Finally Good News

Archive for the ‘Earth’ Category

David Miliband

David Miliband (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former UK foreign secretary and brother of Labour party leader Ed Miliband, David Miliband is leading the charge on saving the world’s oceans. It’s encouraging to see the proactive, heartfelt stance being taken in a bid to raise awareness for the plight of the high seas – as over fishing, sea-floor mining and “rogue engineering” are threatening the planet and making, according to Miliband, the recent financial crisis look like child’s play. The new organization, which Miliband will lead in a non-profit capacity, is called the Global Ocean Commission, and will “try to fashion practical solutions that are an environmental win and an economic win, and with a commission which is avowedly across north-south, east-west, rich-poor divides.” This commission’s aim is to help preserve and regulate the high seas, long been an outlaw frontier due to human being’s inability to reach and navigate the deeper waters – but, the last twenty years have seen an unprecedented encroachment on marine life. Read the rest of this entry »

Désert-du-Thar - Water Scarcity in the making

Desert tribes living in the Thar Desert near Jaisalmer, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just last week international new sources ran reports on Beijing’s dangerous air quality, complete with pictures on the BBC and CNN of a thick blanket of yellow smog covering the streets – apparently at record, toxic levels. This, it could be said, is the cost of China’s rapid economic expansion over the last two decades. But before cynicism takes hold, there have also been unlikely reports of new environmental agendas emerging from the most populous country on earth; positive advances in tackling water scarcity and preservation.

This may seem like an inessential area of concern, but water scarcity will emerge as one of the greatest challenges to mankind in the foreseeable future. And the BBC have just run a piece on China being the global leader in investments to protect watersheds – “preserving or reviving natural features, such as wetlands, streams and forests that can store and filter freshwater supplies.” This is good news, and also shows that governmental and private sector decision-makers are thinking much longer term, unlike the U.S. or Russia. Read the rest of this entry »

Food Waste

Massive food consumption in modern society – Korean food 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent report on the BBC by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers stating that, “half of the world’s food is thrown away” has inspired many heated responses from retail and governmental sectors alike. Is it true? From the volume of voices now in the debate, the exact statistics don’t really matter – the important point is that a new dialogue has now been created around the issue of food waste.

This is a hot topic that is increasingly taking centre stage in the press. Top high street UK brands like M&S and Morrisons have already been quick to keep up with the public’s desire for fairtrade, ecological and recyclable products. This comes at an opportune time, because the smart brands can make money and win public trust – and, hopefully, stay in it for the long haul. The damning report was a cautionary tale that the change must come from up high, with Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, saying: “Governments, development agencies and organisation like the UN need to work to help change people’s mindsets on waste and discourage wasteful practices.” But surely this is a battle that must equally be fought at street level, with retail and branding and effective consumer communication as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Honey Making Money

Honey Making Money

Much has been reported on the global plight of honeybees. Their diminishing numbers make for worrying reading – far from a ‘cutesy’ environmental issue that is open to ridicule by politicians and moneymen, this phenomenon is directly tied to our species’ livelihood. The fact is that scientists don’t know why bees are disappearing (climate change, pollutants etc.), but their importance societally is undeniable – almost 80% of what we eat in the EU is pollinated by honeybees. So, with this in mind, a recent BBC Future piece showcased how the burgeoning telecommunications industry in East Africa is joining forces with farmers to help cultivate honey and make more money.

“For the past twelve years, Kenyan social business Honey Care Africa has developed its innovative ‘Business in a Beehive’ model that has allowed low-income farmers to easily earn more money by producing honey,” so writes Jonathan Kalan for the BBC. And what a fortuitous time to be cultivating this lucrative trade which, much like coffee, finds the planetary demand far outstripping supply. Smartphones are playing a vital role in this project as well; allowing farmers and suppliers to keep abreast of production, pricing and distribution. This honey network is made even more opportune by the fact that it allows customers, through central databases, to find out where their honey is coming from and who produced it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Global Climate Initiatives – image courtesy of xedos4, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is immensely difficult to be positive in regards global climate initiatives – especially if you are a scientist. The reality is that much like the infighting and indecisiveness of nations in the eurozone, trying to climb out of their collective fiscal grave, the complexities of ratifying global protocols for reducing carbon emissions is a massive undertaking. The recent UN climate talks in Doha consisted of the usual theatre – demonstrators outside, glum-looking politicians inside, and the dour intonations of a wheezing BBC broadcaster in your ear, proclaiming doom.

And of course it all boils down to money. The biggest polluters are the U.S. and China, but many developing countries have had a difficult time getting on board with Kyoto in the past because they feel unfairly compensated by those with money – this is a global effort, after all. What the current talks did yield is a new ‘Loss and Damage’ protocol aimed at wealthier nations compensating poorer ones for environmental fallout from rising temperatures; many island nations in the South Pacific are at least slightly comforted by this turn of events. And this is another confirmation that countries are looking at the problem holistically. Read the rest of this entry »

Only within the last decade have humans really begun to consciously become aware of our consumption propensities and the effect they may have on what is around us, and our health in general. It isn’t just climate change that has people buzzing, but iStock_000020727386XSmallalso sourcing products responsibly, understanding what is more elemental and essential and trying to be a ‘good human.’ It’s funny that it’s taken this long to see that this orb called Earth isn’t just a plaything.

What does this have to do with a giant microwave oven-looking specimen in Lubbock, Texas you ask? Well, food scarcity is beginning to make headlines as the new universal threat. Read the rest of this entry »

CoffeeThe Finally Good News blog was established to find a special niche in the transmission of information, namely news items in technology, science or the environment; or unbelievably in the political sphere, that somehow transcend the negative downward spiral of most reportage and some could even argue, our societies. And there is much to cheer about out there.

But, even the optimists in our ranks (of which there are many) must pause for a moment when the idea of irreversible climate change means a reduction in not air, trees or even decent weather… but rather coffee! Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: