Monday, 25 September 2017

Recycling - It's Worth It! National Recycle Week

25th September – 1st October is Recycle Week as run by Recycle Now.

This year’s theme ‘Recycling – It’s Worth It’, aims to demonstrate the benefits of recycling all kinds of  items by showing what can happen to the things after you've put them in the recycling!

If you've ever wondered what happens to your recycling then you can find out more here.

You can find a very helpful guide on what to do with unwanted items here. The tips include not only how to recycle items (in the UK) but how you can re-use them to extend their lives and tips on what sort of thigs are suitable to donate to second hand shops.

Meanwhile  you can read here about how to reduce waste.

And here is a list of events happening round the UK.

Do you have any top tips on recycling? Feel free to share them in the comments section!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find more. 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The kingfisher wasn't so keen to stop for a photo .....

We had a lovelywalk round Blackford Pond and the Hermitage of Braid this morning. The mute swans were happy to be photographed, the kingfisher less so....... It's the first time we've ever seen a kingfisher at Blackford Pond!

Lots of fungi about too, including this lovely display

Friday, 22 September 2017

The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan

Subtitled 'How Climate Made History 1300 - 1850', this book charts how the mostly cold and often unpredictable climate affected human history, particularly in Europe, over the period often known as the Little Ice Age. Covering events including The French Revolution, The Bubonic Plagues and the Irish Potato Famine, the author outlines how years of cold and wet springs and summers made harvests more unreliable and how the resulting food shortages affected people's lives.

It is interesting to see how much the climate changed over these years and how incredibly unpredictable it often was, a good year might be followed by several poor years and then by a relatively stable period of a few years. It makes you realise that the changeability of the current climate is historically normal - the climate has always changed. However, it is very clear, just by looking at some of the graphs alone, that the current rising temeratures and extreme weather events (think Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria) are well beyond normal and to large extent are a result of human activities.

It's a fascinating book and an important one for understanding our climate:

"..we can be certain that such minor 'ice ages' occured many times earlier in the Holocene, even if we still lack the tools to identify them. We would logically expect another such episode to descend on earth in the natural, and cyclical, order of climate change, were it not for increasingly compelling evidence that humans have altered the climatic equation irrevocably through their promiscuous use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. We may be in the process of creating an entirely new era in global climate, which makes an understanding of the Little Ice Age a scientific priority."

The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan published by Basic Books

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Beach Lovers Come Forth!

This afternoon, after a writing class at the Ripple Project, a couple of us went along to Bijou Bistro, a local cafe to take part in an Edinburgh Shoreline community interview, run by Streamline Research. We were given free tea and coffee and scones with locally made jam and asked lots of questions about our hopes and visions for the future of the Edinburgh shoreline from South Queensferry to Portobello. We talked about our hopes for nature conservation, renewable energy, natural flood defences and a future free from heavy industry and fossil fuel extraction. We also talked about the potential of the shore and the communities along its length to be places for recreation, entertainment and community cohesiveness. It was a very interesting interview (and the refreshments were great too!).

Streamline are looking for more people to take part, so if you live or work in the coastal communities of Edinburgh (South Queensferry, Dalmeny, Cramond, Silverknowes, Granton, Newhaven, Leith, Craigentinny or Portobello) and are interested in the future of the shore, then contact them to find out more!

Update on the Swift Survey


As some of you may remember I took part in this year's swift survey, carried out in Edinburgh by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). These lovely birds have been declining drastically over the last few years and the survey is part of a programme to determine how we can help swifts recover in Edinburgh. You can read my earlier posts about the survey here, here and here.

Last night, the RSPB held a follow up event, where they shared some of the results from the survey and laid out plans for what might happen next. Not everyone who signed up for the survey has yet returned their results so the discussions were based on incomplete data. Twenty seven screaming parties of swifts were seen across Edinburgh (screaming parties are groups of swifts that gather together to fly low over the roofs, usually near their nest sites and are a good indication of breeding colonies.)

Nine nest sites were identified in total (including one that Crafty Green Boyfriend and I found very close to our own flat!). This may not sound like many, but swifts prefer to live in the backgreens behind buildings and so often their nests are only seen by the people who live round that backgreen, as you can only generally access the backgreens through the buildings. We were actually delighted to indentify our nest site, as we had always thought that all our local swifts nested in the backgreen across the road (apart from one pair that nested in our own backgreen).

In the future, the RSPB will carry out more detailed surveys of the areas where they now know that swifts currently nest. They will also work with the local council to ensure as many swift bricks (nest boxes that can be built into a building during construction) are fitted to new build homes and offices. They also hope that Edinburgh can become a future swift city (following on from the model of Oxford).

It was great to catch up on the progress of the project and it was also a very sociable evening and a chance to chat about my favourite bird with other people who share my interest!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Sea Pottery Jewellery in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop

I've been recently going through my collection of sea pottery and choosing pieces to make brooches! The back of the pottery shard needs to be flat enough and big enough to be able to fit a metal brooch clasp on it, but other than that I'm looking for nice, striking looking shards. These are some of the brooches I've made recently

I've added them to the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop where they sit alongside my sea pottery rings in a new Sea Pottery Jewellery section of the shop!

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to new web pages where you can find out more.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

White Rhino, Matobo

to deter poachers
it was magnificent

as odd and ancient
as the primeval rocks
of the Matobo.

Wide mouthed and grey white
it watched us
as we watched it

through lenses
taking photos that fade
with the years

as the rhinos
become memories.

First posted for World Rhino Day 2012. World Rhino Day happens every year on 22 September.   

You can read about the work of the World Wildlife Fund to help rhinos here

* rhinos have sometimes had their horns surgically removed to deter poachers. However, this is a stressful operation for the rhinos and not necessarily effective as poachers will kill rhinos for very small amounts of horn, particularly as the animals become rarer and rarer.  

As ever, red text contains hyper-links that take you to other websites where you can find out more.