Cardiff campaigners have been fighting to save the trees in their local park

People living near a park in Cardiff have managed to halt what they call the “senseless destruction” of ancient trees in their area.

The controversial plan which would see around 40 of the trees felled, was needed to protect homes and local businesses, according to Natural Resources Wales.

But, in a dramatic stand off, contractors were forced to suspend the work as residents refused to abandon their protest.

 

Cardiff artists are fighting to save a graffiti walkway

More than 900 people have signed a petition to protect artwork on the Millennium Boardwalk in Cardiff City Centre.

The boardwalk has hosted artists and hip hop musicians from around the UK. Artists say there were plans in the pipeline for cultural festivals and events to take place in the area.

Graffiti artist Amelia ‘Unity’ Thomas started the petition, she says the boardwalk’s a non-threatening environment for people to get involved with graffiti culture.

“There’s so much potential with this space. It’s important for many people as well as being a draw for tourists. Graffiti culture is relevant to young people who may have had chaotic lives and disadvantaged backgrounds. It gives them an opportunity to engage with something.”

Another artist, Matt Woodward, comes from Gloucester to paint on the boardwalk. He says, “It brings colour and character to Cardiff.”

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Keiron Jones, who runs the first ever Welsh graffiti store in Cardiff city centre says there are serious messages behind some of the artwork.

Mr Jones, from Oner Signs & Leisure on Church Street, says some of the art is memorial pieces to people who have died.

Keiron Jones has been a graffiti artist for around 30 years

Memorial piece dedicated to 'Toaster'

Another significant piece of artwork on the wall is the section dedicated to victims of domestic violence. The writing lists names of women who were killed in 2016, “Most by a man they loved.”

A spokesperson from Cardiff City Council says, “It was agreed the Millennium Walkway could be used as a legal street art wall for a short period of time. This area will be used to publicise the UEFA Champions League Final in the week prior to the match on 3rd June and we are looking for an alternative location for the artists and will continue to work with the promoters on this.”

Cardiff among the worst recyclers in Wales

Welsh Government figures show only 57% of rubbish in Cardiff is recycled, that’s 5% less than the national average.

Recycling is on the increase in Cardiff, but it’s lagging behind some other Welsh counties. In Ceredigion they recycle 70% of their waste and Cardiff City Council wants the capital to match this amount by 2020.

The Council has launched a new campaign “Recycle Responsibly” to help people understand what can and can’t be recycled .

It says some people are confused about what should go in their bins with items such as food, shredded paper  and even dead animals being thrown into green recycling bins.

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Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire, says “One of the things you notice with campaigns is people do things, but then slip back into old habits.

“We need people to consistently recycle or there will be a negative impact on the environment.

“If people think that it might be recyclable and it’s a dry item then they should put it in their recycling bags because we can always separate it later.

“The biggest problems come from wet items, shredded paper, and plastic bags being put in green bins. These contaminate other rubbish, maker it harder to recycle.”

The campaign is on going.

Welsh language campaigners call for bilingual BT meetings

Welsh language campaigners are angry BT aren’t holding any bilingual consultations in Cardiff over the removal of phone boxes.

They also say it’s “totally unacceptable” for BT to only use English signage in their payphone booths.

Colin Nosworthy, from the campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, says big companies don’t see Welsh language communication as a priority.

“There are massive problems with companies like BT who could easily afford to provide things in Welsh. Their treatment of the Welsh language is insulting.”

A BT spokesperson, said: “We should have ensured that our payphone consultation was done in both Welsh and English across Wales.

“We immediately replaced the signs with bilingual notices in those parts of country with the highest number of Welsh speakers. Unfortunately, given the size and scale of the consultation we were unable to replace the signage in every payphone across Wales.

“As a business we’re committed to the promotion and use of the Welsh language. We would like to apologise for initially installing English-only signs in our payphones as part of this consultation and have taken measures to ensure that this shouldn’t happen in the future.”

It is not a requirement for BT to have bilingual consultations. But Campaigners are calling on the Welsh Government to make it compulsory for them to communicate in both languages.

The Welsh Government has been approached for comment.

HOPE not hate: The anti-racism organisation that’s trying to take Nigel Farage to court

Anti-racism cardiff

Nigel Farage has accused the organisation HOPE not hate of being extremist.

In an interview with LBC, Mr Farage said the widower of Labour MP Jo Cox, Brendan Cox, was part of an extremist group. “[HOPE not hate] who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”

The chief executive of HOPE not hate, Nick Lowles, said in a blog post, “even by his standards, Farage’s comments were disgustingly offensive.”

HOPE not hate are raising money to take Mr Farage to court. On their website it states:

Our lawyer has just sent Farage a letter demanding he retracts and publicly apologises or we will begin legal proceedings against him.

We attended a training session with HOPE not hate in Cardiff to find out more about what the organisation does.

img_2435 Some participants from the training event in Cardiff with Tom Godwin from HOPE not hate and…

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Students Fight for Veggie and Vegan Options at University

Originally posted on Huff Post Young Voices.

2016 is the biggest ever year for vegans, with brands such as Quorn releasing egg-free products, Guinness planning to create a vegan beer, and Ben & Jerry’s announcing dairy-free ice creams. Universities are generally known as places that advocate this sort of forward thinking and embrace positive change. Why then do so many British universities seem so behind on providing vegetarian and vegan options in their student unions?

Students at the University of Birmingham were recently appalled to find that the Guild of Students altered the only vegan option on the menu in Joe’s Bar (vegan wedges) making them unsuitable even for vegetarians. This came as a huge blow to vegan students, especially as it followed the decision to introduce milkshakes to Joe’s Bar rather than providing more vegan options. Lizzy, a French and Drama student at Birmingham, commented:

 

‘I think it really speaks volumes when an accessory food option such as a milkshake is chosen over introducing a new vegan option (when no others exist). Also for a uni that claims to be going green, they’re not really attempting to fight climate change at the heart, with food and agriculture. It just feels like a punishment for being vegan (as usual) and that the university doesn’t take the lifestyle seriously, viewing it only as a fussy eating habit which they are not obliged to cater for, when it is so much more than that. Also, Joe’s can’t even give you the 14 allergens when asked which is pretty awful considering it’s a legal requirement in restaurants and bars now. This makes it very difficult to find an unlabelled vegan option on the menu when the staff cannot tell you if it may or may not have dairy or egg etc in it. It’s not very nice to have to sit and watch all your friends eat in Joe’s every day while you have to hope that there’s a vegetable samosa left in Spar.’

Rosie, a second year English student, was also disheartened by the change in menu at Joe’s Bar. She said, ‘it’s outrageous that I can’t eat in my own student union, they shouldn’t only bring the wedges back but there should have been many more options in the first place […] Veganism is a growing worldwide phenomenon and to not support it really illustrates an outdated element of the university as well as highlighting its failure to cater to all students. The uni claims to be inclusive but really falls short at this particular element.’

 

It is not just Birmingham that seems to be struggling with providing for vegans and vegetarians. Students at both Huddersfield and Middlesex University have started petitions to include more vegan and veggie options on campus. Mark from Huddersfield said that there is only so much cheese or hummus a vegetarian can have. In his petition he requested that the SU shop provide a wider selection of veggie options considering there are so many vegetarians at the university. 74 students liked the motion and it had no dislikes. In the comments, students seemed concerned that there were not enough dairy-free options, aside from just chips. Last year, Jack started a similar petition in Middlesex. He noted that the choice of vegetarian food was poor at best, not even catering to those who were lactose intolerant. Jack commented, ‘I have no choice personally but to bring my own food due to this. I’m sure that others will agree.’ The petition gained 48 likes and no dislikes. Students from Middlesex also noted that vegan options, as well as being few and far between, were extremely expensive, making them far less accessible.

 

However, it is not all doom and gloom; universities such as Bristol, Sussex, Sheffield and UEA are introducing more and more vegan and veggie options every year. Bristol SU offers a veggie Sunday roast, UEA have vegan sandwich options in the Grad Bar and Unio every day, and Sussex have a vegetarian café on campus serving Quorn Bolognese, mezes and quiches. Sussex also holds Go Green Week, the UK’s largest week of student climate action, where you can get vegan hot chocolate, vegan-friendly cider, and vegan bean burgers. Alastair, a final year Drama student at the University of Birmingham, said ‘I can remember eating in the Sheffield SU back in October and the vegan options were incredible!’

 

If you would like to see more vegan and vegetarian options at your SU, start a petition, and remember that you are not alone.

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