All Blog Posts (443)

Clissold HLF kills 200 Year Old Giant Elephants

Clissold HLF kills 200 Year Old Giant Elephants

These two iconic trees of Hackney will die as a result of Hackney's Anti Tree bias. The twin London Planes are known locally as the elephant feet. The reason is obvious when you look at their stubby butts and solid trunks. Tragically their…

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Added by Russell Miller on February 18, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments

Orchard Insect Abundance

The plan to leave long grass around the new orchards is paying off for insects. Every time I weed in one of the orchards I discover lots of great creepy crawlies. Identifying them all is quite challenging but fortunately most are fairly common species and I'm even beginning to get my eye in a bit. Here's a selection from the recent orchard care day on South Millfields last weekend (16 Jan).

Hibernating …

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Added by Russell Miller on January 21, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments

Solar electricity on your roof

There are a couple of initiatives in HAckney right now to get people using photo voltaic solar cells to produce electricity on roofs.  I'm thinking of installing a system on my roof in Dalston.  It should produce a good proportion of my electricity but only during the day.  There's no storage but it can feed back to the local grid (I'm told).

The other attraction is a feed in tarrif (FIT) return on the investment (about £10k).  The whole carbon economy is fraught with complexity…

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Added by Russell Miller on January 17, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments

2010 International Year of Biodiversity - The Hackney Perspective

2010 was a year of contrasts and contradictions as regards biodiversity in Hackney. Whilst amazing progress was made towards a long overdue Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), the reality on the ground was far less positive. Small, incremental improvements continue to be made by voluntary groups and dedicated individuals, and there were even a few …

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Added by Russell Miller on December 30, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Tree Planting in the snow!

Last Saturday Tree Musketeers turned out in the cold to plant under the snow. Many people think you cannot plant when there is snow on the ground (some TMs included, or at least thats why they said they were n't there!) but provided the soil is not frozen trees are happier planted than standing around…

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Added by Russell Miller on December 22, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

HAPPY SOLSTICE

The beautiful white carpet may be receding for now but winter is not over. The shortest day has passed but spring is still a long way off. We are fortunate to watch nature's display from the security of our homes with access to food. For us the harsh reality of a serious winter is cushioned by technology and plenty, so we should at least enjoy its ability…

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Added by Russell Miller on December 21, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Kynaston Gardens Destroyed

Kynaston Gardens Destroyed

No more feeding waxwings, fieldfares, blackbirds or thrushes.

No insects, birds or other life exist in the barren, sanitised nightmare that is the new Kynaston Gardens. Tightly mown turf, a controlled, safe, lifeless lawn is all Groundwork think people of Stoke Newington deserve. The destruction, ignorance and lack of imagination is staggering. Are there people still stupid enough to cut down and dig up huge, old, …

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Added by Russell Miller on October 26, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Clissold HLF Insanity Grinds to a Halt

Last week the huge diggers and other heavy plant in Clissold park were mysteriously silent. No contractors were working anywhere in the park. The reason for the hiatus?  Pressure on the Council and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) after repeated damage to magnificent trees. Specifically the insane decision to do major works to exclude roots of the ornamental Dawn Redwoods from the West…

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Added by Russell Miller on September 13, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Reclaiming the Collective Super-ego

Reclaiming the Collective Super-ego

To Escape the Asylum of New World Order Ideology

[These notes are somewhat condensed (rich?). I hope to develop the text to aid interactive understanding.]

Capital and the State quickly incorporated Freud's ideas and psychoanalysis. Consequently the 20thcentury saw the evolution of a constructed, synthesised ideology…

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Added by Russell Miller on September 8, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Bark damage to Dawn Redwood, Clissold Park

During £9m Heritage Lottery funded works to Clissold Park contractors disregard for trees led to rubble being piled up under the Dawn Redwoods next to the pond.  In addition to compacting soil, damaging tree roots in breach of regulations for managing trees on construction sites (BS5837) this led to…

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Added by Russell Miller on July 29, 2010 at 16:30 — No Comments

Green Flags Fly but Trees Still Die

As Hackney celebrates yet more Green Flag Awards for parks trees in those very parks continue to die from damage and neglect.   As with so many bureaucratic, league table type systems Green Flag Awards have become a misleading indicator of 'success'.  True parks in Hackney have improved in many respects; new toilets, signs, benches, path surfacing, litter bins, etc.  The fact that these things have happened is in part…

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Added by Russell Miller on July 28, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Community Empowerment Network meeting

HEN representatives Anna O'Brien and I attended a meeting of the Community Empowerment Network (CEN) last Weds (21 July).  The CEN pulls together a wide variety of people in Hackney working for charities and the voluntary sector. It is an amazing diversity of committed organisations and individuals working to alleviate many of the worst consequences of our selfish, individualist society. Unfortunately Weds meeting was dominated by the cuts already hitting vital services like the Womens'…

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Added by Russell Miller on July 26, 2010 at 14:30 — No Comments

Recent success in protecting Hackney's biodiversity

Two significant achievements merit wider appreciation. First the mad plan to create cricket pitches on the North Marsh meadow (part of a designated nature reserve of London wide importance) has finally been seen off. After numerous meetings and considerable pressure Hackney Marshes User Group and HEN succeeded in defeating John Wade's ambition to extend the existing 50Ha of sports grassland. Cricket on the marshes will be great but why we need 3 full size pitches just at the moment we…

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Added by Russell Miller on June 14, 2010 at 15:00 — No Comments

Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan

Hackney is at last developing a Biodiversity Action Plan. We are almost the only borough in London without a BAP and with so much important habitat in Hackney the document is a vital tool for guiding maintenance operations in parks, on housing estates and elsewhere. The Hackney Biodiversity Partnership (where interested parties and the Council meet to discuss such metters) is drafting 6 Habitat Action Plans for: Parks, Woodlands, Wetlands and Waterways, Homes and Housing, the Built…

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Added by Russell Miller on June 14, 2010 at 15:00 — No Comments

Success - Council Appoints Biodiversity Officer

After years of campaigning and DIY action we have finally succeeded in forcing the Council to appoint a biodiversity officer. One of the problems in persuading the Council not to do daft things, or even to do good things, has been the absence of anyone with any understanding of ecology in both the parks department and planning. It is around 20 years since the Council employed an ecologist! Whilst the appointment of an experienced biodiversity officer (Kate Mitchell) will not put an end…

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Added by Russell Miller on February 16, 2010 at 15:00 — No Comments

Sustainability in Action - Hackney Style

The season's winter work began in earnest this weekend with dedicated environmental do gooders doing good in Wick Wood and on Hackney Downs. On Sat a hard core of HMUG veterans built a stylish 'S' shaped 50m dead hedge in a clearing in the woods. Plenty more sustainable housing for wood mice, wrens, mini beasts and fungi. A lovely mild sunny morning made the work much more like play. Then today TMs were out on the Downs planting hornbeam and native black poplars and filling in gaps in a…

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Added by Russell Miller on December 6, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

Olympics Legacy - More carbon, more tower blocks

A ugly picture is beginning to emerge of what the LDA (London Development Authority) are planning as 'legacy' in the so called post-Olympic 'park'. Neo-con insanity necessitates the inevitability of yet another property development scam but on Monday (9/11) I discovered a detail that helps bring it all into perspective. In making various calculations about where to site wind turbines the busy Olympics brains have worked out that the NW corner of East Marsh is the only possible place,…

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Added by Russell Miller on November 13, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

Why East Marsh was chosen for the turbine.

Thanks to a very poorly attended consultation event at the Town Hall this evening (9 members of the public) I think I now understand why East Marsh was chosen as the location for the 2nd Olympic turbine (another is to be built at Eton Manor in Waltham Forest). Evidently 'our' turbine will not be operational before Nov 2013, too late for the Olympics; but it must be within the Olympic site to satisfy a planning condition for Olympic legacy renewable energy. East Marsh is deemed to be…

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Added by Russell Miller on November 9, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

Power Politics and the Olympic Land Grab

One of the many issues not discussed in the Hackney Pravda advert for an Olympics wind turbine on East Marsh is why the turbine is not on the Olympics site. It is an Olympics project, i.e. ODA (Olympics Delivery Authority). The primary reason for building it is to create the illusion that the 2012 games will be Green and to help meet the 25% renewables condition of the IOC (Int. Olym Cmte) award. Rather than debate whether a turbine on East Marsh is a good or bad idea we should be…

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Added by Russell Miller on October 28, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

You can take a butterfly to water

I spend many hours hiding in Abney Park's woodland and when there this summer had a wonderful encounter with a butterfly. I watched as a Holly Blue fluttered around a muddy patch on the path one hot day. I wondered if it was thirsty and looking for water. Taking out my water bottle I sprinkled some water on the path. My friend came and went and came and went. A short while later it came again and instead of going to the water on the path it sat on top my water bottle! We then spent…

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Added by Russell Miller on September 4, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

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