Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Royal Treat

©Katie Anderton

Tomorrow is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate, a celebration which the majority of England have been planning for several months now. Picnics, street parties, party food and cakes have dominated conversation over the last few weeks. As people keep telling me "it is a once in a life time celebration for our generation'. 

It is all very exciting but i just cant help but think how much is this costing. Not to the economy (although that is an equally worrying subject) but how much is this costing the environment. Millions of people have travelled from all over the world to watch the wedding first hand, thousands of novelty items, many of which are plastic, have been manufactured, limited edition bottles of alcohol have been made and on top of all that many will leave the televisions on all day whilst watching the event. And remember footage starts at 6 am in the morning! 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to it just as much as the next person. I have planned my picnic, purchased some novelty bunting and spent the evening making some cakes. Have we all forgotten what this will mean for the environment? And out of everyone who partakes in tomorrow's event, how many will recycle? It was recently reported, in Time Magazine,  that experts from Landcare Research predict that the occasion will generate more than 12 times as much greenhouse than Buckingham Palace in a whole year, for the scientists out their, totaling 6,765 tons of carbon dioxide. Royal officials insist that a series of measures to reduce the environmental impact of the service are being undertaken. Flowers will be seasonal, the food will be sourced locally and guests have apparently been asked to either plant a tree or make a donation to Earth Watch which is a charity which supports research into rainforest ecology, wildlife conservation and marine science. 

Obviously everyone has a right to celebrate this joyous occasion just like i am doing but I think it is very important to illustrate the potential damage this event is having on the planet and ask that everyone accounts for their own carbon footprint and consumes sensibly remembering tomorrow is another day. I think the Royal Wedding can be successful without impacting upon the environment too much. 


Friday, 22 April 2011

Another Day Another Cause!

This year so far we have had Earth Hour, World Water Day and now it appears its time for Earth Day! Today, 22nd April 2011, is the 41st Earth Day event which according to its organisers has inspired and mobilised individuals and organisations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.

Earth Day is intended to raise awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment which is what I am trying to achieve with this blog.

The Earth Day Network works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilise the environmental movements. It was founded in the United States by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 with the aim of teaching people about issues affecting the environment. Since it began, it has seen several environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, the Water Act and the Endangered Species Act come into force which is a huge achievement and has obviously fulfilled its aim of informing people on environmental issues.

As with most things each Earth Day has a theme and this year’s theme is “A Billion Acts of Green: Our People Powered”. They are asking people to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability with the hope that with all of these small pledges acting together will go a long way to conserving the planet.

So how are you celebrating Earth Day? I am enjoying the lonely anticipated British sunshine and taking a trip to the park. What a perfect way to celebrate nature.  

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Summer’s Here…

The weather over the last couple of weeks has been beautiful for this time of year but it always brings up the question of climate change and although the sunshine is a welcomed surprise what does this really mean for our health?

I have suffered with asthma and hay fever for as long as I can remember which always makes summer a little uncomfortable. The constant supply of tissues and allergy tablets is not very attractive when you’re on a beach or in a park. But is this early spout of sunshine making the allergy season longer?
According to the Sunday Times “spring begins an average of 15 days earlier than some 30 years ago which means that plants such as grass and birch trees, known to trigger hay fever attacks, will have a much longer pollen-producing season than in previous years”. The Mail Online have also reported that experts have warned that in the not to distant future, because of climate change, allergy seasons may be a thing of the past and instead symptoms will be experienced all year round!
This is not good news for sufferers, especially ones with asthma as hay fever is a main contributor to asthma attacks during summer months.
And its not just hay fever suffers which are affected, The Sunday Times reported some time ago that early springs, increased pollen production and the spread of pollen-producing species could be causing allergic reactions in people who have never suffered from hay fever before and are now all of a sudden suffering from the symptoms. As temperatures rise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is now warning that allergies could increase, especially in northern Europe (including Britain) which is likely to be worst hit.

The BBC have reported recently that the rise in CO2 levels have also been contributing to the increasing number of allergies, and research has shown that pollen counts have risen in cities compared to rural areas.
Looks like I should stock up on tissues and allergy tablets…

©Katie Anderton

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

My Earth Hour Goal

So Earth Hour was a little over a week ago and my goal this year to go beyond the hour was to cut down the amount of plastic I consume. Although I don’t like to admit it, due to my lifestyle, I drink a lot of bottled water each week and although I recycle, this is still a huge amount of wastage on my part. Now while I’m at work the idea of giving up bottled water is easy, there is access to plenty of tap water. The problem starts when I am out and about.
After doing some research on the internet I found there were several solutions to getting fresh, clean water without having to spend money or consume more plastic. 

The first of the ideas is called Water Bobble; I have been aware of this product for a while but was pleased to find out last week that they have now started shipping to the UK.

According to the website Water Bobble is a revolutionary product that takes care of the planet, keeps your body hydrated your wallet fat and your taste buds satisfied.

Where I live tap water doesn’t particular taste very good – which I think is why I got hooked on bottled water in the first place! Therefore this product is perfect for me as it has a built in filter which apparently is carbon based in order to remove organic contaminants from regular municipal water. I don’t really know much about that but what I can tell you is that when I used it last week it tasted a lot better than regular tap water.
This product is made from plastic so you might be thinking how is this really helping me reduce my plastic consumption and conserve the environment? Well for starters it is made from 100% recycled materials and the filter alone gets approximately 300 uses. You can then buy replacements filters so the bottle lasts even longer than that! So really your plastic consumption would have reduced significantly. And not only that, it is also saving your wallet 300 bottles of water. Which considering how much bottled water is nowadays is a massive saving!
I think this is a great innovation for people who, like me, don’t like tap water but don’t want to expenditure of constantly buying bottled water and most importantly want to help protect the planet.

The second solution I have come across is GiveMeTap. This is a Manchester based company who have managed to get many of the bars and restaurants in the area to provide free tap water to anyone using a GiveMeTap water bottle.
By purchasing the reusable bottle it will also help fund independent water projects around the world. This is because 70% of GivemMeTap’s profits are donated so everyone can enjoy fresh clean water.
Now here comes the best part when carrying this water bottle around, you are able to fill up as many times as you like FREE from approximately 51 locations around Manchester.
Apparently, a typical person spends on average £300 a year on bottled water which to anyone is a considerable amount of money – especially when it is freely available from the tap! Find out how much you could save here.

Now unfortunately, I don’t live in Manchester but I can’t see why this idea cant be rolled out across the country. Not only does this save you money, it reduces plastic and benefits water projects around the world. Fingers crossed this product catches on and everyone wants to be a part of it.

If you’re still not convinced you need to reduce your bottled water consumption take a look at this very powerful video and the reason I thought I should cut down my bottled water consumption.

By using these products I am one step closer to achieving my Earth Hour goal!!