Connect with us


Environmentalist ‘It Girl’ paddles for Ascension



Amber Nuttall, entrepreneur, environmentalist and ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation, is to navigate the Thames from source to sea (236 miles) on a Paddle Board.

She is enduring cold, rough waters, bruised shins and muscle ache to fund an urgent scientific expedition which could help protect Ascension Island (one of the UK’s overseas territories) in the tropical Atlantic. You can support her Thames Paddle Board attempt here.

A second-generation environmentalist (her father was the late tycoon and environmentalist, Sir Nicholas Nuttall, founder of the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation) Amber has inherited her father’s passion for marine conservation.

Amber is raising money for the Blue Marine Foundation, which is funding an expedition this week to investigate the little-known waters around Ascension Island, the northernmost reach of the British Oversees Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

The expedition will shed light on the extraordinary biodiversity off the coast of Ascension. The waters around Ascension and St Helena contain many species of fish that are not found anywhere else in the world, including the Resplendent Pygmy Angelfish, Marmalade Razorfish and the intriguingly named Bastard Cunningfish.

Amber said: ”It really spurs me on in this challenge to know that every penny I raise will go towards this Ascension expedition. It’s very exciting that they might discover new species. And I would be thrilled if Ascension was declared the biggest marine reserve in the Atlantic.

Our emptying oceans are one of the biggest, but most solvable environmental problems we face. Billions of people around the world rely on fish as their main source of protein. By keeping the oceans stocked with fish, we are also solving a global food crisis.

Marine reserves are like national parks – they give fish places to regenerate and help protect rare species. I’d love to paddle board around Ascension one day.”

Having undergone a rigorous training programme, Amber hopes to complete the sponsored challenge for BLUE in a matter of days. A support boat will accompany her from Putney onwards to help her negotiate the tides, Thames Clippers, water snakes and other potential hazards.

The urgent case for Ascension

Ascension Island is the peak of a gigantic undersea volcano in the tropical Atlantic. Its maritime area measures 443,000km2, roughly the size of Germany. Its waters are teeming with significant ocean predators, including tuna, sharks, dolphins and record-breaking marlin. It is a globally important nesting site for endangered green turtles.

Manta rays, whale sharks and leatherback turtles also frequent this highly productive marine environment, which is under immediate threat from the re-opening of a longline fishery.

A poorly managed long lining fishery, dominated by Taiwanese vessels suspected of shark-finning and significant abuses of human rights, was fishing around Ascension until 2013. Long lining delivers huge amounts of by-catch including sharks, turtles, dolphins and billfish such marlin and sailfish. However, the Ascension Islanders are on the brink of re-opening this destructive fishery due economic necessity.

Currently, a lack scientific data from the marine environment is a barrier to creation of a marine protected area around Ascension. Data on the abundance, distribution and biology of endemic and commercially exploited species is particularly lacking.

To fill these data gaps, a research vessel, funded by the Blue Marine Foundation will send divers and cameras down to previously unexplored depth range of 50 – 1,000 metres.

The SAERI survey, due to set sail from Ascension on 20 October 2015, and operating round the clock, will cover as large an area as possible within the waters of Ascension Island, with the main focus being depths of 1,000m and shallower, out to around 20km where biodiversity is thought to be highest.

As well as Ascension Island itself, a key focus of the survey will be a seamount 20km to the south of the island rising to 300m below the sea surface. Ascension and St Helena are part of a ridge of volcanoes, the others being submerged.

The decision as to whether to reopen the industrial fishery or designate an MPA around Ascension will be the first major decision taken since the UK government’s transformative commitment to create a ‘Blue Belt’ around its Overseas Territories in March 2015. The creation of what would be the largest marine reserve in the Atlantic would be a huge conservation gain by the UK.

You can support her attempt here.


Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family



Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace --

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

Continue Reading


How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life



how climate change affect our lives
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By --

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

Continue Reading