Ever since we invented tools, humans have been able to take ‘great leaps’ and become masters of new domains: we mastered hunting – we mastered stone – we developed our prowess in working with bronze and then iron – we moved on to steel and steam power; then coal, oil, gas and nuclear power: cheap energy brought us mass production, and agricultural developments meant we could feed billions not millions, and we reached the Moon – and the digital age. And now we are killing the planet. And ourselves. We know we are, BUT we cannot stop. The lobby groups of oil, gas, coal, the banks, and other vested interests – including the selfish gene we all have – are so powerful we just can’t slow down – even though we know it will end in tears – environmental disaster and chaos. Maybe we have gone too far already. Maybe even if we we switched to wind, solar, hydro and wave power overnight, a circular economy and reduced our 6 billion strong impact to the barest minimum, we MIGHT just survive. But I am beginning to doubt it, and I am beginning to think probably we are too late and humanity just CAN’T change. Because organisations and companies and capitalism don’t breathe air or swim in the sea or get cancer. And politicians and business leaders are almost all forced to think in the short term. And short term is exactly that – profit, greed and the odd quick fix. Does the stock market care about species extinction? Not at all – or not until its too late! So, what’s left? Even though only just a few still deny climate change now, or deny the ravishes of growing pollution and the obvious fact of resources depletion, resistance is enough to put a brake on real change. So I guess either we (a) all die (b) save ourselves with technology or (c) leave Earth to travel to a new home. Or have a massive mind shift. Not many other options now. And one of those looks unpalatable. And two unrealistic. So we have to take one more – very important – ‘great leap’ . Now.
EU countries have finally agreed to a tough new Common Fisheries Policy, hopefully with a now firm commitment to set quotas for fishing using hard scientific evidence – to stablise rapidly declining fish stocks and achieve growth. By 2015 the EU will revise its ‘discards’ policy which will be extended to all marine species by 2020. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has led the ‘Fish Fight’ campaign called the move a ‘tremendous achievement’ and Greenpeace hailed the move as positive saying the policy had the potential to turn “Europe’s destructive and over sized fishing industry into a sustainable low impact sector”.
EU leaders have agreed it is crucial to further intensify the diversification of Europe’s energy supply and develop indigenous energy resources to ensure security of supply, reduce the EU’s external energy dependency and stimulate economic growth. During the EU Summit in Brussels EU leaders discussed energy issues, including energy security and upgrading the EU’s energy infrastructure. The discussions also tackled issues such as energy efficiency in the EU and the need for climate and energy policies that go “hand in hand”. And the United Nations (UN) has called for stronger scientific alliances to understand and protect natural water resources, warning that unless greater efforts are made to reverse current trends the world will run out of freshwater.
Edie and sister title Sustainable Business are have announced that entries are now being accepted for the 2013, RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards scheme. Recognising excellence in 12 distinct categories, some of which are new for 2013, the Sustainability Leaders Awards focus on specific aspects of sustainability and the environmental and business improvements they drive. More here http://www.edie.net/news/6/Sustainability-Leaders-Awards-2013-open-for-entry-/
Scottish Ministers have approved the installation of the world’s largest wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis in Scotland. Once completed, the 40MW wave farm will have the capacity to power nearly 30,000 homes.
A 55-year old man was arrested on the runway of Heathrow airport as he tried to flee the country to avoid paying back the proceeds of his illegal waste business. Amrik Johal has now been jailed for three years after he was stopped while boarding a flight to Delhi on May 16 without paying the full amount of a £881,513 confiscation order – money he needed to cough up for waste crimes he was convicted of in 2010. The Environment Agency brought a case against Johal in 2008 for running an illegal waste site in Slough, Berkshire. Noisy activities at the site, which included the crushing of cars, the burning of diesel and dumping of waste between January 2006 and March 2007, caused misery for his neighbours.
Labour peer Lord Drayson is aiming to smash the 40 year old land speed record for an electric vehicle, which stands at 175 mph over a mile. The record attempt will take place at Elvington airstrip near York. Next year Formula E starts with races at ten cities – including a Grand Prix in London where Drayson Racing will compete.
The UK Government is providing £12m funding for 213 new low carbon buses in a drive to cut carbon emissions and encourage economic growth. According to the Government, passengers in England are set to benefit from cleaner, greener bus journeys as part of the fourth round of the Green Bus Fund announced by Local Transport Minister Norman Baker. The Green Bus Fund aims to cut greenhouse gas emission levels and encourage bus operators and local councils to make the switch to more environmentally-friendly buses.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) specialist Agrivert has struck a multi-million pound deal with Grundon Waste Management to finance its third AD plant at Trumps Farm near Chertsey in Surrey. Construction has already begun on the new facility, which is expected to be fully operational by spring 2014.
It’s toilet talk on Treehugger – with a great article called “5 ways that urine can help save humanity” here http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/5-ways-urine-can-help-save-humanity.html and an article on home composting toilets here http://www.treehugger.com/bathroom-design/composting-toilets-are-coming-home.html.
The short haired bumble bee, one found across much of England and declared extinct 13 years ago, is being given another chance: A new generation, collected from Sweden, are being reintroduced across 700 acres of a re-shaped wild flower habitat at Dungeness on the Kent coast.
Dame Ellen McArthur, the former round the World yachting star, is championing the concept of a ‘circular economy’ through her own Foundation, saying that a move away from planned obsolescence to a new circular model would, at current rates of growth, produce £415 BILLION of economic benefits. Now that just MIGHT prompt some change!