Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Charities Performing In The Dark

You wouldn’t think that large national charities could turn away lucrative sponsorship and corporate membership but that is what the The RSC (212481) and The Royal National Theater (224223) are doing. The financial contributions from BP, Shell and Equinor are no longer acceptable according to climate change activists and these  ‘national treasures’ charities have bowed to their demands.

Other publicly supported organisations including the Science Museum group, The National Gallery and the British Museum are also potentially being targeted.

Comment and Concerns

  • I assume all future performances will be undertaken without the use of light and heating which has been generated from fossil fuels!
  • The public purse should not be used to fill the funding gaps created by the virtue signalling rejection of BP and Shell’s funding support. The charities should now ‘cut their cloth’ appropriately.
  • Are trustees acting in the best interests of their charities

Barbed Comments at The National Trust

The National Trust are to ballot members today 20th October 2018, on a motion to ban barbed wire. It took 50+ members out of a total membership of 5.2million to get this motion moving!

In an outbreak of commonsense from the charity the board of trustees state they are not in favour of the ban.  There are concerns it would cost millions of pounds, cause mayhem for tenant farms and create several unintended consequence.

In 2014 a government petition to Ban the Use of Barbed Wire in the Countryside ran for 6 months and attracted 70 signatures. To get a parliamentary debate 10,000 signatures would have been needed.

 


This method of fencing is harmful to animals and humans alike. It’s sole intention is to cause pain or injury in order to contain livestock but unsuspecting wildlife are often harmed on fencing or old rusty discarded wire left lying around. Once injured they will often die slow painful deaths. It is also often used on stiles and can scratch or cut anyone legally using it. It is time it was banned as there are many perfectly reliable alternatives available nowadays.

 

 

Greenpeace Logging Dispute

Greenpeace Environmental Trust 284934 – is the UK charity arm of the international campaigning organisation that started in 1982 with the objective of “furthering public understanding of and promoting the protection of world ecology and the natural environment”. The charity made £6million of grants in 2016 of which £1,500,000 was to Greenpeace Ltd

During 35 years Greenpeace has developed a reputation for  ‘protecting the Earth through positive action …. by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse.

A $300-million racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace, launched by logging and paper manufacturers Resolute Forest Products based on laws aimed at combating organized crime, has been dismissed by the judge in Northern District of California. Lawyers for Resolute claimed “Greenpeace’s true focus is on “emotionalizing” issues and raising funds rather than any lofty environmental initiatives. Because soliciting money, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s primary objective.”  After the ruling lawyers for Resolute say they will ‘appeal and expects to prevail’.

Concerns

  • Charities fighting for a cause tread a fine line when it come to using supporters and donors money to pay lawyers.

Fallout Shelter

Shelter, National Campaign for Homeless People Limited  registered in England 263710 and Scotland SC002327  was founded 50 years ago as a result of the fall out from the 1966 TV documentary ‘Cathy Come Home’.

Shelters current aspirations are stated on their web site ‘We strive every day to give people the help they need, and we campaign relentlessly to achieve our vision of a safe, secure, affordable home for everyone.’

In the short term Shelter is suffering from some self inflicted fallout following the Grenfell tower block conflagration and political posturing.

  • Sir Derek Myers, Shelter’s chairman together with fellow board member Tony Rice resigned from the charity on 23rd June 2017. Sir Derek Myers is the former Kensington & Chelsea RBC, and Hammersmith & Fulham LBC chief executive until 2015.
  • Tony Rice is the chairman of Xerxes Equity which owns Omnis Exteriors. This company was a fundraising charity partner for Shelter with permission to use their logo.
  • In a Guardian report ‘Shelter rejected accusations that it had been too timid in its response to the disaster, saying that it had prioritised the provision of housing and legal advice to Grenfell residents in the wake of the fire’ at Grenfell Tower.
  • Jon Kenworthy  former vice-chair of Shelter said that ‘Myers had been vetted stringently before being appointed to the role.’ .. “The current trustee board reflects the needs of the charity, with its members having professional backgrounds and experience in charities, finance and accountancy, HR, fundraising, business, law, property, media and campaigning and public policy, including housing,”

Looking back at Shelter

  • If the remit has been to ‘campaign relentlessly’  to make everyone safe and secure how are they doing on behalf of those suffering from public sector housing indifference?
  • With an annual expenditure of £60 million or about a £1 per head of the UK population are they delivering value for money? They certainly have lots of individual projects.
  • Shelter had £18m in cash and investments at the end of March 2016 but with 1115 staff this may be a necessary cushion.
  • In the 12 months to end March 2016 Shelter lost 7 trustees to ‘retirement’ making 50% or 9 in 15 months.
  • A quote from the history of Shelter at 50 ‘Our commitment is that we will never shy away from telling tough stories, or from uniting and mobilising the public, as our founders mobilised the public in the 1960s. Shelter was founded on a will to address a deep injustice in society…..’
  • How goes the war on the grim reality of slum housing?

Concerns

The febrile climate of political incompetence, media hype, commercial patronage and lost personal values needs to stir up more than just this one charity.

UK housing public and private sector is at odds with a fair and equitable society. If Shelter are to be part of the solutions, 50 years on from their foundation, they need some effective leadership, conviction and clarity of purpose.

There seems to be little or no grass roots tenant representation on Shelter’s board of trustees but an ample number of ‘professionals’.

Woodland Heritage Trust

A mere sapling of a charity founded in 1994 it has recently dramatically increased it’s  growth rate, resources and impact. The £2m in the bank and support from many other trusts, charities, foundations, legatees and organisations is a testament to Woodland Heritage’s vision and work on Acute Oak Decline, The Red Squirrel Survival Trust and forestry industry education.

Prince Charles patron of Woodland Heritage sends ‘…..all the ever-growing membership my warmest good wishes’ Reports & Accounts 2016

Book Cover

The charities focus is on the protection, conservation, management and enhancement of woodland and timber resources in the UK and the promotion and advancement of sustainable wood supply in particular by making grants and supporting other charities, voluntary bodies, individuals and organisations and:
– helping people and organisations to conserve, grow and maintain better quality trees and woodland areas via the provision of advice and financial support, thereby securing environmental, economic and social benefits from their endeavours;
– demonstrating the value of those parts of the timber supply chain under threat from obsolescence;
– acting as a resource body for connecting the growers and users of high quality timber;
– raising the awareness by the general public of the value of craftsmanship in wood and
– advancement of education of the public in general and particularly amongst other charities, voluntary bodies and organisations with an active interest in forestry on the subjects of the value of well-managed woodlands and high quality timber and on the threats facing woodland and timber resources in the united kingdom by:
– the provision of or the facilitation of access to skills and training within the forestry and timber industries;
– the provision of information to the general public on the value of and threats facing well-managed woodlands and high quality timber;
– undertaking and supporting research into improving tree stock and controlling damage caused by pests, diseases and a changing climate, and disseminating the useful results of such research;

Book Cover

Concerns

  • The sad loss in March 2017 of Peter Goodwin co-founder of the charity should not be allowed to change the drive and focus of the charity. Succession management is both an art and a science as is preserving the Woodland Heritage.
  • New staff and new initiatives should not be driven by the reserves and cash in the bank. Expenditure doubled last year so beware over-trading and over reaching is the cause of too many business and charity failures.

Shortage of Tree Planting

Four main government quangos responsible for planting and maintaining the British tree-rich landscape are a bit stumped.  According to new information from the Forestry Commission less than 900,000 trees were planted in 2016 the lowest number for 40 years. According to the Daily Telegraph it is believed that during the year three full-time professional tree planters could  exceed this total. That is where they are going wrong, t’ree fellas are not what is needed.

Government Assistance & Bureaucracy

1. Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department responsible for forestry in England and Scotland. Budget £55m pa. They have launched  The Woodland Carbon Fund  scheme to boost the rate of woodland creation that sits alongside the grant support available via Countryside Stewardship. DEFRA’s Forestry Innovation Fund is a nationwide £1 million fund to support schemes that will promote the growth of the forest industry

2. Natural England  is a £200m pa non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the 2000 staff promote nature conservation, protect biodiversity and enhancing the landscape

3. The Rural Payments Agency is an executive agency of the UK Department for Environment paying out over £2 billion in subsidies each year.

4. Countryside Stewardship Scheme now part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 which targets £3.1bn of government support for agri-environment and forestry.

Charity’s Contribution

294344 – The Woodland Trust  a £37.5m pa charity with the following objectives: ‘to conserve, restore and re-establish trees, in particular broad-leaved trees, plants and all forms of wild life in the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland and thereby to secure and enhance the enjoyment by the public of the natural environment of those territories.’

279000 The Tree Council works towards making trees matter to people; more trees, of the right kind, in the right places; better care for all trees of all ages and inspiring effective action for trees.  An umbrella body and a forum for tackling issues relating to trees and woods, it  promotes the improvement of the environment by the planting and conservation of trees and woods throughout the UK with a comparatively modest budget of £378k pa

1032154 – Trees For Cities spends £1m pa for trees in inner cities.

 Concerns

  • What happened to the bonfire of the quangos? No wood to get the bonfire going?
  • Charities fight bureaucracy on a regular basis not least when they want to organise and fund local tree planting.

Global Warming – Educators or Deniers

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)-  1131448 is a UK  think tank  whose stated aims are to challenge “extremely damaging and harmful policies” envisaged by governments to mitigate anthropogenic global warming.

 They have significant cash reserves built up over  the 5 years from £1.7m of donations made by private individuals and charitable trusts .
‘The Trustees are satisfied that the self-denying ordinance contained in the Protocol for the Acceptance of Gifts laid down at the first meeting of the Board of Trustees to ensure the Foundation’s independence from energy interests is being strictly observed’  …………..yeh right but there is not the detail of donations in the report and accounts that many other charities would include.The GWPF professes to be ‘an all party and non party organisation’ without an official or shared view about the science of global warming and supporters cover a broad range of political opinion and differing views. This is exemplified by the trustees listed below

The GWPF publishes a range of reports on a regular basis including:

  • Reporting on 31 March 2017 to US congressional committee Professor John Christy said ‘climate science is dysfunctional, beset by bias and group-think, and is using a profoundly unscientific approach’.  Professor Judith Curry explained that “consensus science”, as practiced by much of mainstream climatology, was “not science” at all, while “self-deception”.
  •  Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway) has published a report where he concludes that “There is little doubt that we are living in a warm period. However, there is also little doubt that current climate change is not abnormal and not outside the range of natural variations that might be expected.”

Read On…

Marine Conservation

The Marine Conservation Society is not one of the Goliaths of the membership driven group of charities that includes RSPB, National Trust, English Heritage, National Trust for Scotland or Royal Horticultural Society. Never the less it is a membership organisation that punches above its weight as it seeks to secure healthy and plentiful seas.

1004005 – Marine Conservation Society Aims

  • Reduce beach litter and dumping at sea,
  • Encouraging wider sale and purchase of sustainable seafood
  • Creating areas of protection in our seas, just as there are on land.
  • Working with schools, industry, politicians and the public to ensure the seas are not out of sight and out of mind.

Courting Controversy

After the successful agitation  for a charge on plastic bags attention has been refocused on other marine pollutants. A ‘micro bead ban’ is a key initiative to save fish from eating plastic soup. Not only face scrubs and toothpaste but some washing powder and floor cleaners contain nano-beads that enter the food chain. Wet wipes are another gripe for a future initiative.

The charity made a recent statement that  ‘scientific advice means three haddock fisheries in the North Sea and West of Scotland are no longer on their green ‘Fish to Eat’ list.’ Media interpreted this as an attempted ban on haddock when it was intended to ‘encourage people to make informed buying decisions, and to try and choose seafood from the fisheries and farming methods that have the least impact on our seas’.

Getting a petition up about Balloons that can entangle and choke wildlife to death. Volunteer beach litter pickers and cleaners saw a rise of over 50% in the amount of balloon litter on UK beaches. This was dwarfed by over a quarter of a million pieces of mixed beach litter collected in one weekend by 6000 volunteers.

Concerns

  • Balancing involvement with business and industry is a delicate task. The sustainable seafood coalition names some of the major players in the industry.
  • Considering income and expenditure is less than £3m per annum a great deal is being achieved. More money and growth is not a surefire way to success.
  • The marine environment  still appears to be a low priority for the UK government. Better policy, management and control is needed.

There is a clever statement in the quarterly magazine asking members of mcsuk if they have a potentially useful connection with a ‘Trust, Foundation or Livery Company that may be able to support some aspects’ of the marine conservation work. This is sensible leverage to help with a gigantic task and widen involvement.