“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.
New 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%).
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 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.
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.
The 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.
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/