Monthly Archives: September 2014

ANOTHER PLANET

unsummitMore than 120 international figureheads including US President Barack Obama, Brazillian President  Dilma Rousseff and UK Prime Minister David Cameron were among the global icons who gave speeches at the UN Summit in New York on Tuesday (23 September) to raise political momentum for a meaningful universal climate agreement in Paris 2015 and galvanise transformative action to curb runaway greenhouse gas emissions. Leonardo Di Caprio, the newly appointed UN Messenger of Peace told the assembly that humankind has looked at climate change as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet.  In a rousing speech, President Barack Obama said “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it. Nelson Mandela’s widow Graça Machel said leaders failed to rise to challenge after day of impassioned speeches at UN. The widow of Nelson Mandela punctured the self-congratulatory mood of the UN summit on Tuesday, saying world leaders had failed to rise to the challenge of climate change.  “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today,” Graça Machel told the closing moments of the summit. “The scale is much more than we have achieved.”  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon closed the days proceedings saying “We have delivered”. He added “let us look back on today as the day we decided – as a human family – to put our house in order to make it liveable for future generations.  Finnish airline Finnair operated a demonstration flight from Helsinki to New York with an Airbus A330 that used sustainable biofuel. More on the Guardian here.

Barack Obama has six months to deliver on the promises he made in a rousing speech at the United Nations climate change summit, Europe’s climate action commissioner said Obama, in a well-received address on Tuesday, promised the United States would play a leading role in reaching an international agreement to fight climate change, due to be finalised in Paris at the end of next year. Connie Hedegaard, who is responsible for ensuring the European Union meets its climate change obligations, told the Guardian that after the president’s speech raised expectations, other countries, especially the rising economies of China, India and Brazil, will be looking closely at what the US has to offer in six months.

Global greenhouse gas emissions on course to reach record high of over 40bn tonnes in 2014, a study in Nature Geoscience says. Children born today will see the world committed to dangerous and irreversible levels of climate change by their young adulthood at current rates, as the world poured a record amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere this year.  Annual carbon dioxide emissions showed a strong rise of 2.5% on 2013 levels, putting the total emitted this year on track for 40bn tonnes. That means the global ‘carbon budget’, calculated as the total governments can afford to emit without pushing temperatures higher than 2C above pre-industrial levels, is likely to be used up within just one generation, or in thirty years from now. More here.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to create one million green jobs as part of a 10-year plan to make Britain a global leader in clean technology and renewable energy. In an impassioned speech to Labour Party activists before the 2015 General Election, Miliband also announced that his party would commit to take all of the carbon out of electricity by 2030, and develop a Green Investment Bank with more powers to borrow.  “Under this Government, Britain lags behind Germany, Japan, the United States and even India and China for low-carbon green technologies and services,” he said. “The environment isn’t that fashionable anymore – but it matters. “It’s incredibly important to our economy and there is no more important an issue for me than tackling climate change.”

FE2The world’s first fully-electric race series – Formula E– got underway this weekend in Beijiing. A thrilling race was won by Lucas di Grassi (aUDI sPORT adt) after a final-lap crash, Franck Montagny (Andretti) was second and Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) third. Entertainment is just one third of the sport’s core values, known as ‘the Three E’s’. Energy and Environment round off the trio in a project that will promote electric vehicles, promote energy saving tyre technology and improve battery efficiency.  More on the official website here http://www.fiaformulae.com/en.aspx .

Nearly two thirds of UK garages have been asked to illegally dispose of old tyres which are eventually burnt for fuel, according to a new poll. The study, from waste management firm Business Waste, discovered that 65% of traders have been asked to dispose of tyres illegally, and 31% have given it consideration. The scrap tyres are often sold to export brokers who ship them to emerging nations with less rigid environmental controls such as China. They are then burnt as a form of cheap energy, causing emissions of sulphur dioxide to rise tenfold and emissions of dust particles to increase by almost 500%.

Thanks to Claire for this link – but its not good news. From 23 May to 15 August 2014, the Government ran a public consultation seeking views on a proposal designed to simplify the existing procedure for underground access when seeking to exploit oil, gas or geothermal resources (fracking to me and you). Here’s the result.

1.26. Having carefully considered the consultation responses, we believe that the proposed policy remains the right approach to underground access and that no issues have been identified that would mean that our overall policy approach is not the best available solution.

1.27. We will therefore put before Parliament primary legislation to implement the policy proposals set out in the consultation paper. Parliament’s scrutiny of the provisions will provide further opportunities for public engagement on the issues.

So – fracking is back. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/358521/Government_Response_FINAL.pdf to open up the debate though – here’s an article that might challenge current ‘green’ thinking Is fracking greener than solar power and wind turbines?

British shoppers have been told “Don’t buy wild-caught salmon”. The Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) has updated its sustainable seafood guide, and wild-caught Atlantic salmon remains on the ‘danger list’ and  the MCS warns over depleting Atlantic salmon stock, but puts mackerel and haddock back on ‘Fish to Eat’ list. . Cod from both the east and west Baltic get a cautionary rating and North Sea cod remains a fish to avoid along with Halibut that’s wild-caught in the Atlantic, Mediterranean tuna and Portuguese coast scampi.

Silently, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don’t just make honey — they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 75% of growing plants. But in five days the US could move to ban the toxic pesticides that are killing them off.

short-haired_bee_masterWe know we can get a ban — after a mega Avaaz campaign last year, the EU banned this group of poisons that multiple scientists blame for bees’ rapid demise. Right now chemical companies are furiously lobbying US authorities to stop action. But insider allies say a massive public mandate could tip the scales towards a ban. Let’s give it to them! If the US moves, it will set in motion a ripple effect on the rest of the world.  We have no time to lose — members of the White House’s bee task force will report with proposals on Tuesday. This is not just about saving bees, this is about our survival. Sign the emergency petition now — let’s build a giant global buzz calling for the US to outlaw these killer chemicals, before the honey bees are extinct:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_the_bees_us_pet_loc/?bWaAcdb&v=46969

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FESTIVAL NEWS

EFA_2014_Date_webFollowing its sold-out fifth edition in January 2014, the EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AWARDS, presented in association with YOUROPE and Eurosonic Noorderslag, will return in the New Year to celebrate the successes of Europe’s music festival industry. The gala award show will open Eurosonic Noorderslag in style on Wednesday January 14 2015 at De Oosterpoort in Groningen, The Netherlands, hosted by Ben Challis. Nominations are now open and will run until September 27, 2014, during which time festivals can put themselves forward to take part in the awards, which features categories including Best Major Festival, Artists’ Favourite Festival, Headliner Of The Year, the Health & Safety Innovation Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year also sees the launch of a brand new Award For Excellence And Passion, dedicated to an individual whose exceptional passion and dedication has created a truly unique and magical entity in the marketplace much bigger than the sum of acts that perform there. Festivals can apply here  http://eu.festivalawards.com/apply . Decided by a combination of public vote and industry juries, the European Festival Awards are the only pan-European body solely dedicated to recognising the contributions and achievements of the event organisers and performing artists that generate billions of Euros for local economies and brighten up the summer for tens of millions of festival-goers each year. Last year’s European Festival Awards featured over 350 festivals from 32 different countries, with over 1 million votes cast. View last years winners here. Christof Huber, The General Secretary of Yourope and promoter of the Open Air St Gallen festival adds: “It’s been a very busy festival summer 2015 and we are looking forward to gather in Groningen to celebrate some of the best festivals and achievements in a friendly atmosphere“ Public voting in this year’s awards will run from October 6 – 27 2014. The final shortlists will be announced on November 10 with the winners revealed at the awards show on January 14. Tickets to the event are on-sale now. Platinum Tickets include a gala dinner are restricted to festival organisers (maximum 4 tickets per festival) until October 30, and can be purchased here http://eu.festivalawards.com/tickets. Previous special guests who have performed live have included Milky Chance, Kodaline, Jake Bugg and C2C.

FUELTOOLFestivals organisers can now use a free online tool to check their energy performance in less than a minute. Supported by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), this simple tool asks a series of questions and provides the user with an energy rating based on industry benchmarks provided by the Julies Bicycle Industry Green Tool. The tool also provides carbon emissions attributable to fuel use, percentage of Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) biodiesel compared to industry averages, a print-out of your results to share with staff, and links to information about how to reduce fuel use and costs. Fuel tool here.

edclasvegasHere’s an interesting article that relates primarily to EDM festivals – The Problem With Overproduction At Music Festivals – which argues “By continuing to escalate the degree of overproduction, festivals will eventually become obsolete. Soaring ticket prices will only make people more wary of how much they are investing in a few days’ worth of fun, and those who were once fans of the music will resort to another means of enjoying it. Festivals are merely a setting where live music is facilitated, and if it becomes more important than the music itself, many of us who stay true to the sounds will move towards hearing it in an uninfluenced environment, underground”. The thousands who went to the Insomniac promoted Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and ID&T’s Tommorrowland in Belgium may disagree!

AIFLOGOThe Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has restructured its senior board, and is promising “more fire than ever before”.  Alison Wenham and Ben Turner are stepping down as chair and vice chair respectively, after six years each in the roles. Turner, who is one of the original co-founders of AIF, will remain an active member of AIF, and the organisation will continue as a subsidiary of the Association of Independent Music (AIM).  “We are incredibly proud of how fair AIF has come,” said Turner. “We now have a platform that promotes creativity, focuses on breaking new talent, and which cares about the future of our business united as one.  “This new structure will empower many others to have more of a say, and for AIF to have more firepower than ever before,” he continued. Turner is stepping down because of a move to the States. Jim Mawdsley, CEO of music development agency Generator, replaces Wenham as Chair, with John Rostron, founder of Swn Festival, taking on the position of vice chair.  Mawdsley and Rostron began their tenure on 1 September. 

Virtual Festivals reports that OxfordOxford has been cancelled by organisers. The three day event, due to take place at South Park, Oxford from Friday 26 – Sunday 28 September 2014, has been cancelled due, in part, to poor local ticket sales. Gaz Coombes, Klaxons, Katy B, Christian Gregory and Celeste were all scheduled to play.

Police are looking into claims made by traders at Galtres Festival that they have been left £125,000 out of pocket, after the event’s organiser appointed administrators. North Yorkshire Police confirmed with The York Press that they’re investigating claims made by traders at the Galtres Festival, , held at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, that they have been left up to £125,000 out of pocket, in the aim of establishing whether any crime has been committed. Around 40 traders estimate they face shortfalls totalling £125,000 and they are unhappy that plans are underway for next year’s event, while they await money for this year’s event. A statement from The Nationwide Caterers Association last week linked the complaints with the implementation of a cashless payment system at the festival. The NCASS statement claimed the payment system “resulted in traders at the event receiving no money whatsoever for four 16 hour days of work.” A statement on the festival website said Galtres Festival Trading Ltd had now been placed in administration and a meeting of creditors was being organised to formalise voluntary liquidation. It said the company had significant liabilities, namely loans to the company, trade creditors including caterers and stallholders, and sums owed to staff and performers.

leeds-stage (1)Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn has told Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq show that the 2014 the summer had been a good one and gave him reason for optimism.  Benn, who is responsible for Reading and Leeds Festivals, Latitude and Electric Picnic, joined Kendal Calling’s Andy Smith and The Great Escape’s Kat Morris for a special festival discussion and added “There have been two or three relatively high profile casualties of festivals closing, or not being able to pay the bills, that sort of stuff. Guilfest just found itself in that position recently, Jabberwocky closed before it happened, you know Camden Crawl, there have been a few relatively high profile casualties, but from my experience and, I think probably the experience of Andy [Smith] and Kat [Morris] as well, we’ve all had particularly good years really”.

kendalAndy Smith, Director of Cumbria’s Kendal Calling, was asked ahead of his festival’s tenth anniversary, if organising it had got harder or easier as they got larger? “It was a lot harder when we were starting out because we didn’t have the budget to get the talent that we wanted, we didn’t have the budget to get the decor or the nice site. So the larger we’ve got the more resources we’ve had.”  Benn also commented on the increased costs involved in booking artists and headline acts and confirmed that the rise in headliner fees from 2004 to 2014 has been 400 per cent.” Morris commented on The Great Escape’s city based festival experience and the challenge of mounting them every year saying  “You have to work within the constraints of the city, so to speak. Lots of the venues that we use might close or change hands between each year and then there’s council restrictions, local residents, etectra, so working within the constraints of the city is a challenge and obviously the landscape of a city changes which we can’t control.” More here.

Steve Lamacq’s festival special also listed the five acts to play the most festivals this summer who are:

1) Clean Bandit (24)

2) Wilkinson (18)

3) Foxes (17)

4) The Wytches (15)

5) Dreadzone (14)

And finally, promoting The Fall’s forthcoming appearance at Salford Festival, frontman Mark E Smith has slammed festivals for becoming ‘totally over-priced’. He added “The Fall aren’t really a festival band” and “We’re a city group, and we prefer to perform in cities. Festivals have become totally over-priced; they’re all about charging 900 quid a ticket so these rich parents can send Jemima and Tarquin for a nice weekend away.”

ANOTHER PLANET?

climate march1They were massive! The Climate Change marches on Sunday 21st September in New York City, London, Berlin, Bogota, Paris, Delhi, and Melbourne were a timely reminder to those in power around the globe that we simply do not have another planet – and time is fast running out – if it hasn’t run out already  – to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take action against global warming and climate change. World leaders are  gathering for the UN climate summit today. President Barack Obama will address a group of world leaders at the U.N. Climate Summit today, a one-day meeting hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and open to leaders of all 193 U.N. member states. The leaders of China and India will not attend. More from Avaaz here  and CNN here .

Japan will defy the latest IWC ruling on ‘scientific whaling after Tokyo announced a new round of culls in the Southern Ocean despite a majority ‘no’ vote at International Whaling Commission. The 65th meeting of the world’s whale conservation body voted by 35 to 20 with five abstentions in favour of a resolution by New Zealand, requiring members to put future scientific whaling programmes to the IWC’s scientific committee and the biennial commission itself for guidance. More on the Guardian here.

Barack Obama has welcomed a new report saying fighting climate change can be low cost and that the World can cut greenhouse gas emissions, grow economy and improve lives. The report is for the UN climate summit in New York from a group including of the globe’s biggest institutions, including the UN, the OECD group of rich countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and co-authored by Lord Stern, one of the world’s most influential voices on climate economics.

A collection of 160 of the world’s top environmentalists have taken a full page advert in the New York Times to call on philanthropists and charities to use their funds to tackle global warming ahead of next week’s UN Climate Summit in New York.  Known as the Environmental Laureates, the group warns of a 4C-6C rise in global temperatures, and says it is ‘terrified that we will lose our ability to feed ourselves, run out of potable water, increase the scope for war, and cause the very fabric of civilization to crash’. However, the group believes the collective wealth and influence of the world’s philanthropic foundations can ‘trigger a survival reflex in society, thus greatly helping those negotiating the climate treaty’.

More and more British farmers are combining their sheep, chickens and other poultry with rows of solar panels and producing a double output of food and home-grown energy, according to a new report. The BRE National Solar Centre, in partnership with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Solar Trade Association (STA), has today (12 September) produced new guidance which explains how conventional agriculture and ground-mounted solar electricity generation can be coupled for the mutual benefit of both. It explains that solar farms are often used for the grazing of sheep and can be particularly suited to the fattening of young, hill-bred lambs.

sea_ice_polar_bearThe extent of sea ice in Antarctica is set to reach a record high, scientists said on Tuesday, as they announced that Arctic sea ice appeared to have shrunk to its sixth lowest level ever. The NSIDC said that satellite data was expected to shortly confirm whether the maximum extent of sea ice at the opposite pole, in Antarctica, had set a new record. Jan Lieser, of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), told Australia’s ABC News that: “This is an area covered by sea ice which we’ve never seen from space before.”

The descendants of John D Rockefeller, the USA’s first oil baron who set up Standard Oil, have decided to divest all investments in fossil fuel and companies tied to global warming. The $900 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund join a growing movement moving out of polluting and damaging fuel sources and will instead look at investments in wind, total and solar energy with Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter ad trustee saying ‘there is a moral imperative ro preserve a healthy planet’.

Ecologists have launched an app to help people identify common house spiders. The app from the Society of Biology lists descriptions and photographs of 12 of the most common spiders found in homes from the approximately 660 species in the UK, including the European garden spider (Arraneus didaematus), the large hairy spiders Tegenaria genus and the Pholcidae family which are often mistaken for Daddy longlegs (which are actually a species of fly).

Our friends at the Exit Festival sent us this photo of the devastating floods

Texas has proposed re-writing school text books to incorporate passages denying the existence of climate change and promoting the discredited views of an ultra-conservative think tank. The proposed text books – which come up for public hearing at the Texas state board of education on Tuesday – were already attracting criticism when it emerged that the science section had been altered to reflect the doctrine of the Heartland Institute, which has been funded by the Koch oil billionaires.

Are beef cattle and dairy cows the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion, deforestation and environmental degradation? I thinkk this films says they are and no one is talking about it. But even the  film is vague. Weird but watchable. Could be a spoof.  http://cowspiracy.com/

UnverpacktThe Berlin duo OF Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovskiof have launched a supermarket with no packaging. Shrink-wrapped shallots and polystyrene-packed peppers are a thing of the past at Original Unverpackt, a German concept store selling groceries without the packaging. It works like this. You bring your own containers and have those weighed. Berlin-based supermarket Original Unverpackt labels your containers. You shop. When you get to the till, the weight of your containers is subtracted and you pay for the net weight of your groceries. The label is designed to survive a few washings so you can come back and skip the weighing process for a while. More here.

New York City, 21.09.14 More from Avaaz here
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/climate_march_reportback/?bWaAcdb&v=46379

climatemarchnyc

GreenEvents Europe news – conference programme and first speakers revealed

GO1The program for the 5th GreenEvents Europe Conference which be held on nov 3rd and 4th, 2014, at Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn, Germany has been announced. The 5th edition of GreenEvents Europe highlights the growing importance of and the continuous interest in sustainability and event offering high-level input by speakers from international major events such as Roskilde Festival, Shambala Festival, We Love Art/We Love Green Festival, Sziget Festival, Tollwood, Eurosonic Noorderslag and Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag as well as leading institutions like Julie’s Bicycle, WWF, Green Music Initiative, A Greener Festival, Powerful Thinking, The Round Table / Stop Wasting Food, 10.000 hours as well as scientists from bodies like FH Hamburg, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen and Bucks New University and experts from Service Design Berlin, Energieagentur NRW and Morethanshelters. And there is more to come very soon. Find the whole program here.

GreenEvents Europe 2014 focuses on “more sustainable food & beverage at events” without neglecting other important topics like transport and mobility, energy, resource management and new technical developments. These topics will be discussed with all parties involved (promoters, venues, suppliers etc.). Issues to be discussed are among others Food, drinks and Rock’n’Roll (various sessions and topics), Social Impact of events, Post consumerist economy, Attitude & behaviour gapGreener Touring and Greener Arenas, Sustainable Event Design, Sustainability in extreme situations and Transport and MobilityAn ‘Upcycling workshop’ will be part of the conference as well as the ‘Culinary UPcycling’ lunch presented by “Karmakitchen” on day two which will show how the main issue of the conference can be dealt with. 

Prior to the regular conference on Sunday nov 2nd, afternoon, we offer a GreenEvents Europe pre-conference workshop: “Food & beverage at events”.  Participants will identify challenges and work on answering questions like ‘Why are food and beverage important topics in the event industry?’, ‘Is food part of an event and how does it influence its character, message and impact?’. 

Registration:
350 € for regular GreenEvents participation 
250 € for GreenEvents delegates from 2010 and 2011 
175 € for second GreenEvents participant from one company/festival

You can register here. There’s a discount for Yourope-members and/or Sounds For Nature-Festivals: 50 Euro (for one delegate per company/festival). The variety of urging topics requires sessions and workshops to be organized in parallel. Therefore, form a team or bring a colleague. See our discount on the registration fee for more than one delegate per company. Please contact us directly for group offers and student rates (limited capacity).

Confirmed Speakers
(in alphabetical order, subject to change, more tbc) 

Keynote by:
Valentin Thurn, Director of ”Taste the Waste“, GER
Jochen Bader, Morethanshelters, GER

 

Andre Balaz, Charged Mind, SLV
Nienke Bassle,10.000 hours / ID&T, NL
Friederike Behr, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen, GER
Kevin Bendix, The Round Table / Stop Wasting Food, DK
Ruud Berends, Eurosonic Noorderslag, NL

 

Jacob Bilabel, Green Music Initiative, GER
Wilson Budde-Iser, Foundation for Environment and Development North Rhine-Westphalia, GER
Nadja Flohr-Spence
, WWF, GER
Sabine Funk, GreenEvents Europe / Sounds For Nature, GER

Manuel Grossmann, Service Design Berlin, GER

Christoph Hertel, Evangelischer Kirchentag, GER
Martijn Hulshof, MovendiuM, NL
Chris Johnson, Powerful Thinking & Shambala Festival UK
Mathias Kulcke, FH Harburg, GER
Hendrik Landwehr, Mach Dich Bunt, GER
Volker May, IMMF / FZW Dortmund, GER
Teresa Moore, Bucks New University, UK
Verena Müller, Energieagentur NRW, GER
Armin Nöth, Headline Concerts, GER
Claire O‘Neill, A Greener Festival, UK

 

Marie Sabot, We Love Green, FRA
Mikkel Sander, Roskilde Festival, DK
Martin Savitek, Karmakitchen, GER
Helen Schepers, KonzertKultour, GER
Holger Jan Schmidt, GreenEvents Europe / Sounds For Nature, GER
Fruzsina Szép, Sziget Festival, HUN
Stephanie Weigel, Tollwood Festival, GER
more to be announced soon

Accomodation & travel
Pls contact our partner agency Travel Deluxe for special hotel offers (for contact pls. follow link).
We really recommend travelling to GreenEvents Europe by train and are very happy to offer you the DB Eventticket for GreenEvents Europe, which includes first class travel for only 99 Euro


Green Events Europe is an event of:
Sounds For Nature Foundation e.V. – www.soundsfornature.eu
BN*PD | Bonn Promotion Dept. | Funk & Schmidt GbR – www.bnpd.de

GreenEvents Europe is funded by:
Foundation for Environment and Development North Rhine-Westphalia – www.sue-nrw.de

ANOTHER PLANET?

polar vortextUNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) have confirmed that the ozone ‘hole’ in the atmosphere should be closed within 30 years. Going back to the 80s, the use of CFS (Chlroroflurocarbons) had led to quite extensive damage to the thin shield that protects the planet from harmful ultra violet rays. A worldwide ban on the use of CFS in aerosol sprays and fridges in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol has substantially reduced ozone depleting emissions – and by the mid century levels should be back to 1980s benchmarks. Now can we have the same for climate change?

BUT ….. Surging carbon dioxide levels have pushed greenhouse gases to record highs in the atmosphere, the WMO has said. Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the major cause of global warming, increased at their fastest rate for 30 years in 2013, despite warnings from the world’s scientists of the need to cut emissions to halt temperature rises. Experts warned that the world was “running out of time” to reverse rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to tackle climate change. The annual greenhouse gas bulletin from the WMO showed that in 2013 concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were 142% of what they were before the Industrial Revolution. Other potent greenhouse gases have also risen significantly, with concentrations of methane now 253% and nitrous oxide 121% of pre-industrial levels.

CLIMATE-MARCH-570

World leaders, including President Obama, are coming to NYC for the United Nation’s summit on the climate crisis. The goal of the PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH is to draw attention to the climate crisis and urge leaders to find solutions to end climate change. But let’s not forget, we are already seeing and feeling the effects of climate change. Meaningful action is long overdue, which is why it is so important to support the march efforts. The marches are in London, New York, and eight other locations.  Our friend Aylin adds “It’s important that governments know that people do care, that we want change, that we want all this beautiful life on earth, including ourselves, to have a future. So if your in london, join the march this Sunday to make a stand! After all I’m sure we don’t want to be known as the stupid humans that managed to wipe out our own species and most of life on earth because we couldn’t get it together. Could you imagine how embarrassing that would be! All the big decisions that will make a difference to how this will go will happen in your lifetime so join the climate march to be a part of something positive.”

France’s first mega dairy farm is kicking up quite a stink. The farmer, Michel Ramery, has been accused of Americanising French farming with his planned 1000 dairy cow  herd along with 750 heifers and calves – and critics say the farm in the Somme is more about producing effluent to biogas power than producing milk or cheese. opponents blockaded the far last weekend saying milk will be sold off cheaply and destroy other local farms.

China’s water shortage is prompting residents in Beijing to dig their own wells. These illicit efforts in Shuimo came after 10,000 migrant workers moved to the area – putting a strain on the water supply – which dried up and  eventually was suspended for 19 days.

Amazon burningA 1,000 steel tower will soon loom over the Amazon rainforest – allowing scientists to better understand climate change. The move comes as scientists in Brazil have noted that illegal deforestation is crept up by 10% this year after two years of decline – the loss of water vapour released by the rain forest is now having a knock on effect – a drought in Sao Paulo is being directly linked to what was a ;’flying river’ – now much depleted leading to reduced rainfall. The city’s water table is at its lowest level for 70 years. Former environmental activist Maria Silva is hoping to win the forthcoming presidential elections and polls say she is now running neck and neck with President Rousseff.

It seems fracking is NOT always to blame for polluted water. Scientists from five universities in the USA including Duke and Stanford studied eight clusters of contaminated wells near fracking operations in Texas and found that problems were caused by failures in the cement casing  or lining of wells.

Skyscrapers will help fight climate change: That’s the conclusion of a study comparing the urban sprawl of Atlanta (population 5.25 million) with the similarly sized Spanish city of Barcelona (5.33 million). The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate says residents in Atlanta produce 7.5 tonnes of CO2 from public and private transport – residents in Barcelona just 0.7 tonnes of CO2. Atlanta covers 26 times the area of Barcelona, and is in places over 20km wide, with residents widely dependent on cars. The Commission recommends the use of ‘road users charges’, high density developments and cycle sharing schemes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also urges a cessation of forest destruction – currently producing 11% of the world’s greenhouse gases/

 

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

cyclesuperhighwayFull proposals for the world’s longest segregated urban cycle route  have been unveiled as Mayor Boris Johnson increases his efforts to improve rider safety in the capital. The 18-mile east-west superhighway will stretch from Barking to Acton and give protection to cyclists along some of central London’s busiest roads.Riders will have a dedicated, two-way kerb-segregated track on major thoroughfares including the Victoria Embankment, Parliament Square and the Westway flyover. Extra space will be made for cyclists by removing road lanes, parking and loading bays. “Island” strips along the Embankment and other routes will separate cyclists from vehicles and double as drop-off points for taxis, buses and coaches. TfL also plan to rip-up dangerous junctions at Tower Hill, Blackfriars, Parliament Square and Lancaster Gate, as well improving the number of ‘Quietways’, quieter routes along back streets, to link up with the Superhighways in the City and West End. Work on the Tower Hill to Paddington section will start early next year and the superhighway is due to be completed shortly before the mayor leaves office in spring 2016. A new north-south route from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross will be completed at the same time, forming a crossroads with the east-west route at Blackfriars. Ashok Sinha, London Cycling Campaign chief executive, said he congratulated Mr Johnson on ‘finally taking such a big step towards delivering’ on his promise to follow the Dutch model of cycle infrastructure. More in the London Evening Standard. Picture: Greater London Authority.

The Mayor of London has also announced a further investment of £12m to expand his programme to retrofit buildings across the capital, making them more energy efficient and reducing carbon emissions. The new funds will extend London’s existing retrofit work, which has improved the sustainability credentials of more than 400,000 homes and 350 public buildings, to more buildings across the capital.

windturbines_300The British summer may be over but it has ended on a high for the renewables sector, with new records set and wind generation levels exceeding both nuclear and coal. According to official National Grid statistics, wind overtook coal-fired power plants for generation on five separate occasions in August – the first time this has ever happened.  And global wind, solar and hydro energy grew at its fastest ever pace last year, equating to almost 22% of global power generation, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Paris-based organisation’s third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report estimates that global renewable energy generation will rise by another 45% to make up nearly 26% of global electricity generation by 2020. But it also warns that annual growth in renewable power will begin to slow after 2014, as policy and market risks threaten to slow deployment.

In the USA a ban on single-use plastic bags in California is expected to be signed into law after the states senate passed a bill barring single-use plastic bags from retailers from next July. The California Senate recently voted 22-15 to ban single-use plastic bags, making it the first state in the US to approve such a measure.

Coffeehouse giant Costa has announced that it has joined a paper cup recycling scheme called Simply Cups. By participating in the scheme, Costa hopes that it will be able to address the burgeoning issue of how to recycle paper cups within its concession outlets located at corporate offices, universities and transport hubs.

Edie.net reports that UK venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) has announced it has raised £135m for a new infrastructure fund to invest in a diversified portfolio of UK-based clean energy projects. The Environmental Capital Fund (ECF) will be used to support small-scale hydro power, energy efficiency, heat pump and district heating projects in a bid to meet an increased demand for capital from the UK’s rapidly growing clean energy market. And the World’s largest private bank UBS is urging investors to join the renewables revolution: UBS predicts that large-scale power stations will soon make way for electric cars and new solar technologies.   Big power stations in Europe could be redundant within 10-20 years as electric cars, cheaper batteries and new solar technologies transform the way electricity is generated, stored and distributed say analysts.

Lib DemsIn the UK, the Liberal Democrat manifesto will include plans for five new laws to protect the environment and improve air and water quality, reduce waste, end to polluting coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector. The five green laws proposed by the Lib Dems are:

·A Nature Bill: key measures include legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the ‘Right to Roam’ and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.

·A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill:

·A Zero Waste Britain Bill with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable landfill.

·A Zero Carbon Britain Bill: key measures include introducing a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the Green Investment Bank and banning electricity generated from coal.

·A Green Transport Bill: key measures include establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, only allowing low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.

henryJames Dyson has suggested that Britain should leave the EU, over a dispute about vacuum cleaner energy efficiency regulations. A new law banning vacuum cleaners rated above 1,600 watts came into effect on September 1, as part of the European Commission’s plans to meet targets on energy efficiency – to much criticism in the UK press and reported panic buying or more powerful models. Dyson was not affected by the changes, as none of its vacuum cleaners are rated above 1,400 watts. However, the company’s founder claims the legislation is too crude and does not go far enough. The Mail Online thinks that banning vacuum cleaners isn’t about saving the planet – it’s about Brussels grabbing even more power. More on the Telegraph’s website here and the Guardian here who say despite what the tabloid papers think, it’s actually about getting designers to come up with energy-efficient appliances

How to Shop for Sustainable Sites and Vendors – by Kirsti Sanders on the CVent Event Planning website is well worth a read! Thanks to our environmental assessor Penny Mellor for spotting this and its a useful checklist for event planners.

world water weekWorld Water Week: Top 10 tips to reduce your consumption. Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource and there has never been a better time for businesses to help raise the profile of today’s most pressing water challenges and take extra steps to tackle the issues of water security and quality. ‘Quick fixes’ such as fitting aerated showerheads in staff showers, using low-flow taps in sinks and adding controls on urinals often have a payback of less than three months. Reducing water costs reduces your energy costs – and also your production costs. Water is five times more difficult to heat than granite, so hot water is very expensive, likewise water is heavy to pump around. Saving water will make a big dent in your energy bill, and optimising your water use will also optimise your other operations and lead to savings in production or improved performance. 

Britons should brace themselves for more extreme winters as weather conditions become more volatile, scientists have warned. A study of seasonal records dating back to 1899 found that while most seasons have not changed dramatically, winter has become much more unpredictable. The results suggest the idea of a typical British winter is increasingly becoming a myth, with wide swings from mild but stormy conditions like those which hit the UK this year to extremely cold temperatures and snow in another year becoming more common. Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Sheffield and the Met Office found that seven out of the 10 most extreme winter conditions over the last 115 years have occurred in the last decade. Professor Phil Jones, from the University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit, said: “This indicates that British winters have become increasingly unsettled. If this trend continues, we can expect more volatile UK winter weather in decades to come.” More on the Huffington Post here.

Brazil is the most dangerous place in the world to be an environmentalist. It accounts for about half of all recorded killings of environmental advocates. That incredibly dangerous environment makes what photographer Lunae Parracho documented even more incredible. Parracho  followed the Ka’apor tribe, an indigenous community in Brazil, as they fought back against illegal loggers. some amazing photos here http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/13-incredible-photos-of-amazon-tribe-fighting-back-against-illegal-loggers/

The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide which experts think the planet may struggle to deal with according to the World Meteorological Organisations’ (WMO) annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin which called for “concentrated international action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change.”  The report also said that C02 levels increased at the quickest rate since 1984, suggesting the while emissions are rising; the earth’s ability to absorb the gas may also be declining.

UK Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey has insisted that economic growth and carbon reduction can go hand in hand as the has set out the UK Government’s vision for a legally binding global climate deal in Paris next year. ‘Paris 2015: Securing Our Prosperity Through a Global Climate Change Agreement’ is a new document which argues that action on climate change is needed ‘on a coordinated global scale from every country in the world’. And Prime Minister David Cameron is being urged to push for a global countdown to zero emissions ahead of his expected attendance at the New York climate summit later this month. A coalition of five leading environmental groups – Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Green Alliance, RSPB and WWF – have set out their hopes and expectations for a successful climate package to be delivered by the end of next year, with other global leaders including Barack Obama confirmed to attend the major international climate talks on 23 September.

downloadJapanese electronics and ceramics manufacturer Kyocera has announced that it is beginning work on what will be the world’s largest floating solar installation. The 2.9MW project comprises two separate floating arrays in the Nishira and Higashihira reservoirs in Kato City. The electricity generated will provide the equivalent power for roughly 920 typical households and will be sold to the local utility through Japan’s feed-in-tariff system. And the UK is leading the way when it comes to offshore wind power, with a 52% share of the international market last year, according to new figures.  GlobalData has released a new report which reveals that the UK’s cumulative offshore wind power installed capacity increased from 0.3GW in 2006 to 3.7GW in 2013 – a 42.9% increase. The research firm puts this increase down to aggressive renewable targets, policy backing and a shift towards a greener climate,

Our friends at eco-clothing brand Rapanui have come up with a novel solution to the problem of ‘throwaway fashion’ by offering store credit to customers who return last season’s clothes. Customers’ old clothes will be recycled properly, with Rapanui building on a reputation of sustainability; making it’s t-shirts, tops and sweats from 100% certified organic cotton in a wind-powered factory.  “Our customers look forward to each new season but it seems a shame that our products end up unused in the wardrobe after six months,” said designer Martin Drake-Knight.”It means there’s a conflict between fashion and the environment. We want to heal that and find a way for people to enjoy shopping, and fashion, without creating mountains of waste.”

Edie.net reports that the USA’s first commercial-scale biofuel plant is now open and will eventually produce more than 110 million litres of fuel a year from corn waste. The £167m plant, named ‘Project Liberty’, is situated in Emmetsburg, Iowa and converts baled corn cobs, leaves and stalks into renewable fuel. Its development was supported by more than £60m in grants from the US Department of Energy and Agriculture (DOE).  America’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes the Project Liberty opening is proof that the country is ready for advanced renewable energy production.

Energy efficiency has become the world’s ‘hidden fuel’ and has the potential to stimulate massive economic growth, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Entitled ‘Capturing the multiple benefits of efficient energy’, the report ramps up the pressure on the European Council of Ministers, which will decide upon its 2030 energy saving target in the next few weeks.

Big brands such as Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nestlé and retailer Marks & Spencer have partnered up to launch a new plastics recycling campaign called Pledge 4 Plastics. The new Government-backed cross industry partnership is led by plastics recycling body Recoup. It aims to increase the collection of plastic packaging for recycling. The initiative has been formulated in response to challenging packaging recycling targets set by the Government for the period 2013-17. Plastic packaging recycling levels need to double over this five year period.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012The renewable energy industry has united to launch a series of ‘key tests’ for the UK political parties ahead of the next General Election. Leading renewable energy trade bodies including the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), the British Hydropower Association (BHA), the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables and the Solar Trade Association (STA), have launched a renewables manifesto statement and campaign hosted on the Action for Renewables website. The six key tests laid out by the grouping are:
1. Support the Climate Change Act to keep us on course to meet our carbon commitments and back global efforts to tackle climate change.
2. Set a new renewables target for 2030 of 30% of UK energy.
3. Back the Independent Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to set a binding target for low carbon electricity by 2030.
4. Fund the Renewable Heat Incentive for new applications after 2016.
5. Boost the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to reach the 10% renewable energy target for transport by 2020.
6. Reform the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to ensure the market takes account of all sectors’ polluting cost of carbon emissions.

GOOD NEWS !

whale hunt

 

FESTIVAL NEWS

FLASHBACKVirtualfestivals.com reports that three outdoor events due to take place at Hylands Park in Essex this month have been cancelled as the organisers claim the site isn’t “acceptable”. Last Night of the Proms, which was due to take place this Sunday, September 7, and feature Aled Jones and the Philharmonic Orchestra, has been cancelled by the event producers (UK Events & Production) today.  The same production company have cancelled two more Hylands Park events this month: Flashback Festival on September 13 and Wet Wet Wet on September 14. Flashback Festival was to feature some of the top selling acts of the eighties, including headliner Billy Ocean, Marc Almond, ABC, Hue and Cry, Go West, From the Jam, and The Doctor (of Dr & The Medics). In a statement, UK Events and Production indicated that the V Festival, held on the same site (16-17 August) was contributing factor in the decision to cancel the concerts saying “The site was recently used for the V Festival and after a recent site visit we do not feel that the area within the park we are using is acceptable to put on our concerts.”

Clapham_CommonAnd residents in Clapham, London, are voicing concerns about the number of festivals on Clapham Comon afre recent rainfall  hit the end of an event and turned areas of the park into a ‘quagmire’.  The Evening Standard reports that South West Four (SW4) attracted 50,000 party-goers on the August bank holiday weekend and starred DJs Deadmau5, Eric Prydz and Pete Tong. Heavy rain hit the clean-up, with lorries churning up turf and creating vast patches of mud as they picked up equipment. Campaigners are urging local authority Lambeth to introduce a cap on the number of major events, as Westminster did at Hyde Park last year. They also want a 20,000-a-day limit on the number of revellers. Similar complaints have been made about Finsbury Park after it hosted three-day Wireless Festival in July – which saw rappers Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rudimental perform – just six weeks after band Arctic Monkeys rocked the green for two days.

bunkAlJazeera America hosts an interstung article on Adam Auctor, the founder of the Bunk Police, an organization that travels to summer music events in the USA to help test the purity of festival goers’ drugs. His business came about amid a unique set of circumstances over the last decade: a 2003 law that held club owners and music festival promoters criminally responsible for knowledge of any drug use at their events, the revitalized big business of music festivals, the rise of electronic dance music and the ascendance of the drug Molly. ….. more here. Bunk Police website here.

bestival ballBestival’s magnificent disco ball has set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title! Topping the tape at 10.33 metres, the dazzling disco beauty is as high as a three storey building, is covered in 2,500 mirrored tiles that would stretch out for a kilometre if you laid them end to end, and is filled with 350 cubic metres of air; equivalent to one thousand beach balls! Verified by Mark McKinley from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS, the Disco Ball was measured by surveyor Ollie Salter at midday on Sunday (7th September), before clinching the record when it was raised and spun, with a suitably disco-tastic light show, at the start of Chic featuring Nile Rodgers’ epic finale set on the Disco themed Bestival Sunday evening. And Bestival now holds the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Largest Disco Ball.

guilfest2014_zpsd3994798The company behind Guilfest 2014 has gone into insolvency, Blaming, primarily, a lack of time to organise this year’s event resulting in low ticket sales, and a forecast of bad weather (whIch didn’t transpire). Organiser Tony Scott also confirmed that certain artists on the 2014 bill, which featured headliners in The Boomtown Rats, Jedward, Kool & The Gang, Fun Lovin Criminals and The Human League, have yet to be paid. First established in 1992, Guilfest ran every year till 2012, when it went into administration due disappointing ticket sales), with its parent company Scotty Events facing debts of over £300,000. Live Nation staged an event in the town in 2013, but Scott regained the use of Stoke Park after a social media campaign, and his new company Trowfest Ltd was, back in February, given the green light by Guildford Borough Council. Interviewed by Get Surrey this week, Scott said despite this year’s event being “fantastic”, Trowfest Ltd had needed to sell a couple of thousand more tickets to cover its costs. He told the site: “Unfortunately we didn’t get enough ticket sales to pay all the bills we have got to pay. One of the reasons was that we were a bit short of time to do it all in. We have never done a festival in three-and-a-half months before”.

CSM2014Another group of students have graduated with degrees and foundation degrees in Crowd Safety Management from Bucks New University, celebrating their big day at a ceremony at the Swan Theatre in High Wycome and then at the University’s campus. Pictures are 2014 graduates in front of Buck’s Gateway Building with staff members Stuart Kirk, Emma Parkinson and Ben Challis.