ANOTHER PLANET?

Residents in the Swiss canton of Valais have for centuries been praying for the retreat of the glaciers that overhang their villages and farms, swallowing up pastures. More recently it seems their prayers have been answered, rather too effectively, and the Fiesch and Aletsch have been retreating rapidly, on average 10M each and every year, with some dire consequences: The Giesen glacier has developed huge cracks and risks collapsing, unleashing a potential flood on villages below – and in Zermatt the melting glaciers have forced Swiss and Italian authorities to renegotiate borders. The Bishop of Sion even petitioned the Vatican to change a processional liturgy so that Villagers could ask God to stop the ice shrinking – and the new Liturgy gets its first outing this year after the Vatican agreed.

India has suffered a series of massive power blackouts after three grids failed. The Huffington Post reported that three regional power grids failed, covering 20 of 28 states, leaving 620 million people without electricity—of course, that’s in addition to the hundreds of millions of poor Indians without access to electricity as matter of course. It’s the largest electric grid failure in the world. Four hours after beginning, power was restored in the northeast part of the nation, with the 45% of the northern grid, and 35% of the eastern grid restore.

Our friends at Firefly Solar have joined Breathing Buildings and Valueform as inaugural winners of the Berti Green Accelerator Award 2012! Firefly also said that t was pleased to announce that that the mainstream UK hire market is embracing clean tech and introducing a potential 100,000 new customers to Firefly Portable Solar Generators. An order for 10 x Cygnus Solar Generators and 12 x sets of FoldArray has been completed and shipped by Firefly to leading equipment hire and sales company Speedy. Firefly have also announced several full site power contracts for 2012 including London Green Fair, Nova Festival and Lunar Festival. And finally, Firefly were part of the “Rings of the River” project in association with the Greater London Authority for the London 2012 Olympics – a selection of Firefly Solar’s people powered generators from the Kinectrics range graced the banks of the River Thames as part of the celebrations for London’s cultural capital.

Fancy making a working and strong bicycle for just $9 from cardboard – see here  http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/9-cardboard-diy-bike-video.html

In Ferguson, Missouri,city officials were not as impressed with Karl Tricamo  desire to feed his family with food he sustainably grew in his front yard. Having taken out his lawn he replaced this with vegetables and fruit. On his blog, Tricamo documented his experience once he received the citation for his current garden. Along with listing ordinances that supported his case, he documents what seems like intimidation by code enforcement that routinely drove by or sat in front of his house as he disregarded their orders to remove the vegetable garden and plant grass. His landlord (his fiancee’s brother) was cited for “Failure to meet the minimum standards of the City of Ferguson exterior appearance code” when Tricamo tore up the front lawn and converted it into an heirloom veggie garden. Now the city’s Board of Adjustment has voted 4-1 to throw out the citation against his garden. http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/stay-home-dad-wins-right-front-yard-vegetable-garden.html .

The Royal College of Music is making substantial progress towards its carbon reduction target through a number of energy efficient projects.  The South Kensington based conservatoire has been working with the Carbon Trust to lower its emissions, with a target to reduce its carbon footprint by 34% by the end of the 2019/20 academic year compared to its baseline year of 2005/6. Potential overall financial savings to the college are estimated at around £124,000 by 2013-14.

Edie.net report that Olympic organisers considered using biogas to fuel the Olympic caldron but chose to use less eco-friendly natural gas to reduce costs and the need for storage. Sadly uninspiring, and Chairman of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, Shaun McCarthy said he was, “bitterly disappointed that Locog was unable to take a powerful message about sustainability to every community in the country.”

A planned offshore wind farm 15 km from Fife could provide enough electricity to power 325,000 homes or up to 3.7% of Scotland’s electricity demand if the project is approved.

New DEFRA guidance has been proposed to help UK companies demonstrate their sustainability performance and Defra is consulting on a new guidance which was proposed by Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach. It follows the announcement that carbon reporting will be mandatory for companies  listed on the London Stock Exchange from the next financial year.  British firms will benefit from detailed advice on how to measure and report on their impact on wildlife and natural services such as clean air, clean water, food, timber and flood protection.

Food waste generated by households has dropped significantly since the UK went into recession, but food poverty and poor diets appear to be on the rise according to latest research from Waste Watch.

Four leading environmental organisations are calling on the Government to reduce litter and waste by forcing retailers to introduce levies on all single-use bags. The “Break the Bag Habit” campaign was launched today by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

Global municipal solid waste will double by 2025 unless materials are incorporated into a circular economy approach whereby they are reclaimed or recovered. I better news, the Worlds food-grade plastic bottle recycling plant has opened in Dagenham, Essex, after a £12 million investment.

Weekend ticketholders at this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals will receive free food and drink, organisers have confirmed. Festivalgoers will receive beer (or a soft drink) for each music day and a voucher for a breakfast bap for each of the three days of the twin events with Heinz donating free sauce and Festival Republic providing a free recycling bag  -which if filled with more cans gets the fans more free beer!

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