Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Enfield Advertiser: "Fears over North Circular fumes"

Link to web site

"TOXIC FUMES churned out by traffic along one of the busiest roads in the borough are slowly poisoning residents, according to a report published this week.
"The North Circular Road, that stretches from Brent Cross through to Edmonton, has been named the most polluted road in London.
"The Mayor of London’s office released figures for diesel exhaust fumes for every major road in London following pressure from anti-pollution campaign group Clean Air in London.
The report reveals that in the space of one year 12.2 tonnes of diesel fumes were pumped out per kilometre along the road."

The Independent: "A bridge across London's north/south divide: Treasury gives £12bn Crossrail 2 project funds to get started"

Link to web site

"The Government is ready to announce the first steps towards building a new railway linking north and south London as part of a multi-billion pound increase in infrastructure spending.

"Under plans to be set out by Treasury ministers, funds are expected to be committed towards carrying out initial scoping work on the £12bn Crossrail 2 project which would connect south London with the new High Speed 2 network.

"The promise of funding to start the project – which would run from Wimbledon in the South to Alexandra Palace in the North – would allow building work to begin following completion of the Crossrail 1 in 2018."

Thursday, 20 June 2013

[Reposted] RSA: "What is the Great Recovery - Redesigning the Future?"

Link to web site

"The current economic and environmental challenges of
manufacturing are becoming apparent.

"Increasing supply risk and rising costs of materials is putting pressure on businesses to change. We need to shift towards more circular systems, and good design thinking is pivitol [sic. 'pivotal'] to this transition.

"The Great Recovery is building new networks to explore the issues, investigate innovation gaps, and incubate new partnerships."

Link to web site

"The Great Recovery Report: Investigating the role of design in the circular economy"

"The Great Recovery project, launched in September 2012 by the Action and Research Centre at the RSA, aims to build a cross-disciplinary design community that is equipped to support the development of an economy based on resource-efficient principles.

"This report covers the first six months of the Great Recovery project, including the circular network, workshops, and teardown observations.

"Through this we have gained a better understanding of what action and research is required to transform the way society manages resources. This report outlines a series of key recommendations, based on the findings of the first phase of The Great Recovery programme."

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Guardian: "Trash to cash: Norway leads the way in turning waste into energy"

Link to web site

"For a country blessed with bountiful oil supplies, it may appear incongruous. But Norway is importing as much rubbish as it can get its hands on, in an effort to generate more energy by burning waste in vast incinerators.

"The Eurotrash business may sound like an unpromising enterprise, but it's one that is increasingly profitable. The UK paid to send 45,000 tonnes of household waste from Bristol and Leeds to Norway between October 2012 and April this year.

"Pål Spillum, head of waste recovery at the Climate and Pollution Agency in Norway, says:
"Waste has become a commodity. There is a big European market for this, so much so that the Norwegians are accepting rubbish from other countries to feed the incinerator."

Monday, 10 June 2013

Vancouver Observer: "Trashed: documentary shines light on global waste crisis"

Link to 'Trashed' web site

"Killer whales so contaminated that they were classified as toxic waste. A once-beautiful Lebanese beach that’s now a towering mound of garbage, bleeding contaminants into the Mediterranean Sea. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area the size of Quebec that has six times as much plastic as zooplankton, the foundation of the food chain.

"We all know that trash is a serious environmental problem, but it’s hard to grasp the full extent of the global predicament. And even if you are well-informed, it’s good to be reminded that waste is, in the eyes of the creators of Trashed, the most dire environmental crisis today. British documentary Trashed tells the story of the world’s waste disposal problems through the eyes of Jeremy Irons. The actor-turned-environmental activist takes the audience around the world, showing first some of the most gory garbage patches, before presenting the challenges of getting rid of such trash.

Incinerators: a burning problem
"Incinerators might seem like a neat way to vaporize the problem, but they’re far from a panacea. The ash from burnt garbage is even more toxic than the garbage itself, and even the most efficient incinerators can’t hold back all of it. Irons visits towns in England and France that have high cancer rates that locals blame on neighbouring landfills and incinerators. To show just how bad it can get, he visits Vietnamese children with birth defects caused by ‘Agent Orange,’ a wartime chemical weapon that contains the same dioxins belched out by incinerators. 

"Irons takes us to seemingly idyllic Iceland, where a farmer has to cull all of his livestock because the toxins from the nearby incinerator have contaminated his fields. And that’s from a modern, expensive incinerator that has repeatedly installed the latest and greatest filtration systems.
"Metro Vancouver is planning to build a new incinerator, and Zero Waste BC, the host of Monday’s screening of Trashed, is campaigning the stop it. The project is already taking bids for its construction, but the activists are optimistic because there hasn’t been a new incinerator built in North America since 1997. The project, touted as a waste-to-energy facility, will be a power source, but Zero Waste BC is concerned about its noxious emissions.

Trying to solve the problem
"The documentary isn’t all doom and gloom. Towards the end of the film Irons presents some positive steps groups and individuals are taking. Of course there’s the reduce-reuse-recycle motif, but it’s interesting to learn the extent that it can make a difference, and how recycling can even make sense economically.

"For example, the American recycling rate is only 33%, while San Francisco has managed to achieve a rate of 75% (the filmmakers state that we should be able to recycle a full 90%). If the whole country recycled 75% of their trash, 1.5 million jobs would be created to manage it, and money would be saved by making production processes more efficient.

"Irons also visited a grocery store that uses no packaging, so people bring their own Tupperware and bags. He visited a facility that turns food waste into fertilizer, thus taking composting to the next level. The nice thing about waste reduction is it’s a cause that’s easy to make a difference in.

"The film told me that 58 billion disposable cups are thrown away each year, and I cringed, thinking of the coffee cup I had thrown out that morning. So this morning I brought my own thermos to work, determined that the movie’s message would not be wasted on me."

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Daily Telegraph: "Time Reborn: From the Crisis of Physics to the Future of the Universe, by Lee Smolin, review"

Link to web site

"Quite a few feel that an overhaul of what we mean by 'time' could lead to the next great leap in physics. Among them is Lee Smolin, of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada. Smolin argues that science is blighted by what he says are unreal and inessential conceptions of time. He insists that 'time is real' and that its reformulation could be central to finding the long-sought after 'theory of everything'.

"In Time Reborn, he offers an entertaining, head-spinning and, yes, timely blend of philosophy, science, and speculation to put the Now back into physics."

352PP, Allen Lane, £18 (PLUS £1.35 P&P) 0844871 1515 (RRP £20.00, eBook £11.99)

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Barnet Press: "Hundreds turn out for vigil in support of Islamic centre destroyed by fire"

Link to web site

"HUNDREDS of people came together this evening, to hold vigil outside the Islamic community centre in Muswell Hill that was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

"Residents, politicians and anti-fascist groups turned out to show their solidarity with staff and users of the Somali Bravanese Centre in Coppetts Road, which burnt down in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

"Today council leader Richard Cornelius promised that the authority would rebuild the community centre on the Coppetts Road site."

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Dailt Telegraph: "Village rallies around couple living 'The Good Life' aboard double-decker bus"

Link to web site

"A couple who live in a double-decker bus and grow their own food have won a six-year battle to keep up their "Good Life" after the wealthy horse racing village of Lambourn rallied round and begged councillors to let them stay.

"... They won the admiration of villagers by clearing the land of weeds and brambles and gradually establishing a smallholding to support themselves, selling produce to the community and living a low carbon lifestyle in a double-decker bus, with a mini wind turbine to give them lighting and heat for their hen house incubators.

"But it's been a long, hard slog for the couple, with council planners insisting the smallholding did not meet red tape requirements."

Monday, 3 June 2013

Foodtank: "21 Inspiring Initiatives Working to Reduce Food Waste Around the World"

Link to web site

"This week we’re celebrating World Environment Day (June 5th) by highlighting innovations working to reduce the tremendous food waste and loss that occurs throughout the world.

"... The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that global food production accounts for 70 percent of fresh water use and 80 percent of deforestation. Food production is also the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and creates at least 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

"But UNEP’s recently launched Think.Eat.Save initiative is working with groups around the world to develop and coordinate projects to prevent the environmental problems that can result from food loss and food waste."