Category Archives: Environment

Why Sukk really does Suck!(Especially in Burma)

Okay, cheesy headline but there is a good reason for it.

The lovely people at the Mule Newspaper in Manchester have uncovered some murky going-ons with the latest energy drink that ‘SUKK!’.

If you happen to live in Manchester, you would have had trouble avoiding this new jelly-based drink. SUKK were on local radio, on Spotify if you tried to avoid them, they wanted to be your friend on facebook and were being promoted all around town.

Well it turns out that the Tata Group, which is currently on the  Burma Campaign for human rights and democracy blacklist for selling services and equipment to the Burmese government,  has been using a subsidiary company called Clever Jelly to sell its latest drink in Manchester. Yep, you guessed it- Sukk.

According to the local Ethical Consumer Magazine, Burma is ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military regimes and has even used forced labour to prepare the country for tourism.  War Resisters International have a page dedicated to the  company’s seriously messy history and its role in violating human and labour rights and environmental standards, as well as their involvement in financial scams.

These include deadly conflicts with indigenous groups for mineral resources, pollution, supporting Hindi fundamentalist groups and setting up its military activities with a $50m investment from Israel to manufacture Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), electronic warfare systems, missiles, radar systems and security systems.

But that’s not all. It turns out that they have been using local grassroots organisations such as the alternative and quirky Afflecks Palace as well as the local cycling organisation ‘I Bike Mcr’ to promote their product.

I Bike Mcr unaware of SUKK link to Burma

Nes and Ed from the cycling group told the Mule: “If we had known who it was we wouldn’t have done it. The marketing company that approached us, Mad Media, said it was the Clever Jelly Company who wanted the promotion doing. They offered us £350 and as we’re in debt we took the money.”

“Initially they had tried to hijack Critical Mass but we were clear to them that this wasn’t appropriate. In the end we only had to send out an email and sort out a route and we refused all joint branding with them. In the past we’ve turned down corporate sponsorship. Red Bull approached a while ago but we said no,” continued Nes.

Afflecks Palace image via Christopher Ellison

After talking to MULE, Bruntwood the company which owns the Afflecks building said that SUKK material would be taken down from the website and added that Afflecks would not be participating in anything similar again.

“If we’d have known beforehand we wouldn’t have gone ahead with the promotion…” explained Tony Martin of Bruntwood.

Its seems that the above were well and truly duped but apparently Manchester’s Key 103 is currently taking part in an online promotion with Tata and declined to comment after the MULE informed them they were  supporting a company that had known links to military dictatorship.

Key 103's online promotion

Typical.

Maybe someone should email them and politely tell them to think about it again and maybe change their mind. Here’s their email in case you were in that way inclined 🙂

Email: Clare.bostock@key103.co.uk

Phone: 0161 288 0103 – Studio Phone Number
0161 288 5000 – Reception

Postal Address: Key 103,
Castle Quay,
Castlefield,
Manchester,
M15 4PR.

It states on their website that “If making a complaint, please include your full name, postal address and telephone number so that we can contact you to discuss your comments. We reserve the right not to process complaints that do not include this information.”

Nes and Ed from the group said, “If we had known who it was we wouldn’t have done it. The marketing company that approached us, Mad Media, said it was the Clever Jelly Company who wanted the promotion doing. They offered us £350 and as we’re in debt we took the money.”

“Initially they had tried to hijack Critical Mass but we were clear to them that this wasn’t appropriate. In the end we only had to send out an email and sort out a route and we refused all joint branding with them. In the past we’ve turned down corporate sponsorship. Red Bull approached a while ago but we said no,” continued Nes.

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Eco-Mosque donates over £50,000 to community project

Image of Mosque dome via Atomicjeep

In a time when public sector funding has all but run dry, a mosque has dug deep to donate £52,000 to save a neglected church and transform it into a community centre in Levenshulme, Manchester.

Since hitting the headlines back in 2008 as the first eco-Mosque in Manchester, the mosque’s Bohra community have sought to support the local community and were happy to become one of the largest investors in the ambitious ‘Levenshulme Inspire’ project.

Centre Director Kate Chappell was thrilled by the generous investment, “It’s wonderful to see the community pulling together to make Levenshulme a better place for us all and this level of support has by far exceeded our expectations. Levenshulme Inspire exists to celebrate the diversity of the area and bring people together….”

Envisioned as a multi-use centre, it will include a cafe, space for clubs and groups to meet, a media enterprise centre, a church, a range of business and enterprise advice as well as fourteen social housing apartments.

Levenshulme Inspire has come about due to the vision of local church members and Ed Cox, Church Leader, said: “The mosque’s investment symbolises the strength of inter-faith relationships in our community. The relationship between the church and the mosque began with plans to develop a joint youth club which we hope will now come to fruition when the centre opens later this year.”

Inspired by Muhammad… to protect the environment

Inspired by Muhammed is a new campaign hoping to show a different side to Islam to the UK general public. It coincides with a national poll which found that whilst more than half the British population associate Islam with extremism (58%) and terrorism (50%), only a mere 6% believe that Islam promotes active measures to protect the environment.

So with that,  they launched a media campaign of the profile of three Muslims- one who cares about women’s rights, social justice and the final one looking at the environment by Kristiane Backer.

Muhammad emphasised the Quranic decree of treating the earth as a trust, and humankind its guardians. Likening our planet to a sacred place of prayer, “All of the earth has been made to me as a mosque,” Muhammad promoted respect and responsibility towards the environment amongst his companions. He encouraged water conservation, instructing them not to be wasteful even if they were next to a flowing river, and stipulated the importance of keeping public places tidy: “One of the branches of faith is to remove litter from the street,” he said.

Today, we are encouraged to recycle, conserve, and care for the world around us. If Muhammad was here today, he would echo the same ecological concerns that he did over 1,430 years ago. Current ‘plant a tree’ campaigns sit well with Muhammad’s credentials. He organised the planting of trees and date groves, and turned forests into conservation areas called  ‘hima’ or sanctuaries for thriving ecosystems.

Hopefully I’ll be able to link to their videos and it also worth checking out the animal welfare video by Sarah Joseph of Emel Magazine.

Pranking for Change: Astoria Scum Bridge

Cute little video about a project by Jason Eppink and Posterchild whose urban prank embarrased the local government to fixing a street problem. How great is that?!

All you need to know about Manchester City Council

…Well, everything you need to know in under five minutes.

Marc Hudson of Manchester Climate fortnightly and a million other ambitious project has put together a five-minute vid on Manchester City Council and the Environment which every activist in Manchester should watch. Despite people running around proclaiming the rise of globalisation and a global village, in reality the local level politic is where the average person can have an impact.  So knowing your stuff on a stuff locally makes a lot of sense.

I am sure Marc won’t mind me saying that it’s a pretty rough-n-ready video but it delivers what it promises and more would be appreciated.


[Artwork information: Emmesse, Townhall. Emmesse is a local artist who is best known for his surreal cityscapes and whose work is displayed in Mooch Art Gallery in the Triangle, City Centre.] ~ I thought this was a really cool portrayal of the M’cr Townhall …I like it~

Last Chance Saloon: Climate Change Leaders

Five days ago, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moo named Costa Rica’s Christiana Figueres as the organization’s top official on climate change to replace Yvo de Boer of the Netherlands who had quit during the disastrous Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, December 2009.

Mark Edwards/ Still Pictures

Just over 165 days ago, leaders of the world met to set real targets to tackle global climate change through mitigation (reduction of CO2) and adaption (resilience and dealing with climate change) and came up with pretty much nothing solid.

Nada.

Zilch.

It was pretty horrendous- some would say as was expected- and it brought to my mind something that Mark Edwards an environmental photographer I met during his Hard Rain exhibition in Manchester said:

I  think this (Copenhagen) is the last opportunity for governments to govern on this issue, and if they don’t come up with a clear plan that takes us to the point where our scientists are saying is necessary… Then it becomes a citizens imperative and we will have to act if we are at all concerned as a species.

With David Cameron now proclaiming that he wants the coalition government to be the ‘greenest ever’, it is really enough to make you wonder. Especially as Cameron failed to make any commitments to cut the UK’s emissions, to cut airport expansion, coal or to discuss any post-Copenhagen agreements.

As Deborah Doane, director of the World Development Movement says  “History will judge this government on its green credentials by its policies to cut the UK’s emissions dramatically and getting a fair international climate deal, not by turning off its lights at night.”

Well put.