News

Good News Stories May 2019

Another month has flown by and we’re in need of some good news.

On the topic of May, it’s been a tough month for Mrs May…the debacle of Brexit continues. Theresa finally had enough – haven’t we all. British politics is now a free for all and everybody’s fighting for power.

On a different note, English sport had a good news month. Four English football teams reached the major European finals. The Cricket World Cup is underway and England are the strong favourites to win. If you’re not a sports fan, fear not because the month of May has also brought with it a ton of good news for our planet and the environment – just what we need!

So here’s our round up of our favourite good news stories for the month of May:

Good News for Amazon Tribe as they win landmark lawsuit

The Ecuadorian indigenous community of Waorani have won a landmark lawsuit against three government bodies for putting their territory up for sale in an international oil auction. This is good news for Waorani.

The ruling indicates that the government took advantage of the Waorani people. They used legal loopholes to sell land that belonged to the tribe. The unprecedented ruling immediately suspends any possibility of selling the community’s land for oil exploration.

This case gives other communities in Ecuador’s southern Amazon Rainforest hope that they can also prevent their land from being sold to oil companies.

Nemonte Nenquimo, a Waorani plaintiff, said that the government has not respected human life as much as they have respected money and oil.

“The government tried to sell our lands to the oil companies without our permission. Our Rainforest is our life. We decide what happens in our lands. We will never sell our Rainforest to the oil companies. Today, the courts recognised that the Waorani people, and all indigenous peoples have rights over our territories that must be respected. The government’s interests in oil is not more valuable than our rights, our forests, our lives.”

Selfridges removes palm oil from all own-brand products

Selfridges has become the first major UK retailer to remove palm oil from all its own-brand food products.

The department store says 300 products from its Selfridges Selection range have now been replaced with alternatives derived from rapeseed, soybean and sunflowers. The phase-out has been completed nine months ahead of schedule.

Selfridges’ Managing Director Simon Forster says: “We’re committed to buying better to inspire change. The removal of palm oil from our Selfridges Selection range is the latest demonstration of this approach…

…We believe that until certified palm oil guarantees zero deforestation, our customers should be given the option to buy palm oil-free products. Our expectation is that all brands we work with are aware of and actively engaging with the issues surrounding palm oil and deforestation.”

Scientists test radical ways to fix Earth’s climate

Scientists in Cambridge plan to set up a research centre to develop new ways to repair the Earth’s climate.

It will investigate radical approaches such as refreezing the Earth’s poles and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The centre is being created because of fears that current approaches will not stop dangerous and irreversible damage to the planet on their own.

The initiative is the first of its kind. It could lead to dramatic reductions in carbon emissions. The initiative is coordinated by the government’s former Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir David King.

“What we do over the next 10 years will determine the future of humanity for the next 10,000 years. There is no major centre in the world that would be focused on this one big issue.”

Some of the approaches described by Sir David King are often known collectively as geoengineering.

The Centre for Climate Repair is part of the university’s Carbon Neutral Futures Initiative, led by Dr Shuckburgh. It will bring together scientists and engineers with social scientists.

Some ideas suggested are: Refreezing the poles, Ocean spraying, Recycling CO2 and Ocean greening.

Waitrose invests £1m in organisations tackling plastic pollution

Waitrose & Partners is investing a £1m grand fund in five organisations tackling plastic pollution, including marine scientists and charities.

The grant winners are:

Blue Marine Foundation: for their product Safegear, which aims to stop ghost fishing gear by attaching beacons to buoys to stop fishermen losing their gear.

Onion Collective / Biohm: to contribute towards their plastic bio-recycling facility in Somerset, that will use mycelium (a vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacteria) to break down synthetic plastic waste and turn it into new products.

Women’s Environmental Network: for their environmenstrual campaign ‘Plastic-Free Periods’ which aims to bring about a UK revolution in education about health-conscious, environmentally-friendly menstrual products.

The Plymouth Marine Laborator: for developing an ecological solution to microplastic pollution whereby beds or rafts of mussels are deployed in estuaries and coastal sites to filter out microplastics from the water.

Youth Hostel Association: for improving young people’s health, wellbeing and life chances and installing water bottle refilling stations in its 60 youth hostels.

The £1m fund has been raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags in Waitrose stores. Each winner will receive funding of between £150,000 and £300,000.

Tor Harris, head of CSR, health and agriculture at Waitrose & Partners, says:

“It’s important for us to tackle unnecessary plastic both in our shops but also in the wider world. All these inspirational projects have the ability to create real impact in tackling environmental issues and encouraging behaviour change so we can collectively achieve our goal of reducing plastic pollution.”

Top companies pledge to help halve food waste by 2030

Apples

Nestlé, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will pledge to help halve food waste by 2030.

Retailers, hospitality and food companies are expected to agree a number of initiatives, including big discounts on food sold after its “best before” dates and smaller size portions at reduced prices.

Around 300 individuals and businesses have been invited to the Step Up To The Plate symposium in central London, and are expected to adopt a package of commitments as part of the major drive to tackle food surplus.

Businesses are expected to set their own targets to help contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving per capita global food waste by 2030. The government also wants attendees to adopt the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap to help companies measure and report on efforts to cut back waste.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis added that a commitment from all UK food companies to publish their food waste data within the next 12 months should also be part of the deal.

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