Festival News

eotr1On Wednesday 15th October 2014, ADE and ID&T present the second edition of ADE Green which will take place at a brand new location; de Brakke Grond, Amsterdam. Expect an afternoon filled with interactive panels and discussions that will leave you full of new ideas, workshops on how to get your hands dirty to help create a more climate-friendly future for your event, as well as inspiring folks who will share their experiences, ideas and knowledge with you. ADE Green is accessible with an ADE 1-Day Ticket, or a 5-Day Conference Ticket or buy a ADE Green conference ticket. .ADE Green is a collaboration between ID&T and ADE, supported by EE MUSIC, GO Group which AGreenerFestival is part of, Germany’s Green Music Initiative and Julie’s Bicycle. The first two confirmed speakers are music icon and entrepreneur, Michael Lang – best known for co-creating and producing the original 1969 Woodstock Festival – and top-chart dj Nicky Romero. They will be touching upon the role of the dance community in social change.

Construction is underway on the Royal Opera House’s new Costume Centre at High House Production Park. Designed by Nicholas Hare architects, the Centre will join the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop – where all the ROH’s sets and scenery are made – on the 14-acre site in Thurrock. The Costume Centre is a partnership between the Royal Opera House, South Essex College and Thurrock Borough Council with support from the East of England European Regional Development Programme and the Foyle Foundation. It will house all the costumes for opera and ballet productions currently in the repertory, which will enable the stock to be managed more efficiently, as well as reducing road mileage, transport costs and carbon footprint. The site will also house costumes obsolete productions so that designers may reuse or refashion costumes. The costumes will be kept in carefully controlled conditions to ensure they are properly conserved. The building itself will be of the highest environmental standards, set to achieve BREEAM excellent status, best practice in sustainable building design.

coachellaFestival Insights reports that for the third year in a row the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio has set an all-time Billboard Boxscore record for gross ticket sales. The festival is produced by Goldenvoice Presents, a division of AEG Live. The weekend following Coachella, Goldenvoice produced the Stagecoach country music festival, which drew 63,400 per day for a total attendance of 190,200. The total gross for Stagecoach was $18,615,000, with headliners Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Brian, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, and Florida Georgia Line. The combined three weekends at the Empire Polo Grounds saw a total of 769,000 paid, resulting in a gross of $96,947,000. In Denmark more guests than ever visited this year’s Roskilde Festival, where more than 100,000 people gathered for a week-long celebration of music, art, manifestations and creative kinship. Roskilde Festival’s spokeswoman, Christina Bilde says: “It will be a few months before we know the final economic result, but with more than 100,000 tickets sold and great numbers coming in from the drinks and food sales, we are very positive in our expectations. We expect to be able to donate approximately €2.5m to charity and cultural purposes after this year’s festival. And in Finland, Ruisrock attracted a new record number of visitors this weekend when 93,000 people attended the event over the weekend.

festTickets are now on sale for the 11th UK Festival Awards and Festival Conference, which returns to London’s Roundhouse for the fourth year running on the 1st December 2014. http://www.festivalawards.com/

Singer and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews, best known as the lead singer of Welsh rock band Catatonia is launching a new festival, due to take place in September. The Good Life Experience will be “dedicated to celebrating the great outdoors” with axe-throwing, archery, abseiling, wood-fires and rabbit skinning, among the activities on offer.

libertinesThe Libertines’ reunion show at London’s Hyde Park was interrupted twice due to crowd surges and crushing. During the second song of the set, a rendition of ‘Boys In A Band’, The Libertines had to halt their performance after security came on stage at the AEG promoted and Barclaycard presented British Summer Time event, attempting to stop the energetic crowd from being crushed at the barriers. 38 fans were injured and 8 treated in hospital. Singer Pete Doherty shouted to the crowd: “We can’t carry on if you don’t calm down a bit.” Medical officers and security staff rushed to help people crushed at the front, and the photographer Leon Neal tweeted: “Chaos at the Libertines gig in Hyde Park. Many crushed with medics dragging people from the crowd.” The Libertines have announced two more shows on 27th and 28th September at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Seadance-CROPThe EXIT Foundation’s EXIT AID program, designed to help people affected by the devastating floods in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia earlier this year, has announced a special VIP fundraising effort as part of Sea Dance Festival, entitled Be Human which will see Jamiroquai and Example playing exclusive concerts at festival. The event is a collaborative effort between the EXIT Foundation and the municipality of Budva, and Dukley Gardens, with the support from the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Government of Montenegro as well as the National Tourist Organisation of Montenegro and Tourist Organisation of Budva. Dušan Kovačević, Strategic Director of EXIT Festival said: “Social responsibility is at the heart of EXIT Festival. This is exactly why the EXIT Foundation started the EXIT AID programme after the catastrophic floods that had hit Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, in an effort to help the most critical regions. “The programme achieved substantial results with the help of numerous foundations and friends. The Sea Dance Festival Gold and Platinum tickets will be the most important effort yet, when two world stars Jamiroquai and Example will play host to a humanitarian party for the flood-affected countries in the region.

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http://aiforg.com/initiatives/festival-congress/

ANOTHER PLANET?

sea_ice_polar_bearRecord sea ice in the Antarctic has triggered a debate about global warming between climate change sceptics and conservationists. The former point to the fact that the record 2.07 million square kilometres of sea ice is evidence that theories of global warming are flawed, whilst scientists and conservationists say the change is more evidence of climate chaos. One interesting theory is that global warming is that the spread of sea ice is caused by melting ice from under the cap rising to the surface and re-freezing. Another theory is that strengthening winds have caused lower temperatures. Other scientists say that the annual variation in Antarctica has much less significant than the ongoing melting at the Arctic, which is losing 1.8 million sq km each decade.

The BBC have said that they are re-considering editorial balance in their programmes after complaints that far too much coverage was given to minority and extremist opinions -including religious activists and climate change sceptics – making it clear that in the future the views of climate change sceptics such as (Lord) Nigel Lawson will not be treated as equal to mainstream scientific consensus on global warming and climate change.

From the Arctic to the Himalayas, Dark snow is accelerating glacier melting as industrial dust and soil, blown thousands of miles, settle on ice sheets and add to rising sea level threat: The Observer reports that the phenomenon of “dark snow” is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of “black carbon” from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world’s snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates. More here.

New underground maps from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Environment Agency (EA) have discovered that many shale gas deposits overlap with major water aquifers.  The series of maps provide a new way to visualise geological data and assess the potential of fracking to contaminate drinking water with methane in England and Wales. They show the depth to each shale gas and oil source rock below principal groundwater aquifers, which provide 30% of the UK’s drinking water and shows the fracking riss to up to 70% of the drinking water in South East England.

food wasteA new UK study that measured and compared the dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat- and fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans  found that the highest dietary Greehouse gas (GHG) emissions were found in meat-eating men and the lowest were found in vegan females. So one way to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop eating meat.  The journal Climatic Change has published the first-ever study to compare the dietary greenhouse gas  emissions of real-life meat-eaters to those who abstain from meat or choose other sources of protein. (Other studies have used modeled estimates of reduced-meat diets.) This study, which took place in the UK, compares data on the actual diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters, and 28, 589 meat-eaters.  Each individual’s diet was standardized to a 2,000 kcal diet so that differences in estimated energy consumption between diet groups would not affect the end results which showed:

High meat-eaters (more than 100 grams per day, which defines the majority of adults in the UK and US): 16 pounds / 7.26 kilograms of CO2e

Low meat-eaters (less than 50 grams per day): 10.3 pounds / 4.67 kg

Fish-eaters: 8.7 pounds / 3.94 kg

Vegetarians: 8.5 pounds / 3.85 kg

Vegans: 6.5 pounds / 2.94 kg

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Some people who are against renewable energy  (and often when you follow the money you find that they are being financed by fossil fuel interests) spread all kinds of misinformation. Treehugger says that one of their main arguments is that it takes so much energy to, for example, build wind turbines that the energy that is produced takes a long time to offset the energy used for production and installation, making them a worse deal than they seem, and thus not as beneficial to the environment as pro-renewable people claim. It might sound like a good ‘gotcha’, but the facts don’t back it up. More on Treehugger here

Virgin_atlanticThe UK’s Airports Commission has said that London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary would have ‘large scale adverse effects’ on wildlife and the environment and that the costs of mitigating the damage could be as much as £2 billion – and critics say the whole plan would be a ‘costly environmental disaster and that compensating new habits for ‘Boris island’ might not be successfully created.

Hundreds of wellington boots were dumped outside Defra’s offices this morning by Friends of the Earth campaigners calling on UK Prime Minister David Cameron to sack Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for his perceived failure to take climate change seriously.  The environment charity’s campaign, ‘Give Owen Paterson the boot’, is calling for Mr Paterson to be sacked in the coming cabinet reshuffle, stating that the minister’s failure to accept the science of man-made global warming makes his position untenable. And the majority of MPs consider responsible business to be a key electoral issue, but their awareness of businesses’ community activities in this area remains low.  This was the main finding to come out of a report jointly released by Lloyds Banking Group and Business in the Community (BITC), which surveyed 151 MPs on their views about the role of business in their constituencies. According to the study, three in five MPs thought responsible business was a key issue for national Government as the 2015 national election approaches – two in five said it would be a key issue within their constituency.  But the UK government is in the firing line – the Association for the Conservation of Energy says total number of energy efficiency measures has fallen 60% in the past year and that the installation of measures to help homes save energy has collapsed as a result of government policies, campaigners have said – and  more than 150 businesses have called for Prime Minister David Cameron to support the UK solar industry in a letter to Downing Street. The letter, signed by a coalition of 150 businesses including brands such as IKEA, KYOCERA, Interface and Triodos Bank, warns against destabilising the lucrative solar power market in the UK, when the global solar market could be worth £78billion per annum by 2020.

On the same day as revealing a new Circular Economy Package, the European Commission has published its new Green Action Plan for SMEs in a bid to improve resource efficiency among smaller firms.  ‘Green Action Plan for SMEs: Enabling SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities’ presents a series of SME-oriented actions to help exploit the business opportunities that the transition to a green economy offers, as well as highlighting the drivers and obstacles and financial instruments available to help implement green initiatives.

And businesses, particularly smaller companies, buildings and infrastructure such as transport networks, hospitals and water supplies are all ill-prepared for the extreme weather events related to climate change says a report released today.  The progress report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Adaptation Sub-committee finds that the resilience of UK business, buildings and infrastructure needs to be enhanced to counter more severe flooding and heatwaves in the future. Among its top line recommendations, the committee is calling for the introduction of new regulations to avoid surface water flooding caused by new development and a new building standard incorporating cooling measures to prevent buildings overheating. The Report also praises the ‘comprehensive approach’ that has already been put in place by the energy sector and recommends that a similar plan be instituted by water companies and telecommunications providers as well as for major roads and airports. More here on edie.net http://www.edie.net/news/6/Businesses-with-no-climate-change-plan-risk-failure/26570/?utm_source=weeklynewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news&utm_campaign=weeklynewsletter

A new manifesto  by the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) has calculated that the UK could save £12.1billion per year by 2050 by focusing energy policy on greener buildings.  The report uses the government’s own ‘Pathways’ energy calculator to show that a greater focus on green buildings and energy efficient construction would prove more cost effective than prioritising large-scale energy projects such as nuclear power and large off-shore wind farms. The SEA estimates that measures such as low carbon buildings and buildings which produce their own renewable energy will be cheaper than large-scale energy generation measures, with small scale-energy efficiency costing an estimated £91 per MWh and large-scale renewable measures costing £108 per MWh.

Tour_de_FranceThe opening stages of this year’s Tour de France in the United Kingdom will have its environmental impact measured by the Carbon Trust and Leeds City Council.  The Carbon Trust will measure the carbon emissions, waste and long-term legacy impacts such as encouraging people to take up cycling. The report will examine how the environmental impact is being managed and look for areas of improvement for future events.

A consortium of organisations from UK packaging, retail and recycling industries, led by Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer (M&S), are to launch a market trial aimed at recycling up to 1.3 billion plastic food trays each year. The initiative focuses specifically on black CPET trays, most commonly used in supermarket ready meals. Although they are recyclable, the black colour of the trays makes them undetectable with Near Infra-Red optical sorting equipment used at plastic sorting and recycling facilities.

 

Festival News

voltFestival Insights reports that Volt Festival  in Hungaryhas launched a campaign to make the event more environmentally-friendly. Called GreenFestival, the scheme sees festival-goers given a GreenFestival bag when they get their FestiPay card, by giving a mandatory deposit of 500HUF. The ones who gather and return their waste will not only get back the deposit, but also receive a certificate of merit and a T-shirt coupon worth 500HUF. A spokesman said the aim of this campaign is to show the audience that they are the source of action when it comes to saving the environment. 

cc14_600Crawl Promotions, the company behind North London’s long-standing multi-venue music festival The Camden Crawl, has been put into liquidation by its organisers a week and a half after the event’s 2014 edition and it  seems that many of the bands who performed this year will lose money. An official statement issued via the Camden Crawl website this morning reads: “Due to ticket sales falling far short of expectations for this year’s event, Crawl Promotions Ltd, the Company which promotes the Camden Crawl, is unable to pay its debts in full to any suppliers, staff or the Company’s directors and shareholders. As it stands the total debts substantially exceed the value of the assets of the Company. Because of this completely unanticipated situation and after nearly ten years of successfully promoting the Camden Crawl festival, it is with great regret and sadness that there has been no other option than to convene meetings for the purpose of placing the Company into Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation”. An Insolvency Practitioner has been appointed and Meetings of Shareholders and Creditors are scheduled for the 11th July 2014.

Mike-WeatherleyMike Weatherley MP, who has been particularly vocal on music business and intellectual property issues in his time in parliament, has announced he will not re-stand at next year’s General Election. The member of parliament for Hove and Portslade since 2010, Weatherley worked in both the music and film industries before entering politics. He has been very involved in the All Party Parliamentary Groups on music and ticketing, and last year became IP Advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron as well as running the ‘Rock The House’ band competition which saw winners play live in the Speakers Rooms at the House of Commons in London. Having recently had a battle against cancer, Mike said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult decision to make. It has been a remarkable opportunity to represent the wonderful residents of Hove and Portslade in Parliament and I look forward to continuing to do this until the election near year.”

Glasto13.B086A heartless festival goer has left behind a DOG at the Glastonbury Festival. The white lurcher was found in one of the 5,000 tents abandoned after the iconic Somerset festival ended. The dog was renamed ‘Dolly’ after Glastonbury headliner Dolly Parton and Dolly is now recovering at the Happy Landings animal shelter in Pylle, Somerset – and rescue workers are looking for answers. A spokesperson said: “She is a sweet-natured older lurcher, and clearly very stressed to find herself in this predicament” adding “We had hoped that an owner would come forward but there has still been nothing” and  “How anyone could do such a thing is beyond me”. Dolly was found by Wookey grandfather Colin Williams who found lonely Dolly in a stifling hot tent. Mr Williams had been let on the Glastonbury Festival site on Tuesday morning to collect an abandoned tent for his grandchildren to play in and he confirmed the dog had been left with some food and probably a small amount of water. The Glastonbury Festival does not allow dogs on site. Dolly has offered to adopt Dolly!

garth-brooks-cd-coverThe decision by Dublin City Council to grant a licence for only three of the five sold-out Garth Brooks’ shows at Croke Park has prompted a flurry of comments in Ireland. Promoter’s Aiken Promotions announced the shows in February after lengthy negotiations – they would have been the only shows Brooks is playing worldwide this summer. As of the 8th July legal proceedings over  concerts in Croke Park were formally lodged in the High Court by a local resident Brian Duff, whose solicitor is named as Anthony Fay, the solicitor acting for some residents of Croke Park. The case is against Aiken Promotions (Ireland) Ltd and Páirc an Chrócaigh Teoranta (Croke Park Ltd) and seeks injunctive relief preventing the holding of the three shows which had secured approval from Dublin City Council. The singer said last week he would perform the five concerts, for which 400,000 tickets have been sold, or none at all. Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Christy Burke, said he had made last ditch attempts over the weekend to have the shows put on at the Aviva Stadium on the capital’s southside instead. But he was told by promoters Aiken Promotions and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which runs Croke Park, that it was logistically impossible. Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny said ‘I hope the two axed Garth Brooks Croke Park concerts can be saved’ but said that he could not intervene in the decision by the City Council which approved concerts on the 25th, 26th and 27th July, but not the Monday 28th July and Tuesday 29th



 

Bees victory

This from 38 Degrees

Wonderful news, we’ve protected our bees! Yesterday Syngenta withdrew their controversial application to allow their banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields. [1]

Owen Paterson, the environment minister, sided with Syngenta. But the decision was deemed so toxic that it was brought all the way up to the Prime Minister and his cabinet to discuss.

The day before the big meeting, the huge people-powered petition signed by over 200,000 of us was delivered to the PM’s desk. [2] And on the morning of the meeting,hundreds of us swarmed on Downing St to confront the ministers as they arrived. [3]

bee-protesters50k

Dressed as bee-keepers, bees and pesticides, and with a host of other campaign organisations we chanted at the top of our voices and left the ministers in no doubt that we expected them to put our bees before Syngenta’s profits. [4] And it worked! The government stalled and didn’t announce a decision, forcing Syngenta to back down. [5]

38 Degrees members have a great history of protecting our countryside and wildlife. From campaigning for the European ban in the first place, through to stopping our forests from being sold off, we have shown we’re prepared to organise both online and in person to make change happen.

We have a small and nimble staff team which means we can move quickly to launch campaigns like this to protect our bees, and 38 Degrees is 100% funded by its members. Lots and lots of people chipping in a small amount soon adds up, and means that together we can take on goliath companies like Syngenta and win.

Thanks so much for everything you do,

Robin, Maddy, the 38 Degrees team & the bees

38 Degrees is funded entirely by donations from thousands of members across the UK. Making a regular donation will mean 38 Degrees can stay independent and plan for future campaigns. Please will you chip in a few pounds a week? https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/start-a-direct-debit

NOTES:
[1] Farmers Guardian – Syngenta withdraws neonicotinoid emergency use application:

http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/arable/syngenta-withdraws-neonicotinoid-emergency-use-application/65807.article

BBC News – Widespread impacts of neonicotinoids ‘impossible to deny’ :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27980344

[2] The massive people powered petition:

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/david-cameron-uphold-the-european-ban#petition

[3] 38 Degrees blog – Hundreds swarm on Downing Street:

http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/07/01/bees-swarm-on-downing-street/

[4] Alongside 38 Degrees members, a huge range of campaign organisations came along. Buglife, Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association all joined the campaign.
[5] Syngenta had said that unless a decision was made by the beginning of July, it would be too late to use the pesticides this year.

 

ANOTHER PLANET

floods in CroatiaThe delicate balance of the planet’s biosphere is tipping — threatening all life on earth. Scientists are calling it our ‘Holy Shit’ moment on climate change, and world leaders meet at the UN in just over 100 days — we have until then for all of us, everywhere, to act, in the largest day of action on climate change in history, to call for action and fight for everything we love. There’s no way to get around how big a task this is. But together, each small action will add up into a millions-strong movement that literally drowns out the opposition and gives our leaders the best reason to break free and build a hopeful, clean and green future. Click here to join in: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/join_to_change_everything_rb/?bWaAcdb&v=41497 

A $15 billion Australian coal project has suffered a set back after the Australian Government said that it would review concerns that the Carmichael coal and rail project which would see Adani Enterprises develop mines, railways and a giant port in Queensland could endanger the Great Barrier Reef by dumping 3 million cubic tonnes of sand by the Reef.Greenpeace said the project would endanger birds and drain away precious water supplies, spread toxic coal dust and threaten turtle nesting sites – all to provide India with highly polluting and high carbon emitting coal for energy generation. The UN has also voiced concern saying the dumped waste could irreparably damage the coral and Unesco’s World Heritage Committee is considering putting the Great Barrier Reef on its ‘in-danger’ list.

solarThe High Court in London has overturned a decision by the Eric Pickles to reject a planning application for a 24MW solar farm in Ellough, Suffolk.  Edie.net reports that  on June 23, Justice Lindblom found in favour of Lark Energy, who had planned to construct the solar farm on the site of a former WWII airfield. The scheme was recommended for consent by the Planning Inspectorate after a public enquiry. However, Mr Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, stepped in and overturned the decision, rejecting the application in October 2013.  The judge found that Mr Pickles’ decision was not made in the way required in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 causing ‘substantial prejudice’ against Lark Energy. The High Court has refused the Secretary of State leave to appeal against its ruling. Land remediation and regeneration firm Harworth Estates has announced the installation of 30MW of solar generation across four former colliery sites in the North and Midlands.  Three developments already have approval – Welbeck Colliery in Mansfield, Gelding in Labley and a third in Bilsthorpe – with a fourth at Askern in South Yorkshire awaiting planning consent – let’s hope they don’t end up ‘in a pickle’ !

Consumer appetite for sustainable brands is growing as new research reveals that more than half of online shoppers are prepared to pay a premium for socially responsible products and services. A study by Nielsen found that 55% of online consumers across 60 countries were willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.  The propensity to buy socially responsible brands is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%). The numbers for North America and Europe are 42% and 40% respectively.

food wasteSainsbury’s in Cannock will be the UK’s first supermarket to run on electricity generated solely from food waste.  The supermarket giant has partnered with leading waste management firm Biffa to convert food waste from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK into energy, using Biffa’s anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities – although there has been recent concern that too much edible food is being classified as waste and food and drink companies face renewed calls today to implement better product packaging and labelling measures as new research reveals 2 million tonnes of household food in the UK is thrown away because it is judged to be past its prime. A report from WRAP further reveals that half of this amount is thrown away either intact or in unopened packaging. In a third of cases (660,000 tonnes) passing a date label triggered disposal, while foods judged to be stale or mouldy were responsible for most of the remaining 1.3 million tonnes.

The UK’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) has got off to a flying start, issuing £2.61m to households during its first week. The new incentives added to the Green Deal now offer up to £7,600 cash back to offset the cost of developments to households in England and Wales making energy saving improvements.  And the Green Investment Bank has announced a £2m investment to help SMEs make improvements in energy efficiency. The investment – £1m of which comes from private equity firm SI Capital – will go towards ReEnergise Finance’s Smart Energy Finance vehicle which aims to provide loans to small businesses seeking funding for energy saving projects. ReEnergise Finance specialize in energy efficiency and the renewables market and looks to provide funding solutions for UK-based SMEs which have struggled to find finance or advice for their efficiency projects.

bottles(1)Glastonbury Festival organisers have estimated  that 1 million plastic bottles are used each year during the five days of music and fun, with more than 11 million litres of water  consumed on site each year at the festival – and this year in an effort to reduce plastic waste, organisers are distributing reusable steel bottles and have set up 400 drinking water taps around the site.  2011_03042011GLASTONBURYben0044Other businesses could significantly enhance their sustainability credentials by improving the way they measure, manage and report the amount of plastic they use in their operations and across the supply chain. That’s according to a new report from the Plastic Disclosure Project, the UK Environment Assembly and natural capital analysts Truscot which argues that tighter regulation, increased competition and more consumer demand would force plastic-intensive firms to pay the natural capital costs.  It highlights a growing concern about the threat that widespread plastic waste poses to marine life, with conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems standing at US$13bn each.

Employing skilled sustainability professionals is essential if companies want to align better resource management with profitability, the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) has said. The Institute has published a practical guide today to help businesses adopt a circular economy approach when it comes to advancing resource efficiency. It has also released research which shows that SMEs can achieve cost savings of more than £5,000 a year by appointing a dedicated sustainability lead, a figure which rises to over £1m for larger corporations.

Security analysts in London and Baghdad say control of rivers and dams has become a major tactical weapon for Isis and that water supply is key to outcome of the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

mantaray3The Guardian reports that Caribbean coral reefs ‘will be lost within 20 years’ without protection as a major report warns that loss of grazing fish due to pollution and overfishing is a key driver of region’s coral decline: A comprehensive analysis by 90 experts of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at nearly 100 Caribbean locations since 1970 shows that the region’s corals have declined by more than 50%. But restoring key fish populations and improving protection from overfishing and pollution could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to the impacts of climate change, according to the study from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Scientists have warned that Emperor penguins are at risk of extinction:  The article in the journal Nature Climate Change says that the entire population of Antarctica’s famous emperor penguins could fall by a third by the end of the century because of disappearing sea ice, putting them at risk of extinction, researchers said which justified protecting emperor penguins under the endangered species act – as America already does for the polar bear.

UK Councils will have to recycle 70% of household waste by the end of the next decade, under proposals unveiled by the European commission. This would require a significant increase in the proportion of UK waste diverted from landfill. At least 80% of packaging waste will also have to be recycled by 2030, as Brussels toughens its stance on the amount of rubbish buried underground. By 2025, there would be a total ban on sending waste to landfill that could have been recycled. More here.

SLAemailheaderEarly bird entry for the Sustainability Leaders Awards closes on Friday 11th July, so make use you submit your entry now to take advantage of the £99.00 entry fee. After this date, for the final week of entries, the price will increase to £125.00 per entry. ENTER HERE.

FESTIVAL NEWS

ROCKAMRINGThe 80,000-capacity Rock am Ring in Germany has been forced to move from Nurburgring, where the festival has been held since 1985, after organisers failed to agree terms with new site owners Capricorn Automotive. Not only has promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK) to find a new site for RaR, which is twinned with its Rock im Park (cap. 70,000) in Nurnberg, it will face competition from a new DEAG backed festival to be launched at Nurburgring.

Live music charity Attitude Is Everything has launched a new campaign this morning, calling on more venues and festivals to sign up to its Charter Of Best Practice for providing better access to deaf and disabled music fans.  The Music Without Barriers campaign is backed by musicians including Robert Smith, Alex Kapranos, Frank Turner, Tom Odell, Alt-J, Slow Club, Anna Calvi, Enter Shikari, and Stealing Sheep, who will be promoting it on their social media accounts via the hashtag #MusicWithoutBarriers and 90 venues ad events have already signed up for the campaign,

TScottish festival T In The Park is set to move to a new site for its 2015 edition. T’s present base in Balado, Kinross, where the event has taken place every year since 1997, sits above a major oil pipeline which The Scotsman says has caused some problems for organisers DF Concerts and “substantial concern” from health and safety executives. 

One Love. The reggae-weekender-with-camping-facilities, which is happening between 15-17 August , is setting off for a new, bigger address at Springfield Farm in Milton Keynes, only ten mins drive away from its old post at Stockwell Farm. A confirmation on the One Love website states: “At Stockwell Farm (our old venue) we were really struggling with where to put everything and everybody! So we came to the conclusion that a change of site would be necessary to see the festival grow and protect the future of the genre”.

Big Day Out, the troubled Australasian touring festival, will not return in 2015, and its long-term future seems far from assured. The news follows a deal that seemingly makes US-based Lollapalooza promoter C3 Presents the sole owner of Big Day Out, it having bought out co-owner AJ Maddah (and having already acquired half the event from Vivian Lees back in 2011). Following much speculation about the future of the festival, it put out a statement yesterday saying: “While we intend to bring back the festival in future years, we can confirm there will not be a Big Day Out in 2015″.

Marilyn Manson has had two shows in Russia and Ukraine cancelled – both part of the twin-sited Park Live festival. A rally in Russia against “Western anti-culture” – and specifically Manson – kickstarted problems two weeks ahead of the first show – but it was a late bomb threat  that sealed the cancellation. The performance in Ukraine was  cancelled a week ahead of its scheduled date on the 29th June, when the entire edition of the festival was scaled down, with organisers saying that “today’s political and economic conditions created insurmountable obstacles for large-scale outdoor events”.

Glasto13.B086Michael Eavis has told the Guardian was that Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary might be the right time to personally retire from active involvement in the enterprise. He told the newspaper “I think I can run on another six years, which would take me up to 50 years, then [I'll] see what happens after that” adding “Every single person here last night wanted to shake my hand and say it’s the best thing in their life. It really is quite phenomenal that appreciation of the event – 44 years and people love it more than ever”. Eavis also told the paper that 2017 would be the festival’s next fallow year, and that the Pyramid Stage headliners for 2015 were already booked, although he said the much rumoured Prince wasn’t in the frame saying “We’re always having a go at [getting] Prince”, he admitted, talks seemingly getting further this year than most. “Most of the people in the world want to play here, so I did ask him to hop on the train and come down to Castle Cary station and I’ll show him around the farm some time. [That offer] hasn’t been taken up yet though”. Eavis’s daughter Emily Eavis said that her father had been enjoying the event, saying on the Monday “He got back at 4am last night! I think he got caught up in a singalong in the Underground Piano Bar, or something. But I think he’s thrilled with how this year went. He still absolutely loves it” and confirming that she and husband Nick Dewey “are already pretty far along with next year’s line-up” adding “we’ve nearly confirmed all three headliners. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s shaping up” and added on the future of the Festival “We’ve got an incredible wave of young people who are now heavily involved with this festival, along with all our fantastic long-term team. It’s an amazing position to be working alongside so many great creative minds, spending an entire year planning these hugely ambitious shows that exist for one weekend! So, yes, I’m very excited about the future. And not just for next year, but for many, many years to come.”

ANOTHER PLANET

The school run – parents driving their children to school in the UK – costs the economy £470 million a year – contributes a quarter of rush hour traffic – adding to congestion, pollution and accidents – and deprives children of much needed exercise from walking and exercising.  Claire Francis, the head of policy at Sustrans “Traffic congestion costs the British economy billions, impacting on on the cost of food, services and wages as well as driving up fuel consumption” adding that it should be a government imperative to make roads safe for school children to walk or cycle to school. A 10% reduction in school trips would reduce cr trips by 118 million and and the distance driven by 265 million miles each year – saving £54.4 million. An average parent spends £642 a year on the school run.

West Cumbrian Mining is planning a new coal mine at Whitehaven, close to the now closed Haig Colliery, and plans to mine under the North Sea. Offshore tests will begin next year after the firm raised £14.7 million in financial backing from an Australian private equity group.

Satao, one of the worlds biggest bull elephants, has been killed in Kenya. His magnificent tusks touch the floor and his head had been removed by poachers who killed the bull with a poisoned arrow. Poaching for ivory is pushing the elephant towards  extinction in Kenya – at least 400 bulls have been killed since the start of 2013.

Lucy Siegle has written an interesting piece in the Observer –  We’re losing faith in global change as local causes boom - saying that we’ve grown sceptical of big-picture environmentalism. A greener future lies in ‘just doing it’ at grassroots level and “Localism is all in the interpretation. So to Eric Pickles, it’s decentralising planning. In surfing culture, it’s the right, assumed by local surfers, to chase non-locals off their wave breaks. And now environmental localism is beginning to mean something too. Something big. Might it even refresh the parts other green movements can’t reach, and take them mainstream?” - lots more here.

ethicalawardsAnd the Observer Ethical Awards have been given out – topped by Queen guitarist Brian May who won Campaigner of the Year for his work fighting against the badger cull in the UK. With wildlife campaigner Anne Brummer, he set up the Save Me trust, focusing on the Hunting Act and possible changes to the hunting ban. These fears have not been realised so far, but the badger cull (first proposed in 2008 by an all party committee) famously has. May was roused into action. Overnight he became King of the Badgers! The full list of winners is:

Peter Willcox, The Greenpeace skipper gets the Lifetime Achievement Award
Mat Fraser - Arts and Culture Award
Mark Constantine, Lush - Best in Business Award
Brian May - Campaigner of the Year
Jon Soar - Community Energy Project Award sponsored by National Grid
Natalie Dean and Heather Whittle, Beyond Skin - Sustainable Fashion Award sponsored by Econyl and Eco Age
Tom Yearley and Delphine Wakes - Great Energy Race Award sponsored by B&Q
Mama Margaret’s - Ecover Young Green Champions – which has teamed students in Bolton with women from the Dagoretti slum in Nairobi make and sell a range of handmade craft items
Anne Power - Local Hero Award
Guy Watson, Riverford - Retailer of the Year
Toni Neubauer, Myths and Mountains/READ Global - Travel Award sponsored by Virgin Holidays

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

Millions of plastic bags are being given away in the UK despite plans for a 5p charge per bag – and a consensus amongst retailers that the move will reduce waste as environmental and anti-litter campaigners say the UK government has left its new scheme riddled with loopholes ignoring calls to include all retailers in the 5p plastic bag charge, which numerous experts insisting this would reduce litter, slash carbon emissions and cut down on waste. The Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) recent Plastic Bag Inquiry urged the Government to change the levy system so that the 5p charge on single-use bags in England – due to come into force in October 2015 – was extended to smaller shops, pointing to the success of universal schemes in Wales and Ireland.  But in response to that Inquiry, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it wanted to ‘reduce the burden on start- up and growing businesses in England at a time when the Government is supporting new growth in our economy’ – any business employing less than 250 people is excluded – and all retailers can switch to giving away paper bags. Wales has vut the number of bags  used by 76% since introducing a 5p charge in 2011. The Association of Convenience Stores which has 33,000 members, mostly small shops, said the flawed scheme was ‘massive missed opportunity’. Image from Ecowatch here http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/11/court-upholds-san-francisco-plastic-bag-ban/ - millions of plastic bags end up causing environmental devastation in our seas. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio brought his celebrity power to the Our Ocean conference in Washington DC on Tuesday when he joined John Kerry on stage. The actor and environmental activist, announced he was pledging $7 million from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to ‘meaningful conservation projects’ in the next two years.  In a taped video message, President Barack Obama announced plans to create the largest ocean preserve in the world and protect marine life by banning drilling, fishing and other activities in a massive stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Climate change is having a direct impact on 95% of fresh produce stocked in Asda stores, with food sourcing, processing and transportation all facing an growing threat from environmental issues. The Climate Adaptation Framework study, developed with PwC, maps out the risks that climate change poses across Asda’s entire trading operations and looks at potential obstacles that lie ahead.  And high water stress is jeopardising one-third of the world’s corn crop, sparking food and biofuel security fears within the agricultural industry and related supply chains. A report just out from sustainability think-tank Ceres highlights how US corn farmers, suppliers and investors are particularly vulnerable from water-related risks that could disrupt this $65bn industry. The US accounts for nearly 40% of global corn production.

2014-tesla-modelElectric carmaker Tesla Motors is opening up its technology patents for others to use in a bid to accelerate the development of zero-emissions vehicles across the globe. In an unprecedented move, the firm’s founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla “will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology’” and “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” Musk wrote in a blog post. “If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal.”

One of the world’s largest wind farms has been given the green light to be built off the Suffolk coast, supporting almost 3,000 jobs and bringing over £520m of investment to the UK economy.  The East Anglia One offshore wind farm has this week been given consent from the Government, marking a strong vote of confidence for the nation’s offshore wind sector.

Use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel. Coal has reached its highest market share of global energy consumption for more than 40 years, figures reveal, despite fears that its high carbon emissions make it a prime cause of climate change.  The use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel – while its share of the market breached 30% for the first time since 1970, the BP Statistical Review reports.

It’s time to move on from the basics of whether global warming is happening to how best to respond, says the UK’s chief science adviser, calling for researchers to speak out about the risks and benefits of strategies for tackling climate change before national policies are set by the government.  Edie.net reports that Sir Mark Walport, the government’s top science adviser, said the climate change debate had to move on from arguments over the reality of global warming to more pressing questions of what the country should do in response.

windturbines_300Which? has warned that planned green energy subsidies may not be value for money, as more cost effective options may be overlooked. The leading consumer group has warned Ed Davey that his proposed subsidy scheme will encourage the construction of more higher-cost energy projects such as offshore wind farms that might not deliver value for money. Which? has written to the secretary of state for energy and climate change saying plans for electricity market reform “could result in expensive generation projects being prioritised over cheaper, more cost-effective options”. Recebtly some campaigners noted that subsidies for anaerobic digestion meant perfectly edible food was being used to create so called “green” energy.

Car giant Ford Motor Company and food giant H.J. Heinz Company have announced that they are working together to explore the use of tomato fibres in developing bioplastic materials that can be used in vehicle manufacturing. Cool beanz!  And Coca-Cola and Danone are among a consortium of companies that are looking to scale up the next generation of bioplastics by investing in a commercial scale facility for the production of PEF (polyethylene furanoate).

Environmental Technology Verification (ETV), a new scheme to promote innovative green technologies, has been launched in the UK by the European Commission.  Defra’s Dan Rogerson, said the voluntary scheme aims to increase the uptake of green technologies and help overcome a lack of confidence still associated with some green products. ETV will become an official proof verification for companies working in the water, waste and energy sectors.