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School Children Turning The Tide On Marine Litter At Children’s University Scotland




The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has collaborated with Children’s University Scotland (CUS) and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to encourage local school children and their families in a beach clean at Edinburgh’s Portobello Beach.

The event forms part of the MCS’s Great British Beach Clean weekend, the UK’s biggest beach clean and survey, involving hundreds of beaches across the UK over the weekend 16-19th Sept.

Children from CUS schools across East and Midlothian, and from Edinburgh’s first CUS school St Mary’s RC Primary, will be involved in the event. CUS is a national charity that seeks to inspire children to get involved learning activities outside normal school hours in bid to build confidence and skills and encourage a love of learning.

Children’s University Scotland is all about recognising that learning can and does take place anywhere, not just inside the classroom.

“Events like this are so important in promoting family learning, helping to link the learning that takes place inside and outside school, and raising awareness amongst future generations about important environmental issues,” said Mary De la Peña, CEO of CUS.

Children will be provided with litter pickers, gloves and litter surveys as they hunt for rubbish left by beachgoers or washed up from sea, recording their findings and contributing useful data to the MCS’s national database.

The three national charities seek to raise awareness of the impact of litter pollution and the danger it poses to humans and wildlife. 2016’s Great British Beach Clean weekend comes as the negative environmental impact of plastic microbeads, one form of marine pollution, has been in the public eye due to a recent government ban.

“It’s fantastic to see so much passion for our beaches with such a diverse group of volunteers coming along to our Great British Beach Clean event at Portobello. If you would like to join in then please head to to find an event near you this weekend!” says Catherine Gemmell, Scotland Conservation Officer at the MCS.

To help further the cause, MSP for Edinburgh East Ash Denham has committed herself and her office staff to help out. Meanwhile, players for the professional ice hockey team Edinburgh Capitals will also attend to provide an extra boost to the children taking part.

Matt Tipoff, player for the Edinburgh Capitals, said, “Edinburgh Capitals would like to thank Children’s University Scotland and MCS for the opportunity to take part in such a positive environmental initiative. Our goal this season is to be as engaged in our local community as possible; we hope to show the same level of commitment to the city of Edinburgh that we receive from our dedicated and loyal fan base.”

RZSS will be involved as part of their educational outreach project Wild about Scotland, which aims to educate the next generation of conservationists about the importance of conserving Scottish wildlife. The award-winning Wild about Scotland campaign has been made possible thanks to a partnership between RZSS and Clydesdale Bank. RZSS’s Wild about Scotland bus, which has been converted into a unique teaching space for school children, will park up beside the beach and offer drop-in sessions at the event.

Barbara Smith, Interim CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have partnered up with Children’s University Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society, for the Great British Beach Clean. The Wild about Scotland campaign provides a unique way of engaging children with conservation and it is important for us to teach young people about the importance of conserving our native species and oceans.”


Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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