Archive for January, 2011

Traffic noise increases the risk of having a stroke

January 28th, 2011 by European Society of Cardiology

Exposure to noise from road traffic can increase the risk of stroke, particularly in those aged 65 years and over, according to a study published online on Wednesday 26 January 2011 in the European Heart Journal.

The study “Road traffic noise and stroke: a prospective cohort study” which is the first to investigate the links between road traffic noise and the risk of stroke, found that for every ten decibels more noise the risk of having a stroke increased by 14% among the 51,485 study participants.

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The Guernsey Society of The Men of The Trees celebrate the International Year of Forests 2011

January 27th, 2011 by Richard Lord

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests.

Monterey pine trees catch the setting sun at Le Guet on 11 October 2008 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Richard Loyd, Chairman of The Guernsey Society of the Men of the Trees, was interviewed by BBC Guernsey at Le Guet about this United Nations declaration.

(click on logo to go to International Year of Forests 2011 website)

Lessons on waste in a tub at the PSD public waste strategy consultation workshop

January 27th, 2011 by Richard Lord

Much of what we throw away isn’t really ‘waste’ unless we mix it together and make it difficult and expensive to separate.

I received a lesson in waste management when I made a cup of tea early on at the second workshop of the States of Guernsey Public Services Department waste strategy consultation at the St. Sampson High school.

The lesson was found in a small plastic tub and it was about the three R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

This is waste - it needn't be. A lesson in following the Waste Hierarchy (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The plastic tub was by the coffee and hot water dispenser and by a box containing perhaps two hundred or more plastic spoons.

In examining the contents of this tub of ‘waste’ I realised that none of its contents had to be thrown away.

The tea bags can be composted to enrich soil.  The empty paper tubes that had contained sugar can be composted or recycled as paper.

And one plastic spoon could be used by all the people wishing to stir their cups.  If a person worried about the taint of coffee in tea, two plastic spoons could be used but there was no need to have available a box of 200 or more plastic spoons even if they could be recycled in Guernsey.

‘Waste’ is an attitude.  Awareness of one’s use of resources reduces waste.  Nothing from this plastic tub had to go to waste.  It may have been sorted and the waste separated into resources but why mix the contents in the first place.

David Beckham more likely than Leonardo DiCaprio to make us act on climate change

January 26th, 2011 by Climate Week

According to new research released to mark the launch of the Climate Week Awards, David Beckham is more likely to inspire us to save the planet than green god Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Climate Week Awards will celebrate inspiring achievements by the greenest businesses, communities and people in the UK.

(click on logo to go to Climate Week website)

Climate Week commissioned Millward Brown to identify which celebrities have most influence in encouraging the public to go green. Bill Gates, Boris Johnson and David Beckham emerged as top influencers on the environment – amongst the most likely to inspire us to become greener. All figured in the top five out of a list of 20, beaten only by Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s most committed eco-hero, Leonardo DiCaprio, languished in 14th place.

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Climate Refugees

January 25th, 2011 by Richard Lord

Climate Refugees is a multi-awarding winning non-partisan documentary that shows the human face of climate change.

Greenland ice sheet melted at record rate in 2010

January 25th, 2011 by The City College of New York

New research shows that 2010 set new records for the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in coming decades.

“This past melt season was exceptional, with melting in some areas stretching up to 50 days longer than average,” said Dr. Marco Tedesco, director of the Cryospheric Processes Laboratory at The City College of New York (CCNY – CUNY), who is leading a project studying variables that affect ice sheet melting.

“Melting in 2010 started exceptionally early at the end of April and ended quite late in mid- September.”

The study, with different aspects sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the National Science Foundation and NASA, examined surface temperature anomalies over the Greenland ice sheet surface, as well as estimates of surface melting from satellite data, ground observations and models.

In an article, “The role of albedo and accumulation in the 2010 melting record in Greenland” published in “Environmental Research Letters,” Professor Tedesco and co-authors note that in 2010, summer temperatures up to 3C above the average were combined with reduced snowfall.

The capital of Greenland, Nuuk, had the warmest spring and summer since records began in 1873.

Bare ice was exposed earlier than the average and longer than previous years, contributing to the extreme record.

“Bare ice is much darker than snow and absorbs more solar radiation,” said Professor Tedesco. “Other ice melting feedback loops that we are examining include the impact of lakes on the glacial surface, of dust and soot deposited over the ice sheet and how surface meltwater affects the flow of the ice toward the ocean.”

WWF climate specialist Dr. Martin Sommerkorn said “Sea level rise is expected to top 1 metre by 2100, largely due to melting from ice sheets. And it will not stop there – the longer we take to limit greenhouse gas production, the more melting and water level rise will continue.”

Global agreements like REDD ignore primary causes of forest destruction

January 25th, 2011 by International Union of Forest Research Organizations

(click on International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) logo to go to their website)

A study on “Embracing Complexity: Meeting the Challenges of International Forest Governance“, issued on 24 January 2011 by some of the world’s top experts on forest governance finds fault with a spate of international accords, and helps explain their failure to stop rampant destruction of the world’s most vulnerable forests.

The report suggests that global efforts have too often ignored local needs, while failing to address the most fundamental challenge to global forest management—that deforestation usually is caused by economic pressures imposed from outside the forests.

“Our findings suggest that disregarding the impact on forests of sectors such as agriculture and energy will doom any new international efforts whose goal is to conserve forests and slow climate change,” said Jeremy Rayner, a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan Graduate School of Public Policy and chair of the panel of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) that produced the new assessment. “With this report in hand, we can say with greater certainty that the success of current efforts to protect forests through a global climate change agreement will depend in part on whether negotiators integrate these findings into their policy proposals.”

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Friends of the Earth comment on Foresight report on Global Food and Farming Futures

January 24th, 2011 by Friends of the Earth

Commenting on The Foresight project Global Food and Farming Futures report, Friends of the Earth‘s Food Campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said “this report shines a spotlight on our mounting food and farming crisis that can only be tackled with far-reaching reforms of the world’s food system.

“But with millions already starving in a world of plenty, we need to look at what we’re doing with the food we produce, not just how we produce it.”

“The food system is forcing poor farmers to grow crops for export – to feed factory farms and make biofuels in rich countries – instead of feeding hungry local people.”

“The report also pins its hope on GM technology when crop science has moved on.  Other technologies have delivered drought-resistant plants while GM crops have proved to be a disaster for the environment and farmers.

“Feeding the world without trashing it means supporting small farmers to feed local communities, wasting less and rethinking our diets.”

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The Foresight project Global Food and Farming Futures report explores the increasing pressures on the global food system between now and 2050.

States of Guernsey Home Department distributes Emergency Planning leaflet

January 24th, 2011 by States of Guernsey Home Department

(click on the image to download the Emergency planning leaflet from the States of Guernsey Home Department)

The States of Guernsey Home Department is distributing a credit card-size leaflet to every Guernsey postal address as part of the Home Department’s drive to raise awareness about emergency planning and preparedness in the island.

The leaflet sets out information on what the highest risks facing the island are, what the individual can do to mitigate these risks or help themselves if a major incident/emergency occurs which effects them.

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The UK Government’s Foresight project ‘Global Food and Farming Futures’ explores how a future global population of 9 billion people can be fed healthily and sustainably

January 24th, 2011 by Richard Lord

(click on report cover to go to Foresight page to download final report)

The Foresight project ‘Global Food and Farming Futures’ explores the increasing pressures on the global food system between now and 2050.

The Report published on 24 January 2011 highlights the decisions that policy makers need to take today, and in the years ahead, to ensure that a global population rising to nine billion or more can be fed sustainably and equitably.

The Foresight report makes a compelling case for urgent action to redesign the global food system to meet the challenge of feeding the world over the next 40 years.