Back to Top

How 'big society' beat one Birmingham area's reputation for drugs and crime

Since 1994, a group of Balsall Heath residents have successfully battled drugs, prostitution and unemployment destroying the heart of their community. How? By picketing, rallying and setting up a progressive local forum

At first glance, Balsall Heath does not look like the kind of place that would be feted by politicians. Twenty years ago, it was notorious for crime and prostitution, and today it is still within the 20% most deprived areas in the UK. It lies close to the “Balti triangle” in Birmingham, a city whose reputation has taken a battering in recent years, thanks to the so-called Trojan Horse scandal (which saw allegations that some Birmingham state schools were being taken over by hardline Muslims who were undermining headteachers), and the outlandish claim on Fox News that it was a no-go area for non-Muslims.

But something in the densely packed rows of terrace houses, shopping streets of fast-food outlets and sequin-strewn Asian fashion shops has attracted everyone from David Cameron to David Blunkett, from Jack Straw to Iain Duncan Smith.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Boris Johnson speaks out against government plans to cut solar subsidies

London mayor’s warning of the threat of proposed Tory cuts to jobs and future investment is welcomed by green politicians and industry leaders

Boris Johnson has said he is “very concerned” about the government’s proposals to cut subsidies to the fast-growing solar industry.

The mayor of London reminded ministers that 10,000 local jobs were dependent on this renewable power technology which had, in his view, “many, many attractions”.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Republicans to break rank with party leaders in call for climate change action

At least 10 House Republicans sign on to resolution in mini-rebellion seemingly designed to put pressure on presidential candidates and party leaders

Nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress will break ranks with leaders of their party on Thursday, and call for action against climate change.

The mini-rebellion a week before the pope visits Congress appears timed to ratchet up the pressure on Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders to soften a party line of casting doubt – or simply denying – the existence of climate change.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Food waste cafes and urban orchards: five ways people are building a new economy

Grassroots projects are springing up across the UK to empower local people and build communities

A new economy is coming into play. No longer wielded as a weapon to legitimise austerity, this is an economy where the community and the environment, not the corporate shareholder, benefits.

Related: Free Money Day: what happens when you give money to strangers?

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Haute Route highs and heartbreak – what motivates cyclists on tough rides?

Peter Kimpton explores cyclists’ goals and experiences on the extremes of Haute Route in the Pyrenees

She crossed the line. Then, in a brief epiphany between two complete strangers, we hugged for a few seconds and both wept. Day upon day of mountain stages, several with nearly 4,000 metres of vertical ascent, this one with four major climbs, two of them first class category, can do strange things to a person.

The effort, the altitude, the agonising achievement, it can all strip back the boundaries of your personality, lay bare emotions, inhibitions, expose the hurt, bring out the joy, and, like the stunning vistas of the French Pyrenees, bring everything into stark relief.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Los católicos hispanos escuchan el mensaje del cambio climático del papa

Mucho antes de que el Papa Francisco instara a los fieles a trabajar por la justicia medioambiental, el agua y las sequías ya eran aspectos que preocupaban en el oeste de Estados Unidos, por lo que los creyentes podrían intensificar sus acciones más que nunca

Una mañana de junio, el padre Rob Yaksich, exguarda forestal antes de seguir su vocación y convertirse en cura católico, presidía su primera misa dominical en la histórica Basílica Catedral de San Francisco en Santa Fe, Nuevo México. Ese día, el tema de sermón era el poder de la difusión de la fe.

“Piensen en la semilla de mostaza”, exponía a los feligreses que asistían a la misa matinal en español. “Todos llevamos pequeñas semillas de mostaza de fe en nuestros corazones. Esa semilla de mostaza crece y si se nutre, se convierte en un gran árbol”.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Untapped Economic Potential In UK For Old Furniture?

A new report “Rearranging the Furniture”, produced by think-tank RSA and resources company SUEZ, has suggested that there is a significant opportunity for the UK to take better advantage of ‘bulky waste’. It revealed that 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste, 42% of which was furniture, is sent to landfill every year with over 50% judged to be in reusable condition.

The report recommends that local governmental bodies could play a role in creating the logistics/collection networks required to better utilise furniture items.

From an economic perspective, reuse is one of the most inner loops of the technical side of the circular economy, it provides high value, but the challenge is in developing redistribution mechanisms that work financially.

Source: Britons throw away more than 300,000 tonnes of reusable furniture every year

Lead image credit: Joss Bleriot

The post Untapped Economic Potential In UK For Old Furniture? appeared first on Circulate.

Source: Circulate News RSS

'America is not a planet': Republicans resist climate change action at debate

Rubio says economy must come first as candidates address issue on CNN as Christie rejects ‘wild leftwing idea’ that we can fix the climate alone

In an exchange that would have been all but unthinkable even four years ago, moderator Jake Tapper posed a question to Florida senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that quoted Reagan secretary of state George Schultz: “Why not take out our insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?”

But despite the token question well into the third hour of CNN’s GOP debate, none of the 11 candidates were willing to endorse any possible solution.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

Connecting with the wild and free

Egglestone, Teesdale Looking at wildflowers and seeing an image of ourselves implies an empathy with the natural world

Lethargy seemed to have settled over the landscape after the harvest. There was barely enough wind to stir the thistledown and willowherb seeds around the field margin. On an uncomfortably humid afternoon that threatened a downpour, crows feeding in the stubble field rose as we passed but settled only a short glide away after a few desultory flaps of their wings.

When we crossed the stile into a field where a broad margin, perhaps 20  metres wide, had been allowed to lie fallow for birds and insects, we found ourselves walking into a late blooming of wild flowers.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment

A penguin's best friend: guard dogs needed to save Middle Island colony from foxes

Crowdfunding drive launched to buy and train two maremma dogs to scare off foxes which constantly attack penguins on island off Warrnambool

Two new guard dogs are being urgently sought to help protect one of the last colonies of little penguins on Australia’s coastline.

A coalition of conservationists, academics and Warrnambool city council are crowdfunding to raise money to buy and train two maremma dogs to guard a group of penguins that are under constant threat from foxes.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment