Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Nature Ramble

Not doing one this week.

Instead, I’m going to send you off to look at a mystery.

Why is Britain a wildlife migration hotspot?

Can you imagine traveling to the moon and back three times? Well that is the same distance the Arctic tern covers during its lifetime. This remarkable little bird can be seen here in parts of the UK in summer during its epic migration between Greenland and Antarctica.

Of course, Arctic terns are not the only ones to visit the UK and then leave. Hundreds of millions of animals do it each year, with some traveling tens of thousands of miles to reach our shores, often risking their lives.

But what makes the UK such an attractive destination for wildlife to visit?

Source: BBCNews Check out this link

BTW, this is my 100th Nature Ramble


Monday Moaning

The Fracking Truth

Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking, has raised hopes, promised riches and seen as the highly needed source of new fossil fuels.

America has been blinded to the truths of fracking. England’s David Cameron is pushing the cart as Britain’s solution.

Billions of barrels, just waiting to be plundered.

But wait, check out this story.

Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Industry’s over-inflated reserve estimates are unravelling, and with it the ‘American dream’ of oil independence
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Next month, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish a new estimate of US shale deposits set to deal a death-blow to industry hype about a new golden era of US energy independence by fracking unconventional oil and gas.

EIA officials told the Los Angeles Times that previous estimates of recoverable oil in the Monterey shale reserves in California of about 15.4 billion barrels were vastly overstated. The revised estimate, they said, will slash this amount by 96% to a puny 600 million barrels of oil.

Wow, so that’s one myth about to be busted.

UK looks to boost fracking with new land access rules

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The UK government has proposed new rules regarding rights to access land in a bid to speed up the introduction of fracking.

It proposes that shale oil and gas companies are granted access to land below 300m from the surface.

David Cameron’s myopic views as he pushes fracking as the solution to Britain’s woes.

The majority in Britain are opposed to fracking. There have been strong anti-fracking protests at Balcombe, West Sussex, against test-drilling which opened the eyes of the British people.

The effects of fracking include, polluting underground water supplies, mini (at the moment) earthquakes and methane in local water supplies. But the politicians are turning a blind eye to all this as they see riches dancing before their eyes.

Honestly, the verve with which politicians are pursuing this fracking is pathetic.

The people’s voices must be heard.


Nature Ramble

Staying with Britain this week, but not with slugs, this time moths.

With transport around the globe today, the risks of transporting foreign species has risen dramatically.

While the moths are beautiful, some threaten the environment, the natural balances that are in place; while others are simply ‘extinct’ species returning.

Here’s a tale from Britain…

Exotic migrant moths invade Britain under cover of darkness

Autumn influx of rare insects includes the rosy underwing, the crimson speckled and the sinister death’s head hawkmoth

The crimson speckled moth, just one of the species drawn to the UK by favourable weather conditions this year. Photograph: Robert Thompson/Butterfly Conservation/PA

An army of exotic migrant moths has invaded Britain under the cover of darkness, encouraged north by the gentle southerly breezes and balmy evenings of an Indian summer.

The unprecedented autumn influx of rare insects includes the rosy underwing, the crimson speckled and the sinister death’s head hawkmoth, with another rare migrant moth, the Clifden nonpareil, establishing itself as the country’s newest resident breeding species.

The Clifden nonpareil. Photograph: Mike Parsons/Butterfly Conservation/PA

The largest and most majestic of the underwing moths, the Clifden nonpareil displays a vivid flash of blue on its underwing to ward off predators. Extinct as a breeding species in Britain since the 1960s, lepidopterists believe that individuals from continental Europe have once again established breeding colonies because it has been found in Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex.

“Clifden Nonpareil is one of the most charismatic of British moth fauna and is on every moth recorders’ ‘wish list’,” said Les Hill, moth recorder for Dorset who has seen three Clifden nonpareil moths in the past two weeks in south Dorset. “As the name nonpareil states, it is peerless and has no equal. To record one in a lifetime is the fulfilment of an ambition; to record them every year in my garden is just remarkable.”

The death’s head hawkmoth. Photograph: Les Hill/Butterfly Conservation

While many immigrant insects get a bad press, including moths such as the horse-chestnut leaf miner which cause aesthetic damage to chestnut trees, moth experts say the current influx is entirely benign, and the newcomers pose no threat to any native species.

“This annual autumnal migration is just a spectacle of nature that’s very exciting for naturalists,” said Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation. “2013 will prove to be phenomenal for certain species.”

The rosy underwing. Photograph: Mike Parsons/Butterfly Conservation/PA

This year is likely to be the best ever for the delicate vestal moth, which has been caught in moth traps as far north as Scotland in numbers not seen since the 1940s. There have only ever been 10 records of the rosy underwing before 2013, when at least three have been recorded, including two at one location, which could again suggest a new colony establishing itself.

Like butterfly-lovers, moth fanatics were in despair after last year’s awful weather and this year’s cold spring suggested it would be another dire year for insects. But an excellent summer has seen good numbers of moths and butterflies emerge across Europe. Calm autumn weather and gentle southerlies have then pushed booming populations north into Britain. As naturalists predicted earlier this summer, a record number of long-tailed blue butterflies have emerged this autumn, the offspring of summer migrants which cannot normally thrive this far north. Clouded yellow butterflies are also still arriving in the current mild conditions.

The vestal moth. Photograph: Mike Parsons/Butterfly Conservation/PA

According to Fox, climate change may be contributing to an increasing number of migratory insects crossing the Channel. “We seem to be getting more migrant moths and butterflies arriving in Britain over time. Britain is at the climatic limit for many species and that limit might be changing with climate change. There’s also a big element of luck with colonisations – you need to have a female arriving which has mated or a migrant female to meet a migrant male which is even more unlikely.”

While big, striking moths such as the death’s head hawkmoth will garner most attention, these ocean-crossing insects include two tiny micro-moths that are so rare they do not have English common names and are not pictured in the British fieldguides. Uresiphita gilvata and Euchromius ocellea are subtropical micro-moths that have joined the influx of insects taking advantage of tail winds to jet in from the Mediterranean and north Africa.







Nature Ramble

The chances are that for this week’s Nature Ramble the Brits need go no further than their garden.

Can science stop invasion of the giant killer slugs?

Experts seek help from the public to monitor the spread of a voracious Spanish slug that poses a major threat to Britain’s plants

Experts fear that the Spanish slug, above, could breed with native varieties to form a hybrid combining the worst of the Spanish slug with tolerance to frosts and cold from British species.  Photograph: Steffen Hauser/Alamy

The gardens and fields of Britain were saved from a grim invasion this spring. Thanks to the sharp, late frosts of May, millions of giant Spanish slugs – which threatened to devastate plants across the country – were killed. Never has so much been owed to such a poor spring.

But now experts fear that Arion vulgaris – which was first spotted in East Anglia a year ago – may soon make an unwelcome return to our shores. They have decided to seek public help to spot a menace which one expert described as “a disaster waiting to happen”.

A group of scientists led by Dr Ian Bedford, head of entomology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, have created a “slugwatch” website – – so people can report where and when they have seen Spanish slugs. There will also be instructions on building traps to catch them. The project will be launched to coincide with UK Biology Week, which started this weekend.

“The Spanish slug is a voracious predator that can survive eating many of the slug pellets that are supposed to kill them. It eats crops spared by our native slugs, tolerates drier conditions, reproduces in greater numbers and even eats dead animals and excrement,” said Bedford. “We want photos and sightings from members of the public to help build a picture of how widespread the Spanish slug is. The reports may also give us an idea of whether it is breeding with native species to form a hybrid combining the worst of the Spanish slug with tolerance to frosts and cold from our own species.”

The Spanish slug was first spotted in Britain by Bedford in his Norfolk garden. “Every day there seemed to be more of them. One day I counted 350. I decided to send samples to check their identity and they turned out to be Spanish slugs.”


The species appeared in Scandinavia a few years ago, where they bred so quickly that squashed slugs on roads became a serious traffic hazard. Very soon, it looked as if Britain would follow suit. “In early spring, numbers of the slugs began to appear and it looked as if we were in trouble,” said Bedford. “But the late spring frosts seemed to have killed off baby Spanish slugs and saved us – for the time being.”

Scientists stress that slugs play an important role in the ecosystem: they are natural composters, breaking down vegetation, and provide food for our hedgehogs, toads and some garden birds. Of the 30 native species in the UK, only four are classed as pests: the netted or grey field slug, the garden slug, the keeled slug and the large black slug. However, the Spanish slug could prove to be an even greater threat.

“We need to know exactly how they are distributed and that is why we have set up this website,” said Bedford. “We need public help, badly.”


Make you Fink on Friday

Here’s something to make you think!

Are our respective governments trying to kill us?

No, I’m not being silly, seriously!

It would be an ideal solution to the over population problem. Are we looking at a genocide issue? If planned obsolescence is possible for 60 or 70 years without us knowing, any thing in the realm of diabolical is possible.

I ask this because everything I read says GM crops are bad, but the governments insist they are not. Nobody can be that stupid, or could they.

FSA ‘endangering public health’ by ignoring concerns over GM food

French researcher who claimed GM food caused cancers in rats says UK should review food safety and assess long-term toxicity

GM maize, like the one above, and other GM crops should be put through rigorous long-term testing, according to Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP/Getty Images

The French researcher who caused a scientific storm when he claimed to show that some GM food led to tumours and cancers in rats has accused the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) of “recklessly endangering public health” by not demanding long-term testing of the foods.

In a series of parliamentary and public meetings held this week in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini has challenged UK politicians and safety authorities to review the way safety is assessed.

Séralini, a molecular biologist at Caen University, said: “Our research found severe toxicity from GM maize and [Monsanto pesticide] Roundup. The British Food Standards Agency has uncritically accepted the European Food Safety Authority’s dismissal of the study, even though many of EFSA’s experts have been exposed as having conflicts of interest with the GM industry. At the very least, the British government should demand long-term mandatory safety testing on all GM foods before they are released onto the market,” he said.

“The British scientific authorities are deliberately misleading their government and are recklessly endangering public health in ignoring the findings of our research.”

Séralini’s study found that rats developed much higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls when fed a diet of Monsanto’s Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or were exposed to Roundup over the same period. The usual industry tests last for 90 days.

The former member of two French government committees assessing the safety of GM foods suggested that the results could be explained by the endocrine-disrupting effects of the pesticide Roundup, and over-expression of the transgene in the genetically modified organism (GMO).

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The prevalence of GM around the world is growing to catastrophic proportions. flying in the face of nearly everything we know; and nearly everything we DO know tells us it’s bad for us. So why do governments accept it?

Is there some diabolical plan?

“The British scientific authorities are deliberately misleading their government and are recklessly endangering public health in ignoring the findings of our research.”

This statement alone, makes me question the status quo; sending a red flag shivering up my spine. It should be doing the same to you.

Maybe we should be asking questions, demanding answers.



Make you Fink on Friday

GM even safer than conventional food, says environment secretary

While there have been several field trials, only two GM crops have been approved for commercial growing in the EU

GM crops are probably [my emphasis] safer than conventional plants, according to the Environment Secretary.

Making the strongest call yet for the adoption of the technology, Mr Paterson told the BBC that that GM has significant benefits for farmers, consumers and the environment.

He said the next generation of GM crops offers the “most wonderful opportunities to improve human health.”

But green groups say this new push is dangerous and misguided.

The environment secretary has never made a secret of his support for GM technology. Speaking to the BBC ahead of a major speech in favour of GM, Mr Paterson said it was being adopted by the rest of the world and the UK and Europe risked being left behind.

He dismissed criticisms that GM could pose problems to human health.

“The use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make GMOs even safer than than conventional plants and food,” he said.

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Mr Paterson is full of shit!

“Probably” is enough reason not to go ahead. Until it can be categorically stated “are safer” then the Environment Secretary is a fool.

While “Questions remain over their effects on human health and the environment, it warns.” – Daily Mail, the world should be looking sideways at GM crops.

“Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said that GM would make it harder, not easier, to feed the world.”BBC News People like this are not saying these things for fun.

For idiots like Paterson, one seriously has to wonder who is paying him, and how much, to make these statements that fly in the face of so many researchers who have grave doubts. This twerp is a village idiot politician, he is NOT a scientist; he is reiterating rhetoric from sources that support HIS ideals, and ignoring what could possibly be the truth.


Over 800 world scientists agree: GM crops are nothing short of a bio-war on our food

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why genetically modified foods are dangerous, but if you look closely, you may just find the name of one listed among the names of more than 800 scientists from around the globe who have joined forces in an open letter to all world governments, outlining their detailed concerns over the alarming potential threat of biotech’s unauthorized, worldwide GM foods experiment.”A Blogger who gives this link:

Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

  • The scientists are extremely concerned about the hazards of GMOs to biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health, and demand a moratorium on environmental releases in accordance with the precautionary principle.
  • They are opposed to GM crops that will intensify corporate monopoly, exacerbate inequality and prevent the essential shift to sustainable agriculture that can provide food security and health around the world.
  • They call for a ban on patents of life-forms and living processes which threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources and violate basic human rights and dignity.
  • They want more support on research and development of non-corporate, sustainable agriculture that can benefit family farmers all over the world.

Signed by 828 scientists

These guys aren’t fools, neither are they paid by GM enthusiasts…


I know who I’d rather trust, a scientist or a village idiot, no contest.

Deception, once again

This is not so much an eco question, but it is another example of how profits are put before people, how shops, businesses and companies deceive their customers.

Mislabelled fish slip into Europe’s menus

Fish often take a circuitous route before reaching our plate

We are all eating much more fish than we used to – but are we eating the fish we think we are?

Official figures show that global consumption of fish and seafood per person is rising steeply – but research also reveals that much of what gets sold turns out to be not as described on the packet.

Earlier this year Europe’s horsemeat scandal revealed how processed meat can get mislabelled in a complicated supply chain. That appears to be an issue with fish, too.

On a large scale, cheap fish is being substituted for expensive fish without the consumer knowing. Moreover, new varieties, never before consumed, are being detected in fish dishes.

Take a British national dish, for example: fish and chips. It is often thought to be the epitome of Britishness – “as British as fish and chips”, the saying goes.

But scientific testing reveals that the traditional cod or haddock and chips is often something else entirely. Research reveals that 7% of cod and haddock – the deep-fried staples of British fish and chips – actually turn out to be cheaper fish substituted to cut costs.

In the Republic of Ireland, a similar study of samples bought in Dublin restaurants, shops and supermarkets revealed that a quarter of products labelled as cod or haddock were in fact completely different species.

In the United States, a study showed that 25% of the fish served in restaurants in New York were not what they were said to be on the menu.

And in Europe, about a quarter to a third of fish products tested turned out to be not what was described on the packet or menu.

New species

Fish and chips: much-loved, but do you know where the fish came from?

The global industry transports large amounts of frozen fish around the world in containers, with China producing much of it. This means, for example, that one of the biggest points of entry for fish into the European Union is not a port at all – no wharves or boats or even water. It is Frankfurt airport.

Samples here and elsewhere across Europe are tested at the big Eurofins laboratory in Hamburg. Its Director of Scientific Development, Dr Bert Popping, said that tests were turning up types of fish which had never been in the food chain before.

“The authorities at the airport in Frankfurt have found some new species – species which have not been caught previously; fish species which have not previously entered the food chain; which have not previously been commercialised,” he said.

So researchers believe that there is large-scale deception going on when it comes to fish – cheap is being substituted for expensive, so deceiving the consumer and bumping up the profits of the deceiver.


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One of the fish mentioned is the Vietnamese Pangasius

Big fish, lots of flesh

Big fish, lots of flesh

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

It's raised in the Mekong River Delta

It’s raised in the Mekong River Delta

The Mekong River is arguably Asia’s biggest cesspool!

The Mekong River comes from China, passes Burma, Laos, Cambodia with the delta in Vietnam collecting sewerage and industrial waste along its entire length.

Has your fish ‘n chips, or your fancy New York restaurant food been raised on Asian faeces?

This fish called, among other things, Panga has taken the world by storm. It’s cheap, it looks good, but is it healthy?

One report labels it ‘the latest abberation of globalisation’, another ‘Government pressured into removing Vietnamese panga from school canteens, and another Don’t Eat this fish: Pangas (Pangasius, Vietnamese River Cobbler, White Catfish, Gray Sole), yet anotherI don’t know how someone came up with this one out but they’ve discovered that if they inject female Pangas with hormones made from the dehydrated urine of pregnant women, the female Pangas grow much quicker and produce eggs faster (one Panga can lay approximately 500,000 eggs at one time).’

The bottom line is making profits!


Through a comment by ECOCRED, I found she had a very pertinent post on the same subject; Seafood: Fraud, Mis-labelling and Laundering

Nature Ramble

This week, we’re back in Britain.

A sweet story.

We’re looking at otters, fascinating animals. We have them in Brazil too, I have often seen them during treks in the Pantanal. To me they are like a cat who likes water, playful.

Sad to see the tide turn against the otter

Although some claim the otter population is getting out of hand, I will always love them

European otters: three-month-old male and female cubs. Photograph: Nicole Duplaix/

I love otters. I recall my father’s excitement at seeing one glistening on a rock beside the sea on the west coast of Scotland in the summer of 1982. When I lived in a cottage beside the river Usk in my 30s, I used to rise before dawn in the hope of glimpsing the resident otter bitch teaching her pups to fish. Even now, I still get a thrill stumbling across a fish carcass, the debris of an otter’s dinner, rotting on a riverbank.

I was surprised to learn recently that otters are now so numerous our waterways cannot sustain them. At least, this is what Brian Dodson of Waen Wen Fishery in North Wales believes. His legal case made the news last week. Dodson claims the Environment Agency reintroduced otters to a nearby river without informing him and that the otters ate all the stocked fish in his ponds.

This is not an isolated incident: the impact of otter predation on the multimillion-pound inland fisheries business is a serious ecological issue across Britain. The call for an otter cull is increasing by day.

From the middle ages until the middle of the 20th century, the otter was akin to vermin, detested by fishermen and hunted with hounds, but it was the widespread use of the agricultural insecticide DDT that made extinction a real prospect 35 years ago. In 1978, the otter was added to the list of protected species and a PR makeover followed. Henry Williamson’s novel Tarka the Otter was made into a film in 1979, while the Otter Trust initiated a captive breeding programme. Since then, numbers have burgeoned.


(I have taken the liberty of replacing the Guardian video clip, because they never seem to ’embed’. If you want to see their clip, use The Guardian link below – AV)

Some would say we should have let nature takes its course, but that has not been an option for a long time. A very long time. Since about 4,000BC, man has effected the greatest changes in the “personality” of Britain and a perfectly functioning ecosystem is a thing of the distant past. We have felled forests, drained fens, dammed rivers and ploughed fields, modelling the landscape to our needs. We have introduced and eradicated the fauna to suit our desires.

Managing nature is, though, extremely hazardous. The red kite was hunted by gamekeepers down to a handful of breeding pairs in the rural fastness of mid-Wales by the early 1900s. Fast-forward a century and red kites are common again, following an effective conservation campaign. They have even become a motorway hazard: a cloud of red kites circling in a great vortex above the M40, like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds, is a common distraction to drivers.

My pet hate is the North American grey squirrel, introduced in 1876 to brighten up the parklands of Victorian gentlemen. We now spend a fortune annually trying to control grey squirrels.

The European beaver, the first native extinct mammal to be officially returned to the wild in Scotland, has recently caused huge controversy. The beaver is spreading south, where people are emphatic it will have to be shot.

In the complexity of our dominant relationship with nature, we have created a quagmire for ourselves. Thus, one generation’s vermin is another generation’s protected species, and vice versa.

I shall continue to treasure every rare encounter with an otter. I certainly won’t be laying any traps to snare otters along the Usk, but I appreciate that my son might.


Monday Moaning

There are simply not enough people on board the bus.

In Britain, the government has created a “Green Deal” scheme. It is a chance for homeowners to give their houses an environmental makeover to reduce their carbon footprint.

But the big companies don’t seem interested. They’re dragging heir feet.

Government’s ‘green deal’ spurned by major retailers

Flagship environmental scheme fails to win support of big names amid criticism it is too complex and may disadvantage the poor

B&Q in Luton: the retailer said it was ‘finalising its position’ while M&S is waiting on further details. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

The government’s “green deal” scheme, intended to give householders a environmental makeover, launches on Monday without any of the country’s large retailers signed up – despite a promise that they would play a central role in offering the deal to consumers.

Major retailers such as supermarkets and DIY stores are viewed as essential to the success of the scheme as they are trusted by customers and have the necessary reach to cover the population.

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It just goes to show that the big names are not interested. Probably not enough profit.

The government tries, but they are let down.

This ‘profit first’ mentality has to go. These big companies and corporations have to realise that if the world fails because of the environment and climatic changes there won’t be anyone to steal from.

But the view is very myopic… “It won’t/can’t happen.”



Monday Moaning

August issue

The Countryfile poll the BBC won’t talk about

The BBC is quick to cover pro-GM stories but they stay silent when 79% of people said no to GM trials in a Countryfile magazine poll

A few weeks ago the BBC heavily promoted its flagship Countryfile programme’s coverage of pro-GM research. The story was carried on news bulletins, the Today programme and presenter Tom Heap wrote an article on the BBC’s website.

The public is changing its mind about GM was one of the messages. But they are not but evidence that they are not is not something the BBC want to share. Even when it comes from the magazine associated with its own Countryfile programme.

 Throughout August, Countryfile’s online magazine ran a poll asked: Should GM crop trials be allowed to go ahead?

The result; 79% No (6144)       21% Yes (1680)          Total 7824

There is process that might be called “polliticks” and an earlier poll conducted by Com Res for the Independant showed that 64% of people would support GM trials if they would lead to a reduction in pesticides.

People are hardly likely to vote against that proposition but with the Countryfile poll voter numbers massively outstripping the Com Res poll by nearly 8 times, it seems that it is a better indication of the state of concern about GM in the British public.

Especially as it’s backed up by the MSN poll on GM, showing 67% do NOT want GM in this country (2,256 votes) with similar results from Which? IGD and Food Navigator in the last 12 months.

Consumers, farmers and producers are not interested in GM. There is no market for it here or indeed in most of Europe.

Maybe the BBC could start to reflect this in its coverage’

Source: gmeducation


This is just another case of where the mainstream media are treating the people like mushrooms… kept in the dark and fed on bullshit!

For a renown news source like the  Britain’s BBC this is shocking, disgusting and entirely underhand.

It shows that the BBC is obviously under government control in a policy of “tell the people only what we want them to know.”

The people’s right to know, the idea that the media is to inform, that the media is honest are not important. The media exists to do the government’s bidding.

The idea of truth, has become superfluous.

The poll conducted by Countryfile showed that the people were decidedly against GM crops, 80% nearly. But that figure didn’t please the powers that be, “so we’ll just put that in the drawer and forget about it.”


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