Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Ashton Hayes – going carbon neutral

February 7, 2008

Visit the Ashton Hayes website and learn about their collaborative approach to reducing their collective carbon footprint. A great example of a small community leading by example.

Incidentally, Tracy Todhunter (one of the residents of Ashton Hayes) came along to an event in which we discussed how ruralnet|uk should be supporting rural communities and individuals through the use of new and emerging technologies (Web 2.0, Blogs, Flickr, RSS etc).

Off the back of this focus group (and by her own admission a confirmed technophobe!), she was inspired to set up her own WordPress blog to “chart my days of living low carbon”.

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Fake or real?

December 6, 2007

Do you prefer them fake or real – Christmas trees, that is.

It would appear that contrary to popular belief, real Christmas trees are actually more environmentally friendly than artificial ones.

Consider that artificial ones are generally made in the Far East (think of the air miles) and that they will have been made with a whole load of nasty chemicals.

Then, although they will be used for many years, when you eventually get fed up with it, it’ll take several hundred years to decompose in landfill.

Compare that to buying a proper tree:

  • Over 400 Christmas tree farms in the UK alone – so you should be able to buy one very local
  • A Christmas tree farm stabilises soil, protects water supplies and provides refuge for wildlife.
  • Supporting local farmers in planting trees for subsequent years – with all the benefits of having trees absorb CO2 etc
  • After Christmas, the tree can be mulched and put onto your garden, in your compost heap or given to the local council to turn into chippings etc. Even if disposed of in landfill, it takes a fraction of the time to decompose than an artifical tree does.

Then you just need to consider using LED Christmas lights which use a fraction of the electricity of normal lights and you’re a small way there to being slightly more environmentally conscious.

Live Earth

July 12, 2007

Live Earth, a series of worldwide concerts designed to raise awareness about climate change and advocate environmentally friendly living, seems to have had mixed success.

Whilst no doubt raising (yet more) awareness, a lot of acts arrived and left by rather-less environmentally friendly means. Razorlight rushed to the airport in a coach with a Police convoy and flew up to Scotland straight after the gig.

A lot of the acts came and went in stretched limos.

DaimlerChrysler used its low-emissions Smart car brand while sponsoring the event worldwide, although its fleet’s average carbon dioxide emissions level was 186 grams per kilometre — well above the industry’s commitment to cut emissions to 140 grams per kilometre.

Concert-goers at the event’s London leg left thousands of plastic cups on the floor of Wembley Stadium, even though recycling bins had been provided.

But at least each dressing room only had one plug socket!

Make of it what you will.

Move to block ‘misleading’ DVD

July 12, 2007

The broadcast of the Great Global Warming Swindle as mentioned on this blog earlier in the year, provoked a huge public outcry. So much so that some climate scientists are trying to block the DVD claiming that it misleads the public.

Now to my mind, something’s a bit fishy here. How many other DVD’s released each year are misleading, inaccurate or plain wrong, but no one gets too bothered by it. Makes me wonder what the motivation is behind these well-paid, well-funded climate scientists to do this!

No sun link to climate change

July 12, 2007

In response to the Great Global Warming Swindle, scientists have now supposedly proved there is no link between the fluctuation in the Suns output and modern-day climate change.

Supermarket plastic bags

April 30, 2007

Its good to see that the likes of the Co-op, Tesco and Sainsburys are doing their bit to phase out or limit the impact of plastic carrier bags. For one day, Sainsburys was giving away their “Bag for Life” for free and their standard bags are now made from recyclable material.

Tesco and the Co-op bags are now 100% bio-degradable.

Modbury (Devon, UK) claims to be the first town in Britain to be entirely free of plastic carrier bags.

The Great Global Warming Swindle

March 9, 2007

Wow, what a programme. Well done to Channel 4 (UK) for broadcasting ‘The Great Global Swindle‘. For those that missed it, it was a controversial 1.5hr programme explaining why there is no conclusive proof that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global-warming.

They called on eminent scientists, IPCC members, ex-NASA meteorologists, a former New Scientist editor, a Greenpeace co-founder amongst many others who all came up with convincing arguments as to why reducing our own cardon dioxide emissions is likely to have little or no effect.

In fact they called into question whether there was any such greenhouse/global warming effect in the first place. After all the Earths temperature has fluctuated since records began and we’re nowhere near as warm at the moment as we have been in the past.

Unfortunately, us mere-mortals are fed our information by the media and such TV programmes, so it’s going to be very hard to conclusively decide which argument is right. But below is a summary of the programme – add a comment if I’ve missed something out.

MAIN POINTS

Throughout history, CO2 levels have actually risen AFTER a rise in the Earths temperature (often lagging behind as much as 800 years!).In the 1940’s, the Earths temperature continued to rise, whilst CO2 levels dramatically fell. By the mid 70’s, there were predictions that we were about to enter an Ice Age!

The rise and fall of the Earths temperature is directly related to sunspot activity. There’s currently very high sun spot activity. The number of sun spots also correlate to previous rises and falls in the Earths temperature.
Our CO2 production is so insignificant that its measured in parts per million. However, the amount of CO2 emitted from volcanos per year far exceeds the total of our own output (inc cars, power stations etc). On top of that there’s rotting vegetation and surprisingly the oceans, which are the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide production.

As the Earth gets warmer, the oceans emit more CO2. As the Earth gets cooler, the oceans absorb and dissolve CO2.

There has been a huge political agenda behind encouraging the promotion of the global warming theory – concerns over dwindling stocks of coal and encouraging the use of nuclear and other more prevalent energy supplies. Also to stifle the development of African Nations and the third world.

The influential United Nations report on Climate change, which claimed humans were responsible, was a sham. It claimed to be the opinion of 2,500 leading scientists, but Prof Reiter said it included names of scientists who disagreed with the findings. He resigned from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but said the report was finalised by Government appointees.

Billions of pounds is being provided by governments to fund greenhouse effect research, so thousands of scientists know their job depend on the theory continuing to be seen as fact. As a whole, the green industry is now worth billions of dollars worldwide and its in nobodys interest to scale it back.

CONCLUSION: even if global warming is proved to be just a natural Earth cycle, surely its still good to be developing, cheaper, more efficient methods of energy production and transport etc. And surely its still beneficial to be saving money and dwindling energy stocks by becoming more energy-efficient.

$25m Earth Challenge prize

February 9, 2007

Good ol’ Richard Branson, looking at things upside down again. Instead of trying to reduce the amount of CO2 we pump INTO the atmosphere, why don’t we just suck it OUT of the atmosphere once its got there more>>
Mr Branson has offered a $25m Earth Challenge prize to the person who can invent a way of removing from the atmosphere up to 1 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.

Hmmmm. Perhaps if he grounded his fleet of 747’s that might help to start off with!

Now, where did I put that giant vacuum cleaner…

What happens when we recycle?

February 2, 2007

An interesting article from the BBC investigating what actually happens to  recyclable rubbish more>>

Blame for warming pinned on man

February 2, 2007

When I first read this headline I thought it was about women blaming yet something else on men. However, note the word ‘man’ and NOT ‘men’. Phew!

Anyway, it turns out climatic changes seen around the world are “very likely” to have a human cause, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded more>>

France dims

February 2, 2007

The lights of Paris dimmed for five minutes on Thursday in a nationwide “lights out” campaign, aimed at raising public awareness over global warming more>>

Carbon emissions show sharp rise

November 28, 2006

The rise in humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide has accelerated sharply, according to a new analysis.

The Global Carbon Project says that emissions were rising by less than 1% annually up to the year 2000, but are now rising at 2.5% per year. More from the BBC report>>