Thursday 4 December 2008

Improve Your Speaking Skills

"Twenty Top Tips for Improving Your Speaking Skills" - The booklet to buy! - and so give money to the rainforest fund. I have collected vital tips from members of Craven Speakers Club at Skipton. (The booklets will also double up as Christmas Cards for some of my friends)
To practise improving your speaking skills, why not see if there is a Speakers' club near you by visiting - and then start in the new year!

Tip 2: (by Jan Millar:)
Practise reading a passage or poem aloud each day. As you practise, remember “The seven 'Ps' for effective vocal delivery” - pitch, pace, pause, power, practise, practise, practise.

Tip 8: (Sylvia Walker.)
Look at your audience. Maintaining lots of eye-contact is crucial for engaging your audience’s interest.

I sold ten copies at the meeting in early November (at 50p each).. Lets see how many we can sell at the meeting in mid December.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Making Christmas Cards for the fund

Here is a display of cards and calendars I made today to sell for the Rainforest Fund.

And look - in Yorkshire we have snowy weather today!!

Some are from photos of a collection of nativity scenes that were on display at St John's Church last year.

Some are from flowers from our area including Purple Saxifrage, Mountain Pansy and Bloody Cranesbill.

Orders taken! £1-50 per card including postage.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Computer lessons

A new way of raising money for the fund arose last week - A couple in our congregation asked me to go and help them with their computing, so that they can more easily send emails and attachments to their relatives, and have promised to donate each session I go and help.

Daphne Wallis did appear on Songs of Praise on Sunday - and I could see the rainforest poster briefly displayed behind the choir conductor!.

Friday 14 November 2008

Langcliffe Singers sing the Messiah

Click here to see my post about Tuesday 14 Oct when BBC (songs of Praise) recorded Langcliffe singers practising. Songs of Praise will be broadcast on 23 November. This evening I came back and recorded them myself.
They will be performing Handel's Messiah on Sunday 7 December at 7.30pm on Settle Parish Church. Book your tickets now!!

Langcliffe Singers practise in the Hall on Tuesdays and are making a collection for the Rainforest Fund. Listen to them sing "Glory" above.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Teddy Bears Picnic Dancing at Hall

Scottish Country Dancing this Thursday evening at the Church Hall provided an opportunity to
1) Support Children in Need - the dancing teacher, Robert this week is making a collection at all his classes for Children in Need and having a special dance to "The Teddy Bears Picnic Tune"
2) By contributing, to say "Thank you" to our teachers Robert and Alan - we are SO lucky and privileged to have them come to Settle.
3) To have a good evening - It's good music, it's exercise, it's fun.
4) To find some friends who will proof read a booklet I am making to sell/give at Christmas for Craven Speakers Club in aid of the Rainforest Fund.

Watch us dancing - Why not come and join us? - 7.30pm on Thursdays.

Above: Dancing to "The Teddy Bears Picnic"

Above: "The Highland Rambler"

Wednesday 12 November 2008

How to set up the Owl meter electricity monitor

The Owl Energy Monitor, or smart meter, consists of a (1) magnet sensor which fits round a wire in coming out of your main electricity meter, (2) transmitter which is attached to the magnetic sensor;
And (3) a completely separate little meter which you carry round the house and note the change in reading as you turn individual items.

(Note added in Jan 2009: These smartmeters in January 2008 have been made available for loan free at York library)

Normally the magnet sensor clips onto one of the leads coming out below your electricity meter in the fusebox cupboard.

However a friend, Arthur Lupton, has made a gadget allowing the Owl to be used on individual appliances. This useful for demonstration purposes. The gadget consists of plug, socket and two thick insulated separate wires connecting them. You can see this gadget in detail in the picture which is below the video. Watch!

Here is Mr Lupton's extra plug and socket. Note the two wires go separately from the plug to the socket.

The sensor clips round one of the wires.

Here you see the sensor attached in my electricity meter and fuse box.

Dave Tayler used the Owl for his house - and was amazed by the electric power shower result - especially as members of his household enjoy long sessions in the shower!

Thanks for letting me print your data, Dave!

Appliance pence / hr kw / hr kg CO2 / hr
Electric shower !! 154.80 9.60 0.67
Immersion 43.80 2.72 0.19
Tumble dyer 39.70 2.46 0.17
Main oven 38.60 2.39 0.17
Washing machine 36.00 2.23 0.16
Kettle 34.20 2.12 0.15
Big cooker ring 26.20 1.62 0.11
Top oven 21.70 1.35 0.09
Microwave oven 20.00 1.24 0.09
Small cooker ring 19.00 1.18 0.08
Hair dryer 17.60 1.09 0.08
Toaster 17.30 1.07 0.08
Hoover 16.00 0.99 0.07
Central heating pump 4.80 0.30 0.02
Computer 4.10 0.25 0.02
Shower room light and fan 3.10 0.19 0.01
Garage strip light 2.40 0.15 0.01
LCD TV 2.10 0.13 0.01
Goldfish tank light 1.40 0.09 0.01
11w low energy light 1.00 0.06 0.00
Small TV 1.00 0.06 0.00

Thursday 23 October 2008

Coffee - Rainforest Alliance - Fair-Trade - Bird Friendly - Shade grown - Utz Kapeh

Coffee - It's not just a matter of is it fair trade or not - O,... no, no, no, no, no. There are several certification schemes, and other decisions to be made.

Rainforest Alliance Certification (McDonalds now use this, provided by Kenco)
[[Rainforest Alliance, I have been told, does not count as "Fair Trade" when becoming a Fair Trade Church, I have been told - even though they do have to have good conditions for the workers..]]

Fair Trade

Shade Grown/Bird Friendly

Utz Kapeh (has some sustainable features)

Then there are two types of coffee:
Arabica - usually grown in shade and so more wildlife friendly
Robusta- usually grown in the open so bad for wildlife. It needs more fertilizer and pesticides.

Shade-grown Coffee: Environmental conservation: Birding Fair Trade and much more

See Ethical corp for a good comparison

Trehugger for good info.

Bird Friendly Coffee


Is global business hijacking the Fairtrade bandwagon? Guardian article

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Songs of Praise Settle Church Hall

On going to set up the Fairtrade talk last night I discover that Langcliffe Singers who meet in the main room in the hall are to have a singer in their group to be filmed for Songs of Praise in November...

Our church hall used for a Songs of Praise Scene -- will they feature our Rainforest Fund Display in the background??? (Judith's one track mind).

They are going to be making a themed Songs of Praise programme on older people - and concentrate on the activities in one day of this one lady - which just happens to include Langclffe Singers this evening. I film the filmers filming the Langcliffe Singers leader introducing the session- which includes doing stretching exercises, then retreat to our Fairtrade meeting.

Afterwards, as the Langcliffe Singers are disbanding, I pick up nerve and ask the lady if I can take her photo...

to be continued....

The lady's name is Daphne Wallace - - in fact I later discover, Dr Daphne Wallace. She explains they have already today filmed her playing golf and playing the cello and the other things she has being doing. I ask "How did they chose you?"

She explains that she used to be a psychiatrist, helping people with dementia and, she has recognised that she now she has dementia herself.

I prick up my ears. I have a relative with "memory" problems.

"How do you know?" I ask - Daphne certainly is leading an active life..
"I can't do arithmetic like I used to, and forget words." she says.
"As well as arithmetic and words I have lost much of a previously exceptionally good visual memory, also multitasking (such as used in participating in a discussion) is much more difficult."

Later I discover she has been interviewed on women's hour about this., and she gave a lecture in Harrogate in November 2007 on the topic.

"The programme is titled 'Third Age Spirituality' - The interviews with me will not be the only one and the activities will, I presume, form a background to parts of the interview. There will be hymns and a soloist (Willard White) and much of the usual format but the theme is on faith as it affects the life of older people - I am one of those to illustrate the theme by giving an outline of how faith affects my life and its challenges. There will be other contributors so my bit will be drastically reduced from the interview I recorded over nearly 1 & half hours!

Well roll on November 23rd for the Songs of Praise programme.

And if you would like to see and hear Langcliffe Singers They will be performing Handel's Messiah on Sunday 7 December at 7.30pm on Settle Parish Church. Book your tickets now!!

Below you see the group before they started singing.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Fair Trade: becoming a Fair Trade Community

A special speaker had asked me to arrange a meeting at the Church Hall this evening - John Anderson, formerly chair of Fairtrade Bradford - to talk on "Becoming a Fair Trade Community." I circulate emails to people to tell them about the meeting. I come down early. Perhaps while here I can invite one or two of the other groups using the hall to contribute to the Rainforest Fund. I discover that "Langcliffe Singers" who meet in the main room in the hall are to have a singer in their group to be filmed for Songs of Praise in November... but more of that in my next blog. Our meeting takes place to the accompaniment of their magnificent singing in the background. Fairtrade: Producers of "Fairtrade" goods get a guaranteed price and a better deal. Often they get a good price because middle dealers are cut out. Settle Methodist Church is not a Fair Trade Church. The West Yorkshire Methodist District, of which Settle church is part would like to become a "Fairtrade District" - just as it is possible to become a "Fairtrade School" or other Fairtrade community.. So John has arranged to come and give a talk at our church hall this evening 14th October. He explains that to become a Fairtrade District we would have to get half the churches in the District to be Fairtrade churches and also do some other things to promote Fairtrade- such as have an event in Fairtrade fortnight. All the churches in his circuit at Shipley are Fairtrade churches. But in the Settle and Bentham Circuit none of them are. He wonders why. We have representatives from High Bentham and Settle. The High Bentham people tell us they are going to have a meeting about Fairtrade in Bentham, and does John have a video? He recommends the Fairtrade website. We try samples of the Divine chocolate. The cocoa is grown in Ghana and a cooperative was set up for this, but the chocolate is made in Europe as it would melt in Ghana.. He explains that Anita Roddick had had shares in the company that made the chocolate. When she sold her firm the Body Shop, she gave the shares in Divine chocolate to the African Cooperative. He explains how at Bradford they had been able to get funds from the Cooperative Society (the Coop) for some of their Fairtrade Activities, including producing a book showing where Fairtrade goods can be bought, and he recommends doing the same. He starts commending "Shared Interest" - a scheme where you can invest money, which is then used to loan to small producers, and that had been useful for some Fairtrade cooperatives. Then he finds that four out the five of us already have invested some money in this. (Now seen to be a better option than shares...). He leaves us leaflets and samples. We put the box of coffee and tea samples in the kitchen next door with some of the leaflets, for kitchen users to take or try.

Monday 13 October 2008

World Species Loss hits the news

The BBC website at says the global economy is
losing much more money from the disappearance of forests than through the
current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

Also see BBC - "Brown's plan to save rainforests"
which will be announced on Tuesday. Mr Elias who wrote the plan, is the Founder of
Cool Earth one of the charities we are supporting.

Sunday 12 October 2008

Five points that made our visit to Thorpe Perrow Arboretum a Success

Digressing slightly from tropical forests - today I visited Thorpe Perrow Arboretum near Bedale in North Yorkshire. Five top points were:

1. The electric buggy. My Mother currently has a bandage on her leg and cannot walk far.. but with this vehicle she was able to steam off at 4 mph with me running after to keep up. Normally one has to book these. .. If you have an elderly relative or someone with bad legs -book one. Great fun.

2. It's autumn and the colours are just beginning to change.. and they have special Acers (maples) that are just starting to turn lovely colours.

3. They have a falconry centre and also few animals there including meercats - The meercats are like some I saw on TV once. there is a family - One male, two females and four young (born in July). One of the adults stands on the log to keep watch..

4. We hit lucky in that on the 12th there was a fungus foray. We arrived back at the same time as the fungi foray people were spreading out their finds - including earthstars (see right), fly agaric, honey fungus, wood mushrooms,

5. Its nice walking amongst the trees and glades.

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Cycle Jump at Settle

After our service on Sunday 29 September I went into Settle to enjoyed the "Settle Community and Cycle Festival.." and took videos of my friend's son at a cycle jump.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Rev Peter Whitaker, Chairman of the West Yorkshire District

I was so busy whizzing round taking photographs for a new Churches Together in Settle leaflet, passing the start of the Three Peaks Cycle event en route, that I nearly missed the morning service at St John's Church Settle, today. But am I glad I made it!

It was Revd Peter Whitaker, Chairman of our West Yorkshire District to preach. (A Chairman of the District is equivalent to an Anglican Bishop) - we were privileged to have him.

As I slithered into my pew near the front, only 1 minute late, he was saying "This time of year is Creation Season.. "

(I nearly slithered onto the floor. "Wow!" I thought "The people at ECEN would be proud..")

"....And as I wrote some prayers specially on this topic on "morning Service" on the Radio 4 this week, I am going to ecologically recycle some of the prayers." See Tue 23 September Radio podcast later in a prayer (and this is a true quote) he said "Forgive us our arrogance and dominance , inspire fresh understanding of our place alongside other creatures.."

Great.. But he did not go on to specifically say "help us look after the world"

Actually his sermon was on Tax - and the story where Jesus is asked about taxes - and he shows a coin and says "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's". Then in his sermon he pointed out that we should be doing everything for God. (So I am not sure where that left Caesar) and we had to think carefully what was God's and What was Caesar's.

He also pointed out that the West Yorkshire District for which he is responsible contains both Halifax - with HBOS, and Bingley with the Bradford and Bingley Building Society. (The news this weekend, remember, is that the Bradford and Bingley is going to be nationalised)

After the service three of us on our rainforest team showed him our sponsor form.


Tuesday 23 September 2008

Earth Overshoot Day - today -

Today is Earth Overshoot Day:
The day our demand surpasses nature’s budget
according to Global Footprint Network

In 2007 it was October 6th, now in 2008 it's today, September 23rd, so for the rest of the year more resources will be consumed globally than can be provided for on a sustainable basis by the Earth’s ecosystems.

Today R.C. gave me a £5-00 donation for the Rainforest fund for borrowing an Owl meter! Thanks RC.

Monday 22 September 2008


Tomorrow several of my friends will be setting off for Milan, in Italy, to the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) Assembly 24-28 September. I am not going. I went to the last one in Sweden two years ago - by bus, and have been to several others.

The organisation is a loose Network of Church officers with responsibility for environment issues and other people with environment interests, and this year it celebrates its tenth birthday

I have just written a letter (email) translated into French and German by my friend D. and I have emailed it to several of the people who will be going and to some who went to Sweden.

I have mentioned this Rainforest Fund Project. I hope there will be a "Biodiversity working group" at ECEN - and that we can encourage more churches to do more for saving wildlife and habitats -whilst they are still there to be saved.

Sunday 21 September 2008

The Fruits of the Spirit

The text for both this week and last week at St John's Church Settle was "The Fruits of the Spirit"

This week the Worship Group ran the service - the children's talk was very biological (smiles) - lots of visual aids showing what is needed to help grow fruit from seed.

(And ecological - with good reference to peat-free compost)

It reminded us of two of the fruits some of us find harder- patience and self-control. It finished with a humorous sketch with two characters, one who was lacking these two "fruit" - and aware of it - and the importance of "A quiet time with God" each day.

Friday 19 September 2008

Fungus Foray above Settle

Waxcaps, Puffballs, Blushers, Mottle-gills and Stinkhorns!

20th of September might be the "penultimate day of summer" but it was one of the warmest. Twenty five of us plus dog set off on a Craven Conservation Group walk up out of Settle in sun hats and shirtsleeves to walk the round tour of four miles to Cleatop Park Wood.

Archie, our knowledgeable leader was able to name not only the bright coloured fungi such as red waxcaps and yellow Russula but also the little brown jobs as well.

Scarlet Caterpillar Club (Cordyceps militaris) was the first good find - It parasitises caterpillars, - so if you find one and dig it up you will find it is growing out of a (now dead) chrysalis.

.. a Fungus Foray in A Rainforest blog/church motivated. site?

1. Fungi are fun and it is good to walk in the countryside.
2. Archie was actually collecting some specimens to use in the Children's Talk at the Harvest Service he would be giving at Malham Methodist Chapel the following day.
3. If we value our wild habitats in the UK - perhaps people in countries with more important habitats will value their wildlife too.

Norway joins fight to save Amazon

"Norway has pledged $1bn (£500m) to a new international fund to help Brazil protect the Amazon rainforest. The donation is the first to the fund which Brazil hopes will raise $21bn to protect Amazon nature reserves." See BBC website

This is good news - Good for Norway! I wish Britain and other countries would give some.

Cattle ranching is blamed for up to 70% of current Amazon deforestation.

For comparison -

The UK Education Budget is £82 billion.
Between Opening Mon 15 Sep and close of Thur 18 Sept £121 billion was lost from the FTSE100 - Though a lot has been gained today.

Thursday 18 September 2008

An Article for your Parish Magazine

On Christian Ecology Link's Website, short articles suitable for Parish Magazines are written by Ruth Jarman: the topic for October is "Trees". Ruth urges people to support Cool Earth.

you can do it here:


Wednesday 17 September 2008

Auf Deutsch -

In meiner Kirche hier in Settle haben wir einen Fond für drei Wohlfarten: zwei kaufen Land und Wälder um sie besser zu beschützen. Die dritte unterstüzt Dörfer in der Nähe des Mole Nationalparks in Ghana.


Tuesday 16 September 2008

Cool Earth - Amazon programme on BBC

On Monday 15 September Cool Earth sent its supporters the following email:

"On BBC 2 tonight (Mon 15th) at 9pm, Bruce Parry begins a trek through the Amazon ( In the first of six programmes, Bruce travels to the Ashaninka Tribe. The Ashaninka are supported by Cool Earth, in one of our most successful projects to date.

Cool Earth's project with the Ashaninka tribe at Cutivireni prevents loggers from entering the community's forests and the neighbouring Ashaninka Communal Reserve which form a buffer zone for Otishi National Park. In collaboration with our local partners Ecotribal, the Ashaninka chiefs at Cutivireni have offered their land for sponsorship through Cool Earth, allowing them to keep their forests intact and continue to live sustainably from their own land.
Don't miss the next five episodes as Bruce continues his journey through the Amazon.
Read the blog entries from when Sky News Environment Correspondent Catherine Jacobs travelled with Cool Earth to meet the Ashaninka.


If you go to the link above you can still watch the programme on the internet for another 20 days.


Monday 15 September 2008

En français

Ici, à Settle, un groupe de l’église Méthodiste – nous avons créé un fond, en vue de protèger les forêts vierges et nous subventionons trois oeuvres de charité (deux en vue d’acheter des terres et des forêts, et une troisième pour aider certaines villages à proximité du Mole Parc National du Ghana, et de les encourager à protéger d’environnement.

Sunday 14 September 2008

More Langcliffe Teas and French Translation

Sunday 14 September -
Today I went to Langcliffe Teas again, following last Sundays effort. Three sets of friends kindly donated (to a total of £4-50) , two sets expressed interest in borrowing the Owl meter, and I had quiche and sponge cake. It was useful to catch up with local news.

French translation. I had asked a friend to translate a letter into French and German for me including material about the rainforest. He has completed the french part. Now I must type it out

Saturday 13 September 2008


What do you think this beautiful flower is called?

We found it growing as a creeper/bush in a clearing when Duncan and Ferdinand took us to Korup - tropical rainforest in Cameroon in West Africa (but that's another story)

It is Strophanthus.

It is used by some people in Africa for arrow poison.

Poison? The poison is called Strophanthin, and it acts a bit like Digitoxin or digitalin (the drug that comes from foxgloves) in that it affects the rate of heart beat and is a cardiac stimulant.

Its name comes from the words strophos (twisted cord or belt - referring to the tapering, twisted ends of the petals) and anthos - flower.

And it is indeed beautiful.

Friday 12 September 2008

Langcliffe Teas and getting sponsors

Last Sunday 7th September I thought "I must work on getting some sponsors."

So I went to Langcliffe Institute. They do wonderful teas there over summer. There is usually a second had book sale in the church opposite too. They hire the village hall to different organisations most Sundays - and this Sunday it was to Settle Parish Church- who used it for lunches as well as teas.

I had both!

A kind retired clergyman donated £3-00
A kind hiker donated £2-00

This effort cost me £3-50 for lunch and £2-50 for afternoon tea. - Is this a profit?.

But delicious quiche, and succulent cream cake - and an inch to my waist line.

Another charity will be providing sustenance this coming Sunday

Thursday 11 September 2008

Greenbelt 2008

Fri 22- Mon 25 Aug 2008 (link to longer picture report)

I had never been to Greenbelt.
I have never been to ANY festival - (three folkmusic festivals, but they are different.)

Christian Ecology Link has had a stall at Greenbelt for quite a few years and people had asked me if I was going. Brendan Bowles of A Rocha Climate Stewards who had promised to send me new information on A Rocha Ghana asked if I was going.

I looked at my calendar and thought "I could go"
I looked at the Weather forecast and thought "I could go"
I read a self-help book advocating doing exciting things even if outside your normal comfort zone - so that you don't regret not doing them later. "I could go"

I phoned JB a contact who lives two miles away to see if he had floor space. - He had relatives staying. "You can borrow our tent" he said. "Uhh," I thought.
I looked at the damp wet ground at Settle. "Uhh," I thought.
I looked at the price of a cheap tent in Settle - "Uhh - it will just be "stuff" in my house afterwards." I thought.

Fortunately - thank you J.B. - the relatives would not be coming till later, and he offered a bed.

So off I went.
Settle to Cheltenham by train is about 170 miles (340 miles return) and this would produce 80kg of CO2. Some websites say we should only produce 2000kg CO2 each per year to be fair to everyone else in the world. That's 6kg a day - Hmmm.

But once there mine host lent me his bike.

I had a great time at Greenbelt and have written about it with pictures here

What has this got to do with habitats, species and forests?
Well, I spent a very happy Sunday moring up on Cleeve Hill, away from the Festival, finding wild flowers including the stemless thistle (below) and harebells with the festival in the distance(left). - If everyone valued wild flowers perhaps we could protect them better.

I put a few leaflets out on our CEL stall and hung up one of my instant folders. We collected signatures of people who would like to receive CEL news emails. - I would be able to tell them about the rainforest project later.

I heard little bits of two A Rocha Talks. David Bookless stresses important things about protecting species. People said his talks were good. Some children did a play about Creation. I am not sure if that had anything to do with the environment.

A girl from the USPG stall came to our stall and took the CEL email address - she has contacts in Brazil.

The Wild Life Trusts with a stall. They were doing a good job getting people to join their local Wildlife Trust.

I went to a workshop by Generous and have since been in contact with a girl who ran it. She has a blog

There were lots of items for sale on stalls from third world countries. I bought a mini-music instrument- talking drum and wonder if hardwood was used to make it...

I attended many worthy workshops and talks.

I met Brendan. He had emailed me the list of items that would be useful to fundraise for for the A Rocha Ghana Project - So I would read these when I got home.. see next blog entry.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Addingham Friendly Hour - Tea Visit

On 13th August thirty people from the old peoples club "Addingham Friendly Hour" based at Addingham Methodist Church had arranged to come for tea on the way back from their day out for a trip to Ribblehead Viaduct.

We had arranged for them to have tea in the church hall.

I was away teaching. Other members in our group (I am told) did a splendid job catering for this group.

In the morning there had been the children's holiday club in the church hall so their were extra decorations in the hall.

As well as paying the prearranged amount for the tea, the group had an extra collection at the end of the meal for the Rainforest fund.

A big thank you to all!

Tuesday 9 September 2008

More Nature Walks in Summer

In Summer I have taken four groups of people out on nature walks.

I have said on my "Sponsor me form" that I would take old people out on nature walks - i.e.(usually) use my car to get people out and then do a (very) short walk.

This has been a chance for me to go out too – Looking back, these trips have been very good days for me too.

I have taken four groups out. They were back in May and June (remember... we did have some sunny weather then).. Here are some pictures.

What have been the stumbling blocks?

1. Wet weather.

2. The difficulty of approaching people over taking them out - my shyness? I know quite a few people (slightly) through church or through the village or through friends - but it is a big leap from a chat about the weather etc to "Would you like to come out for a ride and walk to look at flowers?" (I only do this with people who I already have some form of contact with)

3. My last minute decisions to ask people to go out - People usually need more notice.

This year has been an amazing year for all three species of cotton-grass Eriophorum spp. that grow near here. I enjoyed showing people the Great crested grebe nest and its eggs near the bird hide.

Monday 8 September 2008

The Owl - Energy Monitor

The Owl Meter

This meter measures how much electricity your house is using -

Once it is set up (and it only takes a minute once you know what to do), it is easy and fun to measure how much electricity individual items use in units of KW, or in pence per hour or even in CO2 produced.

I bought four OWL meters from a friend (though Christian Ecology Link) who has ordered them bulk for his church and contacts. (You can also get them direct for £35).

I have sold one on. With the other three I am offering them on loan to people locally – for a small donation to the Rainforest Fund.

I helped at the Christian Ecology Link Stall at Greenbelt, where we (CEL) were able to pass on 4 Owls.

Sunday 7 September 2008

Seven updates and "Shun meat" says UN Climate chief"

Three months gap since my last posting! I have been away - Scotland, England, Ireland -and busy teaching and botanising while the flowers are out!– But - We have continued raising money. To catch up I will add seven sections over the next few days.

1) More Nature Walks.
2) The Owl Meter - Measures electricity consumption for each household item -
3) Trip to Ireland - Peat bogs
4) Addingham Friendly Hour – Visit to Settle for Tea
5) A Rocha Ghana – Individual items for which to raise money.
6) Greenbelt - pictures -
7) An opportunity to Talk to the Women’s Group at my church.

On the radio this morning there was an item "Shun meat, says UN climate chief"

I am glad that on the bbcnews website it is at this moment currently the most read article

“UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport.”

“The FAO figure of 18% includes greenhouse gases released in every part of the meat production cycle - clearing forested land, making and transporting fertiliser, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions of cattle and sheep.”

“There are various possibilities for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming animals. They range from scientific approaches, such as genetically engineering strains of cattle that produce less methane flatus, to reducing the amount of transport involved through eating locally reared animals. “

“Methane emissions from UK farms have fallen by 13% since 1990.
But the biggest source globally of carbon dioxide from meat production is land clearance, particularly of tropical forest, which is set to continue as long as demand for meat rises.”

Sunday 1 June 2008

Sponsor me - to take an old person on a nature trip

Would you like to sponsor me?
I am raising money to save the rainforest and other valuable habitats.
What am I doing to get sponsored for?
I am taking old people on Nature Walks - i.e. short drives into the countryside with a very short walk to see flowers, according to their interest.

If you would like to sponsor me you can do this online at
one of the following.
If you know of an old person in or near
Settle who would like a short trip out, please let me know.
The picture shows a visit we made on 13th May- an excellent time for cowslips and early purple orchids.

It is difficult finding time to fit in these trips as I actually professionally teach wildflower and grass identification courses at this time of year - but setting up this project to take people out is a good incentive to make time!!

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Coffee Morning at Richard Pike's, Settle

12 April

Richard kindly offered his new flat in the centre of Settle as a base for a coffee morning in each Saturday in April. Ont the 12th April the designated charity was our Rainforest Fund.

At the previous Saturday coffee morning some of his neighbours told me about their holiday in Borneo. Their hotel and its grounds were a sanctuary for wildlife. Much of the land between the airport and the hotel had been scraped clean of trees, by huge machines, scraping up the clay soil.. They showed me a picture they had taken of a rescued orang utan.

On the 12th people were generous and we raised £125 for the funds.

Sunday 13 April 2008

A Rocha Ghana - what projects could we support?

19 March

What is A Rocha Ghana doing, that we may be able to, and interested to help with?

Recently (19 March) I had a useful talk over the phone with Jenny Bowles. She visited the A Rocha Ghana Project in 2006, under the auspices of the “Climate Stewards Project” of A Rocha. Her trip included a visit to the project with people near the Mole National Park.

She told me about

1. The tree nurseries
2. The bee keeping projects
3. The two schools workers – one in the north, one in the south.
4. The story/parable of the disappearing wildlife.

1. The tree nurseries (See picture of girls carrying seedlings above)

The tree nurseries are run by local people. In the south they are attached to schools or universities. there are 11 sites. The nurseries are planted with 90% native trees that can eventually be used for timber – e.g. mahogany, kapok. Then there are 10% fruit or nut trees and the people chose which ones they want. It is important that the nurseries are designed and manged by the locals so they “own it”

As soon as the people see the benefit of the ownership of the nursery they get on board, and the attitude extends beyond looking after the nursery, to looking after the forest..
The people at the Mole reserve live in a remote place, and they are keen to be part of a bigger project..

In remote areas people do not have the resources to improve degraded land. “We used to have trees” they say.

2. The bee keeping projects

Bees need trees. So if people get involved in the production or honey they see the need for trees.

3. The two schools workers – one in the north, one in the south.

Jenny told me how exciting and thrilling it was to see the caliber and quality of the two schools workers, Emmanuel Akom in the south and Daryl Bosu in the north.
In a primary school classroom – tin roof, mud walls and no decorations on the walls and eager children packed behind the desks, the worker asks

“What happens when the last tree dies?”

“The last man dies” the children chant back.

Daryl was able to arrange for one school group to go for a day field trip to the National Park.

I wonder if we could sponsor another such trip?

Or I wonder if we could sponsor some plant identification books. I remember when I was in West Africa (long ago) how useful I found a book called "A Handbook of West African" flowers by Harold Saunders. We are spoilt for choice in the UK for wild flowers books and other natural history books.

I have written to A Rocha to see what they most need.

And the story of the disappearing wildlife? - That will have to wait for the next blog entry.

Friday 4 April 2008

Settle Scottish Country Dancing Class donate. See them dance!!

Thurs 3rd April:

The Scottish Country Dancing Class meets in the Church Hall each Thursday evening at 7.30pm in Autumn, Winter and Spring. Yesterday 3 April they made a collection and donated to buy half an acre. Here they are dancing "Branches Together-see video",

then again doing the last part even better-see video!

Thursday 13 March 2008

Name Change

Wed 5 March 2008:

Some visitors to this blog may have noticed a subtle name change.

When the project started on 1st January the provisional name I gave the project was: the St John's Methodist Church (Settle) Rainforest Fund Project. However this was a name that would have to be passed by the Church Council which normally meets twice a year. The 5th March was the date of the next church council meeting.

At the meeting they (a majority) said that they did not want it to be called The St John's Methodist Church (Settle) Rainforest Fund Project, but they said they would support the project. One lady said "You may be glad in the long run that we said this."

So now it is called The Rainforest Fund Project.

Thursday 6 March 2008

"E-peace", Biodiversity Conservation in the Dales and Leeds University Ecology Course

1st March 2008:

"E-peace believes that we should conserve and enhance the biodiversity and nature of the Yorkshire Dales for its own sake, and the government should support this. We should not have sustainable development."

This was the gist of part of the poster that a group of c. 10 Undergraduates had prepared about the hypothetical organisation E-peace as their contribution to the role play exercise in the 1st Year Field course run by Leeds University. We were meeting at Gargrave Village Hall. I am an active member of Craven Conservation Group Committee (our local natural history society/conservation group) and was there to be a "resource person".

Resource people for other groups included quarry person (executive?), A tourist, a farmer, a National Park worker etc.

Each group had about 45 minutes to pick the brains of their resource person.

So I told them a little about Craven Conservation Group and also eight other conservation organisations with which I or other members of the group have connections, and gave them some leaflets and photocopied articles. CCG has many activities including survey work, educational walks, conservation work such as scrub clearance on bogs, help with the local biodiversity action plan, and occasional protest/issue letters.

Helpful to me had been a visit to one of our members who does work for the Council for the Protection of Rural England. She and another member of CCG were featured in the local paper this week in a lively article about flowers on roadside verges.

I also gave them some Christian Ecology Link leaflets, and offered to get a Moslem leaflet should anyone want one.

They asked me "Why should we protect the nature of the Dales before anything else?, and not have sustainable development?"..

Their question was refreshing - We are getting so used in the Dales and other organisations to have to "sell" wildlife and show it is useful.

This put me on the spot. There are so many if, buts, provisos etc -

1. Which bits do you save? - there are some areas of high importance in the Dales, and some that have been so "improved" by agriculture that I would not have thought it was worth spending money on them... Was it their remit to save/improve everything? It would be better using the resources e.g. for tropical rainforest or countries with higher biodiversity.

2. Which rare plants and habitats of the Dales to mention? This group were just starting their degrees and mostly are not naturalists, several of them had not visited the Dales yet and this is the first day of their field course.. I told them about two rare plants (which I won't put on this blog,) and then told them about the Northern Marsh Orchid which is a beautiful plant which grows where water oozes out of limestone soil. I told them that half the limestone pavement (a habitat of international importance) in Britain occurs in North Yorkshire, and said we still had a few valuable lowland bogs and fens.

3. There are extremely few species and habitats which only occur in Britain. 15,000 or so years ago the North of England under ice. The species that grow here now have all spread back in.

"So" I thought, "Shouldn't we really be using our limited resources for protecting habitats with more biodiversity importance than the Dales - such as mangrove swamps, tropical forests, coral reefs, even our own sea bed floor."

4. We have to protect our "Nature" places for their own sake, and because if we don't look after our places of conservation importance, how can we expect people in other countries to look after theirs, which in many cases are so much more valuable than ours?

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Palm Oil Perambulations and Soya Search

Why aren't we doing more to save the rainforests and other species rich habitats?

According to a Friends of the Earth report written two years ago, at CURRENT RATES of Forest destruction in Indonesia, the orangutan will have become extinct in the wild within twelve years from then (- so that's ten years from now). Forest is being burned to grow huge monoculture oil palm plantations.

Fact: 10% of the food you buy in a supermarket has palm oil in it.

If you were to stand in the food department in Tescos or ASDA or the Coop and throw a cucumber up in the air there is a one in ten chance it would land on a food with palm oil in it. Usually it is just labelled vegetable oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Try it. Go round your supermarket and look at the labels. Often it is only the high quality food that actually labels it as palm oil - the cheaper brands just label it simply as vegetable oil.
Another crop that is replacing the rainforest is Soya. A chemical called soya lecithin is used as an emulsifying agent (helps water and oil to mix together) in many food products. It has other uses too.

It is also exported to the UK in vast quantities to feed cattle.

Meanwhile have a look at this site.

So tomorrow, why don't you go for a walk round your supermarket or grocer's shop and see if it is true that 10%of the food contains palm oil?

Finally to my delight I found the following:.... Patersons olive oil oatcakes:


Sunday 17 February 2008

How to organise a presentation evening

Friday 8th Feb- Presentation Evening

A further £65 was donated at the Presentation Evening, bringing the total raised so far to: £295

The presentation evening went well.

In writing up this blog I am torn between:
  1. Making it sound like a ravingly successful project (when in fact there is sometimes an awful lot of work for a small return..)
  2. Writing this in a rivetting blog style (still learning) rivett, rivett
  3. Giving useful advice for others who may want to do a similar project
  4. Just making a true diary of what happened.. It is hard enough finding time to write things up while I can still remember.
Who came?
  1. Our team of five organisers: Myself - the speaker, David Briggs the chairman , digital projector provider and operator, and Hilary, Lesley and Richard making the coffee and scones.
  2. Two people came from our church
  3. A couple came as a result of my handing out leaflets for the coffee morning
  4. Six people came as a result of my sending out emails to Craven Conservation Group and others.
I wrote out a detailed programme and emailed it to the chairman and we both forgot to bring printed copies. However the preparation did mean we were able to pack a lot into the session.

At the beginning I asked people to work in pairs and find from their partner: their name, where they lived and anything else the partner wanted to say. They then had to introduce their partner to the group. This created a good buzz.

I gave a 15 minute talk on the importance or rainforests, and how they are being lost- e.g., Just one urgent example is that at current rates of forest destruction in Borneo the Orang-utan will become extinct in the wild withing 10 years according to a FOE report.

Main threats throughout the world include:
  • To Palm oil
  • To soya
  • To cattle ranching
  • To mining such as "coltan" rare metals for mobile phones in the Congo Basin
  • To logging, especially illegal logging
I showed how much of this is linked to things we buy

Palm oil - soap, hydrogenated vegetable oil in food, etc
Soya- soya lecithins (emulsifiers) in processed food
Soya - to cattle food in this country
Cattle - Corned beef, leather
Coltan - Mobile phones
Logging - Garden furniture in Garden stores.

Then we showed extracts from two videos of the World land Trust: One on Belize, made in 1994, and one on the Philippines made more recently. The Philippines video is about an island - where as well as forest there is mangrove swamps and also an important marine reserve. Fishing is a key source of income for the people there but overfishing by big trawler ships and also local over fishing had reduced fish numbers. By having certain parts of the coral sea protected from all fishing, fish numbers were beginning to pick up.

There was then coffee and scones and lots of opportunity for questions and discussion.

Work before the meeting involved:
Sending off to World Land Trust for the videos and more leaflets
Having support of local group at church who voluntered to get projector tea coffee etc
Preparing display used at coffee morning.
Producing posters for local shops and sending a short item to the local paper.
Sending out an email to my contacts list.

Sunday 10 February 2008

How to get more people to your coffee morning..

On Tuesday 5th February we had planned a coffee morning at Richard's flat.

  1. We changed the location and held it at the Church - so that it became "The First Coffee Morning of the Season in the Church" - The church has coffee mornings on Tuesday (market day) mornings - but there is a break over winter. This was good because more people know where the church is than Richard's flat, and a good number of the "Regulars" came
  2. This regular Coffee Morning has two big signs we put up outside the church. These signs drew two sets of people.
  3. I had put up a few posters round town.
  4. I spent half an hour just before we opened going round Settle with A6 size leaflets giving them to peopleI knew and I called in at several shops and Age concern. This resulted in three sets of people who would not have come otherwise, and who also were very generous.
People could see the big writing on the display I had made without having to go too close.

Everyone enjoyed the freshly ground fair trade coffee.

About 30 people came including ourselves, and we raised £80. That was £50 to buy and acre with World Land Trust and £30 to A Rocha ghana.
Thanks to all who supported it!

Saturday 9 February 2008

Speakers Club, Amazon, and "Don't Eat Beef"

"You can save the Rainforest" was the title of my ten minute speech at Craven Speakers Club on Monday 28th Jan 2009, it went well. The tips I have learned at Speakers Club are helpful. I'm not giving the text here - You'll have to come and listen to it sometime!! I wore a brand new t-shirt that a friend had given me two years earlier with pictures of useful fruits of the Amazon. and would you believe it - whilst I was practicing the speech two hours before the talk, she skyped (phoned) me from Brazil! "What should I tell them in my speech?" I asked "Tell them not to eat beef" she said. "They are cutting down the forest for soya and then the soya is exported as cattle food to Britain."

Sean McDonagh's Talk at Bradford

On Tuesday 29 January I attended Sean McDonagh's two talks at Bradford University. I used the opportunity to tell people about the St John's Methodist Church Rainforest Project.

Fr Sean McDonagh (on the left) is a Columban priest who worked in the Philippines and has written many books on Christianity and Care of the Earth. His talks today were on Climate Change, Environment and Faith. I had taken a display of Christian Ecology Link Resources.
At the beginning of the first talk members of the audience were invited to say a little about their organisations and upcoming events - WHICH IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA. (In the Centre is the Bishop of Bradford and on the right the organiser)

I told people about Christian Ecology Link and I told them about the St John's Methodist Church Settle Rainforest Project. You can see my report of the day here:

Sean McDonagh has written a book about species extinctions, which is very good in spite of the morbid cover. I give some of the VERY USEFUL quotes and facts from his book here. You can print it as a leaflet here.

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Our crops replace the forest

On Monday 28th January I was scheduled to give a speech at Craven Speakers Club in Skipton. At Speakers clubs we practice giving speeches and are evaluated by other members of the club - and everyone learns and has fun from the performances. I had chosen to give one entitled "You can help save the rainforest".

I spent much of Monday preparing for this. I took for part of the theme the fact that according to a Friends of the Earth Report, in ten years time at current rates of forest destruction in Borneo there will be no orang-utans left in the wild.

I wanted to show some of the main reasons why the forest is disappearing and how it is linked to our lifestyle. I needed visual aids. First I found my eight year old mobile phone -coltan.

Coltan - rare metals from quarries in Zaire. Then I toddled down to the Coop.

Palm Oil: Brown bread rolls with vegetable oil (palm) and soya four.
Peanut butter - well that has palm oil from the outside of the nut. - It gives peanut butter its special taste..
If you were to throw a stick of celery in the air in the food section of a supermarket it would have a 10% chance of landing on something containing palm oil - usually labelled simply as vegetable oil.

Soya: White Fair trade white chocolate with soya emulsifier (soya lecithin - I had learned a new word).
Soy sauce
And the bread rolls above.
And really I should add ordinary British beef -- since our cattle are fed on soya.

Corned beef- from Brazil. Hmm interesting that one variety bothered to state that it was made from cattle not from newly cleared land.

Whilst there I met David and Hilary Briggs (Our minister and his wife).

Later that evening he skyped (phoned) me to suggest we have the first coffee morning at the Church rather than at a house to make it a bigger event and also to start of the "Coffee Morning Season in the Church"

I'll write about how the talk went shortly
Meanwhile I need to prepare display material to be used at the talk to be given by Sean McDonagh at Bradford on Tuesday 29th.

Friday 25 January 2008

Donate Online

The following pages have just been created and are awaiting your donations! :)

I have put Facebook Links to them from my profile in Facebook.

A Rocha UK is dealing with the money we send in for A Rocha Ghana.

So now I hope the money will pour in.. ???
Please consider donating to one of these charities.

Thank you - Judith Allinson

And the News on BBC as I write this -
BBC webpage 24 Jan 2008: Brazil Amazon deforestation soars - rising commodity prices are encouraging farmers to clear more land to plant crops such as soya

Thursday 24 January 2008

Charities we are supporting

So, I wrote something for the coming Sunday's Church Newsheet:

The St John’s Methodist Church (Settle) Rainforest Fund Project:

We will be supporting mainly two charities: World Land Trust and A Rocha Ghana

World Land Trust

says: “You can do incredible things: For just £25 you can buy Half an Acre of critically endangered habitat that will save some of the rarest animals and plants on earth. Working with local. people we create reserves to save precious habitats and species. Already we have rescued over 350,000 acres of wilderness in Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Patagonia and the Philippines. David Attenborough is one of WLT's patrons.”

A Rocha Ghana

This is a Christian organisation which is why I have chosen it as one of our lead charities. The Ghana project (formerly called the Eden Conservation Society) works with sustainable projects with two communities who live next to Mole National Park in northern Ghana.

Make a note in your diary of two meetings for the project: (More details of these next week)

Tue 5th Feb: 10am-12. Coffee Morning Richard Pike invites you to Flat 7, Dawsons Court, Settle

Fri 8th Feb: 7.30pm. Rainforest Fund Presentation at St John’s Methodist Church Hall