Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

The race to save coffee

November 8, 2017

Coffee can only adapt by moving higher up the mountain, and in doing so moves into an ever more inaccessible, fragile and hostile environment.

The Devil’s Cup documents that in Europe when coffee was first introduced, it was  the drink of the rich.  Coffee will revert to what it once was, the drink of the very rich, ironically the very people who are accruing wealth through destroying the planet.

Coffee resides on a very narrow genetic base.

One reason why the work by Kew Gardens and Union  in Yayu Forest is so important, not only important in helping to safeguard an important forest but help safeguard the wild coffee trees which are a vital genetic reservoir.

But if we are serious, we have to support coffee roasters like Union who engage in direct trade, money goes back to farmers, encouragement to protect the trees and work on reafforestation.

But even more important, we have to deal with climate chaos.

This year, not yet ended, is likely to be one of the warmest on record.

As I write, yet another round of climate talks, corrupt politicians fiddling whilst the planet burns.

Polar bears dying, polar caps melting, a succession of hurricanes devastating the Caribbean, bleaching and die back of coral reefs, projections of the near future of coastal cities under water, it all has no effect, there is a disconnection from our lifestyle.

Could it be denial of coffee, will be the jolt that makes us finally act?

Gaza flooded

November 30, 2014

As if Gaza had not suffered enough with the destruction by Israel, now facing flooding following two days of heavy rain.

UN has declared a State of Emergency.

Three months on from destruction by Israel, reconstruction has still not begun.

An estimated 100,000 Palestinians remain homeless in Gaza three months after Israel ended its offensive on the Gaza strip.

There are still those who do not believe Climate Change exists.

Top Story in Climate Change Exchange (Sunday 30 November 2014).

Chasing Ice

October 10, 2014

Capturing a glacier as it calves.

On May 28, 2008, Adam LeWinter and Director Jeff Orlowski filmed a historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland.

The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.

Chasing Ice won the award for Excellence in Cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the Best Documentary from the International Press Association. It has won over 30 awards at festivals worldwide. Still playing in theaters worldwide.

The sun is shining

March 27, 2013
the sun is shining

the sun is shining

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, the daffodils are out, it is marginally above zero.

The first week of spring.

The cold winter weather is projected to continue for the next 2-3 weeks.

Allan Savory: How to green the desert and reverse climate change

March 14, 2013

“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

The end of the British Antarctic Survey?

October 8, 2012
Shrinking ice in the Antarctic means scientific research more vital than ever

Shrinking ice in the Antarctic means scientific research more vital than ever

Since coming to power the ConDem government has declared war on the poor, the disadvantaged, the arts, science, welfare budgets have been cut, the Tories are now bragging they intend to cut a further £10 billion from welfare budgets, libraries closed, a failed attempt was made to sell off our historic forests for commercial exploitation. Now they are wishing to destroy the British Antarctic Survey.

Everyone has heard of Scott of the Antarctic, the ill-fated attempt by Captain Scott to reach the South Pole and how he and his team died in the attempt. But even if they had succeeded they would have found they were beaten by a Norwegian team.

A legacy of Scott is the British Antarctic Survey. It was the British Antarctic Survey that discovered the hole in the ozone layer.

At a time of global warming, with warming taking place much faster at the Polar Regions, we need the British Antarctic Survey more than ever before, were the west Antarctic ice sheet to collapse sea levels would rise by 3 metres wiping out many coastal cities including London, and yet the ConDem government wish to abolish the British Antarctic Survey based in Cambridge. They wish to merge it with National Oceanography Centre based in Southampton and Liverpool.

To put a 3m rise in sea level in context, the Thames Barrier was built to cope with a 16cm rise in sea level over the next 20 years. 

This summer has seen more melting of the Arctic ice beating previous records. The ice is melting far faster than previously forecast leading to the very real possibility of the Arctic free of ice during the summer within the next ten years.

The British Antarctic Survey carries out research and collects data on climate change, ice dynamics, ecosystems and fisheries, work that is vital to understanding climate change.

Next month a 12-strong team will use a custom-built hot-water drill to penetrate a three-kilometre layer of ice to reach the waters of the subglacial Lake Ellsworth on the west Antarctic ice sheet. Sixteen years to plan, this investigation will open new research into the Earth’s past climate and possibly could find new life forms or if not, the limit at which life can exist.

The Cambridge headquarters will be closed, the name lost (losing the link with Scott). This will pave the way for later sell-off of ships, aircraft, the closure of bases, redundancies, lose of expertise.

Already senior personel have left seeing no future for the British Antarctic Survey.

Only the ConDem government could be this foolish, this shortsighted.

Please sign the petition opposing abolition of the British Antarctic Survey. Please pass to all your friends and colleagues and ask them to sign.

Tamsin Omond talking about Climate Change

December 21, 2011

There’s no Planet B – Climate Rush mount dawn raid

June 7, 2011
Climate Rush crime scene

Climate Rush crime scene

Well done Climate Rush who this morning gave two Cabinet Ministers an early morning wake-up call. Between 5.30am and 7.00am Philip Hammond MP and Vince Cable MP had their homes wrapped in ‘Climate Crime Scene’ tape as part of Climate Rush’s doorstep protest.

On their first day back in Parliament after half term Ministers were called on to attend the United Nation Climate Change Conference in Bonn, which began yesterday and will last two weeks. Climate Rush stuck banners to Cable’s and Hammond’s house reading ‘THERE’S NO PLANET B – SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE’.

Both Vince Cable MP and Philip Hammond MP clashed with Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change over proposals for the fourth carbon budget. The Prime Minister eventually stepped in, supporting Chris Huhne and the Climate Change Act – legislation passed by the last Government.

Demands for greater Government action on climate change follows news that the greatest level of greenhouse gas emissions ever were released last year, contrary to expectations that the global recession would decrease global emissions. [1]

Philip Hammond MP and the Department for Transport has been condemned by environmentalists as Hammond is opposed to the inclusion of Canadian Tar Sands oil in the EU fuel directive. England and Holland are the only EU countries opposing the inclusion of Tar Sands from this directive. Extraction of crude oil from the Tar Sands is up to three times more carbon intensive than other crude oil extraction methods [2]. Hammond also plans to hike rail fares by 31% over the course of this Government.

Before election Vince Cable assured voters that economic growth would go hand in hand with green investment, however he now says that there will be no new investment in low-carbon technology until the second half of 2020. [2]

A blue chalk line was marked on the brickwork of the Ministers’ homes to show the danger of floods due to sea-level rises.

Tamsin Omond, founder of Climate Rush, said:

Climate Rush is ready to hold this Government to its promise to be the greenest ever. We need a roadmap with policies that unite the needs of the environment with the need for economic growth. This Government might be considering a plan B for the economy. They don’t have that luxury with our environment: there is no planet B. Cabinet ministers that oppose these measures are gambling with our future. We need to prepare for the impacts of climate change and we need to limit our carbon emissions now. There’s no future for this or any Government on a dead planet.

It is easy to see why the LibDems were all but wiped out at the local elections in May. It was Vince Cable who helped pushed through the massive hike im student fees last year. More recently Vince Cable has threatened to push through legislation to make industrial action against public spending cuts illegal.

Climate Rush is an environmental action group which models itself on the Suffragettes. They have mounted over 20 environmental protests including storming Parliament with 1000 members dressed as Suffragettes; closing down Heathrow Terminal 1 by holding an Edwardian-style picnic and dumping a large pile of manure on Jeremy Clarkson’s lawn. They aim to raise awareness about climate change and encourage action to prevent it.

Notes

1: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/29/carbon-emissions-nuclearpower
2: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/pollution-fears-as-uk-blocks-european-ban-on-fuel-from-tar-sands-2291598.html
3: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/10/adair-turner-carbon-budgets-row

Spring Easter Monday April 2011

April 26, 2011
bluebells

bluebells

cowslips

cowslips

It has been unseasonably warm. We seem to have skipped Spring and gone straight to Summer.

Last Tuesday it was 26 degrees in London. Friday it hit 27 degrees, well ok, 26.9 if you wish to be accurate. Saturday it was 28 degrees at Wisley Gardens just outside Guildford, the hottest April Day since 1948!

We are a month ahead of where we would be. Parts of my garden are overgrown, but would not usually be like this until this time in May.

Peas, broad beans are all shooting up, roses are in bud.

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are a woodland plant. First come the primroses, then the bluebells.

In the Spring, bluebell woods are carpeted with bluebells. Bluebell is an indicator species of ancient woodlands. In the United Kingdom the common bluebell is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale and it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells. This legislation was strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence.

Gerard Manley Hopkins from his poem May Magnificat:

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes

Up until the 1950s, pastures would have been carpeted with cowslips (Primula veris). Now with the extensive use of herbicides and modern farming methods, cowslips are quite rare. Cowslips will quite readily cross-breed with primroses (Primula vulgaris), a plant of woodlands and woody banks. Compared with primulas, a border plant in gardens, cowslips are very delicate and far more attractive.

Primula is a genus of 400–500 species of low-growing herbs in the family Primulaceae. The genus includes primrose, auricula, cowslip and oxlip. Many species are grown for their ornamental flowers. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, south into tropical mountains in Ethiopia, Indonesia and New Guinea, and in temperate southern South America.

Keep Europe Out of the Tar Sands

January 14, 2011

On the Morning of January the 14th a group of protestors invaded the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and are demanding a meeting with Stephen Green, the new Minister for Trade. Calling themselves the “Big Society Trade Negotiators”, they are concerned that trade negotiations between the EU and Canada, due to start in Brussels on Monday, will dramatically boost Europe’s involvement in the Canadian Tar Sands — the most destructive project on earth.

Unbeknownst to most citizens, the EU and Canada are in the midst of negotiating an ambitious free trade deal (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA) that could open up the European market to imports of carbon-intensive Tar Sands oil for the first time [1]. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the talks is the plan to allow multinational companies like BP and Shell to sue national governments over social and environmental regulations [2]. This is happening despite the increasingly urgent need for governments to crack down on the destructive and dangerous activities of such companies.

British shareholders, NGOs and campaigners have expressed increasing concern over the involvement of UK banks and oil companies in the highly polluting extraction of “dirty oil” from the Tar Sands [3]. Emitting three to five times as much CO2 as conventional oil drilling, the Tar Sands industry is destroying the livelihoods and health of local Indigenous communities and decimating ancient forests and wildlife across an area of Alberta larger than England [4]. The proposed trade deal would increase Europe’s involvement in the project and significantly expand the market for this dirty oil.

There will be another protest in Brussels on Monday 17th January outside the negotiations themselves, involving UK, European and Canadian groups, and Indigenous activists [5].

Jess Worth from the UK Tar Sands Network said: “Stephen Green has been parachuted in by the coalition government as Trade Minister. Completely unelected, this former Chair of HSBC was rapidly handed a seat in the Lords and then began his new job on the 1st of January. Given that HSBC is the world’s 13th largest investor in the Tar Sands, we are concerned that he will put the interests of oil companies and the Tar Sands industry ahead of environmental and social concerns in these, his first major trade negotiations. So the Big Society Trade Negotiators have come to help him make the right decisions.”

Emily Coats, also from the UK Tar Sands Network, added “The CETA trade negotiations between Canada and the EU are in full swing, yet most citizens have never heard of them. Climate scientists have warned that further Tar Sands extraction could lock us into disastrous and unstoppable climate change, but Europe is sleepwalking into major involvement with the project. We’re calling for the talks to be put on hold until there can be proper public scrutiny, and the many social, environmental and Indigenous rights problems can be addressed.”

FULL BRIEFING AVAILABLE HERE Stop Tar Sands Trade Talks!

ENDS

Notes for editors

[1] The CETA negotiations are about halfway through and due to be completed towards the end of 2011. The next round of talks will take place in Brussels next week.

[2] For a full explanation of the problems with CETA, please see “Keep Europe out of the Tar Sands!”, a briefing by Council of Canadians, Indigenous Environmental Network and UK Tar Sands Network, available at
http://www.no-tar-sands.org/?page_id=58

[3] The last 18 months have seen a growing number of organisations taking action against British banks and companies with links to the Tar Sands. Both BP and Shell have faced shareholder resolutions over their Tar Sands investments, as well as protests at their offices and petrol stations. The Royal Bank of Scotland has also come under fire for being the 7th largest global investor in the industry, using British taxpayers’ money, and were targeted by the Camp for Climate Action, who camped for a week in the grounds of their global headquarters in Edinburgh last summer. For more information see:

Indigenous Environmental Network

UK Tar Sands Network

FairPensions

Platform

Camp for Climate Action

[4] For more information on the destructive nature of the Tar Sands, please see:

Indigenous Environmental Network

Dirty Oil Sands

UK Tar Sands Network

Shot on the Panasonic GH2

Produced by “You and I FIlms

Also see

Living with Tar Sands

The health effects of Tar Sands

The Earth does not belong to You

Zero Carbon by 2030

Climate Camp vs RBS – We’ve arrived

Oily Gaga