Showing posts with label Environment Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment Related. Show all posts

23 July 2021

#PodsPollute! - New Study Shows That Detergent Pods Are Contributing To Plastic Pollution

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#PodsPollute! - New Study Shows That Detergent Pods Are Contributing To Plastic Pollution
Laundry and dish detergent pods are polluting the environment. (Infographic: Charlie Rolsky and Plastic Oceans International)
A recent study by Plastic Oceans International and Arizona State University reveals that washing machine and dishwasher detergent pods are contributing to the plastic pollution problem, leaking large amounts of untreated PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) into the environment, and possibly into the human food chain.

  • The study stands as a clarion call to not only question how these products are marketed, but also how we legally define such terms as biodegradable and eco-friendly.
The objective of this study was to estimate the US nationwide emissions of PVA resulting from domestic use of laundry and dish detergent pods. Via extensive literature review, researchers Dr. Charlie Rolsky and Varun Kelkar, concluded that as much as 75% of PVA from these detergent pods goes untreated in the US. That's over 8,000 tons per year entering the environment.
"Because of water solubility, PVA turns into a solution, then goes down the drain, where the chances of it fully biodegrading are very low," said Rolsky, who serves as the Director of Science for Plastic Oceans International. "The pods can easily pass through wastewater treatment plants and travel to ecosystems beyond."
It is still not fully known how PVA behaves as a pollutant, but current research suggests that PVA particles can sequester heavy metals and alter gas exchanges, potentially causing dangerous shifts of oxygen or carbon dioxide – which could negatively impact ecosystems. Ethylene, contained within the chemistry of PVA, could interfere with crop yields, as many plants utilize it as a hormone, which influences diverse processes in plant growth, development and stress responses throughout the plant life cycle.

Preliminary findings of this study show that strict conditions must be met for PVA to fully biodegrade. This means these products are not fully capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, and thus they cannot naturally return to the environment. The ongoing public perception is that the pods are eco-friendly and fully biodegrade, as is often claimed by their manufacturers.

#PodsPollute! - New Study Shows That Detergent Pods Are Contributing To Plastic Pollution
New Study Shows That Detergent Pods Are Contributing To Plastic Pollution (Image via Plastic Oceans International)
"This is an issue of truth-in-labeling," said Julie Andersen, CEO of Plastic Oceans International. "We recognize the rise in use of PVAs as a marketed 'eco friendly' and/or 'biodegradable' solution to other plastic polymers causing more harm. However, based on current research, we must question these claims of biodegradability and eco friendliness in order to prevent further environmental harm and to ensure that consumers are provided with factual product information."
  • As Andersen points out, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) clearly addresses marketing misinformation, including those that are directly related to false claims of environmental benefits.
The FTC Act states that the law "... acts in the interest of all consumers to prevent deceptive and unfair acts or practices. The Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers and affect consumers' behavior or decisions about the product or service. Marketers may make an unqualified degradable claim only if they can prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal."
#PodsPollute! - New Study Shows That Detergent Pods Are Contributing To Plastic Pollution
PVA pods are making into the environment and the food chain. (Photo: Shutterstock via Plastic Oceans International)
The study provides data needed in order to demand a closer look at how manufacturers are marketing their products to consumers. That's something we can act on now, but more is to be done on the research end. Dr. Rolsky says the next steps are to study the actual impact that PVA is having on the environment, better quantifying levels found in various ecosystems and identifying the consequences related to them, in addition to exploring how closely PVA behaves relative to more traditional plastics.

About Plastic Oceans International:

"A US-based non-profit organization working to end plastic pollution and to foster sustainable communities worldwide. We operate with the belief that we can and must act locally in order to create change globally, and we do so through the power of film and other content to empower and globalize community actions."

7 July 2021

Vision Films Brings Post-Apocalyptic Contamination Flick 'Lethal Virus' to Audiences This Summer [Trailer Included]

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Vision Films Brings Post-Apocalyptic Contamination Flick 'Lethal Virus' to Audiences This Summer [Trailer Included]
'Lethal Virus' - Movie Poster
Vision Films Inc. announced the North American release of the contagion horror film Lethal Virus on July 27. The film, partially shot during the pandemic, is a production of Virtual World Pictures and World Real Games, with the collaboration of Canary Film Factory and directed by filmmaker Daniel H. Torrado, who also co-produced, co-wrote and post-produced. 
Eerily familiar, a deadly and highly contagious Corona virus sweeps across the globe, this time unleashing flesh-eating zombies. Although the film is to entertain with a good dose of action and suspense, it is a warning about the dangers of climate change and the need for a more caring society. Can anyone survive?

The Synopsis: 

In a post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce and danger is high, a new super virus begins to infect the remaining population and threatens to destroy what's left of humankind. As a special forces group transports a young scientist, their last hope for a cure, to her lab against all odds of survival, they encounter zombie-like creatures who are the newest victims of the super virus.

The Trailer:


Starring an international cast including Christian Stamm (Westworld, Malnazidos), Loretta Hope (Barren, Hexagon), Ramón Álvarez (Justice League, Jurassic World) and Tomas Paredes (James Bond, El Cid). And for the action scenes, the team of specialists from films such as Assassin's Creed, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Rambo 5, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Terminator 6, among others, were used.
Lise Romanoff, CEO/Managing Director of Vision Films shares, "Lethal Virus is such a timely film that brings together an international cast and great effects for a harrowing and gruesome escapade to save humanity."
Writer/Director Daniel Torrado says, "During the filming, the pandemic began and we watched in amazement as the script was transforming into reality before our eyes. During the shooting we also suffered the inclemency of climate change, in the form of unexpected snowfalls and torrential rains, but we decided to use the setbacks to our advantage, adapting the scenes and including snowy sequences of great visual beauty."

  • The zombie thriller will be available on VOD and cable platforms across the US and Canada, and on DVD. Official Selection of the NIAFFS International Action Film Festival 2021.

10 June 2021

"Procession", An Augmented-Reality Artwork Of Our Not-So-Distant Future, Debuts At The Tribeca Festival [Trailer Included]

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"Procession", An Augmented-Reality Artwork Of Our Not-So-Distant Future, Debuts At The Tribeca Festival [Trailer Included]
Procession (Tribeca Festival Poster)
Dustin Yellin, in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation, Droga5, Squint/Opera, Q Department, Mach1 and Vrai Pictures, has announced the launch of Procession, a new interactive artwork that lets anyone in the world place a Dustin Yellin sculpture in their immediate environment and bring the art to life through complete explorative immersion, revealing hundreds of narratives within the piece. 

Set to debut globally at this year's Tribeca Festival, Procession is a groundbreaking augmented-reality (AR) app experience set in a utopian world where human-created climate change wreaks havoc as you watch.
Procession is one of the first fine-art AR projects based on a realized sculpture to combine animation, collage and archival footage into an explorative interactive soundscape. It presents our near future, a period of global unrest and environmental destruction, spurred by raging flood waters and massive wildfires. Humanity is faced with a choice: living in ignorance or uniting to preserve what's left of our planet.

"Procession", An Augmented-Reality Artwork Of Our Not-So-Distant Future, Debuts At The Tribeca Festival [Trailer Included]
Procession (Screengrab)
"My goal has always been to democratize art and create a living, breathing canvas that can be affected by every participant who touches it. Procession presents our near future, a period of global unrest and environmental destruction, spurred by raging flood waters and massive wildfires," said Dustin Yellin.
Through the accessibility of its art, Procession unites people in taking action to preserve our natural environment. Through education, awareness and a directive that links to National Wildlife Federation's nonprofit climate initiatives, Procession joins the fight to preserve our delicate ecosystem before we lose it.

"Procession", An Augmented-Reality Artwork Of Our Not-So-Distant Future, Debuts At The Tribeca Festival [Trailer Included]
Procession (Screengrab)
"The experience of becoming part of Dustin's art makes it clear that each of us has an impact on our planet and when we choose to take the steps necessary to protect wildlife and the natural world, we will be able to create a more equitable and sustainable planet for everyone," said Carey Stanton, Head of Innovation Partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. "We are thrilled to be the wildlife conservation partner for Procession."
  • Procession was created in a unique collaboration of established creative and production partners including global creative agency Droga5, creative studio Squint/Opera, music studios Q Department and Mach1, and immersive design studio Vrai Pictures.
"Procession", An Augmented-Reality Artwork Of Our Not-So-Distant Future, Debuts At The Tribeca Festival [Trailer Included]
Procession (Screengrab)
"We've been working on this collaboration for quite some time, and it's a pleasure to see the work of Dustin, Droga5 and our partners finally realized in such a pure, impactful way," said Director of Innovation at Droga5 Justin Durazzo. "We're really excited to deliver this interactive art piece in our rapidly evolving tech and climate landscape and hope everyone—regardless of their age, beliefs or background—will relate to it."
"The partnership was driven by our desire to make this world more intricate and immersive, more fun and educational. Technology allowed us to add animation and special effects, social interactions and gaming achievements to create a brand new artwork that truly leverages the medium it is made with," said Director of Technology at Squint/Opera Elie Zananiri. "We are very proud of this collaboration and how the AR experience turned out."

Procession - The Trailer:


  • Procession is available on Apple iOS and Android (listed as Procession AR). To download the experience, go to Procession.World.

About Dustin Yellin:

Dustin Yellin is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the founder and director of Pioneer Works, a multidisciplinary cultural center in Red Hook, Brooklyn. His work has been exhibited at Amorepacific Museum, Brooklyn Museum, City Museum, Colección Solo, Corning Museum of Glass, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Museo Del Palacio de Bellas Artes, SCAD Museum of Art, Tacoma Museum, and with Creative Time, amongst many others. Yellin is often featured in diverse media ranging from the New York Times, to Artforum, Vanity Fair, and TED. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

About National Wildlife Federation:

The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest and most trusted conservation organization, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. 

About Droga5:

Droga5, part of Accenture Interactive, is a creative agency with offices in New York, London and Tokyo. From integrated communications and experience innovation to business design, Droga5 exists to build and sustain the most influential brands of the 21st century through creativity. Droga5 was founded in 2006 and has been recognized as Agency of the Year more than 25 times and was named both Ad Age and Adweek's Agency of the Decade (2010–2019). Droga5 clients include Allstate, Amazon, Biofreeze, Chase, Essentia, The Hershey Company, IHOP, Kerrygold, Kimberly-Clark, lululemon, LVMH, Maserati, Mattress Firm, The New York Times and among others. 

About Squint/Opera:

Squint/Opera is a creative studio that brings together storytelling, media production, technology and design. The studio specialises in digital media and works with ambitious partners to communicate big ideas. With studios in London and New York, they have an international portfolio of clients, including the Empire State Building, V&A, The Metropolitan Museum, Battersea Power Station, Bordeaux Wine museum and Museum of Irish Literature.

About Q Department:

Q Department is an award winning sound production studio focused on bringing Hollywood production value to XR through our proprietary, patented Mach1 sound technology.

About Vrai Pictures:

Vrai Pictures is an XR design studio that seeks the truth in immersive media. We leverage emerging spatial computing technologies to explore the evolution of human-data interaction in order to build emotional, inclusive, and impactful experiences.
SOURCE Dustin Yellin LLC

1 June 2021

Actor Jason Momoa Takes A Stand Against Single-Use Plastics In Hollywood

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Actor Jason Momoa Takes A Stand Against Single-Use Plastics In Hollywood
Jason Momoa, actor and Mananalu Founder.
Today, Mananalu and Earth Angel, a sustainable production service provider, announced a partnership that advances the mission of both organizations to protect our planet. Mananalu will provide its aluminum-packaged water to Earth Angel's film and television production sets, effective immediately.
"Seeing the entertainment industry take meaningful steps toward sustainability is a passion of mine and one of the reasons I founded Mananalu," says actor and Mananalu Founder Jason Momoa. "There is a lot of work to be done, but this partnership with Earth Angel is a big step in the right direction."
While communal water stations were once a staple of Earth Angel's on-set programs, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a desire for more single-use options to mitigate the spread of the disease. Plastic water bottles were not an option, as they are counter to Earth Angel's work to reduce the entertainment industry's impact on the environment. To date, Earth Angel has avoided using over 2.5 million single-use plastic water bottles on their sets.
Mananalu's water offers the perfect solution—single-use cans of water, packaged in aluminum, a material that is infinitely recyclable. "We strive for sustainability in everything we do at Mananalu. It's the reason we exist," says Mananalu CEO David Cuthbert. "In this way, we are very proud to partner with the exceptional Earth Angel team in the sharing of these values and supporting sustainability around the world."
  • Mananalu is also able to meet the volume and demands of a production set, with Earth Angel's client roster including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Steven Spielberg's The Post, Emmy-winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Lin Manuel Miranda's upcoming In the Heights. Momoa's involvement in the industry is another added bonus.
"What Jason is doing in terms of leveraging his status in the industry to invest in sustainable solutions and companies is exactly what we advocate for," says Earth Angel Founder & CEO Emellie O'Brien. "We want to make sure our clients have access to sustainable products and options. With Mananalu, they get to avoid single-use plastics and support a mission-based company, while still remaining COVID-compliant."
Actor Jason Momoa Takes A Stand Against Single-Use Plastics In Hollywood
Jason Momoa in 'Sweet Girl' (Image via jasonmomoanews.com)

About Mananalu:

Mananalu is a sustainable water brand on a mission to empower the world to stop drinking from single-use plastics. "Mana" means the sacred spirit of life in Hawaiian. "Nalu" means a powerful wave that pushes across the ocean. 

Founded by actor, environmentalist, and Hawaiian-native, Jason Momoa, Mananalu is creating a wave of change and fighting plastic pollution by canning water with infinitely recyclable aluminum. 

About Earth Angel:

Earth Angel is the leading sustainable production service provider in the U.S. founded on the vision that entertainment should never be made at the expense of the environment. Their collective of production and sustainability experts provide the strategy, skilled labor, supplies and analytics to help the entertainment industry reduce its environmental impact.

Since 2011, Earth Angel has helped films and series avoid almost 9,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, divert over 10 million pounds of waste, and donate over 135,000 meals to local communities. Earth Angel is headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

SOURCE: Mananalu

7 May 2021

Even Species at Risk are Cramped at Home

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Short–eared Owl © Gordon Court (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
For over a year now, Canadians have been urged to stay home. Sometimes, though, home can not only feel too small, it can be too small. At their most recent virtual meeting, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the status of 26 wildlife species, some of which have particularly small spaces to call home. While not all are actually declining, a single stroke of bad luck could eliminate their entire Canadian population. And climate change may bring that bad luck.
Two rare lichens were assessed. Both live in specialised environments, one on the Pacific coast and one on the Atlantic. 

  • The tiny Seaside Centipede Lichen occurs on a narrow strip of western Vancouver Island and nearby islands. It occurs only on small Sitka Spruce twigs that are within a few metres of the forest floor. This lichen also needs a nitrogen supply, and so is usually found on trees near Bald Eagle perches and sea lion haul-outs where poop supplies that key nutrient. 
  • In Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Vole Ears Lichen occurs in a few forests near the coast where necessary fog is common. We know more about this rare lichen because of the increased interest of naturalists -- the Canadian population is the only one remaining in North America and may number fewer than 2000 individuals.
Increasingly severe storms can damage the lichens and their host trees on both coasts, layered upon local threats. Seaside Centipede Lichen was assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened and Vole Ears Lichen as Endangered.

Black Hills Mountainsnail © Robert Forsyth (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
Black Hills Mountainsnail has been isolated in the Cypress Hills on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border since glaciers covered much of the continent. The Canadian population is one of only four in the world that survived on rare hills or "sky islands" above the ice (the others are in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota). Climate change-fueled megafires could affect all these Canadian snails in one fell swoop. COSEWIC assessed this snail as Endangered.
"Large wildfires can damage and even wipe out snail populations -- they really can't just run away!" noted Dwayne Lepitzki, Co-chair of the Molluscs Subcommittee. "The Cypress Hills had major fires in the 1880s and we know that wildfires are getting bigger and more common in western Canada. Hopefully, fire management can help protect this snail."
Edwards' Beach Moth © Nicole Kroeker (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)
The attractive Edwards' Beach Moth is restricted to a few windswept beaches and small dunes around southern Vancouver Island, isolated from populations known in California. Thanks to work by dedicated volunteers, invasive vegetation is being kept at bay. However, climate change is a threat because warming brings rising sea levels and more numerous and intense storms that threaten to destroy the upper beaches and dunes where the moth lives. It was assessed as Endangered.

Fully 15 of the 26 wildlife species assessed by COSEWIC are threatened by climate change. Not all of them have restricted ranges. Short-eared Owl is still widely distributed, but Christmas Bird Count and Breeding Bird Survey volunteers have documented a worrying decline in their numbers.
"Citizen science observers across the continent are fundamentally important in determining population trends for this and many other species," commented Birds Subcommittee Co-chair Richard Elliot. "We couldn't do it without them."
Climate warming in the North is resulting in shrubification of tundra habitat, making it less favourable for the owl, and adding to human impacts it faces further south. Short-eared Owl was assessed as Threatened.

  • Altogether, COSEWIC assessed 5 birds, 5 plants, 3 insects, 3 reptiles, 3 molluscs, 2 sharks, 2 lichens, 1 amphibian, 1 freshwater fish, and 1 mammal wildlife species. Further details on all the wildlife species assessed at this meeting can be found on the COSEWIC website.

Definition of COSEWIC terms and status categories:

  • Wildlife Species: A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.
  • Extinct (X): A wildlife species that no longer exists.
  • Extirpated (XT): A wildlife species that no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but exists elsewhere.
  • Endangered (E): A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Threatened (T): A wildlife species that is likely to become Endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.
  • Special Concern (SC): A wildlife species that may become Threatened or Endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  • Not at Risk (NAR): A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.
  • Data Deficient (DD): A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a wildlife species' eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the wildlife species' risk of extinction.
  • Species at Risk: A wildlife species that has been assessed as Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern.
Even Species at Risk are Cramped at Home
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Logo (CNW Group/Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada)

About COSEWIC:

COSEWIC assesses the status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other important units of biological diversity, considered to be at risk in Canada. To do so, COSEWIC uses scientific, Aboriginal traditional and community knowledge provided by experts from governments, academia and other organizations. Summaries of assessments are currently available to the public on the COSEWIC website and will be submitted to the Federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change in fall 2021 for listing consideration under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). At that time, the status reports and status appraisal summaries will be publicly available on the Species at Risk Public Registry 

At its most recent meeting, COSEWIC assessed 26 wildlife species in various COSEWIC risk categories, including 7 Endangered, 9 Threatened, and 10 Special Concern.

COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal entities (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Nature), three Non-government Science Members, and the Co-chairs of the Species Specialist and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Subcommittees.

SOURCE: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

2 May 2021

2021: The Year of the Clog

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2021: The Year of the Clog
2021: The Year of the Clog (Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová)

The coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic effect on nearly every aspect of our lives, and fashion is no exception. While clogs were once considered a “mom” shoe, they’ve become one of the most fashionable styles over the last year or two.


If you’ve been following the latest trends, you know clogs are getting even hotter in 2021. You can check this collection of women's supportive sneakers if you’re interested in a new pair of shoes.

When Did Clogs Become Popular?

One well-known example of the rising popularity of clogs was a 2020 collaboration between Ugg and Eckhaus Latta. This elevated the clog to new heights and gave it a spin that most of us hadn’t even imagined.


By October, Lyst Insights had already taken notice of the increasing interest surrounding clogs of all kinds. They found that searches for clogs went up by an incredible 27 percent from one month to the next, illustrating the rapid increase in popularity over the second half of 2020.

What About Crocs?

You might not have expected Crocs to benefit from greater interest in clogs, but they’ve now been seen from leading brands including Balenciaga, Barneys, and Christopher Kane. Even more people started taking notice when celebrities like Justin Bieber and Post Malone started showing off their Crocs.


Unsurprisingly, Croc sales were way up in 2020, and we expect that trend to continue in 2021 and possibly even beyond. They offer a unique combination of comfort and style that instantly sets them apart from any other variety of shoe.

Sustainable Clogs

A new footwear brand named HILOS pre-launched sustainable clogs in the fall, taking the unique approach of 3D printing their shoes from brand-new materials. Since they can be created for each individual order, there’s no need to produce any more shoes than there is demand.


With the rising popularity of clogs among typical Americans as well as high-fashion types, there will only be more interesting shoes developed over the next several years. They will generate even more demand as consumers continue to look for sustainable options.

Clogs were the perfect shoe for the 2020 lockdowns, but it doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon. It will be intriguing to see which shoes are released in 2021 and beyond. Feel free to look at this catalog of mens comfortable sneakers for unique takes on some of the latest styles.


27 April 2021

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]

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Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port: Port of Newcastle (Screengrab)
Alley Cat Allies has launched a special investigation into a ghastly mass-shooting of feral cats, also called community cats, directed by the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, that left at least 12 cats dead, maimed or missing. Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, is calling on the Port's leadership to immediately end all killing and instead embrace humane, nonlethal management practices for cats.
"The Newcastle Port Authority called this a 'cull,' but there is no whitewashing the fact that this was a massacre, plain and simple," Robinson said. "Cats are sentient creatures who feel pain, and the cats who were the victims of this late-night hunt by the Port Authority endured horrific injuries and tremendous suffering. Killing cats does not have a rightful place in conservation strategy. The Port Authority must stop shooting and killing cats and needs to make a public commitment that it will never happen again. We demand that they adopt sane, humane, effective methods centered on spay and neuter, also known as desexing."
Alley Cat Allies, in collaboration with supporters in Australia and the Animal Justice Party of Australia, learned that the Newcastle Port Authority hired a contract killer to hunt down and shoot sterilized cats at the Stockton Breakwall, a public beach jetty, in December 2020. The next morning, devastated caregivers for the cats discovered a bloody, disturbing scene.

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port (Screengrab)
  • One cat, Rosie, was shot in the eye. The attack left another cat, Lily, blind and with a hernia. As many as eight cats are missing and presumed killed. Some surviving cats still suffer from their gunshot wounds as caregivers scramble to trap them. The caregivers and local veterinarians have grave concerns that these powerless, wounded cats remain in danger.
The Port Authority's attack came despite the fact that the cats were sterilized, vaccinated and cared for through a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program practiced by compassionate caregivers. TNR successfully reduced the number of cats at the Port from 100 to approximately 40 in recent years. These caregivers were neither warned about the hunt nor told that the Port took issue with community cats in the area to begin with.

Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port [Documentary Video Included]
Alley Cat Allies Investigates Brutal Cat Massacre by Australian Port (Screengrab)
  • Killing cats is not an effective means of population control because of a well-documented scientific phenomenon known as the Vacuum Effect. When cats are killed, new cats move in to take their place.
"The Port's actions serve as a reminder that in far too many places around the world, including in Australia and the United States, there persists an archaic mindset that killing cats is viable and necessary," Robinson continued. "Humane, nonlethal sterilization is being utilized all over the globe because it works. Killing does not work. The Newcastle Port Authority needs to wake up to the reality that hunting cats is not acceptable and join the rest of civilized society with a lifesaving policy for its cats."
The Alley Cat Allies investigation has prompted international condemnation of the Newcastle Port Authority's actions. Alley Cat Allies has posted a short documentary film with the findings from its investigation at alleycat.org/StocktonBreakwallCats, where it will continue to post more information from the case as it becomes available.

The Documentary:

About Alley Cat Allies:

Alley Cat Allies is the leader of a global movement to protect cats and kittens. Now in our 31st anniversary year, we are joined by more than 650,000 supporters worldwide.

Alley Cat Allies believes every cat deserves to live out his or her life to the fullest. We exposed an entrenched system in which animal control agencies and shelters have been killing millions of cats for over a century. Today, the programs we introduced in the United States are mainstream.

To achieve our goals, we collaborate with grassroots advocates, animal shelters, municipal managers, and lawmakers to replace deadly laws and policies with ones that protect cats. We defend all cats by offering cutting edge education online, in person, and through one-on-one dialogue. We advance lifesaving innovations such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR), high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter, microchipping, anti-declawing legislation, and any program that best serves the interests of cats.

SOURCE: Alley Cat Allies

18 January 2021

Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW: Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us?

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A seven-day online festival that takes participants on a virtual journey to discover: ‘Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us?’
British Expedition Apparel brand Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW, a seven-day online festival celebrating the extraordinary continent that for centuries has captured restless imaginations and transformed understanding of the rest of the world. 
Normally January would be a time when thousands of people head to the Antarctic, whether for work or exploration, but COVID-19 has inevitably impacted on that. As borders close and lockdowns intensify, we invite people instead to come with us on a virtual journey. Through dynamic presentations and discussions, provocative writing and pioneering photography, this is a chance to explore the unique wonder and vital significance of Antarctica today.
Over a century ago, when the brand's namesake Ernest Shackleton led three expeditions to Antarctica, exploration was about discovering new lands and breaking records. Today's explorations in the seventh continent are more focused on fields of science, climate and conservation, all of which are playing a pivotal role in our understanding of the planet.

We are realising what we learn from the frozen continent today will be paramount in fighting climate change in the future. This is why Shackleton has decided to host Antarctica NOW, in order to spread awareness of what's happening in the coldest place on earth right now - and why it's crucially important to every single one of us.

Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW: Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us?
Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW: Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us? (screengrab)

Discussion topics at the 7-day festival will include:

  • What's the polar power struggle playing out in Antarctica right now?
  • How do events in Antarctica impact on everyone?
  • What's left for Antarctic explorers? Who gets to decide who goes?
  • How fast are the ice shelves melting?
  • What's the link between Antarctica and space research?
  • What can the ice tell us about the past - and the future?
  • Are we winning the wildlife conservation battle?
  • How can we make the world sit up and notice?
Antarctica NOW opens on Monday January 25th and runs until the 31st January with a lead speaker broadcast live on Zoom and Facebook at 6pm each evening, as well as a host of other interviews, briefings, writing, photographic essays and a discussion forum available via Shackleton's website and social media channels.

Curated by writer and editor Rachel Halliburton (Avaunt Magazine), the festival brings together some of the most exciting and significant voices in the Antarctic community, including explorers, geopoliticians, scientists from the European Space Agency, cartographers and prize-winning photographers, to investigate and raise awareness of the most urgent and critical issues threatening the frozen continent..
"Antarctica is our spiritual home - it's where Sir Ernest Shackleton made his name as a polar explorer over a century ago and where our expedition-grade apparel is tested and used today. 'Like me, anyone who's seen Antarctica first-hand feels compelled to protect it" says Shackleton co-founder Martin Brooks. 'The aim of the festival is to raise awareness of the critical issues surrounding Antarctica, and how these impact all of us across the globe. As Shackleton said himself, 'It's in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all,' We invite everyone to explore what makes Antarctica both critical and wonderfully compelling.'
Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW: Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us?
Shackleton presents Antarctica NOW: Why does Antarctica Matter to All of Us? (screengrab)

The Event Schedule:

  • Monday 25th
6:00 PM - Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway University of London
A new Cold War? - why the Antarctic is on the brink of an international power struggle

  • Tuesday 26th
6:00 PM - Mark Drinkwater, Head, Earth and Mission Science Division at the European Space Agency
Checking Earth's Pulse at the Poles from Space: Are 2020 vital signs cause for concern?

  • Wednesday 27th
6:00 PM - Dr Mackenzie Grieman, Post Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University
Ice as a time machine – what stories can glaciers and ice sheets can tell us about our past?

  • Thursday 28th
6:00 PM - Sebastian Copeland, Photographer, filmmaker, explorer & philanthropist
Waking the giant – how can photography help bring about change?

  • Friday 29th
6:00 PM - Lizzie Daly, Biologist & wildlife broadcaster
From gentoo penguins to Antarctic blue whales – what needs to be done to win the wildlife conservation battle?

  • Saturday 30th
6:00 PM - Hugh Broughton, Architect and leading designer of research facilities in the Polar Regions
Polar architecture – what are the challenges of designing for the world's most extreme environment?

  • Sunday 31st
5:00 PM - Steve Jones, Expedition Manager at Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
Earth's final frontier – what advice do today's explorers need and why did Scott and Shackleton's expeditions go wrong?

6:00 PM - Louis Rudd MBE, Record-breaking polar explorer & SAS Soldier
Tales of the Unexpected - the inside story on The Spirit of Endurance Expedition.

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SOURCE: Shackleton

17 November 2020

Ranked: The Environmental Impact Of Five Different Soft Drink Containers

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Ranked: The Environmental Impact Of Five Different Soft Drink Containers
Ranked: The Environmental Impact Of Five Different Soft Drink Containers (AndriiKoval/Shutterstock)
People are increasingly aware of the harm plastic waste causes to wildlife, and many would avoid buying single-use plastics if they could help it. But are the alternatives to plastic much better?

Let’s look at one example – fizzy drinks. You might assume that plastic bottles are the least green option, but is that always the case?

To find out, we compared five different types of pressurised drinks containers. We tested their environmental impact according to a range of criteria, including how each contributes to climate change and the pollution each produces during manufacture, use and disposal.

Here they are, ranked from worst to best.

Fifth place: glass bottles

It might come as a surprise, but glass bottles actually ranked last in our analysis. You might instinctively reach for a glass bottle to avoid buying a plastic alternative, but glass takes more resources and energy to produce. Glass making involves mining raw materials such as silica sand and dolomite, and that can release pollution which, when inhaled, can cause the lung condition silicosis.

High temperatures are also needed to melt these materials, a process overwhelmingly powered by fossil fuels. During production, the glass itself releases carbon dioxide.

Our analysis found that glass bottle production used the most natural resources, due to the sheer amount of material used. A one-litre glass bottle can weigh up to 800g, while a similar plastic bottle weighs around 40g. That extra weight means vehicles transporting glass bottles consume more fossil fuels to deliver the same amount of liquid. For these reasons, we found that glass bottles have about a 95% bigger contribution to global warming than aluminium cans.

More weight means more emissions. (Makushin Alexey/Shutterstock)

Fourth place: recycled glass bottles

If a regular glass bottle is the worst, then surely those made from 100% recycled glass are much better, right? Unfortunately, no.

Some energy is saved in recycling rather than extracting, processing and transporting raw materials. But recycling glass still uses a lot of energy because of the high temperatures needed to melt it. More energy means more greenhouse gas emissions, and during the process, the glass may release carbon dioxide again.

In the UK, the recycling rate for glass is 67.6%. This would need to improve for glass bottle production to be self-sufficient by recycling alone.

Third place: plastic bottles

In third place is the plastic bottle. Plastic has ideal qualities for containing drinks. It’s strong, resistant to chemicals (so the ingredients in your drink don’t degrade the plastic), and it’s lightweight, meaning more can be transported on less emissions. That gave plastic a significantly lower impact on global warming than glass in our analysis.

But the effects of plastic waste globally are well documented. Glass and aluminium don’t break up into harmful microparticles like plastic does.

Plastic recycling requires less energy due to the lower temperatures involved in melting the raw material. But plastic, unlike glass or aluminium, cannot be endlessly recycled. Each time it’s recycled, the chains of molecules that make up plastics are shortened. All plastic reaches a point when it can no longer be recycled and so becomes destined either for landfill, incineration or the environment.

Second place: aluminium cans

In second place are aluminium cans. We found that they contribute less to global warming than glass and plastic because making them consumes less energy and resources. Cans are lighter than glass and aren’t made from fossil fuels either, like plastic.

Because of the processes involved in making them, cans also contribute less to environmental problems like acid rain and oxygen-free zones in the ocean. That’s because creating glass and plastic requires more electricity, and so it generates more sulphur dioxide pollution on average – a leading cause of acid rain. Making glass and plastic, and extracting the materials to make them (particularly soda ash for glass production), also releases more phosphates into the environment, which can overload rivers and coastal seas and deplete oxygen from the water.

But aluminium has its own environmental impacts. Making it involves refining bauxite ore, and mining bauxite can pollute water in the countries it’s sourced, including Australia, Malaysia and India. Rivers and sediment contaminated with heavy metals threaten the health of people and wildlife near mines.

Ranked: The Environmental Impact Of Five Different Soft Drink Containers
Bauxite exists in the topsoil of some tropical and subtropical countries. (Alexey Rezvykh/Shutterstock)

First place: recycled aluminium cans

Recycled aluminium cans were the least environmentally damaging single-use container we looked at. Aluminium can be constantly recycled with no change in properties. Recycling an aluminium can saves 95% of the energy used to make a new can and no new material needs to be mined or transported.

But aluminium isn’t always recycled. The UK’s recycling rate for aluminium packaging is just 52%. This must be drastically improved to make recycling the main supply of new cans.

Even if some of these containers are better than others, all of them have an environmental impact. The best option would be to phase out single-use packaging entirely, and introduce a system of reusing containers. Think self-serve drinks machines in local shops, where you could fill a bottle that you bring from home, or bottle return and reuse schemes.

Reducing waste and reusing materials, where possible, should come before recycling something. By reusing bottles, we reduce the amount of single-use packaging that needs to be created, reducing waste and a whole host of global environmental problems.

About Today's Contributors:

Ian Williams, Professor of Applied Environmental Science, University of Southampton and Alice Brock, PhD Candidate in Environmental Science, University of Southampton

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

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3 October 2020

Peanuts Worldwide Launches Global "Take Care With Peanuts" Initiative As Charles Schulz's Comic Strip Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

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Peanuts Worldwide Launches Global "Take Care With Peanuts" Initiative As Charles Schulz's Comic Strip Celebrates its 70th Anniversary
On October 2, 1950, Charlie Brown first appeared in the comics pages of seven American newspapers. In the following days and years, he was joined by friends Lucy and Linus, his sister Sally, and, of course, everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy. Seven decades later, the Peanuts gang has left an indelible mark on global pop culture around the world.
Drawing inspiration directly from Charles Schulz's beloved comic strips, Peanuts Worldwide announces a new multi-year initiative, Take Care With Peanuts, a campaign of caring that reminds all of us to be good global citizens.

The initiative launches on October 2, 2020, as Peanuts celebrates its 70th Anniversary.
Take Care With Peanuts features three vital messagesTake Care of Yourself (focused on physical and mental wellness), Take Care of Each Other (community and philanthropy), and Take Care of the Earth (nature and sustainability)—that inspire a major worldwide philanthropic endeavor, among other components.
"Take Care With Peanuts is an initiative after my own heart, as it celebrates all the themes that my husband featured regularly in his comic strip," says Jeanne Schulz, widow of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. "Sparky shared messages of taking care of each other and respecting nature for years—he was always a man ahead of his time!"
Peanuts Worldwide Launches Global "Take Care With Peanuts" Initiative As Charles Schulz's Comic Strip Celebrates its 70th Anniversary
Tools of the Happiness Trade, Peanuts-Style: At The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia, patient Bella Conciatore celebrates the new Snoopy and Woodstock mural she helped paint, which will hang in the hospital as a gift from Peanuts Worldwide and the nonprofit Foundation for Hospital Art. The mural is one of 70 being donated to hospitals worldwide as part of the global “Take Care With Peanuts” initiative, launched October 2 in conjunction with the 70th Anniversary of Peanuts.

Philanthropy: Taking Care Worldwide

Philanthropic projects will be a key component of the initiative, starting with the Take Care With Peanuts Hospital Mural Program, a global collaboration between Peanuts Worldwide and the nonprofit Foundation for Hospital Art (FFHA). As part of FFHA's mission to bring joyful art to hospitals around the world, Peanuts is donating 70 Snoopy-and-Woodstock murals to hospitals on six continents. 

  • Among the international participating cities are Beijing, Bogotá, Cape Town, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, and Toronto (to name a few), along with 12 U.S. cities.
The program debuted on October 1 at One Brooklyn Health at Brookdale Hospital in New York, and at CHOC Children's Hospital in Orange, California. A combination of volunteers, hospital staff, and patients at both hospitals joined together to paint the 49" x 56" murals, which feature an easy-to-follow template creating a cheerful image of Snoopy and Woodstock enjoying a hearty laugh atop Snoopy's red-roofed doghouse. 

  • Each hospital around the world will feature the same mural, creating a global bond of community and caring.
The Foundation for Hospital Art project is just the beginning of a multi-year philanthropic enterprise, with charity partners in each Peanuts Worldwide territory joining the Take Care With Peanuts initiative.

Peanuts Worldwide Launches Global "Take Care With Peanuts" Initiative As Charles Schulz's Comic Strip Celebrates its 70th Anniversary
Flying High with Woodstock: Young patient Za’Naii Roundtree shows off her awesome painting skills as she contributes to a new Snoopy and Woodstock mural at Gillette Children’s in St. Paul, Minnesota--hometown of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. The mural is one of 70 being donated to hospitals worldwide by Peanuts Worldwide and the nonprofit Foundation for Hospital Art as part of the global “Take Care With Peanuts” initiative, launched October 2in conjunction with the 70th Anniversary of Peanuts

Social Messaging Videos: Animated Stories Of Caring

Original 1-minute animated videos featuring the Peanuts characters will highlight Take Care themes throughout the initiative. The videos kick off on October 13 with Charlie Brown's sister Sally singing an original song, "Take Care." 

  • Starting in February 2021, ten original videos will be released each year, all­­­ dubbed into 10 languages.

Lesson Plans: Teaching Kids To Take Care

Starting November 2020 on peanuts.com, teachers and parents can download free standards-based lesson plans in 11 languages from the curriculum experts at Young Minds Inspired (YMI). Designed for students ages 4–11, the lesson plans will feature the Peanuts characters and Take Care themes will helping kids sharpen their STEM, Language Arts, and Social Studies skills.


Peanuts Worldwide Launches Global "Take Care With Peanuts" Initiative As Charles Schulz's Comic Strip Celebrates its 70th Anniversary
"The Snoopy Show".

Apple TV+: Taking Care With "The Snoopy Show"

A new Apple Original series, "The Snoopy Show," will debut globally February 5, 2021 on Apple TV+. Starring Snoopy and his many personas, one-third of the episodes will feature Take Care With Peanuts themes. 

  • "The Snoopy Show" is produced by WildBrain.
The Peanuts characters and related intellectual property are 41% owned by WildBrain Ltd. (TSX: WILD), 39% owned by Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., and 20% owned by family of Charles M. Schulz.

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