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May 2010

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There’s only one thing better than being at the Green Man, and that’s playing at the Green Man!

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This is your chance to get the party of the summer started with a bang as The Green Man has launched their annual search to find a unique, amazing and undiscovered act to open Green Man 2010.

Forget X-Factor and the tawdry TV talent shows – have you and your band got what it takes to open the festival with one of YOUR songs in front of thousands of people on August 20?

How about sharing the bill with the likes of Doves, The Flaming Lips, and Joanna Newsom and getting airplay on Green Man YouTube for a year?

Or being included in the festival promotion, giving interviews to Radio 1 and the BBC and being featured in national press and websites such as Mojo, The Guardian, NME and Drowned in Sound?

What if you got your hands on 6 pairs of free tickets for your family and friends to witness your big moment live on stage too?

A panel of top music industry judges includes Mojo editor Phil Alexander, as well as record label bosses Stephen Bass (Moshi Moshi) and Simon Raymonde (Bella Union).

Last year’s fantastic winners ‘We Aeronauts’ went down a storm after beating an incredible 600 hopeful entrants, but can you do better? Let the music-loving Green Man public – and our esteemed panel of judges – decide!

How do I enter?

Absolutely any band or solo artist can enter Green Poll. Just go to www.greenman.net, click on the Green Poll button and upload a YouTube or MySpace video of your band performing a song – it’s as simple as that.

After four weeks of public voting a shortlist of 10 acts will go through to round two – the five bands with the most public votes from round one, and five hand-picked by legendary music webzine Drowned In Sound.

Then it’s another free-for-all public vote to whittle down the lucky five acts that will battle it out in our live final at the Camden Monarch, in London, on 8th July – will you be carrying your guitar case all the way to Green Man this summer?

And what’s more, every single voter taking part will be entered into a prize draw to win free – yes, free – Green Man tickets!

So what are you waiting for? The next seven weeks could change your life forever!

Ethical consumer power is on the up as one in five British consumers now say they will punish socially irresponsible companies through their shopping choices.

Mamouna Keita, cotton farmer, Mali
Mamouna Keita, cotton farmer, Mali

The British public expect fair pay and fair treatment for workers in developing countries, and the vast majority, 86%, feel a personal responsibility to ensure workers are fairly compensated.

The in-depth GlobeScan poll of 1,500 people was commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation ahead of World Fair Trade Day (8 May), which is the international campaign to improve the lives of small producers, farmers and artisans around the world.

Making a personal difference to sustainable development and fairness makes shoppers feel good, with one in five people saying they want to do their part. Women are slightly more motivated by the feeling of doing good than men. And if companies get it right, over 60% of shoppers are likely to recommend Fairtrade products to friends and colleagues, generating further sales.

The FAIRTRADE Mark came top as the most trusted certification label and the majority of people, (64%) link Fairtrade to fair pay for producers and workers.

Cheryl Sloan, Marketing Director at the Fairtrade Foundation said: ‘It is very encouraging that UK consumers continue to be very receptive to Fairtrade and show high levels of awareness, familiarity and purchasing. Fairtrade is clearly no longer a fringe sector within retail. But companies should also take note that shoppers are prepared to send a very strong message to them about their global accountability.’

The survey showed that Fairtrade clearly adds value to products and strongly impacts on people’s intention to buy. 90% of active ethical consumers say the FAIRTRADE Mark on pack helps the product create a positive impression and many say it makes them more likely to buy a specific brand.

Recently voted the most popular animal in the world, just ahead of dogs, it seems tigers are proving too popular for their own good.

Loved to death?
Tiger tourism: has it gone too far? 

More Tigers live in India than anywhere else in the world – out of just 3500 living wild, as many as 1400 are based there. Indeed Tiger sighting trips are a very profitable and a popular tourist attraction in India. However, the Indian government has decided to stop Tiger tourism completely as it is negatively impacting on Tiger populations. It seems that while some tour operators try to be very ethical in Tiger sighting tours, others have built hotels in the middle of “tiger corridors” and are causing massive disruption.

Many people have been under the assumption that tourism to view Tigers in the wild, serve as a revenue source for habitat protection and so is of benefit to Tiger conservation. While in some areas, such as Uganda with its mountain Gorilla tours, tourism revenue is successful at protecting habitat and preventing poachers; it seems in India this marriage has ended in divorce.

An inability to prevent exploitive tour operators and curb the Tigers’ main threat of poachers has left the government to close the curtain on the striped beast. Obviously the Indian government will have to fill the deficit left and deal with the opportunity cost of not commercializing the land. In addition to this there will be tensions caused to move all humans from this area, including settled communities, to try and completely rid poachers, giving the chance for the Cats to replenish their numbers.

If you are going on a tour to see endangered species in the wild it is therefore essential to check out the credentials of the tour operator you use. It’s also surprising in this modern world that many Tigers are still killed by poachers for their supposed medicinal properties used in Chinese medicine, so make sure you don’t support this industry with unsuspecting purchases. Although China has made this illegal – it is still the major threat to Tigers. Demonstrating humanity’s genuine love and fascination of Tigers, is the fact that there are actually many more Tigers in captivity than in the wild – with around 10,000 kept in the US as pets.

The Tiger is a wild hunter occupying vast territories and living almost completely in solitary. I imagine the eye of a wild Tiger is not comparable to that of a house fed pet, and is something that we must not lose. I find it somewhat comforting to know there is an uncompromising lone hunter roaming jungles, helping to balance our decadent and routine led lives and remind us of the awesomeness nature can produce. In China, 2010 is the year of the Tiger and the WWF has set a target to double the number of wild Tigers by 2022 and I for one hope it succeeds.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake, the great artist and poet showing his allure to the greatest of the big cats.

There is nothing like being out in the hot sun, and as summer rolls into town it is natural that people want to spend more time outdoors. While the balmy beams of the glorious sun may cause a delectable warm glow, it’s what you can’t see that may blight you later.

Whether you are out in the garden, spending a relaxing day at the beach, or playing with your kids, the sun can really have detrimental effects on your hair. Hair that is unprotected can fry in UVA and UVB rays resulting in a head full of straw-like strands that may take months to repair.

The good news is that with a little forward thinking and preventive measures you can avoid the sun and surf damage of faded hair colour, brittle or dry hair, and unsightly split ends.

Magazines are full of tips on how to prevent sun damage to your hair, ranging from wearing a hat to putting conditioner in your hair to act as a barrier.  However one thing that I notice when leafing through these magazines is that there isn’t much advice on protection of the tresses when it comes to Afro hair, therefore I took the liberty of reviewing a few eco-friendly products for Afro hair.

Afro hair is unlike any other hair type and comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to hair care.  As Afro hair is already very fragile, throwing the sun into the works is only going to dry the hair out and make it more prone to damage, therefore avoiding harsh chemicals in your beauty buys is highly recommended.

Many products aimed at Afro hair are barrier creams that work by locking moisture into the shaft, but this eventually evaporates and quite often they can also prevent moisture from the air getting to your hair.  As a result the hair gets dry and begins to feel hard leaving it weak and prone to breakage.  By using natural emollients and ingredients such as shea butter, your scalp can breathe, stay hydrated for longer, and thus less breakage occurs.

With a huge range of natural eco-friendly shampoos, conditioners and treatments on the market it’s never been easier to keep your hair happy.  Plus buying products that are green not only benefits you, but the environment too.  Where do you think those products washed off your hair go?

If you fancy swapping some of your chemical laden staples for a more green selection, check out these eco-friendly favourites.

TIGI Free Ur Mind Cherry Almond Firm Hold Hairspray

This hairspray from Tigi contains only organic ingredients and plant proteins to lock in your look and Free Ur Mind to think about living the green dream.  It contains no parabens, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances – great for your hair and the planet. Comes for around £9.95 for 250ml bottle.

Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Brilliance Hair Masque

If your hair is coloured, treated, dry or over processed, you will love this hair repair masque.  Among some of the natural ingredients contained in the masque are shea butter and aloe vera which help to soften and hydrate the hair, and vitamins A, B5 and E to help  protect against heat damage.  Using this 2-3 times weekly helps to leave your hair feeling soft, relaxed, and amazingly glossy! Around £18.95 for a 200ml bottle.

Frederic Fekkai Au natural Gentle Shampoo

This gentle shampoo is infused with beneficial essential oils and plant-derived ingredients, and all absent of synthetic fragrance dyes and high impact additives like sulfates and parabens. Eco-conscious materials complete the package of this positively crafted hair care.  The results speak for themselves.  This costs around £19 a 200ml bottle

Babyliss Eco Hair Dryer

The Babyliss eco hair dryer is a must have for any green goddess.Unbelievably it gives the same drying performance as 2000W hair dryers whilst using only half the energy. Using a Babyliss Eco Dry for 10 minutes every day, instead of an ordinary 2000W dryer, saves enough energy to make seven cups of tea or 11 slices of toast per day.  At £20 it’s a bargain!

So there are a few suggestions to help you on your way to protecting your hair this summer so you can emerge in autumn with healthy tresses.  When you are tempted to ditch your protective hair care plan remember that summer always ends but sun damaged hair can last a very long time!

Situated in the Yorkshire Dales, Swinton Park is a 30 room luxury hotel holding a real passion for eco living.

The castle like stately home, which dates back to the 1700s, still lays in the arms of the Cunliffe-Lister family, and with 200 acres of estate it boasts a sense of the ‘secret garden’ as you explore romantic hidden lakes, a stunning walled garden where the hotel’s 3AA rosette restaurant finds its fresh produce, and the home of Rosemary Shrager’s cookery school for 2010.

Felicity and Mark have invested heavily in making Swinton Park as environmentally sound as possible, introducing a wood chip boiler in 2006, followed by its own laundry using O-Zone technology to reduce impact of transport . It’s inspiring to think that this historic building gains all of its hot water and heating from a renewable resource.

Four acres of walled garden produce over 60 fruit, vegetables and herbs that are used in the outstanding restaurant. ‘Samuel’s’ stands in a class of its own, from its exceptional staff who are knowledgeable about the duck you’re eating to champagne you’re drinking, as well as being able to tell a tale or two about the lady who produces the most delicious cheese from five minutes down the road.

While at Swinton Park it’s essential to grab one of the many bikes that are readily available for guests to use and take a tour of the wildlife filled estate (from ducks to deers) – we were lucky enough to ride through an array of daffodils in full bloom, creating a site resembling the yellow brick road; I’d happily be lost in this bliss for a week or two.

I’d recommend you indulge in one of the deluxe picnics – filled with local hams, cheeses, chutney made from the walled garden and other freshly baked produce – we were eating for approximately two hours and loved every minute of it!

The spa is a paradise all of its own and I fear my words cannot do it justice. There is a reason why the hotel’s website does not present pictures of the ‘exclusive’ spa – it would be a real shame to have the surprise taken away. Book in at reception and enjoy the tranquillity of your own personal space for an hour – you won’t regret it.

Real affection for the environment shines from every corner of Swinton Park and we look forward to visiting again for one of the many alfresco evenings on offer at the newly restored Deerhouse or indeed one of the foraging events taking place in the grounds (some of which are led by Susan Cunliffe-Lister – an award winning gardener who’s influence you can see all around this spectacular property).

To book:

web: www.swintonpark.com

phone: 01765 680 900

For bookings taken for a Sunday or Monday night stay during 2010, a special bed and breakfast rate of £155 per night applies to Knights, Barons and Earls rooms, and £190 per night to Dukes and all Suites (subject to availability).