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Author: Giles

Avani Eco: a start-up with a plastic-free product line

Avani Eco: a start-up with a plastic-free product line

Kevin Kumala was on a sabbatical from studying in the United States when he decided to visit his native Indonesia and clear his head with surfing and the country’s beaches. But on his return, Kumala no longer saw the white sandy beaches and calming turquoise waters he had grown up with in Kuta, Indonesia. Instead the whole landscape was covered in plastic waste. “It was so dramatic,” Kumala said. “It was no longer the Kuta that I know.” According to…

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A plastic bottle return scheme could save English council’s £35m a year

A plastic bottle return scheme could save English council’s £35m a year

Over eight million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year, with 80% coming from land. Plastic bottles are a major contributor; a million plastic bottles are made every minute and the rate is rising quickly, with annual consumption forecast to top half a trillion by 2021. At least a dozen nations already have a Deposit Return Scheme (“DRS”), in which a small deposit is paid when purchasing the bottle, which is then returned when the empty bottle is brought…

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Hurricane Irma: a natural disaster encouraged by a man made denial

Hurricane Irma: a natural disaster encouraged by a man made denial

We are halfway through the hurricane season, Hurricane Harvey’s destruction stretches along the Texas coast, and Hurricane Irma has laid a trail of devastation from the Cape Verde Islands to Georgia. Hurricane Jose is swirling in the Atlantic, while a third Atlantic hurricane, Katia, struck Mexico’s eastern coast late on 8 September. As global temperatures continue to rise, climate scientists have said this is what we should expect – more huge storms, with drastic impacts. However, during these shocking events,…

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Tigers to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan after going extinct 70 years ago

Tigers to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan after going extinct 70 years ago

Wild tigers are to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan 70 years after they became extinct in the country. The Republic of Kazakhstan announced plans to bring the iconic cats back to their historical range in the Ili-Balkhash region and signed a memorandum with WWF to implement a joint tiger reintroduction plan. Kazakhstan’s tiger programme will contribute to Tx2 – the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, a commitment made by tiger-range governments at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit…

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This tiny country feeds the world sustainably

This tiny country feeds the world sustainably

The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It’s bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it’s the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass. How has the Netherlands achieved this? Around 20 years ago, the Dutch made a national commitment to sustainable agriculture under the slogan, “Twice as much…

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Blockchain could be a game-changer for sustainability

Blockchain could be a game-changer for sustainability

The arrival of the blockchain has been compared to the invention of double-entry book-keeping, which enabled the modern economy. But it now has implications that reach far beyond finance, to governance and sustainability. For sustainability, blockchain technology could be a game-changer. It can generate trust where there is none, empower citizens and bypass central authorities. Environmentalists are waking up to blockchain’s potential to boost the sustainability of industries such as forestry, energy, fisheries, organic food and mining, as well as improve carbon…

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The last Tsar’s undiscovered Russian jewel

The last Tsar’s undiscovered Russian jewel

Russia’s tumultuous history includes one legacy little known outside its borders—a vast system of protected lands that conservationists have fought for decades to study and protect. Some are so remote and guarded that few of Russia’s own citizens have ever stepped foot in them. A century ago, in one of its last acts before the Russian empire collapsed in the 1917 revolution, Tsar Nicholas II officially set aside land near Siberia’s Lake Baikal for Russia’s first “zapovednik”, or strict nature…

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Reintroducing beavers to the UK could help stop flooding

Reintroducing beavers to the UK could help stop flooding

Reintroducing beavers to Britain could help clean up rivers, prevent flooding and minimise soil loss, an expert has claimed. Professor Richard Brazier, a researcher at the University of Exeter, has said unpublished preliminary results from a trial area in Devon showed muddy water entering an area where the creatures were living was three times cleaner when it left. In England, several Bavarian beavers unofficially let loose on to the river Otter in east Devon are now part of an official trial licensed by…

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Australia’s marine parks plan cuts protected areas

Australia’s marine parks plan cuts protected areas

The Australian federal government’s draft marine parks plan is set to slash protected marine areas. The plans propose that large areas of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as off the coast of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales, will lose or have their protection downgraded, to make way for expanded long-line fishing and seafloor trawling – which have been shown to damage the conservation value of the oceans. The plans propose dividing marine parks into three types…

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Changing your eating habits can save animals from extinction

Changing your eating habits can save animals from extinction

Livestock causes 10 times more deforestation than the palm oil industry but seems to get less media attention. While the human population has doubled since 1970, the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians have dropped by more than half. At its root is widespread environmental destruction as a result of our growth as a species and increasing food consumption to sustain ourselves. Recent research suggests transforming large swaths of forest into farmland could render almost one-third of local wildlife extinct….

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