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‘Green Olympics’ a lighter shade of grey



Five years ago, Lord Coe promised that this year’s Olympic Games would be the “greenest ever”. But with a distinct disregard for sustainability seeping out of the cracks, Alex Blackburne dishes the dirt on the “greatest show on Earth”.

If you believe (some of) what you read in the media, the London 2012 Olympics appears to be a virtuous event on the sustainable global calendar.

But the sealing of lucrative sponsorship deals with unsustainable companies—BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto to name three—added to the distressing figures surrounding the impact of the event, the 2012 Games are destined not only to leave a huge mark on the sporting world, but a dirty great footprint on the planet, as well.

Lord Coe’s promise of “the greenest ever Games” is losing substance at a rate of knots.

Case in point: the event’s Carbon Footprint Study from March 2010, which includes some rather worrying statistics.

For instance, “The London 2012 reference footprint is estimated to be 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents”. That would place the Olympic Games, which lasts just short of a month in total, 130th on a list of countries ranked by annual carbon dioxide emissions, according to 2008 figures.

That’s just behind Nepal, and just ahead of New Caledonia.

The Carbon Footprint Study continues: “Most of the carbon emissions will occur pre‑Games.

These arise from the construction of venues, the delivery of the transport infrastructure, and the fitting out and ‘dressing’ of the venues and Olympic Park.

Most of the remaining operational activities and emissions attributable to spectators occur at Games‑time.”

The emissions of the games would be less of an issue if plans were in place to offset the carbon produced. But, in August last year, the Games organisers announced that they would be scrapping their offsetting pledges.

Officially, if you want to go down certified carbon-offsetting, all projects have to be overseas, so if we plant a lot of trees in Essex that just doesn’t count”, said David Stubbs, head of sustainability at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympics Games (LOCOG) in a Bloomberg report.

Because the Games are in the UK, we wanted to maximise the Games locally. Doing formal offsetting would be diverting things.”

Let me make something clear: I’m not against the Olympics. In fact, I appreciate and encourage its almost unrivalled ability to inspire generations, unite entire nations, and potential to inject millions into the country’s economy.

However, unfounded proclamations made by the people at the very top of the tree added to contradictory affiliations with rather unsustainable companies are difficult to condone.

We recently wrote about a new campaign called Greenwash Gold, which aims to highlight the ill-conceived involvement of BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto as event sponsors.

The campaign serves an eye-opening purpose; highlighting the fact that all sponsors must be able to justify their involvement in promoting a global event with underlying sustainable themes beyond the ability to throw cash at the organisers.

Indeed, having BP as the official Sustainability Partner and Carbon Offset Partner, as well as the official Oil and Gas Partner “beggars belief” for more than a handful of people.

With the London 2012 Games, Lord Coe and the rest of the organising committee had the opportunity to convey a strong message to the world—that the Olympics can be sustainable.

Sadly, that opportunity has passed. The search for profit has taken the Games down a well-trodden path, and fiscal success still remains to be seen.

Rio 2016 has a lot of ground to make up, but given the fact that it will also play host to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development—otherwise known as Rio+20—one month prior to London 2012, we have high hopes.

If you are interested in sustainable investment, please take time to read our new guide, which recognises that sustainable businesses will be the successful businesses of the future.

Further reading:

BP Olympic sustainability partnership “beggars belief”

Dow Olympic sponsorship faces scrutiny


What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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