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ANOTHER PLANET?

GreenEventsLogo2013Don’t forget our Green Events & Innovations conference.  Alan Featherstone, founder of Trees for Life, the partner of Festival Wood, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker for our Green Events and Innovations Conference which will be held on March 6th 2014 in London. There is an a special early bird ticket availability until 31st December  gei2014.eventbrite.com . Now in it’s sixth year, GEI has become THE gathering to come to to explore sustainability and events. As the live sector’s response to environmental management matures, GEI will demonstrate the latest solutions and technologies for practical and sustainable event management. There is a crucial aspect of consideration in order for any practical solutions to be truly effective – and that is audience behaviour. This year the conference sessions will give greater focus to the psychology and sociology that explain audience behaviour, challenging current business models to seek more effective and sustainable collective action.

Basking sharks, big waves and high costs have conspired to put a halt to the planned offshore Argyll Array wind farm planned by Scottish Power off the island of Tiree on the West Coast of Scotland. It’s the third big UK wind project to have been axed in recent weeks.

Who would have thought it? Those pesky neonicotinoids pesticides which have been blamed for the sudden and rapid decline in bee populations might also cause harm to unborn babies.  The European Food Safety Authority wants restrictions placed on maximum levels of exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid which may well affect the development of memory and learning in the womb. The chemicals are used in the UK on crops such as apples, hops and sugar beet and attack the nervous systems of insects.

GOTS2People should wear organic clothes rather than high street labels which give wearers a ‘toxic second skin’ according  to Diana Carney, wife of the Governor of the Bank of England on the blog http://ecoproductsthatwork.com/ where she says the public should demand sustainable products pointing out “Certainly we can never compensate those who lose their lives at work, as in the case of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. But we can – or should be able to – pay the true cost of water to ensure that this vital resource is rationally allocated. More than 70% of global cotton production is irrigated, much of it unsustainably and in areas where drinking water is short.”.

Deadly road junctions in London and elsewhere which prove such a huge risk to cyclists will be mad safe with new improvements including eye level traffic lights, and tests to see of improvements allowing cyclists to turn right at junctions without having to cross several lanes of traffic would help. The Department for Transport is also considering whether to give local authorities more powers to introduce mandatory cycle lanes. Local authorities in London are meeting this week to see if they can improve HGV cycle safety for HGVs in London – by fitting side guards and extra mirrors – and also banning lorries in peak commuting hours.

It seems that many of the electric charging points for electric cars which have been installed in London – and subsidised – just never get used. Just 349 out of a total of 1,392 charging points installed in London were used at all – prompting commentators to say the subsidies would have been better used to promote public transport cycling, walking or even more efficient petrol engines.  The Government has spent £16 million on electric car infrastructure with another £12 million planned by 2015.  Only 5,702 drivers have used the £5,000 grant towards buying an electric car.

The battle is on to save the UK’s barn owl after the cold winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 and the wet summer – particularly June 2012 – have reduced the breeding population to just 1000 pairs which is  undermining the future of one of nation’s favourite birds – which is also under threat from HS2.  With March 2013  being the second coldest in record …. its not getting any better for Barny. The Barn Owl Trust said that just 12% of nesting sites it monitored were used for breeding  – against a usual 50%, and the average clutch was two eggs – rather that the four of five needed to replenish numbers.

The West produces an amazing amount of electronic waste – from out of date computers to replaced freezers and old VHS players – and in a vast waste site at  Agbogbloshie in Ghana  young people scavenge for scrap metal amid the smoke from plastics fires. The health risks are obvious – but the money is too good to ignore with the scavengers saying ‘This is not a good place to live” as they collect scrap copper and aluminium  adding that”electric waste comes here from all over the world – but especially from Europe”. More here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/14/ghana-dump-electronic-waste-not-good-place-live.

Orangutan3Orangutans continue to fight for survival as the West;s  thirst for palm oil devastates rainforests which are being rapidly cleared for new plantations.  in Tripa, part of the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the world’s most ecologically important rainforests and once home to its densest population of Sumatran orangutans,  the population of 2,000 orangutans has dwindled to just 200. As recently as 1990, there were 60,000 hectares of swamp forest in Tripa: now just 10,000 remain, the rest grubbed up to make way for palm oil plantations servicing the needs of some of the world’s biggest brands.  The battle to save the orangutans is not helped by the readiness of multinational corporations to use palm oil from unverified sources. Hundreds of products on UK supermarket shelves are made with palm oil or its derivatives sourced from plantations on land that was once home to Sumatran orangutans. In October, the Rainforest Foundation UK singled out Superdrug and Procter and Gamble (particularly its Head and Shoulders, Pantene and Herbal Essences hair products) for criticism over the use of unsustainable palm oil. A traffic light system produced using the companies’ responses to questions from the Ethical Consumer group also placed Imperial Leather, Original Source and Estée Lauder hair products in the red-light category.

Simple solar lamps are transforming communities in Kenya. Instead of having to pay out for expensive paraffin and kerosene, a £5 light which is recharged from the sun can help children study and families can improve their lives. UK charity Solar Aid is working to spread the technology to remote areas through their  subsidiary Sunny Money, who produce range of durable and affordable solar lamps. The charity is the Guardian’s Christmas Appeal and The UK Department for International Development has promised to help fund the project. More on Solar Aid here – their goal is to eradicate the kerosene lamp by 2020.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has told the EU that new regulations could kill of investment in fracking in the UK at ‘a critical and early stage’. In a letter to the President of the European Commission says that new legislation will cause long delays and uncertainty and says the UK could regulate fracking in a “safe and sustainable manner”. A number of EU countries including France and Bulgaria oppose fracking because of dangers of water contamination, increased seismic activity  and environmental damage. The UK government argue that shale oil and gas will produce upwards of 30,000 jobs, reduce fuel bills, provide energy security for the UK and reduce CO2 emissions – and points to the huge economic benefits already derived in the USA.

Perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), a greenhouse gas 7,100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat, has been indicated as new major player in global warming by scientists in Canada. PFTBA is an artificial chemical byproduct of the electrical industry, which has been used since the mid-20th century. It had not been investigated as a long-lived greenhouse gas, but scientists found that it can stay in the atmosphere for up to 500 years before dissolving. According to the study by researchers in Toronto, PFTBA is 7,100 times more powerful at trapping heat and warming the planet compared to carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period. More on blue & green here.

esec440x250_1_And The European Sustainable Events Conference takes place between January 28th to 30th, 2014 in Copenhagen, bringing together the leading thinkers, innovators and adopters in event sustainability.

“The conference will INSPIRE and re-energize you on your personal journey of sustainability. You will be able to SHARE your accomplishments, celebrate your failures and LEARN new tools, techniques and practices from others. You will expand your NETWORK of experts and peers, and create new friendships with people who share your commitment to sustainability. In summary, the conference is designed to help you to reach your business goals.”

http://www.gmicglobal.org/