Bolivia Climate Conference Update

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Over 20,000 people have convened in Cochabamba to take part in the People’s World Conference on Climate Change that opened earlier this week. The event is being held because of the  real threat to the existence of humanity and the environment from climate change and the failure of the Copenhagen Conference to reach any fair and binding deals. boliviapic

Evo Morales opened the conference speaking before an estimated 15,000 people, including several Latin American heads of state; government representatives from Africa, Asia, and Europe; and indigenous delegations, Morales detailed his government’s proposal for establishing an international climate justice court, passage of a U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, reparations from rich countries to assist poor and low-lying nations that will be impacted by the effects of climate change, and financing of clean energy technologies. He also urged countries to open their borders to future waves of climate refugees.

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Naycher Corner – ‘When gorse is not in blossom, kissing is out of fashion.’

14 April

Yellow seems to be the predominate colour of the early spring flowers. Lesser Celandines are popping up everywhere with their heart shaped leaves and bright butter yellow flowers, whilst daffodils, primroses and dandelions are all in full bloom. Although gorse seems to be in flower all year round (hence – when gorse is not in bloom, kissing is out of fashion) it is particularly colourful at the moment. One plant which will be coming into flower soon bucks the trend – Ramsons, or Wild Garlic. You can already smell the pungent aroma of them from the woodland as you walk over the bridge at the entrance to CAT. Wild garlic leaves are much milder than cultivated garlic bulbs so you don’t have to worry about your breath so much if you intend to get up close and personal with someone. The Latin name (showing off again) is Allium ursinum though where the connection with bears comes in. I’m not sure and interestingly the Welsh name is Garlleg yr arth which translates as Garlic of the bear.

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Join CAT Tonight on BBC Wales for the Mid Wales Election Debate

bbc_cymru88aThis evening CAT will be part of an invited audience to put forward an environment question to the Montgomeryshire candidates in a live BBC Wales election debate. The debate will be broadcast tonight at 10.45.

The panel in the Question Time style debate will include Glyn Davies (Conservative), Nicholas Colbourne (Labour), Lembit Opik (Liberal Democrats) Heledd Fychan (Plaid Cymru) and David W. Rowlands (UKIP), who are all standing for the Montgomeryshire seat, and an invited audience of local NGO’s, youth and special interest groups.

Tonight’s Welshpool debate will be chaired by BBC Wales Political Editor Betsan Powys and is one of three events being held across Wales that will cover all party issues from the environment to economics.

You can read political summaries by party and issue with this online tool from the BBC’s Guide to Party Election Policies.

World People’s Conference on Climate Change

The world comes to Cochabamba..

When President Morales of Bolivia launched his invitation to the world to come to Bolivia to develop a Peoples’ Agenda for Climate Change, no one ever imagined the overwhelming response it would generate. With less than a week to go before the conference, here are some of the astonishing statistics related to the conference:

  • At least 15,000 people are expected to attend from 126 countries
  • Around 70 governments are expected to attend to listen to the voices of civil society, including Presidents of Ecuador, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela, the Vice-President of Comoros Islands, government ministers, delegates and parliamentarians from Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • The following international organisations will also be sending representatives: UNICEF, FAO, UNESCO, UNFPA, WTO, OICA, OPS, FIDA
  • 180 self-organized events have been registered by different networks on every aspect of climate change policy
  • More than 50 scientists, social movement leaders, researchers, academics and artists have agreed to speak on 14 panels including NASA scientist Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of, Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, best-selling author Naomi Klein, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Miguel D’Escoto, former President of UN General Assembly, Lumumba Di-Aping, former lead negotiator for the G77 along with leaders from leading environmental organizations and communities at the front line of climate change.
  • More than 300 press have registered including major news networks and newspapers such as BBC, Radio France International, Guardian in the UK, Telesur, l Jazeera, and Democracy Now

It is clear that the conference and its objective of putting forward a just and effective response to climate change have touched a chord worldwide. It shows more than ever, after the failure of Copenhagen, that the hope that we can address the climate crisis lies with the people of the world

gagwebThe objectives of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth are:

  • To analyze the structural and systemic causes that drive climate change and to propose radical measures to ensure the well-being of all humanity in harmony with nature
  • To discuss and agree on the project of a Universal Declaration of Mother Earth Rights
  • To agree on proposals for new commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and projects for a COP Decision under the United Nations Framework for Climate Change that will guide future actions in those countries that are engaged with life during climate change negotiations and in all United Nations scenarios, related to: Climate debt, Climate change migrants-refugees, Emission reductions, Adaptation, Technology transfer, Finance, Forest and Climate Change, Shared Vision, Indigenous, Peoples, and others. These are split into 17 working groups, which will form basis of the final document of the camp.
  • To work on the organization of the World People’s Referendum on Climate Change
  • To analyze and develop an action plan to advance the establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal
  • To define strategies for action and mobilization to defend life from Climate Change and to defend the Rights of Mother Earth.

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CAT Get Up Close and Personal with the Local Mosses and Lichens at our Nature Knowledge Share

As part of CAT’s monthly Nature Knowledge Shares, Margaret Howell an expert from Aberystwyth University, took us on a guided tour of CAT’s diverse and abundant moss and lichen population.

Despite the rain, we were captivated for two hours learning how to identify common mosses and lichens, their favoured environments and the unique ways they colonise and spread. It became clear in the short session, of the breadth of knowledge that our expert, and our locals, had to share.

The setting for the Nature Knowledge Share series is usually Coed Gwern, CAT’s 15 ache newly managed woodland, but the environment around CAT is so plentiful that we didn’t need to go far to locate over 20 species, before heading back to the CAT restaurant to debrief on what we had found [see our flickr slide-show above].

The monthly Saturday morning sessions each have a particular focus from identifying the calls of birds to learning traditional woodland crafts. The next Nature Knowledge Share will be this Saturday morning (April 17th) with the theme Mammal Detectives. We are calling for locals living within a 20 mile radius of CAT to suggest the specialist focus of the following session on Saturday 15th May.

To book a place, make a suggestion for the May session or to find out more about Coed Gwern please contact CAT Biologist Grace Crabb on 01654 705971, or email

7 April

The bluetits are well into their courtship rituals at present and will soon be sorting out their nesting sites. The courtship follows a set sort of pattern and is easily observed as there are so many of them around. The initial ‘chat up’ will take place on a branch or hedge when the male will tentatively proffer an offering of food, usually a tasty grub or caterpillar to a likely looking female. If she fancies him, she will respond by crouching low and opening her beak, and sometimes fluttering her wings coquettishly. ( the avian equivalent of fluttering eyelashes perhaps?) If she accepts the present then the male has pulled and he will cockily continue to bring her other delicacies while they search for a suitable nest site. When they find somewhere and start to think about building a nest, the behaviour subtly changes and the male can be a little hesitant in entering the nest area with food until he is sure the female is happy with him.


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CAT launches new book and info service to help people claim feed-in tariff incentives

PV solar roof at CATSince the 1st of April householders and communities installing electricity-generating technologies such as small wind turbines and solar panels have been entitled to claim payments for the low carbon power they produce. This is thanks to the governments’ new feed-in tariff incentive scheme (FiTs) – which guarantees owners of renewable energy systems a fixed price for every unit of electricity they produce for the next twenty-five years.

To coincide with the launch of FiTs – CAT publishes its new book – Choosing Solar Electricity: A guide to photovoltaic systems – and launches a free information service designed to help people make the most of the new incentives.

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We’re asking the climate question. Maybe you should too.

climateq1So the election has been called and we’d like you to make climate change a key election issue. Ask the Climate Question have got an action plan that makes it easy for you to find your local candidates and ask them a climate question. CAT has supporters, members and friends all over the country – and if we all get involved we can help make climate change a key election issue.

CAT will be asking climate questions to our local candidates (and in fact and election candidates we come across local or not) and we’d like you to do the same.

Here’s how to get involved and ask a climate question:
Go along to your nearest Climate Question time. Here’s a map of all the climate question time events happening across the country.

When the candidates knock on your door or stop you in the street make sure you ask them a climate question. How about:

  • Will you commit to putting the UK on track to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, through strong domestic action?
  • Will you commit to ensuring at least 15% of all energy comes from renewables by 2020?
  • Will you commit to providing the UK’s fair share of finance to the developing world in addition to existing commitments on overseas development aid?

… or make up something of your own.

Email your MP with a question. Fill in your name and post code at the Climate Question website and there’s a ready made email ready to go off to your MP. You can go with the standard questions or make up something of your own.

How to Ask the Climate Question with twitter

Check out who is standing for election in your area by entering your name and postcode at Ask the Climate Question.

See if your candidates are on twitter – just search for their names.

Then tweet them a question. Like this:

@YourCandidateName Will you commit to ensuring at least 15% of all energy comes from renewables by 2020? #climateQ @centre_alt_tech

Make sure you @ your candiate so they see your tweet. @centre_alt_tech too – we love to know what you lot up too. And make sure you #climateQ

It you get any good answers make sure you RT them

Naycher Korner- Update

Rennie ( and Ovy) write….

1st April

Morning Everyone
Today let’s draw attention to the waters of our lake where migrating European Pool Flies have taken up temporary residence and have been mating for the past 48 hours.This rare species has become a worrying addition to our shorlord-howe-island-stick-insectes this year, normally confined to the continent. They are easily identifiable by their reddish wings and large jagged proboscises with which they deliver a vicious bite, by way of injecting their eggs into a warm blooded host. These eggs incubate within 12 hours after which the Pool larfi (up to 100 at a time!)break through the host’s skin — not a pretty sight.They then transform to adult state after a further 24 hours of gorging themselves on their host of choice.

Preventative tactics then—- Should you wish to avoid being a banquet for the voracious Pool larfi!!! The adult fly is highly adverse to Theobromine ( A mild natural stimulant and molecular “cousin” of caffene).Luckily for us Chocolate is one of nature’s or should i say Naycher’s most concentrated sources of Theobromine,so would highly recommend topping up frequently with chocolate and a smear of melted chocolate to exposed areas (face,hands,arms etc)is essential.There was also a chocolate based deterant spray on sale in the so would suggest enquiring there also.

This should deter the fly from landing upon you and starting the whole grizzly process.
The “laying” season should commence today for a 24 hour period and would strongly recommend that afore mentioned precautions are taken to minimise cases.

Enough said—– so all that’s left is to wish a Happy Easter to one and all!

2nd April

Keep your eyes open for a bright splash of red on the ground amongst the bits of twig and rotting wood in the surrounding woodland — it will be a small fungus that is relatively common in this area during the winter and early spring— the Scarlet Elf Cup. It grows directly out of sticks and small logs and looks like a small goblet ( hence its name) up to 3cm across with a brilliant scarlet interior and a pinkish white outside. They like damp and soggy conditions and there seem to be quite a few around this year.scarlet-elf-cup-sew-6-4-9-08
Fungi have some really imaginative and descriptive common names ( although serious mycologists only use the dry Latin names)– just wrap your tongues round these: Dog Stinkhorn,Death Cap, Fly Agaric, The Blusher, False Chanterelle, Spindle Shank, The Sickener, Red Staining Inocybe and best of all The Destroying Angel !
In fact , it’s a fungi thing, but since I’ve discovered toadstools there is not mushroom in my life for anything else.  Sorry!

6th April

In Charlie’s Orchard ( that’s the little area of woodland by the river ,on the right as you turn off the main road ) the ground in the centre is covered with two small blankets of one of our earliest spring flowers — the Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa ). These lovely little woodland plants flower early before the leaf canopy shuts out the light. Another name for them is Windflower because of the way they  turn away from any breeze. They respond quite actively to light, opening out when the sun appears and closing up when it clouds over and at dusk. They do not seem to produce viable seeds and spread very slowly through their root structure, so they are fairly localised and are usually a fairly accurate indicator of ancient woodland if found in large quantities. I suspect that our flowers may have been introduced but I’ll throw that open to any much more knowledgeable botanists out there. Whatever, they are very pretty little flowers with a lovely musky smell.  There is a beautiful bluish form of Wood anemone found in North Wales and I once came across some when exploring woodland near Portmadoc I think , but it was after a few pints at a local pub with some friends so the details are a bit hazy. In fact they were probably bluebells!