Future

I am keen for people to grasp what Positive Money is saying; i.e. that banks create almost all of our nation's money supply and that it is a big problem.

Most people seem to think that the government creates our money and that we all deal in it for the things we need for our daily lives. Unfortunately, this is not so.

Almost all the money in circulation apart from the tiny amount that is bank notes and coins is money created by commercial banks when they issue loans. This makes banks the owners of almost all our money and they get to decide where it goes in the economy. They put it into raising the price of houses which hurts people.

Instead, new money should be created in measured amounts, that won't cause inflation, by the Bank of England, as an asset of the nation. Then the Bank of England (I personally think) should give it to the elected government who should spend it on things that help us run a lively export economy and earn our living in the world by doing stuff that actually makes the world better for people; i.e. infrastructure, university and technical education, science, research, product development and power generation research etc.

It is a crucial change that could actually take place to take the power to create money from the banks and give it to public authority i.e. the Bank of England. Then we'd stand a chance of getting on our feet as a nation and having a good influence on the world. There would be good satisfying jobs and a point to getting a good education so as to be useful players in such a great and honourable endeavour.

I'm really glad that Birmingham Friends of the Earth are putting on the "City of the Future" event where ideas like this can be discussed and there will be plenty more on this at our stall on 20th March at the Council House in Birmingham. See you there.

Dick Rogers

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Goodbye to an amazing volunteer

Maureen Kirkbright has been volunteering here for over 5 years, but today, sadly, was her last day, as she decided to retire from her role as membership secretary.

She'll be very much missed for her sterling work making sure our financial supporters are kept up to date with what we're doing and making sure they are reminded to send us money when needed.

She was a real pleasure to have around the office and we were very lucky to be one of the charities she chose to give her time to. A genuinely warm-hearted woman, you could always rely on her to turn up smiling no matter how dull the tasks she had to perform were.

Every charity like ours depends on people like Maureen and we hope that she will be back soon to help us celebrate 35 years in our building, The Warehouse, on April 1st along with a lot of the other volunteers who've helped make those 35 years so successful.

Here's to amazing volunteers everywhere - thank you for the last 5 years, Maureen!

If you'd like to sign up as a member, you can do so here and we'll have a new volunteer to process your details soon.

Friday, 24 February 2012

weekly news compilation 24.02.2012

Here's our weekly round up from the world of twitter of what's been in the news:

Moss Brook Growers: is there a Birmingham counterpart? nice story of cooperative organic food growers to replicate.
Seed Event Sat 3 March at Martineau Gardens: - grow something new this year.
RT @pauldezylva: "If our pollinating insects disappear most of our favourite foods will too" #Bees #Butterflies, Blooms

Energy & Climate Change
RT @sarcasmcat: Guarantee our profits or the lights go out, warns #Centrica boss as he holds nation to ransom #bigsix
RT @GreenLibDems: Lucy Lawless—a.k.a Xena the Warrior Princess—Occupies a Shell Oil Drilling Ship
New blog post by Sara on coming to meet an MP with us today to talk #finaldemand with @shabanaMahmood
UK urged to support tar sands ban:
MT @CraigBennett3: British Gas £500m profits, call on Govt to "slow down" free insulation 4 poorest households: #bigsix
British Gas bosses reap rich rewards for failure: #finaldemand #ripoff #energy #bigsix
@RichardBurdenMP Will you support EDM number 2730 to End the Big Six Energy Fix?
RT @leohickman: UK gas demand in 2011 at lowest level since 1995 due to mild weather, says DECC
Energy Act could make Birmingham buildings 'virtually unlettable': - need to get them up to standard urgently. RT @DECCgovuk: Edward Davey welcomes Ofgem proposals for reform of energy market, - Is there going to be progress?

Problem with #saveislandhouse - Quintain sold plot with outline planning permission for hotel, 106 not enforceable?
RT @digbeth: New DiG blog post, Connaught Square Site Sold - - keep fingers crossed 4 good developer #notquintain
Latest from @birminghampost on attempts to #saveislandhouse - seems increasingly unlikely to succeed: #greedydevelopers
RT @getgood: #saveislandhouse RT @digbeth: Worrying developments for those looking to Save Island House -
See you there: RT @BhamEnvironment: Sustainability Forum on draft planning document 'Places for the Future' on 12/3/12:
RT @BhamEnvironment: Bham's draft planning document 'Places for the Future' out for public consultation until 22/3/12:

RT @birminghampost: Washwood Heath sites could be blighted for 20 years if set aside for #HS2 depot, claims cllr RT @bengoldacre: Cameron backs the Times #cyclesafe campaign, great stuff - Whitby? Bham Post sticking up for cars!
Poor car drivers seem to need sticking up for in Birmingham. Could have fooled us: #waroncyclists #allmoneygoesonroads
RT @london_cycling: Ian Austin MP - spend per person on cycling - Netherlands £20, London £5, rest of UK 79p. #cyclesafe
RT @birminghampost: Give Midlands fair share of transport cash, demand MPs & let's have local rail & bus rapid transit
RT @walkitcom: Still Walking - Birmingham festival of walking 15th March - 1st April 2012:
Traffic chaos after six vehicles crash at Swan Island, Sheldon: - seems to have been a lot since the new Tesco opened!
Half of people in UK fear our #roads are unsafe for #cycling: - We thought it was more than that in #Birmingham.
Waste & Resource Use
MT @ProfTimLang: fossil fuel use by world agriculture grew 50x in last 60 years. Wholly unsustainable: Cornerhouse p20 New blog post: Ethical Shopping - Hard on the High Street?
RT @poshbirdlikeyou: Firms urged to save #water SE #drought declared - @wwwfoecouk; stop ignoring problem (& solutions)

"Let’s ban toilet paper" - not sure we can see that campaign taking off. Really should be made from recycled paper.
Nectar trial in Birmingham ‘a great success’: - strangely it doesn't say how much #recycling has gone up by.
Sharp rise in waste-fed Anaerobic Digestion plants in UK: how long until Bham has some @EBRI_UK?

RT @FinanceBham: Birmingham City Council 1st local authority to take an equity stake in a business - interesting move.
Approaching a quarter of the places gone for our "City of the Future" event. Don't miss out, register now:
RT @TheBrummie: Events: Volunteer at TheOldPrintWorks, Moseley
Who you gonna call? #growthbusters
Interesting and thoughtful piece; "Do we have time to shift values?" from the common cause project.

Visiting Summerfield Eco Village with Shabana Mahmood

Today, as part of my year volunteering with Friends of the Earth, I had the opportunity of attending a meeting with MP Shabana Mahmood. Members of Birmingham Friends of the Earth, representatives of New World Solar and Family Housing Association, and local residents met at Memorial Hall on Summerfield Crescent to inform Shabana about Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign and encourage her to support us.
 The campaign calls on the Government to help fix our broken energy system. We are urging David Cameron to launch a public inquiry into the power and influence of the big six energy companies that provide us with 99% of our household energy. We also want the Government to stop axing support for smaller, clean energy companies and community energy projects.

It was great to be able to experience the eco-village of Summerfield first hand and see the innovative energy saving processes that have been installed in the parish office. Examples of these were the light wells that let daylight in through the roof and work as well as electric lights (and look even nicer). Around the walls were displays of the types of insulation used in the walls, including sheep wool. The effects of this were clear immediately on entering the invitingly warm building.
The meeting opened with a brief history of the Summerfield area from local resident Chris Vaughan, who explained that the idea for the parish eco office developed as part of the regeneration of Summerfield, and was unanimously pushed forward by those involved in the project. Chris believes that the renovation of Summerfield is a main factor in making the area a desirable place to live.

Kara Moses and Joe Peacock (Birmingham Friends of the Earth) introduced the Final Demand campaign. Kara talked about the power of the big six, the public’s outrage at the rocketing prices despite a fall in gas prices and the enormous profits of the energy companies despite a fall in sales. Joe spoke about the cuts in Feed in Tariffs and the unstable future of the solar industry that has come about as a result of the Government’s decisions.

Overall, Shabana seemed positive and enthusiastic about a greener future for the West Midlands. She understood the need to start a green revolution, and was aware that the West Midlands is the most fuel poor region in the UK. She expressed particular interest in New World Solar, asking director Mark Clemson for a history and briefing of the company.
Shabana agreed to take away the joint statement for further discussion, and those who attended the meeting had a photo taken outside the parish office.
Sara Linton

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ethical Shopping - Hard on the High Street?

On Monday, we held a discussion meeting on ethical shopping and where we draw the line when it comes to choosing what we buy.

The consensus was that it's very hard to find fair trade/organic lines for a lot of the clothes people need for everyday wear. You can go on ethical consumer to check out a lot of the retailers and some producers, but still there's very little information for most people to make an informed choice about how the products they buy are made.

Most people would not buy things if they knew that children suffered as a result, but ignorance removes their ability to make that choice and people like to think that reasonable behaviour is adopted by most businesses (even when it is not the case).

Emma, who was leading the meeting, has posted round this list of websites where you can buy new clothes online from ethical producers:

Annie Greenabelle
Ethics Girls
Chinti and Parker
Nancy Dee
Men & Women  
Environmental Justice Foundation
Wear Chemistry
Frank & Faith
Pants to Poverty
people tree
Monkee Jeans
Hot Pot Eco Clothing
Shoes & Accessories  
Bourgeois Boheme
Katcha Bilek
beyond skin
Simple Shoes

Of course, we also have to think about second hand instead of new as being a good solution environmentally and also supporting local businesses which may not be branded fair trade, but don't exploit workers and have traceable supply chains.

There is a lot of greenwash about, but we need to make sure the bad practices are stopped in the longer term to protect people and the environment - voting with your wallet is a good way to start.

Joe Peacock

Friday, 17 February 2012

weekly compilation 17.02.2012

This week's most important stories (that we've seen) are listed below:

@BumblebeeTrust: Heading to the garden centre this weekend? Don't forget to get plants good for #bees. Check our list"
MT @TheNatureCentre: Celebrate Edgbaston Reservoir becoming Local Nature Reserve. Special event Sat 10-3 tel: 675 3278
Court finds Monsanto guilty of poisoning: #GM #pesticides

Energy & Climate Change
Are you a bit confused about what's happening with Feed-in-Tariffs. Here's a DECC FAQs page that may be of help:
MT @AirportWatch: Interesting website showing changes in oil price by day, 5 days, month, year, 3 years, 5 years:
Great video by @ecotricity saying goodbye to cooling towers and hello to wind turbines:
RT @wwwfoecouk: EDF profits from sky-high energy bills: Energy company EDF's 2011 profits jumped due to high…
MT @RichardBurdenMP: Useful meeting with @Bham_FOE & @northfieldeco this am on issues raised in #FinalDemand Campaign:
RT @wwwfoecouk: Why has Cameron signed up to expensive new UK #nuclear plants we don't need? #energy
EDF comes under fire for jump in profits: by @graeme_brown for @birminghampost

EDF Under Fire For Stitching Up Consumers – Local Group Seeks Help From @RichardBurdenMP - press release:
Wow, that's quite a leap! RT @grist: Sales of solar panels for Japanese homes are up 30.7% in 2011
RT @BCABS5: We're referring #fuelpoverty clients to Brum's #staywarmstaywell scheme. Freephone 0800 0337967 to access free support & advice
"the big energy companies in the UK have come through another year with big profits" & fuel poverty rises: #finaldemand
Average Arctic temperatures in 2011 were 2.28 degrees above those recorded 1951-1980 - concern now over tipping points:
"If you like your hypocrisy sandwiches served with a side order of double standards": #deniergate @leohickman
On Tuesday, public meeting to discuss biofuels and biomass "Burning Crops and Breaking Rocks 7.00pm, council house:
RT @wwwfoecouk: Good news: Co-op cuts emissions by 35% & saves £40m per year #supermarkets #climatechange #economy
Call to embrace community energy:
New blog post by Kara Moses on the Birmingham Energy Savers New Deal consultation last week:

This is what @quintainplc thinks of Birmingham's heritage and legal section 106 agreements with the planning cttee:
RT @digbeth: John Bull and John Hemming MP demonstrate their love for Island House - #saveislandhouse
RT @ReStirredForum: See Re~Stirred Forum re: Connaught Square or Digbeth Park ?
On the day of the Digbeth Summit, here's some good news; awful Connaught Square plans dropped - let's have a park :-)

Great letter in the @birminghampost today by Rob Sutton about Island House. We'll post a link when it's online #saveislandhouse
Land use in a rebalanced Birmingham economy: a kindred concern:
Glad @theneweconomics responded to this rubbish by Sainsbury's about killling off the high street:

MT @StopCityAirport: A farmer in Java needs to pick seeds for 18 days for one person to fly from Frankfurt to Hamburg:
New report out on the damaging impacts of aviation biofuels - only solution is to cut the number of flights taken:
Air pollution linked to heart attack risk - so can we do something about it in Brum, please:
MT @sionsimon: (20mph) on suburban streets has always been my inclination. A bigger change would be if 30 limits were actually enforced.
RT @PostBusiness: David Bailey Blog: Electric car era off to a slow start - not very surprising in a recession.

Waste & Resource Use
RT @KarenCannard: Comedian Mark Thomas tells shoppers to take action on 'bloody packaging'

What can an elected Mayor do for a city and region? What does it mean for city democracy? debate (via @Dan_Bridgewater)
Excellent, a rush of people signing up for our city of the future sustainable economics event. Book your place now:
RT @beaubodor: I believe the Government is rebranding Job Seekers Allowance as 'Tesco Value Wages' #supermarkets
Why profit-led growth is a myth: - more interested in such stories ahead of our economics event:
Investors call on European Central Bank to address “carbon bubble” risk:
Seconded: MT @jonwalker121 Congrats @podnosh, #brumbloggers & other vols on Big Society award 4 Social Media Surgeries
RT @pauldezylva: David Miliband MP says the #GreenestGovtEver is not "even pretending to greenwash anymore."
Ever wondered why economic growth is a threat to the environment and to economic sustainability? Answers here:
Julia Slay of @theneweconomics has been looking at effects of austerity measures in Bham: - she'll also be speaking.
Know what a steady state economy is and why it is desirable? We'll have a speaker talking about it on 20th March:

Monday, 13 February 2012

Birmingham Energy Savers consultation

As part of my work as a BFOE volunteer working on the Final Demand campaign, this week I attended a consultation event on delivering the Green Deal in Birmingham, organised by the pioneering Birmingham Energy Savers project. 

In a nutshell, the Green Deal is a new government initiative aimed at reducing people’s energy use, thereby reducing their carbon emissions and alleviating fuel poverty, as well as creating jobs, in one fell swoop.

Through the scheme, people are able to improve the energy efficiency of their homes without having to pay for the costs upfront. Loft- and cavity-wall-insulation and efficient boilers are among the measures that can be taken to reduce energy wastage in the home, which of course reduces energy use. The work is paid for through people’s fuel bills, but with the ‘Golden Rule’ of the Green Deal – that the cost of the retrofit will not be more than the savings made on the bills – a net saving is still made.

Birmingham is the first local authority to be offering the Green Deal. Birmingham Energy Savers (BES) is a city council initiative which offers solar pv installations and energy advice to the people of Birmingham, aiming to reduce the city’s carbon emissions and create local jobs. Amazingly, it is the second largest refurbishment programme in the world!

BES is currently gearing up to start delivering the Green Deal later in the year when it goes live. Already they have conducted pilot tests and been finding partners to work with. Right now they are hammering out the finer details of how the real deal will work – and that is why they organised the consultation event that I went to.

The event was attended by a varied bunch, including housing associations, energy companies, consultants, contractors, renewable energy companies, councillors, business people – and BFOE!

We started with a presentation explaining the project and some of the potential problems it may face – such as the numerous very old properties that don’t meet the required standards. For example, some Victorian houses only have one wall layer, so can’t have cavity wall insulation (as they have no cavity!). I was pleased to hear that extra subsidies may be available for these houses.

We then broke out into three focus groups. BES asked us all for our input on three areas, to feed it into their continuing development of the project. Firstly my group focused on behaviour change – why it’s important, what can be changed and what resources are needed. With a representative of a housing association in our group, we spent some time discussed potential problems of offering the deal to social housing tenants, in particular people questioning why they have to pay for the work themselves – should the housing association not provide them with energy efficient homes in the first place? 

We all acknowledged the need to maintain a dialogue with ‘customers’, providing ongoing support rather than simply going in, doing the work, and then disappearing. This could be done with six-month follow-up consultations. With the installation of solar pv panels that provide free electricity, there is a danger that some people may actually become more frivolous with how they use that electricity. Smart meters – which allow people to clearly see how much energy they are using – may be a good way to engage people with how much energy they are actually using and encourage them to be more careful with it.

Our group then moved on to discuss customer satisfaction. Having work done on your house can be extremely disruptive, and if a house is having a full retrofit the tenant may have to move out of it while the work is being done, so ensuring minimal disruption is a high priority for ensuring customer satisfaction. We suggested that complimentary services such as free storage space may help to make the process smoother.

We agreed that the energy advisor making the initial contact will need to be multiskilled to put the customer at ease, explain the technical details but not present the work as a ‘sale’, as this may be off-putting for some people and even arouse suspicion of the scheme. A national website and hotline will be provided for people to follow up on the initial visit and confirm the project as bona fide and not a scam.

Finally we discussed awareness-raising and engagement. We built upon the previous discussion of potential suspicion, and agreed that clear endorsement by Birmingham City Council and/or central government was required to put people’s minds at ease that the project is for real

I raised the point that in communicating with people about the scheme, the environmental message needs to be as strong as the financial one. For many people it will be the financial incentive that attracts them, but the reason the deal exists is to reduce carbon emissions and that message should not be lost. If it is then a precious opportunity to raise awareness of the direct links between day-to-day behaviour and climate change would be lost. Some people will also be attracted by the environmental incentive too, so there is a need to understand people’s drivers.

I found the consultation interesting and informative, and it was great to be representing BFOE ‘out there’. It felt like a responsibility and a privilege to be championing the green perspective and engaging with people with very different perspectives, such as business, housing and even energy (I was sat next to a man from one of the big six energy companies, who we are currently campaigning against with our Final Demand campaign!). This was both challenging and enjoyable, and felt very necessary.
Kara Moses

Friday, 10 February 2012

weekly compilation 10.02.2012

Here's a summary of what's been in the news across our main campaign areas over the last week:

Bees Butterflies & Blooms on iPlayer great programme explaining why we want to get Britain Buzzing!
The Badger Trust prepares legal challenge on #Badger cull. #Wildlife #Science
Are tuna + mackerel stocks close to collapse? #fish #marine #biodiversity #business #EcosystemServices @ProBiodiversity

"If, God forbid, there were no pollinators it would cost economy £400m pa to substitute for that." #bees #Rioplus20
George #Osborne is wrong in saying protecting our environment is a burden. #Wildlife and #Countryside Link shows why:

Energy & Climate Change
Well, that's nice of them! Only1/3: RT @IVSolarUK: DECC predicts a third of UK solar workers will lose their jobs:
Response by @wwwfoecouk to Government announcement on plans to reform solar subsidies:
World's biggest wind farm opens, but it's just a drop in the ocean:
RT @powellds: DECC proposal is that tariff rates will fall by ANOTHER 25% - from 21p - as soon as July 2012
RT @wwwfoecouk: Ed Davey speech on energy efficiency - Friends of the Earth reaction: New Energy Secretary…
RT @Good_Energy: BBC #Panorama accepts it should have been clearer that it's gas prices that are pushing up fuel bills
RT @FOE_Scotland: Every windfarm mapped - and the MPs who hate them | News |
Oil man is new chairman of Carbon Trust - really? How does that work to build trust?
RT @Martin_Abrams: Why Tory MPs opposition to wind power will put your energy bill up: #Wind #Energy #Climate

RT @getgood: Set of pics of Island House covered in plastic today #saveislandhouse
RT @BCCNewsRoom: Consultation on #green guidance for development in Birmingham: #brum #localgov #planning
RT @LocaliseWM: Birmingham City Council - a poor landlord for the Wholesale Markets #supportourmarkets
RT @jonwalker121: Mayoral hopeful Sion Simon on his campaign to protect Birmingham's wholesale markets >His campaign?
£1 million Government funding announced for 'Portas Pilots': our article on Portas review:

RT @AirportWatch: Planes & pollution: Trouble in the air, double on the ground | The Economist
RT @AirportWatch: UK carbon emissions up 3.1% in 2010 compared to 2009. Aviation 6.4% of UK total in 2010.
RT @BBCPolitics: The Times cycling campaign in Commons debate in fortnight. Peers have already debated safety options:
Don't agree with this at all - re-open stations: RT @the_ecologist: Why closure of lines is vastly preferable to #HS2:
Airport is "morbidly obese gourmand giving up a weekly tube of Smarties & pretending this will help him lose weight."
Rebel Tory alliance to mount legal challenge to £34bn high-speed rail scheme:
RT @ModeRange: I just asked my councillor to take action on icy, slippery streets via @livingstreets

Waste & Resource Use
Designing out waste is not only at the core of a circular economy but crucial in society's transition towards it:
Terrapins thrown in rubbish are rescued from waste plant: - good job it wasn't an incinerator - would've had no chance!
RT @James_BG: So has Pickles u-turned on bin collections or was it always going to be more progressive than it sounded?

For people who want to be kept informed about our "City of the Future" public debate, sign up on facebook:
MT @LocaliseWM: Call for up to £70bn Green Quantitative Easing to stabilise flagging UK economy: Agree
MT @escapethecheese: Escape Valentine’s day & raise money to help @northfieldeco plant trees at @urbancoffeeco on 14th.
Are we going to get a bill for a supermarket adjudicator as recommended by the competition commission?
Good work Roger. Thanks for backing our ask RT @RogerGodsiff I call for supermarket watchdog in the next Queen's Speech
Read about our exciting public debate coming up in March: Cities of the Future:
RT @jrf_uk: 'Why economic inequality leads to collapse' via @guardian
New blog post about the West Midlands regional gathering on Saturday: #foegath

Monday, 6 February 2012

City of the Future

Recently we've all been a little miffed about the current economic situation, with a circulating question of:

Can we shift to a healthier economy? If so, what would it look like?
At Birmingham FOE, we are organising an eye-opening event which aims to
capture the current economic debate, discussing what it currently provides for us and identifying the real-life tools which would be required to have a better, more sustainable economy.

I was excited enough about this to volunteer to help organise it.

The Idea:
A panel of four economic experts will each present three ideas that would inspire new hope for young people and their chances
for future employment and a better environment.

A second panel of representatives from local  groups, cross-examine the presented cases.

Discussion will be opened up to the audience. ← this is your part!

The Date:
Tuesday 20th March 2012 is the time and the place to stop being miffed and start being active!

Pop it in your diaries and I hope to see you there (keep an eye out for details of our amazing panel).

Rachel Tyson

Edit: Registration is now open on our website:

Gathering together the Midlands family

On Saturday, we had our regional gathering for FoE campaigners in the West Midlands.

As always it was a great opportunity to swap stories, exchange knowledge and tips or just generally moan about the bad things going on with the environment.
Our biggest campaign at the moment is Final Demand, so we had Donna Hulme up from London to give us some detail on the plans for how that will develop, as well as explaining what's going on with FiTs - why the government wants to kill the solar industry.

The question I really wanted to put was how we counter the arguments put by Monbiot that solar can't deliver very much and is a tax on the poor for middle class people to get eco-bling. The answers were very convincing and it's a bit puzzling that Monbiot has refused to have a public debate on it, as our policy team are very confident they would be able to counter any points he makes. This blog post by Alan Simpson does a good job of it, but a few quick snippets of solar's positives are:
  • we could generate a third of the electricity we need from domestic roofs
  • solar and wind complement each other very well
  • the behaviour changes you get from those with PV on their roofs are very marked
  • community or social housing schemes can really benefit the most vulnerable, including fuel poor
  • It's still well worth putting PV on your roof with the 21p FiT, but community schemes need more
My understanding has also been much improved by the emphasis that it's not just the rate which is the problem with the government's tinkering, but having to have band C energy performance, which takes out about 90% of the housing in this country. That makes far less sense for generating electricity than for heat, but there's no connection with the Renewable Heat Incentive and efficiency.

We also spoke about new campaigns on biodiversity and greener products, but these campaigns are still in development and also had a session where we looked at lobbying MPs.

On a lighter note I also won some chocolate for the following pretty awful limerick - it was the only entry in the poetry competition:

Chris Huhne's sped away from DECC
Where he was always a pain in the neck
He tried to kill solar
And melt all the polar
Icecaps, but his plans were wrecked.

Joe Peacock

Friday, 3 February 2012

weekly compilation 03.02.2012

If you want to do something non-cheesy on Valentine's day, here's a fundraiser for Northfield's community orchards:

RT @Earth_News: Hedgerows direct the flight of the bumblebee @guardian

End Monsanto's campaign of fear and intimidation against America's farmers @food_democracy Pls RT #stopMonsanto

@scales_project: #biodiversity crisis is worse than #climatechange < or, as flip sides of same coin, as important.

Energy & Climate Change
Please object to E.On’s mega-biomass plans at Ironbridge:

"Once, men abused slaves. Now we abuse fossil fuels" Jean Francois Mouhot former climate campaigner here in Guardian:

Chris Huhne resignation - Friends of the Earth reaction:

RT @Modern_Greenery As FoE & others have long asserted: Ministers 'misled MPs over need for nuclear power stations' -

RT @heatoreat: have u played heat or eat yet? #fuelpoverty #climatechange

RT @vickihird: Watch 131 Years of Global Warming in 26 Seconds | Climate Central

RT @dpcarrington: EC says cost of upping CO2 cuts 20 to 25% is €18bn. Savings in fuel costs €20bn + less air pollution

Portas Review Looks To High Street Renaissance - Great article from one of our new volunteers, Raquel:

Support small entrepreneurs, not retail giants - our letter in yesterday's @birminghampost:

It looks like we actually have until 23.02.2012 to respond to section 106 consultation on #saveislandhouse

The council is to raise Wholesale Market service charges by 50%:

RT @neilelkes: #saveislandhouse protest not flattering as we were all blinded by the sun - still cold, though.

Here's our official statement on #saveislandhouse ahead of Wednesday's demonstration: (@BhamCommunities)

RT @birminghampost: Birmingham historian Carl Chinn joins fight to save Island House from demolition #saveislandhouse

RT @wwwfoecouk: MPs warn over UK flood management: Flooding threatens millions of homes next to our coastlines

Huge amount of waste through large retail stores & their "standardisation" - wouldn't happen in markets: @dpcarrington

Have you emailed your MP to stop supermarket bullying yet?

Successive Birmingham councils finish what the Luftwaffe started: good article on #saveislandhouse by Barbara Panvel

Also, by same author "Cllr Clancy urges council to place the Wholesale Markets at the heart of Birmingham’s economy":

Another neglected old building: RT @birminghammail: Residents demand action on eyesore Moseley tram office building:

RT @birminghampost: Alister Scott Blog: Will HS2 contribute to a West Midlands brain drain? - good points

New blog post on "New opportunities to do free cycling activities in Birmingham"

MT @AirportWatch: Bankwatch & FoE Europe: EU funds ‘environmentally harmful’ projects including 2 Polish airports.

RT @wwwfoecouk Drop #biofuels targets & invest in transport solutions that save fuel AND cash, says Kenneth Richter:

The Times support 20mph speed limits for all residential areas where there are no cyle lanes. #cyclesense #20splenty

RT @AirportWatch: poor environment, not lack of airport capacity, threatens London’s status as top city to do business:

MT @brumcyclist: Road rage driver got £25 fine and 2 week driving ban for abusing cyclist:

When do we get ours? RT @thisbigcity: New Post: Five Cities with Bus Rapid Transit Systems #urban #cities

More public money invested into Birmingham Airport? Already far too much:

Eco-damaging white elephant RT @paulmdale: Brum Airport extension A45 Corridor improvements on verge of final approval.

Waste & Resource Use
An update on how our waste campaign has been going:

RT @poshbirdlikeyou: Eric Pickles banging on about chicken tikka masala again! >waste of money. Invest in solutions.

Northern Ireland follows its neighbours with a plastic bag tax. When will it come to England? Could Brum lead?

Here's our latest volunteer in the spotlight, Kara Moses, from this month's newsletter:

RT @digbeth: New DiG blog post, Goodbye Eastside Cafe! -

Gosh we have a hashtag for our regional gathering tomorrow - #foegath - look forward to seeing everyone there.

RT @birminghampost: Birmingham baker Loaf to raise money through 'bread bonds' - good one @loafonline

Would you join a coalition for a better economy? A coalition for a great transition?

RT @moveyourmoneyuk: Watch our campaign video see what Mary Poppins has to say about building a better banking system!

"Governments must bring sustainable development to the forefront of their agendas and budgets" - come on then Mr Cameron

Very bad news as much needed: RT @birminghampost: Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureau hit by new funding cut