Category: Environment

‘Paris Navigating Gym’ To Propel Through Seine River By Human Power

To save the environment, renewable energy innovations will be needed. Europe’s developed nations need a solution to their increasing population and enormous carbon footprint. Designer Caro Ratti of Carlo Ratti Associati proposes the best way to travel Seine River is through a boat powered by human exercise and solar cells.

The “Paris Navigating Gym” harvests human energy by having its passengers work out in treadmills and bicycles while offering a scenic journey across the Seine River. Commuters — and possibly tourists — could leave their bags aside, put on their gym clothes and sweat out their journey. Incentives include traveling free if one meets the cutoff for the boat’s energy needs.

The boat would feature gym equipment installed near open windows with augmented reality glass. The glass would act as a monitor of health and exercise for the passenger — providing information about the amount of calories and fats they burned and the amount of energy they contributed to the boat.

Carlo Ratti said the “Paris Navigating Gym” is fascinating because “one can see the energy generated by a gym workout propel a boat.” Scenic views offered to energy sources/ passengers working out also make it easier to take one’s mind off biking or running in treadmills. If the energy from passengers is insufficient, the boat also uses its photovoltaic cells to collect energy from the Sun and preserve it for the next trip.

According to Ratti’s designers, the boat only needs eight months to produce. Should public support be strong for the boats, they can streamline a production line for the boats that will run in the Seine River.

Waste Crime “Worst Than Narcotic Syndicates”

UK Environment Agency Chief Sir James Bevan said ‘waste crime’ is the largest crime than drugs in the United Kingdom of this year.

“Waste is the new narcotics. It feels to me like drugs felt in the 1980s: the system hadn’t quite woken up to the enormity of what was going on and was racing to catch up,” he said.

Illegal waste activity costs the country about £1bn yearly. About 1,000 illegal waste sites have been uncovered the previous year, more than the previous two years in total with about 662 active by the end of March 2016.


Organised gangs and shady corporations are part of the dumping of illegal household and industrial wastes in different areas. This had led to massive frauds in recycling feels and landfill tax.

The Environment Agency’s actions had helped to close more than 1,000 sites it had found with fines and prosecutions against property owners.

“When you have an illegal waste site, it will look horrible, it will smell, be noisy and there are constantly fires.

“With drugs it took a while for the system to catch up and realise the damage drugs were doing. We are clear now about the damage waste crime does to communities and to the economy,” he said.

“The strategy is to work with the good guys and really nail the bad guys. “We are both finding more [illegal sites] and nailing more. As the statistics show we haven’t cracked it yet and it will be a long grind, but we are making progress.”

Global Environmental Parliament to Tackle Global Troubles

The United Nations’ Environment Programme is to invite a world’s environment ministers meeting to create a “parliament for the environment.”

UNEP said that the UN Environment Assembly is the world’s “de facto parliament for the environment.” However, it has no constitutional role in a government.

The aim is to allow environment ministers to urge their governments ot agree on common policies. The meeting has 21 proposed resolutions on the table for issues including illegal wildlife trade, plastic in the oceans and whaling in Southeast Asia.

The ministers and their deputies in the meeting will receive a report compiled by 1,203 scientists. The report is a compilation of six separate regional reports for the UNEP regarding the environment and issues that matter in their region and its effects on other regions.

The report would talk about consumer spending in regards to energy consumption, a resource boom from $21 to $56 trillion by 2030 due to East Asian growth.

Meanwhile, UNEP is calling for technology development enabling decoupling economic growth from resource consumption.

The report calls it the greatest health risk to Europeans, with outdoor pollutants such as ozone and particulates killing 500,000 people prematurely per year, and indoor pollution killing another 100,000.

In Africa, indoor air pollution, mainly from cooking, kills 600,000 people a year. In east Asia, pollution controls have made some improvements, but overall, levels are still rising along with prosperity, with short-lived pollutants such as carbon particles and methane killing 153 people per 100,000 per year.

London’s Environmental Groups Call For Next Mayor’s Environmental Decisions

As London Mayor Boris Johnson’s tenure approaches to a close, the UK’s best-known environmental groups the National Trust, RSPB, WWF and Greenpeace wish the next mayor’s decision making to involve enriching the green environment remaining in the United Kingdom. They also wish the next mayor to consider creating an environmentally healthier city for its residents.

As The Greener London Week approaches, the NGOS said that 20 policy suggestions to help improve London’s environment. The policies include phasing out all diesel black cabs and private taxis by 2020, the creation of an energy-efficiency loan scheme for London’s small businesses and the 10-fold increase delivery of London’s renewable energy grid.

Greenpeace UK Executive Director John Sauven said London has one of Europe’s highest air pollution levels.

“Any serious vision for a cleaner London must include a plan to swap these two records around,” he said in a statement. “From transport to energy, our dependence on dirty fossil fuels is holding London back. The capital has all the resources it needs to break free from it. It’s time for the next mayor to give this cutting edge city the cutting edge power and transport systems it deserves.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Spencer, director of environmental think tank Green Alliance, said London was at risk of becoming a victim of its own success. “London is a dynamic city, but if it’s to remain a healthy place to live and work it also has to become a greener city,” he said. “London is unusual in the UK in having most of the powers it needs to make itself greener without waiting for central government. We’ve suggested 20 practical ways the next mayor can use their power on behalf of London citizens seeking a more liveable city.”

Paris Environmental Protests Moves Global

With the Paris gathering for the environment cancelled as the risk of a terrorist attack from the previous week was still imminent, the movement has gone to different cities in the world.

Crowds of hundreds and thousands marched in different capitals including Sydney, the Philippines, London and even New York have marched last Sunday to call on to the COP21 gathering to create a strong climate change deal.

People held up placards stating “climate justice” and “keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

In Paris, a shoe protest wherein about 10,000 pairs of shoes remained in front of the COP21 meeting became a symbol of protest.

Violence escalated after anti-capitalists and anarchists threw their shoes and used fireworks, wherein the police

In London, despite 40MPH gusts, polar-bear costumed protesters held solar panels  and laid on the ground as they highlight the impact of global warming in the world. About 50,000 people had gathered in the protests.

Around the world, 2,200 marches were seen in Madrid and Rome where about 20,000 people protested to have their message across. In Australia, more than 40,000 people marched in Sydney and about 3,000 people marched in Canberra.

Analysts said a signing of legally binding treaties would mean the end of reckless consumption, exploitation and greed and a proper system for the world to follow in both production and development.

Australian Local Landholders Challenge Chinese Coalmining Company Over Koalas

The $1.2 billion Shenhua coalmine project is faced with a litigation from local landholders who launched a legal challenge to the New South Wales government approval process due to the dangers the mining activities poses on the Koalas.

The Upper Mooki Landcare group has challenged the Shenhua Watermark mine project because it threatns the population of koalas at risk of extinction in Australia. New South Wales government soruces said the landcare group had a strong case and it may force close the project should it lose at the NSW land and environment court.

According to Shenhua Watermark Project Manager Paul Jackson, the approval meant the local government had approved the company’s environmental assessments. He trusts the outcome to be the opposite of the Upper Mooki Landcare group’s perspective.

“As the matter is currently being considered by the court it would not be appropriate for the company to speculate on outcomes until a decision has been handed down,” Jackson said.

A case parallel to the Carmichael Mine’s setback as it would drive two vulnerable Australian animal species, the Yakka Skink and the Ornamental Snake into extinction, Shenhua Watermark’s case is the next in line.

However, the protests against large-scale environmental projects will be limited by a new Abbott-government approved limitations against environmental groups challenging large resource projects.

Shell Risks Catastrophic Climate Change With New Strategy

According to environmentalists, Shell’s new strategy may just make global temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius. Shell had even approved the strategy and acknowledged the global climate change in an internal document retrieved by environmental groups.

Shell’s prospects were written on paper that guides the future business planning of the company. The paper assumed that the carbon dioxide emissions would fail to limit temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius.

The News Lens Scenarios document had referred to the International Energy Agency that indicated a temperature increase up to 4C and 6C should Shell give a go signal for its new strategies, which involve digging a huge hole in the Arctic Ocean

Protesters had gone off in Seattle seas with kayaks, canoes and paddleboards to protest against Shell’s new plan. Calling the protests “Shell No”, they protested against Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig.

According to Shell Chief Executive Ben Van Beurden, the Fossil Fuel Giant does not do away the need to restrain global warming and counter it. However, the acceptance of the board regarding the 4C global temperature increase is undeniable.

Environmental Group and Climate Campaigner Greenpeace said Shell and IEA intend for fossil fuel industries to continue despite increased global warming.

“What I don’t see is a realisation from Shell about what exactly would happen to its business if climate change escalated dramatically beyond what is safe with all the negative consequences in the world for food and water never mind energy,” said Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace Charlie Kronick.

Environmentalists Warn Not To Feed Ducks Due To Pollution and Declining Duck Health

In England and Wales, park bystanders who feed more than six million loaves of bread yearly to ducks is actually causing grave damages to duck health and pollutes waterways with excess waste. Conservationists warn that oats, corn and peas are safer alternatives if bystanders wish to feed the animals.

The Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency said:

“Large amounts of bread and other human foodstuffs can be harmful to wildfowl, leading to potentially fatal or disabling health conditions. Uneaten food can also cause changes to the chemical and bacteriological content of water, increasing the risk of avian disease.”

According to a survey by the Canal and River Trust, a quarter of English and Welsh people fed six million loaves of bread to ducks the previous year. Uneaten bread had caused algal blooms,which attracts rats and other vermin. This has affected the area’s water quality.

An RSPB Spokeswoman indicated that bread disrupts a duck’s natural, balanced diet.

“White bread in particular has no real nutritional value, so while birds may find it tasty, the danger is that they will fill up on it instead of other foods that could be more beneficial to them,” she said.
“There’s also a risk that ducks and other water fowl could get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet. The illness causes a deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether, which could obviously be fatal.”

International Climate Change Reach Global Warming Agreement

Negotiators from all countries in the world at the Lima Climate Change Talks have agreed on a plan to fight global warming. The new plan will bind all countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan was agreed by UN talks on Sunday. It was recognised as an important step towards a climate change deal that would be finalized in Paris the following year.

The plan also calls on countries to create proposals that would help cut carbon pollution by March the following year.

According to Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, “As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties.”

However, many climate and environmental experts said that the new plan was too weak to help limit all carbon emissions in the world to 2C above pre-industrial levels or to protect damage against weaker and disaster-prone countries against climate change.

“It’s definitely watered down from what we expected,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

They also warned negotiators had left too many contentious issues unresolved before the deadline for reaching a deal in Paris. “The countdown clock to Paris is now ticking. Countries had the chance to give themselves a head start on the road to Paris but instead have missed the gun and now need to play catch up,” said Mohammed Adow, Christian Aid’s senior climate change advisor.


Germany Floods Force Thousands From Their Homes

German flooding continues to go through Stendal, Germany as thousands of homes become devastated by the ensuing flood alongside the River Elbe on Wednesday. People are now being evacuated from their homes in helicopters and amphibious vehicles to move them to safety. Some residents still remained but were forced by authorities to leave.

The village of Fischbeck near Stendal was completely flooded when the waters destroyed its dike. The repairs to the dike had failed. News correspondents cannot even reach the critical and dangerous condition of the village.

The interior ministry of Saxony-Anhalt said that they expect the waters to further destroy cities. They also said that they were trying to build new emergency dikes to stop the floods. City and town residents claim that this is the biggest and the worst flooding Germany has ever had in 30 years.

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the flood hit regions of the country on a tour. In the following days she will hold talks to put up a relief find where there is no upper limit to financial aid to anyone afflicted by the floods.

Her debate will focus on counting the cost of the floods, removing the “price tags” of the flood damages and putting together the relief package. She will meet with Germany’s 16 premiers to resolve the issue.