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Top Caters Head To Fishing Line As Olympic Fish Legacy Goes Swimmingly



fish by Maarit Lundback via Flikr

On the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, top caterers are making last-minuted pledges to all London’s top sports venues to serve sustainable fish.

The Copper Box Arena, London Aquatics Centre, The Orbit, Wimbledon Tennis and Oval Cricket Ground receive a ‘gold medal’ for committing to serve sustainable fish
Hours before the release of the Sustainable Fish Cities medal table, two of the largest sports caterers in London have pledged to serve sustainable fish across their whole business. The moves by caterers Levy Restaurants UK and Delaware North mean that all the top sports venues in London are served food by companies with public commitments to use only verifiably sustainable fish.

Four years ago, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games became the first major sporting event to adopt strict sustainability standards for fish, supported by the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign. The Food Vision standards for the Games were widely hailed by conservation groups and sparked a major campaign to call on other large fish-serving businesses to follow suit, leading to the UK Government, NHS in England and Wales and nearly one third of UK universities to adopt the same fish standards [3].
Until recently, a number of London’s top sports venues had no similar policy, meaning that fans and guests might unwittingly be eating critically endangered or unsustainable fish when enjoying their favourite sport. Today’s medal table produced by the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign aimed at first to highlight this mixed bag of catering standards and recognise those that were doing well, but this sparked new pledges from Levy Restaurants UK and Delaware North to add to established fish commitments from venue food providers, BH Live, Elior and Sodexo.

Ruth Westcott, coordinator of Sustainable Fish Cities said “We were really concerned that the fantastic standards set by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were not being kept up at sports venues in London, even by those that had hosted Olympic events. So it was wonderful to receive pledges from two such influential caterers – it proves that they really are concerned about supporting sustainable fishing and protecting our marine environment.”

Five London venues have been awarded gold medals for pledging to maintain a sustainable fish policy to apply to all future catering contracts, using their buying power to influence their suppliers. These are the Copper Box Arena, London Aquatics Centre, Arcelormittall Orbit, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club and the Kia Oval Cricket Ground. This week the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which provides certification for sustainable seafood, also confirmed that the 2016 Rio Games will serve certified sustainable wild caught and farmed fish[4].

Colin Bailey, Managing Director of Levy Restaurants UK said: “It’s fantastic that the five iconic sporting venues that we operate at in London have reached the top of the sustainable fish medal table. Sportspeople and consumers can be confident we are doing our bit to protect fish stocks, through serving sustainable fish. Our medal haul reflects our commitment to ensuring fish can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Ruth Westcott continued,

We congratulate BH Live, Elior and Sodexo caterers for their far-sighted approach to conserving the world’s fish stocks, and Levy Restaurants and Delaware North for joining in.

“By adopting a sustainable fish policy across their whole business, large caterers have the opportunity to make sustainable fish normal, meaning that individual venues and fans don’t need to worry about whether the fish they are eating comes from endangered or sustainable sources. These businesses are also sending an important message back along the supply chain that big companies, providing food in the city’s top venues, are committed to sourcing only fish that is demonstrably sustainable.”

The medal table awarded points on the following basis:

  • 1 point if the venue has signed up to the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge, meaning that the site will incorporate a requirement for sustainable fish [3] into any future buying.
  • 1 point if the venue has published a policy on sustainable fish.
  • 1 point if the main caterer used by the venue has signed up to the Sustainable Fish Cities pledge for their whole business. This means that the other venues in which the caterer operates will also be served sustainable fish – an important principle.


Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations



green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions



auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.


The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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