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September 21, 2009

French study shows organic food is healthier

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Organic food is better for you, according to a new report from the French food agency. The AFSSA report claimed organic plants product more dry matter, minerals and anti-oxidents. Between 94% and 100% of organic food did not contain any pesticide residues, while organic vegetables were found to contain 50% fewer nitrates. The report contradicts claims earlier this year by Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) that organic food has no health benefits. Denis Lairon, ...





September 19, 2009

Scotish Scientists call for 40% cut in emissions

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

Two Scottish scientists yesterday joined along with other scientists to bring the count up to 40 leading boffins around the world who call for emissions to be cut by 40%. They are asking that global leaders unit to take action to prevent climate change from getting worse. The group of scientists each signed a statement that was endorsed by climate luminaries such as Sir John Houghton and organized by the ...





September 15, 2009

Pesticides blamed for bee crisis

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Dramatic declines in Britain's bee population are due to the use of pesticides in intensive farming, a new report claimed this week. Neonicotinoids, used on a variety of crops in UK but banned across much of Europe, are a "significant factor" in the drop in Britain's bee numbers, the Soil Association and insect research body Buglife claimed in their joint report. The two groups "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of ...





Queen told to give up land for allotments

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

The 100,000 people waiting for an allotment could all be given a vegetable patch if local councils converted brownfield sites and the Queen gave up some of her land. A report published this week by the New Local Government Network thinktank said the Government should offer tax incentives to landowners who rent out unused plots as allotments. In some areas of the UK, waiting lists for allotments are up to 40 ...





September 11, 2009

Consumers embrace tinted recycled glass

by David Masters
Sustainability

Consumers are "just as likely" to buy food and drink packaged in tinted recycled glass, according to a government-commissioned study. Research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in partnership with Sainsbury's found customers are not put off buying products packaged in glass tinted with a green hue. In 90% of cases, customers were equally likely to buy products packaged in mixed-colour recycled glass. Mayonnaise was found to be the only product ...





ASA bans “sustainable” palm oil advert

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

An advertising campaign claiming that palm oil is sustainable and the "green answer" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). ASA upheld four complaints against the magazine advert by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). Palm oil plantations producing the vegetable fat for food, biofuels, and household products are responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia. Indigenous tribes have been evicted from land now ...





September 10, 2009

Scientists fighting battle against morphing aphid

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

Scientists have used new mapping technology to discover the genetic code of the peach potato aphid that has been infecting crops at an alarming rate that up until now has become resistant to pesticides. Using the genetic code scientists have discovered what they believe to be the weakness of the pest, a gene that has become mutated to increase the aphid’s immunity to the pesticides. With the new knowledge, scientists believe they ...





September 9, 2009

Fish farms threaten marine eco-system

by David Masters
Sustainability

Consumer demand for fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acid means half of all fish consumed worldwide are raised on farms. The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are well known, but a new study has found that demand for fish with high levels of these oils is stretching the marine system to breaking point. This is because farmed fish are fed large quantities of fishmeal and fish oil made from ...





September 8, 2009

Bumblebee re-introduction plan

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

Scientists have discovered that the key to getting captive short-hair bumblebees to thrive in a new habitat is simply feeding them what they want to eat. Project officer of a scheme to reintroduce the bumblebee to the UK, Nikki Gammans, stated that the bumblebee is simply a ‘fussy eater’ due to the fact that it only will eat fresh pollen on a daily basis. Thus, when presented with the fresh pollen ...





September 3, 2009

Can sci-fi solutions solve CO2 dilemmas

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

Soon, there may be actual scientific solutions to reverse the effects of climate change that do not include reducing CO2 emissions if an UK science organization can gain support for some outlandish and very Sci-fi like ideas. According to the Royal Society a Plan B may have to be used if CO2 levels are not reduced soon. The plans include large giant mirrors that could be placed ...





September 2, 2009

Insurance company plants carbon offset trees

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

Kwik Fit Insurance, a Lanarkshire intermediary company, confirmed its commitment to the environment this week by planting about 300 trees as part of its contribution to Greener Travel Week which lasts from Aug 24-30. The Green Travel Week was an initiative launched by the Scottish Government as part of its overall campaign to encourage Scots to be more eco-friendly in their daily lives. Outside of planting trees, staff at the ...





August 27, 2009

First UK eco-village wins planning permission

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

A proposed eco-development in south Wales was awarded planning permission Thursday following a two-year battle. The Pembrokeshire eco-village will feature nine eco-smallholdings, a community hub building, and a seasonal campsite. Houses in the village will be built with local, natural materials, including earth, timber, turf, and straw, and will incorporate sustainable technologies such as passive solar heating, rainwater harvesting, and renewable electricity generation. The village will be fully independent of all mains services. ...





August 26, 2009

Scotland aims to be “zero waste” society

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

The Scottish government has outlined proposals to ban recyclable materials such as glass, paper, metals and textiles from being sent to landfill. Other plans for a 'zero waste' Scotland include extending the ban on sending hazardous waste to landfill and providing incentives for businesses to increase recycling rates. An estimated 2,000 new jobs will be created if the legislation is passed. Richard Lochhead, environment secretary, said the proposals are a "positive step" towards ...





Community gardeners evicted from meadow

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Two guerrilla gardeners who transformed a derelict site into a wild meadow and vegetable plot have been taken to court by Glasgow City Council. A community group led by Douglas Peacock and Karen Chung planted allotments and raised flower beds at North Kelvin Meadow, formerly Clousten Street playing fields. Peacock and Chung were summoned to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court for failing to vacate the council-owned waste ground, which had lain derelict ...





August 21, 2009

Students give-a-dog-a-duvet

by David Masters
Sustainability

A campaign encouraging students in Manchester to recycle unwanted household goods when they leave university has proved a huge success, with over 10 tonnes of waste recycled or given to charity. Six van loads of old duvets and blankets were donated to dog rescue homes. Boxes of cutlery, crockery and kitchen utensils were given to charities including Oxfam, the Mustard Tree, and Wesley Community Furniture. Waste paper, card and glass were sent for ...





August 14, 2009

Beachside recycling at Brighton’s seafront

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Holidaymakers in Brighton will find it easier to be eco-friendly this summer due to new seafront recycling bins in the popular resort. Glass, cardboard, paper, tins, cans and plastic bottles can all be disposed of in the new bins. Four metre high flags next to the bins make them easy to locate. Brighton and Hove City Council installed the five sets of recycling bins across the busiest stretch of the seafront in ...





Chefs launch recipes to use up leftovers

by David Masters
Sustainability

Top chefs are joining forces in an effort to stop Londoners throwing away edible and tasty leftovers. Oliver Rowe, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, and Gary Rhodes have all contributed recipes to a new website designed to help people use up food waste Around a third a food bought in London currently ends up in the bin, which is a "serious scandal" according to Rosie Boycott, chair of London Food. "Everyday in the capital we ...





Eastern Himalayas hotbed of newly discovered species

by Alan Harten
Sustainability

The Eastern Himalayan mountain range has spawned the discovery of over 350 new species of animals and plants in the last ten years due to its large amount of inaccessible and hidden terrain that scientists have just now been able to reach and explore. The new species have been discovered at about a rate of 35 per year since 1998 and have included species such as the leaf deer and the ...





Public to vote on top coal villain

by David Masters
Sustainability Energy

Climate activists plan to swoop on a coal power station later this year, but they're not yet sure where. To decide, they're engaging the public in an X-Factor style vote called Britain's Got Direct Action. Voters can choose whether the climate camp protest will descend this year on the Drax plant in Yorkshire, the UK's biggest single emitter of carbon, or the E.ON Ratcliffe-on-Soar plant in Nottinghamshire.r. Together the plants emit over 30 ...





August 11, 2009

“Macabre” Tesco burns waste meat for energy

by David Masters
Sustainability Energy

Tesco's plans to incinerate 5,000 tonnes of waste meat per year have been branded "macabre" by animal rights group Viva. Viva said the scheme, which will generate enough electricity to power 600 homes, is "a sad indictment of modern life". Justin Kerswell, Viva campaigns manager, said the amount of meat being thrown away by Tesco is a sign of the supermarket's "greed and indifference". "To turn this wasted meat into power might seem ...





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