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The decision to kill Shambo the sacred bull has been quashed by a High Court judge. The bull tested positive for bovine TB during a routine screening in May which means he should have been slaughtered, but Mr Justice Gary Hickinbottom overtuned the Welsh Assembly’s decision.

Destroying Shambo would be a "particularly extreme affront" to the Hindu community and a "serious infringement" of its beliefs, the High Court hearing in Cardiff was told. David Anderson QC told the judge: "He is an animal whose slaughter would constitute a violation of deeply-held religious views."

[via Sky News]

Related stories: Should Shambo be slaughtered?

Easypeelers_main.jpgPeter Rabbit Organics have extended their popular organic children's food range to include organic 'fun sized' fresh fruit. The range includes apples, bananas and these easy peel oranges, which come in a mesh bag, despite the fact that the company are already saying this will be changed to compostable packaging in the very near future. The Peter Rabbit organic fresh fruit line is available in 75 Waitrose stores across the country. While I'm all for promoting healthy eating for children it does concern me when products have to be associated with a brand, and we as parents end up paying a premium because there's a famous rabbit on the label! Hmm.

[via newconsumer.com]

Related: Grow your own organic fruit | Strawberry season is upon us! Try strawberry soured cream cheescake

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The mayor of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has led thousands of people in a "swimathon" in the Pearl River. The swimming event was designed to draw attention to the rivers recent clean up. The swim had been an annual event but was abandoned in the 1970s when pollution levels made the swim unsafe.

The 800-metre swim was, according to a state media release, to: "make the local residents become aware of the importance of pollution control." But some swimmers were unconvinced: "The water really stinks over there. You can see. The water's black."

[via Reuters]

Related stories:

plasticbag128.jpgLondon Councils are proposing a ban on plastic bags in shops, in an attempt to make the city more environmentally friendly. At the moment they are deciding whether an outright ban or a 10p levy would be the best measure. All 33 councils are behind the scheme, which will be put to MPs in November, and they hope that the public will also support the proposal. London's Mayor, Ken Livingston said "I am in favour of having a levy on plastic bags which could lead to a huge reduction in the use of plastic bags, cutting back on waste and helping our efforts to tackle climate change".

[via The Guardian]

Related: Review: Supermarket reusable bags


_44000062_new_pugh203.jpgEndurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh has completed a 1km swim at the North Pole to highlight the effects of climate change. The 37 year old lawyer from London swam for 18 minutes and 50 seconds in temperatures of minus 1.8C, which is the coldest water any human has ever swam in, wearing only a pair of skimpy trunks. He completed the challenge at 2am BST yesterday, swimming along a crack in the ice towards the geographic North Pole. Pugh described the moment he dived into the icy black water "the pain was immediate and felt like my body was on fire. I was in excruciating pain from beginning to end and I nearly quit on a few occasions". The reason for the swim was to highlight how Arctic waters are now much warmer due to global warming.

Related: More green news

airplane3.jpgThe UK government has announced that it is giving £40 million to the British aerospace industry to help fund Environmentally Friendly Engine, a £95 million development project. The aim of the project is to develop aircraft engines that are less noisy and produce less carbon and nitrogen. This is a worthwhile aim, but is it a smokescreen to cover up the environmental damage the aviation industry is causing? Is this an attempt to make flying appear more environmentally friendly than it really is, so passengers can feel more comfortable about flying? The real issue is one of lifestyle change. We all need to be aware of the dangers to our planet and our responsibilities in saving the planet. Are we prepared to make the changes necessary or are we just going to make token gestures that make us feel better and do little to reduce global warming? It is up to us to decide the planet’s future and by extension our own future.

[Via The Guardian]

bioplant.jpgSir Bob Geldof has joined Helius Energy Africa (Pty) Ltd as an advisor. The parent company, Helius Energy Plc, is planning to install and operate biomass powered electricity plants to meet the growing demand for energy in Southern Africa and the UK. Biomass technology is expected to provide around 50% of the world’s primary energy needs by 2050. Sounds impressive, but what is biomass and how does it work? Well, biomass is actually an organic material made from plant and animal matter that can be either liquid or solid and can be easily converted to electricity and biofuel. The types of material that can be made into biomass are things like wood (from forestry thinning and short rotation forestry) wood chips and residues from bio-ethanol processes among others.

The burning of biomass does produce carbon emissions, but the biomass actually absorbs CO2 and releases oxygen into the atmosphere, so overall the process produces less CO2 than it absorbs.

petantifur.jpgPETA US and animals rights supporter and vegetarian Stella McCartney are coming together to cohost the world’s first anti-fur protest on Second Life – a 3-D virtual world built and owned by its residents, which you can join at anytime from now until 29th July.

This demonstration will occur on a purpose built island in the Second Life virtual world and visitors can lend their virtual support. All those who participate will receive a goodie bag, chock full of anti-fur accessories, for their avatars to utilise in spreading awareness about the anti-fur campaign to the 8 million residents of this online settlement. Visitors can also donate money in the currency of the island (Linden dollars), which PETA US will exchange for real money to benefit animals.

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Food prices are expected to rise expected being particularly noticeable with wheat, milk, poultry and pork. Market inflation is due partly to increased demand for the products as world population rises, and partly due to bad weather decreasing crop yields.

Business advisory organisation Deloitte predicts that using more arable crops for production of bio-fuels will also have a knock-on effect on food prices as wheat and maize supplies become more and more in demand for both industries. Corn prices have already doubled in the last 18 months and the trend looks set to continue.

[via The Telegraph]

Related stories: Farmers want UK to be biofuels leader | UK organic food shortage

crowd.jpgA new report by the Optimum Population Trust has been published earlier this week stating that families should have a maximum of two children, as any more is damaging to the environment. The think-tank have worked out that over an 80 year lifespan, the average UK child will create the equivalent carbon footprint of 620 return flights to New York. When you factor into the equation that each child will have their own children, the carbon footprint gets even bigger. As well as their carbon footprint, there is the use of the Earth’s resources, water and food. The fact that the world is overpopulated is open to question. The think-tank obviously believes the world is not big enough to support the human population as it stands, and as it grows, the world will struggle to support us all.

[Via The Guardian]

meter.jpgThe government has signed a contract with four major electricity suppliers to install 40,000 smart meters as part of a two year trial. The purpose of the trial is to determine whether smart meters actually reduce people’s electricity consumption. It is hoped the smart meters will help people change the way they use electricity. The smart meters will have a clip-on display unit that shows electricity use in real time. This gives a much clearer indication of the cost of each electrical appliance as it is being used. Whether this will make people change the way they use electricity remains to be seen. I’m sure people will be more likely to turn off lights and appliances on stand-by once they see how much it is costing them. The aim is to have every home fitted with smart meters by 2017.

[Via The Guardian]

powerstation1.jpgThe main energy companies involved in the development of carbon capture technology want the government to give them £1 billion. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the process of capturing the CO2 emissions from large producers like power plants and then compressing and storing the CO2 in deep geological formations or in deep oceans. The technology to capture the CO2 exists, but the actual storage of the compressed CO2 is new and untested. This is where the energy companies want the government to invest. Although this will eliminate around 90% of the CO2 from power stations, the process itself is energy intensive, costly, and will produce its own CO2 emissions.

[Via The Guardian]

sugarcane.jpgThe EU is planning to give part of its $220 million in overseas aid to countries to invest in biofuel crop production. This is all part of the strategy to gradually use more biofuel and less petrol and diesel in both Europe and the USA. This is something that is hoped will make it easier to meet CO2 emission targets being set by governments across the developed world. Except in the USA, where there at present no targets are in place, and it seems the push for biofuels is more to do with independence from oil imports. While Western governments are touting the ecological benefits of biofuel, they are not giving us the whole picture. EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel acknowledges that turning land from food production to biofuel crop production could reduce food production and increase food prices.

[Via The Independent]

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China is cracking down on the use of diethylene glycol, a thickening agent used in antifreeze, in toothpastes. It is part of a series of measures by the Chinese authorities to boost consumer confidence in food and drink safety procedures.

In June 2007 America's FDA found that some Chinese toothpaste imported into the United States contained diethylene glycol.

(via Reuters)


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The Body Shop International is the first cosmetics retailer to commit to sourcing all its palm oil from sustainable sources. Irresponsible palm oil production is a significant factor in the drastic decline of the world's most ancient rainforests. The Body Shop will instead get their palm oil from sustainable plantations in Columbia.

Peter Saunders, Chief Executive Officer of The Body Shop, elaborated:

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