Environmental Schooling
Eleven year old Danny Gregory presented a petition to Downing Street on Saturday the 17th May asking for the Government to put environmental education at the heart of the curriculum. He collected over 340 signatures from teachers and fellow pupils at Fairfax School in Sutton Coldfield as part of the campaign to restore Environmental Education as a cross-curricular theme in both primary and secondary schools. The campaign was instigated by the National Association for Environmental Education (NAEE), a small educational charity founded 40 years ago and based at the University of Wolverhampton. Danny's signatures will join those from other parts of the country which totalled over 1,750, and included several Green Party councillors and members.

Five members of the NAEE executive, all of whom are practising or retired teachers and education advisers, accompanied Danny and his mother, an environmental science graduate of Wolverhampton University, to deliver the petition to the Prime Minister.
www.naeeuk.plus.com




Camp-aigning Gathers Pace
The Climate Caravan will make its way from Heathrow to Kingsnorth in Kent for this year's Camp for Climate Action. Last year the camp helped show the government and BAA the strength of opposition to building a third runway and the campaign has been growing ever since. Representing a unique opportunity to take action, the camp offers inspiration about everything from the disasters of biofuels to building a wind turbine. Speakers from the Green Party, including Derek Wall, will be in attendance to speak about the party's strong support for direct action against the threat of climate change. Kingsnorth power station is where the government and E.ON want to build Britain's first coal-fired power station in thirty years. Construction could start within months. But climate campers have other ideas - like leaving fossil fuels in the ground! www.climatecamp.org.uk



Military Education
A report by UK scientists has revealed the secrecy surrounding the growing influence of the military on the research agenda in British universities. "Behind Closed Doors", published by Scientists for Global Responsibility, is the result of an in-depth investigation into 16 of Britain's universities, including some of the most prestigious.

Using new data gained under the Freedom of Information Act, the report's authors estimate that the average level of military funding of UK universities is up to five times larger than government figures suggest. The report also reveals the pervasive extent of the military influence in UK universities. The authors encountered significant disquiet among some university staff about the growing presence of military and commercial influences on campus, and their effect on the research agenda. The UK is the world's third biggest spender on military research and development, approximately £2.5 billion net expenditure by the Ministry of Defence alone in 2005/6.
www.sgr.org.uk



Transition To A Greener Economy
The TUC condemned the Government for failing to make plans for a green economy in the UK. In A Green and Fair Future, a pamphlet launched at the TUC's climate change conference, the union urged the Government to work more closely with employers and unions to start implementing policies that will allow the UK to become a world leader in the new green economy. A Green and Fair Future: For a Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy says that while countries such as Germany, Denmark and Spain are creating thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in revenue by actively supporting green businesses, the UK is lagging behind. Germany has created a renewable energy sector employing almost half a million people with a turnover of 24 billion euros. In contrast, the UK employs just 7,000 in renewable energy, generating 360 million euros. www.tuc.org.uk



Nuclear Disasters
French-owned utility EDF has quietly bought up land next to Hinkley Point in a move which furthers the likelihood of a third nuclear reactor being built there. The company has also bought the rights to West Hinkley Wind Farm. A recent study by Dr Chris Busby, of Green Audit, showed a three-fold excess of infant mortality in nearby towns bordering the Severn Estuary, downwind of Hinkley Point in Gloucestershire. The nuclear regulator has warned Hinkley Point B that it faces being shut down this year if it does not fit a 'tertiary' safety system at a cost of many millions. Campaigners are calling for a public inquiry. www.stophinkley.org



Norwich Maintains ECO-Capital Position
For the second year running, Norwich has been declared the greenest town in the UK. The Norfolk city has more "green" businesses, organisations and representatives per capita than anywhere else. Norwich has one recycling centre, Green councillor, farm shop, environmental consultant, insulation installer, organic food shop, double glazing business, asbestos removal service or conservation group for every 1736 local residents, according to the local information website locallife. Eight of the top twenty towns have one or more Green councillors. Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire is the least environmentally friendly place in the country - in 324th position. The Scottish town has just one "green" business for every 19,692 residents - and, needless to say, no Green councillors. Two London boroughs - Redbridge and Haringey - also feature in the bottom five, as well as the home of Sellafield, Whitehaven & Workington in Cumbria. www.locallife.co.uk



Sonicare Wins Landfill Award
The £179 Philips Sonicare Flexcare Brush has won the 2008 Landfill Prize. A survey by Which? found that the brush performed only as well as a £4 manual toothbrush. Other winners include the Ambi Pur 3volution and Gillette's six-bladed, battery-powered, wet razor. www.enoughness.co.uk



Farmyard Bloggers
The NFU has recruited an army of farmyard bloggers to give a real picture of life on the farm. The bloggers, who are based all over the country and represent most sectors of the industry, will provide regular updates on the news and issues affecting their businesses and help give people an insight into the everyday life of a farmer. www.nfuonline.com



Bee Colony Inspections Given Higher Priority
Work on the investigation of bee colony losses by the National Bee Unit (NBU), which commenced last year, is being given higher priority. There are early signs of significant colony losses across the country, which are being investigated. The work of the Bee Inspectors has been reprioritised so that reports received of significant colony loss are actioned as a high priority. Beekeepers experiencing significant losses are urged to contact their local Bee Inspector to arrange a visit. http://beebase.csl.gov.uk



Conserving Women
The Women and Work project, managed by Lantra the Sector Skills Council for the environmental and land-based sector, is set to be extended after the success of providing part funded training to women in underrepresented industries in the environmental and land-based sector. The project is targeted at those who wish to progress in an occupation where it is widely recognised that few females have highly skilled or managerial jobs. The aim is to improve the gender balance in various male dominated industries, including environmental conservation. www.lantra.co.uk



New Findings On Ocean Nitrogen
As much as a third of the nitrogen entering the world's oceans from the atmosphere is man-made, according to new findings by an international team of scientists. The research was led by Texas A&M University and the University of East Anglia (UEA), and discovered that increasing quantities of atmospheric anthropogenic fixed nitrogen entering the open ocean could account for around one third of the ocean's external (non-recycled) nitrogen supply and up to three per cent of the annual new marine biological production. www.uea.ac.uk



Protection Of Lyme Bay Sea Life
Ministers banned damaging types of fishing in 60 square nautical miles of sea off the South West coast to protect threatened sea life. About ten per cent of Lyme Bay from West Bay to Beer Head is now permanently closed to scallop dredgers and bottom trawlers which drag nets along the seabed, to safeguard the area's rich marine life and habitats. Lyme Bay is home to world-renowned reefs as well as important species including pink sea fans, sunset cup corals and several rare sponges. www.defra.gov.uk



Batty Roadbuilding
The A38 Dobwalls bypass is being used by the Highways Agency to pilot the use of special structures to help bats find their way across the new road. Drivers using the existing A38 will have passed under one of the new "bat bridges" which consists of a metal structure with wires and mesh stretched in a V-shape. The new structures have replaced the hedges that, ecologists believe, bats would follow using echo location to find their way to and from their roosts. In addition, the side slopes of the new road have deliberately not been covered with topsoil and grass to allow wild plants to colonise the area. www.highways.gov.uk



Sharks 1, Seals 0
The National Trust has reported on the wildlife winners and losers of climate change along the UK coast. Risk assessment work on the lands they manage has revealed that rising sea levels and increased storminess are threatening some of our native coastal wildlife, while the warmer weather is bringing new species.
Basking Sharks, the Glanville Fritillary Butterfly and the Little Egret are all benefiting from the warmer weather, while the habitats of Terns, Grey Seals and the Sandhill Rustic Moth are under threat from the increasing rise in sea levels.
www.nationaltrust.org



Snap Dragons
British Waterways is launching a wildlife photography competition for people across the UK and wants to see their snaps of dragonflies and damselflies - the dragons of the water. The competition is designed to get people of all ages taking an active part in the organisation's fifth annual wildlife survey which records biodiversity on the inland waterways, and is used to help British Waterways plan the management of its canals and rivers and the protection of their rich array of wildlife. A cash prize of £100 is offered for the best photograph submitted before 30 September 2008. For the first time, British Waterways is opening the competition to children under 12, who have chance to win £50 of vouchers for their photos. www.waterscape.com/wildlifephotocompetition



City's Carbon Footprint To Be Calculated By De Montfort Experts
De Montfort University (DMU) is undertaking an ambitious scheme, which will map Leicester's carbon footprint. The £2.6 million 4M project - which stands for Measurement, Modelling, Mapping and Management - is believed to be the first of its kind and will be conducted by the University's Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD). Researchers will investigate how much carbon the city produces - and look at ways it can be cut. It is believed to be the first-time the impact of an entire city on the environment has been measured. They will do this by calculating the emissions from traffic and energy use in the home and the effect of green spaces - known as 'carbon sinks' - for 'soaking up' CO2 emissions. Experts will also compare the sources and sinks of carbon with the social and economic well being of Leicester's 270,000 strong population. Academics will look at how changing road networks, better public transport, maintaining green spaces and using low energy power and lighting can reduce the city's carbon footprint. www.dmu.ac.uk



Sharing Sheds
The LetsAllShare website has been launched to promote the practical, economical and environmental benefits that can be gained by simply sharing items with each other. The site is completely free and is available to anyone wishing to share, lend or borrow any of the items or products that people buy and use just once or very rarely. www.letsallshare.com



A Greenvoice
A new not-for-profit social web site, Greenvoice, was launched to connect people directly with the green issues that concern them. Instead of donating money to a campaign, the Greenvoice website enables users to interact with people behind the project, and connect with other supporters of the cause. With just a few clicks they can share news, help raise awareness, find out about local campaigns and events, and make a real difference to our planet. Charities and campaigners can build new online support and raise money and awareness for their green issues in a straightforward and easy way. www.greenvoice.com



Beach Blight
The amount of plastic littering Britain's beaches is at its highest level since records began, according to the Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) Beachwatch 2007 survey report. The report shows that plastic litter on UK beaches has increased by 126% since the annual survey began in 1994. Plastic debris now accounts for over 58% of all litter found on UK beaches, including plastic bags and plastic drinks bottles. Plastic-based cigarette butts are also amongst the most frequently encountered litter items. Over 170 species of marine wildlife, including seabirds, turtles and whales have been recorded mistaking marine litter for food resulting in starvation, poisoning and fatal stomach blockages. www.mcsuk.org



Conservation Crunch
Buglife have welcomed the report by Natural England into the state of the natural environment. The trust has called for the agency to be given more funding for creating and linking quality wildlife habitats together throughout the country; to strongly defend sites supporting rare species on the Government's biodiversity list and to start taking action to secure populations of the hundreds of species that are listed on the Government's biodiversity list. 239 invertebrates were listed as being of high priority for conservation priority in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in 1995, but the 2007 review of the list found that 411 species now meet the stringent criteria. "Dire disintegration of wildlife habitats combined with poor management of the remaining fragments has caused a conservation 'crunch' that has left wildlife, and particularly the little animals, in a right state." Buglife Director Matt Shardlow said. "We welcome the fact that this is now formally recognised by a Government agency and hope that the funds can now be found to address the key problems directly." www.buglife.org.uk



Citizens To Lead Sustainability Revolution
The SEE Companies scheme unveiled new website tools that provide individuals the opportunity to promote best social, environmental and ethical (SEE) practice in business. In order to inspire and empower individuals to act, SEE Companies now enables visitors to sign a pledge to "do something...for the sake of a fairer, greener future". Visitors will also be able to compose and send emails to businesses they wish to see making similar commitments. www.SEEcompanies.com



Aces High
A new joint initiative between the University of Aberdeen and the Macaulay Institute will combine the skills and experience of leading academics in natural and social sciences to position North East Scotland at the frontier of research in protecting our planet for the future. The Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES) brings together experts from different disciplines in environmental, social and economic science, with the overriding aim of tackling a diverse range of environmental issues, from the sustainable management of biodiversity to the impact of climate change. A key aim is to address 'environmental conflict science', through linking natural and social sciences to analyse and reconcile the conflicts that threaten sustainability - such as opposing views on how to manage natural predators in the environment. One of the first topics to be tackled is the controversial and emotive topic of hunting and its impact on biodiversity. www.aces.ac.uk



£5 Billion Blunder
The decision to announce the Connect Plus Consortium as the provisional preferred bidder for the £5bn M25 PFI project has attracted criticism from transport groups. The consortium consists of Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Atkins and Egis Projects. Both Balfour Beatty and Atkins are part of the Metronet consortium which went into administration in July 2007 and Balfour Beatty are currently involved in an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into price rigging amongst construction companies. Transport ministers have secretly approved over £1 billion of cost increases for road schemes in the past year alone, Campaign for Better Transport have discovered. www.bettertransport.org.uk



Water Powered
Alternative energy company Hydrofuel Technologies Ltd is showing motorists how to use pure water to reduce fuel costs, increase mileage and make their cars more eco-friendly. The company is sharing the secret of a low-cost, water-based fuel saving device, set to shake up the motor industry, with the launch of its new website. www.runyourcaronwater.co.uk



Take to the Seas
A Norwegian research team has confirmed substantial fuel and pollution reduction potential for ocean going ships fitted with Shadotec British wingsails. The British company, Shadotec plc, is working closely with Wilhelmsen Marine Consultants (WMC) and Petroleum Geo-Services AS (PGS), both based in Norway, on a joint research project investigating the potential of Shadotec wingsail propulsion for commercial ships, using the energy of the free clean ocean winds. The first initial investigation has now been completed, and the analysis estimates that a PGS vessel fitted with two Shadotec wingsails, towing a typical array of hydrophonic cable assemblies at its standard speed of 5 knots, in a typical North Sea wind, could save more than 5% of its fuel consumption, while reducing pollution emissions by the same amount. www.shadotec.com



Waste In Comfort
Bedding manufacturers, Comfy Quilts, have piloted a new ECO range that turns waste into bedding products. The pillows, quilts and mattress covers have hollowfibre fillings that are made from 100% recycled polyester fibrefill made largely from recycled drinks bottles. www.ecobedding.co.uk

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