They can be shy, they can be sociable – sharks have feelings, too: sharks’ personality

shark-personalityA study led by the University of Exeter and the Marine Biology Association of the United Kingdom and published in the journal, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, on 2 October 2014 has found that those legendary predators, sharks, have personalities which are evident from the manner in which they interact with other sharks. Personalities have been discerned in almost every kind of animal, be it an insect or a massive carnivore, however this is the first time that sharks’ personality has been noted.

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Students asked to pee in the shower to save water

pee-in-the-shower-save-waterStudents at the University of East Anglia in Norwich have been implored to pee in the shower to save water. A campaign with this aim named #gowiththeflow (1) was devised by students Chris Dobson and Debs Torr.

The idea reached the final stage of the Npower Future Leaders Challenge, a competition where students conceive projects that would cause other students to live more sustainably. There are 28 other competitors. Students are invited to enact the eight best ideas. Members of the winning team will go to the Amazonian rainforest and work with the Kaxinawá tribe.

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TEDxWWF: One Planet Living – sharing stories meant to be shared

one-planet-livingDo we need to solve our planet Earth? Our planet won’t need us. It’s actually time to solve our species, humankind, whose existence on planet Earth is seriously threatened. Threatened by whom? By humankind. Our enemy is within. We are simply disconnected from reality.

The WWF European Office celebrated its 25 anniversary on 13 October 2014 in Brussels (Happy Birthday!), and the EU representation of the German state of Bavaria hosted the amazing TEDxWWF event “One Planet Living” on this occasion (1). It was her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien from the Netherlands in person who welcomed and introduced the inspiring speakers of this evening, speakers who shared their personal insights and ideas with an enthusiastic audience.

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The new Living Planet Report 2014 is out, and it’s not good news

living-planet-report-2014Every year the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and their partners publish their Living Planet Report, an assessment of the status of our planet’s natural capital. The new edition was published this week and, in the words of WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini, it’s “not for the faint-hearted”. The Report measures three different key indicators – the Living Planet Index (LPI), the ecological footprint, and the water footprint.

Neither of these is good news. Here are the main findings from the Living Planet Report 2014

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An environmentally friendly lawn beckons

environmentally-friendly-lawnsA great number of homeowners yearn for a perfect, green lawn, but this can be problematic when, for instance, there is drought in the United States and hosepipe bans are a possibility in the United Kingdom. Not only that, but the use of fertiliser and pesticide is discouraged. While green, lawns can be decidedly ungreen, figuratively.

Studies have connected pesticide use in schools with illness in staff and students and use at home with a greater prospect of childhood leukemia. Pesticides can even kill. While use of agricultural chemicals declined by 12,189 tons in the United States from 1992 to 1997, chemicals used on lawns grew by 7,747 tons.

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Unsustainable household products and their alternatives

unsustainable-household-productsThe developing nations of the world are slowly moving along the same ‘industrial revolution’ processes as their first world counterparts, in a bid to improve their economic and social status. Countries like China and India tend to provide the widest range of economic growth matched with enormous poverty and class disparities. The under-developed world is seen as a negative state of being, compared with the developed first worlds players like Sweden, Norway, Canada and so on. However, these people are using less carbon and lead far more sustainable lifestyles then the materialistic west. That is not to say some of their practices are best but a lot can be learned to improve our own sustainability.

Here are some lessons from developing countries on 3 unsustainable household products and their alternatives.

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TV presenter Kate Humble implores you to get nekkid

45-year-old Kate Humble, who first appeared on television in 1997 and is now the presenter of BBC Springwatch and Lambing Live, has told that her way to get closer to nature is to get nekkid. She often walks around thusly and wishes “everyone to try it.” She owns a 117-acre farm along with her husband of 22 years’ standing, one-time television director and producer, Ludo Graham. They have no children: “There are far too many people in the world already.”
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Three Ways to Make Your Car More Efficient

With the cost of petrol rising unceasingly and people growing more environmentally-conscious, how your car can achieve maximal economy is a burning question. There are various ways to accomplish this and put more pounds in your pocket, never mind saving the world.

The first step is to check whether you have a problem: get hold of the maker’s stats and see if your fuel consumption differs from the norm. Your driving habits play a major part here. Good driving habits include turning off the engine when stationary, not driving with the windows down, keeping tyres inflated properly but not to excess, not speeding, coasting to a halt instead of slamming on the brakes and accelerating slowly from rest. Another unexciting way to improve fuel efficiency is to remove roof racks and trailers when they are not in use, thereby reducing weight and drag.

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California ban on plastic bags set to go ahead

California seems destined to ban plastic bags. During a gubernatorial debate on September 4, 2014, the sitting governor of California, Jerry Brown, announced that he “probably will” sign SB 270, a bill approved by the state legislature the previous week that would accomplish this.

Californians are estimated to use 19 billion of the things each year, although there were enough places to ban plastic bags that this had been brought down from 30 billion in 2006. Already, intoned Brown, around 50 cities in the state ban plastic bags and even the California Grocers Association had been converted and was calling for a statewide ban. Brown’s challenger, Neel Kashkari, ranted that there was “no chance would I sign”. He trails Brown in the polls by 34 to 50 percent. Nyah.

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