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Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Blog format

If your new to this format then join me in trying it out and I welcome your thoughts and comments. I've tried all the optional arrangement and like this magazine style best.
Maybe by coincidence the viewing figures have shot up today so I'll let it run for a few days to get a longer test run.

It seems that if you are viewing and scanning the items shown you just click on the window to see the whole posting.
Maybe you can revert to the original format.
What ever way you view it the content must remain the important element!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tim Jackson and "Prosperity without Growth"

Over breakfast this morning I casually picked up and revisited the concluding chapter in Tim Jackson's book, "Prosperity without Growth"
It immediately made me think about all the drama unfolding around the world over the lack of economic growth  and the debt problem. The party conferences are fighting about who is doing most to get the economy going again.
In this brief post I am giving you a link to a talk given by Tim Jackson.
Click here to view the talk.
Its the first time I've seen Tim Jackson speak to an audience and for me its a very thought provoking experience. He does make reference to the natural world just in case your wondering!
I must come back to this topic again soon.

Or use this URL:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Simon Barnes and the SPNVS

Two weeks on holiday and back home to try and catch up on the world of wildlife conservation and my Blog. Along with numerous emails and post I received my National Trust magazine today. The opinion feature sounded interesting and it was written by Simon Barnes. He wrote “How to be a bad birdwatcher” which I found an easy book to read and useful for a non bird watcher! He wants to start a new campaign to promote, “the Society for the Preservation of Nothing Very Special” or SPNVS for short. I agree with him that it is important to seek to protect living places and living things before they get special. Special usually means rare or endangered. Our four acre meadow could easily be classified by planners or developers as ordinary. Yet unimproved grasslands are already rare in the countryside and so I aim to become a member of the SPNVS.

If you too would like to join go to, search for the digital NT magazine Autumn 2011 and Simon Barnes article is on page 15. Or of course you could join the NT as a member.

I was pleased to see how our new pond was getting on and of course it is getting on alright in my absence. The dragon fly nymphs  are still lurking in the murky water which really needs more oxygenating plants. Waterboatman are more numerous than before and a dead reddish dragonfly lies in the water. Water snails seem to be steadily demolishing it.
Walking across the lawn to the pond I noticed a small butterfly ( shown above) which I thought initially was  probably a female Common Blue. Eventually I managed to get close to it and with the help of my trusted book on UK butterflies I am convinced it is a Small Heath. That is the first time I've ever recognised one. The books says they are one of the most common butterflies in the country so I must have been very negligent in not seeing it before.  I am adding a photo of my butterfly and the unfortunate dragon fly and the dragonfly nymph

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

"Prosperity Without Growth"

 I've read the book that stimulated a friend to write this letter, which he copied to me and I considered it relevent to the nature conservation theme of this Blog so here it is.
"Prosperity Without Growth"
A letter to the "Economist" magazine  written by Dr Michael J. Parr.
To: the Editor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In his 2009 book, Prosperity without Growth - Economics for a Finite Planet, Tim Jackson made an extraordinarily compelling case against continued economic growth in developed countries.  Jackson, who is Professor of Sustainable Development (University of Surrey) presents the mounting evidence that continued and increasing consumerism in the major economies is destined for disaster because we live in a finite world.  Common sense tells us growth cannot continue indefinitely, and indeed, Prof. Jackson describes how our recent problems relate to the collapse of the ecosystems sustaining our western economies due to ever-rising consumerism.
In his analysis, Jackson outlines how human society can not only survive, but flourish, within the clear limits of our finite Earth.  Obviously, change is essential for our long-term survival on this planet but politicians, the media and governments still continue to promote, discuss and apparently fully accept economic growth as the only way forward.  It seems to me we have this state of affairs because
1)  politicians and governments are too afraid to tackle these critical issues for obvious reasons, and
2)  the general public is simply not aware of the huge and increasing difficulties caused by consumerism and economic growth.
At the present time some large businesses, for example IBM and Unilever, are making some of the right noises, but for real change to occur there is a vital need for very open, inclusive acceptance of the problem by populations and governments.
Therefore, my call is for Prof. Jackson's thesis to be fully aired and discussed on national TV, radio, the Web and in the press.  Until this is done, we have no hope of a new and necessary system of eco-economics to supersede our present failing growth option.  Could I start the ball rolling by asking economists why many of them appear to have their heads in the sand?  Could they logically explain why Jackson's analysis is flawed, and most importantly, what alternative would they like to propose?
Dr Michael J. Parr


Garden visitor

A few weeks ago I spotted this bird sitting quite quietly and looking around. I took these photos from a window until it flew away.
It looks like a juvenile but can you tell me the species.
Probably a Sparrowhawk!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Confused about Government Policy ? Planning Law

In a recent post I quoted the CPRE views on proposed changes to planning laws.

I've just read an article by George Monbiot on the subject and as usual he makes some good points on the subject.
Here is a taster of what he says.

"Economic growth should not be the purpose of the planning system. It should ensure that human needs are met while the environment is protected. But if growth is your aim, strong planning is more likely to deliver it than weak planning. The government’s attack on planning is likely to deliver the worst of both worlds: trashing the environment while trashing the economy."

I recommend a read of the article which you can see by clicking  here 

Monday, September 05, 2011

garden butterflies

We've had around a dozen species in our garden this summer and these two were enjoying a spell of sunshine last week.
Just ordinary garden butterflies in an ordinary garden  and the photographer is quite ordinary too!
The camera is very good though.


Speckled Wood

Planning law changes

The Wildlife Trust's are concerned about the effect of reducing planning controls over development everywhere in the countryside.  All the Conservation organisations are equally concerned.
Here is what the Campaign to Protect Rural England says on its web site:

"The Government has published a highly sensitive draft National Planning Policy Framework for public consultation. This represents the biggest shake-up of planning for over 50 years and CPRE believes it will place the countryside under increasing threat.
Many elements of the Framework are deeply worrying. In particular, Ministers have failed to commit to the principle that the countryside should be protected for its own intrinsic character, beauty and heritage.
The new Framework will make the countryside and local character much less safe from damaging and unnecessary development.
We fear pressure on the countryside from damaging development will grow due to:
  • loss of emphasis on brownfield regeneration - as a result of the removal of the national brownfield target and the failure to promote efficient use of land
  • over-allocation of land for new housing - the draft Framework requires local councils to allocate at least 20% additional sites for housing over and above the existing five year supply
  • weakening of the ‘town centre first’ policy by removing office development from the sequential test
  • pressure for increased car use - by removing the requirement to set maximum parking standards for non-residential parking in major development
  • abolition of exceptions policy which allows small scale affordable housing to be built in rural settlements, which is likely to add to pressure for market housing and reduce the supply of affordable housing
  • weakening of controls over outdoor advertisements, including no mention of billboards being inappropriate in the countryside
  • changes to Green Belt policy which would allow local communities to support building which would previously have been restricted

Please help us protect our beautiful countryside by asking your MP to say no to growth at any cost.

Write to your MP


 Click here to view web site.

Or here.

As part of forming an opinion on the proposed changes it is useful to review the views of other organisations such as the National Trust and  RSPB.