De Montfort University retains its’ Fairtrade University status!

De Montfort University became a Fairtrade University in March of 2010 and has now been a Fairtrade University for 6 years. In order to become a Fairtrade University the student union and the university had to achieve 5 goals. You can read the goals by following this link: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/about-dmu-documents/dmu-estate/environmental/fairtradepolicydmu2.pdf

Being a Fairtrade University ultimately means that staff and students who purchase products on site are contributing to and supporting the Fairtrade movement led and co-ordinated by the Fairtrade Foundation.

The university sells a large number of Fairtrade products in shops on campus and uses Fairtrade ingredients in all food made on site; all the sugar that is used on campus for baking is Fairtrade sugar, and the coffee sold on level 1 of the campus centre is puro Fairtrade coffee. You can find these Fairtrade products sold around campus at the following sites…

  • Coffee Lab– Fletcher Building and Kimberlin Library
  • Cafe Del Marche– Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Level 1 –Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Shop– Campus Centre Building
  • Oasis Café– Hugh Aston building

In order to show that De Montfort University is continuing to promote Fairtrade and continues to meet the 5 goals of being a Fairtrade University, the university must submit information to the Fairtrade Foundation to evidence how it is doing this.

The university has recently renewed its’ Fairtrade Status, and have just recently been re-accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation as a Fairtrade University! The university will therefore continue to support the improvement of the standards of workers around the world by using Fairtrade ingredients and raising awareness for the cause!

What Is Fairtrade?

‘There are over 1.4 million farmers and workers in 1,140 producer organisations across the Fairtrade system’ Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade is simply, fair trading. The Fairtrade Foundation, the organisation behind the Fairtrade Mark, focuses on social, economic and environmental development and aims to ensure growth in countries which supply Fairtrade produce and ensures that farmers are paid fairly for their work and have more control over their own lives.

The organisation was established in 1992 by CAFOD and has been going for 22 years now.

Fairtrade also works with other partner organisations to license the use of the Fairtrade mark; this mark shows that the product complies with Fairtrade standards. The basic Fairtrade key objectives of the standards are:

  • ensure that producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production;
  • provide an additional Fairtrade Premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development;
  • enable pre-financing for producers who require it;
  • facilitate long-term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process;
  • set clear core and development criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all Fairtrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible.

You can find more information about Fairtrade standards by following this link: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards.html

The partners working with Fairtrade have links in the same pool but also do a lot of other great work separate to the organisation, below are just a number of the partner organisations

CAFODChristian AidOxfam,TraidcraftGlobal Justice Now, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Banana Link.

http://www.fairtrade.net/about-fairtrade/our-partners/our-strategic-partners.html

Why is Fairtrade important

The work that the Fairtrade Foundation does puts power in the hands of people, helping to give farmers the ability to sustain themselves and their families and have food security.

If you see the Fairtrade mark, as shown above, this means it has been sourced from small scale farmers and plantations that meet the Fairtrade standards

‘The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Find out where to buy Fairtrade products by clicking here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/buying-fairtrade

The Fairtrade organisation has a very transparent approach to how they work. You can check out the pricing information for Fairtrade items here: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards/price-and-premium-info.html

Leicester is a Fairtrade City!

Leicester became the second Fairtrade city in Britain in 2002; a 5 year manifesto was put together to ensure standards are kept up. You can check out Leicester City’s 5 year manifesto here: https://thelivinglabiesd.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/leicester_fairtrade_5year_manifesto.pdf

The main aim was to ensure food that comes in to the city is of good standards.

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight is a campaign that runs over the course of 2 weeks annually, this 2016 it ran from the 29th February until the 13th March and engages communities and groups with the Fairtrade movement.

Although the fortnight lasts only 2 weeks, it is still important to give thought to those who produced the food that we buy and eat.

Martin Luther King famously said ‘Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world’.

Just Fairtrade

Just Fairtrade is a shop in Leicester city centre; it was originally set up by Sarah and ran as a pop up shop for 5 years until they eventually moved into a rented facility to become a permanent business. Just Fairtrade has since been up and running for 15 years and will be celebrating 20 years as an organisation in the coming year!

The shop are predominantly made up of volunteers, with only 2 or 3 people being paid a full wage, and the main organiser Sarah, working full time as a volunteer. (You can find more information about the team here: http://justfairtrade.com/what-we-do/the-team/) The main driving force for the business is not the income, but in fact raising awareness about Fairtrade, in turn Just do lots of work with schools to help raise awareness amongst young people.

The items sold at the Just store are shipped in by a family business based in Market Harborough. The majority of materials sold are from southern countries such as India and Africa.

Alongside raising awareness here, Just also do a lot of work with communities in the countries where the products are made, to teach about how to sell in countries like England and the British consumer buying needs and habits, this helps the communities to create items which can be properly directed towards their target audiences.

Many of the items sold at the shop exist as a one off, so if you find you come across something that you like, snatch up the opportunity to make it yours before someone else does, as it may not come into stock again!

Just have numerous events going on throughout the year that are open to all; during the Fairtrade Fortnight, they hosted an Olive farmer named Mohammed Hamada who spoke about his experience of fair trade in Palestine.

People of all ages who are seeking experience/ voluntary work, can get in touch with Just Fairtrade who will be happy to have the help and to help you!

See their website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Website: justfairtrade.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/justfairtrade

Twitter: @JustFairtrade

Stand up for farmers when you sit down for breakfast!

 

Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner at De Montfort University.

The Results of This Year’s Green Impact at DMU

This year, our Green Impact scheme at DMU has been outstanding! And like each year before, Sustainable DMU enjoys celebrating the accomplishments of staff and students who have been involved, by hosting an awards Ceremony for those involved. Please follow the link to find out more information about the scheme.  http://sustainability.nus.org.uk/green-impact

The ceremony is an opportunity to recognise the accomplishments of both staff members and students who have participated in the Green Impact project. This year the teams have completed 700 environmental actions including actions on waste reduction, recycling, saving energy reducing carbon emissions and engaging with other staff members in their directorate and faculty. Nearly 5000 actions have been completed over the course of the 7 years that De Montfort University have been involved in the scheme.

The NUS Green Impact scheme allows staff and students to use an online workbook, which has a range of environmental actions which combined will significantly help to reduce carbon footprints on campus; these range from fairly easy actions, to much larger and slightly more difficult actions. Those who have been involved with the scheme for a number of years will be able to progress towards a higher level of achievement, having completed the other easier tasks in previous years, whilst those who have just joined will complete easier actions.

The scheme helps to break down boundaries and to build staff and student relations as staff notably appreciates the input that the students have had in aiding with their progress. It also offers students the opportunity to build their personal portfolios, with an Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) accredited environmental auditing scheme, whilst staff are able to prove that they can actively adapt to change and are contributing to a more sustainable future at DMU.

On the day the ceremony was hosted by Environmental and Sustainability Officer Karl Letten, Green Impact Frontrunner Sebastian Schellerer and Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner Rebecca Mason in the Trinity Chapel. The room was packed full of excited guests ready to receive a well-deserved award handed over by guest, Professor Paul Fleming from the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) in the Faculty of Technology.

The ceremony began at 12pm and ran until 1pm beginning with a short discussion from Karl Letten about the Green Impact scheme and the work that has been achieved so far; this focused mainly on the past year and was followed by a speech from NUS representative, Rachel Soper, as well as thanks and praise to the teams and to Karl from both Frontrunners, Sebastian and Rebecca.

After introductions and thanks, it was time stuck into handing out the awards!

The awards handed out were as follows:

Bronze

FOTAC

QEII Leisure Centre

Silver

4th Floor Flyers

Strategic and International Partnerships

Gold

Learning Support Centre

ITMS

Green POD

Excellence

Estates Development

Estates Services

Student and Academic Services

Finance Greens

Executive, Governance and Legal Services

Special Awards

ITMS – Innovation

Green POD – Engagement

ITMS – Community

Learning Support Centre – Most Improved Team

QEII Leisure Centre – Best New Team

Environmental Hero’s

Student – Cybeles Nunziata

Student – Sara Williams

Student – Wing Tang

Staff – Amanda Thorley

Project Assistants

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Nizam Patel

Cybeles Nunziata

Environmental Auditors

Richa Singhal

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Gaza Nathaniel

Cybeles Nunziata

Special Projects for the Excellence Awards

Green Impact team who have previously gained the Gold standard award have the opportunity to undertake a special project on an environmental topic of their choosing. These special projects are awarded with an Excellence standard.

The first project was run by  Student Academic Services, Estates Development and Estates Services, who organised and ran two biodiversity projects including bulb planting on the grass area in front of the Edith Murphy building and outside of the Kimberlin Library. The bulb planting element used bulbs which produce flowers rich in nectar which is ideal for bees when they come out of hibernation. The second element of the project was a bat box making workshops which included background information on bat ecology from Conservation Officer Nathalie Cossa who is fluent in all things bats from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Nathalie presented on the lives of bats, how they are going extinct and how we can help them out.

The second project was run by the Finance Team who worked towards reducing paper use and recycling by cleaning out their archives and moving some forms to electronic formats so they would not need to print them off; they also ran iPad training sessions for senior management. Through their efforts the team managed to recycle over 210 bags of paper which is a tremendous achievement.

image2.JPG

The third was run by Trinity House and is an ongoing project focused around biodiversity in the gardens that is looking into the possibility of having beehives on campus. The project is currently in the process of bringing in a local ecologist to come and give advice on the project.

Our top performer this year was the ITMS team, winning four separate awards

DMU-green impact 2016-4139.jpg

Whilst our environmental heroes shone with their awards…

We were excited to welcome the Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre as our best newcomer.

DMU-green impact 2016-4130.jpg

All award winners received a goody bag handmade from recycled newspaper which included a bicycle seat cover, a recycled drinks bottle, a Divine Fairtrade chocolate bar, a pedometer and instructions on how to make your own paper bag.

DMU-green impact 2016-4143.jpg

You can download this template to make your own recycled newspaper (or paper) bag here… http://www.noteworthy.com/templates/paper_bags 

Special thanks go out to the Estates Maintenance Services gardening team, who spent a lot of their time assisting with projects and by providing materials to do so.

Each year involvement with the Green Impact scheme advances; next year we expect the amount of teams to grow and produce some brilliant projects and subsequent results! All those at DMU are welcome to join in and we appreciate any level of involvement.

If you would like to get involved with the Green Impact scheme next year, please get in touch with Karl Letten, Environmental and Sustainability Officer (kletten@dmu.ac.uk).

DMU-green impact 2016-4137crop.jpg

Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

Green Impact Awards Ceremony 2015 – 2016

Green Impact Awards Ceremony 2015 – 2016

On Tuesday 24th May, we will be hosting the ‘Green Impact Awards Ceremony’ to show our appreciation to staff and students who took part in efforts to improve environmental performance and reduce carbon footprints at DMU as part of the Green Impact scheme.

Green Impact (http://www.green-impact.org.uk/ ) is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme that is organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), which runs in various universities around the UK and is soon to spread into the NHS, Local authorities and other businesses. It teaches simple ways to tackle environmental issues internally, with the hope that these will in turn become daily practices used at the respective workplace.

The scheme works under the basis that staff teams in different faculties and departments at the university aim to complete a criteria of actions comprised of small and large tasks over the course of the academic year. Different levels of achievement can be obtained by completing the tasks that fall under one of the categories which are bronze, bronze+, silver, gold, and excellence. Student volunteers support staff by auditing progress to help staff to achieve these goals;this helps to build positive relationships between staff and students.

Green impact awards ceremony slideshow picture

The scheme has been running for 7 years and in total has seen nearly 5000.environmental actions achieved. This year however saw 700 environmental actions completed by staff and student teams and a number of environmental projects have been run including building bat boxes, planting wildlife friendly bulbs on campus to increase biodiversity, and reducing paper use in our Finance Directorate.

Other participating teams undertook environmental tasks which included:

  • Putting up signs which explain how to use double sided photocopying
  • Setting printers to duplex by default
  • Using tap water instead of bottled water in meetings
  • New staff have an environmental induction
  • They produce a lighting and equipment responsibility plan to make sure all equipment is turned off at the end of the day

 

Written by Rebecca Mason – Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day was born out of the Environmental movement that began in the 1970’s;  and the celebration is now in it’s the 46th year and is growing with each passing celebration.

The movement began as a reaction to a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara which shook the world. Before this movement, thinking about the consequences that our actions might have on the environment was not commonplace. As we continued to guzzle fuel and consume at our own conveniences, this has unfortunately, over time resulted in serious consequences.

Scientists around the world have been carrying out research to get to grips with the weight of the issue and the problems we face; their research has provided devastating outcomes, proving the huge impact long term actions have led to.

Our mass consumption and need for materials has depleted forests and land; due to tree felling and commercial/ residential building, resulting in the displacement, extinction and endangering of thousands of species of animals around the world. Our unabated use of fossil fuels has also created a ‘greenhouse effect’, brought about by the build-up of gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) at an unmanageable rate, subsequently leading to Global Warming and the accelerated rise in sea levels.

Although this information arose years ago, our reactions have been slow; it has only been in recent years that we have seen change in our thoughts towards the environmental issues. Last year the Paris Climate Summit marked a step towards change for many, but is it really enough…? In order to make change happen nationally and worldwide, we must tackle these issues on a personal, community based and local level.

Today, many around the world are getting stuck in to do their bit to help their environments and raise awareness. You can find out where this is happening closest to you, and get involved by clicking here.

If you’re in Leicester, you can do your bit by joining Leicester’s annual earth day clean-up, on April 24th from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. where they will be meeting at the Town common to get stuck in! http://keepmassbeautiful.org/event/leicester-annual-earth-day-clean/

We’ve compiled a list of 10 top tips for you to do to keep your carbon footprint at an all time low and become part of the growing movement!

  1. Leave lights off
  2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
  3. Donate to charity
  4. Shop Fairtrade, local, seasonal, organic and unpackaged
  5. Go meat free
  6. Re use your shopping bags
  7. Donate to charity
  8. Walk/ bike to work
  9. Make sure your coffee is Fairtrade or part of the rainforest alliance and use a reusable cup
  10. Keep electricals off and unplugged, but if you must stay online, go paperless

Remember these tips can be used everyday, long term! If you are looking for more information about how to keep your carbon footprint low, FOR GOOD, check out this great website http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/

Get on top of those small not-so-eco -friendly habits.

 

Thinking generally, you could probably break your life down into a number of categories, this doesn’t stand the same for everyone, but helps to identify some main groups.

What many don’t realise is that when seeking ease and comfort, expenditure increases dramatically, but can in fact create less comfort in other areas of life. By thinking about how you consume, you cut out the need for relying heavily on others and also pressures in other areas of your life.

Study

Habits

Print off as little as possible, back up files and keep them online, this reduces waste and saves time, money and trees.

By using a laptop this will also save more energy than using a desktop computer, however keep it energy efficient with continued maintenance.

Long hours in the library mean food cravings and coffee breaks…keep a flask on hand and think ahead with a packed lunch of Fairtrade treats.

Research

Perhaps factor in some environmental issues, facts and figures into your studies, and spread the message to get everybody else on board. Many don’t realise the implications of long term habits until research is carried out which shows comparative figures, by researching into this, you can teach others to cut carbon footprints with the shock factor.

Job

Office

            Offices chuck out so much waste, from paper, to ink cartridges, to electricity; however, with long term rules and habits set in place, it’s difficult to make change happen. Unfortunately, not everybody will be as environmentally focused as others; however it isn’t too hard do to just a little bit that will make a great difference…

Ensure your office uses recycled paper, and also recycle your paper and other waste. Make sure everyone switches off their computer at the end of the day, even at the wall, install energy efficient lights and use other energy efficient electrical items such as laptops and kettles.

Health

Keeping healthy by getting up and about and cutting down on things like smoking, bad eating habits and generally being a couch potato, will help to put less pressure on your body and on healthcare services.

Hobbies

Many of us have been a bit guilty of slacking off or procrastinating with a hobby that keeps us happy, for instance, playing guitar, drawing or reading a book. If you’re into reading books, perhaps you can donate the ones that you have already read and have no future plans for, and switch to a hi-tech reading method such as using a kindle.

If you like to play guitar or the drums, keep it unplugged and use less electricity.

Home

Décor

Go zero waste…reuse, make and mend, recycle, compost and give to others.

There are some really simple ways to cut down on energy usage at home, such as using a colder setting on your washing machine (30 degrees) and doing a large load on a quicker was, unless clothes are really soiled they shouldn’t need any longer than 30 minutes. Refrain from using a tumble dryer by hanging clothes outside or on a rack.

Self

            5 minutes in the shower will use around 25 – 30 litres of water. Keep shower time to a minimum and use a water efficient shower head and instantly save money on water bills.

Ensure your clothes suppliers practice fair trading and equal pay for workers, and buy second hand, pass it down or go to charity shops wherever possible http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

Get sturdy shoes made from natural materials, which will last a lifetime and when investing make up, make sure it is natural and kind to skin, but also not tested on animals.

Food

We live in a luxury world where we can get our hands on almost anything we want throughout the year even if it isn’t in season, whether that’s strawberries, or coconut. Growing your own vegetables and fruits cuts out the carbon footprint of transporting veg and fruit from other countries and also cutting the costs that you would pay for the product itself if bought from a store. A big plus is knowing that unwanted pesticides usually used on mass grown crops won’t be an issue for your health or the environment.

If you can’t grow your own and have to buy foods in, find a local market which sells locally grown produce and use a handy cotton bag to take it home in. If you have no market nearby try to buy Fairtrade.

Social

Nights Out

On a night out, try a microbrewery, where beer is made on site, this cuts out the need for transporting the beer from other places, microbreweries tend to cut the chemicals too, which means less of a hangover in the morning. (It usually tastes better too)

Gigs, Theatre, Clubbing…

Unless the walk to the strip is an hour away, walking somewhere will always be more energy and cost efficient and will also be better for your health. If you plan to go with a friend, you can share a car or a taxi to get there, or perhaps you could just take a taxi on the way back (when you’re less coherent) and walk to the club on the way there; keep some foldable flats in your bag if you’ve had enough of the heels…http://www.scholl-shoes.com/gb_en/ballerine-flats/pb-bow-syn-w-black-3.html

Nights In

Nights in give you the opportunity to choose exactly how your night goes, this means you can choose to have the most enjoyable eco-friendly night possible.

If you’re thinking about sitting down with a glass of wine, make sure it’s from the UK or France and is boxed in cardboard; not so classy, but you can fool people by decanting the wine. This chops a large amount off of the carbon footprint, by cutting out airtime.

Get your hands on a growler (reusable beer bottles) and fill them up at a local bar or shop, this way you cut out the packaging process and use of extra unnecessary materials.

Experiences

Choose to go to a festival that is environmentally conscious this year, make sure you pack waste bags, make good use of the recycling spots and take all of your stuff home with you.

2016 – To Expect, To Do, To Aim for…

The last post was about how to be more sustainable, but we’d also like to give you a few tips on ways in which you can stay healthy, sustainable and enjoy the natural surroundings whilst you do so in the coming months.

So as we are well under way into the New Year, I’m sure some great new year’s resolutions have been made, perhaps you’ve committed to no chocolate or being more healthy and happy. If your new year’s resolutions have been focused around being more environmentally friendly here are some ways which you can stay on track with being green.

What can you expect from the New Year?

Last year saw the 2015 21st Conferences of the parties, with an agreement drawn up to keep the attending countries on track; The conferences ran from the 31st November until the 8th of December, rolling on from these, 2016 will be seeing a major shift in attitudes towards climate change…it’s time to get mean and green.

What’s happening?

Here are some notable dates for your diary this year along with some sustainable tips and ideas which to help you to keep on track with eco-friendly new year’s resolutions.

January

Burns Night, held on the 25th of January, is a traditional Scottish day remembering the works of Poet, Robert Burns. Traditions include eating haggis, drinking whiskey and reciting poems and speeches. Perhaps this is a chance to turn all of the lights off and get cosy around some candles.

‘Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day’ on January the 17th is the most common day to break promises that you made to yourself a fortnight ago on New Year’s Day. Will you pull through and stay determined to take on those sustainable resolutions!? We’re rooting for you!

For ways to keep on track check out our previous post.

February

Go Green Week – Go Green Week is an initiative that is run by People and Planet in Universities across the UK; it runs from 8th -13th February.

Get involved or run your own Go Green Week by organising events for staff and students, you can get help with this by getting in touch with People and Planet, or you could do your own Go Green Week later on in the year.

London Fashion Week on the 19th – 23rd will see newly inspired designs from high end designers from around the world. This spring/ summer we’re in for some nature inspired trends, here’s hoping they back it up with nature friendly materials and Fairtrade fabrics.

Valentine’s Day on the 14th, is a step deeper into a relationship or perhaps the start of a new one; make sure to choose Fairtrade coffee and juice for the morning breakfast in bed and also Fairtrade chocolate for your gift explain to your partner your thought process behind buying these items and they’ll seem all the more sweeter.

By picking flowers for your loved one that you can’t plant in your garden, you’ll also be helping to create a bio diverse environment for insects like bees.

Again, this could be another chance to ditch the fake lighting and dine romantically candle lit style, remember if you’re cooking to eat seasonably and buy local and organically reared/ grown produce.

Lent is a 40 day period in the Christian calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday (10th February) in preparation for Easter Sunday.

Most people use this period of time however, to give up something that they do not need like chocolate or cheese; some even use it as a means to get the ball rolling to quit a bad habit like smoking. Perhaps this year you could make your lent experience a sustainable one, by giving up using the car or by not using the kettle and drinking water instead of coffee.

March

World Wildlife Day on the 3rd is a day organised by the United Nations, which encourages people to get #seriousaboutwildlifecrime.

Get involved by sharing the hashtag and media material which you can get access to via this link – http://www.wildlifeday.org/content/social-media-images

This Mother’s Day on Sunday 6th, why not carry on a similar theme from Valentine’s Day and give your mother some well-deserved Fairtrade chocolates and some potted flowers which of course you will offer to plant in the garden as part of the present.

We all know Easter as a time for the Easter bunny to bring us chocolate eggs, make sure you helping those who grow the cocoa beans to put food on the table for their families by buying Fairtrade chocolate eggs. You could also create an orientation style game where you have to find a hint embroiled in a sustainable fact which will take you to the next egg.

April

Planning a trip – Those in jobs will be beginning to think about booking some time off for a well-deserved holiday later on in the year. This year, why not make it an eco-holiday by choosing to fly less and cut down on your carbon footprint and stay in the UK by going on a walking or cycling holiday; you could travel around the Yorkshire dales equipped with a tent or trail along the Whitby hills and experience Gothic week!

Many communities do however rely on tourism to keep afloat, so if you’re still considering a trip abroad, perhaps make it one where you can give something back into the community by giving a helping hand and getting stuck in or by choosing an area which will benefit from the tourism you will bring. If you’re stuck for ideas, follow the link for some examples and offers http://sustainabletravel.org/     /    https://www.gadventures.co.uk/about-us/sustainable-tourism/

Or even choose a rainforest alliance hotel which ‘benefit local communities, ecosystems and wildlife’ http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/travel

Fool family and friends this April Fool’s Day on Friday 1st by taking them on a ‘nice trip out’ to actually get stuck in with local eco and sustainable projects, they’ll end up feeling great about doing a bit for the environment. You can also serve up some great and tasty foods which look and taste like meat or disguise their most hated vegetable in a pie, and wait for them to chow down before you tell them what is actually inside…you never know, it might just make them realise what they’ve been missing!

Keep on your feet this World Health Day on Sunday 7th by choosing to break those lazy Sunday habits and go for a run, cycle or walk. Make sure you follow your exercise up with a healthy hearty dinner with locally and organically grown and reared food.

May

This Early May Bank Holiday on the 2nd, perhaps you could choose to get on top of those New Year’s resolutions you promised yourself in January or you may even want to create new ones.

On the 8th to the 10th are the European Clean-up days, all over Europe and in some non-European union countries. Over the course of these days groups come together to organise mass clean-ups which aim to help to remove the waste from environments that endangers eco systems and wildlife; you can get involved by following this link to find places near you who run campaigns and projects – http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/home/481

June

World Ocean Day held on the 8th is a day of celebration for our oceans and host of sea creatures that lie beneath, you could get involved by organising a sea theme celebration to raise awareness and have fun.

It is no secret that we are currently going through a refugee crisis, World Refugee Day on raises awareness about the poor conditions that refugees have to live in a stressful situations they go through,

This Father’s Day on Sunday 21st, treat your dad to a bit of know-how about being environmentally friendly.

Here are some ideas to keep your dad engaged with environmental issues:

Create a t shirt or a mug with eco-facts that he could use or wear to show his friends that he’s interested in a good cause or take him to a wildlife park and make a donation in his name to show support for endangered animals.

July

Festival Season! This summer pick a festival which prides themselves on being green, such as Glastonbury or Latitude. Large festivals already have a huge impact on the environment so give the organisers a helping hand by taking general waste, recycling and compost bags to reduce your waste.

Eat cold foods which you don’t need gas heat to cook with and remember give items to salvage if you don’t want them anymore, this way they will be donated to people in need.

There will be more information on how to stay sustainable in further months in time, we hopes this keeps you on track for now!

Here are some other environmental dates for your diaries.

COP 21 – The conference of the parties – Outcomes

Framework

On November 30th – December 11th world leaders from 150 countries joined to set out a parent agreement to the Kyoto protocol of which ended in 2012, to reduce the negative effects of 150 years of industrial work on the earth and climate, over the next 30 years. The 2015 drafted agreement will be approved and further implemented in 2020 aiming to make changes by 2030 – 2050 at the latest.

The conventions took into account the ‘Ababa Action Agenda of the third International Conference on Financing for Development’ and ‘the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction’ and also considers  many other factors that are not usually seen as directly linking to climate issues, such as equality between sexes and races, fair payment for fair work etc.

The goals put forward by each country are “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) and will not be legally binding; unfortunately this means that there are a lot of holes to be picked in the agreement; such as there is no explanation for how changes will be measured and how countries will be punished if the agreement is violated.

Many agree that this is our best chance to save the world that we live in.

Main Goals

Some of the main goals that have been set out by the EU are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%-95% by 2050 when compared to levels in 1990; another of the major outcomes in targets for the future was for the global temperature to be kept under 2 degrees, however the pressure for this to happen sooner rather later is becoming increasingly evident; the UK Met Office claims that “Should emissions peak in 2016, to limit warming to 2 °C with a 50% probability will require emissions reductions of approximately 4% per year. But should emissions peak later in 2020, to achieve the same temperature target will require a faster rate of emissions reductions of almost 6% per year.” Therefore showing that changes need to be made prior to 2020; meetings will be held in 2018 to review the agreement and to set further targets, many hope that this will be an affirmation of the previous mentioned decision to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees and also that politicians will take the agreement a step further.

George Monbiot from the Guardian claims that ‘By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster’

The agreement puts a lot of emphasis on eradicating the use of fossil fuels and replacing these with renewable energy sources, whilst this in itself is a huge step forward, many agree that political leaders have not taken this into account the and that the full impacts of further industrial practice, with investments in activities like coal mining and fracking are still continuing; for instance the UK ‘is the only G7 country to be actively expanding fossil fuel subsidies’.

An overview of some of the main issues covered by the conference:

Energy

‘The 2030 climate and energy framework sets three key targets for the year 2030:

  • At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions(from 1990 levels)
  • At least 27% share for renewable energy
  • At least 27% improvement in energy efficiency’

Emissions

‘The framework contains a binding target to cut emissions in EU territory by at least 40%below 1990 levels by 2030.

This will enable the EU to:

  • take cost-effective steps towards its long-term objective of cutting emissions by 80-95% by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group,
  • make a fair and ambitious contribution to the new international climate agreement,to take effect in 2020.

To achieve the at least 40% target:

Renewables

‘The framework sets a binding target at EU level to boost the share of renewables to at least 27% of EU energy consumption by 2030’

Efficiency

‘On the basis of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the European Council has endorsed an indicative energy savings target of 27% by 2030.

This target will be reviewed in 2020 having in mind a 30% target.’

Necessary Investments

  • ‘Average annual additional investmentsare projected to amount to €38 billion for the EU as a whole over the period 2011-30
  • Fuel savingswill to a large extent compensate for these
  • More than half of the investments are needed in the residential and tertiary sectors
  • Lower-income countries need to make relatively larger efforts compared to GDP – but European Council conclusions address distribution and include measures to enhance fairness and solidarity while ensuring overall efficiency.’

Problems

Some bodies present at the conferences, have told that one of their worries is whether countries which have had none or barely any part in affecting global warming, will be compensated by those who have; due to this there has been a call to raise $100billion per year as compensation for these countries, however the proposal was met with mixed attitudes. The ‘publication on 7 October of the climate finance report by the OECD and the think tank Climate Policy Initiative’ reported that ‘$62 billion were raised in 2014 by developed countries to help developing countries cope with climate change’ showing that ‘the commitment made by developed countries in Copenhagen in 2009 to raise $100 billion per year by 2020 is within reach’.

Outcomes

Since 2005 some influential groups have formed to put the pressure on the government to stick to promises, including 350.org which is an organisation that aims to ensure that the promises made at the climate conferences are kept, C40, which was put together to network major cities and by doing so enabled cities to work together to reduce negative impacts on climate, others include Friends of the Earth, People and Planet, Collectively.org The National Union of Students, Greenpeace and many other.

Some Conclusions

The European Commission claims that one of the conclusions of the 2050 cop21 analysis were that ‘Early infrastructure investments cost less and much of the infrastructure in the EU built 30 to 40 years ago needs to be replaced anyway. Immediately replacing it with low-carbon alternatives can avoid more costly changes in the future’

A 1 degree rise in temperature increases the chance of storms, drought and wildfires; therefore if the target to keep global warming below 2 degrees is not kept and not implemented at the earliest possible chance, the world could see dramatic changes, especially effecting those in developing countries. World leaders who partook in the conferences must ensure they stick to these targets; as previously explained, there is little time to implement change. We agree with George Monbiot that the steps that have been taken so far, in light of previous years have been a miracle, however in order to be 100% effective there must be continued pressure from people and groups on the ground such as those above to make sure that world leaders pursue better technologies for renewable energy sources.

 

Extra Information

The agreement can be found in this document: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/cop21parisinformationhub/

You can view the filmed conference here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

You can find full documentation by following the links below:

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/future/documentation_en.htm

http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/learn/what-is-cop21/

Some Figures taken from the European Commission, Climate Action page find more info here: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2030/index_en.htm