Monthly Archives: February 2014

ANOTHER PLANET?

DSCF0251The UK has had the wettest winter on record, with 486.8mm of rain falling, the Met Office has announced. The downpour has beaten the previous record set in 1995, it said.

Do you believe in climate change? Well, then you are apparently a “global warming Nazi” according to one vocal denier. The Huffington Post reports that “Scientist” Roy Spencer, who is a professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, has said people who use the term “climate deniers” will “kill far more people than the Nazis ever did.” Climate activists are, in his words, “anti-capitalist fascists” adding ‘I didn’t start the name-calling.”

US researchers have achieved a world first in an ambitious experiment that aims to recreate the conditions at the heart of the sun and pave the way for nuclear fusion reactors. The scientists generated more energy from fusion reactions than they put into the nuclear fuel, in a small but crucial step along the road to harnessing fusion power. The ultimate goal – to produce more energy than the whole experiment consumes – remains a long way off, but the feat has nonetheless raised hopes that after decades of setbacks, firm progress is finally being made.  Fusion energy has the potential to become a radical alternative power source, with zero carbon emissions during operation and minimal waste, but the technical difficulties in demonstrating fusion in the lab have so far proved overwhelming. While existing nuclear reactors generate energy by splitting atoms into lighter particles, fusion reactors combine light atomic nuclei into heavier particles.

Energy harnessing carpets, mobile devices that can be charged on the move and wearable energy harvesting structures could soon be a reality, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Bolton are pioneering developments into 3D textile structures using piezoelectric energy harvesting fibres.  These fibres can generate electricity by harnessing the energy created by an impact or movement, for example a footstep on a carpet, then converting that mechanical energy into electrical power.

Pavegen at Bestival

Pavegen at Bestival

And Laurence Kemball-Cook, the 28-year old green energy whiz is the Huffington Post’s young entrepreneur of the week. While at university, Kemball-Cook crafted special floor tiles which converted the kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity that could be stored or reused. The young entrepreneur’s business, Pavegen, began to grow as his invention has been used at events, such as last year’s Paris Marathon and at the West Ham tube stop, powering lights on the way to the Olympic Stadium.

Plastic packaging made from the fermented wastewater of processed juice could save industry millions in production costs and tap into growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products. Under the EU-funded PHBOTTLE project, researchers are developing a way of adding value to industrial residues and then developing these into a new biodegradable material.  Project coordinator Ana Valera said: “The main tangible result of the project will be a new bottle made of biodegradable material, which will be obtained through the fermentation of wastewater”.

And finally on new products – Xeros – a spin out from the University of Leeds – has produced a new washing machine designed by Professor Stephen Burkinshaw that dramatically reduces the amount of water needed for washing clothes by using polymer beads to clean clothes . The beads remove the dirt from soiled clothes, and last for up to 500 loads of laundry. The venture already makes commercial machines, and is raising £40 million to enter into producing machines for the domestic market not a bad idea as our water resources become ever more scarce.

orangejWe read a very interesting article in The Atlantic about the history of orange juice and its rise in popularity over the past century – but Orange juice deserve the reputation it enjoys as a healthy drink? Should it be part of the ‘balanced breakfast’ that we’ve been taught to recognize? probably not! Far from being fresh, the so-called “freshly squeezed, not-from-concentrate, homestyle” orange juice that consumers buy in cartons or Tetra-Paks is often more than a year old – and contains as much sugar as a can of soda, which is the last thing children struggling with obesity or diabetes need in their diets – The only way orange juice can taste the way it does is thanks to added  “flavor packs” AND the packaging in waxed cartons is damn hard to recycle. There’s no reason why people can’t stick with water for hydration and – enjoy a freshly peeled orange for flavour and a dose of real vitamin C

Edie.net reports that almost half (48%) of the British public would describe themselves as energy conscious at home, whereas only 20% would say the same about their behaviour in the workplace, according to new research. The results of a survey, by OnePoll and electrical supplies distributor Rexel, reveals that this apparent “split personality” around energy usage is highlighted by the differences in their concern for energy wastage.  More than 70% claim that they are concerned about wasting energy at home, whilst only 43% worry about wastage at work.

Arnold Schwarzenneger has called on conservative politicians to reclain the green agenda from left wing politicians. Arnie is amongst a coalition pf centre right figures which include inventor Sir James Dyson, UK Education Secretary Michel Gove, former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (now a UN special envoy on cities and climate change) and  and the former boss of M&S Stuart Rose who say that the right wing needs to take action to tackle the “great environmental crisis”

One in five energy consuming products across Europe do not match their energy efficiency claims, according to new research. The EU-funded study has found that consumers are being misled by 20% of energy-using products that are claiming to be more energy efficient than they actually are.  Estimates show that around 10% of potential energy savings are being lost by millions of products across Europe, including ovens, fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, televisions and computers.

mantaray3Indonesia has declared its waters a sanctuary for manta rays. The country believes that a ban on fishing the creature in territorial waters will drive a lucrative market in tourism with snorkellers and divers in areas such as Bali.

UK policymakers are being called on to give greater consideration to the electricity sector’s ‘water footprint’, as water shortages are likely to impact energy generation in the future. Researchers at Newcastle University have said that greater consideration of water usage in the sector will help minimise the risk of power stations having to reduce production or, in extreme scenarios, shut down altogether if water shortages mean they cannot remain operational.

Congratulations to our friends at the Cambridge Folk Festival for picking up the “Good Tradition Award” at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Other winners included: Folk Singer Of The Year: Bella Hardy; Best Duo: Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin; Best Group: The Full English; Musician Of The Year: Aidan O’Rourke; BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award: The Mischa Macpherson Trio.

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A message from Greenpeace – Please PROTECT INDONESIA’S RAINFORESTS

greenpceThe last home of the Sumatran tiger is being destroyed to make the palm oil in products we use every day.

Yes! Let’s protect Indonesia’s endangered animals from deforestation – 

Sign up to join the Greenpeace movement today. Help grow the movement to save the home of rare animals like the Sumatran tiger, elephant and orangutan.

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GREEN EVENTS & INNOVATIONS – JUST TWO WEEKS TO GO!

GreenEventsLogo2013As the impact of climate change and the response of the festival industry in working sustainably becomes ever more important, the sixth edition of GREEN EVENTS & INNOVATIONS returns to the ILMC, at Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London on Thursday 6th March 2014.

A Greener Festival, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and Bucks New University are again presenting the UK’s leading conference on sustainability at events. GEI will demonstrate the latest solutions and technologies for practical event management and this year, there will be a specific focus on audience behavior and the psychology and sociology of collective action.

Guest speakers include Chris Johnson (Shambala Festival), Clive Phillips (Greenbox Events), Carlijn Lindemulder (ID&T), Ben Challis (Glastonbury / AGF) and Teresa Moore (Bucks New Uni) alongside a keynote from Alan Watson Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life – the award-winning charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest and its unique wildlife to the Scottish Highlands, and partner of the Festival Wood Initiative. Other topics that will be covered include reducing plastics at festivals, sustainability in merchandising and a focus on left behind campsite waste.

eotr1“We are very happy to be joining the ILMC again this year for GEI. The speakers who are joining us are an inspiration and have effected great change and development in their fields. The conversation is always two way, and we’re look forward to realising the next steps for the industry to improve itself.” Claire O’Neill, AIF, A Greener Festival,

Industry experts and festival organisers will debate the tough subject of disposable plastics produced at events. What is better – recyclables, biodegradables or reusables? Compelling evidence will be presented by Chrisof Huber (Yourope, Open Air St Gallen)  and Melinda Watson from the Raw Foundation who can offer some innovative answers.

Merchandise and the clothing industry will be under the microscope, as Mart Drake-Knight (Rapanui Clothing) dissects the supply chain and argue that sustainability and business don’t need to be compromises.

Last summer harrowing images of “wasteland” campsites showed the scale of waste that can be produced by audiences. What causes us to continue to act in an unsustainable way despite knowing better? As well as a panel discussion between academics, festival organisers and psychologists, Dr Guy Champniss will present a focus on behavioral change and how this can move us towards a sustainable lifestyle.

There will also be break-out sessions exploring the ‘Love Your Tent’ exclusive Audience Survey findings and the European Tent Initiative, alongside A Greener Festival Workshop for Assessors.

Tickets for the Conference including lunch and a packed day of panels, keynotes and workshops are £80, with a discount rate of £50 available for AIF Members, Yourope Members, ILMC delegates and students.

Find out more and book ticket here http://gei2014.eventbrite.co.uk

The ILMC (International Live Music Conference) is the  leading annual gathering of professionals involved in the global touring, festival and live entertainment industries and runs from the 7th – 9th March. It is close to selling out – but there are a last few delegate spaces available: This year the ILMC has new workshop sessions, expanded networking areas, more agenda topics than ever, and a focus on artist development and the future of the business, including new technology. More on the ILMC website here.

Green Events & Innovations is supported by ID&C,  ILMCEventbrite and Deeleys

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ANOTHER PLANET?

Matthew Ames, 38, who used famous names, including James Middleton, the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Jack Charlton and Sir Rodney Walker, and quotes from Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales to promote bogus “ethical investments” and persuade people to part with £1.2 million to fund a lavish lifestyle, now faces a custodial prison sentence after being convicted at Islelworth Crown Court of scamming investors out of £846,000 in a bogus Sri Lankan teak tree plantation scheme and £430,000 to buy bogus carbon credits through his business – Forestry For Life.  Ames had denied two counts of fraudulent trading during a near six-week long trial.

treesforlifeBetter news – our friends at the End of The Road Festival have launched a scheme to support planting more trees in FESTIVAL WOOD – our reforestation project with Trees for Life in Dundgreggan, Scotland. And these are real trees – we know that for sure – because we have planted some of them ourselves!

Train manufacturer Bombardier, who have won the £1 billion contract to make trains for London’s Crossrail project, ensuring the future of manufacturing at its Derby plant, has said that it now has planning permission to cover the roof of its wing assembly factory with solar panels – five hectares of panels the size of six football pitches – and will install a gasification plant to use waste to produce energy.

The global warming ‘pause’ which some climate change sceptics (the headless chicken brigade) have taken as evidence that climate change is a myth could be explained by a dramatic increase in the amount of heat absorbed by the Pacific Ocean. A new report published in Nature Climate Change from the University of New South Wales says that the increased speed of the easterly trade winds blowing from South America to Australasia over the last two decades means more warm surface water is pushed down into the Ocean, leaving cooler surface water, which can then absorb more heat.

Morrissey has called Prince William a ‘Thickwit’ and accused the royal family of hypocrisy after it was revealed that William has flown off on a hunting trip just days before taking part in a high-profile campaign to highlight poaching and the illegal wildlife trade with his father, Prince Charles. Accompanied by his brother, Prince Harry, the second in line to the throne flew out to Spain to shoot wild boar and stag at an estate in rural Cordoba owned by one of the wealthiest men in Britain, the Duke of Westminster. The princes are reportedly frequent visitors to Finca La Garganta, which is one of the largest and most exclusive hunting estates in western Europe. In a video message which launches their anti-poaching campaign and the threat posed to that wildlife by organised criminal gangs which slaughter animals for their tusks or horns or other body parts, Prince  Charles, said that the numbers being killed are “staggering”: nearly 100 elephants killed every day – a rhinoceros killed every 11 hours – a wild tiger population which, a century ago, numbered around 100,000 and which, today, has been reduced to an estimated 3,200.

The Scottish Government has defeated Donald Trump in a legal battle that has involved the tycoon challenge plans for a new offshore wind farm in Aberdeenshire. Trump has been opposed to the construction of the £230m European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) since plans were approved in 2011, which would have “negative impact” on the view from the US tycoon’s golf course.  Trump launched a legal case last year against the Scottish Government who approved plans for the project put forward by Vattenfall, Technip and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG).

UK clothing powerhouses including Tesco, Next and designer Stella McCartney are among 53 retailers, suppliers, charities and recyclers in the textiles sector who have committed to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of clothing across its lifecycle. Led by WRAP, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) has unveiled the SCAP 2020 Commitment targets today (11 February), pledging a significant 15% reduction in carbon, water and in waste to landfill, plus a 3.5% reduction in waste arising, per tonne of clothing by 2020.  WRAP states that on average, the UK consumer buys about 27 items of clothing a year with the average household spending £1,700 on clothing. SCAP signatories represent 40% of the UK clothing market based on retail sales value. To date 29 signatories and 24 supporters have signed up, including 12 retailers and 15 charities, recyclers and collectors.  And British retail giant Primark has announced a commitment to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain.  Signing up to Greenpeace’s global detox campaign, which is calling on brands to phase-out toxic chemicals from their supply chains, Primark follows major retailer Burberry, who announced the same commitment two weeks ago.

A very interesting article in the Guardian by John Harris: On climate change, Ed Miliband must match his bold words with real action – saying while Tory ranks contain so many ‘deniers’, Labour can now lead the way in bringing the planet’s fate to the top of the political agenda – “It’s not about Nigel Lawson, or pantomime-villain deniers: they will stick to their script no matter what, and sounded just as daft before the great deluge of 2014 as they have in the midst of it. No, if anyone is going to carry the can for the fact that climate change vanished from public discourse just as the weather was definitely turning strange, it is surely the politicians who once banged on about its urgency, and then suddenly went quiet.” More here .

sochiAs news breaks that two members of Pussy Riot have been arrested in Sochi, apparently whilst just walking along the street although equally maybe for stealing a handbag (although they had announced a planned protest) , more disturbing news that environmental campaigner Evgeny Vitishko has been jailed for three years after breaching the parole terms of  a suspended sentence – his original crime was painting a slogan on a house that activists say was built illegally on national park land. Campaigners say there have been repeated infringements and violations of environmental law during the build period for the winter Olympics.  The Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, has already met local people to discuss Vitishko’s case, and raised the matter with the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev.

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Festival News

guilfest2GuilFest is back! Tony Scott, promoter of the original GuilFest, has secured  a licence from Guildford Borough Council  to stage a 20,000 capacity event in 2014. Scott’s previous company, Scotty Events Ltd, went bankrupt in 2012 after the Olympic Games and poor weather led to poor tickets ales and debts of over £300,000. After strong local support Scott’s new company, Trowfest Ltd, was granted a new licence, although he will have to provide a financial bond, evidence of its contribution to the local economy, and make commitments to support local music. Live Nation, who staged the 12,000 capacity Magic Summer Live in 2013 in Guildford, will not repeat that event.

hopfarmConfusion still surrounds the future of the Hop Farm Festival with two events still in the planning it seems. A festival at the Hop Farm’s original site in Paddock Wood co-promoted by the venue owners and UK Events has already announced Beach Boy Brian Wilson as a headliner  – but Vince Power, the original promoter whose Kent Festivals company collapsed in 2012 with debts of £4.8 million, still seems intent on promoting a ‘Hop Farm’ festival in the locality, although the local authority confirmed that no licence had been applied for as yet. The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, 4-6 Jul: James Blunt, Caro Emerald, Paul Carrack, Squeeze, The Feeling.

AEG Live are planning a series of UK Live one day events across the UK with acts including Jessie J, Jason Derulo and Rizzle Kicks. And a new 22,000 capacity music festival at Leicester City’s Welford Road rugby stadium is being planned by two local businessmen – Manoj Keshavji and Shane Whitfield.

Love Parade by Arne MuselerTen people have been charged under German law with negligent manslaughter in relation to the to the fatal stampede that occurred at Germany’s Love Parade festival in 2010 which left 21 people dead and over five hundred more injured. The Festival, which began in 1989 as a Berlin-based event, began travelling to different German cities each year in 2007, was taking place in Duisburg in 2010. The free event was always well attended, and though turnouts had fallen in the few years prior to 2010, it was estimated by investigators that almost half a million people had attended that year on the site of a former freight rail yard. The site’s capacity, however, was 250,000 and despite the large number of people attending, crowds entering were funnelled through a single underpass, which quickly became crowded on the Saturday morning of the event there was a surge in the crowd, which caused panic in the tunnel followed by a stampede. Six of the event’s organisers and four city workers have been charged with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each. All deny any wrongdoing. The event was permanently cancelled by organisers after the tragedy. Six people had proceedings against them dropped after the investigation by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for lack of evidence. The then mayor of Duisburg, Adolf Sauerland, was forced to step down after a 2012 city referendum, accused of having ignored warnings that the venue was too small. Organisers faced criticism at the time in media reports suggesting that officials and organisers did not heed warnings that there would be problems with such a massive crowd. Duisburg prosecutor Horst Bien told reporters: “Something happened on 24 July 2010 that should never have happened. We weren’t looking to see who was morally or politically responsible but instead focussed only on who was criminally liable”. Bien said the entrance was not big enough to handle the numbers of those attending and said those charged should have known that. An interim police report listed a catalogue of crowd management and planning mistakes. The grounds opened nearly two hours later than promised, leading to an initial blockage in the tunnel, and there were no loudspeakers to control the crowd, the report said. “Mistakes in planning were the main reason for the disaster,” Bien said adding thaT “an event where people wanted to party, dance and have fun, turned into a terrible tragedy” and “The victims, their relatives and the bereaved are still suffering today because of the traumatic events.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26152045 and photo by Arne Museler.

gomaThe city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been the scene of armed conflict between rebel and government forces for nearly two decades. But this weekend Goma put on a different face as crowds gathered at College Mwanga to celebrate a music festival with the optimistic slogan “playing for change, singing for peace”. Thousands of  Gomatraciens and visitors from other parts of the DRC and from Rwanda, Burundi and other countries attended the festival, which had been scheduled to take place in 2013 but was cancelled because of clashes between Congo’s army and M23 rebels. The Amani festival – Swahili for “peace” – went ahead this year after peace talks between the warring parties. Musicians and artists from all over the  region, including the outspoken Kinshasa rapper Lexxus Legal and the local musician Innocent Balume, performed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8ItuFT4f84

Want to join Julie’s Bicycle?

julies bicycle

Want to join Julie’s Bicycle?

Our friends at Julie’s Bicycle have a once in a blue moon opportunity to employ four new people to join their thriving London-based team.

Prompted by the return home of their Arts Director Catherine and imminent maternity leave of their Environmental Sustainability Director Claire (both of whom will be sorely missed) they are looking for four exceptional people with ambition, creative flair and an unwavering commitment to the environment and/or creativity to join a thriving team at the heart of the cultural response to environmental sustainability.

Julie’s Bicycle is looking for:
– Development Director
– Environmental Sustainability Director (maternity cover, 6 months minimum)
– Arts Coordinator
– Head of Finance and Operations

More infos & job descriptions here
http://www.greenmusicinitiative.de/2014/02/julies-bicycle-is-hiring-a-sustainability-director/

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 26 February 2014! 
For more information email or call Sophie on sophie(at)juliesbicycle.com
(0044-020 87460400)
http://www.juliesbicycle.com/about-jb/vacancies

A sad sad elephant’s tale – can you help with a happy ending?

tania2AOL brings us one of the saddest stories possible – about a lonely little elephant called Tania, trapped in a Romanian zoo. Captured in 1975 at just three years old when her herd was slaughtered,  instead of being placed with other elephants were she might have got over the trauma, she was sold to a French zoo, the Plaisance du Touch, where she lived alone and isolated for a quarter of a century until 2004 when she was moved to Spain. Campaigners say the isolation was a disaster for the young female elephant. In Spain she was temporarily given a companion when she was placed with another female elephant, Khaiso, that also had a difficult past and the two were quickly inseparable. But when the Terra Natura zoo got into financial difficulties she was again sold off – and in 2009 was taken to Le Barben zoo in France. However she was not accepted by the herd there and was sold again, this time in June 2011 were she ended up at la Cornelle in Italy and was again rejected. From there she was sent to Targu Mures Zoo in Romania where she now lives alone – the saddest elephant in the World.

Campaigners want Tania to be taken away from the zoo and taken to a sanctuary, where she can be slowly integrated with other elephants, and where she will be in a more stimulating environment.

You can visit the campaign’s Facebook page here