Selfridges is to rid its stores of all single-use plastic water bottles as part of a campaign to reduce pollution of the oceans. Instead, the department store is encouraging customers to bring their own water bottles to fill at a newly-opened traditional drinking fountain in its London food hall. The initiative, part of an ongoing partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Marine Reserves Coalition (MRC), aims to reduce plastic waste in the oceans and help facilitate a change in behaviour around the use of plastic. Selfridges said it sold around 400,000 single-use plastic water bottles a year through its food halls and restaurants. And Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to ban plastic bags! This follows Oahu joining the other Hawaiian islands in banning plastic bags from its stores. Although there are some exceptions to the ban, this is a step in the right direction for solving our planet’s plastic waste problem. Up to 13 milllion tonnes of plastic enters our seas each and every year year – entering the food chain, killing marine wildlife and birds, and polluting vast swathes of our oceans.
Motorists should be routinely fined for dumping litter amid claims that many roads are overwhelmed by rubbish, council leaders say. Local authorities should be given the power to levy penalties against car owners when litter is seen being flung from a window — even if it comes from back-seat passengers, it was claimed. The Local Government Association said councils were struggling to cope with the “staggering and spiralling” amount of discarded bottles, drinks cans, crisp packets and cigarette boxes. North hertfordhire recently removed 80 tonnes of litter from an 18 mile sytrech of A roads and In Leicestershire 20 tonnes of litter were found on a 10 mile stretch of the A42. At persent local authorities cannotfine unidentified litter throwers, however pig like, lazy and selfish they are. We need a PIG ISLAND for these people to move to where they can live and fester in their squalor. Drivers who drop litter from their cars should be fined and receive a penalty point on their licence, campaigners have urged. Keep Britain Tidy wants the penalty to apply even to those who drop apple cores and other biodegradable waste.
If Lancashire won’t frack we will, insist Yorkshire residents: The campaign to start a British fracking industry is to shift across the Pennines, with an application to frack in the North York Moors National Park. There are an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in the bowland shale and as local pro-fracking group has been set up to support a move t bring hydraulic fracking to Kirby Misperton. If only 10% of the gas were extracted it would provide Britain’s gas needs for the next 40 years. Ohhhh Yorkshire ….. fracking operations to extract shale gas in Britain could cause nearby house prices to fall by up to 7% and create a risk of environmental damage, according to a government report that has been published in full for the first time. Entitled Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) draft document was released on Wednesday after a freedom of information battle. As an official assessment of the impact of fracking, albeit in draft form only, the Report warns that leakage of waste fluids could affect human health through polluted water or the consumption of contaminated agricultural products.
Ecuador is planning to auction off three million of the country’s 8.1 million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, Jonathan Kaiman of The Guardian reports. The report comes as oil pollution forced neighbouring Peru to declare an environmental state of emergency in its northern Amazon rainforest. Ecuador owed China more than $7 billion — more than a tenth of its GDP — as of last summer. In 2009 China began loaning Ecuador billions of dollars in exchange for oil shipments. It also helped fund two of the country’s biggest hydroelectric infrastructure projects, and China National Petroleum Corp may soon have a 30 per cent stake in a $10 billion oil refinery in Ecuador. More here.
Prince Charles has given his backing to a campaign to discourage investent in fossil fuel companies. In a speech he said that coal, gas and oil cmpanies should not receive taxpaer subsidies and the Keep It In The Ground campaign was ‘clear, compelling and powerfully resonant”. He called for profound changes in the global economy to avoid catastrophic climate change.
BP has agreed to pay $18.7 billlion to settle legal actions brough in the USA over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The envieonmental catastophe had already cost the oil giant $5.5 in fines under the Clean Water Act; the latest settlement came after an action from by the Department of Justice and the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida to cover damages to individuals and business not covered by anm earlier settlement. Judge Carl Barbier had found BP to have been ‘grossly negligent’ in its management of the oil well.
WWF and Unilever have launched a one-year partnership to engage consumers in the fight against deforestation. The partnership between the conservation organisation and the multinational consumer goods firm will seek to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s forests, as well as protect one million trees. The partners will support protection programmes in Brazil and Indonesia, two countries with some of the highest historical rates of deforestation in the world.
Clothing manufacturer Adidas has celebrated its partnership with Parley for the Oceans by creating a prototype shoe made from recycled ocean waste and deep-sea gillnets. The concept shoe, unveiled at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, is the first in a line of ocean-waste products that Adidas plans to release this year. Adidas global brands executive Eric Liedtke said: “This partnership allows us to tap into new areas and create innovative materials and products for our athletes. We invite everyone to join us on this journey to clean up the oceans.”
Peat bogs in the UK are at risk … just so some can shoot birds …….. “They are home to a diverse range of wildlife and up to 8,000 years old. And, according to a damning analysis by an independent government advisory body, the UK’s upland peat bogs are facing a sustained threat from the shooting classes’ desire to bag grouse. The Committee on Climate Change’s 2015 progress report to parliament notes: “Wetland habitats, including the majority of upland areas with carbon-rich peat soils, are in poor condition. The damaging practice of burning peat to increase grouse yields continues, including on internationally protected sites.” Burning creates different heather habitats. Young heather is nutritious while more established heather provides a place for nesting grouse. Creating a patchwork comprising heather of different lengths is a land management tool that experienced gamekeepers can use to increase grouse yields.” More on the Guardian website here.
London Mayor hopeful Sadiq Khan MP, Member of Parliament for Tooting and Shadow Minister for London has released figures showing that London boroughs have routinely breached EU air pollution limits over the last 5 years. Almost all local authorities missed targets set for key air quality measures including levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, linked to asthma and lung damage, and not one of the 32 boroughs meeting ozone objectives. There has been progress in reducing the amountof larger particles, known as PM10, in London’s air. Kahn had previously spoken out against the government’s inaction on air quality. Speaking at the launch of a national campaign against air pollution, Sadiq Khan MP has called for a national framework for Low Emission Zones to enable local authorities to encourage the use cleaner, greener, less-polluting vehicles. Sadiq has also called for greater powers for local authorities to tackle low levels of air quality in their communities.
UK Chancellor George Osborne has brought further uncertainty to green leaders, with an emergency Budget that confirmed more taxes for renewables along with tax-breaks for oil and gas. Delivering his second Budget in four months on Wednesday – the first all-Conservative budget in nearly 20 years – Osborne failed to offer much good news for the low-carbon economy; instead bringing further uncertainty to the sector. Osborne announced that the Government would be changing the Climate Change Levy, which businesses pay on their energy use. The Levy is “outdated”, according to the Chancellor, who said an exemption for renewables in the CCL will be removed.
Low-carbon economic growth can become the new normal and limit the impact of climate change, according to a new report
from the New Climate Economy, part of the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate. The report identifies ten economic opportunities that could close 96% of the gap between business-as-usual emissions and the level needed to stop dangerous effects of climate change – these include raisding energy efficiency, committing to carbon pricing, investing $1trn in clean energy and restoring forests. The report argues low-carbon and climate-resilient growth is possible, but calls for investment and strong political willpower. Lord Stern, co-chair of the commission, said more and more counties were committed to integrating climate action into their economic plans, suggesting economic growth and emissions reduction could go hand-in-hand. More on edie.net here.
A new study from Harvard University, published in the June edition of the Bulletin of Insectology, puts the nail in the coffin of the clever misinformation spread by the likes of chemicals giants Bayer, BASF and Syngenta about the rapid declines in the world’s bee populations. Neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate, they are the direct cause of the phenomenon labeled as colony collapse disorder (CCD). Neonicotinoid’s are the world’s most widely used insecticides. “The results from this study not only replicate findings from the previous study, but also reinforce the conclusion that the sublethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the occurrence of CCD.” For this study, researchers examined 18 bee colonies at three different apiaries in central Massachusetts over the course of a year. Four colonies at each apiary were regularly treated with realistic doses of neonicotinoid pesticides, while a total of six hives were left untreated. Of the 12 hives treated with the pesticides, six were completely wiped out. Those who make and spread misinformation about these chemicals should be imprisoned.
Revenues from sustainable products or services are growing up to six times faster than ‘normal’ equivalents, according to new research from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi). The Institute, which provides data-driven information to investors, analysed 12 companies listed in the S&P 100 that sold and tracked ‘sustainable’ products and services. The study found between 2010 and 2013, revenues from these portfolios grew by 91% – around six times faster than the rest of the companies’ products.
The television industry has been in the news with ITV’s Coronation Street winning the Film & TV Award in the Observer’s prestigious Ethical Awards for the lowest possible environmental impact with innovations including “whether that be the art department or recycling old sets
And news from Julie’s Bicycle: Our friends at Julie’s Bicycle and ID&T have created a new carbon calculator tool for indoor events. This new addition to our IG Tools was launched at ID&T’s 40,000 capacity Sensation dance event at Amsterdam Arena last weekend. The Tool enables you to quantify a range of impacts associated with your indoor event, including: energy, water, waste and travel. You can graphically analyse results to help inform action and easily export your results too. It’s available now and free to use at www.ig-tools.com. Julie’s Bicycle CEO Alison Tickell said “When one of the biggest dance promoters in the world is getting passionate about carbon we know that change is coming. Getting to grips with actual environmental impacts is a huge step forward; the new IG Tool will help not just ID&T but promoters all over the world to step up to the climate challenge.” Carlijn Lindemulder, Head of Sustainability at ID&T added ““It was a long time wish for us to be able to measure the environmental impacts of our indoor events. Working with Julie Bicycle on this exciting new tool gives Sensation the possibility to understands its environmental impacts, and design effective strategies to reduce them.”
Take the Green Train was a seminar on environmental sustainability in music and jazz held at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage Gateshead in April 2015, featuring guest speakers, case studies, green touring top tips, and ideas for future trajectories for the EJN membership on environmental sustainability. We want to make sure the learning and outcomes of the day are shared as widely as possible among the network, so have produced the following event report which summarises the various presentations and discussions from the day. Download the report here.
And finally from Julie’s Bicycle: Have a listen to the first edition of the EE MUSIC Mixtape Series, where artists from Elevate Festival have been exploring energy and the environment in a series of exclusive mixes. In Part 1, Mixmaster Morris has intertwined samples and songs combining everything from Onethrix Point Never, Louis Armstrong to visions of a sustainable energy future.