Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Borris%2520Johnson%2520with%2520electric%2520carsThe mayor of London has proposed an ultra low emissions zone (ULEZ) in the city which will restrict any traffic passing through to being zero or low emission vehicles. This proposal was put forward in aid of the polluted air in the city centre which is said to be partially responsible for around 4,000 deaths in 2008.
The mayor hopes to implement the ULEZ in 2020 and hopes that it will stimulate demand for low emission vehicles which will help contribute to lowering the country's CO2 emissions as a whole, benefiting both the environment and our health. The mayor is also hoping that the implementation of the ULEZ will encourage use of public transport systems such as busses which are being made greener through the use of hydrogen powered engines to reduce their emissions.
A public consultation has been taking place as of yesterday concerning the ULEZ and will continue through to January of next year. To stay updated on the ULEZ, visit the TfL website and also stay tuned to this website!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Members of the EU met yesterday at a summit in Brussels to discuss a proposed energy and climate plan for 2030 including a binding goal of cutting Europe’s carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels. Prime Minister David Cameron believes climate change is “one of the most serious threats facing our world” and the UK has been praised by other leaders including Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb for taking “a much stronger role than it used to” towards solving the EU’s energy and environmental issues.
The deal also proposes a 30% improvement in energy efficiency and a 27% share of Europe’s power coming from renewables by 2030. 
However, trouble is expected after Poland has stated that it will consider vetoing the goal due to its reliance on coal for 90% of its electricity, stating that it expects coal to still be its primary energy source by 2050. Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz warned that the EU’s planned goal would raise energy bills by 120% and as such intends to oppose such “drastic” measures, asking other EU members to understand that Poland is less developed than many of the wealthier countries in favour of the deal. Unfortunately it is expected by British officials that a compromise may be necessary to gain Poland’s support towards the plan.
Additionally, various companies including Shell as well as the European Trade Union Confederation fear that the goals are too “unambitious”, claiming that the proposed 40% cut is a wasted opportunity to create potentially millions of new jobs in the renewable energy sector. This comes from a recent analysis by the ETUC suggesting that further binding goals could drastically improve employment rates around Europe. The Union proposes a binding goal of improving energy efficiency by 40% as opposed to 30% and a target of 30% of Europe’s power coming from renewables rather than 27%.
Professor Jim Skea, vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, disagrees with the EU-proposed goals, believing that the 40% cut is “too little too late” to make a difference towards global carbon emissions. He claims that “many people (have not) grasped just how huge this task is” and that cutting emissions by 40% is not the best solution “if we are really serious about our long-term targets.”
Personally I remain optimistic about the outcome of this summit. You should see another post regarding the final verdict of the European Union after the summit is over. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014


In the recycling division we’ve had a rough start. We didn't really know where to begin and what to do. All we knew was that we had to improve aluminium recycling as well as recycling in general. Creative and innovative ideas can be hard to come by especially when trying to motivate teens to recycle and dispose of waste properly - lets face it: not the most fun or cool thing in the world.

Initially we thought of designing a bin that would automatically sort out metals from nonmetals. However upon going over the plans, we saw many flaws. Then we thought that instead of rushing everyone into a recycling mania (which they are all likely to reject) we’d introduce the idea of recycling gently and slowly to them. First off we’d buy some large recycling bins of the colours of each house and we would put appealing posters next to them explaining what waste is allowed to go in the bins. We then also thought that we could start updating the website's “waste” section and make some displays around the school to inform others how bad failing to recycle is and how much recycling can benefit us: For instance, if the whole world recycled their cans for a year the whole world would save enough power for six years.

One of our more fun ideas is a basketball bin. We’d have a basketball hoop and net for people to throw their cans into: if they get it in then they look cool in front of their friends, if not then they'd still be recycling as it would still fall into the bin. Another of our ideas includes the Duke of Edinburgh award. Recently some students in the DofE have approached the Eco Group and asked if there were any opportunities in volunteering for us and we thought that once a week they could give up their lunchtimes and litter pick or stand by the bins and possibly monitor what people put in there.

Overall, we've put a lot of thought into what do do regarding the school's abysmal recycling, particularly over the last few weeks. We aim to push forward with our ideas and hopefully leave a good mark on the school after we leave at the end of Year 11.

Yesterday, a small group of students from the eco group stayed behind after school to get their hands dirty in some crowbar action! We were recently given some unneeded wooden pallets by the school which  we dismantled after school yesterday in order to build a compost bin from the recycled materials. 
We've been thinking about composting for a very long time, however we thought that this would be a great opportunity to make one as, not only are we finally building one, we are also building it completely from recycled materials! 
We hope to have finished building the compost bin shortly after the half term (next week) and we will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of its construction and practicality (once it's built). 
Here are some pictures from yesterday:

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cardiff%20RecyclingAn interesting case study on the idea of recycling in UK cities has arisen. Cardiff council may be fined over £800,000 after failing to meet its goals of increasing the percentage of recycled waste to 52% by 2013/14. The city only reached a rate of 50% during this period. Further fines are expected to rise to up to £21 million if the city has not increased recycling to rates to 70%, cut landfill levels to 5% and reduced the level of energy from waste to 30% by 2025. Despite recycling 85000 tonnes of rubbish per year, the council must find ways to recycle an extra 32000 tonnes in the future to avoid hefty fines.

The Cardiff Waste Management Strategy 2011-2015 was introduced in 2011 and resulted in a drastic change to the city’s waste management, introducing more frequent rubbish collection and various methods of collection. Despite reaching its target in the 2012/13 period, the city recently failed to reach its next target. A report considered by the Environmental Scrutiny Committee on the 7th of October outlines the fines the city will face as a result of these errors, which, if Cardiff council fails to rectify, could equate to over £21 million for “doing nothing.”

The author of the report, county clerk Marie Rosenthal, writes that over half of what is thrown away in the city could be easily recycled. She went on to say that domestic waste represents the majority of waste processed by the council and that the city should focus on improving recycling in this area. Unfortunately, the council believes the only way to improve domestic recycling rates is to decrease the frequency of waste collections and introduce unpopular recycling methods such as kerbside sorting, where different types of materials are sorted by residents. It seems Cardiff Council is faced with a difficult decision regarding the future of waste processing in their city.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Each year, the UK alone sends 227,000 miles wrapping paper to landfill, and that’s just at Christmas. This is the equivalent of flying from London to Los Angeles forty-two times! There must be an alternative to paper? Surely? 
Here it is: Lush. The ‘Fresh, Hand-Made Cosmetics’ company. The people who make using seaweed shower jelly and sandalwood perfume look as cool as Disney’s Frozen (VERY cool), and now, the pioneers behind the reusable revolution – the creators of Greenspun.
Greenspun, in its simplest form, is the transformation of two 250ml plastic bottles into a large square of patterned, recycled fabric in a variety of different styles. To create Greenspun, the company have rescued over one million plastic bottles from landfill and turned them into ‘Knot-Wraps’, the final product of Greenspun.
To advocate Greenspun, famous designer, Vivienne Westwood has got on board creating the ‘Climate Revolution’ wrap. Could this be the future of wrapping?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

In a world where action against environmental issues is urgently required, the younger generation bring with them the most potential in preventing environmental issues (i.e: global warming, climate change) from occurring or getting dangerously worse as they - we - are the generation who will be most effected by the issues at hand. We are the next generation of leaders, we are the next generation of decision makers , we are the next generation. We are the people who will be effected by environmental issues unless we make change and prevent them. We could be the generation to be looked back on as 'the generation that turned things around,' 'the generation that made change,' 'the generation that saved the world. Literally.'
How do we make this change when so many of us are uneducated in the field of these environmental issues? We take advantage of these awesome campaigns such as Learning Their Place, an Indiegogo project which aims to educate the younger generation of the problems we face regarding the environment today, and how these problems can be prevented by us to make a better future possible. It aims to teach the younger generation to appreciate and love nature to the extent that we come to realise that we need to preserve and look after the environment so our children can grow up in a better, greener world and come to appreciate, as we do today, the beauty that is nature.
As well as educating us on the subject of the environment, it also gives us a place in society where we can voice our opinions to how adults should be treating the world we are due to inherit and what we think adults should be doing to help prevent environmental issues from escalating to a degree that they can pose a threat toward us.
Please help this amazing project on Indiegogo (by clicking here) and be proud to say that you contributed toward helping the next generation Learn Their Place.