Builder aims to help UK construction industry kick its plastic habit

Builder aims to help UK construction industry kick its plastic habit

Neal Maxwell wants trade to go from 50,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year to zero by 2040

A builder from Merseyside has launched a project that aims to remove plastic from the British construction industry within two decades.

Neal Maxwell, who has worked in the trade for more than 30 years, co-founded the non-profit organisation Changing Streams after a trip to the Arctic.

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Fir’s fair: UK must embrace conifers in climate fight, says forestry chief

Fir’s fair: UK must embrace conifers in climate fight, says forestry chief

Non-native species must be part of the mix if the UK is to meet its tree-planting targets, says outgoing Forestry Commission head Sir Harry Studholme

Non-native conifer plantations have long been a scourge of conservationists – blamed for wiping out woodland species and disfiguring landscapes. But exotic conifers will be better at tackling the climate emergency than much-cherished broadleaved woodlands, according to the outgoing chairman of the Forestry Commission.

Sir Harry Studholme, who has headed England’s forestry agency for the last seven years, warned that there must not be a repeat of past mistakes in the rush to plant trees to meet the government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Device inspired by mangroves could help clear up flood water

Device inspired by mangroves could help clear up flood water

Researchers say their synthetic system reproduces tree’s ability to desalinate water

A novel approach to removing salt from water, inspired by mangrove trees, has been revealed by researchers who say the system could offer an unusual approach to clearing up flood water.

Mangroves, like other trees, employ a system of water transport: it is thought evaporation of moisture from their leaves produces a negative pressure in their water-conducting tissues that helps to draw water into their roots and up their trunks.

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Make big polluters pay for mass tree planting, officials say

Make big polluters pay for mass tree planting, officials say

Oil companies and airlines could fund 100m trees a year, says Committee on Climate Change

The planting of 100m trees a year in the UK to tackle the climate emergency could be paid for by new carbon levies on oil companies and airlines, the government’s official climate adviser has proposed.

The Committee on Climate Change also recommends banning the burning of grouse moors and the sale of peat compost to protect the nation’s bogs, which can store huge amounts of carbon. Voluntary measures have failed, it said.

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Net zero carbon neighbourhood to be built in south Wales

Net zero carbon neighbourhood to be built in south Wales

Residents of Parc Hadau in Pontardawe will generate more clean energy than they can use

One of the world’s first net zero carbon neighbourhoods will be constructed in Wales after Neath Port Talbot council approved the development of 35 homes able to generate more clean energy than they use.

Development of the £8m project in Pontardawe in south Wales is expected to begin this spring. The residents of Parc Hadau will pay no energy bills because the development will use a mixture of renewable energy technologies to generate enough clean electricity to power its homes over the year.

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Trees in the Amazon are the world’s sweat glands – and 10 other essential climate facts | Ariel Conn

Trees in the Amazon are the world’s sweat glands – and 10 other essential climate facts | Ariel Conn

I interviewed 31 climate experts and found that talking about the climate crisis can have a powerful impact

You will not be surprised to learn that the climate crisis is a big and complicated problem. But when I started Not Cool, a Climate Podcast, I honestly hoped that if I could just talk with a few climate experts, we could clarify the facts and outline straightforward solutions. Thirty-one experts and 26 interviews later, I realize how mistaken I was, with more questions now than when I started. But I’ve also learned some amazing facts about how nature works, how humans work, and how to start addressing this crisis.

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SUVs second biggest cause of emissions rise, figures reveal

SUVs second biggest cause of emissions rise, figures reveal

If SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions

Growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018, an analysis has found.

In that period, SUVs doubled their global market share from 17% to 39% and their annual emissions rose to more than 700 megatonnes of CO2, more than the yearly total emissions of the UK and the Netherlands combined.

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Rewilding will make Britain a rainforest nation again | George Monbiot

Rewilding will make Britain a rainforest nation again | George Monbiot

It will take vision and a willingness to confront vested interests, but we can restore our trashed ecosystems

The forests still burn, but the world now looks away. In both the Amazon basin and the rainforests of Indonesia, the world-scorching inferno rages on, already forgotten by most of the media. Intricate living systems, species that took millions of years to evolve, are being incinerated in moments, then replaced with monocultures. Giant plumes of carbon tip us further into climate breakdown. And we’re not even talking about it.

Related: World losing area of forest the size of the UK each year, report finds

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Create a buzz: how to help save wild bees – even if you don’t have a garden

Create a buzz: how to help save wild bees – even if you don’t have a garden

With a little knowhow, balconies, doorsteps and window boxes can all be turned into wildlife havens

Last year’s extreme weather meant a tough year for many of the UK’s bees, and conservationists are concerned that could have a knock-on effect this year and beyond. According to a report from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, they could face long-term problems from future heatwaves. But we can give them a helping hand.

You don’t need to keep honeybees to help bees – in fact, a 2018 study commissioned by Cambridge University suggests that this can harm wild bees. It’s thought that the more bees there are in an area, the more competition there is for nectar and pollen; if every shopping centre has three or four hives on the roof, what does that mean for the wild bees?

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