Categories
Wellbeing

London offers 30k free trees to public

Thousands of trees are being given away in London, in a bid to increase greenery, cool the city, provide welcome shade, and prevent flooding. 

Fancy a pack for yourself? The Conservation Volunteers have partnered with Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to give away over 30,000 trees to be planted this autumn.

By planting more trees in London, the Mayor hopes that it will contribute to London being a greener, healthier place to live, and give everyone access to green outdoor spaces.

How can you get involved?

There are three different packs to choose from, each containing 50 trees: a hedgerow pack, a fruiting pack and a wildlife pack. While stocks last, you can order multiple packs – these are completely free and available for community groups, schools and other organisations.

“The extreme temperatures and fires that we saw across the capital this summer and the floods last year made clear just how vulnerable London is to the effects of climate change,” said Shirley Rodrigues, the Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy.

“Planting trees is one of the key ways we can reduce heat and the effects of flooding in our city, which is why the Mayor pledged an additional £3.1m for a mass tree-planting package to help limit the impacts of the climate emergency and the ecological crisis.”

Joe Coles, The Conservation Volunteers Tree Programme Manager, added: “By planting trees and working with nature, we can help to mitigate some of those impacts through the natural cooling properties that trees can impart. Not to mention the health and social benefits that come with spending time in greener more natural spaces.”

Applications can be made on the TCV website and, if you aren’t sure if you qualify, you can contact TCV at trees@tcv.org.uk for more information.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to The Conservation Volunteers to help support their efforts in creating and maintaining green spaces in the UK.

GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with The Conservation Volunteers to get out in nature and support our wildlife.

 

Categories
Planet

Couple saves hundreds of bird from Ian

Hurricane Ian decimated entire parts of the west coast of Florida. Weeks later, some areas in the region are without power following massive flooding and destruction.

As first responders have been distributing aid and getting to people and places who need the most help, many animals have been left at the wayside.

But that’s something that Will Peratino and his partner Lauren Stepp couldn’t do, making a plan to rescue their two lemurs and flock of 275 parrots.

The couple was urged to evacuate their home on Pine Island due to widespread damage to roads, supply lines, and other infrastructure due to the hurricane but they wouldn’t do it without their animals, so “Operation Noah’s Ark” was started to help catch, cage, and ferry all of them to safety. 

“We would not abandon them. I would never leave them. Never,” said Stepp, as volunteers worked on collecting the flock from dozens of coops at the Malama Manu Sanctuary. “If they cannot be fed or watered, they will die. And I can’t live with that.”

The bird’s food supply was beginning to run low as the downed bridges in the area made resource shipments next to impossible. Getting them off the island was going to help them survive. 

Many of the birds came from homes that could no longer care for them, as most are rare or exotic birds that people took in as pets.

An unintended positive of “Project Noah’s Ark” is other animals finding refuge with the rescuers. Bryan Stern, the founder, and leader of Project Dynamo, which found four boats for the mission, said his team has rescued at least six dogs, and three cats, and before Tuesday’s massive rescue, three birds.

Project Dynamo previously aided people trying to evacuate flooded areas and eventually helped support the mission. 

Inspired to act?

DONATE: If you want to help support people impacted by Hurricane Ian you can donate to Global Giving and their hurricane relief fund.

SUPPORT: Support local animal shelters and agencies trying to take care of animals without homes or shelters.

Categories
Planet

Endangered turtle hatches 41 eggs at Cali zoo

Turtles have become poster children for addressing ocean pollution. Many coastal restaurants have decided to use paper straws in lieu of plastic straws (which can severely hurt sea turtles), and a lot of imagery and marketing around the movement highlights turtles suffering. 

So with all that said, great news came out of the San Diego Zoo, when the zoo welcomed 41 hatchlings from the Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle species, a species of turtle native to South Asia.

The zoo is the first accredited organization in the US to successfully hatch and raise the species. 

“This is a thrilling moment for us at the San Diego Zoo, and an incredible step forward in the conservation of this species,” said Kim Gray, curator of herpetology and ichthyology at the San Diego Zoo, in a statement.

“We have been focused on caring for these turtles for a very long time, and part of that care is to gain a greater understanding of the species’ natural history. With the knowledge we gain here at the Zoo, we can better assist our partners in India to help this essential species thrive in their native habitat.”

The zoo had three of the Indian narrow-headed softshell turtles for 20 years in hopes that they would someday reproduce, as the species is endangered in the wild. The international pet trade, human harvesting for food, environmental pollution, and destruction of sand-bar habitats has significantly reduced their population. Scientists are now trying to determine just how many are left in the wild. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, which operates the zoo, has worked with the Turtle Survival Alliance, particularly the organization’s presence in India, to help host workshops that educate Indian communities about the interconnectedness between the health of native wetlands and rivers, and the well-being of local human populations.

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to support the San Diego Zoo and its work with the turtles you can always donate. 

SUPPORT: Support your local accredited zoos by just going and visiting. A lot of zoos around the US host wildlife restoration projects, and the price of admission helps keep those projects running.

Categories
Planet Wellbeing

Parisians can now swim in the Seine river

After 100 years, Parisians have been told they will soon be able to swim in the Seine river once again, thanks to anti-pollution work.

Swimming has been banned ​​in the river since 1923, due to high levels of pollution. Animal life in the river was also affected, but things seem to be turning around – for creatures and humans alike.

Efforts to transform the river began in 1990 when Jaques Chirac was mayor, and he promised to embark on cleaning up the river. The current mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has since invested some serious cash into reducing pollution in the Seine, committing €1bn (£879m) to restoration efforts.

Reportedly, wildlife has begun to return to the Seine, thanks to transformative initiatives that have reduced pollution in the river to far safer levels. Fish that once thrived in the river up until the early 1900s have begun to return, including salmon, eels, and catfish. Tourists and Parisians will no doubt follow soon, with plans to lift the ban on swimming in the Seine in 2025.

Swimming will be permitted in 23 places across the capital, including some in the city’s centre.

Cleaning up the Seine is just one of the measures Hidalgo is implementing ahead of the 2024 Olympics, which will be hosted by Paris. The closing ceremony will be held at the Trocadéro, which is just across from the Seine; just another reason why cleaning up the iconic river has been so important.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to River Cleanup to help keep plastic out of our rivers and oceans.

GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with The Rivers Trust to help clean up your local waterways.

 

Categories
Planet

Greenland shark gets protections

If you had to guess what vertebrae on the planet live the longest, you’d probably think it’s a type of bird, a tortoise, or maybe even a whale.

In reality the Greenland shark, an often overlooked animal, takes that title, living nearly 400 years.

Now the shark, a deep-dwelling nearly blind arctic fish, will have environmental protections in place for the first time. 

One consequence of the shark’s long lifespan is its vulnerability to overfishing, and even inadvertent capture. It’s estimated that about 3,500 individuals are accidentally caught as bycatch by demersal trawling (also called bottom trawling), longlines, and gill nets each year in the Northwest Atlantic, Arctic Ocean, and the Barents Sea, according to the IUCN, the global wildlife conservation authority.

This, along with historically targeted fishing pressure, has contributed to a decline of about 60% in the past 420 years. In 2020, the Greenland shark’s conservation status worsened from near threatened to vulnerable.

The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), an intergovernmental organization that uses science to manage fisheries, made a decision to add the shark to a protected list. 

“It was a long time coming, but not a long time in the life of a Greenland shark,” Sonja Fordham, president of Washington, D.C.-based Shark Advocates International, who attended the recent NAFO meeting in Portugal, told Mongabay. “We were glad that it finally went through, and it’s the first for that kind of protection for NAFO.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to help support other sharks around the world you can donate to Shark Alliance, a non-profit that helps protect them around the globe. 

SUPPORT: Do your best to avoid littering and throwing trash in spots that might lead to the ocean. If you’re at the beach and see some trash pick it up and put it somewhere it won’t get into the water.

Categories
Equality

Asda’s £1 winter warmer meal for over 60s

Asda has launched a ‘winter warmer’ meal for over 60s this winter priced at only £1.

With the cost of living crisis, we’re all feeling the need to penny-pinch this year – and as we move towards winter, the hot meals we all crave in colder weather will become inaccessible to many.

Because of this, Asda has launched its winter warmer initiative allowing 60s and over to enjoy soup, a roll and unlimited tea and coffee for £1.

This deal will be available in all of Asda’s 205 cafes all day, every day throughout November and December. This joins the ‘Kids Eat for £1’ which has since served 557,000 meals since it launched at the end of June 2022.

“We know that this winter is set to be incredibly hard for thousands of pensioners as they worry about how to keep themselves warm in the face of rising living costs and a fixed income,” said Mohsin Issa, Asda’s co-owner. “We’ve already been able to serve over half a million meals through our Kids Eat for £1 initiative in our cafes and we’re hoping our new offer of soup and hot drinks for over 60s will prove just as impactful for those who need it most.”

“Meanwhile, the cost of living grant programme led by Asda’s charity The Asda Foundation will support grassroots organisations who are providing a lifeline in their communities during these tough times.”

Additionally, Asda’s charity The Asda Foundation is offering funding worth £500k to support community groups that are struggling with rising operating costs or increased demand for their vital services in the current climate.

Individual grants for up to £2,000 will be available, with priority given to groups and charities who need assistance with energy costs or who will be running ‘warm banks’ for people who can’t heat their homes to keep warm this winter.

Asda will also be running a ‘Community Cuppa’ campaign, creating spaces for community groups to keep warm this winter with rising energy costs. Spaces will be available on weekdays in November and December from 2pm to 6pm, and everyone who attends will receive free unlimited tea and coffee.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to Fare Share to help people during the cost of living crisis.

GET INVOLVED: Donate to Hestia to help house people escaping domestic abuse situations.

 

Categories
Wellbeing

Youth crime in the US way down

Some believe that crime is rampant in the United States, but new reports from the US Department of Justice say otherwise: crime among youth has gone down drastically over the last three decades.

The report, which analyzed FBI data, highlighted that youth crime, crimes committed by those 17 and younger, has dropped 78% from its 1994 peak, and has been shrinking even more drastically in recent years. 

Law enforcement agencies made an estimated 424,300 arrests of youth in 2020, a 38% drop from the previous year and half the number from five years earlier. 8% were for a violent crime. One-fourth of one percent was for murder.

“These data reflect an encouraging trend—one that has in fact been developing over the last three decades—and offer a welcome counter-narrative to claims that youth crime is on the rise,” said Liz Ryan, Administrator of the Office of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

“They also give us reason to be optimistic about the course of juvenile justice reform, particularly efforts in many jurisdictions to replace harsh punishments with personal development opportunities and to design programs that build support into accountability.”

Overall the share of violent crime committed by youth has gone down drastically over the last decade. In 2010 youth made up 14% of all violent crimes, now it’s about half that. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to help support victims of crimes you can donate to Safe Horizon, an organization that helps victims get back on their feet.

SUPPORT: Help support children and the youth in your area. Spend time with your kids. Help support programs in your area to give kids something enriching to do. Programs like that help keep kids out of crime.

Categories
Planet

This EU vote on chargers will reduce waste

The EU parliament has passed a law requiring the USB-C to be the only charger for all smartphones, tablets and cameras from 2024.

This new law was adopted with a vote of 602 in favour, and 13 against. The hope is that the change will not only make life simpler and cheaper for EU citizens but also reduce waste generated by people buying new devices and retiring old cables. 

Companies that produce laptops will also have to follow this new law, though they have until 2026, rather than 2024, to make the switch.

In 2019, the average amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected in the EU Member States was 10.0 kg per inhabitant.

The switch to USB-C is expected to save €200 million euros ($195 million) per year and cut out over one thousand tons of EU electronic waste every single year, according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day for our environment,” said Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba. “After more than a decade; the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world.” 

“This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give your old electronics to Recycle Your Electricals to reduce waste and help someone in need.

GET INVOLVED: Get involved with The Restart Project, a people-powered social enterprise that aims to fix our relationship with electronics.

 

Categories
Culture

NASA succeeds first test of its kind

It appears we won’t be going out like the dinosaurs, as NASA sent a spacecraft out to intercept a massive asteroid called Dimorphos 6.8 million miles from Earth to test our capability at blocking future interstellar threats.

The mission – known as DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) – was humanity’s first attempt at moving another space celestial body. The project hopes to expand our defense against asteroids and other bodies that may threaten to impact Earth in the future. 

“At its core, DART represents an unprecedented success for planetary defense, but it is also a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As NASA studies the cosmos and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this international collaboration turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating one way to protect Earth.”

The program represents a step forward into a new era. 

“[It’s] an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous, hazardous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, Nasa’s planetary science division director. “What an amazing thing. We’ve never had that capability before.”

The project also serves as a symbol that can potentially unify people across the globe. 

The asteroid impact was the first stage of the project and in about two months researchers will know if the attempt at moving the asteroid was a success.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: If you want to help support the love of space you can donate to the Houston Space Center.

SUPPORT: Explore and research space. Cultivate a love of science and discovery. You never know who might make the next great discovery.

Categories
Planet

Quality Street moving to green packaging

Quality Street chocolates are going green, with recyclable wrappers for your favourite Christmas treat.

The range of sweets, owned by Nestlé, attempted to phase in green packaging back in 2008 with a compostable cellulose layer, but found it was still tossed in the bin in most households.

Now, with the climate crisis on everyone’s minds, they are trying again – this time with recyclable paper wrappers.

It marks a switch away from shiny plastic wrappers, in the 86 years since Harold Mackintosh launched the chocolates in 1936. The hope is that it’ll keep 2bn wrappers a year out of landfill.

Nine out of the 11 sweets will make the move to recyclable paper wrappers, rather than their foil and plastic ones that are used currently. The other two, orange crunch and green triangle, already use recyclable foil so they do not need to make the switch.

“With nine different sweets to consider, the transition has been a huge undertaking,” said Louise Barrett, Head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York. “Each of our existing machines need to be adapted to run paper and then rigorously tested by our packaging experts to ensure we’re still delivering the same quality consumers expect when they open a box of Quality Street.

“We hope the fact that our famous sweets are now recyclable will make finding your own Quality Street favorites even more popular this year.”

These brand new paper wrappers will be covered in a specially designed vegetable-based coating, designed to keep the sweets as fresh as ever, without preventing the recycling process.

The switch will take several months to fully implement, meaning that when you go to stock up your Christmas stash this year you may find a mix of packaging.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to WRAP, to help reduce waste associated with food products.

GET INVOLVED: Get stuck in with Keep Britain Tidy, to help reduce waste, increase recycling and keep rubbish off our streets.