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  You are here Home Information Green Room 101

 

Taking our cue from George Orwell’s ‘1984’ (and the TV show hosted by Paul Merton) we have introduced Green Room 101.

 

 
FUR

Eric Young, says of humans wearing fur...it's dead simple!

Green Facts

'H' Gregg's consignment for Green Room 101 is isolated facts; to be more specific - isolated green facts.

Silk

Nicky Headon argues we should give up silk.

Vivisection

Steve Hutton argues that Vivisection is scientific fraud!

Talking Turkey

Steve Hutton puts the case for banishing the "traditional" Christmas meal forever

A Dedicated Hater of Fashion

by 'H' Gregg of the ATC

Food Miles

by Malcolm Stroud

Litter Louts

from Councillor Paul Monihan, Mayor of Hebden Royd.

Fabric Conditioners

Myra James

The Dairy Industry

Billy Frugal

George W Bush

Chris Mcafferty

Air Travel

Anthony Rae

Water Coolers

 Roger Carson

 
 
 

If there is something that you would like to see banished to Green Room 101, just send us no more than 300 words making your nomination and explaining why (send by post / fax / e-mail to Jamie Johnson at the ATC).

It has to have a vaguely ‘green’ theme - so it could be anything from cars to nuclear power, from supermarkets to aerosol sprays or even (heaven forbid!) wind turbines or green campaigners ……. We, inevitably, reserve the right to edit your pearls of wisdom. We will choose the best ones.

We welcome your comments on the issues raised, a selection of which will be put on the page. Or perhaps you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

What do you think? Add or read your comments.
 

Air Travel

This month’s nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Calderdale Friends of the Earth Co-ordinator, Anthony Rae.

Room 101 is the opportunity to have a good old rant about something we do not like. So I'd like to make it clear that my opposition to air travel is not just from greener than green pretensions (at the moment I'm representing Friends of the Earth at the public inquiry into the proposed new international airport at Finningley near Doncaster) it's also based on ... naked fear. Is there anything more unsettling than staring out of the window of a plane at 20,000 feet? I've had to fly on two or three occasions, when I was younger and more foolish - and wondering: "What on earth am I doing up here!", with only a flimsy bit of metal between yourself and a very fatal impact with terra firma. If God had meant us to fly he would have given us wings, but he didn't, so the moral is: stay on the ground.

 

As to the more rational arguments, the aviation industry is the only other sector of the global community, in addition to the United States, that thinks it is exempt from having to participate in the Kyoto process on climate change. Air travel is growing even faster than road traffic - 150% increase as against 65% over the next 20 years - and with that comes all those harmful emissions. Not just from the planes but also from the cars taking you to the plane. Just to keep up with that demand, fuelled by ever lower air fares (airlines pay no petrol tax at all) will require more than 100 new Finningley airports over the next 30 years. With this will come all the other widespread environmental and social impacts associated with airports, such as noise and ever more concrete, which local communities are powerless to do anything about.

Two very good reasons to put air travel in the bin.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

The dairy industry is bad news

First of all, it's bad news for cows. In order to produce milk for human consumption, cows are subjected to yearly pregnancies, losing their calves a few days after birth. The cow is then milked twice a day, including the 6 or 7 months that she spends pregnant with her next calf. Instead of producing a natural amount of milk, about 3 litres per day, she produces up to 30 litres for human consumption and her full udder can weigh up to 50kg. Every year, a quarter of Britain's dairy herd suffers from mastitis and a fifth go lame.

 

It's bad news for calves. Calves are the forgotten victims of the rise of vegetarianism, unwanted by-products of the dairy industry. Most calves are either slaughtered at two weeks old for pies or calf-skin, exported to Continental veal crates or reared for beef. Falling demand for meat products means that calves are increasingly killed shortly after birth and their bodies dumped.

 

It's also bad news for the environment. Cattle slurry is probably the major cause of water contamination in the United Kingdom. It is thirty times more potent as an oxidising agent in rivers and streams than treated human sewage, contributing to fish deaths and algae blooms as it de-oxygenates fresh water. Also, each cow emits about 200 litres of methane - a very potent green house gas - every day.

 

And last but not least, it's bad news for you. Hormones and antibiotics used to force unnatural yields from dairy cows find their way into the human food chain. The World Trade Organisation forces Europe to import milk tainted with Bovine Growth Hormone. Cow's milk has no dietary fibre, a high saturated fat content and contains significant amounts of pus.

It may not be very popular, but my view is - consign the dairy industry to Room 101!

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Fabric Conditioners

My nomination for Green Room 101 is fabric conditioner. "What?" you may say. "Surely a laundry product can’t bring about the end of civilisation as we know it — can’t you think of something more worthy of your ire?"

Well, perhaps I could, but as I see it, Green Room 101 is an opportunity to voice one’s rage about apparently insignificant things in life, especially if they point up some larger areas of concern, and I believe fabric conditioner fits the bill admirably, for the following reasons:

  1. It smells awful — not only do we have to put up with its aroma on people’s clothing but it billows out onto the street from tumble drier vents
  2. It comes in plastic containers that, even given the tremendous efforts of the Hebden Bridge Alternative Technology Centre and Kerbside, are unlikely ever to be recycled
  3. It is a prime example of a product the need for which has been cynically orchestrated by the manufacturers.
  4. Here’s the science: many fabric conditioners contain artificial musks, compounds that can enter our bodies through the skin and through contaminated food. they accumulate in fat tissue and have also been found in breast milk. For more information on this and a host of other chemicals found in everyday products, see the Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth websites.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Chris Mcafferty nominates George W Bush

This month's nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Calder Valley MP, Chris Mcafferty.

At first, I had some difficulty with my choice. I was tempted by an overwhelming desire to be rid of 'Ingham's Eye View' - but Sir Bernard does claim to be green, so perhaps that was a little unfair! But having done a cost benefit analysis there was no contest - Sir Bernard only cost a few column inches; President Bush could cost us the earth.

 

On his first day in office, George W cut aid to NGOs working on reproductive health in developing nations, if their work included pregnancy termination advice - even those just helping women who had had unsafe abortions. This action will result in fewer reproductive health services, fewer Safe Motherhood programmes and a rise in maternal mortality. He then decided to develop a dangerous and destabilising US National Missile Defence System (Star Wars), using US bases here in Yorkshire.

 

Such a system would be a complete and unilateral abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a treaty specifically designed to prevent nuclear proliferation, by prohibiting such systems.

Next, he rejected the Kyoto Protocol on climate change - already signed by 186 countries. The Protocol puts the lion's share of the responsibility for fighting climate change and the cost on the rich countries. It recognises the vulnerability of poorer countries to the effects of climate change.

 

Now, he has rejected the protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention, which was intended to verify the Treaty. The convention has been ratified by 143 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea - all identified as 'rogue states' by the Bush administration to justify its missile defence plans!

All this from a man who is designated 'Leader of the Free World'. I think the 'Free world' would be a much safer place with George W in Green Room 101.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Water Coolers

This month’s nomination for Green Room 101 comes from council worker, Roger Carson.

Once there were none. Now they are everywhere. The first known sightings of them were in episodes of Kojak in the 70s around which Stavros and the aforementioned detective would discuss the current case.

 

How did we survive before they arrived on our planet. If they had a brain floating in the top of them they would probably have appeared as that weeks villain on Dr Who. In environmental terms they really are one of the bad guys. Offices everywhere now have them. Essentially these are a small fridge with a load of plastic cups by the side so their crime is several fold unnecessary plastic production, unnecessary rubbish production, unnecessary electricity consumption and unnecessary petrol consumption in the constant delivery of more water and more plastic cups. Offices have access to drinking water (not yet with added fluoride) it is provided on tap. If we are unhappy about tap water we could get a water filter or purchase bottled water ourselves and put it in the office fridge. There is of course the question of cost. We all have to pay water rates even if we use rainwater off the roof. So offices are paying additional money for a product they get anyway through the wall.

The water cooler is a global warmer.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

A Dedicated Hater of Fashion

My vote for Green Room 101 — fashion. I’m not talking about good quality and well-designed clothing, but fashion.

For the sake of our vanity we waste millions upon millions of kilowatt-hours of energy every year. We’re told that last season’s colour is out, that the length we wore last week is definitely too short or the trainers we wore an hour ago are no longer cool — and of course we do as we’re told.

 

But it’s not just our vanity that’s the problem. It’s our greed too. We want lots of it and we want it cheap! Which of course means paying very low wages to someone on the other side of the world, and shipping it here using fossil fuels.

So what happens to our three minute old cast-offs? Well, if we don’t bin them (which a surprising number of us do) we take them to charity shops — by the wagon load. Problem is, we take so much to charity shops that they can only display about 10% of what they get. The rest goes to landfill, rags or…..

….. this is the final irony — much of our ‘waste’ clothing gets shipped back round the world again to third world countries (where they were probably made in the first place) for sale in their markets.

Fashion? Stick it! — in Green Room 101.

H Gregg
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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Vivisection

This month's nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Steve Hutton who argues that Vivisection is scientific fraud! "But we mostly use rats!" - the rallying cry and plea for support from those who experiment on animals, aimed at large swathes of the public that has little sympathy for these sensitive and intelligent creatures. But why rats? Are they are so similar to us? Hardlyärats are merely considered 'good' laboratory models because they are easy to breed and house, don't require much room nor consume costly amounts of food. Rats are far easier to handle than dogs or primates and when it's time to kill them you don't have to spend much money on expensive euthanasia techniques. Scientific? Vivisecting rats has proved only 37% accurate in predicting what substances will cause cancer in people.

 

You'd get better results from tossing a coin! The vast anatomical and physiological differences between humans and animals render vivisection totally meaningless.

 

How successful is vivisection? Imagine as an aspiring chemist you have 100 potential drugs you wish to develop. On average around 90 of these substances will prove to be either of no use in treating diseases in animals (conditions that have been artificially induced to 'mimic' human illnesses such as destroying an animal's joints using corrosive chemicals to 'simulate' arthritis!) or so toxic for the animal that the new drug never reaches human trials. So you are left with 10 potential drugs. Of these, 8 will already exist - so called 'copy-cat' drugs that companies develop to avoid infringing another firm's patent. That would leave you with 2 new drugs that make it to the market. Judging success in terms of treating illness rather than sales, a success rate of about 2%.

 

And how many useful drugs are discarded because of the misleading nature of animal experiments? How many dangerous drugs make it to the market undetected by these same tests? Legal drugs kill more people per year than all illegal drugs combined! Isuprel was a medication used to treat asthma and "safely" tested on animals that proved devastatingly toxic for humans, killing 3,500 asthmatics. Suprofen, an arthritis drug, was withdrawn from the market when patients suffered kidney toxicity, despite animal tests giving it an "excellent safety profile". There are countless other examples . . .

 

Vivisection ‚ Room 101 awaits you!

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Green Facts

This month's nomination for Green Room 101 comes from 'H' Gregg

My consignment for Green Room 101 is 'isolated facts'; to be more specific - isolated 'green facts'. I doubt that this will be a popular choice, but let me try anyway.

 

I'm sure you understand what I mean by 'green facts'; they are the one-liners of the eco-world; short, easily digestible, chunks of information designed to encourage people to live in harmony with their surroundings. But do they really work? I don't think so - and here's why.

 

This is an example from the opposition. I recently heard Noel Edmonds state, on Radio 4, that wind turbines take more energy to manufacture than they produce. This is typical of the propaganda that the anti-windfarm lobby produces. And what was the green fact that emerged in response? - 'A wind turbine pays back the energy used to make it in the first six months.'

 

This illustrates the problem very well. The opposition produces propaganda - we produce facts. The problem (for there is one) is that the opposition would say the same.

Here are the usual reactions (from both sides) to these facts: 1) 'Interesting - I must repeat that to someone else, to justify my prejudices.' 2) 'What a load of rubbish, that contradicts my prejudices - here's one of my facts in return.' 3) ' So what!'

 

In short, we're probably not changing anyone's beliefs.

These isolated facts are the Big Macs of rational discussion; they offer instant gratification and provide comfort food for the mind. Just as cow-burgers may damage our physical health, so fact-burgers may affect out mental reasoning. It's symptomatic of these times that we prefer these little snacks to a hearty discourse on the subject. We just don't have the time to sit and digest a full meal. So, what is the alternative?

 

Try to present these snacks as 'starters' and always have the rest of the meal ready to hand. Always tell people where the fact came from - so that they can check it. To return to the example above; I don't actually have to hand the calculations to prove the energy payback of a wind farm; but I should! - I've often used that fact myself. Crikey! I hope I'm not wrong! How many times have you repeated a green fact without being fully aware the science behind it? Be honest!

Or you could simply say. 'Do you know how much energy a wind farm produces compared to how much energy needed to make it? Here's where you can find out.'

 

Let's get back into the habit of trying to make people think for themselves. No more sound bites please. Open your mouths or sharpen you pencils only if you know the subject, otherwise, just point people in the direction of an expert. Please let's put these isolated 'facts' into Green Room 101 and confound our critics.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

 

Fur

This month's nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Eric Young, who says of humans wearing fur...it's dead simple!

Throughout the world between 30 and 50 million animals are killed each year for their fur...that's about one animal murdered every second of every day!

 

The list of fur-covered animals that are routinely slaughtered for the so-called "fashion" trade includes mink, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas, domestic cats and dogs, coyotes, raccoons and lynx. These animals are either hideously trapped in the wild by a vicious contraption known as the leghold trap or intensively "farmed" in appalling conditions for their fur.

Mink, an animal that would normally spend half of its life hunting or playing in water, are imprisoned in cages with a floor space equivalent to two shoeboxes before being gassed (often by a vehicle exhaust pipe). Foxes are crammed into cages about 1 metre square and are usually killed for their fur by electrocution, after having steel clamps inserted into their mouths and rectums.

 

Most animals bred on fur farms are killed when they are only 6-8 months old. In Britain, generally considered to be the major rabbit "farming" country in the world, around 500 farms currently rear rabbits in bare wire cages. Approximately 35,000 rabbits are murdered each week, usually by having their necks broken or throats slit. Rabbit fur is often used as a lining on coats, collars and gloves. It is also used to cover novelty goods such as key rings, hairbrushes and soft toys.

No one actually needs a fur coat except the animal that was born with it. Synthetic fabrics can be warmer, softer and lighter than fur and it takes more than 60 times as much energy to produce a fur coat than is needed to produce a "fake" fur alternative.

 

It takes up to 29 bitches to make a fur coat but only 1 to wear it! Neither the farming of animals for fur or the wearing of real fur belongs in a civilised society. Fur...your time is up!

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Litter Louts!

March’s nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Councillor Paul Monihan, Mayor of Hebden Royd.

Litter - what a delightful word! Think of a litter of puppies, playing and tumbling with each other; or a litter of pigs, all contentedly suckling from their dam. Unfortunately these days, all we think of is litter lout.

 

Are you one? Was it you who emptied your car’s ashtray in the car park last week? Was it you who left a trail of your night out in the street past my door? When you went out last Friday, did you have six cans of beer, a curry takeaway, a fight and use a condom, then throw all the remains into my garden?

 

Do you empty your dog on the footpath? Please don't. Take it - and the **it - home with you.

Perhaps your litter "isn’t really litter at all", its 'just' the wrapper off a cigarette packet, 'just' a cigarette butt, or you 'just' spit in the street. Perhaps it’s only that you cannot be bothered to take home the box or bag when you have taken bottles to the bottle bank. Yes, we know that recycling is a good idea, but wouldn’t it be better if you took the rubbish home with you? (You didn’t use a car to go to the bottle bank, then leave the engine running while you dumped the bottles — did you?)

 

If it’s not your litter, is it your children’s? Have they left the remains of their usual school lunch of half-a-bag of chips, a packet of crisps and three chocolate bars scattered about the road or the school grounds?

Remember! Litter is not nice, litter is ugly, litter is a crime. I know that if you are reading this, then you are probably not a litter lout, but beware! If you are, it’s off to room 101 for you!

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Food Miles

This month’s nomination for Green Room 101 comes from Malcolm Stroud of Todmorden who puts the case for banishing excessive food miles.

 

‘Food miles’, the distance our food travels to reach us, with all the associated impacts that its transportation has on our lives.

 

In January our family of five weighed all the food we bought in one week and tried to record its origin. We measured distances on the children’s globe, allowed for indirect routes, did a little research and made some informed guesses.

We made sure to buy some legendary green beans from Kenya. If they really were air freighted, those 168 grammes of beans were the biggest single offender on our shopping list, putting almost five times their own weight of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The next biggest offender was again from Africa, cane sugar, for a birthday cake. We assumed that came via sea and land.

 

Those two items made up 40% of our food miles carbon dioxide. The other worst performing foods were, in descending order, lager (Germany), potatoes (Portugal), olive oil (Greece), peanut butter (USA), mandarins and lettuce (Spain), and grapes (South Africa).

 

The most virtuous food was some local cottage cheese. Next were local sausages, corn snacks produced in the UK, local eggs, butter and carrots. The milk that we have delivered comes from nearby Lancashire farms. By comparison, supermarket milk (assumed to be from France) could account for over 20 times as much carbon dioxide.

 

The lesson for us was that heavyweight imported items and anything likely to be air freighted needs to be watched out for. It transpired that typical figures for food miles carbon dioxide are between 1% and 3% of household emissions. We need all the reductions we can get, we continue to watch our food miles.

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What do you think? Add your comments.
Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

Silk

The production of just one gram of woven silk  involves the death of at least 15 silk moths. And  what a death…these moths are either boiled,  steamed alive, dried in an oven, electrocuted or  subjected to microwaves whilst in their cocoons  that they have created to supposedly protect  themselves from predators whilst they mature  into butterflies or moths.

 

The manufacture of a  silk sari will involve the death of approximately  50,000 silk moths. This is factory farming at  its worst.  Unfortunately silk production has increased  by almost 100% over the last 30 years.

 

China  and Japan are the world’s main silk producers  but India also still produces over 14,000 tonnes  of silk a year…this mass destruction of butterfly  lives cannot be justified. The most common  species of silkworm used in silk production no  longer exists in the wild.  During silk production some moths are  allowed to mature in order to create new mating  parents but in the process to obtain fine silk  threads the wings of these moths are cut off during  mating to prevent contact and contamination.  Once these moths have laid their eggs they  are also killed prematurely since they can only  reproduce once in their lifetimes. (The process  of identifying and isolating diseased moths consists  of cutting off the moth’s tail to examine it  under a microscope.) 

 

Silk oil and silk powder made from dead silk moths are used by the cosmetic industry in  skin and hair moisturising and conditioning  products including some hair mousses, face  powders, eye shadows and even some soaps. 

 

Silk must be avoided in all of its guises. Fabrics  from many plant fibres are able to produce  alternatives to silk, and the fibres from pineapples  produce a material that is as silky as anything  that traditional silk can muster!

 

The  Oxford University Spinox project has also created  a machine which mimics the way that spiders  and silk worms spin their thread. By using  a combination of artificial proteins and natural  silk-like proteins, obtained from wheat or rice  grains, a durable synthetic silk has been created.  Silk, your time is up! Room 101 awaits…    

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Or maybe you would like to contribute your own piece for Room 101.

 

TALKING TURKEY

Steve Hutton. puts the case for banishing the "traditional" Christmas meal for ever
What better way to mark the supposed season of peace and goodwill than by taking a bird, cutting off its head and feet, roasting its body in the oven for hours and then sitting down to complain about "bloody turkey again!" At Christmas it would be the ideal opportunity to show some goodwill to other creatures but many of us continue to celebrate whilst contributing to the killing of 11 million turkeys every year!


This so-called British "tradition" only became widespread in the 1950's when factory farming techniques became more widespread and nowadays almost all turkeys in Britain are intensively reared. Day old chicks are placed in large windowless sheds, or barns, often with up to 25,000 other birds crammed in around them. As they grow the birds can hardly move and the floor becomes putrid and stinks of excreta, the poor turkeys are often in agony from burns and ulcers on the feet and breasts. Farmed birds are only ever given pellets of the same unnaturally high protein feed, day in, day out. A boring, never changing diet causes frustration and stress to all farm animals.


Turkeys are forced to grow quickly in order to have an unnaturally large breast size, resulting in severe pain for the birds as their heart and legs cannot withstand this abnormally rapid growth. About two million birds a year die from heart attacks before they reach slaughter weight. Turkeys are not prone to cannibalism in the wild but in overcrowded, filthy and boring conditions they are likely to peck at each other relentlessly. But instead of changing the conditions to stop this, some of the birds are debeaked with a red-hot blade at 5 days old. At between 12 to 26 weeks of their pathetic lives the end comes for the turkeys with the vast majority of them destined to become the "traditional" Christmas type of dinner. Those worn out from constant breeding are made into processed meats, such as turkey "ham" or "sausages". Season of goodwill? Think I’ll stick to being vegan.

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