Saturday, 27 December 2008


Some smart chaps in the Netherlands have designed a new font, which can save ink when printed. As seen in the image above it does this by introducing 'holes' to the font which, when printed in standard document sizes in a laser printer, do not appear visibly to the naked eye.

Apparently research suggests a saving of 20% ink from use of the Ecofont, which is obviously only a good thing in terms of reducing wastage (money and resources). In terms of office based conservationism (a subject I'm keen on and am in the process of writing a post about) this could be a really neat little tool so well worth shouting about.

To download the Ecofont or for more information on it visit

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Burger King aiming to drive beef into China

A worrying situation appears to be brewing in Asia at the moment. Burger King, the world's second largest burger retailer, is aiming to expand its stake in the Chinese market. The fast food market in China is estimated to be only a $29 million industry however people believe this is set to grow considerably.

One of the problems faced by Burger King when expanding in the Chinese market is that the Chinese consumer much prefers chicken. Whilst Burger King has adapted it's menus towards chicken products it hopes to piggy back the marketing McDonalds have already undertaken in China to promote beef. This has been carried out through adverts such as the 'Feel the Beef' campaign aiming to promote the sexy Western view of beef. Apparently this advertising has already had some success in changing the views of beef in China (see Economist article).

Where the worry arises is with the potential huge increase in methane (a well know greenhouse gas) from the cows needed to produce all the additional beef for the Whoppers and Big Macs pressed upon the giant population of China. Currently cows account for 40% of methane globally which when added to the fact that methane is 20 times worse for climate change that CO2 emissions, makes the potentially huge addition to the 1.5 billion cattle worldwide a very scary prospect.

Once again there is a massive short falling in the awareness of the impact of eating large quantities of beef. A recent survey by the consultancy firm, McKinsey, found that whilst 'eating less beef' was the third best way for people to reduce their emissions only 3% of the survey respondents ranked it as such (the top two methods are drive a more fuel-efficient car and improve home insulation).

As seen from the excerpt from the BBC's Bloom website in the previous post, eating less meat (and beef in particular) can have a profound difference on climate change. So there needs to be a significant drive towards this goal and clearly promoting beef to such a potentially massive market as China definitely does not seem like the right direction to move in and appears . However on our own small scale if people can change their eating habits the whole planet can benefit.

To finish here are some recommendations for changing your eating habits:
  • Eat less meat!
  • Eat more chicken and pork - meats with the lowest climate impact because they come from animals that don't burp methane, research suggests
  • Eat local meat if possible to avoid emissions from transport
  • Consider soya as an alternative to dairy

Eat less meat!

This is an interesting excerpt from the BBC Bloom website about why eating less meat can be hugely beneficial for the environment. And this definitely something we can all do!

Visit here for the full article and have a play around on the rest of the Bloom website because it's very very enlightening.

"A vegan in a 4x4 can do the climate more good than a meat-eater driving a hybrid car. Food for thought?

Livestock produce more greenhouse gases than all the world's transport combined, with beef production singled out by a recent UN report as a particular enemy at the gate. Why? Because cattle belch. Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 20 times worse for climate change than CO2 emissions and cattle are full of it. There are 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo worldwide, each producing more greenhouse gas in a day than the average 4x4.

According to the World Health Organisation, the average Briton eats twice the amount of protein they need in a year. By halving the amount of beef you eat, you could save almost as much CO2 as recycling for a year. By going vegan, you can slice off almost as much CO2 in a year as skipping a single return flight to India.

And cows, sheep, pigs and chickens are responsible for more emissions than just their... well, emissions. So, should we be choosing our meats more carefully?

Together, belched methane from cows and sheep, plus methane from manure, account for about 40% of global methane emissions. But that's not the whole story.

Livestock production also plays a big part in deforestation for grazing and cultivating animal feeds such as soya. Deforestation is currently responsible for a staggering quarter of all global man-made CO2 emissions.

Add to that the fact that manure and fertilisers used to grow crops to feed livestock produce two-thirds of global human emissions of nitrous oxide (a gas almost 300 times as damaging to the climate as CO2 ) and you start to see the scale of the problem.

When you crunch those numbers, a single kilo of beef can be responsible for more greenhouse gas than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home, according to 2007 Japanese research published in the journal Animal Science.

Cows can even offer vegetarians something to ruminate on - a veggie who scoffs a lot of dairy products can actually be as bad for the climate as a meat-eater. That's because the dairy industry accounts for about 23% of UK food emissions.

If the UK went the whole hog and stopped eating meat and dairy entirely, without increasing how much we eat of other foods, we would cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 8%. While this may be an unikely scenario, even eating a bit less could lower demand and reduce emissions significantly."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Top Three Reasons Not To Eat Fish

A good little video documenting why eating fish is bad for you and the environment.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Zecar - costing 2p a mile!

Are electric cars the way to go in terms of reducing humanity's impact on the environment?

An important point to consider when thinking about such things must be the break-even point i.e. the point at which the amount of carbon emissions you have saved by using electricity overtakes the amount of emissions produced in the manufacture of the vehicle.

Hopefully with an increase in green electricity production surely electric driven cars are going to be a much more sustainable solution to land travel in cars.

A car produced in my native South Wales, the Zecar, now claims to be able to run for 2p for a mile. This is substantially cheaper than that of a petrol car, especially given the current crisis in terms of rising fuel costs. The Zecar costs £15,000 and will go on sale in the UK later this year.

Another benefit of the company is that the cars are manufactured in the UK- thus cutting down on the emissions used on import.

With plans to expand into vans, taxis and limos this company could really help cut greenhouse gas emissions in the future!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Impressive results from fishing ban

It seems that evidence is now starting to be seen that maintaining no-fishing zones in British water has a significant impact on the underwater world.

The marine reserve set up by the Government off the coast of Lundy island has recently been investigated to see what effects have been seen on marine populations. Compared to the control zones it was found that lobsters are around seven times more abundant in the no-take zone.

This lends great credence to the work and motivation of the Marine Conservation Society and the 'Marine Reserves Now' campaign, aimed at bringing big steps into the Marine Bill published by Defra.

For the BBC article on the results at Lundy follow this link and the Marine Bill from here.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Melting Glacier in Norway

One of the difficult things in making a difference to the climate change that our planet is experiencing is breaking things down into chunks that people can handle (hence the name of this blog!). Very often we have a picture of planetary despair painted for us with little or no hints as to how we can help.

This can also be the case with the effects of climate change, with very little physical evidence being given for the changes that are being observed around the planet.

However with more and more attention being paid to climate change this is changing. As this wonderful but distrurbing set of photos shows the dramatic effect of climate change on glaciers in Norway. The difference between the glacier's size in 2001 compared to 2006 is staggering, as seen from the pictures are the beginning and end of this post.