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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.


flood3.jpgIn the wake of a summer which saw many parts of Britain a bit too waterlogged for comfort, it is essential that Britain moves faster in its implementation of flood prevention recommendations, the Environment Agency's chief executive, Lady Young, warned yesterday.

After the summer's serious flooding, the Environmental Agency faced a deluge of criticism - to the extent that flood defence chiefs were told they should pay back the huge bonuses they'd received days before the flooding - when it was revealed that it had failed to meet both its key flood defence targets.

ecohouse.jpgIn what is believed to be the first move of this kind taken by a local council, St Albans City and District council have transformed a 1950s semi-detached house into an ecohome and opened it to visitors. The house's impressive range of energy-saving features includes a 1 kw wind turbine, solar thermal roof panels and a 4,700-litre rainwater-recycling tank.

The project has been awarded the Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practise by The Green Organisation. The Green Organisation is an independent company which seeks to recognise and confirm environmentally-aware practices in business and government. They state their aim as being to provide a service which operates not as an 'environmental watchdog' scheme, as so many other organisations do, but rather as a more positively focused, reward scheme system.

The contractor, Borras, also won a Considerate Constructor award for its successful use of so many recycled demolition materials in the creation of the house.

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Government environment ministers have today announced plans to build on the protected area of undeveloped land - otherwise known as the Metropolitan Green Belt - around London. Despite promises that only areas which are 'not high quality in conservation terms' will be built on, and that even then the only buildings to appear will come in the form of environmentally friendly 'ecohousing' and other green developments, the proposals have angered environmental campaigners.

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The government has pledged to almost completely eradicate the use of conventional light bulbs by 2012, with the phasing out process beginning in earnest next year. The move, which was announced at the end of last month by environment minister Hilary Benn, is said to have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than six million tonnes a year.

The government is also at pains to stress that, despite that fact that energy-saving light bulbs cost more to buy than their non-energy-saving counterparts, their use will ultimately save homeowners money, as they last up to 12 times as long as normal light bulbs and use nearly 80% less electricity. Just replacing one conventional light bulb with an energy-saving equivalent could save a household £7 a year.

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Energy-saving lightbulbs may help the environment, but it seems they are not yet quite up to scratch in other areas. In June it was revealed that some epileptics are reporting dizziness and discomfort as a result of using energy-saving bulbs. The cause of this is something of a mystery, given that the bulbs don't flicker at the rate usually considered necessary to cause effects in epileptics.

According to an article published yesterday in The Scotsman, concerns are now also emerging that energy-saving lightbulbs are not the safest option for those with poor eyesight - particularly those who are also elderly and not very steady on their feet. The very slight delay which energy-saving bulbs experience before reaching full brightness can prove a problem for these people.

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If you've got plans to redecorate your house, but don't want to alter the world, or your own lungs, in the process, then Ecos Organic Paints might be the answer. Most paints currently on the market are laced with nasty substances like formaldehyde and lead. Ecos produces the only range of guaranteed non-toxic paints in the world, for people who don't want to contribute to global warming or risk their health just for the sake of changing the colour of their walls. Ecos paints don't contain of the any animal products like bone or tallow fatty alcohol which are often found in other paints, either, so you can rest assured you're making a completely ethical choice when you buy them.

You can order a brochure or buy paint through the Ecos Organic Paints website.

Related: Earthboom: Paint the planet green with Oliver Heath

science%20museum.jpgProfessor Chris Ripley, new director of the Science Museum, has revealed plans for a £6 million exhibit showing people exactly how global warming has already affected the planet, and what implications it could hold for the future. Ripley is at pains to stress that the purpose of the exhibition is not to promote a particular course of action, but to allow people to "come to their own conclusions" about which policies should be put in place in response to global warming.

The exhibition is not due to open until 2009, but, in the meantime, a small trial run exhibition opens next week in the Science museum's Wellcome wing, focussing in particular on the role of biofuels in cutting levels of carbon emission.

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A list of countries which ranks their relative environmental impacts, from most environmentally friendly to least, has just been released. The list was created by US environmental economist Matthew Kahn, using the United Nations' 2006 Human Development Index and the 2005 Environmental Sustainability Index. Factors taken into consideration included renewable energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and conservation efforts. General quality of life was also looked at, with things like levels of education, employment and health swaying final results as well as environmental concerns.

According to the list, Finland is the most environmentally friendly country. Ethiopia was judged to be the least environmentally friendly. In general, Scandinavian countries came out on top, and countries in Asia featured nearer the bottom of the list.

walmart.jpgIn a bid to shake its image as an evil, money-grabbing multinational, and show that it cares, the world's largest retailer, Walmart, has launched a campaign to become a more environmentally friendly company. Plans are in place to improve waste reduction and energy efficiency measures across all its stores, factories and transportation vehicles. It has even launched a website, Walmart Green, where it showcases the energy efficient appliances, recycled furniture and organic cotton clothes and bedding that it now sells.

Critics are saying, however, that simply going green is not enough to win Walmart the status of an ethical company, and that they are using it as a diversion tactic to draw attention away from the fact that they refuse to improve conditions and wages for their workers.

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The country's greenest house has just been sold at a profit of £625,000. Aaron and Raphaella Curtis, who have a whopping eight children, made the brave move of acquiring a site next to a partially demolished viaduct, and creating their own eco home. The move was initially greeted with scepticism by their friends - the same friends who are now eating their words in the face of the extremely lucrative sale which the Curtis family has just made.

The building's walls are made of recycled material, and it uses solar panels and a condensing gas boiler. The materials were all locally sourced to eliminate the need for transporting them over large distances. The house has won a sustainability prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and it was named Norwich and Peterborough Eco-house of the Year.

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Uncharacteristically clear summer skies (Yes, really; the clouds were mostly sent our way –Ed) have caused havoc in the Arctic, allowing sunlight to filter through and melt huge volumes of ice.

Scientists from Canada's Queen's University were shocked to see temperatures rise from the usual average summer temperature of 5C to an astonishing 22C on a field trip to the Arctic in July. Sea levels sank accordingly, and by September were the lowest ever on record. What makes the discovery even more shocking is that the temperature recordings were taken in one of the coldest places in the whole of North America, Melville Island.

norfolk%20broads.jpgThe RSPB warned today that increasing levels of pollution and global warming could signal the disappearance of the Norfolk Broads. The Norfolk Broads is Britain's largest protected waterway, and an important conservation site, home to some of the rarest plant and animal species in the country.

Current regulations mean that the environment is not required to be a priority for groups and authorities operating in the Broads. The RSPB is adamant that a change in policy would save the area from decline, saying that the problem will be 'difficult to tackle, but by no means impossible given sufficient will and resources from the government and its agencies'. With this in mind, the RSPB is pressing for a carbon budget to be set up in the Broads. They are also keen to implicate such plans as returning the dwindling population of wading birds to its far healthier state of 25 years ago, and ensuring that all food in local pubs is locally sourced.

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The results of a survey on reusable shopping bags conducted by the British Market Research Bureau on behalf of Guardian Limited were revealed today. The survey showed that, should supermarkets decide to scrap free plastic bags and instead offer reusable shopping bags, available at a small price, the majority of customers would be willing to pay.

Opinions were somewhat divided, however, on the amount of money they would be happy to part with. 14% of respondents believed £2 or more to be a fair price for a cloth bag which lasted at least a year, 50% regarded a price between 50p and £1 as reasonable for the same bag, and 11% wouldn't be prepared to part with more than 20p in exchange for it.

turner%20painting.jpgA team of scientists at the National Observatory of Athens have been looking at paintings created by artists such as Turner, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Hogarth in order to chart the changes in the atmosphere depicted at different periods in history.

This may seem a somewhat tenuous way of going about things, relying as it does a little too much on the artist's work being entirely an entirely realistic representation, but the idea certainly seems to be be making some waves in the scientific world. The correlation between sky colour and the number of pollutants present is helpful is showing them how the climate has altered naturally in the past, so that this can then be compared with how it has been changed by man-made pollutants in recent years.

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