Tag Archives: car share

ANOTHER PLANET?

Namibian lionThe Zimbabwean environment minister has called for  Walter Palmer, the 55 year old extraordinarily odious dentist who killed Cecil the beautiful and iconic  lion, to be extradited from the US to face trial for financing an illegal hunt. Oppah Muchinguri told a news conference that Palmer, 55, was a “foreign poacher” and said she understood Zimbabwe’s prosecutor general had started the process to have him extradited. Two men in Zimbabwe are already facing charges for illegal hunting and poaching: Theo Bronkhurst has said he believed he had the correct permit for the hunt. Zimbabwean wildlife authorities say they have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favoured by hunters following the killing of a lion popular with tourists. The National Parks and Wildlife Authority said  that bow and arrow hunts have also been suspended unless they are approved by the authority’s director. The authority says it is also investigating the killing of another lion in April that may have been illegal. The Independent  newspaper named 68 year old US surgeon Dr Jan Seski as the person who killed another lion with an advanced bow. He is based in Pittsburgh. Dr Seski, of Murrysville said in statement issued by his attorney that he had complied with rules and regulations. A local man, Headman Sibanda, has also been arrested in connection with that killing. Other reports says that Cecil’s brother Jericho has been shot dead by poachers in Zimbabwe, but local reporters believe this could be another lion.  Reports added that contrary to earlier fears, Jericho was protecting Cecil’s lion cubs after Cecil was killed by Palmer. Delta, United and American Airlines have banned the shipment of big-game trophies on flights after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The airlines announced that they would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains.

France’s top climate ambassador has said she is very concerned at the slow rate of progress on a negotiating text that will form the basis of a new international deal on global warming in Paris later this year. But Laurence Tubiana also said that negotiators from nearly 200 countries were making headway on the document, and made clear that the French government wanted to see serious progress on the text by October. The comments, in an interview with the Guardian, came as climate ministers met last week to advance international climate talks before a crunch UN summit in Paris this November and December. The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said in June that the negotiations were proceeding at “a snail’s pace” after a fortnight of talks in Bonn cut the 90-page text by just four pages. Last Friday a new streamlined version was published, with the two officials overseeing it warning the “pace was slow” and there was an “urgent need, owing to serious time constraints, to accelerate the work”.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Europe’s offshore wind power industry has set a record for its biggest ever year just six months into 2015. The biggest factor was a huge jump in turbines in German waters connecting to the grid, with Germany installing three times more electricity-generating capacity than the continent’s current leader, the UK.

Authorities have forced protesters in kayaks from a river in Portland, Oregon, where they were trying to stop a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving dry dock and joining an Arctic oil drilling operation. Police also tried to lower protesters who were dangling from a bridge into the water below. Sergeant Pete Simpson said safety was the main priority, and police and coast guard officers were joined by firefighters and a rope-rescue team. A federal judge in Alaska had earlier ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters continued to block the icebreaker from leaving for the Arctic.

beesThe manufacturers of controversial pesticides took part in a key meeting on whether a Europe-wide ban on their chemicals should be lifted in the UK, according to newly published documents. The record of the meeting of the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) had previously been suppressed. Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, have been linked to serious harm in bees, including a drastic reduction in queens, and were banned across the EU in 2013. Bees and other pollinators are essential for many crops but are in decline due to the impact of pesticides, loss of habitat and disease. The National Farmers Union (NFU) applied for an “emergency” suspension of the neonicotinoid ban for oil seed rape fields in the UK, which they said were under attack from pests. The newly released record of the meeting on 20 May shows manufacturers Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives invited to answer the ECP’s questions. More here and also take a look at theSumofUs’s report that “Bayer, BASF and Syngenta are suing the European Commission to overturn a ban on the pesticides that are killing millions of bees around the world” and theSumofUs add “A huge public push won this landmark ban — and we can’t sit back and let Big Pesticide overturn it while the bees vanish.” The EU banned these bee-killers in May 2013, after a massive public campaign and a clear scientific finding from the European Food Safety Authority that neonics pose huge risks to bee populations: “Let’s defend this landmark ban for the bees and our food supply.” Interestingly the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board has said that their research shows that the oil seed rape harvest this year looks like being a record breaking success, somewhat undermining the NFU’s allegations that the neonicotinoid ban has damaged harvests – and prompting the question – WHY do the chemical companies and the NFU want this ban overturned and why do they want to put our bees at risk? Interesting theories here – and let’s not forget the recent debate about Monsanto and others creating genetically modified plants that have sterile seeds – so called ‘terminator seeds‘ – so you always have to buy your seeds from the chemical companies –  and more here.

shell
lneLive Nation Entertainment and Shell Oil have formed a marketing alliance making Shell the official fuel and Pennzoil the official lubricant sponsors at eight of LN’s North American amphitheatres. The pact extends Pennzoil’s collaboration with Live Nation, with Backseat Pass – a video series on a customized website that will feature artists performing in the back seat of a moving vehicle. The deal also gives Shell and Pennzoil naming rights on VIP pavilion decks and parking lots, according to the announcement. The sheds included in the sponsorship are PNC Music Center in Charlotte, N.C.; First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Chicago; Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J.; Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas; Irvine Meadows Pavilion in Irvine, Calif.; Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta; Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.; and Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto.

A London-listed mining giant Vedanta Resources has been polluting the drinking water and poisoning farmland in villages in Zambia and threatening a wider health disaster with its copper mining activities, the Observer has found. London law firm Leigh Day has issued proceedings in the High Court in London on behalf of 1,800 people who claim to have been affected by the company’s copper mining pollution. “The case could take three years to resolve,” said Leigh Day senior partner Martyn Day, recently returned from Zambia, where lawyers and paralegals have been taking witness statements from people living near the rivers and the company’s operations. A Vedanta spokesman said: “All Vedanta’s operating subsidiaries take the health of their employees, the wellbeing of surrounding communities and the environment very seriously. Our subsidiaries are committed to ensuring they operate in a safe and sustainable way.”

solarAs a senator President Obama had been in favour of coal subsidies to reduce the USA’s reliance on imported oil. Now the President’s Clean Power Plan is targeting coal in a move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Today in the USA the solar industry employs more people than coal and the Clean Power Plan is aimed at accelerating the move to renewables and is part of a major new White House initiative on climate change.  The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources. However, opponents in the energy industry have vowed to fight the plan. They say Mr Obama has declared “a war on coal”. Power plants fired by coal provide more than a third of the US electricity supply. The revised plan will aim to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Green groups in the UK have compared US President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the lack of UK Government action, claiming Prime Minister David Cameron needs to do more to meet climate change targets. Commenting on the announcement of the Clean Power Plan, Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven said recent Conservative U-turns on environmental policy were making the UK look “parochial and small-minded.”

The Prince of Wales is planting 1,000 rare varieties of apple trees in a bid to create a ‘gene bank’ as the apple growing agribusiness sector moves towards a narrower and narrower range of commercial trees.

Lady Elliott Island, Great Barrier Reef by Jasmine ChallisAnd in Australia, the approval for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine has been overturned by a federal court. The case alleged environment minister Greg Hunt approved project without regard for conservation advice for two endangered species and the court ruled that  Hunt ignored his own department’s advice about the mine’s impact on two vulnerable species, the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.  Sue Higginson, the principal solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, which ran the case for the conservation group, said: “This kind of error in the decision-making process is legally fatal to the minister’s decision” and “The conservation advices were approved by the minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland.” The court did not rule on the conservation group’s separate argument that Hunt failed to consider the impact of carbon emissions from burning of thermal coal from the Carmichael mine – which would exceed Australia’s annual emissions – or Adani’s “poor” environmental track record overseas.

There will be an international ‘megashift’ towards energy storage – batteries in particular – within the next 10 years, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has predicted. In a new study, ARENA forecasts that the cost of Li-ion batteries will fall 60% by 2020 and the cost of flow batteries will fall by 40%, leading to an installation boom. The report states: “The rapid uptake of solar PV provides a useful analogy to what could occur in the energy storage market, as technology prices have potential to reduce as technology development simultaneously improves.

China is set to begin the construction of what is expected to be the world’s largest solar thermal power plant. The Delingha plant, which will cover 25km of land in the Gobi desert, is slated to have a 200 MW capacity – enough to supply one million homes with electricity. Once fully operational, the plant will prevent the burning of 4.26 million tonnes of coal every year, reducing CO2 emissions by 896,000 tonnes.

football leagueThe sharing economy picked up an unlikely new advocate this week as the Football League announced a new partnership with Liftshare.com to encourage fans to travel to games as efficiently as possible. The partners have a launched a ‘Get to the Game’ travel platform, where fans can post details of their match day travel and offer their spare car seats to other fans for a split of the total petrol costs. More on edie.net here.

Leicester City Council is planning to add cycling to the city’s sustainable transport network using new Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EPAC) hubs. The city council and sustainable travel experts Go Travel Solutions have submitted the full application for funding for the electric bike hubs as part of a bid for a share of £500,000 from the Department of Transport. The UK Government is aiming to develop electric bikes in cities and at tourism hotspots around England.

WRAP-1Recent UK Government spending cuts led to a 38% drop in income for the Waste & Resources Action Plan (WRAP) in 2014/15, despite the organisation delivering a five-fold return on its funding. According to WRAP’s latest annual report, total income for 2014/15 was £40.7m, down from £66.3m the previous year, with the drop “mainly due to reductions in central Government funding”. But the deep cuts appear overly punitive, given the success of the organisation. In the report, WRAP claims that for every £1 of funding spent on priority programmes like Love Food Hate Waste, it leveraged £2 of external contributions.

Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced it is working with charity FoodCycle to tackle UK poverty and food waste. Morrisons group corporate services director Martyn Jones said: “Our colleagues work hard to minimise waste every day and we know that our customers really care about this. “Our partnership with FoodCycle will allow us to find a good home for the small amount of unsold or used food in stores and support FoodCycle’s great work in the community.”

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ANOTHER PLANET?

LOOM“Loom bands; possibly the worst ever toy when it comes to the environment?! Over the past month or so I’ve seen half a dozen broken bracelets on the ground. Pretty sure they’re not a suitable food for animals. Pretty sure they aren’t suitable fashion accessories for animals legs or wings. Pretty sure they’re going to fuck up the ocean. I have absolutely no doubt that this fad is going to be horrific for Mother Earth. I’d definitely ban them if I was in power! Or have I overlooked that they may be degradable? Which won’t be the case cos who’s going to want a bracelet that melts on your wrist?!” (Rachel Bobeckyj, August, 2014).  The Independent reported that 92 store strong toy retailer The Entertainer has been forced to remove loom band charms from its stores, after it was revealed they contained suspected carcinogenic chemicals and has launched a full investigation after tests conducted by the BBC Midlands Today programme showed one charm contained 40 per cent of phthalates – EU law states 0.1 per cent in weight is the legal limit.

A new survey has revealed a ‘huge gap’ between reality and the perception of the UK public on some key climate and energy issues. The survey, commissioned by new not-for-profit organisation the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), shows a perceived lack of consensus among climate scientists, despite scientists being one of the most trusted groups in society. Edie.net reports that nearly half (47%) of the UK population think that most climate scientists reject the idea that human activities such as fossil fuel burning are the main driver of climate change, or that scientists are evenly split on the issue.  However, several recent studies show that more than 90% of climate scientists agree that the main cause of climate change is human activity.

Specially designed electric buses will be able to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at bus stands under new trials announced by Transport for London (TfL). The new inductive charging technology will be trialled on up to four extended range diesel electric hybrid buses in east London from next year.

The Dragon’s and crew from the BBC’s hit series Dragon’s Den have gone green for the new seriest through a new car sharing scheme. Multi-millionaire investors Deborah Meaden, Piers Linney, Duncan Bannatyne, Kelly Hoppen and Peter Jones have ditched their cars while travelling to and from the show, opting to share with fellow Dragons or take public transport. The combined efforts of the cast and crew fuelled a cut in the BB2 programme’s travel footprint, saving over 1,000kg of CO2 emissions while the 12th series was in production.

power station3New coal power stations designed to burn Europe’s massive deposits of lignite pose a serious threat to the continent’s decarbonisation efforts, according to analysts from Greenpeace’s Energydesk who compiled data from the German government that shows burning Europe’s reserves of lignite would wipe out the EU’s entire carbon budget from 2020 until the end of the century. And Britain’s manufacturing industry is calling for a significant reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), urging the European Council to do more to keep crucial investment in energy intensive industries (EIIs) within Europe.

Two key players in the UK’s waste and renewable energy sectors have agreed a deal to transform large landfill sites into solar power farms, generating energy for the National Grid.

Plastic bag use in Northern Ireland has fallen by almost 72% since a 5p levy was introduced last year, the Department of the Environment has said. Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the figure equated to a reduction of about 215 million bags. It was the first set of official figures since charging for single-use carrier bags began in April 2013.

A fresh round of badger culls is being planned after the High Court threw out an attempt by the anti-cull Badger Trust to insist on further independent monitoring of the operation. There were suggestions after the first cull that the monitors had added to the logistical and administrative difficulties. Culling has been cattle and dairy farmers’ preferred solution since bovine TB took hold the Nineties but polls show 70 per cent of the public opposed culling, and the first stage was conducted “with something less than utter ruthlessness.” Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union president, says beating TB is now a “survival” issue for cattle farmers. “The disease continues to devastate family farming businesses, across large parts of the country, and it is essential that we do everything possible to eradicate it”.

National recycling and waste management firm SITA UK has partnered with Somerset-based British Solar Renewables to make best use of capped landfill sites that are no longer accepting waste material  – by building solar farms on the landfill sites.

The advantages of running a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme are becoming more tangible for businesses, with cost management emerging as the number one driver for firms looking to adopt more sustainable businesses practices. A new survey of more than 2,500 business leaders by Grant Thornton discovered that more than half (57%) of respondents now view integrated sustainability reporting is ‘best practice’ within their organisation. Edie.net reports that when asked about the key factors that provoke the move towards becoming more environmentally and socially sustainable, 67% of organisations said cost management was the most important driver, followed by customer demand (64%) and simply ‘because it’s the right thing to do’ (62%).

Amazon burningThe authorities in Brazil say they have dismantled a criminal organisation they believe was the “biggest destroyer” of the Amazon rainforest. The gang is accused of invading, burning and selling large areas of public land.

Coca-Cola has been labelled a ‘shameless and unethical company’ after being forced to abandon a new $25m bottling plant in northern India because it was extracting too much groundwater. The Mehdigani plant in Varanasi had already been fully built but could not operate commercially as it did not have the required permits from the Central Ground Water Authority – who refused a five-fold increase in water asked for by Coca-Cola in an area where groundwater conditions had gone from safe to critica in the 10 years from 1999 to 2009. More here.

The world’s largest tidal stream array, which is set to be built in North Scotland, has agreed terms for a funding package to kick start the construction of the 398MW project. Tidal power firm Atlantis Resources has successfully raised £50m to support Phase 1A of its MeyGen project in Pentland Firth, which will provide power for more than 175,000 homes across the country when complete.

Why do we love whales – this is why. When a young humpback whale becomes entangled in a fisherman’s net with his tail and fins trapped – he  could not swim and was doomed to die. When Michael Fishbach and his friends found him, they needed all their courage to free the whale – and did – in a moving story:  http://www.pawbonito.com/whalerescue/

pcm-id-1b-400-x-400The next United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in New York on the 23rd 2014 before a final meeting in Paris in December 2015 when all we can hope is that a new meaningful global climate agreement is signed. And signed by everyone including China and the US . And adhered to! A global day of action is being planned for the 21st September – “On September 21st, 2014, we will join the People’s Climate March, and help make it the largest mobilisation the world has ever seen on climate change. We will march to ensure that you heed our demand for urgent action to safeguard our planet, our future and all that we love.” In London you can join the Quakers on the People’s Climate March. Meeting at 12 noon for the Peoples Interfaith Space and marching at 1pm (13.00) from Embankment, at Temple Embankment Gardens (Just by Temple Station). There will be a rally, films, speakers, music and more! In New York the March takes place at 11:30 am, Sunday, September 21st. Assembly location: the area north of Columbus Circle. The End Location is 11th Avenue in the streets between 34th Street and 38th Street.

goCarshare Sessions are Go!

Introducing… goCarShare Sessions – Take some of the most exciting bands around, and send them on a ‘goCarShare’ mission to their next festival gig. Introduce impromptu en route shenanigans, off beat banter, unique performances and you have the  ‘goCarShare Sessions‘. First up, there is Mother Feather, self styled purveyors of pop-cock rock from the New York scene. Catch them here for the first goCarShare Sessions, and their first ever performance in the UK.

And then its  on to experimental pop outfit, Laurel Collective who will be looking for a ride to Secret Garden Party this weekend. Maybe you could give them a lift? goCarShare are working with Secret Garden Party to encourage people to travel in full cars. There will be a green tax on empty car seats at SGP. So, even if you aren’t that keen to travel with Laurel Collective, it might be fun to give the car share a try!

Blablacar gets into gear

A new travel website has been launched in the UK for people looking to share road trips – and its called BlablaCar. It saves drivers and passengers money, reduces CO2 emissions and is generally a sociable way of travelling so a real winner!  As thousands of people head off to festivals in the UK with space for more people left in their car or van, the amount of wasted energy and money which could be saved is “phenomenal” says Blablacar.

Blablacar has already had big success in Europe (over a million people have shared more than five million trips and saved up to 200,000 tonnes of CO2) and you can check out the website  www.blablacar.com (it’s free to sign up!).  Its easy to understand why – and it extends beyond just festivals. With petrol prices continuing to soar to all time highs, drivers can now share their travel costs by inviting passengers to join them, saving significant costs on each journey. The new site is provided by a French company, Comuto, and the service is known as Covoiturage.fr in France. It  has been a real success amongst drivers and passengers alike who are often frustrated at disruptions to air and rail transport and hard hit by increasing petrol prices and rising public transport costs – or who fancy doing something a bit more green.  The site, founded in 2006, is growing by over 50,000 users per month, not only saving €100m since 2009 but also over 200,000 tons of CO2 – hooray and hooray again!

To use the service, drivers post details of their trip and a suggested price, typically a proportionate contribution. Potential passengers searching for a specific trip then choose whether or not this fits with what they want to pay. There is lots of sensible advice on the site to make sure things go smoothly.

Blablacar say that they have demonstrated the significant cost savings for both drivers and passengers who headed to this years already legendary Glastonbury Festival.

  • When travelling from London, drivers could save 64 percent of the overall cost (equivalent to 31.5 pints of beer/cider, 25 burgers or 264 toilet rolls)
  • Passengers travelling from London could save 29 percent on the cost of a train ticket (equivalent to 4.25 pints of beer/cider, 3.4 burgers or 36 toilet rolls)
  • When travelling from Manchester, drivers could save 74 percent of the overall cost (equivalent to 46.5 pints of beer/cider, 37.2 burgers or 391.5 toilet rolls)
  • Passengers travelling from Manchester could save 45 percent on the cost of a train ticket (equivalent to 12.7 pints of beer/cider, 10.2 burgers or 107.5 toilet rolls

Sources:

Festival ticket pricing see  http://www.festivalbusiness.co.uk/2011/06/ticket-prices-rise-dramatically-since.html

Petrol price increases see  http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/fuel/index.html

Car occupancy:  from Department For Transport statistics 2009 / Rail fare increases see  : http://www.atoc.org

Beer/cider prices – avg. £4 per pint, burger – avg. £5 each, toilet roll £1.90 for 4 (from Tesco prices)

Car running costs from  http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/running_costs/petrol2011.pdf

Cheapest rail fares from  www.nationalrail.co.uk 14 June 2011.

So check out Blablacar! www.blablacar.com