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Be The Change

Be The Change

New music video gives clarion call to prevent plastic pollution

Nature
How Cheap Meat Destroys the Amazon

How Cheap Meat Destroys the Amazon

Factory farmed animals consume 90% of soya imported into the UK

Nature
UK Orca Watch Event 2019: Let the countdown begin!

UK Orca Watch Event 2019: Let the countdown begin!

Orca census welcomes all volunteers

Nature
Pioneering Rewilding on Knepp Estate Offers Hope

Pioneering Rewilding on Knepp Estate Offers Hope

West Sussex estate produces extraordinary increase in wildlife

Culture
This is What a Real Climate Emergency Looks Like

This is What a Real Climate Emergency Looks Like

Taking real action on climate breakdown would change all our lives for the better

Technology
Sincerity, greenwash and staying grounded

Sincerity, greenwash and staying grounded

Why less flying is aviation’s only sensible contribution to avoiding climate change

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Technology

Be The Change

New music video gives clarion call to prevent plastic pollution

“Say no to single-use plastic, say yes to the future”

Together with Bristol-based environmental campaigning organisation City to Sea, singer-songwriter and sound therapist Tallulah Rendall has created a thought-provoking music video for Holding onto Love: Be the Change the second single from her new album, The Liminal. The single will be released on Thursday 23 May.

Feeling a symbiotic connection to City to Sea and their mission to prevent plastic from littering the world’s oceans, Tallulah welcomed the opportunity to collaborate, as she explains:

“City To Sea invite each of us to explore our own relationship with plastic and environmental awareness through campaigning for policy and behavioural change. I love the rawness, heartfelt and sometimes even playful approach they use to engage us with this conversation. Personally, I feel passionate about supporting systemic change in our individual and collective relationship to both plastic and the environment. I believe in music’s ability to inspire change and if I can add my creative voice to something as vital as City To Sea’s mission and help more people engage with protecting our wildlife, rivers and seas then that is both an honour and a privilege.”

Holding onto Love, Be the Change, which features footage from the recent XR protests in London - as well as exquisite time-lapse footage shot by 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year, Rufus Blackwell - highlights the plight of the oceans amid the escalating plastic pollution crisis. An emotive cry to unite and make a stand, the video invites viewers to take responsibility for their plastic consumption, with a clear call to action: “You can be the change. Say no to single-use plastic, say yes to the future.”

Natalie Fee, Founder of City to Sea, says: “We’re all about awakening active hope, championing practical solutions and inspiring positive action – and we love doing that creatively! I’m a huge fan of Tallulah’s new album and we thought it would be potent to combine our voices and work together to spread the word that we can – and are – making a difference. With serious threats from the plastic industry to boost production there is a real danger that plastic pollution in our oceans could double by 2050. So we need to get the message out there, through art as well as emails, petitions and the news, that we can stop this from happening. Tallulah’s music fits wholly with our ethos – we can be the change.”

Historically Tallulah has used her music as a conduit to inspire change and campaigns include, We Don’t Want War, written in response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis; all sales from this track were donated to Save The Children. An original version of Holding onto Love: Be The Change was written in support of Standing Rock and released on an album called Protectors, the proceeds from which were donated to support the medical team on the ground.

Co-produced with acclaimed Berlin producer Aaron Ahrends, The Liminal album was inspired by the ‘energetic space’ Tallulah attunes to when she meditates or creates. “My deepening relationship with this connection has enriched my life and inspired me to believe in our human capacity to live an expansive life in harmony with ourselves, the planet we live on and each other,” she explains. “It is my passion to inspire and support this awakening in others through sound and creativity.”

To buy Tallulah’s new single visit her website:

https://www.tallulahrendall.com/product/holding-onto-love-be-the-change-city-to-sea/

Natalie and Tallulah

Nature

How Cheap Meat Destroys the Amazon

Factory farmed animals consume 90% of soya imported into the UK

Soyabean harvesting in Mato Grosso, Brazil

Factory farming isn’t just barbaric and cruel on the animals involved it is also decimating the natural world. Pigs and chickens crammed into sheds in the UK consume 90% of imported soya. The Amazon, along with other vulnerable ecosystems of the world, are being torn down to keep cheap meat flooding the UK market. Change is needed now - before it is too late.

A staggering 60% of global diversity loss is down to the food we eat. The biggest issue of all comes from the crop based feed our farm animals consume. Globally 70-90% of the worlds soya bean crop is used as animal feed, and here in the UK we import 2 million tonnes yearly for animal feed. Soya has become a widely used feed ingredient because it is cheap and high in protein. The majority of the soya used for animal feed in the UK is fed to intensively reared poultry (60%) and pigs, also farmed fish and cattle.

Brazil is the second largest producer of soya beans in the world, growing 24-25 million hectares (almost half of Brazil’s total cultivated land). Brazilian soya exports (mainly to the EU and China, were worth $31 billion in 2015. As a consequence, soya bean production is one of the main agricultural supply chains that is driving deforestation in Brazil.

Concerns over widespread deforestation in the Amazon led to a 2006 agreement between environmental groups and large agricultural corporations called “The Soy Moratorium". The moratorium prevents the use of soya beans grown on land deforested post 2006. Since 2006 Soya bean production has expanded by a million hectares in the Brazilian Amazon, but only 0.8% of that expansion occurred in newly deforested areas. Although this is restricting ‘legal’ destruction of the Amazon, illegal logging still occurs and is responsible for 80% of current Amazonian deforestation.

The Soy Moratorium however is not all good news. The underlying demand for soya bean production still exists. There is still population and economic growth, with a growing shift towards intensive animal production in the UK and other major importers such as China. This has resulted in a silent shift of land clearing in other areas of Brazil not covered by the moratorium. The global outcry to protect the Amazon rainforest, along with Brazil’s permissive land-use policies and cheap farm acreage has resulted in a deforestation rate in the Cerrado, Brazil’s savannah ecosystem, far greater than that in the Amazon rainforest.

The Cerrado extends to cover an area over 2 million square kilometers across central Brazil (21% of the country's land area), it is the second largest habitat type after the Amazonian rainforest and is one of the richest tropical savanna regions, home to 5% of species on the planet. Animals of the Cerrado include the rare and near threatened Jaguar and Maned Wolf, and the vulnerable Giant Anteaters and Hyacinth Macaws.

Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in Serra Da Canastra National Park, Minas Gerais. Photo: Kirstie Philpot

Maned Wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in the Brazilian Cerrado

Brazilian officials have cited protection of native vegetation in the Cerrado as critical to meeting it’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change. However scientists warn the biome has reached a tipping point which will lead to an increase in global warming. The Cerrado has lost more than 105,000 square kilometers of native cover since 2008, according to government figures, which is 50% more than the deforestation seen during the same period in the Amazon.

In the Cerrado, similarly to the Amazon, there is much illegal deforestation, but not only this, the massive devastation in the area is largely a result of insufficient regulation and protection of the land, with 85% of native vegetation being converted to soya beans being legal under the Forest Code.

Mountain clearance in Brazil. Image via Mighty Earth

In the UK, and globally, there is a huge demand for soya products to produce cheap meat. Since rising trade tensions between China and America, China has become Brazil's number one buyer of soya beans, which are fed to pigs and chickens to satisfy the tastes of it’s increasingly affluent, meat-hungry consumers. What consumers fail to see is the connection between the soya bean-fed meat on their plates and the steady decline of one of the world's richest troves of wildlife and destruction of one of the biggest carbon sinks in the world.

So while many unwittingly continue to purchase cheap meat products in the UK, while commercial food chains like Burger King continue to sell meat fed on soya bean products imported from Brazil, and while we are experiencing global population and economic growth with increasing human demand for soya bean products, the ecosystem continues it’s rapid decline, global emissions continue to rise and we rapidly head towards complete environmental collapse.

Philip Lymbery, the CEO of Compassion in World Farming said,

This is a planetary crisis. Heads of states, policy makers and business leaders need to re-evaluate and change our food system no matter how hard or inconvenient it is. Time is running out and it is our job to remind them; for the planet, animals and people.

Governments, corporations and citizens of the world urgently need to rethink current eating habits and food production systems. In the longer term this is to prevent environmental catastrophe, but in the short term, action is needed also for our health. WWF say the meat we eat has become less nutritious since intensive animal farming, due to declining healthy omega 3 content of animal products and a rise in unhealthy saturated fat. Astonishingly you would have to eat 6 intensively reared chickens today to gain the same amount of the healthy omega 3 fatty acid found in just one chicken from the 1970’s.

The widespread shift to a reduction in consumption of animal protein has multiple benefits for humanity. It enables us to farm in a more sustainable way, protecting our ecosystem and leaving more room for wildlife. It also enables us to produce healthier and more nutritious food. An oversupply of cheap meat carries enormous costs for our health and our planet. It is time to close this chapter of human history. Factory farming is a grotesque aberration that is devouring the natural world.

Practical steps you can take now -

Nature

UK Orca Watch Event 2019: Let the countdown begin!

Orca census welcomes all volunteers

With Orca Watch just days away the staff of the Sea Watch Foundation is waiting in anticipation to start conducting watches and collect records of the orcas passing through the Pentland Firth. Three other sightings of orcas have already been reported around Caithness in the last few days including the sight of a well-known group of orcas which regularly visits, and which travel south from Iceland to Shetland, and Scotland in search of food.

At the end of May, the Pentland Firth welcomes back the charity’s annual Orca Watch event during which the North coast is visited by hundreds of whale enthusiasts, tourists and local media wanting to witness the passage of orcas close to shore.

Now in its 8th year this event originated from the collaboration between Sea Watch Foundation and their former Regional Coordinator Colin Bird. With the possibility of underwater turbines installed in the area, a decision was made to establish a seasonal watch to gather information on how orcas use this area and what might be the consequences of such an installation. The 2019 event takes place from May 17th to May 26th where people from all walks of life are invited to join the dedicated volunteers for watches throughout this time. Watches will be conducted at Duncansby Head, Caithness, the main view point, around Orkney and Shetland (times and locations can be found online at www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/orca-watch-2019/). There will also be volunteer observers onboard the John O’Groats ferry (connecting mainland to Orkney), collecting sightings and effort data.

More than two thousand people have contributed sightings to the Sea Watch Foundation’s National Database that currently comprises over 60,000 records, making it one of the largest and longest-running sightings schemes in the world. Scientists and volunteers do complete sightings forms for Sea Watch, recording not only the sightings they make but, where possible, also the number of hours spent watching or the distance travelled in a boat. Even when no cetaceans are seen, it is important to have a measure of effort in order to interpret sightings more effectively.

This year’s Orca Watch does also see the collaboration of the following organizations that are helping conducting watches and social events: Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Scottish Natural Heritage, John O’Groats Ferries, Pulteney People’s Centre, RSPB wardens at Marwick Head, Sanday Development Trust, organizers of the Orkney Nature Festival, High Life Highland Countryside Rangers and Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

This is an open event and anyone interested is welcome to reach the organized land watches at any time during the day, but people are also free to look out for whales and collate sightings anywhere else along the coast, and of course if they see anything, Sea Watch would love to hear about it! Sightings should be reported here www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/sightingsform.

“Being able to sight so many different cetacean species in Caithness, Orkney and Shetland so close to shore is something truly amazing!” says Dr Chiara Giulia Bertulli, Sea Watch Sightings Officer and lead organiser of this year’s event.

“What we hope for is to be able to collect sightings data involving members of the general public, helping each other while sharing skills!” continues Chiara.

Orca pod, Pentland Firth

“Sightings are important because they give us information about where and when particular species occur, from which we can identify important areas and habitats, as well as determine changes in their status and distribution. Such knowledge helps provide better informed conservation measures”, concludes Chiara.

The north coast of Scotland is one of the best places to see whales, dolphins, porpoise and many different seabird species in the UK. As well as the orca, many other species of whale and dolphin can be seen from the shore including the common minke and humpback whale, Risso’s, common and white-beaked dolphins and the harbour porpoise. For the bird aficionados, sightings of razorbills, puffins, fulmars, great skuas, and terns are possible too. If you live locally and want to organize your own land or boat watches the recording forms can be found online (www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/recording-and-submitting-sightings) and please get in touch with Sea Watch if you have any questions about it.

Sea Watch Foundation is also very proud to announce an evening of orca talks on May 18th at 6:30pm, at the Pulteney People’s Centre in Wick during the Orca Watch. The opening night of talks will bring together leading investigators in the field of cetology with invited speakers providing an avenue for scientists, wildlife enthusiasts and tourists to brainstorm and create synergy across disciplines. Invited speakers include Dr Peter Evans, Director of the Sea Watch Foundation opening the night with a talk about orcas in the UK. Dr Saana Isojunno and Emily Hague from St. Andrews University will give insight into the interaction between orcas and seal in Scotland, and to conclude the night Dr Chiara G. Bertulli, Sea Watch’s Sightings Officer, will introduce the SW Sightings Network and their land-watch data collection protocol.

An Orca Watch beach clean will also be organized at Sannick Beach on May 22nd in collaboration with the Highlife Highland Countryside Rangers. A cetacean talk will be given to the kids at the Canisbay Primary School on May 24th too.

Full details of all Orca Watch events can be found here: SEA WATCH WEBSITE: https://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/orca-watch-2019/ SEA WATCH FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/orcawatch/