Hen Harriers on the verge of extinction due to gamekeepers killing illegally

March 21, 2019 by  
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A new study reveals that hen harriers are being killed at an alarming rate on U.K. grouse moors. Scientists found that gamekeepers are eliminating these birds , which are on the verge of extinction in England because they hunt red grouse. Conservationists have been tagging hen harriers in the U.K. for several years and discovered that 72 percent of the birds involved in studies have come up missing. The researchers believe the majority of these birds were killed illegally. Related: Don’t forget to fight for these “less glamorous” endangered species Sadly, 83 percent of juvenile hen harriers in this region do not make it through their first year. In comparison, 65 percent of juveniles do not survive in other areas of the country. In areas completely devoid of grouse moors, those numbers drop to less than 50 percent. According to The Guardian , hen harrier numbers have dropped dangerously low in the U.K., despite the fact that there are acceptable habitats for large numbers to survive with ease. Not only is there plenty of food for the birds of prey, but there are also few predators with which to compete. Even still, only seven of the 58 birds in the study were alive by the end of 2017. Five of the deceased birds uncovered in the study, which spanned a decade, died naturally. Four others sustained injuries consistent with hunting and were considered to be illegally killed. The great majority of the missing birds, however, vanished without a trace. Only a small percentage of these disappearances can be attributed to malfunctioning tags; the rest are believed to be victims of hunting . “Carcasses were rarely recovered, presumably due to suspected illegal killing and carcass disposal,” the study revealed. In order to boost population numbers, a new program was just passed to rear juvenile hen harriers in captivity. Researchers with Natural England plan to find juvenile birds in the wild, raise them in captivity and later release them far from grouse moors. The new hen harrier plan has been met with some resistance by conservationists , though a court just ruled in favor of its legality. Via The Guardian Image via Rob Zweers

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Hen Harriers on the verge of extinction due to gamekeepers killing illegally

Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options

March 11, 2019 by  
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An increasing number of grocery stores are ditching single-use plastics to help curb the amount of synthetic materials that end up in landfills around the world. Trader Joe’s is the most recent business to reduce plastic use in stores across the country, a move that comes after a Greenpeace initiative that garnered close to 100,000 signatures. In 2018, Trader Joe’s vowed to use more sustainable packaging to help decrease the 1 million pounds of waste it generates annually from plastics. A big chunk of that waste comes from single-use plastic bags , which the outlet has already stopped offering to customers. The company has also stopped using plastic in the produce section, replacing the traditional bags with biodegradable alternatives. Related: Cove launches the first 100% biodegradable water bottle “As a neighborhood grocery store, we feel it is important for us to be the great neighbor our customers deserve. Part of that means better managing our environmental impact,” Trader Joe’s Kenya Friend-Daniel shared. Plastic waste is a growing issue for countries around the globe. Only a quarter of plastics manufactured in the states are recycled, despite the fact that it takes significantly more energy to make plastic from scratch. If we increased recycling efforts up to three quarters, then we could save around a billion gallons in oil production and free up some 44 million yards of landfill every year. Trader Joe’s is not the first business to get rid of single-use plastics and hopefully will not be the last. Several grocery retailers in the United Kingdom have also removed single-use plastics from their stores. McDonald’s has also vowed to replace its packaging with sustainable materials within a decade, while Evian will go completely plastic free by next year. Reducing our reliance on single-use plastic is the first step in eliminating plastic waste , which often ends up in the ocean. With more and more companies like Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options, we can only hope that other businesses will follow their lead and cut down on plastic use at a larger scale. Via Eco Watch Images via Shutterstock

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Trader Joe’s ditching single-use plastics for more eco-friendly options

Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

March 1, 2019 by  
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A new study shows that close to 2,000 sites across the U.K. have poor air quality due to excess pollution. The cities most affected by high levels of toxic gas were in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all of which were tested well beyond what is considered safe. One of the main culprits behind the alarming numbers is nitrogen dioxide, a gas that is considered one of the most harmful of urban pollutants. Kensington, Chelsea, Leeds and Doncaster all tested high in nitrogen dioxide in 2017. This gas irritates lungs and creates breathing issues. One of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide is vehicle emissions. Related: Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok Earlier this week, London’s mayor announced a pollution alert as residents in the country enjoyed a rare warm spell for February. The warning was the first of its kind since last summer and was precipitated by light winds and lack of storms, which usually help drive away harmful gases. While poor air quality is a major issue across the country, London is about to initiate a plan to help clean things up. The city is establishing an ultra-low emission area in central London that will vastly improve air quality. The initiative is expected to remove around 45 percent of emissions by this spring. The researches who conducted the study are part of a group called Friends of the Earth. Based on their findings, the group called for better emission standards throughout the country and are urging ministers to tighten up government control. “It’s unforgivable that across the UK there are nearly 2,000 locations over air quality limits, leaving millions of us breathing dangerously polluted air,” one of the researchers, Simon Bowens, explained. Air pollution has been previously linked to major health problems in human populations, including heart disease, dementia and even miscarriages. Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution, which can damage lungs and even impact intelligence levels. If London’s new program is successful, hopefully other cities will follow suit and start improving air quality before it becomes an even bigger problem. Via The Guardian Images via Foto-Rabe

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Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

March 1, 2019 by  
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A new study shows that close to 2,000 sites across the U.K. have poor air quality due to excess pollution. The cities most affected by high levels of toxic gas were in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, all of which were tested well beyond what is considered safe. One of the main culprits behind the alarming numbers is nitrogen dioxide, a gas that is considered one of the most harmful of urban pollutants. Kensington, Chelsea, Leeds and Doncaster all tested high in nitrogen dioxide in 2017. This gas irritates lungs and creates breathing issues. One of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide is vehicle emissions. Related: Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok Earlier this week, London’s mayor announced a pollution alert as residents in the country enjoyed a rare warm spell for February. The warning was the first of its kind since last summer and was precipitated by light winds and lack of storms, which usually help drive away harmful gases. While poor air quality is a major issue across the country, London is about to initiate a plan to help clean things up. The city is establishing an ultra-low emission area in central London that will vastly improve air quality. The initiative is expected to remove around 45 percent of emissions by this spring. The researches who conducted the study are part of a group called Friends of the Earth. Based on their findings, the group called for better emission standards throughout the country and are urging ministers to tighten up government control. “It’s unforgivable that across the UK there are nearly 2,000 locations over air quality limits, leaving millions of us breathing dangerously polluted air,” one of the researchers, Simon Bowens, explained. Air pollution has been previously linked to major health problems in human populations, including heart disease, dementia and even miscarriages. Children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution, which can damage lungs and even impact intelligence levels. If London’s new program is successful, hopefully other cities will follow suit and start improving air quality before it becomes an even bigger problem. Via The Guardian Images via Foto-Rabe

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Poor air quality found at over 2,000 sites across the UK

UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

January 3, 2019 by  
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In an attempt to protect animals from exploitation, the United Kingdom has passed a new law banning third-party commercial retailers from selling puppies and kittens. The U.K. government wants to crack down on “puppy farms” and make things more difficult for dealers who seem to have no regard for animal welfare. There was overwhelming public support for the ban of third-party sales, and Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley says the new law “is part of our commitment to make sure the nation’s much-loved pets get the right start to life.” Now, U.K. residents looking to purchase a furry friend must go directly to the breeder or a rehoming center instead of a pet shop. Veterinarian Marc Abraham, the founder of Pup Aid, says that the new law is a victory for grassroots campaigners — as well as the U.K.’s dogs and cats — and it will make breeders more accountable. Abraham also says that the ban will make it more difficult for anyone to sell illegally smuggled puppies and kittens. Related: California bans all puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Animal welfare groups have also praised the new law, with one of the country’s best-known animal shelters, the Battersea Cat and Dogs home, endorsing the ban. This legislative change comes in the wake of the RSPCA asking the public for information about two people who were caught on closed-circuit TV abandoning a dog, all the while driving off and ignoring the dog’s plea to return to the vehicle. The video clip of the abandonment — which took place in early December in the town of Trentham (about 150 miles northwest of London) — has gone viral on social media. “To see the poor dog in such obvious distress, jumping up at the car as it drives away, is just heartbreaking,” said RSPCA inspector Natalie Perehovsky. “I can’t understand how someone could do this.” Via HuffPost Images via Shutterstock

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UK bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens

A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

November 6, 2018 by  
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A new report on food shopping in the U.K. shows that one in eight Britons is now vegetarian or vegan, and another 21 percent identify as flexitarians. This means that about a third of U.K. consumers have deliberately reduced or eliminated meat from their diets, and it underlines a revolution in the eating habits of U.K. citizens. Vegetarians have a diet that eliminates meat, poultry and fish, while vegans eat a plant-based diet and completely avoid all animal products. Flexitarians eat a largely vegetable-based diet and just occasionally supplement it with meat . Related: Look out, meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise The report comes from the supermarket chain Waitrose, which studied the food choices of Britons across all British supermarket chains. The study shows that people are thinking about how they can individually counter climate change , and avoiding meat and dairy products seems to be the single biggest way that you can reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Waitrose’s report comes from a poll of 2,000 adults who shop a variety of retailers, plus research of millions of transactions in stores and online. The report found the most likely age range to make the switch to veganism is 18 to 34. “It’s extremely encouraging to learn how many Britons are choosing to reduce their consumption of animal products,” Nick Palmer, the head of Compassion in World Farming U.K., told The Guardian . Palmer added that science shows the healthiest diet is plant-heavy, and when you eat less meat, fish, eggs and dairy, you can help animals , people and the planet. The Vegan Society claimed that the number of vegans in the U.K. has increased 400 percent in the last four years, from 150,000 to 600,000. Last May, Waitrose became the first U.K. supermarket to put dedicated vegan sections in its stores, plus it also launched a line of vegan and vegetarian ready-to-eat meals. Vegan dining has also gone mainstream in the U.K., with many chains increasing their non-meat and non-dairy options. Some restaurants have also created menus dedicated to vegans, as more and more people discover just how amazing vegan food can taste. + Waitrose Via The Guardian Image via Mittmac

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A third of people in the UK are now eating less or no meat

A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

November 6, 2018 by  
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When Caroline and Julien traveled across South America in their Volkswagen Kombi, the couple noticed a dearth of quality accommodations and decided to fill that hospitality gap by building a beautifully crafted rental cabin in Chile . After 19 months of construction, the couple realized their dream on the slopes of the Calbuco Volcano in Ensenada. Designed and constructed for an approximate cost of $30,000, the cozy, handcrafted home — dubbed Casa Nido — has been listed on Airbnb starting at $116 a night . Designing and building Casa Nido was a big adventure for the couple, given that they didn’t know anything about construction before starting. Yet all parts of the cabin , from the design and interior finishes to the electrical wiring and water systems, were carried out by the duo without any outside help. “We are offering tourists and travelers high quality, fully handmade accommodation, somewhere to relax and contemplate far away from consumer society,” said Caroline and Julien. “It is also the ideal place to rethink one’s priorities and experiment, for a given time, what is ‘going back to the essential.’” Inspired by images of fairytale cottages , Casa Nido spans two floors, with a ground floor of 290 square feet and a smaller second level of 129 square feet. The curved roof beam is constructed from plywood, and all the other timber materials are locally sourced, native species. For instance, Patagonian Cypress was used for the windows, doors and furnishings while Manio was used for the outside siding, interior lining and flooring. In addition to a bedroom that sleeps two, the cabin comes with a living room overlooking Calbuco Volcano vistas, a fully equipped kitchen that frames views of Osorno Volcano, a ground floor terrace and a wood-fired hot tub. Related: Award-winning glass cabin is nestled inside an Australian rainforest The cabin is powered by a photovoltaic solar system that provides enough electricity to meet daily needs, while the water is sourced from a nearby natural spring higher up in the valley. Wastewater is treated with a photo-purification system. The couple also plans to build a homemade biodigester to replace the use of gas cylinders for the cabin’s gas system. To wake up to volcano views at Casa Nido, check out the listing on Airbnb . + Casa Nido

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A couple builds a fairytale-like rental cabin near a volcano for $30K

Virgin Atlantic plane takes flight with fuel from recycled waste

October 11, 2018 by  
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A Virgin Atlantic plane flying from Orlando to London  has become the first commercial flight to use jet fuel partly made from recycled industrial waste. The Boeing 747 — which landed at London’s Gatwick Airport last week — used a blend of normal jet fuel plus ethanol made from waste gases. “This fuel takes waste , carbon-rich gases from industrial factories, and gives them a second life so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground,” Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson told The Guardian . He added that this flight was a big step toward making the new fuel blend part of the mainstream. Boeing is proud of our partnership with @VirginAtlantic and @LanzaTech on this historic 747 flight to use biofuel made from waste carbon gas from a steel mill. #Boeing ‘s partnership dates to aviation’s first biofuel test flight, which Virgin flew 10 years ago. pic.twitter.com/DnJGo8lCOh — Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) October 3, 2018 The flight had a fuel blend that included 5 percent of recycled waste fuel. However, Virgin Atlantic said that the sustainable element could form up to 50 percent of the blend in the future. It added that this could contribute to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of airlines. U.S. company LanzaTech produced the fuel, and it claimed that the new blend could eventually supply up to 20 percent of the fuel in the aviation industry. If that does happen, that could lead to a 65 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel. Branson said that working with LanzaTech will help his company reduce its carbon emissions while also supporting industry in the United Kingdom. Virgin Atlantic is trying to get the U.K. government support to build three plants in the country by 2025. It is also asking for financial backing for LanzaTech, so the company can produce up to 125 million gallons of the jet fuel blend each year. Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech’s chief executive, said that her company has shown that recycling waste carbon emissions into jet fuel is possible. She added that we should look at waste carbon as an opportunity, because it can be  reused again and again. Via The Guardian Image via Joao Carlos Medau

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Virgin Atlantic plane takes flight with fuel from recycled waste

Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Thai beach that Leonardo DiCaprio made famous in his 2000 movie The Beach is closing indefinitely thanks to the damage caused by millions of tourists . Maya Bay, one of the most popular destinations in the world, is a small beach with silky sands and crystal blue water surrounded by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Leh island. But over the years, it has sustained such massive environmental damage from pollution that authorities have closed it for at least a year. The movie may not have been a hit for DiCaprio, but the film’s location became so popular for tourists that up to 5,000 people and 200 boats visited each day. Thai authorities had originally announced they would close Maya Bay for four months. They have extended the plan to at least a year because of the extent of the destruction. Litter, boats and sunscreen have caused so much pollution, it has destroyed over 80 percent of the coral around the bay. Related: University of Queensland wants to drop “bommies” on the Great Barrier Reef “We have evaluated each month and found out that the ecological system was seriously destroyed from tourism of up to 5,000 people daily,” said Songtam Suksawang, the director of Thailand’s national parks department. “It’s very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed as well as the plants which cover it.” He added that there had been evidence of damage to Maya Bay for years, but the government was reluctant to close it down because of the amount of annual revenue it generates — 400 million baht (about $12.3 million). Thailand’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation has said it will not lift the tourism restriction until the ecosystem “fully recovers to a normal situation.” According to The Guardian, this is a relief for local environmental activists who had argued that closing for just four months wasn’t enough. It will take years for the reef to be fully restored, because coral only grows about half a centimeter each year. Worapoj Lomlin, Maya Bay park chief, said the parks agency has already planted more than 1,000 corals to help rehabilitate the reefs, and the team will continue to expand the project. Via The Guardian Image via Joan and Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi

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British Fashion Council commits to a fur-free London Fashion Week

September 7, 2018 by  
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London Fashion Week (LFW) will be the first event of its kind to go fur free. The British Fashion Council just announced that all of the designers at the event this month are excluding animal fur in their clothing lines. The move is a response to the criticism LFW has received over the past two years from activists. More than 250 protesters appeared at LFW last year, a big increase from the 25 that showed up in 2016. With more people boycotting brands that use real fur , companies are starting to switch over to non-fur materials. Caroline Rush of the British Fashion Council said the move to go fur free corresponds to a growing trend in the country. Related: Burberry vows to stop burning unsold clothes and using real fur One major company that plans on eliminating fur from its inventory entirely is Burberry. The British fashion giant recently announced its decision to ditch fur and has initiated a plan to phase out the material over the next few years. Given its popularity in the U.K. , the company hopes other fashion business will follow its lead and stop using animal fur. While it’s great to see that fur will not be a part of LFW this year, the British Fashion Council is not planning on banning it entirely. The head of the organization Stephanie Phair recently explained that the council does “not define or control the creative process of the designers.” Phair added that the U.K. government has not banned fur, and the decision to go fur free is up to individual companies. That said, the British Fashion Council does encourage companies to research more sustainable and cruelty-free materials for their clothing lines. In addition to Burberry, the number of fashion houses going fur free is growing. This includes Gucci, Versace, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Yoox Net-A-Porter, among others. + British Fashion Council Via The Guardian Images via Kris Atomic and Charisse Kenion

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British Fashion Council commits to a fur-free London Fashion Week

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