ANOTHER PLANET?

UNhornifafricadroughtThe world is set to become more violent as global temperatures rise, with scientists warning this could lead to a “collapse in civilisation. An exhaustive study of a wide range of conflicts over thousands of years has found that rising temperatures are inevitably linked to an increase in violence. Three US scientists have analysed 60 studies by 190 scholars published in 26 journals of 45 different conflicts around the world.  They concluded that with every significant shift in temperature there was an increased risk of social or societal violence, and have published their findings in the journal Science.

One of our US environmental assessors, Jeff Gowdy, who runs Gowdy Consulting, will guest lecture for a fourth year in the Human & Organizational Development department at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School of Education, ranked the nation’s #1 education school by U.S. News. And you can see an interview with Jeff in a feature in the Nashville Ledger here.

The UK’s Liberal Democrat party have announced a new policy proposal to ban almost all petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 204o and prohibit all but the lowest carbon emitting vehicles for personal use. Only hybrid and electric cars would be allowed on roads and road pricing (tolls) would be considered.  Sales of cars in the UK were up 12.7% last month, the 17th successive increase. The party also plans to look at nuclear power and the future of shale gas extraction in the UK.

nissan leaf 2013Nissan and green energy company Ecotricity have together installed 13 new electric vehicle (EV) rapid chargers, increasing the total number of chargers in the UK to 97. Installed at Welcome Break service stations across the country, the 13 rapid chargers represent the latest phase of work completed by Nissan and Ecotricity to expand the rapid charging network on the UK’s motorways.

Performance artist Danny Shine does sound like a bit of a nuisance – he uses a loud hailer to shout at shoppers – but he now finds himself fighting an unusual human rights battle – after a warden from Westminster City Council issued him with a court summons for using his megaphone to cause a nuisance – and confiscated the megaphone too. A local and rarely used 2001 council bylaw is in place to prevent nuisances but Mr shine believes the law is being used to clamp down on the freedom of expression – here his right to warn shoppers of the dangers of consumerism, tax avoidance and advertising tricks. The incident took place the second time Mr Shine was approached by a warden. he believes the law should be struck down as it infringes the Human Rights Act for restricting the right of political and artistic expression.

food wasteFood waste is a big issue and we’re big supporters of FareShare who are doing some marvellous things reducing food waste. And now a campaign to educate consumers about the role that packaging can play in reducing food waste has been launched to counter negative public perception on the issue. INCPEN, the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, has launched ‘The Good, The Bad and The Spudly’ initiative in response to growing awareness of wasteful food habits, both in the home and throughout the supply chain. More at Edie.net here.

But in Germany there is growing opposition to the Green Party’s suggestion that there should be a ‘Veggie Day’ once a week as a ‘personal contribution to environmental protection’. Germany’s Bild newspaper has said the idea smacks of the nanny state.

Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, Motorola and LG Electronics have released statements reiterating their commitment to tackling the environmental impact of Indonesian tin production associated with the firms supply chains. The move was prompted by Friends of the Earth’s investigation into the “devastation” caused by mining for tin on Bangka Island in Indonesia.  According to Friends of the Earth, tin mining in Bangka showed that in 2011 on average one miner a week died in an accident, while reports of child labour in the unofficial mines are apparently common. It also found that farmland and forests have been destroyed due to mining in the area.

Financial support should be made available for businesses, cooperatives, local authorities, schools and housing associations to install medium-sized renewable energy generating systems, MPs on the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Committee have said Installations such as solar arrays, wind turbines and district heating systems carried out by these organisations could provide benefits to “communities and the country as a whole”.  Speaking on behalf of the Committee, Dr Alan Whitehead said: “Businesses can reduce their energy overheads, locals can potentially benefit from cheaper electricity or heat, and councils can use projects to tackle fuel poverty, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions”.  And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has unveiled the Government’s offshore wind industry strategy claiming it will help keep Britain the world leader in “one of the most important industries of the 21st Century”.

Defra has launched a consultation on its long-awaited waste prevention programme for England, which is open to businesses, local authorities and consumers as Britain notches up a population of 63.8 million.  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/waste-prevention-programme-for-england

Cylch, the Welsh Community Recycling Network, has announced it will wind up its operations next month following financial difficulties and an impending investigation by the Charity Commission.

More must be done to drive water sensitive urban design where water cycle management is integrated with the built environment, according to a construction think tank. Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is an approach to design that delivers greater harmony between water, the environment and communities.  According to CIRIA, it offers “an exciting approach” to improve consideration of the entire water cycle during the urban design and development process.  This includes interlinking the management of water demand and supply, wastewater and pollution, rainfall and runoff, watercourses and water resources, as well as flooding and water pathway.

Sumatran_Rhino_2Customs officials in Hong Kong have seized a shipment of illegal ivory, rhino horns and leopard skins worth an estimated £3.5 million. the shipment, from Nigeria and labelled as wood contained 1,120 elephant tusks, 13 rhino horns and 5 leopard skins. Wildlife experts say that the trade in ivory has more than doubled since 2007 leading to a surge in poaching to feed markets in Thailand and China.

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