Check out your biking

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You have to ride your bike to win a snazzy new bike!

You have to ride your bike to win a snazzy new bike!

University of Birmingham  is supporting Cycle to Work Day on 3rd September 2015.

Now it’s your turn…

It’s time to dust off your bike, and give it a short ride around the garden!  If you think it needs some mechanical motivation there will be free bike health checks available across the UK as part of the Cycle to Work Day celebrations.

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World Elephant Day – 12th August

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world elephant dayOn the 12th August World Elephant Day asks you to help conserve and protect elephants from the numerous threats they face. It was launched in 2012 to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. Elephants are loved and respected by people and cultures across the globe, yet they are continually on the brink of extinction.

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Play more on Playday

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Woodcraft Folk at Wheelers Lane 'playing out'

Woodcraft Folk at Wheelers Lane ‘playing out’

5th August is National Playday 2015 – we’re calling on everyone to help make sure that children and young people across the UK have the time, freedom and space to play more. As well promoting children’s right to play, we’re highlighting that playing more is crucial for children’s health, well-being and happiness.

For the last two years we’ve been ‘Playing out’ in Kings heath and Moseley to support National Playday – in 2013 5th August three streets closed for playing, 2014 7th August we had six streets closing, and this year we’ve expanded further – While on national playday three streets will be closing, over the course of the summer we will have had nine streets closing on 12 different days – from June to September.

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International Tiger Day – 29th July

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international tiger dayOver 97% of all wild tigers have been lost in just over 100 years. As few as 3000 live in the wild today, instead of the possible 100,000. If this continues, all tigers living in the wild could be extinct in just five years.

There are three main reasons for the reduction in tiger numbers:

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TrevA delayed, Green agendA continues

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What achievements at University of Birmingham 2014-15

What achievements at University of Birmingham 2014-15

Yesterday we called a quick UBGreen meeting following news that Trev Shield will no longer be working at University of Birmingham.  He will be much missed, and in fact, was missing at the meeting (he did apologise and sends his best wishes to all).  Trev has worked tirelessly for Green Issues at the University, for which he has worked for over 30 years, and is well known and loved across campus and beyond.   It did also make it tricky to run ‘The TrevAs’ without him .  The TrevAs are our green awards, celebrating green achievements at the University of Birmingham – more about that soon.

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Seven frog species found on seven mountains

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frogsThe cool “cloud forests” of south-eastern Brazil have a unique climate and isolated mountain peaks, like islands. These isolations have created 21, now 28, known species of Brachycephalus frog. The colourful frogs are all under 1cm long, and have poisonous skin to avoid predation.

The seven new discoveries on seven different mountains are the result of five years of exploration by Marcio Pie, a professor at the Federal University of Parana in nearby Curitiba. The forests at high altitude, on Brazil’s southern Atlantic coast, have more species per square kilometer than the Amazon, so are an excellent place for ecological exploration.

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Fake Orca used to scare sea lions

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fake orca whaleA 32-foot-long fibreglass whale was brought to Oregon, USA, to scare away sea lions from Astoria’s Port. The sea lions usually leave when the weather gets warmer, however, this year they did not.

Reports claim that the sea lions are putting thousands of jobs in the city at risk, particularly commercial and sport fishing operations on which the city depends.

Many tactics were tried, including electric mates, and brightly coloured beach balls, but these failed to scare the sea lions away. The fake orca whale belongs to a whale-watching business in Washington State, and was used as a desperate measure, however, it ran into trouble on its first attempt when the motor became flooded.

The Port of Astoria Executive Director, Jim Knight, said that these extreme measures were being take because there is a lack of financial resources for building barriers to protect the port.

 

BBC Article 

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Cooling your office

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sunThe optimum office temperature is typically 19-22oC and air conditioning should not be used unless the temperature is over 24oC. As summer progresses, here are some tips for if your office gets too warm:

  • Close the blinds – especially effective during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Wear light clothes – light, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton and linen are ideal.
  • Turn off unused equipment – computers, printers, and lights turned on when not being used make the office hotter. Switching them off will also help to reduce office energy consumption.
  • Open the window.
  • Use a fan – this is a last resort, preferably a USB-powered fan, or if you use an electronic one, please make sure to switch it off when it’s not needed.

Biofuel for Aeroplanes

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aeroplaneSugarcane biomass could be a new way to fuel flight, and it would make a substantial cut to greenhouse gas emissions. Research shows that the use of renewable liquid fuels, such as this, will be critical for mitigating further climate change.

Due to the strict regulations for aviation fuel, such as no oxygen, the correct boiling point and lubricity, it has been difficult to create a reliable biofuel that can be used by commercial airlines. However, this new development meets all of the criteria required by an aviation fuel.

Creating environmentally-friendly flight is important as eight million people take a flight every day and this is still growing. In 2012, 2% of all human carbon emissions were due to plane emissions, whilst this may seem like a small percentage, it is a large proportion of emissions attributed to just one activity.

Recently support for biofuels has decreased, mainly due to concern that it would require a switch away from food production and with food security as a large issue, this was not ideal. However, research shows that food crops would not be displaced as sugarcane can be grown on marginal land.

 

BBC Article