Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Enfield Independent: "North London Waste Authority hits back against MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, and Pinkham Way Alliance"

Link to web site

"A waste disposal authority has hit back after an MP supported a petition to stop a waste plant campaigners say could cost the taxpayer £3billion.

"Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone encouraged residents to sign the Pinkham Way Alliance’s current petition to halt the contract due to be awarded by the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).

"Campaigners claim the agreement, which will affect seven north London boroughs including Haringey and Enfield, is based on inaccurate data and will mean taxpayers will be paying for it for decades to come."

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Evening Standard: "Crossrail 2 [to Alexandra Palace] could be worth £49bn to London, says Assembly report"

Link to web site

"The Crossrail 2 rail project linking north and south London could boost the capital’s economy by as much as £49 billion, it was claimed today.

"Shorter journey times and more reliable services would help stimulate growth and attract new businesses. The London Assembly report said the £12 billion scheme could also help tackle chronic over-crowding on public transport.

"The capital’s rapid population growth, which is forecast to approach 10 million by 2031, is likely to put the network under increasing strain so new routes are desperately needed.

"... Boris Johnson has put the Crossrail 2 project — which would run from Wimbledon in the south to Alexandra Palace in the north — at the heart of his vision for the future of the capital."

Friday, 26 July 2013

LetsRecycle: "Councils warn Defra over 2020 landfill targets"

Link to web site

"The UK is in danger of missing 2020 landfill targets as councils are collecting more waste, recycling rates are flattening, and residual waste levels are on the rise, local authority waste department heads have warned.

In a letter sent to Defra minister Owen Paterson, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) claims that the government’s waste and recycling data is ‘out of date’ and urgently needs reviewing if the country is to meet 2020 Landfill Directive targets."

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

BBC: "Arctic methane 'time bomb' could have huge economic costs"

Link to web site

"Scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world.

"The researchers estimate that the climate effects of the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global economy in 2012.

"... In this study, the researchers have attempted to put an economic price on the climate damage that these emissions of methane could cause. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even though it lasts less than a decade in the atmosphere."

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Sun 21 July: Finchley Society Alexandra Palace Walk

"Final reminder for this Sunday's walk - meet outside East Finchley tube station at 11-45am for a 12 noon start. I have attached a poster. Good news on the weather front for walkers - Saturday and Sunday will be more cloudy than during this week and the max temperature will be down from 30 to 24 degrees cent. Nevertheless it's still hot and you are recommended to bring at least 500ml of drinking water. 

"We will stop for lunch along the disused railway line, so a packed lunch is also recommended BUT if you can't manage a packed lunch, we will be just 50 metres from The Royal Oak (I don't know what they serve for lunch). Strictly 30 minutes for lunch though.

"We will walk in shade as far as possible and there are a lot of trees along our route. For anyone who gets tired, we will get/direct you to a 102 bus stop, there are many drop out points along the way. At Muswell Hill Broadway there are many buses. There are toilets at Cherry Tree Wood (near the start), The Clissold Arms(Fortis Green), The Royal Oak, The Grove Cafe and Ally Pally.

"The distance from start to end is 3.9 miles. If anyone would like a map or further information please RING me on 0208 346 5503, I won't be carrying surplus papers unless I can offload them before we start walking. One final point: Harriet Copperman will be coming along at 11-50 to give us a short talk about the work of The N2 Gardeners and show us the station garden. Hope to see you Sunday,"

Mike Gee

Daily Telegraph: "Floating 'plastispheres' may provide answer to disposing of plastic in landfill"

Link to web site

"A study of the fragments of plastic found floating in the oceans has revealed more than 1,000 different types of bacteria living on rubbish the size of a pinhead.

"Many of the bacteria are thought to be new species previously unknown to science.

"Scientists who conducted the study say the tiny pellets of plastic, which form as plastic bottles, bags and other debris break down, are creating tiny floating habitats they have named “plastispheres”.

"The researchers also found evidence that the bacteria may even be feeding off the plastic itself, raising hopes that the microbes can be harnessed to break down plastics at landfill sites."

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Muswell Hill Sustainability Group: "No time for pessimism"

MHSG founder member Nancy Hocking writes:

"Professor Michael Jacobs brought good news to Muswell Hill Methodist Hall. The former Special Adviser to Gordon Brown, both at the Treasury and at No 10 and visiting Professor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science spoke to some 40 members of the Muswell Hill Sustainability Group on the 23rd of May.

"But we had to hear some bad news first. Bad news such as

... To limit global warming to 2C, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must remain below 450 parts per million. We are currently at 400 and rising. The global reserves of oil, coal and gas, should we use them, are five times the amount that would take us over the 2 degree limit. Bear in mind that CO2 is accumulative in the atmosphere, so in order to prevent a dangerous rise we have to leave three quarters of the fossil fuels reserves just where they are; in the ground. How likely is that without a coherent financial investment in green technology world wide?

"Bad news such as

... the oil companies are eyeing up the Arctic for new oil

"Oh, and here is choice bit of bad news

... Fracking in the USA has provided a source of oil to substitute for much more polluting coal and they have reduced their CO2 emissions by 20% in the last three years. However with the reduction of demand for coal its price has gone way down, and American coal is now being exported, big time, to Europe."

Enough of the bad news

"Professor Jacobs tells us it has been known for 150 years that CO2 causes global warming. Once adjustments for natural variables are made it becomes obvious, despite what the Daily Telegraph and Lord Lawson would have us think, that what we are seeing now is manmade global warming. But the professor is an optimist. Or as a well-informed pragmatist, he is what might pass for an optimist in the light of the massive challenge climate change poses.

"I admit that I was expecting to leave his talk confirmed in the prospect of doom and gloom. Instead, I came away with a real sense of having a part to play in the changes we must make to turn the tide of CO2 emissions. But can we really hope to be in a position where we can turn our backs on precious oil in the ground? As Professor Jacobs says,
"The stone age did not end because we ran out of stone. We have the means and certainly we have the reason for making the changes."

"The good news…. Investment in renewables is now priority in many countries. Germany is forging ahead with decarbonisation schemes and will reduce emissions by 40% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 without use of nuclear power – using renewables and energy efficiency alone. Fully 70% of all European power investment is in renewables. Meanwhile, China has become the world’s largest producer of both wind and solar power.

"What is needed is interconnected grid systems that can ensure varying energy supply from renewables can flow from where it is generated to where it is needed, adjusting demand more carefully to supply. Gas, the least polluting of fossil fuels, can as long as it is situated where carbon capture can apply, provide the base-load fuel.

"For me, the most interesting aspect of Professor Jacob’s talk, the part that gave hope, was his discussion of the concept of Green Growth. The argument used to be presented in terms of a choice – Green or Growth. What both Michael Jacobs and Paul Ekins (who spoke to MHSG last Christmas) have emphasised is that without green policies, we will have less growth, not more.

"What we called sustainable development has morphed into the Green Economy or Green Growth and is now prominent in discussion in major international institutions. The OECD, the World Bank, UNEP and the Global Green Growth Institute have jointly established the Green Growth Knowledge Programme. A platform for research and knowledge of green economic issues.

"Imagine, not long ago, say 30-40 years, those who spoke and campaigned for sustainable practices and environmentally sensitive policies in government were thought of as nutters. Look what we have achieved and in the face of huge self-interest and establishment politics! Given the leviathan we faced and continue to face we have worked the near miracle of international acceptance of our goals and aims.

"Grass root organisations do have impact. Persistently pestering the political establishment and spreading the word to neighbours and local groups and keeping ourselves informed is our job. MHSG has done a good job of it these last five years, don’t you think? Pat on the back….now back to the grindstone."

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Salon: "The age of revolution: 1989-2013, and counting"

"From the Berlin Wall to Cairo, we live in an era of anti-authoritarian revolution that may transform the world"

Link to web site

"Whatever you make of the extraordinary turn of events in Egypt over the past week, it makes clear how much and how rapidly the world is changing. If you were ever worried you didn’t live in interesting times, you can quit worrying now.

"Only the world’s most committed nihilist could approve of all those movements, which wouldn’t even all agree that their aim was democracy, or at least not the version of it practiced in the U.S. and other major Western nations. They have nothing in common except that shared mistrust of imperial power, and a thoroughgoing rejection of the neo-liberal capitalist consensus that has governed the world for the past 24 years.

"That’s exactly where the immense opportunity and danger of this revolutionary age lies.

"Watching the people of a major nation take to the streets and overthrow a hated government for the second time in three years suggests that 'another world is possible',” as the activist slogan holds, but also that we have no idea what it will look like, or what degree of chaos might be involved in getting there.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tues 9 July: "Create Solutions - Design Waste out of Our Bins!"

Link to web site

"A creative, constructive workshop to redesign the products voted as the things that most drive us nuts in the People's Design Lab Awards.

"No design expertise needed - you just need to care about waste.

"The workshop will bring together people who care with designers, people who know the ins and outs of impacts and product manufacturers. We'll be unpicking the reasons behind current designs and giving them a 'zero waste' makeover." 

"Let’s design waste out of our bins! Join us at The People’s Design Lab’s first workshop on 9th July at Cranfield University, where we’ll be bringing together people who understand design and us folk who just care about waste. Meet Karen Cannard of The Rubbish Diet and Ugo Vallauri of Restart as we create new solutions!

"Over 130 products that you can’t recycle, re-use or repair were nominated for a People’s Design Lab Award. 1000 votes later and we have our Award Winners. Now the real fun starts as we redesign inkjet printers, two types of packaging and electronic chargers." 

Sun 21 July: A Big Ally Pally Do

"Join us to celebrate 150 years of the extraordinary."

"150 years ago, Alexandra Park was opened by the renowned landscape architect Alexander McKenzie, as a pioneering Victorian leisure park and centre for education and entertainment. To mark this historic occasion, Ally Pally will celebrate 150 years of the extraordinary, bringing the park to life with entertainment and activities in true McKenzian style!

"This community and family-focused event will be free to attend, and will celebrate all the amazing things that have taken place in this beautiful 196 acres of landscaped parkland over the past 150 years.

"The celebration will feature a bandstand featuring local community groups and entertainers, a south terrace street-party, a farmers’ market, an activity zone including pitch-and-putt workshops, cricket, community games and archery, a funfair with Victorian street performers and fairground rides, park walks, tree-climbing, face-painting, pedalo races and a soapbox showcase, just to name a few."

Barnet Times

Monday, 1 July 2013

Thu 25 July: "Do the Math(s) - The Movie"

"It's on Thursday 25 July, at the Gallery Cinema, in St Margaret's Chapel, 21 Old Ford Road (just by Bethnal Green tube), at 6.30pm.

"It's about 45 minutes long, followed by a panel discussion with Danielle Paffard from Move Your Money (and possibly someone from FOE).

"Then it's a drink afterwards at the excellent Approach Inn..."

Incident at Pinkham Way Recycling Centre?

Link to Evening Standard

"Ten firefighters have been injured tackling a blaze involving 100,000 tonnes of plastic recycling material in the West Midlands.

"The fire service said 200 firefighters were at the scene in Smethwick.

"A plume of smoke was today rising 6,000ft into the air from the fire at the Jayplas depot in Dartmouth Road."