Monthly Archives: October 2010

A MESSAGE FROM GREENPEACE

Hi there Here are three easy things you can do this November – and beyond – to help keep Greenpeace in action. Our recent Go Beyond Oil tour was a great example of how important your donations are to us. Whether your money goes towards a ship satellite phone, a lifejacket or a climbing harness you can be sure your gift will be put to good use to help us deliver our campaigns. 1. Recycle your mobile If you’ve got a spare mobile knocking around that you’re unsure what to do with then please recycle it for Greenpeace. Go to www.shpforcharity.co.uk/greenpeace  and select ‘recycle now’. Find out how much your phone is worth and choose how much of it you’d like to donate to Greenpeace – you’ll be able to get a bit back for yourself too. 2. Put on a Flour Power fundraiser Join our new autumn fundraiser Flour Power and bake cakes, not the planet. So far over 1000 people have signed up and over 400 have downloaded our fundraising leaflet and recipe book online. We held our first Flour Power fundraiser here at Greenpeace HQ yesterday and raised nearly £50. Not bad for a cake break! To find out more and sign up go to www.greenpeace.org.uk/flourpower  3. Get your Christmas shopping started early Greenpeace Giving is back! We’ll be adding some special new gifts for Christmas over the next few weeks so watch this space. In the meantime you can still get all your old favourite virtual gifts like Protect an Ugly Fish and the Love Bug. You can request your ecards to be delivered at any time so you can order now for a future birthday or anniversary, or even get your Christmas pressies in the bag early. Visit www.greenpeacegiving.org.uk  to see the full selection of gifts.

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Climate change – too little – too late?

Google have announced that it will invest in an offshore Mid-Atlantic electrical transmission backbone running from New Jersey to Virginia that will be able to connect 6,000 megawatts of wind turbines, enough to serve about 1.9 million households.  Called the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) the backbone will be built around offshore power hubs that will collect the power from multiple offshore wind farms and deliver it through sub-sea cables to the land-based transmission system. The AWC project is led by an independent transmission company, Trans-Elect, and is financed by Google, Good Energies and Marubeni Corp., with Google investing 37.5% of the equity in this initial development stage.  The Mid-Atlantic region offers a high level offshore wind potential in relatively shallow waters, making it easier to install turbines 10-15 miles offshore, where they can take advantage of stronger winds and are virtually out of sight from land, Google said. From DMW Canadian Media Wire. And see more at  http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/wind-cries-transmission.html.

But in the UK  qmbitious plans to harness the power of the Severn estuary to light up one in 20 of the UK’s homes are to be abandoned as a result of the Government’s attempt to address the nation’s deficit. Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy, will jettison the world’s largest tidal energy project, rather than make the taxpayer foot an estimated bill of £10bn to £30bn for the untested technology. Wildlife activists welcome decision to halt the tidal energy scheme in favour of exportable technologies as they feared the barrier would devastate wetlands, but may be less happy that new nuclear plants also get the green light. More at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/huhne-drops-severn-barrage-to-invest-in-wind-power-2108968.html

The Co-operative in the UK has teamed up with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) to launch TOXIC FUELS, a campaign to combat the shocking global trend in extracting oil from unconventional sources like tar sands and shale oil – threatening dangerous levels of climate change and extreme damage to local environments, including the magnificent Boreal Forest in Canada. EU legislation on this has recently been watered down after pressure from Canada and the oil industry – You can add your photo to an online petition (with WWF and Greenpeace) to keep the tar sands out of Europe at www.tarnishedearth.co.uk and look out for the free street exhibition coming to a number of major UK cities soon. You can also ask your MP to take action on climate change by moving towards clean, sustainable and renewable energy production – go to www.toxicfuels.com/takeaction to add your voice.

 A long time ago on this Blog we wrote about the possibility of mining landfill sites to ‘re-use’ the valuable materials thrown away. The recession seemed to put paid to that idea as prices for plastics, glass and metals dropped – but it seems its back on the cards again, particularly as the value of metals has risen. A UK company, APP, has formed a joint venture to dig up landfill sites in Belgium – recycling half the rubbish and converting the rest into electricity. The project will become operational in 2014 and looks to  reuse 16.5 million tonnes of municipal waste in 30 years. See more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/11/energy-industry-landfill .

Research from the WWF, the Zoological Society of London and Global Footprint Network says that we need an extra planet – well, at the moment at least half a planet, to sustain our gorging lifestyles – with comment by Tony Juniper in the Observer adding “The extinction of tigers, the melting icecaps and the ravaging of the rainforests are symptoms if an emerging global crisis” –  Not good news! The only glimmer of hope is that the UK  has dropped from 15th to 31st place in the league  table – actually an improvement – with the list topped by (1) the United Arab Emirates (2) Qatar (3) Denmark (4) Belgium and (5) the USA – who all need roughly five planets worth of space for each of their citizens. There again, have we just shipped our pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to other countries?  On average we will need a ‘spare’ earth by 2030 at current rates of consumption of natural resources (The Metro, October 14th 2010). It seems that economic and technological solutions are only part of the solution – in a world driven by ‘markets’ and consumerism and where progress is determined by economic advances, it seems we a major cultural shift if we are going to make a real change. The emerging crisis comes in three parts: (1) the vast quantities of greenhouse gases we are pumping into the Earth’s atmosphere and the acidification of the oceans, which are almost certainly causing or adding to global warming (2) the destruction of species, plants, habitats and eco-systems and finally (3) the depletion of resources mankind needs to survive. So unfortunately will need a whole spare planet soon – and there isn’t one.

Enrico Bonadio (University of Abertay Dundee) has published a new article “Climate Change and Intellectual Property” (European Journal of Risk Regulation, March 2010, p.72), which is conveniently available on SSRN. The IP Kat reports that according to the abstract, the article first highlights the poor results obtained by the 2009 Copenhagen Conference with reference to Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs), particularly climate technologies. Enrico stresses that the Copenhagen Accord makes no specific reference to intellectual property rights as a necessary tool to stimulate the transfer of climate technologies, especially to developing countries; in certain cases, though, IPRs can obstruct the dissemination across countries of ESTs, as is apparently confirmed by (i) how IPRs legislation is devised in industrialized countries (e.g. the Bayh-Dole Act in the US) and (ii) a sharp increase international patent litigation in this field. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1686962

Bees keep Newcastle top of the city green table. The Guardian reports that ‘Britain’s two greenest cities’ (Newcastle and Leicster) are pulling ahead of the pack in the annual league table of sustainability. Newcastle boasts an electric car hub with nearly 600 charging points and an urban bee programme, meaning the city features strongly in all 13 indicators in the league bar the strength of the local economy. Brighton and London are also strong in the competition and Leeds won praise for its recycling scheme. Nottingham fell four places to 12th after previous strong years. 

Britain is growing greener at the expense of the world by Tony Juniper http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/global-warming-environment-west-waste and see ‘Harmony’ by Tony, Ian Skelly and HRH the Prince of Wales: Published by Harper Collins.

Event Expo Hungary

EventExpo, the trade exhibition related to event organising and event technology, will be held again, this year on 20 – 21 October 2010 in Budapest, Hungary.  The third Event Expo features the whole spectrum of products and services needed for the successful hosting of an event. The most important event exhibition in Central Europe (in particular for Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary) will offer everything from promotional gifts through to communications agencies to sound and lighting equipment. In 2010, Event Expo will be broadening its scope by introducing another innovation,  a focus on a specific theme or area in order to actively promote the demonstration of new, advanced technologies and ideas, as well as to help clients and service providers prepare for the upcoming trends. This year, the event is focusing on green events,  highlighting the technology and methods required to organise an event with the lowest impact on the environment  as possible. AGreenerFestival co-founder Ben Challis will be speaking at the Expo on THURSDAY 21st OCTOBER at 11.30am. The British Ambassador in Hungary, Greg Dorey, will also be speaking at the Expo on Wednesday October 20th, again at 11.30am.

EventExpo  offers  foreign exhibitors and speakers, prominent Hungarian stakeholders of event organising and presentations from regulatory authorities to those who are seeking ideas, service providers, new or green solutions for their events with a visitor count ranging from a few up as high as tens of thousands. Visitors may attend the event free of charge; further information and a detailed schedule can be found online. This year, Hungexpo hosts two other events at the same time as Event Expo: the hotel, catering and gastro-technology trade exhibition, Hoventa, as well as the most important event on business travel, the Business Travel Show. Therefore, visitors can attend not one but three exhibitions in one place

http://en.eventexpo.hu/ with pages in  Hungarian – English – Slovak – Romanian (full schedule only available in Hungarian at the time of writing).

A Greener Festival keretében megpróbáltunk olyan zenei és művészeti fesztiválokat létrehozni, mely környezetbarát, vagyis csökkenti az üvegházhatású gáz kibocsátást az eseményeken. A harc az éghajlat cserélődése ellen egy olyan dolog, mely hatással van az emberiségre most, és lesz a jövőbeni generációkra is, ezért szeretnénk tiszteletünket kifejezni erőfeszítéseikért. Reméljük, hogy weblapunk, a www.agreenfestival.com hasznos kikapcsolódással lát el mindenkit és mindemellett elkalauzolhatjuk Önöket a Julies Bicycle weboldalra a www.juliesbicycle.com  mely értékes és hitelt érdemlő kutatások eredményeit tartalmazza az üvegházhatású gázok kibocsátásáról a zeneiparban.

Another planet

Hungary has a growing environmental catastrophe on it’s hands as toxic sludge from the burst resevoir owned by the Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trading Company (MAL)  and spilled onto over 40 square kilometres of land. The spill forced the evacutaion of thousands of residents  in seven towns and villages, injured hundreds, killed at least seven and has threatened to pollute the Danube as the sludge works its way through the river system – and now the food chain. Whilst dams have slowed the flow to the Danube,  the drying red sludge is also being seen as a real risk of airbourne ‘heavy metal dust’  toxic pollution with Hungary’s environment minister Zoltan Iles saying that the effluent could be carcinogenic and that it could pose a threat to water supplies.  MAL have offered compensation of up to 100,000 forints per affected Family (about £300) up to a total of 30 million forints, widly derided as derisory, saying it could set up a compensation fund of E200,000 if it was allowed to re-start production. Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban has warned that a second breach of the dam’s retaining wall may occur allowing the remianing 500 million litres of more concentrated toxic waste to enter the waterways. He has promised “the toughest possible” consequences for those resonsible. The sheer volume of water in the Danube seems to be effectively neutralising the waste at the moment but down river in Romania the authoritoes are testing the water and have warned humans not to drink it and prevent animals from drinking from the river.

Well done to University of Gloucestershire students for setting up a new ‘grow your own’ society. The Allotment Socity, headed up by 20 year old events management student Jordan Hassell,  now seems to have some really enthusiastic support from other students and has its own 25 square metre  ’secret garden’ with its own aged greenhouse and coldframes at the University, near halls of residence. DIY store Homebase are sponsoring this and similar student union schemes under the banner of ‘Fresher Freshers’ at the University of Kent, Royal Hollway College, University of Bristol,  Liverpool Guild of Students, Leeds University and the University of Bradford.

Not so good news – UK Environment Secretary Chris Huhne has gone back on a promise made by Prime Minister David Cameron that early adopters of solar panels will get the enhanced rate of 41.3p per unit of electricity sold to the National Grid which was introduced in July 2009 for new entrants to solar power. The change won’t be restrospective so early adopters who put up panels before 15th July 2009 will get just 9p per unit.  

Portable toilet supplier Andyloos have won the British Toilet Association’s award for efficiency improvement for their PolyVac portable toilet – which has a chemical free flushing system which uses just 0.5 Litres of water per flush. Way to Go!

Senior tory politician Tim Yeo has called on the UK Government to increase green funding saying that reducing spending on low carbon technology was like “cutting the budget for Spitfires in 1939″. Yeo chairs Parliament’s cross-party environment committee. Green initiatuves at risk include funding for windfarms, the scrapping of the Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust, funding for clean coal technology will be scrapped or delayed and funding for feed in tariffs and renewabl heat incentives will be reduced

THE GREENER FESTIVAL AWARD 2010 – THE WINNERS

A further sixteen UK, North American and European festivals have been named as winners of the prestigious Greener Festival Award 2010 making a record breaking total of 47 winners in 2010.  The new winners include Bonnaroo (USA). Lightning in a Bottle (USA), West Beach (USA),  Osheaga Festival (Canada), Outside Lands (USA), Shambala Festival (Northants), End of the Road (Wiltshire), Waveform (Norfolk), Bestival (Isle of Wight), Camp Bestival (Lulworth), The Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival, Hard Rock Calling (London), T-in-the-Park (Scotland), Big Tent (Scotland), Boom (Portugal) and  Welcome to the Future (Netherlands).

The final winners for 2010 are:

 

 

Outstanding

Big Tent (Scotland)

Croissant Neuf Summer Party (England)

Boom (Portugal)

Isle of Wight Festival (England)

Lightning in a Bottle (USA)

Osheaga (Canada)

Oya Festival (Norway)

Peats Ridge (Australia)

Shambala (England)

Sunrise Summer Celebration (England)

Wood  Festival (England)

Commended (and *Highly Commended)

Bestival*  (England)

Big Session Weekend (England)

Bonnaroo* (USA)

Bristol Harbour Festival (England)

Camp Bestival (England)

Co-operative Cambridge Folk Festival (England)

Falls Festival (Australia) ~

The Glastonbury Festival* (England)

Grassroots* (Jersey)

Hard Rock Calling (England)

Hadra Trance Festival (France)

Island Vibe (Australia)

Lounge on the Farm (England)

Malmo Festivalen* (Sweden)

Open Air Festival (Czech Republic)

OpenAir St Gallen (Switzerland)

Outside Lands (USA)

Rototom Sunsplash (Spain)

SOS 4:8*  (Spain)

Southbound (Australia)

Summer Sundae Weekender

T-in-the-Park* (Scotland)

Waveform* (England)

Womadelaide (Australia)

Wireless (England)

West Beach (USA)

Improving

Byron Bay Blues + (Australia)

City of London Festival (England)

End of the Road (England)

Fairbridge (Australia)

Rock For People (Czech Republic)

Sonisphere (England)

Splendour Festival (England)

Standon Calling (England)

Westcoast Blues (Australia)

Welcome to the Future (Netherlands)

two sites

 + new site in 2010

Reports from our outstanding American friends!

Reclaimed Metro seats make for a comfy site

Lee, who heads up our environmental assessing team in North America, had this to say about OSheaga in Montreal, headlined by Arcade Fire, Snoop Dog, Keane Weezer and The National. The festival is sited on reclaimed land in Park Jean Drapeau – an island made of landfill from the construction of the tube (Metro) system in Montreal. Lee says that an amazing 90% of patrons arrive by the hydro-electricity powered subway system – and even better – the Metro is free for anyone with an Osheaga ticket! The festival is very proud of its solar and wind powered green stage, and has created across-the-board efforts by working with environmentally friendly sound and light suppliers, renewable energy suppliers, recycling companies and the public transit network to meaningfully reduve the festival’s ecological footprint. And this is what Lee had to say about the Oshega Green Stage. “The GREEN STAGE was really something… it was specially constructed by the owners of Osheaga – and made to run on solar power and electricity from two built-in wind turbines. It has a battery storage to store power for the night time acts – managing to run at over 60% off renewable power. The sound and light tower in the green stage was made of reclaimed lumber, and the floor for the Green Stage area was the new “US” eco flooring all made of recycled materials. this green space also offered local organic and raw foods.

Lindsay, one of our US festival assessors visited Lightning in a Bottle at Oak Canyon Ranch in California. This is what the festival says about itself “Lightning in a Bottle’s mission is to create an experience that is both immediate and far-reaching, both temporary and enduring… and always unforgettable. By setting amazing music and performance, inspiring works of art, educational workshops, and enlightening discussions against a backdrop of natural beauty and wonder, LIB aims to devise an alternate reality where all have the opportunity to connect, to interact, and to create for themselves. And Lindsay was very impressed saying “I loved meeting the people from the Do Lab who put on the LIB festival.  They truly took every single detail into consideration and are so ahead of the curve in their greening policies and procedures.  The mission statement of LIB 2010 was “Leave it Better, Leave it Beautiful.”  They set out to create a net positive impact on both the site location (they planted 32 native oak trees, 98 additional trees, installed CFL light bulbs on existing inefficient lighting in the park, repaired existing fences, installed low-flow aerators on sink taps, improved toilets to decrease flush volume and installed swales adjacent to the festival grounds to improve current drainage) and event attendees. Lightning in a Bottle had dozens of workshops and demonstrations throughout the weekend so attendees could gain experience and pay it forward by taking their new skills home and enacting some of the sustainable actions they learned in their daily lives, while teach others about it as well. From composting, container gardening, to raising urban chickens -they taught it all!

The water situation was incredible.  I always get so sad to see the amount of waste created at festivals from single use disposable plastic bottles.  There were no plastic bottles offered or allowed at LIB.  Free filtered water was offered instead and attendees were told to either bring their own reusable bottle or purchase an eco-bottle at the festival.  The amount of waste this saved was huge!

The green vendor policy they had in place was fantastic as well.  All vendors had to serve vegetarian, organic, seasonal fare with compostable plates, cups and cutlery.  They had to compost any waste and all food that was left over at the end of the weekend was not to be put in a landfill….they asked that it be given away or donated to a local shelter or food bank.

Social and Environmental sustainability was the heart of everything.  The stages were all made from recycled or sustainable materials (one stage was made up of all old reused pallets).  Everyone camped and there was a strict pack in, pack out policy.  Bags were given to sort recycling and materials were to be taken home with the attendees. At their 2008 festival, the last time LIB took place, 84% of waste was diverted from a landfill (58% recycled, 26% composted), and they were hoping to do even better this year.

Biodiesel generators and solar ran the stages and vending areas, and biodiesel shuttles were used to move the attendees from the parking areas to their campsites. I can’t say enough great things about the amount of thought that went into every detail of this festival.”

BOTH FESTIVALS ARE WINNERS OF THE OUTSTANDING GREENER FESTIVAL AWARD 2010

http://2010.osheaga.com/

www.lightninginabottle.com.

Another Planet – climate change news

In the UK,  the Royal Society has agreed to rewrite its guide on climate chamge on the face of pressure from a number of well respected climate change sceptics who have questined whether it is mankind who are driving global warming  or whether there are other factors involved. Climate Change: a Summary of the Science will now state that “some uncertanties are unlikely to ever be significantly reduced” , does not make any predictions about the impact of climate change and also does to make any predictions about the level of climate change that might be expected saying “it is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how climate will change in the future”.

The UK Govenment is planning to test the UK’s flood defences in March 2011 to see how they would cope with severe flooding brought on by climate change. Exercise Watermark will test emergency services and communities on a range of scenarios.

Hybrid trains that can run on both diesel and electric power will be introduced on three main rail lines in the UK – The West Coast line that Virgin Trains use, the Cross Country Line and the Esast Midland line run by East Midland Trains. The trains would be cheaper to run with lower carbon emissions and would replace the 100% disesel trains that currently run and allow them to pick up electricity where lines are electrified with overhead power cables. The plan would also allow the Government to continue with plans to electrify the UK rail network in the face of current spendng cutbacks.  Network Rail also has plans to electrify the Midland Main line north of Bedford but has no funding – a similar problem faces the Great Western main line from London to Swansea and the line between Manchester and Liverpool.

There is one hell of a hoohaaa about the new 10:10 short film by Richard Curtis which 10:10 have banned themselves –  with a number of charities which backed the film now saying that they are ‘appalled’ at the gruesome four minute short which includes a number of environmental campaigners, including a teacher and a work boss, blowing up climate change recalcitrant members of the public – including two school children, work colleagues and a Tottenham Hotspur FC coach exploding David Ginola . 10:10 have apologised to everyone offended by the film – you can make your own mind up here http://www.nowpublic.com/environment/10-10-no-pressure-movie-taken-down-after-complaints-video-2689728.html  and more on 10:10 here www.1010global.org .

The Observer Magazine features reports on Polly Higgins, a lawyer with strong environmental interests,  who had published a new book, Eradicating Ecocide, which lays out a franework to lobby for meaningful environmental laws and contains tips on taking ptactica action to halt the ongoing damage to the planet. Its published by Shepheard Walwyn and costs £17.95.

Lucy Siegle (again in the ObserverMagazine on the 3rd October) points out that when it comes to buying furniture – age matters – and an 1830’s antique chest of drawers is 16 times more carbon efficient than a modern equivalent . Even ethically manufactured modern furniture from reponsibly sourced timber  made by local craftsmen have higher carbon footprints – primarily because of their short lifespan – with modern furniture used on average for just 15 years and then diacarded. Antiques of course are kept and cherished.

Research by Chinese scientists in ancient caves has pointed towards remarkable recent changes in climate – in particular a disassociation between western warm weather and a good Chinese monsoon. The Chinese government is concerned with the results. Scientists in the US produced similar studies in March this year but to little reaction from the US Government. See http://www.scienceline.org/2010/03/ancient-cave-formations-reveal-history-of-abrupt-climate-changes/

www.Guardian.co.uk/biodiversity100  – this months tips to governments to promote biodiversity include (a) Russia – modify federal legislation to restrict the poaching of endangered species such as tigers (b) UK – re-introduce extinct animals to regions (c) India and Indonesia – ban shark ‘finning’ at sea (d) Brazil – REJECT THE NEW FOREST CODE – and (e) Australia – ban the sale of invasive alien plants.

And finally Stewart Brand, a central figure in the 1960s counter cuklture movement, has said that the planet needs a Plan B – and he has now moved to support GM foods and nuclear energy in his latest book, Whole Earth Discipline (Atlantic Books), saying that nuclear power, genertically modified food and geo-engineering are the only realistic solutions to fight global warming.