The United Kingdom might soon create new national parks

May 29, 2018 by  
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In an op-ed for The Telegraph , United Kingdom Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced a new review process which could result in creating new national parks in England. Nearly 70 years after the creation of the first British national parks , Gove wrote that “the time is right” to consider creating new protected areas in the United Kingdom. As the human population grows and natural habitats decline, he wrote that the British people should “look afresh at these landscapes” and determine how best to preserve them for future generations. Aware of concerns amidst an ongoing national policy of austerity , Gove emphasized that the review’s mission was not to cut the conservation of nature but to “strengthen it in the face of present-day challenges.” The first national parks in the U.K., the Peak District, Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor, were founded in 1951. England currently has 10 national parks while Wales and Scotland host three and two, respectively. “The creation of national parks almost 70 years ago changed the way we view our precious landscapes — helping us all access and enjoy our natural world,” Gove wrote. “We want to make sure they are not only conserved, but enhanced for the next generation.” Related: General Electric to debut world’s largest wind turbine in UK Gove has appointed former governor aide and journalist Julian Glover to lead the review process. “I want Julian explicitly to consider how we can extend and improve the protection we give to other precious landscapes,” Gove wrote. “Are we properly supporting all those who live in, work in, or want to visit these magnificent places? Should we indeed be extending our areas of designated land ?” Conservationists have praised Gove’s decision, though they say that more must be done. WWF campaigns director Tony Juniper told the BBC , “ Nature will continue to be at risk unless we have a plan for its recovery enshrined in law — through a new Environment Act that’s backed by a strong watchdog with real power to enforce.” + The Telegraph Via BBC Images via Paul Morris and Klim Levene

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The United Kingdom might soon create new national parks

RBS will cease financing new coal stations, Arctic oil, or oil sands projects

May 29, 2018 by  
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Several oil and gas projects will no longer receive financing from Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Reuters reported . The bank said it won’t offer project-specific finance for Arctic oil and oil sands projects, new coal -fired power stations, new thermal coal mines, or unsustainable peatland or vegetation clearance projects. RBS Director of Sustainable Banking Kirsty Britz said, “The RBS of 2018 is very different to the bank we were a few years ago. If we’re going to support our customers in the long run, then it means addressing the challenge of climate change and the risks and opportunities it presents.” The changes are part of RBS’s tighter restrictions on finance and general lending for what Reuters described as “high-carbon energy projects.” In addition to the projects listed above, RBS said it won’t provide finance for “ mining companies generating more than 40 percent of their revenues from thermal coal” and “ power companies generating more than 40 percent of their electricity from coal.” In the past, the threshold for both types of companies was 65 percent. Related: The World Bank will stop funding oil and gas projects after 2019 RBS quoted Sonia Hierzig of ShareAction , a responsible investment charity, as saying the energy financing policies “make RBS the bank with the strongest energy sector policies out of the top five UK banks…RBS would now rank 8th in our climate ranking of the 15 largest European banks, up from 11th previously.” The bank said they’ve funded “more British renewable energy projects than any other UK bank for the last six years running.” They also said they obtain 90 percent of electricity in the UK and Ireland via renewable energy and, since 2014, have seen a 39 percent drop in their carbon dioxide emissions . + Royal Bank of Scotland Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1)

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RBS will cease financing new coal stations, Arctic oil, or oil sands projects

100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

May 29, 2018 by  
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Many ferries are powered by polluting diesel, but the European Union-funded E-ferry could offer a cleaner alternative: a medium-sized ferry able to transport trucks, cars, passengers and cargo with zero greenhouse gas emissions. While this isn’t the first zero-emission ferry, the team behind the project says the new ferry will be able to cover longer distances — traveling 22 nautical miles between charges. E-ferry’s goal is to “apply an extremely energy efficient design concept and demonstrate a 100 percent electric , emission-free, medium-sized ferry” able to travel without polluting, according to the project website. The European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) announced the project will be soon set sail and operate in the Baltic Sea to connect the island of Ærø to the Denmark mainland. The ferry, dubbed Ellen, will travel the Søby-Fynshav and Søby-Faaborg routes, which are 10.7 and 9.6 nautical miles, respectively. Related: 173 countries agree to slash shipping industry emissions in historic deal Ellen could be equipped with “the largest battery pack ever installed in a vessel,” according to the project website, and boasts a battery capacity of 4.3 megawatt-hours. The website says , “The peak charging power of the E-ferry battery pack and its shore charging connection will be up to four megawatts.” The vessel will have two 750 kilowatt (kW) propulsion motors and two 250 kW thruster motors. It can carry 31 cars or five trucks, and 147 passengers in the winter and 198 in the summer. It will weigh around 650 tons. The E-ferry will be built with what the team described as new lightweight materials: “different kinds of carbon composites” as well as more traditional aluminum materials. The team aims for 10 or more E-ferries operating by 2020, and 100 or more by 2030 to save 10,000 to 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year by 2020 and 100,000 to 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide yearly by 2030. E-ferry is supported by the Horizon 2020 initiative. + E-ferry + CORDIS Image via Depositphotos

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100% electric passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry could help decarbonize sea travel

General Electric to debut world’s largest wind turbine in UK

April 24, 2018 by  
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General Electric just announced that it will begin testing the world’s largest wind turbine – the Haliade-X – at its facilities in Blyth, England. General Electric’s renewable energy department signed a five-year contract with the British government-funded Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC) to begin trials of the 12-megawatt turbine. “This is an important agreement because it will enable us to prove Haliade-X in a faster way by putting it under controlled and extreme conditions,” GE Offshore Wind president and CEO John Lavelle said in a statement . The United Kingdom plans to rapidly develop its offshore wind capacity, with an estimated growth to 30 gigawatts by 2030 – five times greater than its current capacity. Speaking to Reuters , British energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry cited the contract between GE and OREC as a shining example of the country’s advanced research and testing facilities. The largest currently operational wind turbine is also in the United Kingdom ; MHI Vestas’ 9 MW turbines generate power in the Vattenfall wind farm off the shore of Aberdeen, Scotland . Related: GE develops hybrid jet engine and battery to supplement California renewables In addition to the formal approval of testing, the agreement includes funding from Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund to create the world’s most powerful grid emulation system at OREC’s Blyth headquarters. General Electric ‘s move to develop the largest turbine follows a general trend in the industry, in which producers are aiming to create the biggest turbines to reduce the cost of energy produced and to increase the amount of energy generated at each turbine. With money to be made, the future of wind energy looks to be bigger than ever. Via Reuters Images via GE and Depositphotos

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General Electric to debut world’s largest wind turbine in UK

Pop-up Befriending Kitchen unites refugees and asylum seekers in London

March 8, 2018 by  
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Merrett Houmøller Architects designed a pop-up kitchen that not only addresses social change, but is also a clever take on modular architecture with wheels. Created for RIBA’s Beyond Borders design competition, Befriending Kitchen was created to bring young asylum seekers and refugees together with weekly meals. Compact enough for mobile travel, the pop-up unit contains kitchen facilities as well as storage for folding tables and benches. Merrett Houmøller Architects’ Befriending Kitchen was born from the Refugees and Befriending Project, run by British Red Cross volunteers and staff. The new pop-up dining facility brings a colorful refresh to the project (previously run out of an office) and is decorated with bright graphics inspired by nautical signal flags. Related: IKEA’s SPACE10 lab is bringing a pop-up vertical farm to London Befriending Kitchen unpacks into two separate units that bookend a dining area made up of folding benches and tables seating up to 30 people. The kitchen facilities include a gas hob, sink, counter space, and trash disposal . The project is currently located in the courtyard of the British Red Cross’ Hackney destitution center in east London . + Merrett Houmøller Architects Via Dezeen Images © Francis Ware 2017

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Pop-up Befriending Kitchen unites refugees and asylum seekers in London

British Supermarket Chain Vows to Eliminate Plastic Packaging

February 8, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever attempted to venture into the world of … The post British Supermarket Chain Vows to Eliminate Plastic Packaging appeared first on Earth911.com.

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British Supermarket Chain Vows to Eliminate Plastic Packaging

Scientists reveal the carbon footprint of your sandwich

January 29, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Manchester have the distinguished honor of having conducted the first-ever study of the carbon footprint of sandwiches. The research team analyzed the emissions impact of 40 different kinds of sandwiches, taking into account the entire life-cycle of everyone’s favorite quick lunch. Production of ingredients, food waste , packaging, and refrigeration were all in the mix to determine the true cost. According to their analysis, the “all-day” pre-made, store-bought breakfast sandwich, loaded with emissions-intensive pork, eggs, and cheese , is the least environmentally friendly sandwich option. Scientists found that sandwiches containing pork, cheese, or prawns/shrimp had generally higher carbon footprints. However, the study also showed that a home-made ham and cheese sandwich had the lowest carbon footprint of sandwiches studied. Making your own sandwich rather ordering out was shown to have reduced that sandwich’s carbon emissions by half. The refrigeration required for store-bought sandwiches accounts for about a quarter of their emissions cost. Packaging is up to 8.5% of emissions, while transporting refrigerated ingredients and materials accounts for 4%. Related: White Castle goes vegan… for the buns on all its tiny sandwiches This University of Manchester study is of particular interest to the British people , who consume more than 11.5 billion sandwiches each year. “Given that sandwiches are a staple of the British diet as well as their significant market share in the food sector, it is important to understand the contribution from this sector to the emissions of greenhouse gases,” study co-author Adisa Azapagic told the Guardian . “For example, consuming 11.5bn sandwiches annually in the UK generates, on average, 9.5m tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the annual use of 8.6m cars.” The worst offending all-day breakfast sandwich alone generates the emissions equivalent of a car driving twelve miles. Researchers recommend that ingredients with high-carbon footprints, such as meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato, be limited or removed when making a sandwich. A less meat-and-cheese intensive sandwich also would be a healthier choice for personal health. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Scientists reveal the carbon footprint of your sandwich

This human-sized birdhouse for two is perched among the treetops

November 14, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wished you could make like a bird and roost in the trees, you’ll love this charming birdhouse-shaped hideaway nestled in a British Columbia forest. Calgary-based design firm Studio North recently completed Birdhut, a cozy nest for people and birds alike. Built of reclaimed pine felled by a recent fire, the tiny 100-square-foot structure uses locally scavenged materials to mimic a bird’s nest-building process. Accessible via a bridge to the hillside, the cozy one-room Birdhut sleeps two (and a dog). Salvaged lodgepodge pines were used for the cross-braced structure, while planks reclaimed from a cabin deck are used for the platform and cladding. Western Red Cedar rounded shingles clad the facade and 8-millimeter clear polycarbonate panels top the roof, letting ample natural daylight into the cabin. Two circular windows let in natural ventilation. Related: Enchanting birdhouses inspired by famous architecture Twelve smaller circular holes punctuate the facade, each designed for different native birds . “The pileated woodpecker for instance, is a larger bird that seeks out a nesting space 15 to 25 feet above ground, with a 4” entry hole and an 8”x8”x24” cavity,” wrote the designers. “The warbler, on the other hand, is a smaller bird that typically nests 9 feet above ground with a 1 1/8” hole and a 4”x4”x6” cavity. Considering both the largest and smallest varieties of local birds, the hut sits 9 feet off the ground, with its peak at 20 feet above the ground and birdhouses scattered in between.” + Studio North Images by Mark Erickson

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This human-sized birdhouse for two is perched among the treetops

MAD Architects-designed residences rise like mountains in a UNESCO Heritage site

November 14, 2017 by  
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MAD Architects just completed the Huangshan Mountain Village, their latest nature-inspired project that mimics the curves of China’s most beautiful mountains in a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on a ridge, the developments comprise ten unique buildings that rise like individual peaks overlooking Taiping Lake. The use of nature as inspiration creates, in the architects’ words, a new type of village landscape “where architecture becomes nature, and nature dissolves into architecture.” The Huangshan Mountain Village was created as part of a larger tourism masterplan for Huangshan Taiping Lake, a landscape rich in greenery, granite peaks, and historical significance. To respect the local topography , the architects designed each building with undulating lines that respond to the mountainous terrain and nearby terraced tea fields. Each structure juts out from the forest canopy like craggy granite mountains sculpted by the natural forces of wind and water. Spacious balconies and large strips of glazing bring the outdoors in. Related: MAD Architects Unveil Mountain-Shaped Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center “The impression we have of Taiping Lake in Huangshan is vague: each visit to this place yields different views, different impressions,” said Founder Ma Yansong . “It is a bit mysterious, like ancient Shanshui landscape paintings that are never based on realism, but rather, the imagination. This inexplicable feeling is always poetic; it is obscure and indistinct. This is the basic idea: we hope that residents will not just look at the scenery, but see themselves in relation to this environment, attention that is brought inward. In observing oneself, one perhaps begins to notice a different self than the one present in the city.” + MAD Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu

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MAD Architects-designed residences rise like mountains in a UNESCO Heritage site

Partnership Forms to Recycle Waste in the Antarctic

August 10, 2017 by  
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If recycling seems difficult to you, just think about what it’s like in other parts of the world — like ones at the end of the earth. In 1962, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) began to participate in regulating developments at “the bottom” of the…

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Partnership Forms to Recycle Waste in the Antarctic

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