• Drop me an email if you want to call.
  • ryan@crowdleaf.org.uk

Tag Archive blog

Switching to GREEN in an Artificial Intelligence era. By Mar Introini

 

37060437_2030978780551664_2112876472271110144_n

 

We are living under contradictory processes: a world pushing for more sustainable green standards, on a go back to old codes of living closer to nature and at the same time a revolutionary technology that mark our daily life differently.

Is this incompatible? Is this a contradiction? Is it possible to harmonize both processes and become more and more “green” within a world more and more technologically advanced?

We are definitely prepared to move forward through new innovative technology that makes our life easier however, not to become more green and attached to nature codes that demands the implementation of new habits and maybe, new sacrifices and resignation to comfort.

Walking towards a green technological developed world means, “get naked” from old habits and patterns and enters a new path of living within a new “dress code”.

If you see the picture above you could identify the contrast: a laptop in the middle of a forest, in which wood and trees are the powerful actors and, in a sense, the tech element is the distortion element that searches for a space.

There is not incompatible, although there is a clash if there is not a harmonic adaptation into a holistic strategy of green in all layers of the society.

Going back to old codes as living in the countryside, reducing consumption of water, using pubic transport, buying food daily, not use of plastic, recycling, change our purchasing focus -“buy less, buy better”- etc. are all elements that make up a green way of living. Even if it seems a contradiction in itself: going back to past habits but with the help and boost from a revolutionary technology.Indeed, when we get the essence of the past it doesn’t mean that we are “repeating” or “imitating” but that we get inspired and apply the same criteria although under a cross-cutting technology.

Innovation is what marks the difference from the past; to create new structures a change of minds its paramount to be open and creative.

We need technology to make it happen even if it’s just to campaign for Green, as social media and networking become the way to do so. A change of habits also come from creating trends and fashion around them. People moves through emotions and the feeling of being part of the society and updated to the new trends is an element to take it very seriously at time to generate new codes.

Is it so that the Education system becomes a challenge to address much more complex that the one described by SDG 4 but a driver for new generations around awareness, sensibility and creativity for building a reshaped and adaptive world.

Green Education is not about educating people around green issues but to boost green professionals. Architects, engineers, activists are all professions directly linked with the environment, however a resilient world could only be built by a deeper action. Lawyers, politicians, teachers are also paramount for creating frameworks and spaces of green action and reflection; because a green education is also about “construction “ of creative minds that from any field of work could achieve a goal of innovation and adaptation. Simply… making a real revolution in our Education systems.

Technology at the service of a green planet means the transformation of what seem anachronic tech elements into harmony pillars to become more sustainable.

 New lenses for a new innovative green world: mind, soul and…. tech!

 

Green Community Action: The Need For Innovation. Take The Risk! By Mar Introini

 

 

 

The SDG´s approach demands a new approach at global system level and a systemic action at individual and community level. Innovation, even its part of SDG 9 “industry, innovation and infrastructure” represents one of those challenges to take into account on a daily and personal basis.

Communities as a difference from corporations do not see the need for innovation but of small changes that make their daily life easier. This attitude may prevent them from a real revolutionary change especially for those who considered themselves as “stable and safe societies”. A personal change represents a much more important step to get through this situation than for other challenges.

Until there is not a real sense of the need for a change that fixes current green global crisis, we will not being able to become sustainable. Eventually there are just communities that introduce technology for their own particular benefit and innovation but for specific goals based on local profitability.

Getting into a sense of empowerment is a must. We need to Educate and re-Educate adults and future generations on the power of Advocacy and the own responsibility of getting the tools. Is it simply a democracy pattern in which citizens engage with the community and lead their destiny.

It’s surprising to see that even if global corporations has very strong interests there are committed to the global goals and aware of a change. Most of the multinationals has made important steps towards a green investment leaving the public sector behind and not updated to the new challenges. Also on this aspect coordination and the power of partnerships its extremely needed. In which local communities play a paramount role, changing their own daily habits and taking the principle of “think global, act local” into extremes.

The tools are there to be used: social media, associations, debate, etc. through reshaping the Education system. Traditional tools (as association and debate) need to be reshaped  and find a new concept in which there are not just “green associations/debates” but a cross-cutting union of people, thoughts and ideas towards a common goal on sustainability. That is the key to enter in new roads of resilience: the use of the same tools from a different focus.

A holistic approach is what we need for getting into the goals successfully  and on a “relaxing mood”. The so-called “safe societies” must be aware of the need to reshape their goals and business as usual for addressing crises effectively. Moving through green debates, green associations and green campaigns is not the correct strategy and global goals demand that green goals are just one more part of a systemic strategy.That´s the reason for building awareness towards uncertainty and the need for being resilience by an in depth change on structures and personal attitudes.

New and innovative green communities: a personal attitude that doesn’t represent financial investment but capitalization of human resources, re-Education and innovative structures that delivers a new sense of living.

As the picture, the logs represent the citizens: strong and resilient but without awareness of the need for innovation and change. There will not fall down but they need stronger support to become sustainable. Take the risk!

*The Green Axis of SDG´s

https://thesustainabilityreader.com/2018/06/06/the-green-axis-of-sdgs/

CrowdLeaf Newsletter 6th July 2018

Welcome to this weeks edition of Crowdleaf’s newsletter.

We hope you are all still enjoying this lovely weather!

No automatic alt text available.

With the world cup well under way, it is heart warming to see fans taking care of their environment and picking up their rubbish after the game is over. This is a fine example of how we should take pride in our home on earth – not just after a great match but for all of our surroundings.

Do you have an article or event you would like to see on our CrowdLeaf Newsletter? Please contact us to see if we can help! 🙂

The War Against Plastic

New Zealand The Most Perilous Place For Seabirds Due To Plastic Pollution

Researchers Race To Make Bioplastics From Straw And Food Waste

Plastic Plates And Cutlery To Be Banned From Sale Under government Plans

Plastic cutlery and plates could be banned under plans being considered by the Government

100 Steps To A Plastic Free Life

Seattle Just Became The First Major American City To Ban Plastic Straws And Utensils

Climate change and Pollution

Weather watch: Wildfires Highlight Importance Of UK’s Peatlands

Child’s Asthma Linked To Illegal Levels Of Air Pollution

Court Action To Save Young From Climate Bill

Millions of Wet Wipes Flushed Into The Thames Causing Plastic Nightmare

Filth: a clump of wet wipes near Hammersmith Bridge, where 115,000 have been pulled out so far this year

Energy

UK Heatwave Helps Solar Power To Record Weekly Highs

Queensland Coal Push Grows As Turnbull Tries To Land Energy Guarantee

Wildlife and Conservation

Dry Weather Boost UK’s Most Endangered Butterfly

Image may contain: sky and cloud

Australia Needs Tighter Ivory Sale Laws Sale To Protect Elephants, Parliamentary Committee Hears

Recycling and Sustainability

Is This The End Of The Yellow All-In-One Recycling Bin?

Local Authorities Urged to Embrace Separate Collection Model

What Does Sustainability Really Mean To The Customer?

Image may contain: text and food

This Toilet Provides Safe Sanitation Without Plumbing Or Electricity

Events

Hampshire Farmers Market Oxford Street 7th July

Portsmouth Green Drinks ‘On Tour’ Artist Special, Part 1 11th July

Fight For Clean Air In Southampton And New Forest 17th July

South sea Wildlife Watch 21st July

New Forest Festival 27th July

Handy Websites

Check Out Eco Collective who offer 100% vegan products and offer gluten free and organic produce.

Something we look to help businesses do in the future. If you are a business that is in the waste(not) business please get in touch –Mixed Plastic Banks In Southampton

Here is Southampton’s list on what to put into your blue lid recycling bin: What Can I Recycle?

Pledge Your Commitment To Improving Hampshires Recycling Habits

Hampshire Recycling

This brilliant website gives tips and ideas about food waste and how to reduce it.

Love Food Hate Waste

Instead of throwing out or bagging up (to gather dust) all those clothes children quickly grow out of this is a brilliant website to buy or sell unwanted children clothes. It is run by a busy mum who also knows what it’s like with ever growing children and the endless amount of clothes children accumulate.

‘Last year a quarter of the clothing we got rid of was simply thrown away. That’s a staggering 300,000 tonnes that went into landfill. So many of those items could have been re-used and enjoyed by a another child, instead of contributing to the destruction of the planet.’

Loopster

Contact us!

Please join us on Facebook, like and share with fellow environmental and wildlife enthusiasts where we will keep you up to date with climate change, sustainable and wildlife and conservation news and anything else green.

We would also like to start adding a directory to our newsletter, making it more accessible for everyone to gain information, join other environmental groups or eco-friendly businesses that sell eco-friendly products. If you or someone you know are interested, please contact us. We can also help advertise and advise on any campaigns and fundraising events, with the option to advertise on our webpage, facebook and newsletters.

Equally if you have an article or blog which is relevant to the local or global cause of making the world cleaner and greener or feel there is an issue that could be part of a discussion, then feel free to send it over and we can publish it.

Contact us via our website:

http://crowdleaf.org.uk/

Look us up on Facebook or drop us an email:

vicky@crowdleaf.org.uk

ryan@crowdleaf.org.uk

On behalf of CrowdLeaf,

Vicky & Ryan

Please come and check out our store to support our cause and green community!

CrowdLeaf Store

Pollution Tracking Tools

London Air Pollution Live Data

Worldwide Pollution Live Data

See you next time!

Life’s Evils & The Damage of Climate Change

There is an exponential global risk of growing poverty and displaced people induced by extreme weather, political turbulence and environmental damage many of which are events beyond our imagination. Global warming is taken scientifically as a given, with nearly all scientists agreeing that climate change would happen with or without people’s interference, though to a lesser degree and slower pace. It is therefore safe to say that the climate is not helped by the human populace. The collective lack of preparations to mitigate the effects of global warming are bordering on self-induced mass harm, while the switch to more environmentally friendly policies and clean and sustainable energy is nowhere near fast nor bold enough to provide the alternative. Surely these perpetrators are aware that we are all on the same planet and so far nobody can get off. As of 2013 renewable energy provides 21.7% of all electricity generated across the globe, not enough. This is heading in the right direction but with oil licenses still being given and mines still opening for coal and other fossil fuels the percentage change is demeaned by the negative impact of continued bad practice.
Since the beginning of time civilisations have fought and changed, almost evolved as a society often with its back to the wall. A classic example is to think of when man used to live in caves during an ice age, to when societies were formed and measures to stop us killing each other were implemented. Laws that govern societies and progress towards a better level of health and the tackling of the evils of life such as poverty, were met with ambitious targets to alleviate these plights. The issues are now more of regulatory capture of states such as those with powerful fossil fuel lobbies, or an.over reliance on fossil fuels such as OPEC countries. OPEC countries such as Venezuela rely on oil revenues to sustain a response to the other often immediate issues such as poverty or political stability. There are also those who refuse to switch to sustainable energy based on perceptions of how they work, how much they cost and for the classic problem of ‘range rage’ for electric vehicles which is slowly falling due to an increase in battery performance and more super fast charging stations being installed. The relative price of solar or wind is now so good that it is more than competing against alternative or what we have come to call traditional or conventional fuel sources.

So I implore you to take one simple message, we can’t carry on like this and if you personally take a stance and take the plunge towards a greener more sustainable world, others will follow. Switch energy provider, divest from fossil fuels and invest in community owned sustainable forms of energy, plant a tree, drive less and walk more. Need I go on? We all know that there is no time to lose, so go green.
If your looking for an alternative way to fill a Christmas Stocking or spend money on Black Friday or Cyber Monday try our shop and support the forum as we try to grow and support the green community. CrowdLeaf Store we are doing our own version of Black Friday here early CrowdLeaf, Green Friday and Cyber Monday for us is Clean Monday. Keep an eye on our store for sone pretty amazing world friendly products with discounts for the weekend only.




10th year of the pioneering SuperHomes Open Days

This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of our Open House events, and there is a record 100 free events occurring this year across the UK. 

SuperHomes is a project managed by the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity that aims to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
The Open Days are a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated with making older homes more energy efficient, and view retrofit technologies in action. The free Open House events occur every September where the SuperHome owners provide honest and detailed accounts of their renovation stories and offer invaluable advice and guidance.
Since 2007 SuperHomes has been at the forefront of domestic eco-retrofit and the network continues to lead the way in carbon conscious renovation. To date, 222 homeowners have all transformed their properties through environmentally minded renovation resulting in lower energy bills, smaller carbon footprints and a huge increase in comfort levels.
SuperHomes include all types of houses, ranging from Grade II listed 16th Century ironstone properties to 1990’s build ex-council houses; from 6 bed Victorian mansions to 1940 terraces; from idyllic ecolodge retreats in rural Snowdonia to single story flats in the heart of London.

The technology found within and around the properties is innovative and market leading, and our SuperHomes offer exceptional, and often unique, examples of green technologies.

In addition to the more mature aspects of green renovation such as external wall insulation, solar PV panels and heat pumps, our houses boast a variety of cutting edge technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, green roofs, biomass boilers, and even whole house airtight membranes.

SuperHomes are pioneers in renewable technology and energy efficiency.






We have a number of SuperHomes opening for the first time this year. This includes our most recent addition Pamela whose 1920s ex-Council house in North London is carbon neutral! She achieved this by installing many technologies, including Solar Water Heating, Solar PV Panels and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. Visit Pamela on 16th/17th September on a free tour. Another interesting first time opener is Paul from Flintshire who retrofitted his 1960s home for under £10,000, and still managed to achieve a carbon saving of 64%! Visit Paul for a tour on the 9th September to learn about how to keep eco-retrofit affordable. To find an Open Day near you please visit http://www.superhomes.org.uk/get-inspired/events/.

Energy used in the home accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use and carbon emissions in the UK. Houses in the UK are some of the least energy efficient in Europe, and the majority of the housing stock is made up of older homes which are typically very energy inefficient. Without tackling this problem and improving the energy efficiency of homes we will not be able to meet our emissions target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 to meet the requirements of the legally binding Climate Change Act. Open House events like SuperHomes are great ways to distribute knowledge and passion about retrofit, and persuade people to take the carbon conscious decision to reduce energy use in their home.

The current, post-Green Deal (the Coalition Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was scrapped in 2015), climate, with lowered green incentives and a distinct lack of interest from subsequent governments has seen the focus on eco-retrofit waver. Yet the refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. SuperHomes harnesses the enthusiasm of our energy saving pioneers to stimulate community-led renovation.
SuperHome Open Days occur throughout the year with a co-ordinated national event throughout September. Most of our openings coincide with Heritage Open Days (7-10th September) and London Open House (16/17th September). To find out more visit www.superhomes.org.uk
To help SuperHomes celebrate this anniversary we’ve partnered with the Ecology Building Society who are supporting this year’s September openings.

SuperHome owner #59, Mark Brown stands in front of his 1980’s detached house. The High Wycombe property has achieved 90% carbon savings. Visit on 9th/10th September.

​‘Leaving the #environment in a better state’- or just a state?: the impact of #Brexit by Anneliese Dodds MEP




We here at CrowdLeaf.org.uk are humbled to be sharing another guest piece, this time from a European level decision maker. As a South East MEP she offers an insider’s perspective on both the problems and solutions for the Environment. All views are that of Anneliese Dodds not CrowdLeaf as an entity.
It is no secret that the vast majority of environmentalists supported remaining in the European Union. Nonetheless, those of us who accept the result of the referendum have to somehow ensure that the UK Government now delivers on the aspirations of those who voted to Leave, without completely ignoring the concerns of those who wanted to stay. 




Last week we finally got an indication of the Government’s negotiating priorities, and it is fair to say that environmental issues received relatively little consideration, with only one paragraph out of 77 pages being devoted to them aside from brief passing references. This differs from the Welsh government’s explicit call for both working and environmental standards from the EU to be retained as part of any post-Brexit settlement.

Instead, the UK Government stated that while it would ‘use the Great Repeal Bill to bring the current framework of environmental regulation into UK and devolved law’, this would be followed by the development over time of a ‘comprehensive approach to improving our environment in a way that is fit for our specific needs’- suggesting an (albeit gradual) shift away from current EU standards. 

In this article I will try and sketch out some of the directions that this new approach could take, in the fields of water and air quality, waste management, climate change, green growth and protection of biodiversity.

Although the UK has arguably led the way in some areas of environmental policy, this is certainly not the case when it comes to water and air quality. Indeed, even when covered by EU legislation the UK government has been taken to task by the European Court of Justice for failing to meet standards in both areas. For example, Britain has, last month, been sent a final warning to comply with EU air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide or it will face a case at the European Court of Justice.  £100m to rectify problems with waste water management in Hampshire was provided by the European Investment Bank to Southern Water, and it is unclear whether the UK will be able to remain a member of the Bank in the future and whether this low-interest source of finance will therefore be available.  

In addition, the existence of EU law has been an important tool to affect the behaviour of the private sector. Hence, the need to meet EU objectives on water quality enabled Ofwat to pressure water companies to invest in projects like the London super sewer. It may prove more difficult to exercise this kind of pressure in the future. When it comes to air quality, while there are UN rules on emissions, specific and enforceable national emissions ceilings (which, incidentally, the UK government recently lobbied to water down), determined at EU level, will no longer apply to us. 

It is therefore difficult to identify areas where Brexit could enable a scaling-up of action to improve environmental quality. The fact that the UK would no longer be expected to follow the Polluter Pays principle could mean that polluters could, in theory, once more be compensated for measures they introduce to reduce pollution (just as farmers once were for producing nitrates), but such measures may not be politically or pragmatically feasible, nor desirable. 

On waste management, the picture is a complex one. Clearly EU landfill rules facilitated measures to promote recycling which would otherwise have been unlikely in the face of sometimes vociferous initial opposition. On the other hand, many rules concerning the recycling of specific products may still have to be complied with by British manufacturers if they wish to still access EU markets (whether or not we are in the single market), such as those contained within the revised Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, and also pertaining to vehicles and their emissions, and to chemicals. 

The UK government states in the White Paper its commitment to continue to exercise a leading role in combating climate change, but it is difficult to see how this will be achieved in current circumstances. Generally the UK has, over time, pushed a stricter approach to reducing carbon emissions in the EU than many countries would otherwise have supported, not least the Visegrad countries. As a result, the removal of the UK from the EU may reduce the determination of the largest trading bloc in the world to push measures against climate change- needed now more than ever given the hostile approach of the new US administration. At the same time, the UK’s unwillingness to countenance EU measures promoting specific national targets (such as on the percentage of energy produced by renewable sources) may unblock action in this area. Conversely, the removal of the EU’s second biggest contributor may negatively impact on the funding gap in energy infrastructure, leading to more polluting energy production being retained across the EU than would otherwise have been the case. Other issues are currently open for debate, such as whether or not the UK will continue to participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

The impact on biodiversity can be split into that on land-based and marine wildlife and fauna, and related to the likely new British approaches to farming and fishing, respectively. 

It is clear that there are a range of international (as opposed to European) conventions to protect wildlife, from the CITES Convention to the Bern Convention and beyond, in addition to UK national measures such as the system of SSSIs and ASSIs. These would provide some continuing degree of protection to British wildlife. However, the EU Birds and Habitats Directives are stronger in many regards. First, they provide stricter protections for Natura 2000 sites against development than do nationally-designated areas; and second, they also facilitate LIFE funding for conservation measures. Again, the EU’s regulations on Wildlife Trade and Invasive Alien Species offer stronger protections than the CITES convention. 

Some have suggested, conversely, that the removal of the UK from the CAP regime will promote greater greening of agriculture. Hence, the Government’s White Paper suggests that the removal of CAP from the UK affords an opportunity for ‘new better and more efficient’ farming policies for a ‘cleaner, healthier environment’. It is, however, rather unclear why this should be the case, when (for example) pigs and poultry in the UK receive the least CAP funding and yet are highly intensive. 

The environmental aspects of the CAP have been legitimately criticised from a variety of angles. Nonetheless, as the dust settles, it is unclear whether the funding available through CAP for practices ‘beneficial to climate and the environment’ – which amounts to almost a third of direct payments to farmers- will come from after 2020.

Both the Scottish and Welsh governments look likely to campaign for significant subsidies to be retained by farmers, especially those farming marginal land, who are the most dependent on subsidy; yet this approach may not persist in England. This could have a variety of environmental impacts. If the removal of subsidy leads to marginal and smaller farms becoming unviable, this will clearly lead to the creation of some larger farms, which has been linked to a reduction in biodiversity and increased specialisation, as well as a reduction in the labour force necessary to engage in labour-intensive conservation measures. Subsidy removal could also lead to the abandonment of land and reduction in livestock numbers. This could in theory lead to some rewilding and reduction in methane emissions. Equally, it could lead to the development of relatively undiverse scrubland and not result in any emissions reductions if British consumers simply import meat from other countries. 

When it comes to the marine environment, the UK has led the way in developing Marine Conservation Zones. Although hailed as a significant step forward, in practice they are weaker in protecting against development than the Natura 2000 system. Again, international conventions do apply, with the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR) viewed as having been significant, especially when compared to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. In addition, the UK Government states in its White Paper that its new approach to fisheries will ‘want to…deliver a cleaner, healthier and more productive marine environment’, which is encouraging. These may however be over-ambitious aims if the political pressure to allow a more permissive approach in the short term following Brexit overcomes the need to preserve fish stocks over the long term. The fact that research has shown that the UK already has a relatively high average tonnage above scientific advice is therefore rather worrying.

To conclude, environmental issues received a relatively low profile in the referendum debate, despite the efforts of politicians, NGOs and individuals from across the political spectrum, from the Greener UK coalition to Stanley Johnson to Mary Creagh MP. Now that the Brexit negotiations have begun, they are continuing to receive little apparent attention from government, with important issues like environmental quality and waste management not even being mentioned in the government’s White Paper on Brexit. Now is surely the time for those concerned about the UK’s environment and climate change to mobilise, for the sake of animals, our planet and our health and that of our children.