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Queen bans plastic. Man made pollution and it bites back: seafood eaters ingest 11,000 pieces of microplastic each year

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Queen Elizabeth II is banning plastic straws and bottles across the royal estates.
The Telegraph reported that the monarch is behind Buckingham Palace's plans to phase out single-use plastics from public cafes, royal residences and staff dining rooms. Royal caterers will instead use china plates and glasses or recyclable paper cups. Takeaway food from the Royal Collection cafes must be made of compostable or biodegradable packaging.

British lawmakers are also urging for more action to fight plastic pollution. A ban on microbeads came into force in Britain last month. In 2015, a 5p (5 British pennies) fee was introduced on plastic carrier bags, which led to 9 billion fewer bags being used. Many businesses in the UK are getting on board with cutting out plastics. Starbucks recently introduced a 5p disposable cup charge in 20 to 25 central London outlets to encourage customers to switch to reusable cups. And Iceland Foods, a major UK supermarket chain specializing in frozen food, announced that it will eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand of products by the end of 2023.

The Queen was reportedly inspired to take action after working with famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough on a conservation documentary about wildlife in the Commonwealth. Attenborough's "Blue Planet II" documentary that aired last year highlighted the devastating effects of plastic on our oceans and marine life.

The Queen declares war on plastic after David Attenborough documentary  read more »

2018. Year of the Bird. Stunning video: Christian Moullec flying with birds to save them since 1995

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2018 - Year of the Bird
2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the "Year of the Bird"” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.

Stunning Video Shows a Man Flying With Birds
What started as a conservation effort in the 1990s now puts tourists into the air, soaring alongside geese and cranes.
When Christian Moullec saw that lesser white-fronted geese were struggling with their migration from Germany to Sweden in 1995, he took to the skies to help them. Today, weather permitting, he soars with birds on an almost daily basis.

A meteorologist by trade, the 58-year-old Frenchman didn't start out as a pilot. But inspired by an Austrian zoologist known as "the man who walked with geese," Moullec adapted a two-seater ultralight aircraft to fly alongside the vulnerable species to guide them on a safer migration route. Now, from March through October, he takes tourists up to fly with birds.  read more »

Massive reforestation. To cover 23% of landmass, in 5 years 83.5 million acres of forest planted across China

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The pollution-beleaguered country plans to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade.
Outdoor air pollution contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people in China annually (that's 4,400 people a day). Meanwhile, less than 20 percent of the water from underground wells used by farms, factories and homes is fit for drinking or bathing thanks to industrial and agricultural contamination. But with the recent news that the country will no longer be the world's dumping ground for plastic waste, and other ambitious green initiatives - nixing new coal-fired power plants, investing in renewable energy, et cetera - China is showing the world that it is changing its ways.

The latest chapter is a massive reforestation plan, as reported by David Stanway at Reuters, in which the country plans to plant 6.6 million hectares of forest by the end of the year. One hectare is equal to 2.47 acres, meaning that the country will be getting 16.3 million acres of trees. Stanway writes:
“Planting trees has become a key part of China's efforts to improve its environment and tackle climate change, and the government has pledged to raise total coverage from 21.7 percent to 23 percent over the 2016-2020 period, said the China Daily, citing the country's top forestry official.”

China to create new forests covering area size of Ireland: China Daily  read more »

Scotland: world 1st floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, begun in 2016 now delivers electricity powering 20k homes

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18 Oct 2017 - First floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, delivers electricity - Anchored, floating turbines allow offshore wind installations in deep waters.
The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid today.

The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company's experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid.

The five 6MW turbines are the first commercial turbines to lack a firm attachment to the seafloor. The towers extend 176m (577ft) above the water and 78m (256ft) below it. Each tower is capable of pitching its blades to reduce unwanted motion and optimize power output depending on the wind direction and strength.  read more »

Solar vs Coal: same power output from simplest equation: 1 square mile = 4 million barrels of oil

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Last Pacific Coast Coal Terminal Nixed - Industry’s dream to export U.S. coal to Asia is dead
The state of Washington's Department of Ecology has rejected a necessary water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Logistics for its proposed coal-export terminal at Longview, Washington. Barring a successful appeal of the decision, this means the end of the line not only for Millennium's dream of building the largest coal-export facility in North America, but also for the coal industry's larger scheme to ship vast amounts of U.S. coal to Asian markets.

"This is the end," says Bruce Nilles, senior campaign director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "Almost exactly seven years ago, Peabody Coal proposed its first project to move huge amounts of coal around the globe. This is a testament to the tens of thousands of people who raised their voices and said, 'Hell no.'"

Shipping coal abroad was supposed to be a lifeline for the U.S. coal industry, given plummeting domestic demand as renewables became cost-competitive with fossil fuels. With vast coal reserves readily available in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, coal companies pinned their hopes on exporting it to Asia via seven proposed terminals on the West Coast. With Longview blocked, coal opponents are now seven for seven in stopping those terminals. (The others were to be at Cherry Point and Grays Harbor in Washington; Port Westward, Coos Bay, and Port of Morrow in Oregon; and Oakland, California.)

(unquote)  read more »

World Meat Free Day: plant-based diet vs carnivorous diet, which way health-wise, earth-friendly?

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Why take part in World Meat Free Day? Experts say that by 2050 the world’s population is set to increase to over nine billion people, which is 30% higher than today. If we don’t make any changes to our diet by then, the increase in meat production is forecast to reach 200 million tonnes. This is a demand that simply cannot be met.

Food’s carbon footprint is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you eat. Changing the foods that you eat, such as reducing meat consumption, can have a big impact on your carbon footprint. The CO2 kilos equivalent for producing a kilo of beef is 27 miles; you need to drive 63 miles to produce the same emissions as eating one kilogram of beef.

Recipes from Around the World, Kid Friendly, Family Favorites...

One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way
More than two billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of their weight, a new study reports.

This equates to one-third of the world's population carrying excess weight, fueled by urbanization, poor diets and reduced physical activity.

The United States has the greatest percentage of obese children and young adultcs, at 13%, while Egypt led in terms of adult obesity, with almost 35%, among the 195 countries and territories included in the study.  read more »

World's largest floating solar plant online in China at 40 megawatts - enough electricity to power 15,000 homes

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China is now home to the world’s largest floating solar power farm, a huge expanse of solar panels stretching across what was once a coal mining town in the central province of Anhui.
The farm connected to the grid last month, is thought to be the world’s largest in terms of capacity at 40 megawatts, providing enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

It occupies more than 800,000 square meters in an area hit by flooding and subsidence due to coal mining, a problem many coal mining regions in China are plagued with. After the ground sank, residents moved away, an employee at Sungrow, the company behind the panels, told Reuters.

Proponents of water based solar panel farms say they have the advantage of being placed in areas that would not have been utilised for other purposes, as well as being less likely to overheat due to the cooling effect of the water.

The world’s largest floating solar power plant is now online in China. Built by Sungrow, a supplier of PV inverter systems, the 40MW plant is now afloat in water four to 10 meters deep, and successfully linked to Huainan, China’s grid. The placement was chosen in large part because the area was previously the location of coal mining operations; and, as a result, the water there is now mineralized and mostly useless. The lake itself was only formed after years of mining operations, the surrounding land collapsed and created a cavity that was filled with rainwater.  read more »

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