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We will wreck natural world David Attenborough tells Prince

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Re: PLASTIC causes more problems to planet than wars

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:00 pm

Duhok villagers turn volunteer rangers to protect fragile forest

People in the village of Banki, near Duhok, have formed a council for the protection of the environment and men from the village guard their fragile forest day and night.

The mission is to stop logging, fires and other harm to the surrounding nature.

“We’re on duty here to protect the environment, the beauty of the country and Kurdistan's trees,” Emran Fatah, a village guard told Rudaw. “It is not acceptable to cut down trees.”

Fatah said that the villagers use the forest for firewood “but not the green ones.”

“We take trees that are dry and dead which are fine to burn to make a fire,” he explained. “If you cut down a big tree it may not grow back to what it was for another ten years.”

The people of this tiny Duhok village have formed a council for the protection of the environment.

“The loss of the environment is the loss of life,” said Saeed Safar Banki, the village tribal chief. “It is not only the duty of Bamarne forestry police to protect the environment, but my duty too. As an individual in this country, as a youth from Banka village, I must take care of my village.”

The mountains of Duhok are rich in trees, especially oak and kazan. Winter is when illegal loggers begin cutting down trees for firewood and to sell in the market.

“Sometime ago some people tried to cut down these trees and we knew about that, so we set up guards,” village head Nafaa Banki told Rudaw. “We prevent not only the cutting down of trees, but hunting too. We take care of the beautiful nature of our village. We ask other villagers to emulate and do what we are doing.”

Of Banki’s 1,000 population more than 143 men have signed up to guard the forest day and night.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/100120193
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Re: PLASTIC causes more problems to planet than wars

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Re: Kurds say: The loss of the environment is the loss of li

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:46 am

'Bold new goal' to tackle dirty air

Wood burning stoves, open fires and farms all face new restrictions as the government sets out what it calls a "world leading" plan to tackle air pollution

In their Clean Air Strategy, published today, the government promises to set a "bold new goal" to reduce particulates across much of the country by 2030.

But green groups say the scheme is vague and severely lacking in detail. They believe the plan proposes nothing new to tackle roadside dirty air.

The new strategy, which is focussed on tackling air pollution in England, has been launched just days after the family of a nine-year-old girl who died from asthma were given permission to apply for a fresh inquest into her death.

The government's chief lawyer heard new evidence her death could be linked to unlawful levels of air pollution.

The human cost of air pollution

Catherine Bazell is a retired London librarian who suffers from asthma and a condition called bronchiectasis.

It's a long-term illness where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus that can make the lungs more vulnerable to infection.

"People can't always see dirty air but it's there," she told BBC News.

"I find it really frustrating, it means that I feel really tired, I can get tightness in my chest, I find it hard to breathe, it just stops you from doing all things you'd like to do.

"You see the alerts, that say it's a very polluted day today and you are obliged to stay in to keep away from the pollution, and that makes me quite angry because why should we have to stay in?

"We need to do something about the air pollution so that people can live normal lives."
What's the key aim of this new clean air strategy?

While overall levels of air pollution have been declining in recent decades, there has also been a growing scientific awareness of the scale of problems that it causes.

NHS England says that almost 30% of preventable deaths in England are due to non-communicable diseases specifically attributed to air pollution.

A pollutant called Particulate Matter (PM) is a particular concern with the World Health Organization (WHO) identifying it as the most damaging for people.

Fine particulates, known as PM2.5, are around 200 times smaller than a grain of sand. They are a major health worry as they can penetrate deep into your lungs, pass into your bloodstream and get embedded in your bodily organs and your brain.

The WHO's models indicate that around 92% of the world's population live in places where air quality levels exceed their guidelines.

In the UK, more than 40 cities and towns were at, or have exceeded, the WHO limit.

The government has previously said it will reduce by half the number of people living in areas breaching the WHO limits by 2025.

But they now say they will go beyond this and set a "world leading" goal on exposure to PM2.5.

Without giving many details, or a timeline, the government says that by 2030, fine particulate concentrations will be reduced below the WHO safe level "across much of the country".

The government says it will publish evidence early in 2019 on what actions will be needed to meet this new target.

Ministers argue that Brexit will allow the UK to go much further on this issue than the EU and become the first major economy to adopt air quality goals based on WHO recommendations.

How will the UK reach this 'bold new goal'?

The most important activity that contributes to particulate pollution is the burning of fuels such as wood and coal in open fires and domestic stoves.

Farming is also a major problem, as emissions of ammonia have increased in recent years. This gas reacts in the atmosphere with other chemicals to produce particulate matter that can be carried on the wind to major population centres.

To deal with domestic burning, the government will ban the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.

They are also consulting on phasing out the sale of traditional house coal and on limiting the sale of wet wood, the type found on garage forecourts. The government's plan for these fuels is expected within months.

For farmers, the government says it will introduce regulations to require them to use low emission farming techniques. There will be advice, training and support to help them invest in the technology to limit ammonia.

What has been the reaction to this part of the strategy?

The move on particulate matter has been welcomed by the WHO as an "example for the rest of the world to follow".

Green campaigners also recognise the value of adopting the WHO guidelines but are worried about the lack of legally binding limits.

"The government has made a welcome commitment to set an ambitious new target for cleaning up the most dangerous fine particle air pollution, based on WHO standards," said Jenny Bates from Friends of the Earth.

"But while the WHO says standards should be reached by 2030, there is no date set in the government's strategy and the plan is severely lacking in detail on how such a target could be met."

Scientists also say the government initiative is laudable but may not work for everyone across the UK.

"The full evidence on reductions needed to attain the tougher WHO guidelines for PM2.5 is to be published later," said Prof Alastair Lewis from them National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York.

"One would anticipate that there are likely to be some urban areas of the UK where this could be close to impossible to achieve."

How will this new strategy impact me?

Just a few years ago, garages across the UK reeked of oil and petrol. The smells usually came from the evaporation of fuel vapour, which released volatile organic compounds into the air.

However, regulations to limit the emissions of these powerful air pollutants changed the odour of the UK's forecourts.

These new government plans may have a similar impact on some current air pollution smells.

If the proposed restrictions on solid fuels go ahead, the smoky whiff of winter over many cities and towns might also disappear.

The government says it will also provide a "personal air quality messaging system" to inform vulnerable members of the public with clear information about the forecast and accessible health advice.

As well as new information, the new plan envisages that everyone will be financially better off if the plan succeeds.

Air pollution is now the fourth biggest public health threat behind cancer, obesity and heart disease.

According to the government, the steps outlined in this plan will cut the costs of dirty air to the UK by £1.7bn every year from 2020, rising to £5.3bn every year from 2030.

What about air pollution near roads?

UK levels of pollution from nitrogen oxides, produced in the main by diesel cars, have regularly exceeded European targets. So much so that the government has been successfully sued in the courts by campaign group Client Earth, to force them to come up with a plan.

In July 2017, the government introduced their detailed scheme for roads, which essentially puts the responsibility in the hands of local authorities. The cities with the worst pollution are supposed to develop plans for clean air zones that will charge drivers to enter.

However, campaigners believe the government has its head in the sand on pollution from transport. As well as clean air zones, they should be taking steps to cut the number of vehicles on the roads.

"They are hoping it will all go away but the reality is an awful lot more needs to be done," Jenny Bates from Friends of the Earth told BBC News.

"I think they are afraid of the motoring lobby and they shouldn't be."

Other forms of transport are dealt with in the new plan including rail and shipping. The government says it wants to see the removal of all diesel-only trains by 2040.

What other air pollution issues will the new strategy deal with?

As well as trying to deal with the major sources of particulate matter, the government's plan also deals with pollution that arises from ammonia, sulphur dioxide and non-methane volatile organic compounds.

Ammonia from farms is a major focus as outlined above, for the role it plays in the development of PM. However, it also poses major threats to sensitive natural habitats.

"Ammonia in the air over our farmlands dissolves into our wetlands and waterways and wreaks havoc on delicate aquatic ecosystems," said Hannah Freeman from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

"The proposed measures are a step forward, but what we really want is government policy that supports farmers to be true stewards, holistically managing our air, soil and water together."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46823440
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Re: Kurds say: The loss of the environment is the loss of li

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:31 pm

No point in going to school if the world is dying

Around 3,000 students marched in Brussels on Thursday to demonstrate against climate change.

The demonstration was a follow-up to the "Claim the Climate" in December, which brought together some 70,000 people in Brussels for the opening of the COP24 Climate Summit in Katowice.

"I'm proud of you," German MEP Arne Lietz told protesters via a bullhorn. "We need more of you around Europe."

One of the demonstration's leaders told the protesters to organise more actions in schools, and said that the protesters would be back in bigger numbers.

Link to video:
https://youtu.be/n1fyMQ4_mQM
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Re: Belgium: No point going to school as the world is dying

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Jan 22, 2019 5:07 pm

We could wreck natural world
David Attenborough tells Prince William


Sir David Attenborough has told Prince William that people have never been more "out of touch" with the natural world than they are today

In an interview with the prince at the World Economic Forum, the naturalist warned: "We can wreck it with ease, we can wreck it without even noticing."

Sir David said people must care, respect and revere the natural world.

Heeding his words, the prince said: "Work to save the planet is probably going to largely happen on our watch".

Sir David, 92, said: "When I started 60 years ago in the mid-50s, to be truthful, I don't think there was anybody who thought that there was a danger that we might annihilate part of the natural world."

In his early career, he said, simply showing people a new animal on television would astound them.

Even then, he added: "Television in Britain in the 50s was only seen by a few million people in southern England."

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, the Blue Planet and Dynasties narrator said: "We can go everywhere, we can go into the bottom of the sea, we can go into space, we can use drones, we can use helicopters, we can use macroworlds, we can speed things up, we can slow things down, we can film in the darkness - and so the natural world has never been exposed to this degree before."

His new series, Our Planet, due to air on Netflix, could reach 150 million people immediately, he said, "and go on being seen - by word of mouth".

Despite this, he said, with more people than ever living in towns, "the paradox (is) that there has never been a time when more people are out of touch with the natural world than there's now".

He warned: "It's not just a question of beauty or interest or wonder, it's the essential ingredient, essential part of human life is a healthy palate.

"We are in the danger of wrecking that".

He said that for a very long time people have viewed the natural world in opposition to the urban world.

"It is not, we are all one world," he said, adding that global leaders are beginning to see that everything we do has implications.

He said: "That fundamental, beautiful fact is now being recognised."

In his interview with the Duke of Cambridge, Sir David said it was "difficult to overstate" the climate change crisis.

He added: "We are now so numerous, so powerful, so all pervasive, the mechanisms we have for destruction are so wholesale and so frightening that we can exterminate whole ecosystems without even noticing it.

"We have now to be really aware of the dangers that we are doing.

"And we already know that of course the plastics problem in the seas is wreaking appalling damage on marine life - the extent of which we don't yet fully know."

Last year, Sir David said he was "astonished" by the response to Blue Planet II, which raised the issue of single-use plastics and the damage they were doing to the world's oceans.

'Great optimism'

Sir David was given a Crystal Award at the forum on Monday for his leadership in environmental stewardship.

Accepting the award, the veteran broadcaster urged leaders to come up with "practical solutions".

He told the prince: "The point is that we have this option ahead of us - we have to take the option to protect the natural world… that's where the future lies.

"There's a source of great optimism there, we have the knowledge, we have the power, to live in harmony with that natural world".

Prince William has previously described Sir David as having "the single most important impact in my conservation thinking".

Introducing Sir David, he said it was a "personal treat" to interview the broadcaster.

In a BBC tribute programme marking Sir David's 90th birthday in 2016, the duke called him a "national treasure".

He added: "I used to love, and I still do, but when I was a young boy, used to love turning on the television and watching David's programmes and really feeling like I was back out in Africa or I was learning about something magical and almost out of this planet."

The duke said: "There is something very reassuring about seeing David Attenborough on BBC One doing his documentaries. It is part of the national psyche now."

Sir David turned 90 in the same year as the Queen, and paid his own tribute at her official birthday celebrations at St Paul's Cathedral.

They also took part in an ITV documentary last year which looked at the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project.

Sir David and the Queen, who were born just weeks apart, chuckled over a forlorn-looking tree in the Buckingham Palace grounds which the Queen suggested had been "sat on" at a garden party.

When Sir David suggested climate change might lead to "all kinds of different trees growing here in another 50 years", the Queen quipped: "It might easily be, yes. I won't be here though."

Prince William, who is patron of the Tusk conservation charity, has in the past warned over the impact of the ivory trade and wildlife trafficking.

In 2016, he urged the UK government to push ahead with a total ban on the ivory trade in a bid to protect elephants.

He also voiced concerns that the African elephant may have disappeared from the wild by the time his daughter Princess Charlotte is 25.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46957085
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