ANOTHER PLANET?

g078Wilkolife have published their Complete Summer Festival Survival Guide for 2013 with a lost of festival essentials, some thoughts of festivals that are fun for kids, some sensible advice on safety – and some handy eco-tips as well. With input from Zena Gardener at The Better Festival Group, Romany Greatrex at Festival Kidz  and our very own Helen Innes – it’s all here http://life.wilko.com/your-complete-festival-survival-guide-2013/ !

Oh, the shame.  Leeds United striker Ross McCormack has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 for illegally dumping Christmas waste in a layby. The striker, was identified by Leeds City Council enforcement officers after they were called to the littered layby on the A58 Wetherby Road after Christmas.The 26-year-old left packaging, cardboard delivery boxes and plastic bags next to bins at some point between Christmas 2012 and January 3, which was found blowing into nearby hedges and fields. The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that McCormack was handed a £200 fine, ordered to pay £883.25 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. Reacting to the verdict Councillor Mark Dobson, the council’s executive member for the environment, said: “Our recycling centres are open throughout the festive period to specifically allow people to recycle the extra waste that’s created at that time of year. In fact, our recycling centres only shut three days a year” adding “While the items in this case may have been left by litter bins with the misdirected idea that they’d be picked up as litter, this is a simple case of flytipping. Litter bins are for litter, not household waste” and “We’re determined to stamp out this kind of lazy behaviour and we will take action against those who fail to help us keep Leeds clean and green.”

Antony Hegarty, he of Antony & The Johnsons fame, has been speaking to the Times about his new Swanlights show at the Royal Opera House on July 25th and 26th explaining that he is addressing ecological disaster and a central message that “scientific rationalism has led the world to the brink of ecological collapse and that we now all need to have a more intuitive feminine way of living saying “there  is a suggestion that an unemotional male mind can establish a clearer sense of truth and its causing us to behave in a way that is ill-mannered in relation to the rest of the planet. Grandmothers know the weather is changing. What will it be like when we reach tipping point with permafrost, with the methane gas released and the temperature goes up several degrees in a month?”

antony hegartyA good read in the Observer in an article by farmer Tobias Jones about our addiction to cheap food –  “Bounty to be gained from getting closer to the land” – where Tobias says “The main problem is that we’ve become so hooked on cheap food that we ignore the hidden costs: the poisoning of our land by pesticides; the consequent collapse of bee colonies, thus declining rates of pollination; the destruction of ancient woodlands and hedgerows; the mass slaughter of cattle because of ludicrous feeding practices that led to BSE – and, lest we forget, 176 people have died in the UK of the resultant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. And the drugs metaphor is entirely appropriate since, like a dodgy dealer, many people have been cutting beef with horse to make it go further.” More on this from food writer Jay Rayner too – the links are http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/21/cheap-food-addiction-we-must-break and http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jul/21/philip-clarke-tesco-farmers-interview-jay-rayner

windturbines_300Planning consent has been granted for what will be the world’s largest wind farm off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast. The 1,200MW offshore facility at Triton Knoll is expected to generate more than £3.6bn of investment in Lincolnshire and Norfolk and create around 1,130 jobs across the country. The 288-turbine wind farm will be larger than the London Array. Europe has installed 277 wind turbines in the first half of 2013, adding more than 1 Gigawatt (GW) of capacity to the grid, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).  From January to the end of June, the UK installed 146 wind turbines. A considerable contribution came from Denmark with 98 new turbines totalling 352.8MW, while Germany’s 21 newly installed turbines added 105MW to Europe’s capacity.  The remaining capacity came from Belgium, which connected 73.8MW through 12 installed turbines

Defra has issued a consultation on a Waste Management Plan for England as part of its requirements under the revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD). The rWFD requires member states to produce at least one waste management plan for the regions they cover. The plan itself is a compilation of existing waste management information and policies.

Eunomia Research & Consulting chairman Dr Dominic Hogg, speaking at the Resource Association conference in London, told delegates that The UK’s reliance on primary materials and its exposure to commodity price rises will be determined to a certain degree by the lifetime of products adding that relying on recycling to insulate the economy from swings in the commodity markets was not a solution to the resource crisis.

Introducing new energy technologies in road transport will mean the current method of measuring the climate impact of vehicles will become increasingly inadequate, says the LowCVP. A new report, Life Cycle CO2e Assessment of Low Carbon Cars 2020-2030, shows how total life cycle CO2e emissions will change for different vehicle technologies in the future and estimates how the balance of emissions will alter for different stages in the life cycle for the varying technologies.  Through the report, the LowCVP aims to facilitate the first steps towards ‘beyond tailpipe’ measurement.

Center Parcs is focusing on reducing its water impact after the company announced an increase in consumption in 2012 despite implementing measures to cut use. Speaking to edie, Center Parcs sustainability manager Chris Brooks said that the rise in water consumption is a direct result of an increase in guests. “We have implemented measures such as efficient shower heads, restricting the flow of the taps to an acceptable level. But when we are adding new accommodation units and new water rides the water consumption has increased.

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted in favour of legislation to cap the percentage of biofuels in European renewable energy transport targets at 5.5%.  Subject to approval, the ENVI committee has also voted for the implementation of indirect land use change ‘(ILUC) factors’.  These are calculations designed to account for additional emissions rising from ILUC, a process by which the displacement of crop production onto previously unused land leads to the conversion of forests and savannah to agriculture.

Infrastructure investment worth £180bn and equating to 12% of GDP is at risk because of the Government’s unclear commitment to a low- carbon economy, according to a new report Commissioned by the think-tank Green Alliance, the report predicts that if the £60bn of low carbon projects planned for the next two years were to go ahead, it could kick start the economic recovery, with a 0.7% increase in GDP by 2015.  However, if the low carbon investment programme is dropped, the report estimates that GDP could fall by 2.2%, which is likely to push the UK back into recession.

Scientists at Bristol University and Bristol Robotics Laboratory have created a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down urine to generate electricity. The team created the microbial fuel cell by growing bacteria on carbon fiber anodes and then placing them in ceramic cylinders. When urine is placed in the cell, the bacteria breaks down the chemicals in the urine, creating an electrical charge which is stored on a capacitor. “No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery,” said engineer Ioannis Ieropoulos. “The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing (human!) waste to create energy.

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