Archive | February 2013

Greenspaces and Health

I was lucky enough to attend an excellent conference today (and I mean lucky enough, when I had first made enquiries there weren’t any places left, but someone dropped out so I got a place!). Organised by Greenspace Scotland it was about Greenspaces and health in Edinburgh and held at Slateford Green Community Centre which is based in an environmentally friendly, car-free housing development in Edinburgh. There were presentations from people and organisations involved in community growing projects across the city. We also had plenty of opportunities to discuss our thoughts about how access to greenspace can improve people’s health and well-being and how to ensure that more people can access the many opportunities on offer.

All the information from the event is going to be collated into a report, but hopefully the contacts that we made will lead to real collaboration between projects. It was certainly inspiring and lovely to be able to sit outside in the late winter sunshine for some of our discussions.

Cross posted to Crafty Green Poet


Fair Trade Fortnight

It’s Fair Trade Fortnight in the UK!

Fair Trade means a fair price for products that we buy from developing countries. When we drink Fair Trade tea or coffee, eat Fair Trade chocolates or bananas we know that the people who did all the hard work producing those items are getting a fair wage. The Fair Trade premium attached to such produce is invested into the local community, often in environmental projects, underlining the links between social justice and the environment in sustainability.

The theme for Fair Trade Fortnight this year is Go Further for Fairtrade, so, here are some suggestions for how you can go further for Fair Trade in your work:

i) Your office tea and coffee are already Fair Trade? Why not now start buying Fair Trade sugar and biscuits?

ii) When catering for your events try to make as many of the items Fair Trade as possible

iii) hold Fair Trade Awareness Raising events (eg during Fair Trade Fortnight)

iv) choose Fair Trade products when buying corporate gifts, leaving gifts or Secret Santa gifts!

v) Looking for an event in your area? Search here or add your own event!

What steps are you taking to bring more Fair Trade into your work?

As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.


The Scottish Government is committed to tackling knife crime in Scotland, through the No Knives Better Lives Initiative. As part of their involvement with the issue, the Scottish Youth Parliament created We-CTV.

We-CTV is a competition where young people use production events to learn the facts about knife crime and produce short films to spread the message to their peers.  We-CTV has been recognised by the Scottish Government as an example of innovative, successful engagement.

You can view all the videos in this year’s competition by clicking on the links here.

You’ll notice that most of the videos are made by school groups. However, one video was made by young people from the Ripple Project, which is where I’m currently teaching a course on short story writing. I don’t know any of the young people involved, my course is for adults. However I do know that the Ripple Project are very proud of the achievements of these young people and their video is very impressive (scroll down on this page to watch it).

There’s still time to vote for the video that you think is most effective! So have a cup of tea, watch the films and vote for your favourite! Voting is open until midday on Monday 18 February!

As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more.

Use your artistic talents to help nature!

I was contacted recently by the Million Trees project, asking if I would spread the word! This project is a fun way to help the environment. You design a tree (or as many trees as you want to design!) and then pay a small amount as a donation to get the tree planted where you want to plant it. It’s a project that seems to be very much in the early stages and I have to admit I’m not sure on the details of how it will work, but it’s certainly nice to see creative ideas like this.

A similar project is Paint a Fish, which invites people (particularly children and young people) to paint fish, which are then uploaded to a gallery. The gallery will then be used as part of a campaign to persuade the European Union to increase the protection given to European fish stocks. I’ve been trying to draw a fish, but so far have been too embarrassed by the results to want to share them with anyone.

As ever, bold text includes hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more.