It’s worth remembering that as 2013 ends, two members of punk group Pussy Riot remain in custody in Russian gulags for their protest against Vladimir Putin. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will mark the new year in a prison camp in Mordovia, 360 miles south East of Moscow. Maria Alyokhina will be in Perm, 750 miles further east, in solitary confinement. Both have young children, Nadezhda has a four year old daughter Gera, and Maria a five year old son Philip.
Will 2013 be the year of the hand me down? Maria Saltzman, the well known US trend spotter, says that we will shift away from visible consumerism, use car pools, downsize, look at smaller more energy efficient (and cheaper) houses, and start to adopt thrift – with even The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embracing the “new frugality” by using hand me downs for the new royal baby. “Reduce, re-use , recycle” anyone!
Maybe 2013 will be the year when we finally wake up to the huge damage the global food giants are doing. with over one third of UK primary school leavers classified as obese and an ever fattening adult population, the food industry has become adept at manipulating the political agenda – did you know Coca-Cola and Nestle both have seats on the global food policy board at the World Health Organisation. And in the UK the food industry primarily ‘self regulates’ – and we get fatter and fatter – and more and more unhealthy.
More of the same – the Guardian has revealed that 23 employees of energy companies are currently working within the Department of Energy and Climate Change – and taxpayers are actually paying for staff from Centrica, ESB (Ireland’s biggest energy provider) and National Grid. Staff from Shell and npower owner RWE are not charged back. DECC say the secondees bring in vital expertise and knowledge – and have to ‘self police’ themselves in any conflict of interests.
Electric car sales are expected to double in the UK in 2013 as prices start to fall as cheaper models are introduced – and the number of charging points start to increase. That said, sales are expected to increase fro just 3,000 to 6,000. The number of charging points in London will increase from 900 to 1,300.
2012 was officially the wettest on record in England, dramatically reversing the drought that the UK was facing when 2011 ended. 2013 will be blown in with 70mph winds and more rain according to the Met Office, with flooding once again predicted as rain falls on saturated ground.
UK Rail fares will go up 4.2% on average on Wednesday 2nd January. Some unregulated fares will go up by as much as 12%. Rail users point out that there has been no like improvement in services.
A new study, Understanding Society, says that single men in the UK are the worst at recycling – with only 65% recycling compared to 79% for mixed-sex couples. The panel survey of more than 5,000 households showed that women are more committed recyclers than men, and more willing to spend time on recycling.
In a move reminiscent of the odious Donald Trump’s controversial Scottish golf course, campaigners are alerting the world to moves to build a £100 million gold course beside the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The National Trust is spearheading the challenge to protect the 39,000 hexagonal basalt stones which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The Sam Simon (named after the animal activist co-creator of the Simpsons ) is the latest addition to Greenpeace’s fleet of ships. The Sam Simon will be deployed in the Antarctic Ocean as part of ‘Operation Zero Tolerance‘ against the Japanese whaling fleet – ironic as the boat was originally an ‘ocean research vessel’ and part of that whaling fleet. Four ships will be deployed against the whalers in 2013.
And if you wanted a review of 2012, TreeHugger have posted a handy blog on their ’10 Environmental Victories in 2012′ here http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/10-environmental-victories-2012.html. They also have 15 amazing animal photos from 2012 – starting with a rare white humpbacked whale and with bears, Manatees, monkeys, snakes, birds, insects and lions – and even a lobster – all here http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/natural-sciences/15-amazing-animal-photos-2012/
The UK’s bird population has declined 13.7% since 1977.
Life expectancy for humans has risen 10 years over the last decade, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
France enters 2013 with a £300 million budget disaster at the Philharmonie de Paris. The costs for the new aluminium encased classical concert venue, designed by Jean Nouvel, are spiralling out of control with state auditors pointing to a ‘exorbitant inflation in costs’. A senate committee warned of a ‘worrying drift’ in the budget. The project is being funded by the state and the city of Paris.
Emile Sande will end the year with the No 1 album in the UK with Our Version of Events. X-Factor winner James Arthur tops the singles chart with Impossible. Adele’s album 21 has sold 4.562 million copies in the UK and despite being released in 2011 was the second biggest seller in 2012. She won six Grammy awards. Korean pop star Psy’s Gangnam Style has been seen by more than 1.083 billion people on You Tube, the most watched You Tube video of all time.