September 2008
Go Carbon Neutral Tree Planting Plant a Tree
 
 

Economic News: Financial Crisis and Volatile Markets

Financial Crisis and Volatile Markets

How will the ongoing economic crisis affect environmental projects?  This is a serious and worrying question.  Will the lack of liquidity in the banking system stop some of the more promising alternative energy projects? Will the recession and job fears make people avoid more expensive, environmentally friendly products?  Or will consumers make savings by going towards a frugal, low energy future, buying bicycles and insulation rather than SUVs and halogen lighting for their kitchens?

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New Plans for Green Futures may bring Green Collar Jobs

New Plans for Green Futures may bring Green Collar Jobs

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hddod/

The government and major opposition parties seem to be awakening – rather late – to the environmental crisis we face, and several good proposals for a cleaner, greener future for the UK have been unveiled recently.
New Challenges, New Opportunities is a government plan to create 260,000 new jobs in a low-carbon economy over the next few years.  The framework emphasises manufacturing’s key role in a mixed and balanced economy, and has the objective of making Britain a world leader in both renewables and nuclear power.  A new body, Manufacturing Insight, will be given the job of promoting this sector.  John Hutton, the minister for business, said: “Manufacturing is central to the success of the UK economy and it is vital the sector has the right foundations to endure the current economic slowdown and emerge stronger and fitter than ever.”  This plan will be backed by £150 million of medium-term support for UK manufacturing.

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Low Carbon Homes – BRE’s Innovation Park

Low Carbon Homes – BRE’s Innovation Park

In October Prince Charles will inaugurate the building of a seventh exhibition home at the Building Research Institute’s Innovation Park near Watford.  Six Eco-friendly designs have to test whether energy  saving devices and passive houses really work have already been built on the site. The houses are complete in every way – as if people were already living in them, fully furnished, with bedlinen and towels – as if the occupants had just left for work and school.  Visitors can look at the innovative technology behind the various designs.  The drive for low-carbon homes comes partly from new regulations the government is phasing in:  the Code for Sustainable Homes will enforce increasingly stringent rules on house builders so that by 2016 a new house must reach the highest level of compliance and be “carbon zero”: it will have no net carbon emissions over the cycle of one year.  The BRE’s Innovation Park is a test-bed for practical new buildings that comply with the code.

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Plant a Tree for Life – New Carbon Managers Initiative

Plant a Tree

Carbon Managers are launching a new initiative to plant trees in the Alladale wilderness reserve in the Scottish Highlands. For £9.99 a purchaser receives a DVD case which starts the process of planting of a real tree in Scotland. The DVD film in the box is about the tree planting at Alladale.

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Bill Gates Invests in 3rd Generation Biofuel from Algae

Bill Gates Invests in 3rd Generation Biofuel from Algae

Photo by Steve Jurvetson

Bill Gates, the world’s richest geek, has always had a penchant for high tech investments. He has put millions of dollars in a firm which claims it has a successful process to make petrol biofuel from algae.  Many companies are trying to find a way to do this:  by using algae, grown in vats, it is theoretically possible to make biofuel without the serious drawbacks of using up food-growing land, and needing to use fossil-fuels as an input, e.g. diesel powered combine harvesters

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Carbon-Saving New Computer launched by VeryPC

Carbon-Saving New Computer launched by VeryPC

VeryPC, a major supplier of extremely low-energy personal and business computers, has launched a high performance 16Watt dual-cored media centre PC, aptly named Fulwood (after the prestigious suburb of Sheffield, where they are based).  At over four times faster and at almost half the energy consumption of most computers Fulwood offers extremely high performance and flexibility while retaining its environmental standing.  This PC is not just fast, but it also saves money by consuming less energy, an important purchasing factor in these days of high electricity prices. In comparison, to a normal desktop PC these quiet machines use up to 75% less energy.

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Sun Jar Solar Light - store sunlight in a jar!

Bye Bye Standby Online Energy Controller

The Sun Jar is an ingenious eco friendly light from designer Tobias Wong.

It looks like a jam jar, but it’s jammed full of solar cells, batteries and LEDs so that it sucks in the sun’s rays all day and gives them back at night.

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Games for Change

Games for Change

Games for Change (G4C) is an online gaming company which promotes using gaming for social change. They look to games to involve younger people – who are often very computer-game oriented – to play games which have a theme of social responsibility and progressive attitudes. On their website they have several games which promote, for example, non-violent interaction as a force for social change (A Force More Powerful), climate science (Climate Challenge), energy, global warming and development (Melting Point) and many other social issues, including human rights.

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Top Tips for Planting Trees

We depend on our trees in so many ways, and Carbon Managers wants you to plant more – see our Plant a Tree for Life project elsewhere in this month’s Carbon News. However it is no good planting a tree, if it is not going to survive.  Trees are tough and resilient, but wise people maximise their trees chances of survival.  The Royal Horticultural Society has put out some top tips for how to keep your young trees healthy.

Tips for successful tree planting and establishment:

Ensure all planting is done by April and start with a healthy, well-grown plant. Choose a specimen with a healthy root system rather than plants that are pot-bound or whose roots are curled tightly around the rootball.

Don’t submerge the stem collar when planting as the bark is liable to rot, resulting in the gradual death of the tree. However, don’t plant too shallow as the roots may become desiccated giving reduced vigour and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases.

Bare-rooted trees should be planted so that the ‘flare’ of the roots is just below the soil surface.

Avoid forming an inward sloping saucer as the accumulation of excess water and detritus may result eventually in stem or collar rot.

Ensure the planting hole is wide enough to accommodate the roots when teased out.

When returning earth around the roots, break down the sides of the hole with a fork to encourage root spread.

Don’t over-firm the soil around the roots as this compacts it, excluding air and preventing the roots from functioning effectively.

Sift the soil between the roots when planting and firm gently to remove air pockets present around the roots.

Don’t let roots dry out, or expose them to frost or cold, before planting.

Water the plant sufficiently as drought stress can occur easily even in cool, wet summers.

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Self build solar hot water
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 to Sunday 12 Oct 2008
Build your own low-cost solar hot water system
Venue: LILI Bucks
Contacts: Peter 01296 714184
E-mail: peter@lowimpact.org
Web Address:
http://www.lowimpact.org/

The Eco Baby Green Parenting Show
Date: Saturday 11 Oct 2008
Time: 1.30pm to 6pm
This show will bring together the best products and services to show parents how to go greener with babies and children

Venue: Hornsey Vale Community Centre, Mayfield Road, London N8 9LP
Contacts: Sally Hall
E-mail: info@ecobabygreen
parentingshow.co.uk
Web Address: www.ecobabygreen
parentingshow.co.uk
 

 

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Editor: Julian Jackson www.julianjackson.co.uk