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Jul 10, 2009

Some may think that sense has finally come to the bureaucrats in Brussels who adopted the rules some years ago (at the behest of major food producers/ traders so when they spoke about e.g. cucumber they wouldn't have to spend time explaining what they were talking about), but that does not mean the days of immoral amounts of food waste are over, as an article in The Independent shows. The thing is: the internal rules of supermarkets are much stricter because only uniform fruit and veg can be put through the washing and packing machines...

So hurray the rules have been abolished (well, for 36 of the 46 anyways), but with the conglomerates power in the food market, do not expect to see them any time soon (unless you enjoy a nutrition & taste-wise superior version from your back garden, allotment or local organic veg box).

Bad news is that research showsthat a majority of Americans, contrary to scientific consensus, do not believe humans are to blame for climate change.

But congratulations to Bundanoonin Australia for banning bottled water. Bundanoon's battle against the bottle has been brewing for years, ever since a Sydney-based beverage company was going to extract their water, truck it up to Sydney for processing and then selling it back to them. A reminder on the 'menace of bottled water', see a short clip from the Open University UK.

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Posted: Jul 10, 2009 5:28am
Mar 22, 2009
Today, 22 March, is World Water Day... time to remember how valuable (and scarce!) water is:


By 2030, more than half the world's population will live in high-risk areas. Humanity is facing "water bankruptcy" as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilising the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity. The two reports – one by the world's foremost international economic forum (World Economic Forum) and the other by 24 United Nations agencies (link to report as published on UNESCO website) – have been published in preparation of the most important conference on the looming crisis for three years. The World Water Forum, which will be attended by 20,000 people in Istanbul (Turkey), will hear stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.

For a link to the full article in The Independent

My 2p: privatisation of water is NOT the answer (on the contrary, it will make situation WORSE for the poorest and is fortunately in line with my faith: Islam)

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Posted: Mar 22, 2009 10:06am
Mar 16, 2009

Assalam aleikum (may peace be upon you) Brothers & Sisters in humanity,

May this message find you in the best of health and spirits.

Most film premieres are an exclusive affair. Yesterday's 'people’s premiere' for ‘The Age of Stupid’ was not. In fact, it will be recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest premiere in history (and all that using just 1% of greenhouse gases associated with ‘mainstream’ film premiere). The launch was supported by Stop Climate Chaos, a group of some 100 humanitarian aid, environmental and others. I attended the premiere in Birmingham, England (sat-links enabled simultaneous premieres in 65 cinemas around the country).

It was a scary movie with some of the known facts about climate change and about the certainty that man has a significant role to play in it (plus what ‘big oil’ etc are doing to try to keep us in the dark!), but what we need to remember, and that is why I am writing you this message, is that, especially as humanitarian aid workers, there are PEOPLE behind these facts and figures. In increasing numbers, it is the people we are trying to help and shouldn’t nor needn’t be in that situation (e.g. the Iraqi kids in Jordan featured in the film).

After the film there was a video message from Mohamed Naseef, President of the Republic of Maldives, who concluded that: “People often tell me caring for the environment is too difficult, too expensive or too much bother. I admit installing solar panels and wind turbines doesn't come cheap. But when I read those science reports from Copenhagen, I know there is only one choice. Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.” Remember the Maldives are just 1.5 metres above current sea levels.

And this morning when I came in to work I read about yet another two reports – one by the world's foremost international economic forum (the WEF, not some fluffy extremist greenies… ) and the other by 24 United Nations agencies – with stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.

So, we have a choice, listen to President Mohamed Naseef and all the UN reports prepared by thousands of scientists and then go back to ‘business-as-usual’ or, especially as Muslims (even those who find the science too complicated to understand), we can say ‘we have a duty of care’ (as reminded in the Quran in e.g. Al-Anam [6] , verse 165) and even if we don’t succeed, at least we can say to God on Day of Judgment, and to our (grand) kids before that: I’ve done my best…

Thank you for taking the time in reading the above. May God reward you for your efforts (easy start is save several tens of pounds per person per year by switching off all your electrics like computer & printer when leaving the office and switch off lights in unused rooms or when there is daylight available - save cash & planet).

My 2p. In peace,


PS: “Water use has been growing far faster than the number of people. During the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that it used increased nine times over.” - article in The Independent

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Posted: Mar 16, 2009 6:01am


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Rianne ten Veen
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Solihull, United Kingdom
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