Starbucks, global drinking water and climate anxiety - our environment and climate change news round up

Green and Ethical News: Ecojam's Weekly Round-Up of the Headlines

Date published: Friday 8th September 2017

In a week where we were told that 800,000 low income UK homes are to benefit from free solar panels, what else did the headlines tell us?

It was a good week for Starbucks as it announced major new plans to tackle food waste. During the last hour of trading Starbucks will cut the price of food which would otherwise be thrown away. Prices will be cut by up to 50% and the money made from the sales will be donated to Action Against Hunger. This follows a successful pilot in Manchester which raised £1500 for charity.

It was a bad week for drinking water as a study found that 83% of samples taken from around the world were contaminated with plastic particles. Scientists are now calling for urgent research on the implications that this has on human health. So far we don't know enough to properly assess the risks but there have been studies done on the effects that plastic pollution is having on wildlife and the results give reason for concern.

A quick word on hurricanes and climate change

This week Caroline Lucas, Green Party Co-leader, was called 'inhuman' by a Tory Minister because she mentioned climate change in relation to the recent hurricanes. But she is not alone in making the link. This week's Ecojam UK Daily updates have been filled with articles from many different publications. Take a moment to have a look through them if you are interested in what scientists and journalists have to say.

In other news

With better energy efficiency measures the UK could save up to £7.5bn in energy costs – as much energy as could be generated by 6 new nuclear reactors! This is according the UK Energy Research Centre which estimates that households could be saving up to £270 per year.

The Scottish Government has announced plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans. Opinion polls suggest that 78% of the Scottish public support the scheme but some of the major drinks companies are less supportive.

Brexit and the possible effects it will have on the environment is a topic which is never far from the headlines and this week is no exception. Environmental leaders are concerned that the Brexit bill 'gravely threatens' UK climate change protections and they have written to Environment Secretary Michael Gove and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary to express their concerns.

It was revealed this week that many councils across the UK are planning to introduce measures designed to tackle air pollution at the school gates. Plans include restricting parking and idling and fining parents who break the rules. Those of you who read this roundup regularly will know of the terrifying headlines about the effects that air pollution is having on children so it is clear that something needs to be done. However, there are concerns that these plans will cause congestion in other places and will lead to pollution and safety issues elsewhere. Others are concerned that the plans punish parents who have no choice other than to drive their kids to school. However, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Aaron Kiely described schemes to reduce traffic outside schools as “a positive step towards protecting our children’s health.”

Thousands of people around the UK are now using pollution monitoring kits to measure air quality where they live. The results have revealed “ worrying levels of pollution in urban and rural areas alike.”

Air pollution levels decreased in cities across Bolivia this week as the country took part in a nationwide car-free day. The day is part of wider plans to cut pollution and encourage young people to be more active.

Some light relief

A stretch of coastline in Northumberland, a haven for 200,000 seabirds, has been made a marine special protection area giving it greater protection.

Want to know what a zero waste shop would look like? Check out this article in the Independent which takes a look at London's first plastic-free shop. Perhaps the start of things to come?

Mars, makers of some of our best known chocolate brands, has announced plans to spend $1 billion on its "Sustainability in a Generation" plan. The plan aims to reduce the carbon footprint of it's business and supply chain by more than 60% by 2050. 

And our photo of the week this week is actually 12 pictures of dreamy treehouses for living in the trees.

What actions can you take?

Here are our top tips on actions you can take this week.

Deal with your climate anxiety
If you find yourself increasingly worried about climate change and what you and those around you could and should be doing about it, check out this Grist article which may help you to learn how to deal with (and channel) this anxiety effectively.

Think about the story of the humble t-shirt
We came across this TED-Ed video this week which examines the lifecycle of a t-shirt. It is an eye-opening watch and it has certainly made us think more about our buying decisions when it comes to our wardbrobes. Give it a watch, share it around and lets help to reduce the fashion industy's impact on the environment.

Zero Waste Week
Zero Waste Week draws to a close this week but that doesn't mean you can't join in. Check out the Zero Waste Week blog, which contains a massive amount of information on how you can get involved, save money and preserve resources. 

Thanks for reading and remember to come back again next week for the next round-up of green and ethical news.

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