"Friends" of the Earth

When we caught the train in London very Early on the Friday morning we were joined by a Helen Baxendale, who was in the cast of Friends, who travelled with the UK Friends of the Earth Activists and shared our accommodation on a primary school floor.


See photos of the Copenhagen trip at http://www.flickr.com/photos/foefalkirk/


The Falkirk wave banner as part of the Flood march

After the wave we joined the flood

The Friends of the Earth Falkirk Three- Corrie, Des and Norman, returned from Copenhagen after taking part in the Friends of the Earth International "Flood" and a 100, 000 strong Climate Justice March through the streets of the city. Photos and information from the trip will follow just as soon as we catch up with some sleep.


The Wave Glasgow 5.12.2009

Friends of the Earth Falkirk activists joined the thousands of others walk through the streets of Glasgow


Christmas – let’s keep it local this year

Being keen environmentalists, I’m sure you will already be thinking about how to enjoy a green Christmas. You will have ordered your recycled wrapping paper, e-cards and organic turkeys but what about the local element?

I have been thinking about how we all enjoy our local meals on a regular basis and often talk about needing to bring things down to community level. Then Halloween happened and I saw guising replaced with trick or treating, turnips replaced with pumpkins and localism went out the window.

So how can you enjoy a local Christmas?

I guess things don’t get any more local than your own home, so why not make your own presents this year? People always appreciate homemade jams and chutneys, hand-made knitting and sewing, home brews or even tablet and cakes. Do you have any interesting or particularly admired plants that you could split? If this isn’t your thing, why not give your time – offer to walk a friend’s dog for them, babysit or mow their lawn next year.

Then look around Falkirk. The wee farm shop has some great local honey at the moment and the West Carmuirs shop is the perfect place to get all the ingredients for your Christmas dinner (including potatoes grown in the field next to the farm). Remember to use local independent shops and support local charities (including the charity shops which are a real Aladdin’s cave of unusual gifts).

The next level up is Scotland of course and this opens up a lot more possibilities.

Why not enjoy Cairn O’Mohr wine on Christmas day rather than imported varieties ( I highly recommend the sparkling strawberry). For the women in your family, Scotland now has plenty of producers of beauty products (http://www.etsy.com/shop/missballantyne uses lots of organic ingredients and hand-blends her fresh products in small batches – containers can be returned for reuse too) and for men, Scotland has hundreds of whiskey’s to choose from or what about Larbert’s very own brewery. Talking of food, Scotland has a countless number of suppliers of cheese, biscuits, meat, fish...

I’m going to try and source all my gifts from Scotland this year, why don’t you join me?

Corrie Cuthbertson


Up the Canal.... with a paddle!

Dealing with the problem of litter could be described like being up a particular creek without a paddle. However I was involved in a recent litter pick where Action Outdoors in Brightons provided the paddles, the canoes and the litter pickers in an attempt to clean up a stretch of the Union Canal. I joined the Hallglen Youth and Environment Group as they collected bottles, bags, a tyre and a golf trolley while getting to grips with steering a canoe and remembering not to lean too far out the boat and risk falling in the water. Being in a kayak instead of a canoe it was easier for me to turn on the water and I was sent to get the litter left behind by the fleet of canoes.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the group who had sharp eyes for litter. Teenagers are often seen as caring less about the environment: That difficult age between the enthusiasm of primary school and the responsibility of adulthood. This group of teenagers were great examples to all ages within their community.

Dawna Chisholm from the Hallglen group said “The young people loved getting out on the water and were very competitive with each other, which was great as we ended up with loads of litter some of which was bizarre, ie a car tyre and golf cart. I wish more people thought the way our young people do, I am sure the fish and wildlife were pleased to see their home a bit cleaner.”

Eliot Sedman from Action Outdoors explained that a number of canoe clubs across Britain have a clean up on the water they use regularly. Hopefully this litter pick will become a
regular occurrence and give people like myself, who walk and cycle along the canal regularly, the opportunity to get involved and give something back to the environment we enjoy. I now know a group of young people who would jump at the chance to do it all again. So I will finish with a quote from one of the young people themselves, “this is peachy when are we coming back”.

By Norman Philip


Secret Penguin Competition

Colony of miniature penguins descends on Scotland Pocket a Penguin today – Save the Human tomorrow. A colony of climate-refugee penguins set off from Scotland’s capital on a brave mission to carry their message of ‘Save the Human’ across the country.
The pocket-sized model penguins are launching a competition with Friends of the Earth Scotland to call on all politicians to pass a strong Scottish Climate Change Bill.
Fifty of the threatened birds are heading to secret locations around the country, five
to the Falkirk area, and are to be found splashing in city centre fountains, enjoying
scenic vistas from on high, or pronouncing their message in busy high streets.
Those lucky enough to befriend a penguin – all individually named – can log onto
www.pocketapenguin.org.uk to find out more about the penguins’ plight - and our own.
They will also have the opportunity to enter a fabulous prize for a bicycle worth £300 from
the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative’s ‘Revolution’ range.


Bowhouse Primary welcome and new champion and make tetrapak wallets

Local CREW champion Lissa gave her first ever public workshop to 26 primary school children in Grangemouth with the help of another group member. The highly enthusiastic eight-year olds proudly showed off their latest project of cars make entirely from scrap. The CREW champions were impressed with their imagination and the wide range of materials used, including remote controls, cars full of shopping and exhaust pipes made from drinking straws.
The kids then split into two teams to see who were the best wicked wasters and who were the SMART (save money and reduce trash) shoppers. The workshop was rounded off with the class making their own wallets from used tetrapak juice cartons. This activity is new on the agenda this year and certainly went down a storm with them as the wallets were quickly filled with dinner money just in time for the lunch break bell.

For more information to request a CREW workshop contact Norman Philip by email. click here.


Monday 18th May Climate Change event

On Monday, 18th May, Friends of the Earth Falkirk is hosting an introduction to the Scottish Climate Change Bill by Cathy Peattie MSP Depute Convener of the Transport, Infrastructure
and Climate Change Committee. Her presentation will be followed by a guide to the Friends of the Earth Scotland Big Ask Scotland Campaign.

Where: Kersiebank Community Centre, Grangemouth 8pm- 9.30pm MAP here
When: Monday 18th May 8pm-9.30pm

Tea/coffee and stall available from 7.30pm.
If transport is an issue please contact us and we will try and help out with transport.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Friends of the Earth groups in Fife and Falkirk welcome the UK
government announcement on 23/4/09 to expand fitting of carbon capture
and storage equipment from one UK coal fired power station to several.
This should mean Longannet becomes one of the first power stations to
be fitted. Given the will this equipment could be fitted to Longannet
by 2013 and, with additional equipment Scottish Power is already
proposing to fit to reduce acid rain emissions, this should provide a
future for the site beyond 2015.

Longannet is not the only large greenhouse gas emitter in the area and
the opportunity should be taken to ensure that the system can
accommodate emissions from Grangemouth at the same time.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this engineering will
provide the UK with the opportunity to become a world leader in
producing the equipment for carbon capture and storage, which would
secure long-term jobs in the UK.

We call on all those with power and influence to ensure the equipment
is fitted to Longannet rapidly and made suitable for Grangemouth to get
economies of scale.

Norman Philip


Monthly Meeting 30th March 2009

Friends of the Earth Falkirk will be holding a Spring Clean Meeting on Monday 30th March, 7.30 to 9.30 at the Christian Centre, Glebe St, Falkirk. Local activists will be encouraged to spring into action and lobby their local MSP's to call for strong legislation as the Climate Change Bill goes through the Scottish Parliament. There will be updates on the three current local group priority campaigns- Big Ask Scotland, CREW waste project and Local Food. The meeting will also have a presentation from Community Green Initiative (CGI) a hands-on, volunteer group working to clean up litter, flytipping and dog fouling in the local villages of Dunipace and Denny.

This will be an open meeting and anyone interested in finding out more about the work of the group is welcome to attend.