May 2011


Wonderful event with BOST and local residents. It was a May day remedy to the weirdness of the roayl wedding day. Power to the people and plants!>Local residents of all ages joined a May Day party on Sunday to celebrate four years of the Brookwood Triangle Community Garden at the corner of Webber Street and Lancaster Street.

Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 
Party celebrates four years of Brookwood Triangle community garden

 

 

http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/5267

 

It was intermittently raining and shining and we had a glorious crowd of walkers who are happy in the wet. We stayed at the centre for a while at the beginning for introductions and a reminder about the skillshare aspect of the outing; that I’m not an expert, that we are all learning, that we carry around books with us to delve into for .possible enlightenment or further questioning. I mentioned that I always play it safe as a forager with groups of people, only working with plants that there is little or no risk in confusing with poisonous plants. As I learn more, I realise that even plants that I’m confident about could be confused by someone else, so we looked at a few such plants, during a wonderful revisit to Wyck Gardens, with new eyes and some new plants spied in all the wet summer lushness.

A great crowd as ever and we started the day with discussion of the elements of the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon Britain report. We all took some element of the report which was either a ‘Power down’ factor (energy use needing to be reduced by 50%) or a ‘Power up’ factor, (where the energy we do need for well being is going to come from sustainably).

Power down:

  • All new buildings must be built to zero carbon specifications
  •  We need to renovate 20 million homes in 20 years. This is called ‘retro-fit’ and represents the largest decrease in emissions.
  •  Change fuels for cars from fossil fuels to electric vehicles
  •  Make everything more local so people need to travel less (work, school, shopping, leisure, holidays)
  •  Reduce the use of the private car by vastly improving public transport, walking and cycleway systems.
  •  Get goods back on the rails. There is plenty of capacity on the rails at night.
  •  Domestic and European flights are replaced by high speed electric train network
  •  Long haul flights is reduced to one third of current levels
  •  Hydrogen and british grown biofuels (made from wood not food crops) for heavy goods vehicles that can’t be run on batteries.
  •  Animal production for food is reduced but this creates more land for overall food production because less land if required to grow feed for animals.  Food security is improved
  •  Diet and health is improved as people eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. There are still animal foods available, particularly from animals that don’t feed on grass like pigs, and chickens. One third of dietary protein would still come from livestock products
  •  Britain would become self sufficient in essentials but would still import ‘luxury’ products such as olives, wine, coffee, chocolate and bananas.

 Power up – renewable energy

  •  Britain is a wind swept country. Half the energy we need can be captured from 195 giga watts of off shore windfarms and the rest can be harvested from a mix of other renewable (solar, on shore wind, tidal, hydro, biomass, biochar.)
  •  Nuclear generators will be used until the end of their lives but no new ones would be built.
  •  Energy generation will have to happen on all levels, from gigantic offshore wind farms to micro generators like solar panels on our homes.
  •  Smart grids can predict and control demand (eg charging cars when there is excess power) so there is no break in energy provision and the lights don’t go out!
  •  There will be back up from energy stored in batteries and also backup generators using UK grown biofuels (made from wood, not food crops)

 We all took one slip of paper with one factor on it and decided whether it was Power up or Power Down, then we gathered with all the other people having the same kind of Power, talked about the information with our group, then with the opposite group. The aim of this was to further familiarise ourselves with the arguments and data around sustainable energy so we don’t get left behind with the debate and also to be able to make a difference. CAT suggest getting in touch with your MP to ask them to read the report. You can lobby your MP to sign Early Day Motion 853 which calls for Zero Carbon Britain by 2030.  To lobby your MP using the Campaign for Climate Change’s information hub see here.

Available here is the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 Report produced by the Centre for Alternative Technology, (CAT) which outlines a practical, well researched plan for reaching a zero carbon economy by 2030. To order free 8-page ZCB 2030 pamphlets, or find out about ZCB training days e-mail bruce.heagerty[at] mail.cat.org.uk with ‘Zero Carbon Britain Day’ in the subject line.

OK, onto the plants. We looked at chickweed, to not confuse with Sun spurge (euphorbia), we looked at Sow thistle, at lovely St Johns wort, and Fat Hen and Good king Henry growing right next to a similar looking but poisonous Black nightshade

 

Text from the handout on the day

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Net global emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced to zero as fast as possible and this should be the overriding goal of the entire global community acting together through a fair and binding international climate treaty.  

Within this context some sections of the global community have a greater responsibility to reduce emissions more and faster than others. The United Kingdom belongs to the richer developed part of the world with a high per capita level of greenhouse gas emissions and, as the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution, an enormous historical carbon footprint. We believe that the UK can and should do its fair share to reduce global emissions and be prepared if necessary to lead the way. 

Given the immensity of the threat we face from  the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate, the time lost already in addressing this threat and the uncertainties around, for instance, positive feedback processes and ‘tipping points’, no target can be said to be entirely ‘safe’. At the same time while justice demands that we do our ‘fair share’ our national security demands that we do not only that, but enough to persuade the entire global community to act decisively with us.

In this context we are calling for a target of around zero net carbon, and zero net greenhouse gas, emissions by 2030. We cannot be one hundred percent sure this will be enough to forestall catastrophe and nor will it be easy but we are certain that with the political will and a great deal of urgency and determination it is possible. And it will bring a great number of other benefits besides giving us a fighting chance in the battle against climate catastrophe.

ImageThe Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales has been working through its Zero Carbon Britain Project on a strategy for rapid decarbonisation of the British economy for many years. Last year it published its latest report “Zero Carbon Britian 2030″ which outlined in meticulously researched detail how Britain might reduce its emissions to  zero by 2030. This is just one possible way and there will be much disagreement and discussion over many of the details but the report serves magnificently well the purpose of demonstrating that it is possiible. Half hearted attempts or opportunistic tinkering will not do it but with bold, radical and far sighted strategies – we can.

WHERE EVERYTHING IS MUSIC
Don’t worry about saving these songs!
and if one of our instruments breaks ,
it does not  matter.
we have fallen into the place 
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instrument to playing.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirit fly in and out.

thanks Melody, for passing this on.

Invisible Food is a skill share. We operate without an expert to increase our  skills, resilience and self-reliance. We act safely, responsibly, exercising common sense, self-help, and helping each other with respect and tolerance.

With the complexity of the EU Ban on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products, I wanted to get someone to come and talk to us to get us up to speed on a complex legal issue. I haven’t found that person yet so in the meantime, and with the above in mind,  let’s work with our questions and concerns to raise our awareness ourselves and prick up our critical antennae.

As an exercise, write down your questions surrounding the following statements. Please get in touch with your questions and concerns.  We are planning a project to increase the number of medicinal herbs available to us. Contact us if you are interested in participating!

The EU directive, called the THMPD (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive) seeks to not just ban the use of herbal remedies but to actually criminalize them — making the growing or keeping of herbs for use in teas just as illegal as those for less conventional use.  Does this mean keeping herbs in your garden for personal use would be illegal?

What else do you want to know about this?

The use of traditional and herbal remedies has already been banned in Canada.

What else do you want to know about this?

“Herbal remedies are used throughout the world and have been in use since the beginning of history. This is what the witchhunts were about. How many women were killed during the witchhunt? Power is trying to obliterate our connection with the earth.”

What else do you want to know about this?

The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) is at the forefront of a massive effort to stop what they deem ‘this unprecedented attack’ on the rights of patients. The ANH is taking legal action against this directive, with the assistance of the European Benefyt Foundation (EBF).

Between them they have already managed to raise 90,000 pounds to fight the court case, but they’re requesting your help, too. Because, they say, if people don’t cry out in protest, it will be seen as agreement of the ban, or as lack of interest, which is why a citizens action group has been formed and has been circulating a petition to counter the THMPD Directive.

What else do you want to know about this?

The EU Directive erects high barriers to any herbal remedy that hasn’t been on the market for 30 years — including virtually all Chinese, Ayurvedic, and African traditional medicine. It’s a draconian move that helps drug companies and ignores thousands of years of medical knowledge.

It’s hard to believe, but if a child is sick, and there is a safe and natural herbal remedy for that illness, it may be impossible to find that remedy.

What else do you want to know about this?

The EU directive, called the THMPD (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive) will create major barriers to manufactured herbal remedies, requiring enormous costs,and years of effort. Each herb will cost around £80,000 to register. Pharmaceutical companies have the resources to jump through these hoops but hundreds of small- and medium-sized herbal medicine businesses, across Europe and worldwide, will go bust.

What else do you want to know about this?

There are arguments for better regulation of natural medicine, but this draconian directive harms the ability of Europeans to make safe and healthy choices. Let’s stand up for our health, and our right to choose safe herbal medicine.

Dr. Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of the UK-based Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) – an NGO promoting natural remedies – said: “At the end of April we plan to challenge the directive first of all in the High Court in London, on the grounds that it is disproportionate, non-transparent and discriminatory. We then hope to have the case referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.”

What else do you want to know about this?

Dr. Robert Verkerk, executive and scientific director of the UK-based Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) – an NGO promoting natural remedies – said: countries such as the Czech Republic and the Netherlands were adopting a liberal approach to implementation which meant that many herbal remedies could be construed as ordinary foodstuffs and thus escape regulation. Think about garlic capsules. This could be seen as foodstuff.

He added that other states, notably the UK and Belgium, were approaching the directive more vigorously, outlawing many more unregistered herbal remedies.

What else do you want to know about this?

The EU Directive erects high barriers to any herbal remedy that hasn’t been on the market for 30 years — including virtually all Chinese, Ayurvedic, and African traditional medicine. It’s a draconian move that helps drug companies and ignores thousands of years of medical knowledge.

What else do you want to know about this?

Examples of remedies threatened following the expiry of the deadline include traditional European herbal cures using hawthorn and meadowsweet in addition to a swathe of herbs used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic, Chinese and Amazonian remedies.

Dr Robert Verkerk said: “The problem is that [synthetic chemical ingredients] are deemed necessary by formulators in order to meet the pharmaceutical stability standards set by the EU directive. Forcing non-European herbal traditions into a European straitjacket would effectively corrupt these great traditions.”

If the ban is allowed to take effect, the ANH says it will effectively eliminate access to phytotherapy, herbalism and all of the traditional plant-based remedies of Indian, Amazonian, African and Chinese cultures. In a very real sense, then, this could also be seen a a cultural attack on specific ethnic groups and ways of life.

What else do you want to know about this?

“A new, more appropriate and affordable system of quality control is urgently required to prevent discrimination against the long-standing traditions, and this is something we aim to push for through our planned judicial review,” Verkerk said. 

On the other hand, proponents of the ban claim they are attempting to protect the naive from shoddily produced ‘snake-oil’ elixirs and medicines. They claim that herbal remedies will still be available but that they will simply be safer.

What else do you want to know about this?

In France a petition against the directive has been launched by a group of natural remedy stakeholders calling itself ‘Le Collectif pour la Défense de la Médecine Naturelle’. It states the directive imposes a disproportionately costly administrative burden on numerous natural remedies which have existed in Europe for centuries and are not dangerous. A spokesperson for Le Collectif pour la Défense de la Médecine Naturelle said: “If charlatans exist within the sector, that does not justify the persecution of those who rely on numerous producers of plant-based alternative therapies. This type of vigilance will only benefit those who are able to verify that their medicaments are manufactured using certain petrochemical compounds, from which the side effects are incontestably worse.”

What else do you want to know about this?

” This is not just about herbal medicine. Big corporations are gaining control over every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat, to the electricity we need in our homes, to our leisure activities and the way we communicate with our fellow human beings.”

What else do you want to know about this?

 This following article deals specifically with the situation for Chinese herbalists.

Traditional Chinese medicine firms may face delisting in EU market

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7343301.html

The European Union released the “Registration Process Order of Traditional Herbal Medicine” in March 2004 and required enterprises that want to remain in the E.U. market to meet registration standards by March 31, 2011. This order has set a “seven-year limit” for herbal medicine that was imported in the name of food, health care products and even agricultural and sideline native products.

Unfortunately, no Chinese enterprise has completed the registration before the deadline. This also indicates that after missing the seven-year transitional period, traditional Chinese medicine may face the risk of delisting in the E.U. market.

Why did domestic traditional Chinese medicine producers give up the opportunity to apply for the access to the European market? Guo Guiqin, deputy general manager of China Beijing Tongrentang Group Company, said that the main reason is that the registration application fees, particularly the intermediary fees, are too high to afford.

Furthermore, an application standard stipulates that related herbal drug products must already be in medicinal use in the European Union for a period of 15 years preceding the date of the application.

Although traditional Chinese medicine products entered into the E.U. market as early as 1995, domestic traditional Chinese medicine producers regrettably lacked the sense of self-protection and neglected to keep product sales records. Even domestic time-honored producers such as Tongrentang cannot provide evidence to prove that their products have been available on the markets of E.U. members for 15 years.

Although traditional Chinese medicine is very popular in Southeast Asia, traditional Chinese medicine products have often been locked outside of other overseas markets, such as the European Union. It is still possible for traditional Chinese medicine producers to export products to the European Union in the future.

In the long run, however, China’s traditional Chinese medicine industry must follow international practice in terms of product production, processing and distribution to really expand the international market.

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