Monthly Archives: June 2011

EUROPE’S FIRST GREEN MOBILITY GUIDE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS LAUNCHES

Julie’s Bicycle and On the Move have launched a new green guide to environmentally sustainable mobility for touring performing arts companies and venues. Authored by creative industries environmental experts Julie’s Bicycle, and commissioned by On the Move, the online resource for cultural mobility in Europe, the Green Mobility Guide offers practical recommendations for professionals across the performing arts, case studies and resources, including the Julie’s Bicycle “IG tool” for tracking carbon emissions while on tour.  The Green Mobility Guide is now available for download from the Julie’s Bicycle and On the Move websites at the links below:

http://www.juliesbicycle.com/resources/green-guides/green-mobility-guide
http://on-the-move.org/news/article/14222/europes-first-green-mobility-guide-for-the

Alison Tickell, Director of Julies Bicycle said, “Over the last five years sustainability issues have, at last, been recognised as significant and of relevance to the cultural sector. Sustainability touches all aspects of our creative sectors. It stimulates carbon as well as financial savings, communicates a positive brand to audiences and artists, pre-empts regulatory demands and builds resilience into our future business models. This piece of work is an attempt to address the core problem – moving productions contingent on travel and transportation – as sustainably as possible. The performing arts are characterised by creativity, resourcefulness and innovation. This guide hopes to galvanise these qualities and inspire greater ambition so that, together, the arts can play a pivotal role in our future.”  Martina Marti, President of On the Move said, “We at On the Move strongly believe in the importance of mobility as a way to grow – not economically but in our capacity as human beings, broadening our horizons, seeing how others do things. But we have to ask ourselves: Is promoting mobility still responsible in our day and age, with pollution and global warming becoming possibly the biggest threats to humankind in history? How does my mobility today influence our world of tomorrow? The Green Mobility Guide shows that once again artists also come up with creative solutions to address this issue: many of them have already found new ways to create artistic work while taking a caring stance on the environment. OTM is happy to have teamed up with Julie’s Bicycle to produce this guide as an inspiration but also as a practical tool helping artists and cultural professionals to take responsible decisions while still enjoying all the benefits of mobility.”

Another Planet

The UK Government is now so seriously concered about the lack of rain in Southern and Eastern England it has held a crisis meeting with farmers  – with farmers warning Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman that crop production in the affected regios would be down 15% even if normal rainfall resumed. However a more alarming figure was that if the dry spell continues, yields will be down 50% and livestock farmers are struggling to feed their animals. Some parts of the country have had just 5mm of rain since the end of February and soli mosture levels are the lowest for 50 years. Food prices are expected to rise and drought warnings have been issued in at least five counties accross the Midlands and East Anglia.

The UK’s hot spring could be due to the shrinking Arctic ice cap – which has led to a block of high pressure sitting over Britain. Weather experts admit that they are still trying to work out why Britain’s weather is changing, but one possibilty is that global warming (due to greenhouse gas emissions) has led to both the ice cap shrinkage and a shift in the jet stream – although different models show different results.

Waste Connect have an interesting article on Eco-festivals RECYCLING ROCKS here  http://www.wasteconnect.co.uk/page.aspx?ID=2197c32e-cb45-49a3-9fb8-41a24b650548 and that features Green Gathering, Download, Big Tent, Criossant Neuf Summer Party, Glastonbury and Shambala and they link through to the Metro at http://www.metro.co.uk/news/167987-an-a-z-of-the-perfect-eco-festival with our very own A-Z for a green festival.

Solar power developers in the UK are going to take the Government to court for slashing subsidies for larger solar projects – by removing the higher than market price ‘feed in tariff’ for solar electricity – to protect small generating projects. Mark Shorrock, CEO of Low Carbon Solar said “if the Government issues a tariff and you have two years to develop a project, the Government can’t change the rules half way through that process”.  

Greenpeace have been ordered to stop oil protests in the Arctic against Cairn Oil. The UK company has obtained a injunction from a court in Amsterdam that, if breached, would cost Greenpeace E50,000 each day, capped at E1 million. Scottish based Cairn says it loses $4 million for each day lost to disputes on its oil drilling rig off Greenland.  Greenpace cannot go within 500  metres of rigs.

Sustainable Events Alliance

The Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA) is an association and professional guild at the intersection of sustainability and event management. Its vision is to unite event professionals and work together towards increased attention to and knowledge of sustainability in event management. SEA’s mission is to:

1. Provide a knowledge bank for events practitioners through the SEA website.

2. Offer a portal for networking and discussion around sustainable event management.

3. Communicate and create a commonality of best practice in sustainable event management across all industry sectors and the supply chain.

4. Accredit event sustainability professionals – managers, consultants, auditors, trainers and sector specialists – setting knowledge benchmarks for competency and expertise.

4. To spread the desire to reduce impacts of event’s production.

5. To open up opportunities for innovation of sustainable production solutions within the industry.

www.sustainable-event-alliance.org

Greenpeace faces massive fines for Arctic protest

Greenpeace could be fined up to E2 million (£1.7 million) each and every day if it disrupts oil drilling in the Arctic. The UK’s Cairn Energy has filed the papers with a Dutch court saying that Greenpeaces’s protest activities at the company’s Leiv Eiriksson drilling platform are causing delays and costs of at leat £2.5 million per day. Greenpeace’s protest ship Esperanza is registered in Amsterdam.  Greenpeace want to rid the Arctic of potentially polluting oil explorers and says of Cairn “we’ll challenge them and their lawyers every step of the way. The stakes are high here,  the Arctic is the frontline of climate change”.  Cairn denies that it is trying the bankrupt Greenpeace. Despite the legal action, on Saturday (4th June) it appears that Greenpeace launched five small boats from the Esperanza, bypassing navy protection, and 18 activists climbed onto the 53,000 ton rig. Greepeace say that fter eight hours, all 18 activists were. arrested.

More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/02/cairn-greenpeace-arctic-drilling-protest

Updates and the image are from  www.greenpeace.org

Experience a (green) trip to Glastonbury

Luke writes – If you’re lucky enough to be heading down to Glastonbury this year, why not do what I’m doing and take the most environmentally sustainable option available?  Our friends at ‘Big Green Coach’ pledge to plant two trees for every coach they take to any festival in the UK – it was therefore an easy and obvious choice that I would turn to them to get me down to Glastonbury whilst being as green as possible.

As if that wasn’t enough, they are also the cheapest option I’ve seen anywhere too (at just £41 return from Hatton Cross, London).

Amazingly, they do still have some tickets available leaving London on both Wednesday & Thursday (returning Monday)…

Go to: www.biggreencoach.co.uk/glastonbury for more details and booking.

Glastonbury launch Green Traders Awards 2011

Glastonbury has announced that they are running Festival’s own Green Traders Awards for the sixth time, with the prestigious gongs awarded by Glastonbury, Greenpeace,The Soil Association, The Fairtrade Foundation and Nationwide Caterers Association(NCASS) to the traders who do the most to help make Glastonbury greener, fairer and more sustainable.

Greenpeace volunteers proactively cover the Festival site interviewing traders, quizzing them about everything from how they arrived on site to what their stall was made of,  how much of their stock was Fairtrade, organic or recycled, and any other ethical criteria used to reduce their impact on the environment.

You can see more at
http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news/green-trader-awards-return-for-2011

ANOTHER PLANET

The UK has been accused of caving in to pressure from Canada by stalling on a proposed Europe wide ban to ban products such as petrol and diesel that come from mining Canada’s tar sands – a process the WWF says is worse for ecology than the Gulf oil spill.  It seems UK coalition ministers are refusing to back other EU countries that want the sands specifically named in a new fuel quality directive.

Oxfam says that a ‘broken’ food system will aggravate worldwide hunger with food prices doubling in the next 20 years, pushing millions of the World poorest people into hunger. Oxfams new report “Growing for a Better Future: Food Justice in a Resource-Constrained World” (what a terrible title!) says that scramble for food and land are pushing up prices and natural disasters brought on by climate change were also forcing prices higher. Commenting that the system is pretty much ‘bust’, Oxfams points to the negative role commodity speculation plays and also says that farmers should not be given incentives to plant bio-fuel in place of food crops.

“Support windfarms – it would be less controversial to argue for blackouts” says George Monbiot in the Guardian (31/05/11)  “Why do those who oppose wind power insist on spoiling their case with gibberish? In his column on Friday, Simon Jenkins claimed that onshore windfarms were being planned “with no concern for cost”. But the only reason for building them is a concern for cost. If it weren’t for this issue, they would be the last option governments would choose – God knows they cause enough trouble.” Read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/30/wind-farms-less-controversial-blackouts

Steve Bolze, the Chief Executive of General Electric has said that cheap gas will curb the growth of energy projects saying that this means that more gas fired power generation plants will be built than solar or wind in the next 10-20 years. If the drive for gas continues the International Energy Agency says that the world will miss its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Germany is planning to shut ALL of its nuclear reactors by 2022 in response the Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster. Germany will become the only major industrial economy nuclear free for decades. Nuclear currently accounts for 23% of Germany’s power.

Cate Blanchett has found herself at the centre of a row in Australia after appearing in an TV advert calling on  Australians to support a carbon tax. Conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott lambasted the advert, funded by environmental groups, saying that “people who are worth $53 million have a right to be heard, but their voice should not be heard ahead of the ordinary working people of this country”. That, is seriously, from a politician in the twenty first century!!!!!  Blanchett is artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company and is striving to green the Theatre which has installed solar panels that provide up to 70% of its power.

Greenpeace has clashed with the Danish navy after protesters boarded a British owned oil exploration vessel about 90 miles off Greenland’s coast. The protestors occupied a survival pod they attached to the drilling ship Leiv Eiriksson. The Danish navy says that there is a 500m exclusion zone around the test drilling site. Greenpeace has accused the Greenland and Danish governments and Cairn Energy of threatening the fragile Arctic marine environment with another potential oil spill. Greenland has issued 20 exploratory drilling licences and insists that its safety standards are the most robust of any country.

Scientists in the UK say that world class research into future sources of clean green energy are being threatened – by a green tax. The complaint is over the unexpected impact of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme and one laboratory, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy faces a £400,000 bill  this year- which it says is perverse as it is researching the production of ‘zero carbon  energy’. Scientific bodies are trying to persuade ministers to exempt research institutions from the carbon levy.

A new report from consultancy WYG on behalf of Biffa Municipal claims co-mingled collections for household waste result in the most improved recycling rates and cost savings for councils. The findings have been disputed by the Campaign for Real Recycling. The research claims that councils can boost household recycling rates and cut costs by adopting alternate weekly collections of co-mingled dry recyclables and waste from wheeled bins and according to the report, a  review of kerbside recycling collection schemes in the UK in 2009/10 found that most of the top 30 councils in the kerbside dry recycling league table for 2009-10, took the co-mingled AWC approach. According to the study, of the top 30 councils,  23 collected 75% or more of their dry recyclables co-mingled, 23 collected recycling each fortnight, 21 collected refuse fortnightly, over half collected both refuse and recycling fortnightly, and the vast majority used wheeled bins.

The world’s first hi-tech landfill mining project has been given the go-ahead in Belgium where gasification and plasma technology will be combined to extract materials and energy from buried waste.

Centrica, the parent company of household gas supplier British Gas, has carried out its threat not to reopen one of the UK’s largest gas fields following the Government’s decision to raise taxes on production. The energy firm said South Morecambe, the largest of three production areas that make up the offshore Liverpool Morecambe Bay gas field, would stay shut following routine maintenance work because the higher levy. Morecambe Bay supplies 6% of domestic gas. No job losses are planned.

Forecasters believe that a heatwave that could last until July will leave some parts of the UK even hotter than north Africa and the Mediterranean. Forecasters predict that temperatures will stay above 21C in June and July – and could even hit  32C. It looks likely that rainfall will continue to be below average in the second half of June in the South of England, which is good news for Glastonbury and Wimbledon but bad news for farmers and consumers, as food prices will increase as a result. The hottest summer on record was 1976.

The European Investment Bank has banned all further investments in Glencore’s mining projects after allegations of tax avoidance and environmental damage, The allegations are linked to the company’s copper mines in Zambia. Glencore has denied the charges but has admitted exceeding sulpher dioxide output limits.

Northhumbrian Water is going to use reed beds to water and sewage sludge to power its energy hungry facilities in a move to become the greenest utility company  in the United Kingdom. The company already uses anaerobic digestion to breakdown human waste and produce gas that can in turn be used to produce electricity. The company plans to build the World’s largest constructed reed bed in Essex to provide cheaper and more ecologically friendly water treatment.