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Rio+20; renewable energy; #EndFossilFuelSubsides: June in headlines

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Here, we round up some of June’s biggest headlines – a month that was dominated by a certain sustainable development conference in South America.

This is, of course, Rio+20, or the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to give it its full title.

Blue & Green Tomorrow covered the run-up to the event in some detail. We previewed it with two weeks to go (Two-week siren sounds for Rio+20), looking at some of the biggest developments to emerge in the weeks leading up to its start.

The main talking point at the summit was the three-day talks that many of the world leaders were set to undertake between June 20-22 (World leaders all set for high-profile Rio talks). The leaders were urged to conclude on a sustainable outcome from the event (Leaders urged to find a sustainable consensus at Rio+20).

The national press treated Rio+20 with similar importance, with The Guardian even dedicating an ‘as-it-happens’ live blog to it over the course of the three days (Rio+20 summit: Opening day live blog).

Reflecting on the outcome of the talks, the BBC was rather critical. Environment correspondent Richard Black wrote a piece about how the event had ended (Rio summit ends with warning on corporate power), before looking back on the lack of progress it made (Rio summit: Little progress, 20 years on).

Also published post-event by Blue & Green Tomorrow was a piece, written by Mike Scott, about how the conference perhaps wasn’t as bad as people have made out (Reflections on Rio: was it really that bad?).

Another big story to hit the headlines in June related to a statistical press release from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that mapped renewable energy generation in the first four months of 2012.

We reported how renewables provided 11% of the UK’s electricity in that period – an increase of 39% over a year earlier (Renewables power on in UK electricity mix).

Wind Power Monthly opted to concentrate solely on the fact that the UK’s wind energy output for 2011 rose by 56.5% (UK wind output rises 56%), whilst the BBC focused their reporting on the encouraging figures that were coming out of Scotland, whose renewable energy output had increased by 45% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year (Big increase in Scottish renewables output).

We have to turn to Twitter for the final story in this monthly round-up, after users worldwide took to the micro-blogging site to Tweet the hashtag, #EndFossilFuelSubsidies. The 24-hour ‘Twitterstorm’ was the brainchild of 350.org – a website founded by renowned environmentalist, Bill McKibben (World Tweets to end fossil fuel subsidies).

The Guardian covered the news in a similar capacity (Campaigners demand an end to $1tn fossil fuel subsidies), whilst the Huffington Post also urged individuals to join the online push, and related the news to Rio+20 (The Public Supports Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies — Let’s See That as an Action From the Earth Summit).

Interestingly, it was a piece on the Huffington Post, by actor, director and environmental activist Robert Redford, that gave the #EndFossilFuelSubsidies trend its biggest surge (Stop Public Handouts to Oil, Gas and Coal Companies, Now).

Dwarfing all three news items in this piece, though, was the release of Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Limitless Clean Energy, which you can download here for free.

Previous monthly round-ups:

Executive pay; feed-in tariff cuts; and the energy bill: May in headlines

Renewable energy investment; fracking; and the not-so-green government: April in headlines

Hitting the headlines: March

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

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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

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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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