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My oh my hasn't Coca-Cola been busy... Perhaps it has looked closely at the witch hunt of tax dodging global corporations such as Starbucks and Amazon, and figured they needed to up their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity?

The soft drinks giant has partnered with environmental charity WWF for a pan-European 'Arctic Home' scheme to invest in Arctic conversation projects and raise awareness of the plight of polar bears, an animal which has appeared in the brand's ads for almost a century.

Coca Cola can2.jpgThe scheme will see Coca-Cola donate £3 million each year to help protect the polar bear population and support WWF's lobbying of international governments.

Whichever reason, it is good news that investment is being made to put a spotlight on the challenges that are facing the white kings of the north, which are facing extinction if the polar ice continues to melt. The funding will be spent on researching polar bear numbers, helping local communities to live harmoniously with the animals and encourage governments to do something.

Polar bear conservation - coming to a coke can near you!

[via Marketing Magazine]

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We've been following the developments of the killer whales stuck in the Hudson Bay ice closely, hoping that the story would end happily rather than with over dozen dead animals.

And it did! No thanks to humans mind - though the poor orcas did get a lot of support on Twitter #SaveQuebecWhales and elsewhere online.

After they'd been discovered trapped under a huge stretch of ice near a remote fishing village, news broke that icebreakers were needed urgently in order to get them to safety.

With only a small hole in the ice to breathe through, the authorities said they'd be sending a team to "evaluate the situation", hesitating to act decisively and help the beautiful animals before it was too late.

A spokeswoman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada told the CBC that icebreaker ships were "really busy with the ice conditions that we have in other regions of our country" and that three commercial ships had become stuck in the ice in the area.

Really busy?! Well we're sure that the people aboard the ships would have been perfectly fine if they had to wait a bit longer to get broken free. It's not like they were scrambling in a tiny hole to get air in order to survive.

As luck would have it, the killer whales appear to have escaped the ice and certain death, as the ice shifted when winds changed course overnight. Hurrah!

Photo: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Marina Lacasse

food-waste-nick-saltmarsh.jpgWe should be ashamed of ourselves. Despite being aware of the problems of both world hunger and obesity, we (or rather those we have trusted to lead us) continuously fail to come up with solutions that would help divide food more evenly worldwide and create a better place for all.

Sadly doesn't seem to be getting any better any time soon. A new UK-based report claims that as much as half of the world's food, amounting to two billion tonnes worth, ends up in the bin each year, with the biggest culprits being Europe and the US.

According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the waste is being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness. The study also found that here in the UK up to 30% of vegetables are not harvested because of their physical appearance. Here millions of people are going hungry every day, yet perfectly edible produce is discarded because it isn't pretty enough.

Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: "The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers."

Isn't it time that we take a good look at our own habits and make changes where possible? In the developed countries we need to cut back on ridiculous consumer behaviour that sees us buy more than we need (mostly due to tempting 2-for-1 offers) and accept that, as with humans, not all food is or needs to be 'perfect' when it comes to appearance. A carrot is a carrot, whether it is wonky or not! If supermarkets are throwing out edible food because they by law cannot sell them because it is past its sell by date, I'm sure many people, especially now in these tough economic times, would be happy to take it off their hands.

Image: Flickr / Creative Commons / Nick Saltmarsh.

Luxury eco hotel sets up camp in Antarctica

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When we saw BBC's Frozen Planet and experienced the marvels of Earth's polar regions - accompanied by the inspiring guidance of David Attenborough - we've felt the an urge grow within to pack our bags and go on an adventure.

But we've not been sure of how we'd cope in tiny tents (or huts) with the cold polar winds biting outside, travelling only with the help of dog sleighs and skis. Until now.

Whichaway Eco Camp now offers explorers the chance to experience the Antarctic a little more comfortably, yet still sustainably.

Guests will be able to stay the night in one of six tents located on dry land, 70 metres above the ice. They may look like oversized golf balls, but the frameless structures comprise of aerospace composite panels that slot together to have the strength of a normal building yet the mobility of a tent, to keep you warm and cosy. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom and a writing desk (for those important journal entries).

The camp consists of two more tents where you'll find the dining area, library, kitchen and communications area (Expect to see a "just checked-in at the Antarctic" on your social media feed soon).

You can only travel there during the Antarctic summer season which is November till December, so you'll have to book yourself in fast. After that the camp is de-constructed to ensure the environment isn't damaged.

The only thing that will be damaged is your bank balance. The cheapest trip, a three day safari with Mantis, will set you back around £20,000, but for the chance to see Emperor Penguins in their natural habitat, we think it's worth it.

[Via Aftenposten]

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Scandinavians are considered very forward-thinking in environmental design and they love their outdoor areas, so it comes it comes as no surprise that Copenhagen - a city greatly associated with climate change talks - is leading the way in finding new, environmentally friendly ways to become greener and improve its citizens' recreational areas and quality of life.

Architects Tredje Natur and PK3 have put together a proposal that would see Copenhagen make use of its harbour by developing a network of artificial islands.

Divided into five zones, the development, dubbed Blue Plan, would see the artificial islands become a recreation area for local residents and tourists alike - with a harbour bath with heated pools and sauna caves - as well as provide a space for an educational facility and create habitat for birds and other small islands. One of the islands would also be dedicated to water sports, and would provide facilities for scuba diving, swimming and kayaking.

If only London had enough space in the Thames for something similar...

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[via Dezeen]

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The mountainous country of Norway has a rather small population compared to its geographical size, but that doesn't stop the nation from claiming pole position when it comes to electric cars purchases.

Norway is the leading country in the world when it comes to buying electric cars - even beating the United States which has a population over 60 times larger than the Scandinavian nation.

According to Treehugger, there are two reasons why Norwegians are choosing electrical vehicles to get around: comfort and economics.

If you've ever been to Norway you'll know it's not a cheap place as most things are taxed to death, including cars. However, when it comes to electric vehicles Norwegians are exempt from paying import taxes. This means that clever Norwegians are opting for electric cars over their petrol wasting counterparts when choosing a vehicle to save money.

To further incentivise people, the Norwegian government has also allowed for people driving electric cars in Oslo to make use of the bus lanes. This of course cuts down of the commute time for those living in the capital, so is a bonus that many will want to make use of. But wait there is more! Those who own electric cars can also park for free in city spaces and don't have to pay any congestion charge.

That's what we call a sweet deal.

Do you own an electric car? If not, which incentives would have to be in place before you would consider buying one?

[Image: Nissan]


We do have a soft spot for Disney princesses and fairies so it's great to learn that Disney UK is to donate £1 from every download of its new Disney Fairies: Lost and Found iOS app from today until Christmas Day to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

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The £0.69 app, Disney Fairies: Lost & Found is a game based on the new animated feature film Tinker Bell: Secret of Wings that lets players help fairies reveal their hidden 'fairy facts' and discover the talents of fairy Tinker Bell and her friends. By completing the game, players can unlock an interactive storybook which will continue to see new downloadable content and features being added to over time.

General manager of Disney Interactive, Paul Brown, commented, "We are delighted to be able to help make this an Appy Christmas for Great Ormond Street Hospital."

"No matter where they're spending the festive season, we know that kids love fairies and the wonder and beauty of Pixie Hollow. Disney Fairies: Lost & Found not only allows players to engage with the characters in the game but also understand the mission of a true Disney fairy and the importance of giving back at this time of year."

Disney has partnered with the charity since 2008 with a focus on raising £10 million towards the hospital's redevelopment appeal.

Download Disney Fairies: Lost & Found from the App Store.

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My coffee-loving heart sank as I read the predictions that climate change could damage production of coffee in the future.

A recently published article in the academic journal Plos One by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK and the Environment and Coffee Fores Forum (ECFF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concluded that climate change could drastically reduce the areas that are suitable for wild Arabica coffee crops before the end of the century.

Researchers looked at how wild Arabica could be affected based on three scenarios of carbon emission in the future. The worst-case outcome was a 99.7% reduction by 2080, which would lead to coffee being more exclusive than diamonds...

So why is this happening? Due to coming from a very limited genetic stock, the Arabica crops are assumed to be less able to cope with climate change and other threats such as diseases and pests. Some will argue that this is a natural course of events and part of Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' mantra, but - as with pandas - human actions are behind the changes to the environment that has led to this.

Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, said: "The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild.

"The scale of the predictions is certainly cause for concern, but should be seen more as a baseline, from which we can more fully assess what actions are required."
Well Mr Davis. We are scared. Very scared. We love our java too much!

[Image source]

Thumbnail via Flickr by Puuiki Beach, creative commons

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As New York City and the East coast of the US and Canada waited for Superstorm Sandy to hit last night we couldn't help to conjure images from disaster movies such as The Day After Tomorrow and (the rather aptly named) 2012.

Fast-forward 24 hours and Sandy (again a film springs to mind, but this time it's John Travolta looking all smug while trying to woo Olivia Newton-John in Grease), and we're now beginning to see how the city and its people fared.

Images and stories were shared on social networks in real-time, and Sandy's not been the nicest: at least 18 were killed, 7.5 million have been left without power across the eastern coast, buildings have been destroyed and the NYC subway tunnels have been drowned by sea water.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "Damage across the city is clearly extensive and won't be fixed over night."

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It is almost like Bane has been let loose in Gotham City again, but this time it was something even The Dark Knight couldn't have fought off. This was Mother Nature on speed.

This wasn't an act of God, nor was Sandy solely down to climate change - hurricanes and stormy weather come and go each year - but this story on The Guardian raises the point that so many will have thought over the past hours: Was Hurricane Sandy supersized by of climate change?

While Twitter is happily sharing funny photoshopped images of the storm and Lady Liberty hiding, the world is indeed changing and our actions have been part of making these superstorms. And we're likely to see more of them in the years to come.

The ocean temperatures are rising and polar ice melting. This is fact, not fiction. On average the September ocean temperatures were the second highest on record, only surpassed by 2003 - both, which in the grand scheme of things, happened very recently. How can we say our actions and pollution have nothing to do with this?

Science and statistics cannot be completely wrong. It is time we all start to listen to what they are telling us. Like all living creatures before us we must adapt in order to survive.

But one positive thing in all the devastation: The world did not end in 2012... so far.

Images: Press Association

Levi's goes green with WasteLess denim

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We like it when big companies do their bit for the environment and make their products more sustainable - of course in an ideal world all companies would operate as green as possible...

Green is definitely the new black over at jeans giant Levi's, which has revealed its waste

Each pair of Levi's waste

Speaking at the preview last week, global president of the Levi's brand James Curleigh said: "From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivising them to do more of it."

"This collection proves that you don't have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning."

The brand expect to put some 3.5 million recycled bottles into the waste

"With this collection, we're doing our own small part by taking waste and making something new from it," added Curleigh.

"We don't just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it. We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet."

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[via ShinyStyle.tv and Brandish.tv]

Chrissie Hynde.jpgLead singer of the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde, has become the latest celebrity to give her support to the No Cruel Cosmetics campaign and make a stand against animal testing and end the import and sale of animal tested cosmetics in the EU.

Today, the coalition of animal protection groups behind the campaign, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), will hand over its petition with almost a quarter of a million signatures to the European Parliament.

The campaigners are calling for No Exceptions, No Postponement and most importantly No Cruel Cosmetics.

Chrissie Hynde in her appeal to the EU commission said:

"It is shameful that animals continue to endure painful tests for beauty products and toiletries sold in the EU. I'm supporting the ECEAE in its campaign to rid Europe of animal tested cosmetics once and for all. I appeal to the EU Commission to ensure the full marketing ban is implemented in March 2013. I urge the people of Europe to join me by signing the petition to say No to Cruel Cosmetics in Europe!"

The petition has been signed by other celebrities, including Sir Paul McCartney and Morrissey, politicians, cosmetic companies and citizens of Europe.

This is a great piece of environmental awareness art! Rubbish Duck appeared on our radar this morning as Camden Lock Market shared a spotted photo on Facebook. Making its way down the Regent's Canal, Rubbish Duck 'symbolises the disregard towards the local environment' while drawing 'attention to a larger problem plastic pollution causes globally'.

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The brainchild of Ferdinand Povel and Essi Salonen, Rubbish Duck was created using 2,000 plastic bottles picked up from the Thames and Regent's Canal and has been floating on the canal since July.

The project works closely with environmental charity Thames21, which organises clean up events of waterways. The bottles for Rubbish Duck were collected with the help of these clean ups and the participating volunteers.

London's canals and rivers are fantastic public spaces, and it is a shame to see all the rubbish floating there at all times. It is great that someone has made the effort to visualise the sheer volume of the environmental nastiness that is threatening local wildlife through art, and in such a fitting form: the bath ducky.

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Autumn has definitely hit the British isles, with warnings of floods, torrential rain and winds that will blow your hats off, and it's time to dig out the knitwear. If you haven't stocked up on knitted goodies that would turn The Killing's Sarah Lund green with envy yet, here's your chance.

Known for her rather limited macrobiotic diet and desire to do good, actress Gwyneth Paltrow has teamed up with British ethical label Chinti and Parker to design two cashmere sweaters. These will be sold through her inspirational (and aspirational) newsletter/ecommerce site Goop.

The limited-edition pieces will be available in intarsia hearts or Breton stripes,and feature Chinti and Parker's signature buttoned shoulders, contrast-color pockets, and statement-making elbow patches.

Unfortunately it is only available in the US.

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member_sml.jpgYou might have seen the posters on bus stops or overheard people joke that the panda made them do things...

The Panda Made Me Do It is a campaign by WWF that encourages people to take action and do something positive for the environment; feel inspired and become part of the wonderful world and work of the World Wildlife Foundation. WWF has devised a number of simple actions that people can do to really make a difference to the environment as featured on wwf.org.uk/doit.

So how can you get your paws on a The Panda Made Me Do It t-shirt? Just commit to do an action set out on wwf.org.uk/doit to unlock the exclusive tee. Once you've taken some positive action for the environment, inspired by WWF's work, then you can proudly wear the t-shirt as an environmental 'badge of honour'.

Personally, I adore pandas so have been in love with the campaign ever since I spotted it - I even Instragrammed a photo of the poster on the bus stop (tragic I know but it's all spreading the word)

As part of the campaign the WWF has released this video showing that all is fair in (environmental) love and war... And if in doubt, just say: The Panda Made Me Do It.

A cardboard bicycle? Love it!

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We love coming across projects that when you first hear what they are all about you say, 'surely that can't be done'. This is exactly what we thought when we heard about Izhar Gafni's Cardboard Bicycle Project.

Drawing inspiration from a cardboard canoe (yeah we're with you: HOW DOES THAT WORK?? Cardboard + water = disaster right?), Izhar made a cardboard bike from scratch using origami techniques. It is capable of sustaining up to 485 pounds, that's over 200 kilos!

And the best thing: it only cost about $9 or £5.50 to make!!

Take a look at the making of in this video:

Izhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo.

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