Wednesday, 13 July 2011 is a website I've just launched that helps you easily tell which fish are sustainable to eat. Why? Well...

This picture terrifies me. In 1900, we can see huge tracts of ocean where there are massive numbers of fish. In 2000, the map is empty apart from a small leftover smudge clinging to the American coast.

There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea.

Where there once were swarms of fish so abundant we could catch them with simple nets, we are using ever more sophisticated equipment to locate and catch what little is left of them. Once innumerable fish like cod have been reduced to a few isolated stocks and majestic creatures like bluefin tuna are nearly extinct.

At the same time, a lot of the fish we pull out of the sea is thrown straight back in or ground into fishmeal, simply because there is no demand for them. They don't taste bad, they're just not the fish we're used to eating.

The thing to do, of course, is to eat more sustainable kinds of fish. We know this. But that knowledge alone doesn't help much when you're standing in the fish aisle in the supermarket and need to buy dinner now.

There are some very good sources on what fish to eat, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Marine Conservation Society. Both have done a huge amount of work collecting and assessing data on sustainability.

I have combined their data, and data from other sources, and turned it into an intentionally simple web page that just tells you which fish are OK to eat. You can view it on your mobile and download it for offline viewing as well. It can help you make a quick decision on what's for dinner.

Give it a spin. It should display well on most mobile phones, and if you have an iPhone or similar, you can also download the site for offline use, so you don't need a signal to be able to use it.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Things to make and do

Here comes a link-post of interesting and worthwhile things, cross-posted from my personal blog. (As such, a couple of points are only locally relevant; sorry about that.)

  • Project V (#ProjV on Twitter) is a campaign to get people to realise the impact that denying Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to those who need it would have, organised by The Broken of Britain. It was designed to coincide with the end of the consultation on reform of DLA, on the 14th February, but the consultation has now been extended until the 18th. You can read contributors' tweet-length stories here. What you can do to help (from here):
  • Whatever the reason, we now have 4 more days of the DLA Reform consultation so let us use it well. Write, e,mail, and send a Valentine to your MPs, MSPs and AMs, asking them to oppose DLA reform, tweet your story at #ProjV, and use the extra time well!
  • Meanwhile in Cambridge, the city council are planning to close the ground-floor, accessible public toilets in Lion Yard shopping centre on very shaky grounds, moving them to smaller and less accessible quarters on the first floor. Apparently they will be debating the subject on Thursday (tomorrow), thanks to the Cambridge Forum for Disabled People's work to raise the profile of the issue. If you're in Cambridge, please do read the text of their leaflet send off a quick email to the council asking them to reconsider (directions at link)!
  • More Cambridge-based stuff: the launch event for the brilliant Think Outside The Box campaign is happening on the 24th February. Details:
    Think Outside The Box Launch, Thursday 24th February, 7:30pm, Cavonius Centre, in the Stephen Hawking Building, Caius' Harvey Court site off West Road.
    The Think Outside The Box Campaign has been launched! It started with the simple idea of not forcing people into the boxes of 'male' and 'female' and now has a range of recommendations which challenge many day-to-day ways in which society tries to force us all into the gender binary. The Campaign focuses on access for and awareness of non-binary-gendered people (including gender queer, polygendered, bigendered, agendered, androgynous people) but the benefits are far wider for anyone who doesn't want to have to constantly declare a binary gender. To find out more see the website at
    We're having a launch meeting, come along to find out about the campaign, ask questions about the reasons behind the campaign or discuss plans for the future, both local and national. There'll be an introduction for people new to the issues and then a discussion so bring your questions, your ideas, your concerns and your enthusiasm and help us get this campaign going both in Cambridge and outside.
  • Via Saranga (see her post for more information), please support the Norwich Eating Disorders Association and the Abortion Support Network, both of which do vital work but are being threatened by lack of funds.
  • Moving to the international, The Godmothers is a way to get involved with helping the UN's new women's agency. I've seen links to it in a few places but The F-Word blog (naturally -- how I love it) has a good write-up here. From the front page of The Godmothers' website:
  • Worldwide more than 60 million girls have been forced into early marriage. Of the 780 million people who can't read, 510 million are female. Women work two thirds of the world's working hours but earn just 10% of the income.
    The new UN women's agency could put a stop to all this. But to fulfil its promise it needs your help.

    They are currently inviting people to take part in their first action, calling on parliamentarians to sign an Early Day Motion calling for proper funding for UN Women.

  • I haven't actually read this article yet (ho ho, I thought posting some links would be quick and it's taken most of the evening), but here is one of my favourite bloggers, Merrick Godhaven, debating Philippe Duhamel on the question: Is property damage in protest justified?
  • If anyone has read through this whole list -- and maybe sent a few emails -- you deserve a reward. Here's some really beautiful art: a billboard replaced by a swingset for two.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Halt the deportation of Brenda Namigadde

Brenda Namigadde is a Ugandan lesbian who fled to the UK in 2003 after receiving threats and having her house destroyed. Now she is due to be deported back to Uganda, despite the extreme danger this would put her in.

Why? Well, a LGBT activist called David Kato was beaten to death in Uganda just yesterday, and there is currently a bill pending in their parliament to make homosexuality punishable by death. The author of this bill himself is aware of Namigadde and has said that she must "repent and reform" or will be "punished".

Yet the Border Agency and Home Office want to deport her, arguing that there is "insufficient evidence" that she is a lesbian. As if that matters. If the murderous homophobes in Uganda think she is, she is in grave danger. And if she sets foot in Uganda, she is certain to be detained, and will probably just vanish, much as many of her friends have.

This is about as clear-cut as it gets. If Brenda Namigadde returns to Uganda, she will probably not survive. So I urge you to sign this petition to Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, to stop her deportation.