Join in with Milwaukee’s 3rd Annual Earth Day Celebration

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When: Tuesday, April 22 from 11:00am to 1:00pm

Where: The City Center at 735 N Water Street, Milwaukee, WI

ANOTHER PLANET?

Worthy Farm To Install UK's Largest Private Solar Panel SystemThe UK Government has launched its new solar strategy which aims to open up the market for mid-size, commercial and industrial onsite generation and to complete one million roof installations by the end of 2015. Much of the strategy’s focus will be on increasing mid-size deployment (larger than 50 kWp and up to 1 MWp), particularly on commercial and industrial buildings.  By driving cost reductions, innovation and improving the supply chain, the Government says its strategy will deliver a step-change in the deployment of solar PV in the UK by 2020. Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has recently completed the installation of 21,000 photovoltaic panels at its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Staffordshire, making it the UK’s largest rooftop solar panel array. Pictured is Michael Eavis with the Worthy Farm solar array on the site of the Glastonbury Festival.

The London Assembly Environment Committee has today called for more impetus on sustainable drainage and river restoration to reduce flood risk. The Committee says that focusing on these initiatives will create space for flood waters to be held higher in the river catchment and soak back into the ground.  It added that this will allow low-lying areas to flood safely at times of high water flow and is likely to “protect homes, roads and businesses”.

Supermarkets should redistribute unsold food to food banks rather than sending it to be recycled via anaerobic digestion (AD), a House of Lords committee has said. A report published yesterday (6 April) by the House of Lords European Union Committee, entitled ‘Counting the Cost of Food Waste’, said it was “morally repugnant” that at least 90m tonnes of food were dumped each year in the EU, including 15m in Britain.  It also suggested that supermarkets should be urged to scrap buy-one-get-one-free deals to help prevent food waste.

glast1Householders in the UK and France often assume that the recycling process ends when they discard an item, according to a new study commissioned by Coca Cola Enterprises and the University of Exeter. Edie.net say that the drinks giant initially commissioned the study with the University of Exeter to better understand how household dynamics influence recycling behaviours.  The research is entitled ‘Unpacking the household’, led by Dr Stewart Barr, observed 20 families, couples and single-person households in Great Britain and France, in their own homes, for six months.  The survey found that the majority of households do not have an accurate understanding of what happens to waste once it has been collected for recycling. It also highlighted how householders view recycling as a ‘linear’, rather than a ‘circular’ process.

Edie.net also reports that Ealing Council has partnered up with Greenreedem, a subsidiary of waste management firm Grundon, to introduce a recycling rewards programme for its residents. The scheme from Greenredeem will allow 130,000 households in the West London borough to earn points for recycling and other ‘green actions’ in order to boost local recycling rates and secure grants for local community projects. Residents need to register to the system and are awarded ten points for reporting what they have recycled each week, the accrued points – worth up to £70 annually – can be exchanged for discounts and offers. They can redeem points for discounts at more than 100 national retail outlets such as Marks & Spencer and Cineworld.

Amazon burningThe Amazon is becoming increasingly vulnerable to fires a new study by the National Academy of Sciences – a combination of drought, climate change and human activities such as deforestation and farming. Scientists from the USA and Brazil say that “these results provide …. experimental evidence of a link amongst extreme weather events, widespread and high-intensity fires and associated abrupt changes in forest structure, dynamics and composition”.

Air pollution in the UK contributes to 29,000 deaths each year and can shorten the life expectancy of citizens. Public Health England has calculated that air pollution impacts most significantly on city dwellers – in some parts on London one in twelve deaths can be partly attributed to long term exposure to car ehauset emissions and to a lesser extent emissions produced from heating buildings.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling for an anti-apartheid style of campaigning to boycott fossil fuel companies and countries that are failing to address climate change. Saying that in a ‘mad’ world dominated by greed, the interests of capital had been allowed to outweigh the interests of the planet and the interests of people, Tutu said “It is clear that those countries and companies primarily responsible for emitting carbon and accelerating climate change are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money. They need a whole lot of gentle persuasion from the likes of us. And it need not necessarily involve trading in our cars and buying bicycles! There are many ways that all of us can fight against climate change: by not wasting energy, for instance. But these individual measures will not make a big enough difference in the available time” saying in the Guardian newspaper “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies. We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings. We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry. We can organise car-free days and build broader societal awareness. We can ask our religious communities to speak out. We can actively encourage energy companies to spend more of their resources on the development of sustainable energy products, and we can reward those companies that do so by using their products. We can press our governments to invest in renewable energy and stop subsidising fossil fuels. Where possible, we can install our own solar panels and water heaters.” and “We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess”. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/10/divest-fossil-fuels-climate-change-keystone-xl.

power station3The UN has urges huge increase in green energy to avert climate disaster.  Mitigation of Climate Change, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of 200 scientists, makes it clear that by far the most realistic option for the future is to triple or even quadruple the use of renewable power plants. Only through such decisive action will carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere be kept below the critical level of 480 parts per million (ppm), before the middle of the century. If levels go beyond this figure, the chances of curtailing global mayhem are poor. The report – the third in a series by the IPCC designed to highlight the climate crisis now facing the planet – is intended as an urgent wake-up call to nations to commit around 1-2% of GDP in order to replace power plants that burn fossil fuels, the major cause of global warming, with renewable sources. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/12/un-urges-increase-green-energy-avert-climate-disaster-uk

The US Navy believes that its scientists may have developed a new technology that means that its ships will no longer need fossil fuel in the future – instead extracting hydrogen and carbon from saltwater in the oceans and converting these into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that will be potent enough to drive a warship> Vice admiral Philip Cullom, deputy chief of naval operations, said any practical and affordable use was a number of years away. The US Navy is already looking to fuel its aircraft carriers with 50% biofuel by 2016 in an attempt to reduce the Pentagon’s annual $20 billion fuel bill.

The UK’s biggest biomass developers are quitting Britain after accusing the Government of prioritising wind power. Eco2 blamed a government U-turn on capping subsidies  for small biomass plants that are fuelled by straw or wood as the reason for the company’s withdrawal.

THE GREENER FESTIVAL AWARDS 2014 – OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS

glast1The Greener Festival Awards scheme is now open for 2014 and we need you to lets us know if you intend to apply by April 30th.

How to Apply?

To apply for the prestigious Award – the global benchmark for green events, you need to get in touch – deadline 30th April 2014 to express your interest in the 2014 awards and then

- Pay the application fee
- Complete and submit a self-assessment form one month before your event
- Provide us with two passes to your event

If you have missed the application deadline please email awards@agreenerfestival.com at the earliest opportunity. On receipt of your application we will assign independent environmental assessors to attend your event.

What Next?

glast1You can download our self-assessment form and use the check-list as an aid to self-assessing your event and identifying areas for development here http://www.agreenerfestival.com/agf-award/ .  If you would like to apply for an award, read the self-assessment guidelines and send us your completed self-assessment.  We recognise that every event is unique and therefore we offer a bespoke and personal service, please get in touch for a chat! Email us here: awards@agreenerfestival.com.

How  Much?

The standard assessment fee is GB£210, US$350, CAN$375, AU$315, €320 or local equivalent. (plus any additional expenses where applicable, by pre-arrangement with festival only). This must be paid prior to your event.

Full Report

eotr1We now offer an optional analysis and report for £500 per festival. Due to popular demand we now offer an additional service of analysis and a report following your assessment, detailing areas for improvement and recommendations. This will provide a more in depth breakdown of your performance against our criteria.

The Awards are made in four categories: Improving; Commended; Highly Commended; Outstanding. The best performing UK festival will be awarded with The Greener Festival Award at the UK Festival Awards 2014. One AGF Committee Member also participates in selecting the winner of the GO (Green Operations) Europe Award at the European Festival Awards.

Awards Administrator  (Europe, Africa) agreenerfestival@gmail.com

Awards Administrator (North America) email jarnostegeman@yahoo.com

Awards Administrator (Australia) email  amie@greenchiefrecycling.com,

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The Awards scheme is generously sponsored by Robertson Taylor. Robertson Taylor are specialist insurance brokers in the music industry and offer a discount  insurance scheme for green events which AGF endorse.  http://rtworldwide.com/.

ANOTHER PLANET?

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012UK renewable electricity generation increased by 28% in 2013 to 52.8 terawatt-hours (TWh), up from the 41.3 TWh recorded in 2012, according to official figures. Statistics from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), show that offshore and onshore wind, solar and bioenergy all recorded significant increases in 2013 from 2012.  Offshore wind generation rose by 45.8%, with onshore wind increasing by 36.4%, due to increased capacity, as well as higher wind speeds. Generation from bioenergy was up 22.8% due to increased capacity from conversions. Liquid biofuels represented 3.5% of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport in 2013, a 0.4 percentage point rise on the share in 2012. The only form of renewable energy that generated less electricity in 2013 from 2012 was hydro, which decreased by 10.7% due to lower rainfall in catchment areas. As renewables generation increased, fossil fuel production fell, with coal, oil and gas all recording lower production levels in 2013 from the previous year.

Good news and bad news for the future of wind power: The UK Green Investment Bank is investing £241m to jointly purchase, alongside Japan’s Marubeni Corporation, a 50% stake in the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm, from DONG Energy. The deal is estimated to be around £500m. Once operational, Westermost Rough will generate more than 800GWh of net renewable electricity, equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 200,000 homes, a city the size of York. But Edie.net reports that major energy firm SSE is pulling back plans, and “significantly narrowing” its focus, on offshore wind development. As part of its streamlining programme, SSE will scale back plans for four offshore wind developments and cut 500 jobs. At present, the projects represent potentially up to 4,970MW of offshore wind farm capacity for SSE. The decision is part of the company’s plan to streamline its operations to offset the cost of the recently announced freeze on its domestic gas and electricity prices for two years.

Orange_marigoldsEdie.net also reports that DIY and garden centre retailer B&Q is harnessing “teabag technology” to help increase peat-free gardening products and remove 15 million polystyrene trays from a range of plant products. From April 2014, B&Q will replace all polystyrene packaging across its range of bedding plants with a new teabag technology that is 100% recyclable and up to 95% peat-free.  As well as tackling the issue of non-recyclable polystyrene trays, which end up as non-degradable waste in UK landfills, the new teabag Technology, called easyGrow, will see each bedding plant rooted in up to 95% peat-free compost.

Retailers are producing “viable volumes” of surplus food that arise at the back of store which could be redistributed direct to charity and provide social benefit, according to new report from the Waste and Resources Action Programme(WRAP). The trials, detailed in the new report entitled ‘The Food Connection Programme’, is the UK’s first piece of quantitative research on store-level surplus food redistribution.  The research found that while tonnages of surplus food at store level are small in comparison to the whole supply chain, the volumes are sufficient and viable to deliver real benefit to those who need it.  http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20Connection%20Programme%20Final%20Published%20Report.pdf

A botched attempt by Shell to avoid a $6 million tax bill in Alaska by towing the Kulluk oil rig to Seattle cost the oil giant an estimated $200 million after the rig ran aground near Kodiak Island in predicted bad weather in December 2012. A report by the Alaskan Coat Guard, which prompted fears of an environmental disaster, also severely criticised the Anglo-Dutch company’s planning.

Despite claims that the fashion industry is starting to adopt more sustainable practices, the majority of brands are failing to back this up with hard evidence, new research has shown. Less than 10% of companies operating within this sector are performing at a high level in terms of sustainability, according to brand comparison website, Rank A Brand. Its latest FeelGoodFashion report found that just 34 of the 368 fashion brands researched were leading by example in this field: Whilst 50% of brands are reporting on the implementation of climate protection measures, only 4% of were able to show that they have significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Two of the UK’s last three deep coal mines are set to close . The two collieries, Kellingley in Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire employ 1,300 people. Job losses at UK Coal’s Doncaster headquarters would also be likely. UK Coal said it had been hot by low international coal prices, partly called by the boom in US shale gas.

The smog like conditions that brought haze and air pollution to large areas on the United Kingdom last week will become even more frequent as diesel car ownership soars a leading expert from Kings College MRC-PHE Centre for the Environment has warned. The haze, blamed on Sahara ‘dust’, power station emissions and diesel engine, has been problematic for people with breathing difficulties and many schools kept pupils inside in lunchtime and other breaks. Light winds have concentrated carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and tiny particles (PM10 and PM25) and DEFRA said the pollutant had topped its Air Quality Index.

rainforest 1The boss of Unilever, Paul Polman, has urged fellow business leaders to stop dragging their feet on climate change, In a speech to Imperial College’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change Mr Polman  said that the ‘cost of inaction is  now starting to outweigh the cost of action” and that “continuing flows of capital to high carbon [ investment push us towards the cliff edge of irreversible and disastrous climate change. The comments are aimed at least in part at industry leaders such as Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil (who argues that concern over climate change is overblown and we can adapt to rising sea levels) and Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart who believes climate change is a natural phenomenon and worryingly owns a chunk of global media.

The Times reports that Innospec, the company that makes the fuel additive Tetraethyl Lead, linked to premature death and violent crime, has continued to export the toxic chemical despite twice saying it would stop. The Times says the company is still exporting TEL to Algeria. It is banned in most countries including the UK which have moved to unleaded petrol, but the chemical is still made at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire for export.

bee-300x150A comprehensive new study by the European Commission suggests that bees, Earth’s busiest pollinator,  are not dying quite as rapidly as was previously feared, at least in Europe .The study found that death rates among 32,000 bee colonies across 17 EU member states were, as a whole, lower than researchers expected. Between late 2012 and the summer of 2013, honeybees’ winter mortality rates ranged from 3.5 percent to 33.6 percent. During the beekeeping season, when bees are more active, their rates of death ranged from 0.3 percent and 13.6 percent. “While overwintering honeybee colony losses in Europe are variable and sometimes considered unacceptable, on the whole they are still much lower than in the U.S.,” Simon Potts, a professor at the University of Reading in England, told The Guardian. During the winter, honeybees suffered the greatest losses in Belgium and the U.K. Researchers noted a 34 percent and a 29 percent decline in honeybee colonies in those countries, respectively. Winter death rates for honeybees were lowest in Italy, where just 5 percent of colonies were lost. Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Slovakia also saw less than 10 percent of their bees.

 

PLASTIC-FREE FESTIVAL GUIDE LAUNCHED

2014-03-31_Making_Waves_Festival_Guide_Online_FINAL_-_Front_CoverAs part of a major campaign to encourage event and festival organisers to reduce plastics at their events, Raw Foundation and Kambe Events have launched their first Plastic-Free Festival Guide. The free guide, showcased recently at this year’s Green Events and Innovations Conference in London, provides expert and practical advice on what steps can be taken by event organisers to deal with a pressing global concern.

The guide aims to reduce the amount of plastic at festivals, by raising awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. The guide also provides information to promote sustainable re-use solutions and improve recycling practice.

During the last 10 years, global plastics production equalled production of the whole of the 20th century combined. Last year, 288 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally and it is estimated that global plastic production could triple by 2050. On average, nearly 50% of all plastic in the EU goes to landfill, most of it packaging. The majority of plastics for recycling are exported from Europe to Asia and in some countries burning waste in the open air is commonplace. In the UK, 70% of plastic packaging for reprocessing was exported for downcycling abroad in 2011. Plastic waste has become one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams on the planet. Vast quantities of long-term plastic debris and particles can be found littering all the world’s earth and floating in all the world’s rivers and oceans - In 1992, a container ship lost 30,000 rubber ducks off the coast of China. Fifteen years later, some of these turned up on the shores of the UK.

Covering everything from the stark reality about plastics and useful resources to festival-specific advice, tips and case studies, the Guide aims to give organisers a single source reference to the things they need to take into consideration when putting on and managing an event, but without being prescriptive.

Recent successes in the industry such as Shambala’s Bring a Bottle campaign, where festivalgoers, staff and artists were encouraged to bring a re-usable bottle with them, and sales of bottled water were prohibited, have shown that audiences strongly support this issue. This year Glastonbury has launched an initiative to reduce disposable plastics which includes promoting stainless steel bottles. Other events such as Latitude, Open Air St Gallen and many European festivals already use re-usable cups at their bars, massively reducing the amount of disposable plastic produced.

The Making Waves guide is published by Raw Foundation, a Not For Profit committed to raising awareness about the hidden consequences of our everyday stuff, in partnership with Kambe Events (the company behind Shambala Festival), a sustainable event management consultancy, as a free resource.

At the launch Melinda Watson from the Raw Foundation said “Most people remain completely unaware of the devastating hidden consequences of their everyday plastic purchases.”  Chris Johnson from Kambe Events and the Shambala Festival added “Recycling is important, but it is only part of the only solution. Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use, and so at Shambala we are examining our supply chain to remove materials with negative impacts.”

The guide is available online as a PDF download or to view online at http://kambe-events.co.uk/campaigns/making-waves/

www.rawfoundation.org For further information about Raw Foundation please email info@rawfoundation.org

Greener Wristbands recycling initiative rolls-out at UK festivals this summer

greener-wristbands2[1]-01Security wristband suppliers ID&C has teamed-up with innovative event waste recycling company More Bins to launch the UK’s first sustainability initiative for festival wristbands and lanyards. The new scheme, ‘Greener Wristbands’ encourages event organisers to return any used or excess fabric wristbands and lanyards to ID&C once their festival has ended. There, the returned products are sorted and separated into recyclable groups before being transferred to More Bins for recycling.

The recycling procedure involves re-using and re-crafting the old security wristbands and lanyards into everyday useful products, helping to mitigate landfill and reduce the carbon footprint of festivals. “Old wristbands will be transformed into things like drinks coasters and clothing accessories, whilst lanyards and their attachments are re-born as purses, wallets and hats.” Said Chris Nowell of More Bins.

A wallet made from recycled lanyards and camp chairs

A wallet made from recycled lanyards and camp chairs

The Greener Wristbands initiative will have a physical presence at UK festivals in the form of a workshop, which aims to engage with festival audiences and promote sustainability awareness through an innovative approach to recycling. The workshops start this summer, with Truck Fest and Shambala Festival among the first to sign-up.

Nowell continued, “It’s important to promote this and other sustainability initiatives to the public, and make festival goers the driving force behind them. We’ll be tackling serious sustainability issues, but in fun ways; like giving fans the chance to turn last year’s wristbands into eco-friendly, chic fashion accessories.”

A survey of over 2,200 festivals fans conducted in 2012 by Bucks New University and A Greener Festival reported that 87% of festivalgoers would recycle during events.  However, music festivals have continued to receive criticism for their impact on the environment, with waste and recycling a key issue.

Oir very own Claire O’Neill, co-founder of A Greener Festival and senior manager at the Association of Independent Festivals said; “We’re really happy to see suppliers like ID&C putting the sustainability of their products and services as a priority. It’s smart business sense and the only way to go for business longevity. Actions such as this help the event industry to reduce its environmental impact.”

Shambala Festival, winners of the ‘outstanding’ A Greener Festival Award 2013, is one of the first to commit to the Greener Wristbands project. The festival’s management company Kambe Events, an environmental consultancy to the events industry, will be working with ID&C and More Bins over the coming year to explore the feasibility of greener materials, and advising on approaches to traceability of supply chain.

Security wristbandsChris Johnson, of Shambala Festival said; “We are exited that ID&C and More Bins are taking a lead on this issue, and welcome the opportunity to work with them. The circular economy approach makes both business and environmental sense, and I am confident that if affordable green products are available, events will take the sustainable option.

ID&C’s Matt Wilkey said, “We’re glad to be among the first suppliers tackling the sustainability of their products, and thrilled to be working with More Bins in reducing the carbon footprint of festivals. While being a secure method of disposal for our clients, the project also enables us to recycle any discarded and unused fabric materials.”

To find out more on the initiative and to take part, visit www.idcband.co.uk/greener-wristbands.

Climate Change? We can’t ignore it any more

polar vortext2013 was an extraordinary year for weather and despite the vast amounts of time, energy and money spent by the oil, gas and coal industries in trying to persuade us there is no such thing as climate change (as well as the odd few clueless politicians and hapless ‘scientists’ who tag along with that whole ‘headless chicken’ agenda) the evidence is getting more and more obvious – we are fucking up our environment, our ecosystems and our climate and our planet. Simples.

So what happened last year?

- Greenland had its highest ever recorded temperature (25.9C

- Snow fell in Cairo for the first time in 112 years

- Australia had its highest ever recorded temperatures

- The Philippines were battered by some of the strongest storms ever to reach land

- Namibia, Angola and Botswana were gripped by drought

- The UK and the Netherlands had the worst storm surge for 60 years

- Parts of China, Brazil, Russia and Sudan experienced extreme flooding

- The USA suffered extreme tornadoes, and a freezing ‘polar vortex’ that set record low temperatures as the year ended

- And did we mention it rained in England – and rained, and rained. And flooded. And rained.

UNhornifafricadroughtIts right not to over exaggerate  the risks of climate change – it MAY not be us – and one scientists recently had his name removed from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policy Makers because it had ‘drifted to far to the alarmist side’. That said, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the UK says that hot summers, like the sizzler we had in 2003 when temperatures in Kent hit 38.5C and 2,000 people died from the heat will become the norm by 2040 – as will cold winters like 2010-2011 – when temperatures at night regularly dropped to -10C – although there will be an overall gradual rise in temperatures as climate change takes hold. The Report is less clear on rainfall saying this is harder to predict although noted that heavy rainfall events were becoming more frequent.

No one is immune to the impact of climate change, which is fuelling war, hastening natural disasters, causing the extinction of species, changing coastlines, destroying homes,  pushing up food prices and threatens to drag societies back into poverty, the IPCC’s report says – most comprehensive study into the phenomenon.

power station3“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told a press conference at the launch of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in Yokohama, Japan.

Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation, said the report, the most comprehensive to date, said it showed that “now, ignorance is no longer a good excuse” for inaction to tackle the threat.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that each of the last three decades have been warmer than the preceding one – and that heavy rainfall events, heatwaves and droughts are becoming more common – and more intense – and whilst the WMO say there is ‘no definitive answer’ to the extent of humankind’s contribution to climate change – lets be frank – its happening ANYWAY. Now. And we need to do something about it or we sit here whilst the planet burns ……..

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/31/climate-change-un_n_5061003.html?ncid=webmail1

Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has attacked Western lifestyles for causing climate change that is “pushing the environment towards crisis”: More in the Telegraph here :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10732121/Rowan-Williams-warns-of-climate-catastrophe.html