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David Attenborough Backs #EarthOptimism In 2017

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David Attenborough Backs #EarthOptimism In 2017

Given the tumultuous political events of the past few months it’s perhaps understandable if this Friday 13th we feel more than little anxious about the world around us.

As we move into 2017, people around the world are celebrating what is working in conservation and why. Discover how every one of us can become more involved in the fight to protect the natural world as we join hands with people in Cambridge, Washington, London and Panama in a global movement of #EarthOptimism.

On the 22nd April 2017 – Earth Day, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative will host #EarthOptimism for the general public at the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge. Jane Goodall, primatologist, conservationist and UN Ambassador for peace, will start the inspiring talks with a message of hope, and renowned Harvard psychologist, Steven Pinker, will close by examining how society can change for the better. In Jane’s words “Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved.” An impressive line-up of leading conservationists, popular naturalists and celebrity figures will present stories of success throughout the day, which will leave you hopeful for the rest of the year. Running parallel to the talks will be an activity-packed ‘Solutions Fair’, where you can calculate the carbon footprint of your next holiday and get great tips on diet. This is your chance not just to learn and share, but also to step up and join those who are making 2017 a positive year for our planet.

The most precious thing we have in this world is the natural world

“The most precious thing we have in this world is the natural world. As we enter 2017, it gives me great hope to know that the global movement, #Earth Optimism, will be sharing conservation successes and the actions we can all take to protect our planet.” Sir David Attenborough

Join the #EarthOptimism movement to find out what is happening in the countryside and in pioneering British schools, take a trip to the Essex oyster beds, and listen to the call of pied hornbill while drinking tea that is helping to protect it. Hear about how people are bringing critically endangered species back from the brink, restoring forests, fenlands and coral reefs, and removing waste from the oceans. And find out what actions we can all take in our everyday lives to make a real and lasting difference.

“The story of nature conservation is often one of loss. But there are many successes, too, and in 2017 I will play my part by celebrating these whenever I can, giving hope that loss is far from inevitable,” David Gibbons, Head of Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have slowed to a third of that in 2004 – let’s slow it down more this year by choosing what we buy and eat. Carbon emissions have not risen for a third consecutive year – let’s make 2017 the year they go down. Numbers of some of our rarest creatures, from blue whales to bitterns, are on the rise – let’s support projects that save more! The combined size of the marine protected areas created in 2016 is almost 15 times the size of the U.K. – let’s keep the momentum going.

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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