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I remember August 2012. That was the month when…

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We hope you enjoyed August as much as we did. The Olympics, and Team GB’s outstanding performance, made it a very memorable month. And the sun even showed its face once or twice as well!

It was another busy month in the world of Blue & Green Tomorrow, as we kicked off the month by bringing you the news that as expected, the feed-in tariff for domestic solar installations was being reduced to 16p per kilowatt hour. But the industry maintained that the clean energy source was still an abundantly attractive option for investors.

We also continued our following of two particularly innovative UK renewable energy schemes – community finance platform, Abundance Generation, which announced it had hit its funding target for its first project, and Westmill Solar Co-operative, which also reached a significant milestone by surpassing its £4m investment goal in record time. A similar project to Westmill, this time in Northern Ireland, revealed similarly encouraging figures later in the month.

On the features side of things at the beginning of August, Ben Charig explored the Scandinavian nations that were setting the clean energy pace, whilst Joseph Iddison looked at the international success achieved by the world’s various green political parties.

Our team took a short break in the second week of the month, to celebrate amongst other things, the summer, the Olympic Games, our publisher’s 40th and our editor’s trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

But whilst we were away, we looked in detail at the six principles for responsible investment – a round-up of which we published upon our return.

Back into the swing of things after our break, our publisher Simon Leadbetter wrote a piece about whether ‘News Corporation and ethics’ was an oxymoron, on the back of the news that Rupert Murdoch’s organisation were to set up a global ethics team. Simon also penned an article describing why capitalism’s woes won’t be solved by 16th or 19th century economic theories.

Another contributor, Joanna Keeton, then asked whether sustainable tourism was a passing fad or a way of life. She assures us that it’s definitely the latter, saying, “Sustainable tourism is not about making a list of things we cannot do; it’s about improving the ways in which we do them, and ensuring that in 20 years times, those opportunities will still be present.”

Indeed, these sentiments were backed up by one of the world’s leading luxury travel networks, Virtuoso, which picked out sustainable tourism as a “key trend” at its 24th annual Travel Week.

Building on his investigation into Scandinavia’s clean energy charge, Ben Charig looked at south-east Asia’s commitment to renewables, stating that it was Indonesia and Malaysia that appeared to be the most attractive markets in that region.

Staying in Asia, but travelling north-west, a number of major Japanese firms had backed clean energy to fill the void left by the country’s suspended nuclear fleet.

It was also a positive month for Scotland’s renewable energy sector, with a couple of exciting bits of news emerging from the country. First, it was announced that Mainstream Renewable Power had applied for consent over plans to build a 450 megawatt, £1.4 billion wind farm off the coast of Fife. And then, first minister Alex Salmond revealed that the “world’s first community-owned tidal turbine” would be constructed off Scotland’s coast.

Towards the end of August, we reported on how a freedom of information request lodged by The Huffington Post had revealed that some of the UK’s top universities received at least £83m in funding from companies in the arms trade between 2008 and 2011 – much to the dismay of campaigners across the country.

We published a couple of interesting pieces from another contributor, Charlie Wood, who looked at the green credentials of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and then current US president Barack Obama. Is the grass greener on the other side, though?

Arguably the biggest environmental news to come out of August was brought to us by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US, which revealed that Arctic sea ice was at its lowest ever level since records began.

Despite the severity of such news, the British media appeared more interested in the debate surrounding a proposed third runway at Heathrow. We got our priorities right and covered this news the day after.

We featured a couple of infographics in August – one about sustainable travel and one about organic food – and Joseph Iddison also continued our coverage of the Severn tidal barrage project, which looks like it could be resurrected.

Finally, independent financial advisor and friend of B&GT, Julian Parrott, wrote how talk of high returns amongst ethical investors detracts from the point.

Phew! What a month! We hope you enjoyed this round-up, and indeed, all of the content that we’ve published in August. Make sure you stick around in September for the release of our next in-depth report, this time about sustainable banking.

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Features

Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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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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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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