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sea_ice_polar_bearThe United States and China, the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, have announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement in a move campaigners immediately hailed as a significant advance in the battle against global warming.

Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite, with scientists saying it is another ominous signal of global warming. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point  extending 4.14m sq km (1.6m sq miles). That’s behind only the mark set in 2012, 3.39m sq km.

Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study. The Guardian reports that researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”. The Amazon accounted for nearly a third of the “catastrophic” loss, showing huge tracts of pristine rainforest are still being disrupted despite the Brazilian government slowing deforestation rates in recent years. A further 14% disappeared in central Africa, home to thousands of species including forest elephants and chimpanzees.

Orangutan3WE NEED TO SAVE THE ORANG UTAN. WE REALLY DO.  The Bornean Orangutans are now officially classified as “critically endangered” – meaning they’re on the very brink of extinction. Greenpeace are campaigning to stop oil palm producers destroying their natural habitat and end deforestation. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS.

A coalition of 25 military and national security experts, including former advisers to Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, has warned that climate change poses a “significant risk to US national security and international security” that requires more attention from the US federal government. The prominent members of the US national security community warned that warming temperatures and rising seas will increasingly inundate military bases and fuel international conflict and mass migration, leading to “significant and direct risks to US military readiness, operations and strategy”. More here (Three Bipartisan Groups of Military and National Security Leaders Urge Robust New Course on Climate Change).

beesUnpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research. The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

The UK will fail to meet its targets on renewable energy generation, with take-up of clean fuels for heating and transport falling badly behind aims, MPs have warned. The findings of the influential Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) show that ministers have little clear plan for meeting the 2020 target to meet 15% of UK energy needs from renewable sources. This includes a target to generate 30% of electricity from wind, solar and other low-carbon sources by the end of the decade, and to generate 12% of heating energy and 10% of transport fuels from clean sources by the same date. The UK is not legally bound to meet the heat target, which is advisory.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotThe soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. The oceans have already sucked up an enormous amount of heat due to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, affecting marine species from microbes to whales, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report involving the work of 80 scientists from a dozen countries.

The UK’s new flood defence plans anticipate significantly higher extreme rainfall, after new research was published as part of the government’s National Flood Resilience review. The government, which had been criticised for not taking full account of the impact of climate change in driving up flood risk, will now plan for 20-30% more extreme downpours than before. The review, prompted by severe flooding in recent winters in towns and cities including Carlisle, Keswick, Kendal, Cockermouth, York, Manchester and Leeds, also found that 530 critical infrastructure sites, such as water and telecoms, are at serious risk from floods, each potentially affecting at least 10,000 people. Utility companies have pledged to have new protection in place by the end of the year. The government’s official climate change advisers recently warned that flooding could cause a cascade of emergencies by knocking out energy, transport, water and communications links. The review allocates £12.5m for more temporary defences, such as barriers and pumps, at strategic locations around the country. By this winter, the government said, four times more temporary barriers will be available. More here.

HoneyBeeMore bad news for bees: Beekeepers around the south-eastern US fear a new threat to their livelihood: a fine mist beaded with neurotoxin, sprayed from the sky by officials at war with mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. Miami fears Zika virus may hit $24bn tourism industry hard but earlier this week, South Carolina beekeepers found millions of dead honey bees carpeting their apiaries, killed by an insecticide. Video posted by a beekeeper to Facebook showed thousands of dead insects heaped around hives, while a few survivors struggled to move the bodies of fellow bees. “This is what’s left of Flowertown Bees,” a despondent keeper says in the video. Company co-owner Juanita Stanley told the Associated Press her farm looked “like it’s been nuked” and estimated 2.5 million bees were killed. In another Facebook post, South Carolina hobbyist Andrew Macke wrote that he had lost “thousands upon thousands of bees” and that the spraying had devastated his business. “Have we lost our mind,” he wrote, “spraying poison from the sky?”

Even more bad BEE news – please GIVE BEES A CHANCE:  the Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated. The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France. While not considered a threat to humans, the arrival of the hornets add to the woes of Britain’s honeybees, which are vital for pollination of many crops but have been suffering declines for decades.

mantaray2The UK is to ban commercial fishing from a million square kilometres of ocean around British overseas territories. In total, the UK government is creating marine protected areas around four islands in the Pacific and Atlantic, including the designation this week of one of the world’s biggest around the Pitcairn Islands. A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area. And President Barack Obama will establish the first US national marine monument in the Atlantic, a move that’s designed to permanently protect nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the coast of New England. The White House said the designation will lead to a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling, though a seven-year exception will occur for the lobster and red crab industries. Also, recreational fishing will be allowed within the monument.

african-elephant2The government must implement a total ban on ivory sales in the UK, according to scores of politicians, conservationists, scientists and entertainment stars including William Hague, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking and Ricky Gervais. Ministers this week announced a ban on ivory younger than 70 years old, but stopped short of a total ban. The group have written to prime minister Theresa May “appealing to the government for a total ban on ivory sales”, which was a pledge made in both the 2010 and 2015 Conservative party manifestos. The Guardian says elephants are being slaughtered by poachers for their ivory in huge numbers and, while the international trade is illegal, critics say legal domestic trade allows illicit ivory to be passed off as antique and therefore legitimate. “The legal ivory trade in the UK feeds one of the largest markets for ivory in Europe,” write the group. “The closure of all ivory markets, both international and domestic, is critical for elephants’ survival.”

And finally – a loose coalition of more than 100 countries, including the US and European nations, is pushing for an early phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful greenhouse gas that if left unchecked is set to add a potentially disastrous 0.5C to global temperatures by the end of the century.  At a meeting in New York on Thursday, world leaders called for an “ambitious phase-down schedule” for HFCs, which are commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioning systems, and pledged adaptation money for developing nations where HFC use is rapidly increasing.

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ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN INDEFINITE GROWTH ON A PHYSICALLY FINITE PLANET IS EITHER MAD, OR AN ECONOMIST. David Attenborough, quoting Kenneth Boulding.

greatapesForest fires in Indonesia, mostly lit illegally to clear rainforest for palm oil plantations, have pushed Indonesia above the USA as one of the world’s dirtiest countries, releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere than the USA and India. It is estimated one billion tonnes of CO2 have been released from the fires this year alone, Some fires have spread to peat in which the forests grow, and this peat can burn for many years, releasing both CO2 and methane, a far more toxic greenhouse gas. Airports and schools in Indonesia have been forced to close because of the smoke and pollution. One wildlife refuge in Borneo is considering a mass evacuation of orang-utans from its local area as the fires and thick smoke threaten to wipe out the beautiful apes.  MORE HERE.

greatapes2

 

The European Union is on track to beat its target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but any move to increase it from 20% to 30% will only be considered if matched by developed countries at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms on record, struck Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday 23rd October with destructive winds that tore down trees, moved cars and forced thousands of people to flee homes and beachfront resorts. Hours after making landfall, the storm weakened but still packed winds of 130 miles per hour (210 km per hour). However, there were no reported casualties and officials said the damage might not be as catastrophic as feared.

Oh how we wish our Governments here in the UK had more vision and were not so in the thrall of the fossil fuel companies. Denmark, which has invested in windpower – is not about to export its surplus energy to the UK under plans unveiled by the National Grid who are planning  400 mile one billion Euro power line to link the two countries under the North Sea. The 1,400 megawatt cable could power up to one million homes and would be live in seven years. Whilst the cable could be used to export British energy to Denmark, it is expected that the flow will mostly be into the UK. A final decision in expected in 2018. The UK already imports electricity from France and Holland, and links to Norway and Belgium are planned.
The Guardian tells us that the Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is used to big productions. On the edge of the Sahara desert and the centre of the north African country’s “Ouallywood” film industry it has played host to big-budget location shots in Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, The Living Daylights and even Game of Thrones. Now the trading city, nicknamed the “door of the desert”, is the centre for another blockbuster – a complex of four linked solar mega-plants that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020 with, it is hoped, some spare to export to Europe. The project is a key plank in Morocco’s ambitions to use its untapped deserts to become a global solar superpower. The potential for solar power from the desert has been known for decades. In the days after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 the German particle physicist Gerhard Knies, calculated that the world’s deserts receive enough energy in a few hours to provide for humanity’s power needs for a whole year. The challenge though, has been capturing that energy and transporting it to the population centres where it is required.

Up to 90% of community energy developers across the UK say that proposed cuts to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) would put their current projects at risk.
In a poll of 80 community energy companies, 67% thought their projects were ‘completely’ at risk, and 23% said they were ‘partially’ at risk due to the FIT review. More on Edie.net here.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed plans to remove ministerial powers over the Green Investment Bank (GIB) in a major step forward towards the bank’s controversial privatisation. Writing in a ministerial statement on the 15th October, Javid said he was planning to remove public sector controls that allowed ministers to veto changes to the articles of association of the bank.

windturbines_300And a new report has revealed that renewable energy in the form of wind and solar photovoltaics reduced the UK’s wholesale annual cost of electricity by £1.55bn. The report  by renewable energy company Good Energy, shows that the rise in renewable energy is currently lessening the impact that subsidies are having on bill payers. (Scroll down for full report).  Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “What is not taken into account is the fact that renewable energy, such as wind and solar, has actually been bringing the cost of energy down for consumers. The bill payer money invested into supporting renewables yields significant benefits, let’s be very clear about that.” More here.

Due to the “worsening and persistent haze situation”, Friendly Dog Entertainment, the organiser of Singapore music festival Spring Wave 2015, has announced  that the outdoor event planned for Fort Canning Green on Oct would will be cancelled.  The National Environment Agency said the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index for the festival date were expected to be in the low to mid sections of the very unhealthy range.

Processed meats, including sausages, bacon, ham and salami have been classified as a known cause of cancer by the World Health Organisation alongside carcinogens such as cigarettes, asbestos and diesel fumes. The WHO says the based on an analysis of almost 800 scientific studies, processed and red meats cause tens of thousands of deaths each year, many from bowel cancer. Cancer Research UK estimates that 8,800 cases of cancer in Britain each year are caused by eating processed or red meat.

Environment Secretaries from both New Labour and the Conservative party knew about the ongoing diesel emissions scandal that has hit VW and other car manufacturers who installed ‘defeat devices’ to allow their diesel cars to evade strict emission controls in the EU and the USA – and allowed £1.7 billion in tax breaks to be given to the car industry to promote diesel car sales.  Consumers were also led to believe that diesel cars are a ‘clean’ alternative to petrol cars. Research commissioned by Defra in 2009 showed that diesel cars were producing significantly higher emissions than expected when they were driven on the road – the then Environment Secretary was Hilary Benn according to the Times. In 2011 in Caroline Spellman’s time as Environment Secretary Defra identified an “inadequate” testing regime for diesel cars. Car makers are still spending an estimated £18.5 million each year trying to get the UK Parliament and the EU to water down emissions targets. Diesel emissions are a known cause of lung cancer.

parigi-570x350Nike, McDonalds, Sony and Dell are among 81 corporations that have signed up to a new White House-sponsored pledge promising individual and collective action on climate change. The White House announced that 68 new companies had signed up to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, joining 13 original signatories. By signing the agreement, the companies are calling for a’ strong outcome’ from the Paris climate talks, but the firms are also required to make significant pledges of their own to reduce emissions, increase low-carbon investments, deploy more clean energy, and take other actions to build more sustainable businesses. Apple pledged to bring an estimated 280 megawatts of clean power generation online by the end of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway pledged to double its investment in renewables to $30bn, while Ikea promised to produce as much renewable energy as it uses by 2020.

Aston University will become the first university to offer its undergraduate students training in how climate change impacts businesses and society, when it hosts Carbon Week 2015 at the start of November. The University will dedicate a week of teaching for all second year undergraduates on understanding the challenge of climate change and the requirements of a low-carbon economy.

The University of Cambridge has signed an agreement with Cambridge Water to support the UK’s largest water recycling system at the University’s North West Cambridge Development site. The agreement between University and the water company will see two water supplies installed on the 150-hectare site – one which recycles rain and surface water to use for flushing toilets, clothes washing and garden watering, and another supplying high quality treated water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Matt Ridley, a Tory peer,  climate change sceptic, serially misguided columnist in the Times newspaper and owner of the land that is home to England’s largest opencast coal mine has seen the mine targeted by protesters who are calling themselves Matt Ridley’s Conscience and who closed the mine for 8 hours by blockading the entrance and chaining themselves to railings. Nine people were arrested on the Blagdon Estate after the protest ended. Ridley recently helped edit the report that promoted the benefits of CO2 emissions.

Google has announced plans to buy a 12.5% stake in the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Northern Kenya – Africa’s largest wind farm. The 310MW project will feature 365 wind turbines and provide almost a fifth of Kenya’s installed capacity.  The 40,000 acre project marks Google’s 22nd investment in clean energy, representing $2bn and 2.5GW power. Google has not disclosed the value of the investment.

A unique group of international heads of state, city leaders and international development banks has joined forces to call for an international price on carbon. The alliance – known as the Carbon Pricing Panel – is convened by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, and includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and California Governor Jerry Brown. The group argues that a price on carbon is an effective way to decarbonize the global economy as it provides certainty and predictability to the private sector so they can make long-term investments in climate smart development.

CRNOEdrWoAALp6OZero Waste Scotland has launched an 8-week social media campaign to encourage Scots to ‘upcycle’ unwanted pieces of furniture. The #DesignDoc campaign will see three Scottish designers transform one of seven items of furniture and post the details on Twitter and Facebook. Users who follow the #DesignDoc hashtag can see pictures of the piece of furniture waiting to be upcycled. Three ideas will be suggested by the designers as to how they might transform the piece and users will be asked to vote for their favourite design. The winning idea will be used to create the final upcycled article, with an accompanying ‘how to’ guide uploaded online with pictures.

The number of plastic carrier bags handed out in Scottish shops has reduced by at least 650 million in the first year of the nation’s 5p charge. New figures released this week – exactly a year after the levy was introduced – reveal that carrier bag usage has fallen by around 80%. The charge for single-use carrier bags has also raised around £6.7m for good causes in the past 12 months.

Edie.net reports that Britain’s forests, soil and rivers are worth at least £1.6tn and should be quantified in the same way as the country’s man-made infrastructure, environment secretary Liz Truss has said In a move which embraces the natural capital agenda, Truss said that trees and bees should be valued as “national assets” in the same way as structures such as the Forth rail bridge in Scotland. The environment secretary cited the example of Britain’s trees, which she says are more valuable in their natural form than as timber in the enjoyment they provide for people and their ecological role.

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sla-logoEdie.net’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 have broken the record for the highest amount of entries ever received in the awards’ 8 year history. Edie say they are all thrilled about the huge number of entries received – it is a sure reflection of how many of you are continuing to put the spotlight on sustainability And of course, it should also make for a great awards ceremony! With entry levels at an all time high, the 2015 awards promise to be something really special and Edie say “we cannot wait to get all leaders of sustainability under one roof to celebrate their achievements. More information here.

Twenty seven blocks of land across the UK have been formally offered to energy companies by the UK Government for the extraction of onshore oil and gas. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which allocated the land, said that a further 132 blocks were still undergoing environmental assessments, with the results expected “later in the year”. The first 27 blocks, each around 10km2 , are located mainly in the North East, North West and East Midlands. The second tranche is also largely clustered in the North of England. UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said that onshore oil and gas – often recovered by fracking – would “play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come”.

arcticAnd Shell has received final permission from the US Government to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012. Having been granted permission by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) yesterday (17 August), Shell can begin exploratory operations into potential oil bearing zones in the Chukchi Sea of the coast of Alaska.The move comes after the icebreaker ship Fennica, which carries emergency well-capping equipment, arrived at the site.

Scottish Power has announced that its coal-fired Longannet power station will be closing on 31 March 2016 after 46 years of service . The closure was first announced back in March 2015, reportedly thanks to high carbon taxes and the high cost of connecting to the grid. Neil Clitheroe, the CEO of retail and generation at ScottishPower, said it was a sad day for the company, but green groups hailed the closure as a ‘historic step’ in Scotland’s energy transition.

Renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500. That translates into an electricity price (taking into account installation costs and inverters) of around US$500 per kWh – less than half current costs, as estimated by Deutsche Bank. Read more here.

Leading representatives of Islam have called for action to tackle climate change across the world, at a symposium in Istanbul. Islamic representatives from the United Nations, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and the UK set out a climate declaration for the world’s 1.6bn Muslims. The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change says: “God created the Earth in perfect equilibrium … the present climate change catastrophe is a result of the human disruption of this balance.” The declaration from the leaders calls on the nations meeting in Paris in December later this year at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) talks on climate change to set clear targets, stressing the part well-off nations and oil-producing states have to play to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

birdsneonictonoidsThe bee-harming pesticides we’ve been fighting for years are worse than we imagined. Research suggests that neonicotinoids aren’t just decimating bee colonies — they’re hurting birds too. Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations of neonicotinoids, bird populations declined every year. This means our worst fears are coming true — neonicotinoids may be moving up the food chain and killing our birds and our bees. For the sake of the birds, the bees, and the whole food chain, THESUMOFUS are challenging one of the biggest neonicotinoids producers of them all: Bayer. “In two weeks, we’re going straight to Bayer’s door with our massive petition — and we hope to have your name in our massive petition box.” It’s not just the bees anymore. Neonicotinoids are killing our birds too. It’s time to get Bayer to stop producing these chemicals.

A new app that can reportedly cut household energy use by 10% is being rolled out to 200,000 Swedish homes. The Energy Tree app analyses data from the smart power grid to discover households’ energy trends and encourages users to consume less energy through personalised feedback and guidance. “The Energy Tree combines behavioural science and gamification with data analytics to engage and motivate households,” said a statement from the app developers Greenely. “By entering their energy consumption data into the user-friendly and accessible app consumers can realise a potential 10% reduction in energy use.” More here.

fde1Efficient recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be worth €3.7bn to the European economy by 2020, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Sheffield found that recycling electronic waste was already worth €2.15bn in 2014 and could rise to €3.67bn by 2020. On top of the significant revenue gain, more effective recovery of materials could be environmentally beneficial by reducing manufacturers’ reliance on natural resources. The paper, entitled ‘Recycling of WEEEs: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streamswas published by Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield and Federica Cucchiellaa, Idiano D’Adamoa  and Paolo Rosac  (University of L’Aquila, Italy). Professor Koh said: “This research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”

litterA survey has shown that 30% of people in the UK believe that more should be done to educate school children about recycling. Conducted by Direct365, the research highlighted that more needs to be done to inform future generations on how to minimise waste and promote eco-friendliness. As part of their Green365 campaign, which aims to help industries reduce their environmental impact, Direct365 asked 750 people a range of questions as to what measures schools can take to improve waste management. The survey showed that almost 30% want to see schools teach kids how to prevent food waste, while 25% stated that energy-saving lessons should be on the National Curriculum. 11% felt that children need more guidance on saving water

whales being mudreredThe horrific mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands has sparked a reaction from two cruise lines, who announced they will no longer send their ships there. The latest move against the annual bloody massacre announcing means that Hapag-Lloyd and AIDA cruise lines are looking at alternative destinations for their vessels.  Both AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd were contacted by Netherlands-based charity Sea Shepherd to immediately postpone cruises to the Faroe Islands in the face of the on-going slaughters. Dr Monika Griefahn, a director at AIDA, confirmed the re-routing of the company’s ships in a letter to the charity. She said: “In the interest of our crew and our guests as well as for reasons for species protection AIDA Cruises has decided to stop making port calls to the Faroe Islands until further notice.”

handgunIn Culiacán, Mexico, the city with the highest rate of gun deaths in the nation, many people know the devastating consequences these weapons can contribute to. That’s where creative activist Pedro Reyes comes in. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. he has melted down  1,527 guns and turns them into shovels for planting trees. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. With this unique perception, he transforms things people see as broken and models them in a new way. He encouraged local residents to swap their guns for household and electronics goods vouchers before re-making the metal into shovels. Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/artist-melts-1527-guns-and-turns-them-into-shovels-for-planting-trees/. Let’s be honest – of we divered all the vast amount of money spent on wars and weapons into food, medicine, education, culture and housing we would ALL be well fed, healthy and well educated.

Indigenous communities in Brazil are using a new project called Tribal Voice to publicise how their homes and lands are being destroyed by loggers, ranchers and miners. The peoples, from some of the remote areas of the world, use Tribal Voice to air their voices o the internet. In Brazil the powerful farming lobby is trying to persuade the Brazillian government to clear;ly map out tribal lands – something the agribusinesses want to control themselves. They are lobbying the Brazilian government to turn over control of the mapping from a independent agency to Congress itself – something tribespeople say would be a disaster. Tribal Voice (not to be confused with the UK based sustainable tourism consultancy or the clothing company both of the same name) say “Ever wondered what life’s like in a remote tribal community? What tribal people have to say about the world? Tribal Voice, a project by Survival International, brings the thoughts and experiences of some of the most diverse societies on earth direct to your screen in real time. We’re kicking off the project with two tribes in Brazil. The Guarani, whose land has been stolen and destroyed by plantations and ranches, are now sending regular updates about their lives, and their struggle to survive. It’s time to listen.”

The Guardian reRIOports that the world governing body of sailing is threatening to move events for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics out of the city’s polluted Guanabara Bay unless “a whole lot more is done very quickly” to clear the venue of floating debris and sewage. Alastair Fox, head of competitions for the governing body, ISAF, said: “We’ve got quite frustrated with it all,” adding that Brazilian “politicians and the government must get going”. Fox suggested two sailing courses located just outside the bay in the open Atlantic – and a third being planned there – could be used for all races. Three other courses have been planned inside the bay but may not be used. The enclosed bay is heavily polluted and has been described as an “open sewer” by Olympic sailors. The Rio state government promised to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80% but has since admitted that goal is unlikely to be met.
Gyre ocean rubbishA giant mass of floating plastic rubbish in the Pacific Ocean is believed to be far larger than previously feared — even though it was first estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is much more than patch now – its a vast toxic ‘ocean fill’ of rubbish dumped from ships and washed out from the West Coast of North America. Julia Reisser, the main oceanographer on the “mega expedition” made up of 30 ships that surveyed the Patch, said that they had found much more plastic than expected, “perhaps an order of magnitude more”. The Ocean Star, the 171ft mother ship of the expedition, docked in San Francisco carrying huge white bags and freezers filled with plastic samples taken from 80 separate locations in the patch. “The trawls we did found little marine life, but lots and lots of plastic,” Dr Reisser said. “I would say that we had hundreds of times more plastic than organisms on our catch.” The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered by Charles Moore, a sailor and oceanographer, in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu. More here and more on Plastic Soup News here.

An American solar firm has launched a new liquid technology that turns regular windows into solar panels which could be up to 50 times more productive than regular roof-based photovoltaics. The solar windows, designed for skyscrapers, are created by applying ultra-thin layers of liquid coatings on to glass and flexible plastics. These liquid coatings produce ultra-small solar cells and form groups called ‘arrays’.  Solar Window Technologies revealed its innovation via a webinar, with a video demonstrating the windows collecting electricity, which was then used to charge a monitor.

orangsStarbucks has become the latest major brand to come under fire from campaign groups for its palm oil policy, with a new video urging consumers to boycott the coffee shop chain. The video is part of an ongoing campaign from the SumOfUs group, which has almost reached its petition goal of 200,000 signatures calling on Starbucks to cut conflict palm oil from its supply chain. The video highlights that, while 99% of Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced and sustainably produced, the company is still implementing “environment-wrecking” palm oil in its other commodities, such as baked goods

The private sector could cut more than five hundred megatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years, simply by scaling up existing green initiatives, according to a new report. Researchers from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and energy consultancy Ecofys, analysed five current initiatives, such as the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 and En.lighten. The report found that expanding these schemes could save emissions equivalent to one years’ worth activity from 130 coal power stations. The report focuses in particular on so-called ‘cooperative initiatives’ between businesses, Governments and NGO’s. One of the programmes looked at is WWF’s Climate Savers, which aims to help companies develop zero-carbon business models.

In the USA President Obama has unveiled  a package of programmes to help America switch to cleaner energy, including $1bn in loan guarantees to boost ‘innovative’ technologies, like smart grids and solar rooftops. The funding will also go towards installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient The initiatives aim to boost innovation, ensure grid reliability and ‘help the country towards a low carbon future’.

Edie.net reports that Rebuilding Scotland’s energy sector around green technology could generate 44,000 additional jobs compared to the current oil-and-gas status quo. That’ s according to a new report – Jobs in Scotland’s new economy – published by the Scottish Greens.  The report states that 200,000 new jobs could be created by adopting more renewable energy, compared to the 156,000 people currently employed in the country’s fossil fuel industry.

Audi2018Audi has unveiled concept designs for its first all-electric SUV, with a full reveal expected at the International Motor Show 2015 in Frankfurt next month. The concept car – the Audi e-tron Quattro – would have a battery range of more than 310 miles. Audi says the E-tron Quattro would come somewhere between Audi’s current Q5 and Q7 models in terms of size, and a production model for the SUV could be expected from 2018. The German carmaker said the electric model was constructed using Audi’s experience of its electric Audi R8 e-tron sports car, which entered a highly limited, on-demand production run this year.

And a French start-up claims to have developed the world’s first Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight vehicles. Popularised in Formula 1, a KERS system recovers the kinetic energy usually lost under braking, and uses it to power a small electric motor. French firm Adgero, working with German company Skeleton Technologies, claims to have developed a KERS system that can be used with trucks and lorries, reducing associated emissions by up to 25%.

deforestationbrazilgreenpeaceAnd finally back to Brazil: Germany has pledged €550m to help Brazil’s deforestation and energy efficiency programmes as part of a new climate change agreement between the two countries. Following Angela Merkel’s state visit to Brasilia on Thursday, the two countries issued a joint statement calling for an ambitious agreement at the Paris climate talks in December. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff promised to end deforestation by 2030, while Germany also donated €23m to help Brazil establish a rural land registry aimed at increasing monitoring of the Amazon. “Brazil is the key to all goals related to the climate,” said Merkel. She added that the biodiversity of the rainforest was as important as its carbon absorption. “What gets destroyed here cannot be replaced,” she said. More on Edie.net here.

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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Please please help us

gentle, kind, wonderful ... and homeless

gentle, kind, wonderful ... and homeless

The London Lite reports today (19th May) that hundreds of acres of Indonesian rain forest used as a sanctuary for the endangered orang-utan will be destroyed to feed our voracious ‘need’ for paper. The forest, in Sumatra, is used as a release point for orangs made homeless when their habitats were destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. The forest is set to be cleared by Asia Pulp & Paper who could not be contacted by London Lite.  Scientists believe that with the current rate of deforestation by 2020 there will be so few wild orangutans that the population will not be sustainable.

Bill Baily will headline a special concert for Orangutan SOS on the 1st June 2009 at the Lyceum Theatre in London.  The OrangAid concert features Dave Brown who is Bollo in the Mighty Boosh, Tim Minchin, Nina Conti and Jason Manford and is hosted by Simon Munnery, For tickets see :the Sumatran Orangutan Society website – SOS http://www.orangutans-sos.org/
Image: www.orangutanisland.org

The Great Ape debate

 

 

I go ape every time I see you smile

I go ape every time I see you smile

As scientists argue over the best way to save the orang-utan, this beautiful and gentle primate’s habitat is rapidly being destroyed to make way for farms, palm oil plantations and acacia forests (to provide wood pulp).  Habitat loss and poaching are pushing them towards imminent extinction and every minute, every day, a size equal to six football pitches of Indonesian forest is lost. London will host the Great Ape debate on Thursday 30th April at the Linnean Society against a background of almost 1000 orangutans, many orphaned infants,  who are living in refuges in Sumatra and Borneo. The orangutan population is probably only 7000 in total in Sumatra and there it is ‘critically endangered’ – even with 40,000 orangutans in Borneo the population there is ‘endangered’. Conservationists remain divided about whether sanctuarys will protect the species, pongo abelii and pongo pygmaeus  and whether santuary animals can ever be successfully reintroduced into the wild. Scientists believe that with the current rate of deforestation by 2020 there will be so few wild orangutans that the population will not be sustainable. 

 

 

 

Bill Baily will headline a special concert for Orangutan SOS on the 1st June 2009 at the Lyceum Thetare in London.  The OrangeAid concert features Dave Brown (Bollo, The Might Boosh), Tim Minchin, Nina Conti and Jason Manford and hosted by Simon Munnery. For tickets see the Sumatran Orangutan Society website  – SOS http://www.orangutans-sos.org/  

Image: www.orangutanisland.org