Category: Environment

Page of 2

ORCA: protecting whales and dolphins

Emily Condley

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities dedicated to the long-term protection of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) and their habitats in UK and European waters. Founded in 2001, ORCA work to monitor vulnerable cetacean populations and help to protect threatened marine habitats. Working with governments, research […]

Happy birthday North East Bylines!

Scott Hunter

One shrewd editorial policy at the outset set the tone which was that, while those involved in setting up the project shared an interest in politics, Bylines was interested in everything. No boundaries were set on the scope of its content. As a result, Bylines publishes a range of material much more diverse than any regional newspaper: poetry, international affairs, profiles of local sporting legends, it’s all in there.

#WeDemandBetter rally at Grey’s Monument

North East Bylines

“When Brexit is done or undone, we all have to live together and individual friendship and experience will always triumph over politics… I hope.the right wing will always be better at playing the divide and conquer game; we need to trump that with what we’re good at. Friendship.”

Opinion

Concerns about medical data: letter to a Tory MP

Nicola Tipton

I also consider myself to be a ‘good citizen’. I am sure no insult was intended but the inference that I am somehow a bad citizen because I am reluctant to hand over my medical data willy-nilly makes me angry. I am risk averse and try and ensure that my data is protected. I do not want, at this stage, to hand over the responsibility of protecting my data to a third party I do not trust.

Opinion

Colonialism: how to resist and change

Bill Corcoran

I shout at the radio when someone says “north of Hadrian’s Wall” meaning Scotland, without knowing it goes along Shields Road; and associate themselves with the “civilised” invader, not the resisting Briton. I grimace when people think that we are Vikings “because we are north”; think we need their elocutionary education when we had electric light, proper mass transport, posh shops and high wages first. I end up swearing under my breath….

North East People

Finish

Jim Walker

I describe myself as a retired teacher. But I’ve also done work as actor; book-keeper; building labourer; ice-cream seller; interpreter; long-distance bus-driver; newsreader; paint salesman; pharmaceutical rep; proof-reader; property manager; and ski rep.

May elections specialUPDATED

Green Hartlepool?

Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter interviews Rachel Featherstone, Green Party candidate for the Hartlepool by-election

Brexit impacts in the food industry

Rahat Choudhury

Leaving the EU always had the potential to be incredibly disruptive to the food industry. There were many concerns around the impact on the supply chain, sourcing ingredients and labour shortages.

Climate change catastrophe!

Robina Jacobson

[The earth has been lent to us] “for our life; it is a great entail. It belongs as much to those who follow us as it does to us, and we have no right by anything we do, to involve them in any unnecessary penalties, or to deprive them of the benefit we have in our power to bequeath.”

Finding solutions to anti-social behaviour

Stephen Lambert

Northern working people and their families care deeply about where they live. Issues such as litter, fly-tipping, graffiti, burnt-out vehicles, dog fouling and street crime are at the top of every neighbourhood’s list of priorities. It’s a problem that doesn’t seem to resonate with a London-centric based national government. This is backed up by several […]

May elections special

Clean, green and European: a breath of fresh air

Yvonne Wancke

James Sheerin is keen to bring some fresh air to politics in more ways than one. He wants a real change for the better for his local area and he wants to see this through a pro-European, pro-environmental agenda which will benefit all of us and especially our young people.

Turn out your lights for Earth Hour tonight

Julie Ward

For one hour on 27 March millions of people across the globe will turn off their lights and unplug their TVs. Whole streets and cities will go dark and people will look out of their windows and see the stars. It will be a moment of reflection at a pivotal point in history when many of us have been confined to our homes for a year as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world from its likely roots as a zoonotic disease jumping species in the wet markets of Wuhan.

Earth Hour first started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. It was an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund designed to draw attention to the growing environmental disaster and accompanying species loss. 14 years later this symbolic action is observed in more than 180 countries. Mass action by millions of people can be a powerful catalyst for change and Earth Hour has succeeded in raising awareness of the climate emergency, forcing some governments to take notice and take action.

This year’s Earth Hour takes place in the year when the UK government will host the delayed Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow, which will focus attention on our record as a country, which is highly questionable with a new government supported coal-mine planned for Cumbria and lacklustre progress of the much vaunted Green Homes Grant scheme. Meanwhile the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is making painfully slow progress since being tabled in September 2020.

Writing in the Oxford Political Review, Harvey Phythian pinpointed the policy problem in the Conservatives’ own 2019 election manifesto where the party proclaimed, “we believe that free markets, innovation and prosperity can protect the planet”. Basically, it’s a business as usual approach which is minimally responsive to the effects of climate change rather than being vigorously pro-active in taking preventative measures, hence a tree planting programme is given headline status when what we desperately need is strong and binding legislation to stop polluters in the first place. Meanwhile, the EU is making progress on a wide range of policies to proactively tackle climate change.

Boris Johnson’s own record on the issue is depressing. As a tawdry media columnist during his period in office as the Mayor of London he pooh-poohed the warnings of climate experts and accepted donations from wealthy climate-change deniers. His voting record in parliament clearly demonstrates his lack of support for strong legislative measures to protect the environment, and he has just taken delivery of a second gas-guzzling jet to whisk him off to meetings with his Russian oligarch friends in places like Tuscany whilst the rest of us will be fined £5,000 for daring to attempt a cheap cycling holiday in France this year due to Covid-19 restrictions. And let’s not forget his refusal to participate in a leaders’ debate on climate change in the 2019 election campaign prompting the programme producers to replace him and his Brexit mate Nigel Farage with melting blocks of ice.

All the more reason then to do your bit and turn off the lights between 8.30-9.30pm on Saturday 27 March and join a global action that recognises the connectedness of all life on earth. Reducing consumption is just one of a raft of actions that can contribute to achieving carbon net zero whilst reducing your domestic energy bills. The Centre for Sustainable Energy has a handy guideT to energy consumption of household items. Not filling the kettle and doing less ironing are on my list of actions.

“Take back the tap” on World Water Day

Julie Ward

Across the world 1 in 3 people live without safe drinking water, and it is estimated that by 2025 half of the global population will be living in areas where water is scarce. In many of the world’s poorest countries girls aren’t going to school because they have to fetch and carry water for their families. As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world the mantra of “wash your hands” was meaningless in places where clean water is still in scarce supply.

Changing the system

Julie Ward

What we can do as citizens is to ensure there is a viable planet for our grandchildren to inherit. “Eat less meat… educate yourself… hold your parents to account… follow the money… Your money is either buying a hotter or a cooler climate,” said Eno.

The memories that make me me

Peter Lathan

I’m standing below High Force on the River Tees, looking up at the most impressive waterfall in the North of England. It’s in full spate, crashing down both sides. I’ve followed the river down from Cow Green Reservoir, alongside the water as it races down Cauldron Snout, and I’m on my way to Middleton-in-Teesdale. A great riverside walk.

Poetry Corner

ctrl-alt-del

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

After centuries of conflict
weapons are finally downed.
The cruellest disease has silenced guns,
until a vaccine can be found.

Carbon capture: where there’s green there’s gold

Julia Mazza

Then there’s the politics. Tees Valley’s Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen has claimed ownership of the CCUS idea, a handy way of shoring up support for his new mayoral role. The South Tees Development Corporation has no Labour representatives on its board. After the May 2019 local elections of the five member councils – Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Darlington – the Labour Party controls no council outright.

Weardale Railway: an opportunity for a unique community

Owain Gardner

Yes, the railways in 1963 may have been old fashioned and a bit dirty but they provided a space where people could talk in an unhurried environment and also, certainly if you read the references to railways in Howards End, an environment where the whole gamut of life could be seen.

Save our food standards and save British farming

Nicola Tipton

Being asked to ‘trust’ the government simply beggars belief. The government would be seen to be trustworthy if it simply implemented the safeguards put forward in the amendment! Parliament is made up of elected honourable servants. It is their duty of care to protect the people’s interests and respect their wishes. The Agricultural Bill is unacceptable in its unamended form. It is not good enough to argue if the bill passes in the form Boris Johnson and the unelected advisor Mr. Cummings want, that it does not necessarily mean that chlorinated cheap chicken and all the host of other things may not be sacrificed. We have been lied to on too many occasions.

North East farmers protest to protect British farming

Louise Brown

Back in May, Richard Holden failed to support a rebel Tory amendment to the Agriculture Bill, if passed, the amendment would have banned US imports of food produced to lower welfare, food safety and environmental standards than those required of British farmers.

What next?

Sally Young

The North East, with its skills and industrial know-how should be at the forefront of a green revolution. As others have already advocated, it has the potential to become an international hub of carbon neutral technologies and wind-related energy sources.

Planting the seeds of revolt!

Jon Johnson

Food and animal welfare standards are lower in many other countries, meaning cheaper imports but based on the widespread use of hormones and antibiotics, chemical treatments and cruel factory-farming practices. “By scrapping our safeguards, we face the triple whammy of tariffs to export, the need to maintain the EU standards we currently operate in and cheap imports as well. It will mean ruin for huge numbers who are just getting by right now” said Mr Clarke, who farms crops and livestock near Bedale.

Speaking truth to power : why solidarity between generations matters

Julie Ward

Every major crisis has profound consequences for the next generation. The financial crisis resulted in mass youth unemployment, Tory austerity devastated the youth service, Sure Start centres and child and adolescent mental health services, whilst hiking up university fees and creating mass unsustainable student debt.