Category Archives: International News

SupaSwap Starts Recycling At A Young Age

In this use it up and throw away society it’s good to know that recycling can be fun and taught from a young age. SupaSwap the leading online trading website for 8 to 18 year olds is showing that there is a market for almost new toys, games and much more.

Social media is the thing of the future and something that schools are trying to install in peoples understanding at an early level. Supaswap makes full use of all the social media networks and encourages young traders to learn as they save on waste and also learn the value of good housekeeping.

With Facebook, Twitter and You Tube all included in the SupaSwap package youngsters are getting used to everyday use of these useful tools for work and fun. Global warming is also a burning issue these days, recycling goods through exchange sites like Supaswap is making real inroads into reducing CO2 emissions. and most of all, it’s fun.

windfarm

Cumbria wind farms ready in 2011

After years of discussion, two large offshore wind farms have been given the green light for Cumbria and should be producing enough power to run 445,000 homes by the end of 2011.

The farms will feature 130 of the latest turbines, and are being backed by major players in the alternative energy field, work will start on the sites this summer. The biggest of the two is at Walney, 9.3 miles (15 kms) west of Barrow in Furness, and will contain 100 turbines. This development is being financed jointly by Danish firm, Dong Energy, and Scottish and Southern Energy.Â

The second farm, Ormonde, Â is slightly smaller with just 30 turbines, and is being run by Vattenfall, a leading Swedish company. This will be positioned 6.2 miles (10 kms) off Walney Island.

Solar power boosts the Vatican

These days even the Pope is turning green, and the installation of 2,700 solar panels at the Vatican is a signal that the environmental decline of our planet is causing concern at the highest levels. Pope Benedict XV1 made it known soon after taking office in 2005, that he saw the environment as an important area of concern to his mission. The Pope has said that environmental damage is “making the lives of poor people on earth especially unbearable”.

Solar Vatican

The solar revolution is only on a relatively small scale, the panels will replace old cement panels on the roof of the Paul V1 auditorium, a bad weather alternative venue for the Pope’s audience with pilgrims. The hall holds 6,000 people, the new solar panels will create enough light,heat or cooling for the entire hall and may produce some extra power that will be fed into the Vatican power grid.

The solar panels have been donated to the Vatican by a Bonn based company Solar World and have a value of around 1.5 million US dollars.Â

Eye in the sky on climate change

GOCE satelliteAs technology advances, so does our knowledge of our planet. The GOCE satellite is on the launch pad awaiting a October 27 launch for its mission to research new high definition maps of the earths surface and the changes made to the climate by global warming.

The European Space Agency is behind the project for the Gravity state and Ocean Circulation Explorer, it has suffered a launch delay from last month but all looks set fair for the new date. The satellite is launching from the Plesetsk space centre in north Russia, and its findings are eagerly awaited to boost our knowledge of the changing climate and the gravity field that surrounds the earth.

All the fun of saving the planet

There seems to be a feeling among some people that green policies are very negative and all about what we can’t do. With apologies to an old television advert – good old environmental awareness, it’s not just there for the bad things in life! That has just been proved at a fun fair in Santa Monica in California.

Santa Monica old and new

Pride of place at the harbour side park has long been the huge Pacific ferris wheel, but it has now been replaced with a 1.5 million dollar (965,765 euros) solar powered wheel. The fair went dark for 2 weeks in May as the old wheel was taken down, and even that was recycled, sold on EBay for 85,000 dollars.

The new wheel, the first solar powered ferris wheel in the world, is now in action and looks even more stunning with its 160,000 neon bulbs, and the whole thing is 75 per cent more efficient than the old version.

Â

Alexandra Cousteau’s message to Tenerife Aguaviva

One World, one family, one legacy, that was the personal and environmental message to Tenerife from environmental advocate, Alexandra Cousteau, just as a Greenpeace report slammed Spain for over development and pollution of it’s coasts. Who better to warn of the dangers, and suggest a few remedies, than a lady whose family were born with flippers on their feet.

The name Cousteau is known throughout the world from the exploits of Jacques, the French underwater documentary maker, explorer and champion of all things aquatic. As a guest speaker at the 2007 Aguaviva festival in Tenerife to promote awareness and protection of the oceans, the surname was enough to attract a packed conference hall of the media and those with shared environmental concerns. It is not a burden to Alexandra but an inspiration and a legacy she feels duty bound to continue. “It was only back in 1990 when working for the Environment television channel that I really caught up with the full history of my grand fathers work” she said in perfect English with a slight American lilt. Alexandra addressed the meeting in fluent Spanish but could also have drawn on equally impressive French, all learnt during early years of travel and mixed cultures.

Sea faring legacy

Born in California in 1976, Alexandra is the daughter of Philippe senior, and former American fashion model, Jan and was soon emerged into the globe trotting exploring life. “I went on my first family expedition at just four months old to the Easter Islands and after that I went to Kenya, Uganda and Egypt.”

Tragedy struck in 1979 when Philippe senior, an accomplished diver and photographer was killed in a flying boat crash in Portugal. Mother Jan brought up Alexander and Philippe junior in California and although they spent quite a bit of time in Connecticut and Paris, Alexandra went to school in Georgetown before moving up to it’s University to study political science.

After graduating in 1998, the world again opened up to her and she travelled widely, sharpening up her language skills along the way and did introduction work for the Environment channel.

Earth Echo, speaks to the World

In 2000 everything came together when along with brother Philippe, Alexandra founded Earth Echo International to further the family commitment to science, education and advocacy. “We felt it was important to form our own movement as we wanted to work independently of other organisations at the cutting edge of conservation with a set up that complimented our long held family beliefs.”

Earth Echo has reached out around the world to spread the environmental message particularly among the young. A series of international education programmes and strong links with groups in Europe and Latin America have helped to further the cause. Spreading the word has seen her address the United Nations, Unesco, Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Earlier in 2007, Alexandra was given the honorary title of Earth trustee by the United Nations, to reflect her contribution to marine preservation.

Home truths for Tenerife

The audience may have been less illustrious and smaller in Los Cristianos, Tenerife, a fishing village that has swelled into a major tourist centre, but Alexandra made her case with passion and commitment. Appropriately the hotel conference room was adorned with stunning images of the sea taken by locally Alex & Sergiobased photographer Sergio Hanquet (with Alex in pic). The local mayor was among the dignitaries seated at the top table with pride of place reserved in the middle for the visitor. Cutting through formality and setting an informal tone for the speech, Alexandra grabbed a microphone and perched on the end of the table.

The talk was wide ranging from the tell tale ocean damage caused to dolphins skins in Florida to the plastics that are so prevalent in the Atlantic that young albatross have been found with their skeletons containing traces of the material. With fishing and tourism the mainstays of the Tenerife economy, Alexandra called upon those present to choose carefully where they bought their tuna and prawns in restaurants and to send a clear financial message by making the responsibly caught ones the most popular. Individual choice and influence were key elements of her speech and the need to show share holders that the green option is good for them financially as well as better for the planet.

After the conference, there was a chance to enjoy some of the 30 attractions and events set up for the 4 day Aguaviva festival including stalls from other environmental groups, around the main square. One of the Artmore curious sites was a sculpture (left) by Gran Canarian artist, Agoney Santana. As part of the preamble to the festival, a stretch of rocky coast and sea was blitzed by a volunteer clean up team and produced 6,000 kilos of rubbish. The larger metal objects were collected and displayed in four large perspex cases in the heart of the tourist zone, a sad reminder of the disregard many show to their home environment.

Back at her hotel, Alexandra expanded on some of her driving motives. “At Earth Echo we believe in action, everything we do makes a difference, no matter how little. We want people to make their contribution and to use their power as consumers to make big business realise their responsibilities. Just recycling, using eco friendly cleaning materials and shopping around for thoughtfully produced goods all goes to make change.”

Questions raised during the open session after the speech had shown there was clearly a lot of local concern for practices in Spain and within Tenerife. Asked about Spanish fishing policy, Alexandra referred to it as “lagging behind and predatory”. Others queried the affect of commercial ferries in the local port.

Maybe most telling was the fact that the Aguaviva festival and Alexandra’s visit were framed by damming Greenpeace reports, the one before criticising Spain in general and the one a few days after identifying 20 illegal water pollution sites in and around the Tenerife capital of Santa Cruz. Many more tides will ebb and flow before the worlds oceans can be saved from destruction.

Blue skies, black sand, green hopes in the Canary Islands

The 7 Canary Islands sum up all our thoughts about holiday islands, relaxing, laid back and welcoming, but a delicate balancing act is going on. The very qualities that attract so many visitors, are also in danger of being over exploited and destroyed by too much development. But there are plenty of forward looking business’s and organisations on these islands and hopefully, as they tackle the big enviromental issues facing them, maybe the Canary Islands can even take a lead in green issues.

Of necessity, these islands have constantly had to develop new ways of working with nature, from water management and delivery to ensuring that fishing stocks are rationed to support the traditional industries of the islands. Lots of exciting work is going on with Biosphere Reserves, Wind Parks, Animal Preservation Projects and much more.

Nature can be very fragile, this is something that the Canary Islands have learned from past experience with volcanic eruptions, something that can happen at any time on any of the islands. Many old traditions and ways of life are under threat, but with encouragement and strong government policies there is still time to protect the past and learn for the future.

This site will bring you the latest trends and updates on what steps are being made to put the Canary Islands at the forefront of green planning. Your comments are welcome and if there is anything you need to know more about, we will try to shine a light on it.