Connect with us

News

Poll Reveals Sharp Drop in Spanish Support for Bullfighting Down to 19%

Published

on

A new opinion poll on bullfighting in Spain, carried out on the eve of national elections in the country has shown a steep fall in support for the activity, along with strong opposition to other festivals and traditions. The online poll by Ipsos MORI for World Animal Protection, found that 19% of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting, compared to 58% who opposed it – three times as many. This is a sharp drop from 30% support amongst adults aged 16-65 in a similar Ipsos MORI online poll conducted in March 2013.

The current poll also found that

  • Only 7% of 16-24 year old respondents supported bullfighting compared to 29% support in the 55 – 65 age group. In the 16 – 34 age group, 71% opposed and 10% supported bullfighting and in the 35 – 65 year old group, 51% opposed and 23% supported.
  • 84% of 16-24 year olds said they were “not very” or “not at all” proud to be living in a country where bullfighting is a cultural tradition. In comparison 67% of all respondents 16 – 65 said they were not proud of this.
  • Although the Spanish Government can use public funds to assist the bullfighting industry, there was strong opposition to this with around 3 in 4 (73%) disagreeing that this should take place. A similar proportion (73%) disagreed with public funds being used to promote bullfighting as part of Span’s national heritage.

 

The poll also revealed strong opposition to individual festivals and traditions. The Toro de la Vega festival, was supported by just 5% of adults 16 – 65, with 75% of adults aged 16-65 being opposed.

The Toro de Fuego festival in Medinaceli had 7% support, with 71% being opposed. In November 2015, World Animal Protection delivered a petition signed by 140,000 supporters to the Mayor of Medinaceli calling on him to stop this cruel event taking place.

Ruud Tombrock, Regional Director of World Animal Protection said “Outdated traditions of bullfighting and other cruelty towards animals in the name of culture are no excuse for the torture that it involves. And the torture of animals should have no place anywhere in the world, least of all in a modern, progressive nation like Spain.

World Animal Protection believe these results are a fantastic opportunity for Spanish politicians to show they listen to their people. It’s clear the public are moving away from the outdated practice of bullfighting.  Forward–looking Spanish politicians should seize this moment and what may well be the popular appeal of taking a stand on this issue.

This is why we are calling on them to make a resolution that 2016 will be the last year these despicable traditions will take place. All political parties should make a new pledge to end the cruelty – not just bullfighting but of all the other fiestas and festivals where animals are treated cruelly, or terrified, taunted and tortured. This includes the Toro de la Vega, where mounted horsemen armed with steel tipped lances pursue a bull to its death. The Toro de Fuego, where a tethered bull has flammable material tied to its horns which are then ignited. We’re calling for an end to the use of precious public funds to support such events – Festivals or fiestas which masquerade as cultural assets but which in reality are heartless, dying traditions which should rightly fade into history.”

Marta Esteban, President of Spain’s “Torture is not Culture” coalition, said “Bullfighting is mortally wounded in Spain and we will see it collapse in the next 5 coming years. Attendance has dropped 54% in the last 7 years (Source: Estadísticas de Asuntos Taurinos 2009-13. Ministerio de Cultura) and only survives due to public subsidies which we are also managing to gradually remove as more political parties listen and respond to our demands. We thank World Animal Protection for this poll, which so neatly reflects the reality of bullfighting in Spain, as well as for their support in lobbying with politicians and showing them what Europe thinks about this abominable practice.”

National elections took place in Spain on Sunday December 20 but no party won a workable majority or has been able to form a coalition with smaller parties. Spain has traditionally been a two-party state but the emergence of two new parties (Podemos and Ciudadanos) suggests a new reforming era, perhaps more in tune with the public feeling revealed in this poll. It is anticipated that the general election may need to be re-run in two months.

 

 

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

Published

on

Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

Continue Reading

Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

Published

on

Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending