Posts Tagged ‘eco’

Environmental News : : Los Angeles Going Green

TOMS Shoes are preventing HIV

 Charlize Theron, TOMS, TOMS Shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, fashion philanthropy, HIV, AIDS, Africa, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-friendly celebrities, eco-celebs, green celebrities

It just had to happen. Last week I voiced my opinion that TOMS was inherently flawed and that they were not helping fix world issues. With the help of actress Charlize Theron, TOMS is unveiling a new limited edition shoe that funds the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, a non-profit charity that helps protect youth’s against HIV. Unfortunately, the shoes only come in women and child sizes. This hasn’t stopped me from wearing women’s clothes before though.

Theron says, “The relationship I have with TOMS is one that I cherish because none of us can do it alone”. 

You can buy your pair right here.

Los Angeles Mayor announces City will be “coal-free” by 2025

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has followed suit to many cities and announced LA will be coal free by 2025. The city currently gets 40% of its energy from two (out of date) coal plants. These plants are unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. Political plans along with the Department of Water have already delayed the initial coal free deadline by 5 years (previously the aim was 2020). Nothing yet has been set in stone, but there is a unanimous decision that the two 40 year old coal plants are just that, too old. Another step in the right direction for the green party.

50% of all food produced is wasted

Researchers at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently discovered that over 2 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. This accounts for 30%-50% of all food produced. The main causes have been pinned down to;

1) Over cautious sell by dates.
2) Buy one get one free deals.
3) Everyone’s sudden obsession with vegetables.

Furthermore, 30% of crops manufactured in the UK are not even harvested due to the fact they don’t meet the immensely strict cosmetic standards set by food companies. This wasted food inevitably ends up in landfill sites where it produces mass quantities of methane, a gas that has many negative environmental effects. If this doesn’t concern you, then maybe the 1 billion people will who went hungry in 2010.
You want to know what you can do? Stop buying food in bulk and stop taking advantage of every “buy one get one free deal” just because you can. You may argue that we can’t control what the food companies produce or what their policies are. However you are the person buying the food, you control what ends up in your bin.
I leave you with

Buy glasses, save animals
Swim like a turtle with this wetsuit
The best iPhone case you can buy

 

Environmental News! 29th June 2012

Bon Iver designs ‘vegan’ sneakers

Justin Vernon, more commonly known as the lead dinger of Bon Iver, has just released his own shoes that benefit animals. They support the ‘Best Friends Animal Society’, who will receive all the proceeds from sales. A review from LA Times knocked his design, stating that it was a “novice’s mistake” and a design only a “mid-westerner” would produce. However, they seem to draw attention more for the cause they support, along with the fact that most of us love and adore Justin Vernon. Considering these shoes are so unique, the $75 price-tag does not seem to high, so go on! Make a statement!

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Designs Vegan Sneakers to Benefit Animals

Man plants 1360 acre forest, by himself

India suffers from intense drought, desertification and deforestation leaving mass ares of land barren. An Indian man, Jadav “Molai” Payeng, has decided to change all this by himself. He started the project 30 years ago when he was just a teenager. Witnessing dead reptiles due to a lack of forestry, he dedicated his life to growing bamboo in soil that was said impossible to grow in. He lived on the sandbar in a life of solitude, planting each tree by hand and watering them every day and night. After a few years, the sandbar transformed into a bamboo thicket. He then started planting proper trees once he learnt how red ants changed the properties of soil, making it more fertile. “I was stung many times” he said, as he explained how he hand carried red ants to his creation. The forest is now alive with the ecosystem as a food chain exists among it. Everything from fauna/ants to eagles/elephants have been spotted in the forest.
Some locals wanted to cut down his trees after it altered their way of life. He responded by threatening to kill them. I struggle to think of anyone who would not deem this man a modern hero for his herculean effort in saving the planet. Do the man a favour and stop using plastic cups.
Jadav Payeng, Jadav Payeng forest, Jadav Payeng nature reserve, Jadav Payeng assam, Jadav Payeng ecosystem, Jadav Payeng local hero, Jadav Payeng times of india, india desertification, india deforestation, india payeng

Sea-level rise occurring  4 times quicker on US east coast

Sea level rise is not uniform over the whole planet. Neither is global temperature rise. Some areas experience faster or slower changes. The US Geological Survey have stated “if global temperatures continue to rise, rates of sea level rise in this area are expected to continue increasing.” Since 1990, the 600 mile region has experienced a sea-level rise of 3.7mm per year. Compare this to the global average of 0.9mm per year and you will realise the cause for concern. This is caused  because a major Atlantic current that carries tropical water to the north is slowing down. This warmth expands seawater, which can lead to higher sea levels. More interestingly, North Carolina just passed a bill that encourages planning agencies to ignore sea-level rise. Please tell me why people are still too ignorant to wake up to this truth. What’s that? You love Cape Cod?! Then why don’t you try buying a more fuel efficient car than that Toyota Tundra you drive.

Penguins threatened by climate change

Emperor Penguins are now under threat due to changes in climate. Discovery News estimates that only 500-600 breeding pairs will be around by the year 2100. This is some drop from the current 3,000. The study was conducted in Terre Adélie in Antarctica, where French scientists have been observing penguin population for 50 years. The “melting of ice affects the fish, squid and krill that grow on the ice.” If the ice goes, so will the plankton which the penguins feed off. This causes a ripple effect through the food chain that could starve the various species of penguins.
Whilst the climate change seems minor to humans at the moment, the change seems much more deadly for certain species. To learn more about this and how you can help, visit Oceanites.

Climate Change Threatens Antarctic Penguin Population


I leave you by bringing your attention the people making our ‘green effort’ useless. This article writes of how the RIO+ Summit was a success simply because it brought attention to the environment. “Sure”, he says, “the document that government officials produced after months of negotiation doesn’t contain much that will make the planet a better place”. At least they were talking about it. At least there was some “energy”. At least they were thinking of what could be done.

WRONG.

There are things we can all be doing today. Please don’t let atricles like this lull you into a sense that everything is ok. The RIO+ Summit failed and so have our leaders. Start going green today. The world depends on it.

Environmental News! 19th June 2012

1) Canadian cycles to Earth Summit in Rio.

Naomi Devine, a 33 year old Canadian woman has given “fuel efficient” travel a whole new meaning this week. Naomi decided to hope on her bike in Vancouver, British Columbia, and pedal down to the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil. She had some help with trains along the way but her journey is estimated to have been 1000 miles long. Hopefully, this will ignite the Earth Summit into producing some decent conclusions. Kyoto Protocol “take two” anyone?

Considering her worst part of the trip was as follows, ‘the idea that you might get hit and be seriously injured or die. In those moments you have to dig deep and hope for the best, because it certainly has happened to other cyclists”, would you ever attempt anything so crazy?!

2) Diesel fumes worse than second-hand smoke.


Reports filtering through from the World Health Organisation are showing how diesel fumes can cause lung cancer. The fumes are more carcinogenic than second-hand smoke fumes. So yes, you may get great mileage on your new Ford “eco-friendly” Zetec, but you’re putting people at harm. For more information on why diesel cars aren’t as good as you think, read this. What’s your opinion? With electric cars still years from being ready for everyday use, what other option do we have?

3) Environmental Activists being killed at a rate of two a week.
The death toll in people attempting to protect forests, rivers and land has almost doubled in the last 3 years. Brazil, the site of tomorrow’s UN Earth Summit, has the highest amount of deaths. A shocking 365. This represents the horrifying struggle currently going on for the world’s resources. We must desperately find a balance where all justifying needs can be met, otherwise it won’t just be the environment that suffers.

 

4) The earth IS warming.
Ignore all the “scientific uncertainty”. Ignore the blissfully ignorant. Ignore the lies. The earth currently has the lowest ice surface area in history. In fact, it’s not even been close to being this low. There are over 500,000 square kilometres less of ice than previous ‘low’ years (2007, 2011). Forgive the poor resolution, but you can clearly see the red 2012 line and how it is descending quickly, very quickly.


5) 48 cities to cut 248 million tons of pollution.

To end on a more positive note, it looks like the Kyoto Protocol “take two” is underway! It will be spoken about over the next few days in Rio at the Earth Summit. According to the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 248 million tons can be cut from 48 major cities by 2020. More information will filter through over the next few days but this is a huge step forward for the earth on the road to a more sustainable planet.

What is your view on this decade’s UN Earth Summit? There are already signs to show how serious some countries are taking these issues now. Will the conference be a success? Will words be turned to positive action? We can only hope so!

The importance of the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

The environment has gained much political attention over the last 30 years; no longer can 1st world countries like America, Japan and China ignore this fact. Environmental benefits still come after economic and social ones in developed countries. Unfortunately, these developed countries are the ones that effect the environment the most, both negatively and positively. The 5th Earth Summit is coming up in 10 days and provides a chance for certain 1st world countries to finally step up to the problem of environmental degradation and exploitation.

       The whole environmental movement began with John Muir in 1892 who started the Sierra Club and used to it express environmental opinions towards the government. The National Trust was then formed 3 years later in 1895. England and America still viewed the environment as something to be feared. The majority wanted control of the environment. Art and literature were used to promote the inherent “goodness” of the environment. People like William Wordsworth dedicated their careers to convincing people that the environment was something magical to be enjoyed. This period was known as the “enlightenment” – Something America still has to go through.

        The real turning point of the movement came in 1962 when Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring’. It was a book that outlined a lot of the environmental problems that were occurring at the time. One example was how Rachel outlined the use of the pesticide DTT in agriculture. Not only did this leech into rivers and harm habitats and animals, it was also a cause for human cancer. Upon reading this, President John F Kennedy banned the use of DTT after many agricultural companies trued to ban the publishing of the book. The book was monumental because for the first time, information like this was available to the public. This had never happened before.

         The book prompted the first ever Earth Day to take place in 1970. This was after 150,000 people died in 3 days during the Industrial Revolution because of the smog build up. There was also an oil spill off the coast of Santa Monica in 1969. People were finally becoming aware of the damage that was taking place due to the exploitation and misuse of the environment. This culminated in the first Earth Summit in 1972 which took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

          Whilst this was a monumental occasion and milestone for environmentalists, the meeting did nothing but highlight how 1st world countries were exploiting 3rd world countries. In fact, the first time that any progress was made was 20 years later in 1992 at the third Earth Summit in Rio. The ‘Kyoto Protocol’ was introduced. This stated that by 2012, any participating country had to decrease their carbon emissions by 5%. Over 37 countries signed the document. Collectively it would make a huge difference since the limits it proposed for each country were relatively small.

      Unfortunately, 3 key countries refused to sign the document claiming that signing the document would be economic suicide. These three countries were Russia, China and America. If all of Europe was to lower their emissions by 5% it probably would be less than if America lowered their emissions by 5%. With these 3 countries out of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol seemed almost useless.
10 years later in 2002 at Johannesburg, Japan and America refused to limit their offshore oil drilling. Again they were putting their own economic benefits ahead of the world’s environmental benefits. Finally, in 2010, Barack Obama said that “it is pointless to sign the Kyoto Protocol since it is almost over”. Whilst I understand why he said this, he neglected to go further and talk about what America was doing to counter their un-involvement in the Kyoto Protocol.

          With the Earth Summit returning to Rio in 9 days where the first positive step was taken, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards the environment have changed from 1st world countries. In the last decade there has been a large impact on “acting as a community” and doing what you can. Recycle this, turn off that light, be “energy efficient”.

       My father recently told me how one of his friends had helped save thousands of trees in the Amazon. My first thought wasn’t how brilliant this was. Instead I thought of how pointless single actions like this will be until we can get the entire world to think the same way. Yes, we can save thousands of trees but until companies lower their emissions then we are just conserving what is left of the environment. We should be protecting and re-building it. 1st world countries desperately need to find a balance between socio-economic and environmental needs. Until this happens, the environmental will continue to deteriorate.

Dead bees, another cry out for alternative fuel?

     Recent studies have shown that diesel fumes are related to the decline of honeybee colonies. The theory states that nano-particles emitted from diesel exhausts disrupt the navigation of bees. Thus making it impossible for them to return to their hive as they eventually die. Why is this important I hear you say? Well there is a much bigger picture to look at.

      Bees produce billions for the world economy, £430 million a year in the United Kingdom alone. People do not realise just how much they aid employment by producing honey and pollinating crop fields. In return, they ask for nothing. I think they are the most underrated working class in the world. To realise that the modern mode of transport is killing them off is extremely worrying. Ten’s of thousand’s of beehives have been dropping every winter. Since 2007, the United States has seen a 35% drop in the number of hives.

     This statistic is screaming at me to sell my diesel ‘eco-friendly’ Ford Fiesta and buy an electric car. Car companies have done a brilliant job of convincing the masses that diesel fueled cars should be bought due to their efficiency and minimal effect on the environment. Yet the fact remains, diesel is a non-renewable fuel that is harmful to all living things. Yes, diesel is better than petrol; You get more miles to the gallon and it does harm the environment less, but we are merely prolonging the inevitable.

     How can we deal with this issue? I would love to tell you that scientists have just discovered a new renewable energy source as powerful as oil but we are not there yet. So all we can do is nudge people. Give people a reason to buy electric cars, a reason to cycle to work and a reason to roll the window down instead of hitting the AC switch.

      My immediate plan would be to deny raising the motorway speed limit to 80mph. This is simply telling motorists that it is ok to drive faster, burn more fuel and pump more money into the pockets of oil companies. It also widens the gulf between the speeds of electric vehicles compared to fuel driven vehicles. One major reason why the public are buying fuel cars rather than electric is due to speed.  Further on this, road tax on fueled vehicles should be vastly increased.

      We cannot sugar coat this anymore. We have to stop finding ways of prolonging this unfortunate truth. Instead, begin to use fuels that are both renewable and do not harm the environment. If an event as small as a bee dying does not convince you that something must be done, I fear we have already lost the battle.