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Archive for the ‘World Land Trust’ Category

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Environmental Documentary

Leonardo DiCaprio is narrating and also producing ‘The 11th Hour’, a documentary about environmental issues to be broadcast on Channel 4 later this month.

The documentary, to be transmitted on May 25, will feature leading scientific and political arguments about the environmental disaster the Earth is currently facing. Guest speakers will include professor Stephen Hawking, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The film itself will be narrated DiCaprio, and was written and directed by sisters Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, co founders of the Tree Media Group.

Tree Media have been in operation for 9 years, and thier mission is to use the media to support and sustain civil society. The film calls for action to change global human activity through technology, whilst claiming that not since a meteor hit earth 55million years ago have so many forms of life become extinct on this planet.

The film itself received critical acclaim when it premiered at the Canne Film Festival last year. Channel 4 has recently purchased the broadcast rights to the documentary from Warner Bros, who will also be releasing a DVD of the film in June.

It’s great to see big screen stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio using their voice to help save the environment, as future generations really need to sit up and take notice off the climate change issue. Hopefully with such a high profile star fronting this campaign, more people will sit up and take notice.

You too can help the planet’s enviromental problems by making a donation to Greenpeace, or even help save half an acre of rain forest with the World Trust.

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Four Nations Race to become Carbon Neutral

After a meeting of the United Nations Environmental Protection Programme, four countries lead the race to become the world’s first carbon neutral country. In the running for the ultimate ecological accolade are Costa Rica, Iceland, Norway and New Zealand.

All four contenders receive most of their energy from renewable resources, with Iceland almost reaching carbon neutrality in the heating of buildings and electricity. Only 1% of homes in Iceland are powered by fossil fuels, but with one of the biggest car fleets per head on the planet, Iceland still has a lot of work to do to fully cut out carbon emissions.

Last year Costa Rica planted more than 5 million trees to offset their carbon emissions, the biggest ever tree planting exercise in the history of the world. Costa Rica currently run 90% of the country from renewable energy sources, with a 3.5 per cent raise in fossil fuel tax going to the National Forestry Financing Fund. Costa Rica’s banana industry (their main export) also plans to go neutral, but with the countries number of cars and air traffic increasing, the task may be far harder than expected.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has commissioned six government agencies to make their nation carbon neutral by 2012. 50% of the country’s greenhouse gases come from the 40,000 national farms, which compares to an average of 12% for most countries. With New Zealand hosting the World Environment ‘Kick the C02 Habit’ Day, the country has set itself a target of reaching 90% renewable fuel sourcing by 2025.

Norway’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 is very ambitious, seeing as they are the third biggest oil exporter on the planet. This hasn’t stopped the Norwegian government joining the European Emissions Trading Scheme and investing a massive $730million in helping to reduce carbon output. This is added to the $2.7 billion promised to neutralize emissions from deforestation, which is estimated to be nearly 20% of the country’s total output. With Norway already using 95% hydro-electricity, it seems like their 2030 deadline is starting to look very achievable.

So who will win this race to be the world’s first carbon neutral country? All four countries have a great chance, but my money is on Costa Rica, whose massive tree planting initiative should be able to offset their carbon emissions fare quicker than the more built up countries. But shouldn’t the question really be:-

Why are only four countries worldwide trying to gain this auspicious honour in the first place?


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The UK’s First Eco School

The first purpose built enviromentally friendly ‘Eco School‘ in the UK has just opened its doors. With its part flower, part windmill emblem, believe me this educational facility is doing slightly more than a bit of recycling!

The Howe Dell Primary School in Hatfield, Hertfordshire has been built on the grounds of a former airfield, with recycled glass panels leading up to the entrance like a runway. Once inside the building, the reception desk is made entirely from recycled mobile phones, whilst the flooring for both the dining room and main hall are created from sustainably-sourced bamboo and timber. All the carpeted areas within the classrooms consist of recycled tiles, which in the event of damage can be repaired per square, instead of removing the whole carpet. Recycled materials are the theme throughout the school, with yoghurt pots being used for sink tops and drainpipes doubling as the library counter, and even desks!

Lighting for the school is provided by solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity, and skylights, which allow natural light to take the place of electric bulbs. Plus, plans are already under way to build a wind turbine to take the place of all the electricity that is currently used.

The school is warmed by a number of different, environmentally friendly methods. Firstly, the radiators are heated by a brand new system called the Interseasonal Heat Transfer. This involves a network of pipes under the playground absorbing heat from the sun, which is then stored in thermal banks beneath the concrete play area. This heat is saved until the winter months, then released into the building’s radiators. Along with this revolutionary system are solar panels that are used to pre-heat the water used in the kitchens and bathrooms. Even the flushing toilets are maintained with recycled rainwater.

The planning and construction of an environmentally friendly school such as Howe Dell does not come cheaply, with the price running to over £10million. But what price can be put on the environmental awareness this kind of project creates not only for its pupils, but also for the surrounding community?


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Jungle Condom Factory

The Brazilian government are offering a helping hand to the World Land Trust’s fight to save the rainforests, by building a £10million condom factory in the middle of the Amazon jungle!

The latex for the 100 million condoms the factory will produce a year will be manually extracted from the trees, meaning none of the rainforest will be damaged. The factory is based deep in the Amazonian jungle in Xapuri, on the border of Bolivia and Peru. 500 local families rely on ‘rubber tapping’ for their income (which will now double), allowing them to buy more farm animals and a better standard of living. Plus, with the lessening damage to the rainforests helping the world’s climate change, it seems the message from Brazil is :-

‘Make love, not warm’


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