ANOTHER PLANET?

springwatch2014BBC’s Springwatch is one of the first British TV programmes to demonstrate to viewers that it has met high environmental standards by displaying an on-screen certification badge on its credits. The debut of the ‘albert+’ rating on Springwatch, and also on the BBC’s ‘From There to Here’ drama, marks the first step of the BBC’s and the British Academy of Film & Television Arts’ (BAFTA) drive to take the industry towards a low carbon future.  In March edie reported that BAFTA was refining its industry carbon calculator Albert to enable better reporting for television and film productions. Using the calculator, programmes can work towards achieving the albert+ badge, which demonstrates that senior staff have taken a strong lead on sustainability. This includes sharing goals with cast and crew, measuring carbon footprints, and adopting sufficient low-carbon production techniques to address the overall environmental impact of the programme.  On Springwatch, there are plans to introduce new technology such as waste vegetable oil and solar powered generators to power the facilities base on location at RSPB Minsmere, to achieve carbon-neutral emissions instead of using a diesel generator.

jb sustaining creativityThe business benefits of being environmentally friendly have been made clear in the creative and cultural sector, with a new industry report revealing a significant financial boost for firms that have put sustainability in the spotlight. SUSTAINING CREATIVITY, from Julie’s Bicycle, reveals that 55% of cultural institutions from music, theatre, visual arts, museums, literature and combined arts have reported financial benefits of being more sustainable.  Moreover, 40% of the 335 responding organisations said they have experienced reputational benefits from their commitment to environmental sustainability, while 62% believe it will become increasingly important to their business over the next two years. Julie’s Bicycle’s chief executive Alison Tickell said: “This survey shows us that people are absolutely engaged with the issues facing the sector, and the wider world, and are beginning to reap the opportunities inherent in placing the environment alongside financial and artistic priorities. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of closing the value/action gap and really making the critical creative leap in the way we operate” adding “Between now and March 2015, the ‘Sustaining Creativity‘ programme will continue to inspire and engage the cultural sector to scale up best practice and develop the capacity for leadership on the most pressing issue of our time – climate change and environmental sustainability.”

Severn Trent Water has announced that it will be investing £13m in a new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that will convert household food waste into energy. The AD plant will be situated in Coleshill, Warwickshire. It will be the first of a number of plants the company plans to build across the Severn Trent region.

The unsustainable use of natural resources will continue to have a ‘crippling’ impact on price volatility and the environment unless economic growth is decoupled from resource consumption, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report – Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options – is based on research undertaken by UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP. It points to a 260% hike in energy prices since the year 2000, along with a 176% rise in metal prices and 350% increase in rubber costs as just a few examples of the costly results of current consumption of non-renewable resources.

Slipper_orchidMany rare plants and animals face growing challenges from habitat destruction, agriculture, hunting and climate change  – but often their very rarity adds to their problems as illegal collectors drive them to the point of extinction. Slipper orchids have almost disappeared from the remote hills and mountains where they were once found in North America, Europe and temperate regions of Asia – the orchid is prized by collectors who are now the biggest threat to the species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also pointed out that 94% of lemur species are threatened with extinction along with the Japanese Eel and the three banded Armadilo in Brazil.

Farmers in the UK have said that EU bans on various pesticides will make it increasingly difficult to sustain crop yields. The NFU says that a EU wide ban on fungicides used on barley, oilseed rape, oats and wheat from next year will affect production – the fungicides contain triazoles that can interfere with hormone activity in humans and affect fertility. Potato and carrot growers fear a ban on nematicides which protect root crops from roundworms. In Healthy Harvest The NFU says the UK is over regulated and is loosing out to foreign growers who have access to the pesticides.

BT has signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) worth £440m with three wind farms in Scotland, Wales and Lancashire, securing more than 100MW of renewable energy capacity to help power its UK operations. The energy will be supplied from the 48-turbine Fallago Rig wind farm located 35km southeast of Edinburgh in the Scottish Borders, the new Heysham South Wind Farm in Lancashire and nine-turbine Mynydd Bwllfa Wind farm in South Wales.

India has branded Greenpeace is a threat to it’s economy, saying the group wants to derail plans for the country to develop coal fired electricity generating plants. They say Greenpeace protests against coal power, nuclear power and mining had curbed GDP between 2% and 3% and that Greenpeace is a “potential threat” to national security.

Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Google to launch a new mobile and online tool that the supermarket giant hopes will help to reduce food waste in households across Britain. Sainsbury’s Food Rescue fuses mobile voice recognition technology with recipe inspiration to give users practical help and advice on using up ingredients that would otherwise be forgotten about and go to waste.

think smallThe European Commission has admitted that it needs to do more to bring small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ‘to the centre’ of its plans for a transition to a circular economy. Speaking to edie.net at European Green Week (3-5 June) the Commission’s directorate-general for enterprise and Industry, Lisbeth Bahl-Poulsen, said better collaboration with national and regional governments from the EU’s member states is also needed to focus environmental efforts on SMEs. Also un Green week – “There is no place for waste,” proclaimed Janez Potocnik as the Commissioner for Environment announced details of a revised package of measures to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy. Speaking at a press debriefing on the final day of European Green Week in Brussels, Potočnik said that the new policy package will include higher recycling rates and the elimination of landfill from waste legislation, with a particular focus on food and construction waste.

Conservationists, tourist chiefs and politicians are all protesting against planned oil exploration several miles off the coast of the beautiful island of Ibiza – famed for its parties and dance music extravaganzas – and Greenpeace is supporting the move and last week sent the Rainbow Warrior to campaign to protect the ecologically sensitive island and the glittering Mediterranean sea, home to dolphins, turtles, whales and the beds of Posidonia – the giant sea grass.

SumatraRhinoHornbill (1)We can end on a good news story – the campaign to protect the Virunga National Park in The Democratic Republic of the Congo – Africa’s oldest national park and home of the last remaining mountain gorillas – has succeeded! Supported by celebrities such as Anna Friel and the WWF, oil company Soco International  has now scrapped plans to conduct exploratory drilling in  the 7,800 sq km Viurunga park  and issued a joint statement with the WWF agreeing that Soco would “not undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling in the Virunga National Park unless Unesco and the DRC government agrees that such activities are not incompatible with it’s world heritage status”.

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