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UK inquiry launched to protect vulnerable Arctic region

The Environmental Audit Committee has opened a new enquiry into shielding the Arctic from the tempering fires of climate change. Alex Blackburne looks into what being done.

Preserving the threatened regions of the Earth against the effects of global warming is imperative. One of the most exposed areas to rising temperatures is, predictably, the Arctic.

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The Environmental Audit Committee has opened a new inquiry into shielding the Arctic from the tempering fires of climate change. Alex Blackburne looks into what being done.

Preserving the threatened regions of the Earth against the effects of global warming is imperative. One of the most exposed areas to rising temperatures is, predictably, the Arctic.

A vast mirror planted right on top of the planet, the icy region reflects the sun’s rays, keeping the Earth cool.

But the effects of global warming are devastating the area. Average temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as anywhere else in the world.

For an area made almost entirely of ice, this isn’t good.

Realising the dangers that the world’s northern-most tip has suffered and is set to suffer, a group of MPs have taken matters into their own hands.

Members of the Environmental Audit Committee, whose remit is to assess how government policies will affect sustainable development and the environment, have launched an inquiry into how climate change might allow new commercial opportunities.

It is also examining what Britain can do to further protect the already vulnerable region against future global warming effects.

Joan Walley MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said, “Rising global temperatures – caused by the burning of fossil fuels – ironically look set to clear the way for a new oil and gas gold rush in the Arctic.

“We will be looking at what the UK Government can do to ensure that the Arctic is protected and whether it is even possible to drill for oil and gas safely in such remote regions.

“Concerns over climate change should be recognised internationally as a limiting factor on any new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.”

In November last year, investment giants Guggenheim Partners announced a multi-billion dollar fund that invested solely in the Arctic.

The proposed fund was met with scepticism by many environmental lobbyists, who feared that it would just speed up the already quickening effects of climate change on the region.

Julian Parrott, chair of the Ethical Investment Association, responded to the plans, telling Blue & Green Tomorrow that it “is further evidence of big capitals’ headlong rush into previously untouched locations in a last gasp attempt to squeeze a profit with scant regard for the environmental or social consequences“.

The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry includes investigations into the Arctic’s energy reserves, shipping routes and fishing grounds, as well as how other domestic and foreign policies might impact on the area.

It also pledged to use the UK’s global authority to promote positive advancements in the region.

The committee’s website reads that it will examine, “How the Government might use its place on the Arctic Council to influence resource exploitation and steer development in the region to a more sustainable path. And what other opportunities exist for the UK to influence politics in the region to ensure sustainable development of the region“.

Further exploitation in the Arctic is not what the world needs during these times of economic and environmental instability.

But the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry will, with any luck, help eradicate further mistreatment of the region, and instead, create longevity and sustainability.

Continue as we are, though, and soon enough, the ice plains in the Arctic will be entirely replaced by dark water, which will in turn absorb more heat.

As a result carbon, and the even more harmful gas methane, will be released into the atmosphere, triggering a rise in sea levels by as much as 20-feet.

Cue water wars, devastated major cities, widespread illness and an increase in natural disasters. All because we couldn’t look after the precious equilibrium we once had.

Our children’s future could be submerged if we don’t act now.

There are over 90 ethical funds that you can invest in – all of which are tailored towards individuals who wish to help reduce the effects of climate change and create a sustainable future.

To find out about how you can help your money make a difference, get in touch with your financial adviser. Don’t have one? Then fill in our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist ethical one.

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Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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