Friday, 18 December 2009

COP15 - Last Chance?


I thought I should probably post something today as it is the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. My previous post hopefully will have given you an idea of what COP15 is trying to acheive. I've been watching some of the news reports and twitter streams to keep up to date but so far things don't look overly positive for a global treaty.

It's really distressing to think that the Kyoto Protocol will finish in 2012, after which there will be no formal framework in place to regulate emissions and control global carbon outputs downwards. Given the potential scale and severity of global warming and the ongoing impacts that unmitigated carbon emissions is having would it be too optimistic to hope that politicians would pull out all the stops and really work together to conclude a meaningful deal? - Especially since it's taken so long to arrange an opportunity for discussions on this scale, it would be a disaster to see the talks fail...

We'll have to wait and see what the rest of the day holds but for the moment there seems to be a dark cloud over Copenhagen.

Onwards & upwards?


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Prison Work On Waste Schemes vs. NIMBY Rubbish.


I came across this rather reactionary article in the MEN about a convict working for a local waste contractor who escaped whilst on work duties.

From a social perspective, personally I think it's a good thing for prisoners to be given meaningful work and contribute something useful. I can appreciate that it's not deemed ideal from the point of view of many members of the public, however I think we need to consider our civic responsibilities and recognise that prisoners who find work are less likely to reoffend when they are released.

The fact that this prisoner was based in a Category D open prison shows that the Prison Service felt he was able to contribute to the community and it seems unfair to denigrate the system and deny prisoners the chance to reintegrate into society simply because of the NIMBYism demonstrated by some of the commmenters on the article.

One similar successful scheme I am aware of is Newport Wastesavers, who have also used "lifers" on their round, and who worked really well/hard. Assuming prisoners stick to the agreed terms, are electronically tagged (providing us all with a guarantee that they can't go far in any case) and are appropriately managed, surely the newport scheme is a good example for all involved parties and has a positive social impact upon the prison populace?

Onwards & upwards!


Five Steps To Green Your Christmas


It's getting towards that time of year again, I can't believe it's nearly been a year since I started this blog, time flies when you're having fun!

In the spirit of the season I thought I should put together some suggestions for how to enjoy a fantastic festive break without causing undue harm to the planet and wasting unecessary resources.

So without further ado here are my thoughts, but by all means feel free to post any suggestions you may have in the comments section:

  • Use newspaper to wrap your gifts, not only does this look interesting & different but by recycling the paper instead of buying more it helps to conserve trees.

  • If you are going to buy lights, buy LEDs. They can use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs. However please note that it is more environmentally sound to use exisiting incandescant bulbs than to buy new LED bulbs because of the energy used in their manufacture.

  • Plant a tree for xmas and decorate it instead of buying a xmas tree, a live tree can be used for years to come and helps to absorb CO2. Those without the space can consider renting a tree as an alternative.

  • Source local organic food to reduce carbon footprint and to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides used in the manufacture of your groceries.

  • Recycle your wrapping paper, it is estimated that 82 sq km of wrapping paper finds its way into bins in the UK on christmas morning.

One more thing I'd suggest everyone to do, whilst not strictly relating to christmas but certainly in the spirit of the season: Join 10:10 as a new years resolution.

Onwards & upwards!


Monday, 7 December 2009

COP15 - An Overview


You may or may not know, but the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference began in Copenhagen today, as such I thought it would be worth posting what it is about and why COP15 is so important.

The primary aim of the conference is for all participating countries to form a binding global agreement to minimise the negative man-made impacts of climate change after 2012. This agreement is to replace the Kyoto Protocol which was agreed in 1997. Such is the level of commitment to this agreement that the EU member states have even agreed to implement binding legislation based upon the outcomes of the conference.

Regardless of the debates concerning its cause, the impacts of global climate change are real and significant and the scientific community has, despite recent media coverage, largely reached a consensus; the COP15 conference will hopefully make political representatives from across the globe acknowledge the dire circumstances we face and the urgent need to act now to make a difference...

You can keep an eye on the latest developments at COP15 via their twitter feed, but also I'm sure there will be a lot of coverage in the press . Meanwhile you might want to consider joining the 10:10 campaign in order to feel part of making positive change happen towards becoming carbon neutral and more 'resource efficient'!

Onwards & upwards!


Friday, 4 December 2009

Recent Flooding Devastates Cumbria


I don't think that there's a single corner of the country that won't have seen by now the distressing plight of the people of cumbria over the last month.

It's a clear indication of the impact of climate change, in 2005 cumbria was devestated by the worst floods in living memory. This disaster was thought to be a 'one in a lifetime' event, something Cumbrians would never experience again in their living memory.

The record breaking levels of rain experienced across cumbria over the last week have certainly shattered that illusion. When 314mm of rain fell in 24 hours on 19/11, the impact was felt not just locally, but nationally and even globally.

The Cumbria Community Foundation has set up the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal, a fund to help those that have lost everything to the floods start to rebuild their lives again. If you would like to do something to help the people of Cumbria through this tragedy you can make a donation online to the fund or ring 01900 825760 to contribute.

Anything you can spare will be sure to make a significant difference to the people of Cumbria, significant numbers of whom will be living in shelters this christmas.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Story Of Cap & Trade


I strongly recommend committing ten minutes to watching this video as it lays bare the truths about the real benefits of the proposed 'cap & trade' schemes which are being discussed in Copenhagen:

We need to work towards real solutions rather than turning climate change into another opportunity for traders to make billions with no real benefits to the environment.

Onwards & upwards!