Monthly Archives: July 2011

SISTERS Magazine: Eco-Muslimahs Fight For The Planet

For my second green column for SISTERS, the Muslim women’s magazine, I decided to delve into the world of green Muslimahs or eco-Muslimahs as I like to call them.

From women in Saudi Arabic championing recycling to eco-Muslimahs using the green message to challenge perceptions about Islam, Arwa Aburawa meets the women changing the world for the better.

 Click on the image for the full article.

Manchester’s Radical History: Abundance And Urban Foraging

Abundance Manchester was established in the summer of 2008 with the aim of collecting fruit from public trees and people’s gardens and redistributing it to people in need. The volunteer-run organisation now collects fruit from around 60 gardens every harvest and drops off the produce on bike trailers to a homeless shelter, a centre for destitute asylum seekers and the Salvation Army in south Manchester. Inspired by groups such as ‘Grow Sheffield’ which highlights the amount of food waste that occurs in an urban environment, the volunteers at Abundance Manchester also say their work illustrates the ways that environmental groups can help with social issues such as homelessness.

“It’s such a simple idea, you take fruit from people who don’t want or need it and then you give it to people who do. Most people can’t believe it hasn’t been done sooner – everyone benefits,” beams Nicola Scott, a volunteer at Abundance Manchester. Passionate about growing food locally and organically, Nicola says that what drew her to Abundance was a realisation of the amount of food waste that occurs in people’s gardens: “People seem to just inherit these fruit trees or buy houses with existing trees and just don’t know what do with them…There are some people who really care about their trees but then you do get people who still go out and buy apples from their local supermarket even though they have an amazing apple tree growing in their backyard!” Continue reading

MRH: Unicorn Grocery – 15 years of Fresh Food, Fairtrade & Organic Farming

In 2011, Unicorn Grocery, based in Chorlton, is celebrating 15 years of trade in organic, fairtrade, low-carbon and ethical produce.

Set up in 1996 by a small group of people interested in sustainable food, Unicorn Grocery has flourished over the years and now has a turnover of almost £4 million. Selling everything from local vegetables to Palestinian olive oil, the grocery has become a sustainable alternative to supermarkets. “I think what we wanted to do was to run a shop that sold the kind of things we wanted to buy,” states Debbie Clarke, an environmental campaigner who has worked at Unicorn for 10 years. “[A shop] that had an ethical outlook, that was sourcing things carefully in terms of provenance and nutrition.” Continue reading

Green Prophet: How To Stop Corporate Greenwash?

We speak to the Lebanese eco-campaigner Wael Hmaidan about corporate funding of green organisations in the Middle East and finding solutions

In a previous post, I posed some questions about green groups in the Middle East receiving funding from not-so-green corporations. Is it a good thing if they are working together to protect nature? Or are green organizations in the Middle East simply being duped by corporations who want to look green?

These are clearly difficult questions to answer but another concern is the lack of criticism that green organisations funded by un-green corporations face in the Middle East. I sat down for a chat with Wael Hmaidan, a green campaigner from Lebanon who heads an independent organisation for activists, to discuss these issues and also what can be done to stop greenwashing in the region.

Continue reading

Guardian: Questions Over Football Charity in Manchester

Initiative welcomed by Ed Miliband and Coronation Street star but time goes by without definite news. Guest blogger Arwa Aburawa asks why.

Manchester’s young footballers are due to visit Bangladesh to highlight climate change. But when?

Questions are being asked about the long delay by two Manchester city councillors in registering a charity with the object of sending a local football club to Bangladesh to highlight the dangers of climate change.

Labour’s Luthfur Rahman (Longsight ward) and Rosa Battle (Bradford ward), set up ‘Response Worldwide’ in February 2010 as part of their work to raise money for the visit by Manchester Athletic FC. This was originally scheduled for October 2010 but has yet to happen and the charity remains unregistered. Continue reading

Al Jazeera: Gulf conservation and corporate ‘greenwash’

Ford Motors has given away $1.1 million in environmental grants since 2000, and they offer $100,000 each year for projects in the Middle East [GALLO/GETTY]
Environmentalists say that polluting corporations only fund Middle East conservation projects as a “greenwash” policy.

The US conservation movement is regularly derided for its willingness to take “dirty money” from Big Oil. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, those same companies are funding significant conservation projects with no such scrutiny.

Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical and Ford Motors fund conservation projects such as the Emirates Diving Associationwhich protects marine life, IFAW Middle East , which fights the illegal trade in animals – as well as Al Yaal that works to protect Kuwait’s marine ecosystems. And all without strong criticism from either environmentalists or conservationists.

Those involved in these projects state that they do not see any problem taking funding from companies which are believed to cause environmental damage – if they are working together to protect nature. Continue reading