Archive for February, 2011

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust offers conservation training courses

February 28th, 2011 by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

(click on cover to go to Training programme prospectus download page)

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey is offering a variety of courses between April and December 2011.

Durrell has been running courses in good conservation practice since 1979, when Gerald Durrell created what he called “a mini-university”. We have trained more than 2700 from 128 countries in the management of endangered species and habitat recovery.

Our International Training Centre is based at the headquarters of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in Jersey. Used in conjunction with the resources of our wildlife park, we offer a wide variety of training courses aimed at professionals and enthusiastic amateurs that inspire and promote conservation action.

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Alan Bates of Guernsey Electricity talks about a strategy of low carbon generation, affordability and energy security

February 28th, 2011 by Jon Taylor

Tell us about your background and what you will bring to the Guernsey Electricity company over the next few years.

My career began as an engineering officer with P&O Cruises, before coming ashore into the energy sector.  I have moved on from engineering into business management where the skills and experience gained within these different organisations allow me to successfully lead strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining Guernsey Electricity, I was Managing Director of Manx Gas in the Isle of Man and was responsible for significant change, not just for the company but for the island, as we converted 60% of the of the company’s customers from LPG to natural gas.

I feel my experience stands me in good stead to manage Guernsey Electricity through a complex regulatory environment and in a time when the island’s energy policy is becoming ever more important.

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A Report from the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission “Making Sustainable Lives Easier: A Priority for Governments, Business and Society”

February 24th, 2011 by Claire Monkhouse

(click on the cover to go the Sustainable Development Commission "Make Sustainable Lives Easier" report download webpage)

The report, “Making Sustainable Lives Easier: A Priority for Governments, Business and Society,” finds that government initiatives to help people live more sustainably lack ambition and direction, and are too timid given the scale and urgency of the challenge.

Although increasing numbers of people try to `do the right thing’, we are still a long way from living sustainably; and those who do make an effort often find themselves swimming against the tide of society’s norms.

The report concludes that it is difficult to make sustainable choices easily when we live in poorly insulated homes; when public and active travel is difficult and expensive, and when we are surrounded by unhealthy food and relentless signals to consume.

The Sustainable Development Commission is calling for the UK and Devolved Governments to develop ambitious action plans with business and `big society’ organisations to make it easier for people to live more sustainable lives.

Sustainable Development Commission Chief Executive Andrew Lee said “if the whole world consumed as we do in the UK, we would need three planets to sustain everyone. The consequences for people and the planet from this excessive and unequal resource use make the goal of sustainable lives not a “nice to have” some day, but an essential priority for governments right now.’

The report stresses the need for the governments to provide the right incentives and infrastructure to make sustainable choices the easy choices. It concludes that the UK Coalition Government’s favoured approach – nudge – with a reliance on personal choice and responsibility will not be sufficient without these wider structural changes, including regulation, economic incentives and product standards as well as investment in infrastructure. The report also finds that mixed messages from inconsistent or contradictory policy decisions – such as former decisions to build a third runway at Heathrow and reduce VAT – create confusion and undermine public buy-in.

The SDC proposes a new approach to mainstreaming sustainability in which government, business communities and civil society organisations work in partnership to make sustainable choices the norm. Priority recommendations include:

  • A clear positive vision for sustainable lives that engages all players and is clear about the priorities for action to achieve the goal of sustainable lives.
  • Making it easy by providing a framework that uses the full spectrum of levers and incentives to `enable’ us to do the `right thing’ more easily.
  • Working with others through better collaboration and better partnerships between national and local governments, civil society organisations, businesses, communities and people themselves. They all play a vital role in the transition to sustainable lives.
  • Building capabilities and using evidence to create better understanding of what works in practice and using this knowledge in policy making.

Building energy efficiency should be a priority for Guernsey

February 24th, 2011 by Richard Lord

The red, orange and yellow colours in this thermal image of a home indicate poor thermal insulation leading to unnecessary heat loss and more expensive energy bills (click image to expand - image courtesy of HeatSeekers)

In relative terms oil is cheap.  A litre of petrol, which contains about 8000 Calories, still costs less than a cup of coffee at a restaurant or in many cases a litre of bottled water.  But the cost of oil will rise and take a bigger bite out of our disposable income.

Since 1859 humanity has used about one trillion barrels of oil.  There’s still plenty of oil left in the ground but three issues influence its future use.

First, the easy oil fields have been discovered and exploited.  Oil from newly discovered fields is either harder to extract or in smaller fields than previous discoveries.   Many of these discoveries are in hostile environments – the deep sea and remote regions of the earth with harsh climates – so the cost of extraction is higher.

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Guernsey Conservation Volunteers remove marine borne litter from the Lihou Island shore

February 23rd, 2011 by Guernsey Conservation Volunteers

Guernsey Conservation Volunteers search the Lihou Island sea shore to remove litter that has washed up (click image to expand)

The Guernsey Conservation Volunteers cleared marine borne and local litter off the Lihou Island shore on Saturday 19 February 2011.

The nine Guernsey Conservation Volunteers with their haul of litter collected from the Lihou Island sea shore on 19 February 2011 (click image to expand)

The nine volunteers filled four large black bin bags.

Two of the bin bags were filled with plastic bottles that had washed ashore.

Two sacks of plastic bottles were collected from the Lihou shore. (click image to expand)

The GCV volunteers found also a crab pot, a gas cylinder, an interior door panel from a car, a plastic shoe, and trawl netting.

Single shoes are a regular find on Guernsey beach cleans along with netting and nylon twine from the fishing industry (click image to expand)

School groups frequently stay in Lihou House and collect litter as part of their stay on the island, which could explain why the GCV found less litter on the Lihou shore than in previous years.

St. Andrew Foral Guernsey team plant hedge along country lane with financial assistance from Argent Funeral Services and with support from The Guernsey Society of the Men of the Trees

February 22nd, 2011 by Floral Guernsey St Andrew

The St. Andrew’s Floral Guernsey team known as “the Bloomers” with the assistance of Andrew McCutcheon, Secretary of The Guernsey Society of the Men of the Trees, planted a hedge along a St. Andrew lane on 15 February 2011.

A St. Andrew lane before the whips are planted (click image to expand)

The whips were purchased with money donated to Floral Guernsey St. Andrew by Argent Funeral Services.

whips for the hedge planting paid for by Argent Funeral Services (click image to expand)

Owners Gary and Jai Vaudin wished to invest in the biodiversity of the Parish.

Members of the St. Andrew Parish Floral Guernsey team (click image to expand)

Floral Guernsey St. Andrew will receive more whips in early to mid-March for a Royal Horticultural Society and Woodland Trust tree planting in the Parish.

Digging holes for the whips (click image to expand)

Planting underway (click image to expand)

A St. Andrew parish country lane with a border of recently planted whips (click image to expand)

Five steps towards authentic sustainability communications

February 22nd, 2011 by Ed Gillespie

Ed Gillespie, Co-founder of Futerra Sustainability Communications, wrote this piece for The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Blog.


In a world of mind-boggling complexity, convoluted inter-dependencies and interconnectedness it is often hard to know where to begin on developing communications for your business around sustainability.

Below I’ve outlined the key steps of a journey that you can follow to develop campaigns with both credibility and authenticity.

Understand your ‘Why?’

It is amazing how easily businesses lose sight of their raison d’etre, their purpose. All too often they become utterly distracted by their ‘what’ – the product or service they provide. Perhaps one of the first fundamental questions we must ask ourselves at the start of any communications process is ‘what is our why?’. This may sound like management-speak gobbleydegook, but it’s actually your ‘why’ that people and ultimately customers are interested in, so it’s vital that you understand it yourself in order to share it effectively and more widely. There’s a great TED talk on The Golden Circles of why, how and what by Simon Sinek.

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Two percent of global GDP can trigger greener, smarter growth while fighting poverty

February 21st, 2011 by United Nations Environment Programme

A United Nations Environment Programme report “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” states that investing two percent of global GDP into ten key sectors can kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy.

The sum, currently amounting to an average of around $1.3 trillion a year and backed by forward-looking national and international policies, would grow the global economy at around the same rate if not higher than those forecast, under current economic models.

But without rising risks, shocks, scarcities and crises increasingly inherent in the existing, resource-depleting, high carbon ‘brown’ economy, says the study.

As such, it comprehensively challenges the myth of a trade-off between environmental investments and economic growth and instead points to a current “gross mis-allocation of capital”.

The report sees a Green Economy as not only relevant to more developed economies but as a key catalyst for growth and poverty eradication in developing ones too, where in some cases close to 90 per cent of the GDP of the poor is linked to nature or natural capital such as forests and freshwaters. Continue reading

Wasteful use of phosphorus in agriculture is a key concern in UNEP Year Book 2011

February 21st, 2011 by United Nations Environment Programme

(click book cover to go to download page)

The UNEP Year Book 2011 highlights the use of phosphorus, demand for which has rocketed during the 20th century, in part because of the heated debate over whether or not finite reserves of phosphate rock will soon run out.

Massive amounts of phosphorus, a valuable fertilizer needed to feed a growing global population, are being lost to the oceans as result of inefficiencies in farming and a failure to recycle wastewater.

Phosphorus pollution, along with other uncontrolled discharges, such as nitrogen and sewage, are linked with a rise in algal blooms which in turn harm water quality, poison fish stocks and undermine coastal tourism.

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Marine plastic pollution is a main emerging issue in the 2011 UNEP Year Book

February 21st, 2011 by United Nations Environment Programme

One of the two main emerging issues highlighted in the Year Book 2011 is a need for more intensified research on the impact of plastics entering the oceans.

There is growing concern over the impact of billions of pieces of plastic, both large and small, on the health of the global marine environment.

New research suggests that the plastic broken down in the oceans into small fragments —alongside pellets discharged by industry—may absorb a range of toxic chemicals linked to cancer and impacts the reproductive processes of humans and wildlife.

Scientists are becoming concerned not only about the direct damage to wildlife, but the potential toxicity of some kinds of materials called microplastics. Continue reading