Monday, 23 February 2009

Ain't No Mountain High Enough!


EMERGE Food is organising a big green challenge - quite literally! - to raise monies for our Manchester FareShare operation (redistributing in-date quality food to organisations supporting vulnerable individuals locally): Are you up to the challenge? Fancy walking up the highest mountain in England? In the beautiful lake district in sunny May.

We will be organising transport (coaches/minibuses depending on numbers) to leave central Manchester early on Saturday 9th May and returning later in the evening. Obviously there will be an option to stay over (we will be finding out more info for folk in the coming weeks).

The walk will involve either Scafell Pike or an easier option for those less keen on the distance and in both cases we intend to provide leaders and guidance (maps/routes) depending on how experienced participants are. You need to have a pair of comfortable supportive shoes at least and preferably walking boots, waterproofs and your own food/water. We intend to supply first aid and hopefully first aiders as well as a team of stewards at different stages/with groups.

Still very much at planning stage and I'm open to ideas and suggestions, seeking organisers/mountain leaders and willing participants will be producing the sponsorship forms in near future.

Hope you will join us in having some fun in the countryside in order to help with this brilliant inner-city project helping those less fortunate.

Feel free to contact me with any questions/suggestions,

Best wishes


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Friday, 20 February 2009

Samsung Blue Earth, Mobile Phones Go Solar!


More ecological innovations, today courtesy of the good people at Samsung, who have just unveiled the Samsung Blue Earth mobile phone to the world at the Mobile World Congress hosted in Barcelona. This innovative new handset features a case made from 100% recycled plastic (PCM) as per similar eco-handsets (i.e. the Motorola Renew), it contains no toxic fire retardants and is the first mobile phone on the market to feature a solar power cell on the reverse of the handset.

It also has a number of natty features including backlight saving, energy efficient charging and a digital pedometer which converts energy savings made from walking into an 'eco-walk' calculation which shows you how many trees you have saved!

All credit to Mr.Shin, Samsung's Executive Vice President for pioneering the green cause and renewable energy sources in technology:

"We are committed to achieving the highest eco-status with our customers and business partners by providing the best eco-products and promoting eco-activities.”

Onwards & upwards,


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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Six Reasons for a Low Carbon Economy


A recently published report by the Local Government Association has identified six significant economic drivers to be considered relating to the UK economy from the development of a low carbon economy:

  • Low carbon goods and services are outgrowing other sectors and offer a viable route out of recession for the UK economy. Environmental technologies in particular are likely to see faster growth than other areas of the economy.

  • There are already indications that carbon impact is affecting not only consumer but also voter behaviour, such movements are likely to encourage businesses and governments to think green in order to survive.

  • Not everyone will do well from the transfer to a low carbon economy and in areas of carbon intensive industry there are significant economic risks.

  • Whilst some areas will gain considerably from the development of environmental technologies there are areas that are unsuitable due to poor local availability of wind and tidal power sources.

  • There are sizable operational changes required across sectors i.e. energy efficiency in buildings and across vehicular fleets which will require careful consideration

  • On an ongoing basis the government will be making implementing and amending legislation in line with their environmental commitments to ensure they are compliant with European targets on carbon emissions amongst many things.

The report in itself makes for interesting reading and it is good to see that the government recognises the economic viability of a low carbon economy.

Onwards and Upwards


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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Recycling Saves the World?


Isn't it encouraging to see that world leaders are finally taking on board the green message? For too long those brave enough to champion the environmental cause were stereotyped as 'tree huggers'. Recent news reports show that politicians are finally seeing sense and the reality is a green economy that actually creates jobs and generates financial sustainability.

President Obama has pledged to drive the US towards energy independence, providing much needed jobs and safeguarding their future against global price increases. He is implementing drastic measures in some states to reduce their greenhouse emissions, aiming for as much as a 30% reduction by 2016.

Barack Obama is not alone in seeing the benefits of a greener approach, our own Prime Minister Gordon Brown made his feelings known at the World Economic Forum in Davos:

“We cannot afford to relegate climate change to the international pending tray because of our current economic difficulties. We must use the imperative of building a low carbon economy as a route to creating jobs and growth, the path that will see us through the current downturn”.

Hence the 'Green New Deal' proposed and led by the leaders of the United Nations.

Brown went on to say that the environmental industry was worth over $4 trillion and was anticipating growth of 45% over the next eight years.

Dr Neil Bentley, CBI director of business environment speaking at the Carbon Trust’s annual stakeholder event added:

“Where the great depression was solved by building roads and bridges, what this economic crisis needs is green innovation.”

In the current economic downturn it seems that this is the time for us to forge on towards a greener, more sustainable economy which will help to reduce carbon emissions and provide employment and growth.

Onwards and upwards!


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Friday, 6 February 2009

The Continuing Campaign for Incineration


Whilst I agree that we need a pragmatic approach to waste management, it seems to me that the emphasis placed on incineration, or energy from waste (EfW) plants, as they are so often (and often misleadingly) called is a misplaced one. An example of this was the Radio 4 programme yesterday "The Investigation". Whilst the programme started in a positive fashion, interviewing Martin Bigg from the Environment Agency who stated that recycling starts with the householder, and that there is a much better quality of material that comes out of systems that do not co-mingle material; it then made the argument that the drop in prices for recyclate coupled with the poorer quality material that comes out of MRFs (material reclamation facilities) is a reason for more incineration of waste.

As Mal Williams Chair of the Campaign for Real Recycling states in his response to a recent leader article in The Guardian, the emphasis should be on ensuring a higher quality end material (through segregating materials better at the source of production - for example kerbside recycling) and developing end markets for the materials in the UK.

The problem with incinerators is that they have a 25 year life span so require over their long contract period some of the highest calorific waste to go through them, ie the materials that give us the greatest benefit from being recycled! Whilst I don’t reject incinerators completely, I believe that burning resources must be a last resort and many local authorities can get bewitched by large companies with big kit who claim that the technological fix is the best one – its much easier, less hassle and is arguably more sexy and exciting than people simply putting the right material in the right container. The thing is, if householders learn to separate their own waste it engages them much more in thinking about the waste they produce, rather than the stick it in one bin and don’t think about it approach which is ultimately unsustainable.

We really must not lose the momentum in improving recycling rates and practices that has come about thanks to organisations such as WRAP, CRN and its sister organisations Cylch in Wales and CRNS in Scotland.


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