27 September 2008

Thought for the day

"The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard."

— Gaylord Nelson
former governor of Wisconsin, co-founder of Earth Day

Bottled water and the environmnent

I think its crazy to buy bottled water when in the western world we have safe ,clean drinking water.Yet there it is! In our shops,our schools,homes and offices.
Yet bottled water can create environmental damage.The bottles are plastic and unless we recycle them all,we just create waste.Yet getting a glass under a tap costs the environment less.
Also another reason not to buy bottled water is Africa and third world countries.Imagine if they had clean water by taps in their households.There we are with water following through our taps and we got to the supermarket and buy it bottled.....madness.
Next time you go to the shops and think about buying bottled water just think about these two facts and I guarantee you'll put it back.

25 September 2008

World Environment Day

Mexico will host World Environment Day 2009 on the 5th June.
"Your Planet needs You-UNite to combat Climate Change".

16 September 2008

Will man ever learn? The quest for oil at the expense of the eco-system

We all know that global warming is a reality.We know that the "Planet Earth" is getting hotter.We also know that the climate on our beloved planet has changing over millions of years.Yes we've had cold periods,we've had hotter periods and its all part of the ever changing Universe.I guess it would be boring if we never changed.
Yet what is different this time?
We are the difference.Yes us,mankind.We have caused an increase in global warming.Yes the planet was warming naturally but we have helped to increase the warming at a rapid rate over the last 10 years.Our pursuit of economic growth has lead to ice melting at a rate that has never been seen before.Ice is melting near Canada to a point where the eco systems will be changed forever and I'm afraid this time the damage will be for good.Ice that has remained in place for thousands of years is disappearing.
Yet what does mankind do? He thinks "great the ice has gone and more oil to plunder".The Canadian Govt is looking at ways to get to this oil and the same is happening in Alaska.
Wait a minute...isn't it all this plundering of oil that has lead to global warming? Are we not just going in circles? Are we that greedy,do we not care about our childrens futures?
Why aren't the Govts thinking of using wave,wind,bio-fuels,solar more? Strange?
In an era of banks collapsing because of their own greed,can we not see what we are doing?

15 September 2008

Top hotel is all about being green

What we need are more hotels like the Fairmont Royal York hotel Toronto,Canada.
Chef David Garcelon grows herbs,tomatoes and edible flowers on the roof top harden on the 14th floor of the hotel.It even has a pear tree,apple tree and pepper plants.
This is producing local food!!!
Fairmont is proud of its green image.It is located in downtown Toronto.
I really hope more hotels will use their roof tops for producing food .What a great idea!!

Do we take our water for granted?

The United Nations proclaimed the period from 2005 to 2015 to be the International Decade for Action, "Water for Life," in response to what had been identified as a full-blown global water crisis.

When you turn your tap on,do you think about the water? Do you think about where it comes from? Do you care?
You should.
In many parts of the globe there is a water shortage.Water is precious to many.
When we think about what we can do for the environment we don't always think about the water we drink,the water we use to wash ourselves in,the water we use to wash our cars,gardens and everything else.
Yet if we are to help our own environment we need to think about "turning the tap" off,don't let it drip.We need to only fill up our kettle halfway and have more showers than baths.
We need to harvest our water.We need to use rain butts to water our garden.
We need to use low flow fixtures,dual-flush toilets.
The next generation of house builders need to include water saving devices in their housing projects.

Fancy a cup of coffee?

Starbucks can be found in nearly every high street in the world.Yet what is this coffee house doing for the the environment.This is a question you may ponder over sipping the 'White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream'.
Starbucks has to be responsible for its environment.It has to offset its carbon footprint.Imagine all the trucks involved in transporting its coffee and goods and the energy it must be using in its shops and the waste it creates.
Firstly they encourage you to bring in your travel mug and you'll get 25p off the price of your drink.They also give you free bags of used coffee grounds for your garden.To be truthful I didn't realise that coffee was a good compost but I guess its natural.Its good for the roses and veggie!
They also have projects in Ethiopia.Since 2006 Starbucks has been working in partnership with CARE International to support projects that make a difference to coffee growing communities.They are supporting more than 1,500 households in the Gewgew Dingete villages of West Haraghe in Ethiopia.They are helping with their education,sustainable agriculture and water needs.
Starbucks also tries to promote local food in its stores.I hope that they do buy in local produce but its hard to know if this is what really happens.
How many large companies say they are doing this and that for the environment and then later we find out that they have froth all over their faces and have been exaggerating for their own benefit.
We know that the public are pushing for a greener environment and we also know that there is alot of money to be made out of the environment and thus companies that appear to care about the planet also have their own agenda and selfish motives.
Yet if a big company like Starbucks is helping in Ethiopia,then I say good on them and if they are trying to encourage us to bring in a travel mug,great and I think my roses could do with a bit of coffee compost.

13 September 2008

Surfers paradise....I think not....huge waves in Australia

Australia is suffering from climate change in an extreme way.It has severe droughts,bush fires and storms and now huge waves are battering the Australian coastline.Yipee the surfers might shout but these huge waves have a force that is eroding the coastline at a fast pace.
Australia is one of the countries that needs to tackle its use of energy and reduce its greenhouses gases.It has one of the highest outputs of greenhouses gases per person in the world.
They could use these waves in a positive way to generate clean energy and then offset their carbon footprint.
Australia is getting the brunt of climate change and something needs to be done soon.

10 September 2008

Does the internet make us greener?

When you turn your computer on .....you are using energy.This must be bad for the environment?
Yet the internet has actually helped in its own way to reduce the carbon footprint.We can shop on line,we can write e-mails,use social networking groups,we make less waste.
There is also a vital point of having the net.We can send clear messages to the world about what we can do for our environment.We can help change the world.
Hopefully there will come a time when we can have greener servers and greener computers.

Thought for the day

"Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find." ~ Time

Parties are letting us down on green issues in the UK

Now that the UK is heading for economic misery the three main parties have decided not to concentrate on environmental issues.This has been noticed.

The organisations, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF, call for "far greater leadership, vision and courage than we have seen from any of the three main parties in recent months". They add: "Despite continuing green rhetoric, we've seen a retreat on this agenda by politicians unwilling to advocate the crucial steps to tackle climate change and other environmental problems for fear of media criticism and electoral unpalatability."

I think that the parties are making a mistake with their voters and although we are of course worried about our futures ,we are also very concerned about our environment.I think the parties should use the environment as a "positive" step .It is something that we can control and improve on.The economy has its ups and downs but without our planet functioning...we won't have any economies left anyway!

8 September 2008

Where does our recycling really go in the UK?

You know I spend alot of time each day sorting my waste and rubbish for my recycling bin.I wash the glass and tins and flatten the cardboard.Its actually "working" but at least I am doing something positive,productive and for our planet.It makes me feel good.
Yet I often wonder what happens to this waste when its collected every two weeks.Where does it go? Also I've thought "would people in the UK spend their time sorting out all the waste? Gosh it must be a hard job".
Well it looks like our Local Councils don't know what is happening to our recycled waste either...do they care ...or do they just want to get rid of it and look good.
I have heard stories before of refuse men saying that they just dumped the recycled waste in the landfill with all the other rubbish and I was horrified.Yet I believed this had been stopped.
Oh no it hasn't ...we've just moved the problem to India and Africa and other third world countries.Apparently our recycled waste is being dumped in landfills in India.This is a disgrace.We are being lied to.
This won't stop me for doing my bit every day but I do hope that the authorities "clean up their act".

5 September 2008

Waste not Want not -Green hotels!

When we enter a hotel we normally find the lights on,TV on with our guest name,a fridge stocked and all the energy we need.In this changing world we now find that the idea of using all this energy when we go on holiday is very much a "turn off".We now want to experience a hotel that is eco friendly, that cares about its guests and also the planet.
We want to see light saving bulbs,recycling our waste,using the same sheets and towels.We don't want a fridge in our room stocked with wasteful items.We want to know that the water we use in our room will be done in such a way it is not wasted.We don't want all this waste when we stay in our hotel.
There is a increased desire to stay in hotels that care about the environment and there are hotels out there that are trying to do this.
Hotels are now aware of the need for change and as we demand that change we will see a change in the way we take our holidays.
Eco friendly hotels will become the norm.

4 September 2008

Sports go Solar!!

The Arizonian Phoenix Suns want to be eco-friendly.They plan to use solar panels for their energy and thus decrease their use of energy equivalent to 26 home matches.Yeah for the Suns,way to go!!!!
They are using the car park area of US Airways Center for their solar panels and you know what it will make everyone feel better going to watch a sports event that is being eco-friendly.
The Suns installation will cost about $1.5 million but the team will receive a yearly rebate of $60,000 to $85,000 from the Arizona Public Service Co.
The project will not cost the team anything up front or lead to an increase in ticket prices.
Tioga Energy will be responsible for the maintenance of the solar panels over the next 20 years.The Suns pay Tioga a annual fee based on the amount of energy the panels produce.
The San Francisco Giants became the first baseball team to use solar power.The Los Angeles Lakers were putting more than 1,700solar panels on the roof of LA Lakers.
The Suns are also using green cleaning products and expanding their office wide recycling program.
Lets all cheer for the teams who are going solar and showing the supporters the future!! Good on them.

3 September 2008

Native American Indians using green affordable housing

When we think of the Native American Indian we instantly think of "nature","harmony" and "respect of lands".
Wisconsins First Nations are taking the lead in developing a "green house" that would not harm the environment or waste energy.
Professor Sue Thering of University Of Winconsin Madison has worked with several American tribal groups that wanted affordable,energy efficent homes.
In Native American culture the home was the home to many generations of one family.Thus the idea has arisen that they can have one large house with less impact on the environment.Thering obtained a grant of $1116,000 from US Dept of Agriculture Rural Development Program to help.The energy efficent homes would use 100% recycled roofing,insulation and interior materials that would be durable and low toxic,windows would be high quality for energy efficiency.They are truly getting back to their "roots".Yet the project goes beyond building the houses,they wish to train builders in new techniques.
This idea is hoping to expand to other tribes and who knows where else it will lead?

A golden era for green housing

As energy prices increase it has a knock on effect.Its actually good for "green housing".In the 1980s we didn't seem to be bothered about saving energy and it was all about how we can progress,spend and achieve.
Today the climate is very different.We are sick to the teeth of rising energy costs and we are actually hostile to the gas,electric companies that are making vast amounts of profit while we pay through the nose.Well its back fired on all those greedy companies as we now turn our back on harmful energies and we realise we are destroying our planet and in that we want to make a difference.
It starts in our own home and demand for making our own homes energy efficent has risen and continues to rise.
The growth in green housing will be from 2% in 2005 to nearly 20% in 2012 according to the National Green building Conference in New Orleans.This drive for green housing is not just coming from the environmetalists but also the general public.
This is such a positive move.

Has Boris Johnson got any green bones?

Boris wants to make London the leading "green city".Is Boris really going to produce the goods !! Boris yesterday launched the London Climate Change Adaption Stratedy document.
Here it is in all its glory
Mayor launches 'world-first' strategy to prepare London for climate change

London’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy outlines the impact that past and present carbon emissions will have on London’s climate. It shows that currently our city is not designed to cope with the predicted changes. The launch of the strategy comes weeks after the Government’s chief scientist advised that the UK needs to adapt to increased average global temperatures of four degrees.

By the end of the century, winters will become warmer suggesting a traditional white Christmas might happen just once in a Londoner's lifetime. The rising temperatures will mean new and exotic flora and fauna in London which are more commonly seen in Mediterranean climates.

Key findings of the report:

Currently we are not very well adapted to our climate – the impacts of the heatwave of summer 2003 (in which 600 people died here and 15,000 in Paris) and the floods of summer 2007 highlight how vulnerable we are to extreme weather today.
As the climate changes, London will experience warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, whilst ‘extreme’ weather events such as heat waves and tidal surges will become more frequent and intense.
Londoners will face an increased risk of floods, droughts and heatwaves that will endanger the prosperity of the city and the quality of life for all Londoners, but especially the most vulnerable in the city.
The strategy proposes ‘greening’ the city by improving and increasing London’s greenspaces to keep the city cool in summer, managing flood risk coming from the tributaries to the Thames and surface water flooding from heavy rainfall, encouraging Londoners to use less water and raising public awareness to flood risk.
London is well placed to help the world adapt to climate change: it has the skills and services to prepare for the predicted changes, and there is a clear economic opportunity to capitalise on this leading position.
The Mayor of London said: ‘We need to concentrate efforts to slash carbon emissions and become more energy efficient in order to prevent dangerous climate change. But we also need to prepare for how our climate is expected to change in the future.

‘The strategy I am launching today outlines in detail the range of weather conditions facing London, which could both seriously threaten our quality of life - particularly that of the most vulnerable people - and endanger our pre-eminence as one of the world’s leading cities.

‘London is not unique - all major cities such as New York and Tokyo are at risk from climate change. By producing this strategy, we put London in a position of strength.’

The Mayor launched the strategy at a visit hosted by the Environment Agency to the Thames Barrier – London’s most famous example of a structure designed to manage the threat of extreme weather.

Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency's Thames Regional Director, said: ‘London's world class city is currently protected from the increasing risk of tidal flooding by the iconic Thames Barrier, which will see us into the next century as the people and businesses of London move forward in adapting to meet the challenges of climate change.

‘We welcome the Mayor’s strategy and will be playing our part in helping deliver the solutions such as planning for London's future tidal flood defences.’

The publication of the strategy underlines the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to make London a leading ‘green’ city through effective, value for money programmes including an ambitious target to cut carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2025.

This strategy will now be open to consultation with the Greater London Authority bodies – the London Development Agency, Transport for London, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Metropolitan Police Authority – and the London Assembly although wider comment from organisations are invited. The Mayor will consider the responses submitted by these bodies and then publish a second version of the strategy for public consultation. The Mayor’s intention is to publish the public consultation draft of the London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2009.

Interesting stuff..heh! The Major has now appointed Isabel Dedring as his green guru and she is known as a "smart ,tough,lean American"."don't mess with me" or my "green ideas".
Are the Green members of City Hall satisfied by her appointment.It seems to be ok as Dedring apparently wrote Ken Livingstones climate action plan and may have been the driving force behind the greening of transport,including hybrid buses.

Australian Labour Party promise to protect wilderness

The Premier Alan Carpenter has promised to develop a new conservation model to protect Woodlands,which is said to be home to 3,000 types of plants and hundreds of native animal species.This area is known as the Great Western Woodlands.
The Wilderness is becoming a "hot" election issue in Australia.
I am pleased to see that the Australians are also very concerned about their Wilderness and that Govts are waking up to the reality of protecting our natural,beautiful areas of the planet.
What a shame we didn't save more of our wilderness.