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tesco%20canal%20barge.jpgSupermarkets are falling over themselves to make green gestures at the moment, but this latest one by Tesco is interesting, as it could resurrect Britain's forgotten transport system: the canal. Reducing road traffic by making use of existing waterways could ultimately reduce carbon emissions by 80%, it has been claimed.

Starting from today, the supermarket giant will send freight along the Manchester Ship Canal - from Liverpool to Manchester; its first shipment will contain wine. A company statement said 50 lorries will be off the road each week, resulting in a saving of 1.1 million kilometres (683,000 miles) of heavy lorry journeys on British roads.

I'd personally love to see canals put back into regular use, as they are a wasted resource at present, catering mainly to holidaymakers. Let's hope this will encourage other companies to follow suit, and we might see them turn back into the working feats of engineering that they were built to be!

CarnabyStreet.jpgIt's nearing that time of year when London's West End will be set aglow by thousands of shining lights for the Christmas season, and I for one am all for it. Nothing could feel more festive than Christmas shopping on Oxford Street; mince pie in hand, carol singers harmonising, lights cheering up the winter sky above...it's almost enough to make you forget the throng of deranged shoppers you're struggling to fight off.

But what about the carbon footprint of all that merry-making? There's nothing jolly about that, I'm sure you'll agree. So it's great to see that Carnaby Street has chosen to use eco-friendly technology for its Christmas light display this year. The decorations will rely on existing up-lighters used to illuminate the street's shop fronts, so will require no extra electricity.

We'll be there to video the big switch-on, but so far I've heard rumours of giant paper chains, highly reflective material and extremely bright colours. I can't wait to see it come to life.

pink-ribbon-graphic.jpgAn article in today's Seattle Times issued a snappy warning to its readers: 'think before buying pink'. The advice here is not given in the name of good taste, but with more charitable concerns in mind.

With Breast cancer awareness month now under way, we're so used to buying pink products to support the cause, that fears have arisen over the authenticity of some of these 'charity' items. Think Before you buy Pink is an organisation set up to expose the rogue items, and make sure shoppers don't get caught out. In many cases, the catch is that companies will give a tiny fraction of the sale price to breast cancer charities, while they rack up profits.

Hedgehog036.jpgWith all those prickles, you might be mistaken for thinking the humble hedgehog can easily fend for itself, but it seems the once-common garden creatures are finding it harder and harder to co-exist with humans.

A steep decline in their numbers has recently led the UK's wildlife experts to add hedgehogs to the Biodiversity Action Plan for threatened species. What can you do to be a better host and prevent a further drop? Here are a few (pointy) pointers:

Hedgehogs have traditionally been welcomed in gardens because they provide excellent pest-control. But use of chemical pesticides has driven them out, since some are poisonous to them, despite the fact that 'hogs have developed immunity to a number of toxins that other garden critters can't handle. Avoiding the use of pesticides as much as possible will help create a kinder environment to this far cuter form of pest control.

Rubbish can be a real hazard to hedgehogs. Make sure you keep anything that hedgehogs and other small creatures could get tangled in sealed up in bins, particularly netting of all kinds, plastic containers, empty food cans, yoghurt pots, plastic mugs, etc.

whopays.gifAccording to UN figures, more than a billion people around the world exist in a state of dire poverty and gross inequality, around 70 per cent of them women. But don't despair; today is the 20th World Poverty Day, and there are all sorts of activities to get involved with that can help you make a difference to a problem being largely driven by our addiction to cheap goods.

In today's Independent, Action Aid has produced a supplement which outlines simple ways you can join the fight against extreme poverty and hunger all around the world. The charity has recently been working to raise awareness of the appalling conditions caused by supermarket price wars and their low-cost products.

Meanwhile, People Tree has chosen to mark the event with some really fun 'price tag' t-shirts at £20 each, with a £2.50 donation to Action Aid for each purchase (you can check out the designs ). If you'd like to spread the word to your friends and colleagues, you can forward this eshot to encourage them to add their support. The more awareness we collectively raise, the more Action Aid can do to campaign for basic rights to livelihoods, food, water and services

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Despite the fact that it is a signatory of the 1959 Antarctic treaty, which stipulates that no new claims shall be made over any land in the Arctic, the Foreign Office has revealed that Britain has made plans to extend its rights to oil, gas and mineral exploitation up to 350 miles offshore into the Southern ocean. A good proportion of the resources which Britain plans to extract from the Antarctic are yet to reach levels shallow enough for them to be mined, but fears nevertheless abound regarding the possibly detrimental impact which Britain's proposed move will have on the environment.

This proposal comes at the same time as WWF are calling for areas of the Antarctic to be turned into marine reserves in order to protect endangered species.

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It's like Madonna circa 1998 but this week business has gone all "Earth Mother" on us if current research is to be believed. Fresh from "the six tribes of green consumerism" now we've spotted some more research on how European business is prioritising climate issues.

Belgium is apparently the green man of Europe rating the environment in 2nd place as a business priority - ahead of profit (4th place). The UK also revealed a softer side with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and green issues ranked 3rd and 4th; customer service was number one. Yes, really.

cindy_livingston.jpgRecently our sister site Dollymix had the wonderful opportunity to interview Cindy Livingston, the President and CEO of Sequel AG, a new company that was created to to handle the growing European Union and booming international business of Guess Watches and Gc Watches. As well as being a successful and admirable businesswoman, Cindy Livingston is quite the humanitarian. One of Cindy's first priorities as the President and CEO of Sequeal AG was to to include philanthropy as part of its new Mission Statement, saying, “We have an opportunity and responsibility to expand upon all of the positive elements that have made our company and our brands respected around the world.”

The President of Interasia, Victor Ozeri, introduced Cindy to Safe House Ethiopia, which is a non-profit, walled compound in Addis Ababa that serves as a sanctuary for the poverty stricken children of the area. While there are little boys living at the Safe Horizons house, most of their guests are young girls, as it's not uncommon for a girl to quit school as early as 7 years old and be sent out to beg or engage in child labor for her family. It's incredibly dangerous for this young girls out on the streets, as many of the girls are even forced into child prostitution.

iphone.jpgAhead of the 'must-have' gadget's European debut, Greenpeace has launched an attack on Apple's claim to being a company with green credentials by releasing an analysis of the iPhone that finds toxic chemicals that have or are in the process of being eliminated by other mobile phone manufacturers.

According to Greenpeace, the iPhone contains toxic brominated compounds (indicating the prescence of brominated flame retardants (BFRs)) and hazardous PVCs.

Two of the “phthalate plasticisers” found at high levels in the iPhone headphone cable are classified in Europe as ‘toxic to reproduction, category 2′ and are banned from use in all toys or childcare articles sold in Europe.The report noted that Nokia is totally PVC free and that Motorola and Sony Ericsson already have products on the market with BFR free components. [Via TechCrunch]

Dreaming of a green Christmas already?

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Please forgive me for getting all festive on a glorious October day, but I couldn't help feeling a tingle of Christmas spirit creeping in when I saw this recycled sweater wreath on the Worsted Witch blog.

It got me thinking about what I might be able to recycle and turn into a decoration or present over the next few months. Time to gather together all those random bits of packaging, pretty paper and fabric that so often clutter up the house. But if that all sounds like too much hard work, you can always keep an eye our for recycled decorations: WWF Earthly Goods has loads to choose from, and don't forget you can buy recycled wrapping paper, like this selection at Natural Collection.

solar%20panels.jpgWe tend to think of solar panels as being shiny, flat and all looking much the same, but a Japanese company called Kyosemi is working hard to change our preconceptions about solar panels. In fact, its new flexible, spherical panels could be a lot more efficient at trapping light than the conventional sort.

Apart from the fact that they look futuristic and cool, spherical panels are more effective than flat ones because they can absorb sunlight at any angle. They optimize the use of direct and indirect light and convert energy with nearly 20% accuracy, far ahead any flat photovoltaic technologies.

uht%20milk.jpgI'm no scientist, but I always thought UHT stood for 'ultra high temperature', a belief that a quick google-search backs up. So I can't help being sceptical from the start about the government claim that switching from fresh to UHT milk would benefit the environment. Doesn't all that heating involve quite a lot of carbon emissions?

More to the point, anyone who's ever been on a camping trip, visited a hot country or purchased a cheap coffee from a vending machine will testify, UHT milk tastes pretty manky. At best, it's a last resort; at worst, a good incentive to go vegan.

How will using bad milk stop global warming? The theory is that if supermarkets stock mostly long-life, UHT milk, it will require less refrigeration, thus cutting down on carbon emissions.

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Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, the man from River Cottage, is doing for chickens what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners. He’s launching a campaign via the wonderful medium of TV to highlight the plight of battery hens and improve their conditions and lives.

The Chicken Out! campaign is Hugh’s bold attempt to make people wake up to the reality of eating chicken and all that it entails. Not only has he already managed to get his local restaurants in Axminster to go ‘Free Range’, but he’s mustering support from the likes of you and me in order to petition the supermarkets, farmers and government to get the problem resolved.

So sign the petition, and make people realise that a chicken that costs just £2 is an abomination!

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The CND National Conference and AGM takes place this weekend at City Hall. This is a chance for all CND members to discuss issues facing the CND in the coming year, and to offer suggestions for future campaign strategies. The resolutions agreed at last year's meeting make interesting reading, and the event promises to be a busy and productive one, in a year which has seen the CND fighting in style, with hard-hitting campaigns such as its Scrap Trident and American Missile Defence campaigns continuously grabbing headlines.

Unfortunately, the deadline for applications to attend has already passed, so unless you've already sent in an application form, you won't be able to be there. However, if you visit the CND 'Events Diary' page, you'll can keep abreast of all other events of interest to CND members and sympathisers.


al%20gore.jpgHe may not have made president, but Al Gore has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The award comes in recognition of Gore's efforts to "build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".

Gore is said to be delighted and deeply honoured at hearing the news. Earlier today he told reporters: "This award is even more meaningful because I have the honour of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the world's preeminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis -- a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years." He added that he would donate half of the $1.5m prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

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