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Technology
People powered air pollution campaign exposes toxic postcodes

People powered air pollution campaign exposes toxic postcodes

Breakthrough new website allows users to check local air pollution and the impact on house prices

Technology
New eco boating company cleans the sea while you sail around Ibiza

New eco boating company cleans the sea while you sail around Ibiza

Zero-emission boating experience, creates a lasting eco boating movement

Nature
Becoming Animal

Becoming Animal

An urgent and immersive audiovisual quest, forging a path into the places where humans and other animals meet

Culture
A message to young Extinction Rebels - think twice before you get arrested

A message to young Extinction Rebels - think twice before you get arrested

Let older people take the hit

Culture
Wider Horizons

Wider Horizons

Transformational retreat in nature for young people to become change makers for the future

Technology
Blue Heart

Blue Heart

All dams are dirty

Today's reading
Technology

People powered air pollution campaign exposes toxic postcodes

Breakthrough new website allows users to check local air pollution and the impact on house prices

This week marks the launch of a major new citizen funded initiative by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) to tackle inaction on air pollution: addresspollution.org.

Addresspollution.org will, for the first time, uncover pollution levels by address using a system similar to the EPC energy ratings for homes. The free report generated with a click gives the annual average levels of air pollution at an address and the damage long term exposure can do to human health. It also makes it clear if the property exceeds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual legal limit for clean air.

The rating system uses data from King’s College London, giving levels of nitrogen dioxide accurate to 20sqm.

A new report[2] unveiled by COPI today shows that average house prices across the city could plummet. Chelsea house prices could be crunched by £256,416, in Tower Hamlets by £66,419 and in Islington by £146,359. The price plummet estimates follow findings that show a resounding 76% of Londoners believe that discounts should apply to properties available to rent or buy in areas that breach legal limits for air pollution and are likely to have a negative impact on occupants’ health.

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According to the World Health Organization, there is no healthy level of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)[3], but anything above 40 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) breaches the legal limit of NO2 – making it illegal. This would fall under a ‘Significant’ rating on addresspollution.org, and be shown to lead to an 11% increased risk of disease related mortality. London neighbourhoods that rank at this level include The Mall, Notting Hill as well as Regents Park home to famous names including the royal family, David Beckham and Daniel Craig.

Areas with air pollution above80µg/m3, which leads to a 33% increased riskin disease related mortality,includewealthy neighbourhoods such as Chelsea, Westminster and newly gentrified areas like London Fields. COPI is targeting these areas with billboards that have messages like ‘Location, Location, Lung Disease’ and ‘These houses cost an arm, leg and lung’.

Humphrey Milles, founder of the Central Office for Public Interest,said:“Air pollution is killing people across the country, and London is worst hit - but people don’t believe it will affect them personally. The Air Quality Rating is a tool to change these perceptions and show just how real, and dangerous, air pollution is across the capital, including in some of the wealthiest neighbourhoods.

“I urge every Londoner to check the Air Quality Rating for their address, get informed and take action. Sign the petition and demand immediate action from your council and local MP.”

Every estate agent across London will be contacted this week and encouraged to adopt the new system.With the air quality and associated health costs for every address in London now readily available, a strong legal argument exists to say this information must be disclosed to prospective buyers.

While most (94%) of the Londoners surveyed claim to be aware[4]of the risks of exposure to air pollution, just 12% said that air pollution levels would be a high deciding factor[5]on a home purchase. But if they were informed that the level of toxicity breached the WHO’s legal limit for air pollution, which many addresses do, 58% said they would withdraw an offer completely and a further third (36%) would continue but demand a discount.

Mark Hayward, of the National Association of Estate Agents, commented:“Estate agents are legally obliged to declare material issues that could affect the price of a house to a buyer. The current legal argument about air pollution goes that it isn’t a material issue so does not need to be flagged to buyers. This argument just does not hold up when we know that disease related mortality increases in areas of significant air pollution. This needs to be addressed and I am urging estate agents to lead the change and begin sharing air pollution ratings with potential buyers, which they can now do using the new Air Pollution Rating tool. Air quality is now public information, and it will never not be again. This is going to be industry standard. It’s inevitable.”

Addresspollution.org makes it easy to demand action, with localised, specific action points for each council, and a national petition for the government to bring the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars forward from 2040 to 2030, in line with other countries around the world.

The campaign is from the Central Office of Public Interest, a non-profit creative industry alliance. Funds to get the campaign off the ground were raised from a successful Crowdfunder campaign, making this is a truly people powered campaign.

There are plans to roll it out nationwide, as toxic air isn’t just a London problem. Air pollution levels are too high in 37 out of 43 zones across the country[6]. This is eight years after the UK was first found to be in breach of legal limits.

Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at Kings College London, added:“Many people don’t learn about air pollution levels and the health consequences until after they have suffered its effects. With an Air Quality rating for every house in the country using the latest data provided by King’s, this will enable the public to better understand the air quality at their own front door, and equip them with an understanding of how best to improve their local air quality.”

To get a free air quality report for your address and sign the petition, visit addresspollution.org.

Technology

New eco boating company cleans the sea while you sail around Ibiza

Zero-emission boating experience, creates a lasting eco boating movement

La Bella Verde, Ibiza’s first and only solar-powered catamaran experience has created some monumental waves this year. Launched in 2014, the award-winning sustainable business has grown their solar-powered fleet to seven this year and have provided the island’s first 100% emission-free, Ocean Plastic Clean up boat named ‘iBi’. The new additions allow even more global visitors to enjoy a unique experience and relax in one of the worlds most desirable destinations, whilst minimising their carbon footprint.

A Green Boating Movement - Ocean Plastic Cleaning Boat ‘iBi”

Ibiza has a dedicated target to become free from single use plastic by 2023, and 2019 signifies a major step towards this action with the launch of one of the world’s first Solar Powered Ocean Clean Up Catamarans. The initiative will be carried out by iBi Foundation, includes a unique ocean clean up system that will filter and remove plastics from the ocean surrounding both Ibiza and the Balearic Islands. The robust structure is paired with La Bella Verde’s 100% emission free eco boat, which is powered entirely by the elements. The idea was initially raised by Ed en Joke from iBi Foundation after they found a struggling sea turtle caught in plastic and unable to swim in the open sea just off the Ibiza coastline. Volunteers are welcome to enjoy sailing for the day whilst clearing up the ocean through the new system.

Plastic, Pollution, Posidonia and Ibiza Sea Life

One of the main organisms that are affected by plastic and fuel based pollution is the Posidonia seagrass. Ibiza is one of the few locations where Posidonia oceanica (commonly known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed) exists. This is a rare seagrass species that is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. It forms large underwater meadows that play an important part for the local ecosystem encouraging its habitat. This is known to be one of the oldest and longest clonal colonies on Earth, dating as far back as 100,000 years. This has led to the land between Ses Salinas and Formentera being declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. Posidonia oceanica is a higher plant species that differs greatly from algae, with leaves, stalks and roots, as well as flowers and fruit. Its flowers indicate that this plant was once a land plant that has adapted itself to life underwater, where the flowers do not need to attract insects for pollination or pollen transportation. They are particularly known for supporting the balance of sediments by forming barrier reefs, maintaining the coastline and protecting beaches from erosion.

The Green Experience - Clean, Green & Silent

La Bella Verde provides the ultimate eco experience in Ibiza. Departing daily throughout the summer until mid-October from San Antonio, Santa Eularia and Las Salinas beach. The Las Salinas route, forms part of one of the islands protected natural park and home to a diverse ecosystem that stretches from South East Ibiza to Formentera. Hosting a number of vessels for small groups of five, perfect for families and couples right through to large groups of 30. Each full-day trip allows for a complete exploration of the surrounding torquoise waters and the white-sand coves of Formentera and its nearby isles. Staying true to the company’s ethos, gourmet lunches made with organic and locally sourced island produce, seasonal vegetables are served on board or on a secluded beach.

1% of every eco charter is donated to the recently launched La Bella Verde Foundation, designed to protect the biodiversity at Salinas Natural Park including protecting the Posidonia, a rare seagrass endemic to the mediterranean sea in Ibiza, as well as supporting local businesses to become plastic-free and minimise their environmental impact.

About La Bella Verde

Starting with just one catamaran in 2014, the pioneering eco-charter company was founded by friends Charlie Priestley, Alistair Glover-Main and Maarten Bernhart with a collective dream of offering a eco-boating experience.

Since the company’s inception, the team has transformed traditional boats into eco-friendly modes of transportation with the use of electric engines and advanced solar panels. Last Autumn saw the team launch into production of their own solar catamarans, the new boat was recently awarded the Palma Boat Show Award for most innovative design by Institut d'Innovació Empresarial de les Illes Balears IDI.

The name La Bella Verde, or “The Beautiful Green” is a signal of what the founders have sought to create – an intimate, low-impact experience with aims to make positive change in the wider boating industry internationally.

The team are also involved with local initiatives including school education days around ocean protection, working with sailing schools and organising beach clean ups.

Eco Sailing Ibiza

Prices for La Bella Verde start from 121 euros per person for a seven-hour solar catamaran excursion, including complimentary coconut water, juices and a selection of locally sourced beer, wine and champagne.

Sole hire of the largest boat carries up to 11 people with their smallest carrying 6 people. For larger groups, boats can be combined to sail side by side, accommodating up to 35 people.

This year La Bella Verde are extending their standard offering by providing a new High End package that also includes towels, licensed drone videography, organic locally sourced beer, wines and non alcoholic drinks, alongside boards and snorkelling equipment.

www.labellaverde.com

Nature

Becoming Animal

An urgent and immersive audiovisual quest, forging a path into the places where humans and other animals meet

An inspired collaboration between filmmakers Emma Davie (I Am Breathing) and Peter Mettler (The End of Time) and radical writer and philosopher David Abram (The Spell of the Sensuous), Becoming Animal is an urgent and immersive audiovisual quest, forging a path into the places where humans and other animals meet, where we pry open our senses to witness the so-called natural world—which in turn witnesses us, prompting us to reflect on the very essence of what it means to inhabit our animal bodies.

Shot in and around Grand Teton National Park, with its dizzying diversity of wildlife, trails of curious humans in RV’s and billion-year-old geology, the film is a geyser of provocative ideas and heightened sensations related to the sublime circuitry that connects us to our ever-shifting surroundings. A snail’s body becomes an immense landscape as the soundscape immerses us in shivering leaves, rushing rivers and the weird spacey pitch of elk bugling at night. Becoming Animal embraces the sensory tools of cinema to trace how the written word and technology has affected how we see.

Driven by wonder, curiosity and a desire for balance between ecological and technological imperatives, Becoming Animal is an invitation to explore our relationship with this “more than human world” and recognise it for what it is: an exquisitely intricate system in which everything is alive and expressive, humans, animals and landscapes are inextricably interdependent, and there is no such thing as empty space.

www.becominganimalfilm.com