Earthshot prize and Count Us In campaign launches, Canada to ban single-use plastics by the end of 2021, and food from the bottom of the sea
Photo of the week: Swans and cygnets in Victoria Park, London
As part of running this website I read a lot of environmental news so I'm well aware of how many stories there are to keep track of out there. With that in mind, I'm starting a weekly roundup of the key stories I come across from around the world.
I'm a firm believer in keeping things positive, so it won't be all doom and gloom - there will be some good news stories, some not so good news stories, and maybe some stories you won't have seen elsewhere!
I hope you enjoy reading and as always, I'm delighted to receive your comments!
"Travelers to Canada should not expect to see some everyday plastic items starting next year. The country plans to ban single-use plastics -- checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from hard-to-recycle plastics -- nationwide by the end of 2021. The move is part of a larger effort by the nation to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030."
"If a billion people around the world were to take a few small steps and make them into permanent lifestyle changes, global greenhouse gas emissions could be significantly reduced, a new campaign argues. These actions can be as simple as eating local food, forgoing meat at some meals, and wearing clothes to last instead of throwing them away after a few outings. The campaign, which is backed by businesses including Ikea, HSBC, BT and Reckitt Benckiser (owner of brands such as Cillit Bang, Gaviscon and Durex), is urging people to sign up to take at least one simple step that would reduce emissions."
"Prince William and Sir David Attenborough have joined forces to launch what they hope will become the "Nobel Prize for environmentalism". They say the search is on for 50 solutions to the world's gravest environmental problems by 2030. With £50m to be awarded over a decade, the "Earthshot Prize" is the biggest environmental prize ever."
"Offshore wind will power every house in the country within a decade, Boris Johnson has pledged. In his speech to the Conservative party virtual conference the prime minister will say he wants the UK to lead the globe in low-cost clean power and promise to make the UK a world leader in green energy. The amount of money involved - such as £160m for ports and factories to manufacture the next generation of turbines - is small in comparison to the many billions spent battling the coronavirus crisis in recent months."
The not so good:
Is your seabass dolphin friendly? New Good Fish Guide ratings out now (Marine Conservation Society)
"Our latest Good Fish Guide ratings are out today and we’re sad to see seabass from the Southern Bay of Biscay entering our red rated ‘Fish to Avoid’ list. This comes after increasing concern for local dolphin and harbour porpoise populations, which are being accidentally caught by boats using static nets and pelagic trawls that are fishing for seabass in the area. Thousands of dolphins and porpoises have been killed as bycatch in the Southern Bay of Biscay over the years. The problem is so severe that local populations may soon disappear completely from the area."
"Tiny air pollution particles have been revealed in the brain stems of young people and are intimately associated with molecular damage linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. If the groundbreaking discovery is confirmed by future research, it would have worldwide implications because 90% of the global population live with unsafe air. Medical experts are cautious about the findings and said that while the nanoparticles are a likely cause of the damage, whether this leads to disease later in life remains to be seen. There is already good statistical evidence that higher exposure to air pollution increases rates of neurodegenerative diseases, but the significance of the new study is that it shows a possible physical mechanism by which the damage is done."
And something a bit different:
"At a time when food production is one of the biggest climate culprits, it is essential that we seek out new food sources which can nourish us and, at the same time, not overburden the planet. However, the large majority of people find it difficult to entirely shelve meat in the name of preventing climate change, according to Professor Ole G. Mouritsen of the University of Copenhagen's Department of Food Science. In a new meta-study, Professor Mouritsen and PhD student Charlotte Vinther, his colleague at the Department of Food Science, pick up on today's food trends. They present alternative sources for protein and healthy fatty acids, while giving their take on what a sustainable diet of the future might look like. Among other things, the researchers recommend that we look to the sea for foods of the future."