Archive Page 2

SERIOUS MONDAY: THE GOOD, THE BAD – AND THE PLAIN UGLY

 

We’re following an age-old tradition today by giving you first the good news….

Scientists believe that tropical cyclones and coastal erosion may be a small help in the fight against global warming because they wash vegetation and soil containing greenhouse gases into the sea.

Research in Taiwan has revealed that floods caused by a typhoon four years ago swept a small amount of carbon from leaves, roots and soil into the Pacific Ocean where it sank to the seabed.

However, experts say the amount of carbon being “dumped” by these natural events is (if you’ll pardon the pun) just a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of carbon that mankind is creating through the burning of fossil fuels.

And now the REALLY bad news …. 

The “hole” in the Ozone Layer is bigger this year than it was in 2007, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Latest figures show the size of the thinned ozone layer over the South Pole is now around 27 million sq kms – a size almost equal to that of the North American continent.

Image description: darker areas show the ozone “hole” which is actually a “thinning” of the Ozone Layer rather than an actual hole.

And scientists now believe that global warming will affect the rate at which the Ozone Layer recovers because hotter temperatures on earth mean lower temperatures in the stratosphere (higher atmosphere) and this will speed up ozone depletion.  

There are also other factors that could prevent the Ozone Layer from repairing itself by around 2070 as had been originally estimated – including proposals for a new type of supersonic transport.

Back in the 1980s an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol was signed to outlaw certain man-made chemicals (often used in aerosols) which were damaging the Ozone Layer.

It has been extremely successful but many experts say that when scientists gave their prediction of the year 2070 for repair of the “hole” in the Ozone Layer, they didn’t take account of future actions by mankind that could jeopardise this.

If you’d like to find out more about what causes “holes” in the Ozone Layer, check out this video from NASA

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: EMPLOYERS URGED TO SUPPORT CAN RECYCLING

 

If the lack of recycling containers at work drives you to distraction, you’ll welcome a new initiative which aims to put this right. 

According to the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), although most people now recycle their drinks cans at home, the same can’t be said about their habits at work.

Alupro estimates that drinks consumed at work accounts for 30 per cent of drink cans used in the UK, and it has launched a new campaign called Every Can Counts, to encourage businesses to set up recycling schemes.  

Successful pilot schemes have already taken place and if you’ve visited a university campus recently, chances are that you’ll have seen the distinctive cardboard bins that Alupro hopes to see rolled out to all businesses.  

It hopes to encourage employers to get involved by pointing out the business benefits – which include lower rubbish disposal costs and demonstrating their commitment to sustainability. 

And it is urging employees to make sure their employers hear about the scheme so 

if you would like to get your firm involved, you can log on here for more information and to download screensavers and wallpaper. 

(Personally, I know of at least three friends who will welcome this campaign with open arms because at the moment they carry their empty cans home for recycling rather than simply bin them.) 🙂

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: IRELAND SET TO BAN TRADITIONAL LIGHT BULBS

The Irish government is planning to outlaw traditional light bulbs, forcing consumers to switch to more energy efficient alternatives.

A consultation paper which has just been released outlines plans to ban inefficient incandescent tungsten bulbs of 75w and higher from March next year. This will be followed by the gradual phasing out of all other traditional light bulbs.

On the face of it, this sounds like a great opportunity to both reduce the carbon footprint of Ireland’s homes almost at a stroke and save money for consumers since low-energy bulbs cost less in the long run than cheaper traditional light bulbs.

With any luck, the proposals will set a precedent that will be followed by many other countries. But, although we consumers often complain that governments take too long to introduce new laws, setting a deadline of March seems just a bit ambitious.

Hopefully it won’t cause any problems for importers or wholesalers who already have stocks of the old bulbs – or have placed orders with suppliers. Taking action over climate change is something all governments need to do – but not at the expense of smaller businesses. 

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: GREAT INVENTION – OR POINTLESS EXERCISE

There has been much excitement in the past few days about a breakthrough which will apparently allow printer paper to be re-used instead of recycled.

Xerox is working on a technique that will see printed documents self-erase after 24 hours – allowing the paper to be fed through the printer again.

Sounds wonderful in theory but I can foresee lots of fun such as offices inadvertently using the erasable stuff and then realising they’ve ‘lost’  important paperwork or, better still, mailrooms opening envelopes to find blank pieces of paper inside. 

Research is still continuing but it seems the development will require a new type of printer and special ink. 

Personally, I don’t print out any document unless I really need to – and surely, that’s a much better answer than expensive research followed by the manufacture of a new breed of printer? Simply educate people not to press the print button unless it’s vital to have a hard copy.

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: AT LAST – A DEPARTMENT FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

Environmentalists across the UK have welcomed the creation of a new government department for climate change and energy.

MP, Ed Milliband will head up the new department which brings together for the first time energy and climate responsibilities. Previously they were split between two different departments.

The move has been welcomed by those keen to see the government do more about climate change and energy use – and it has been described as “fantastic news” by Greenpeace.

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: HELP A GOOD CAUSE WITH A CARD

 

Sending an e-card is a great way to brighten up someone’s day – and you can now help charity at the same time, thanks to a great website.

The Hunger Site has a great choice of e-cards and when you send a card to someone special, you can nominate a worthy cause to receive a donation.

Organised by CharityUSA, you can choose between a variety of  schemes, including projects in the rainforests, seeds for families in Africa or food for the homeless.

You don’t even need to register (although you can join and give a donation if you can afford it). 

You just visit the site here

choose your card and recipients and then decide which organisation you’d like to support.

Two minutes effort – but if thousands of people do it, the results will be very worthwhile.

You can choose from meaningful messages like this one – or you can go for a cute animal or even an animated birthday message.

So, why not log onto the site now  and send an e- card to lots of people?

Susan

SERIOUS MONDAY: GIRL GUIDES GO GREEN

 

Friends of the Earth has just launched a new campaign that will take the green message into homes around the UK. 

It has teamed up with GirlGuiding UK to encourage girls to become Climate Champions – and since around 50% of women in the UK were once girl guides or brownies – it is obviously a campaign that could make a massive difference.

Backed by actress Emma Thompson, the campaign includes a variety of environmental and energy saving measures that the girls can get involved in – including many that they will do at home.

And hopefully that means parents who have been burying their heads in the sand when it comes to climate change will be answering many awkward questions about their lifestyle.

Girls across the country will be trialling a range of green solutions – from switching off appliances rather than putting them into standby – to installing solar panels and using greener transport.  They will then be asked to report back on those they found “do-able” and worthwhile.

 The results will be presented to ministers at UN climate talks next year and  it is hoped they will encourage governments to look at ways in which householders can make a difference. 

Along the way hundreds of thousands of  girls will be learning about climate change, how to reduce their carbon footprint and how to influence others to lead a greener lifestyle.

And that’s a really important aspect of the project. Once they grow up, our children will be the ones dealing with the climate change issue so it’s vital that they learn about the environment and the importance of a green lifestyle. So hopefully, we’ll see a lot more initiatives like this in the future. 

You can find out more and register for the project here  

Susan