Sunday 16 July 2023

Positive News for July 2023

Girl in a Meadow pic by Jill Wellington from Pexels

Positive News July 2023

This time of year is so uplifting but there’s always space for more good things so here’s our latest round up of good news 😊

1) King’s college Meadow - A New Study

We previously reported on wildflower meadows taking shape in Kings College Cambridge. As part of a study, King’s Research Fellow Dr Cicely Marshall, found that in spite of its small size, the wildflower meadow supported three times as many species of plants, spiders and bugs, including 14 species with conservation designations.

Terrestrial invertebrate biomass was found to be 25 times higher in the meadow, with bat activity over the meadow also being three times higher than over the remaining lawn.

I love the fact they use horses to harvest the meadow at the end of the season with the bales offered to locals to create a meadow of their own:

2) Postcode Gardeners

Friends of the Earth & Co-Operative Bank have partnered together to place Postcode Gardeners into the most nature deprived neighbourhoods, helping to green the area & also bring neighbours together. Trial projects have taken place in Hackney, Chester & Bideford, Devon with more being planned in Birmingham, Bristol & London.

Boy sweeping yard by Yan Krukau from Pexels

3) Chocolate Wrappers to go Plastic Free

For the first time since its launch in 1936, NestlΓ© is changing the packaging of their famous Mars bar wrapper. Traditionally wrappers are made from aluminium & plastic which are hard to recycle although they can be recycled via Terracycle collection points (if there’s one in your area) who shred the wrappers & melt the plastic element into pellets.

NestlΓ© are piloting a new recyclable paper wrapper which will be available at 500 Tesco stores in the UK for a limited time.

Have you seen the new Smarties packaging? Smarties was the first global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging, removing approximately 250 million plastic packs sold globally every year.

4) How to Recycle Old Credit Cards

Credit Card Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

HSBC are providing a new drop off point in selected branches for people to recycle their old debit & credit cards. The recycling scheme is in unison with Terracycle. Old cards will be shredded & turned into plastic pellets.

5) Royal Mail Pledges to Achieve Net Zero

Royal Mail are hoping to achieve net zero operations by using 100% renewable energy, switching to more trains (& less planes) for the movement of parcels & using electric vehicles for deliveries.

According to their site ‘We have the UK’s largest electric fleet of any major UK parcel operator, with almost 5,000 electric vans in service today. We continue to trial other alternative fuel vehicles such as micro electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as other delivery models – including delivery by drone!’

6) UK's First 100 Per Cent Sustainably-Fuelled Aircraft Takes to the Skies

The UK’s first ‘waste-fuelled’ aircraft piloted by the RAF took to the skies over Oxfordshire using 100 per cent sustainable fuel last year. Sustainable fuels using waste based fuels such as used cooking oil have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent, according to the RAF.

7) Carbon Zero Fuel for Cars?

Former Formula One engineer Paddy Lowe hopes to start production of a new type of e-fuel this Autumn, which uses green electricity and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make a carbon-neutral alternative to petrol. The fuel is seen as attractive as it can be used in existing cars & passenger jets which could help reduce scrappage of usable vehicles.

8) Turning Carbon Dioxide into Cleaner Fuel

A team from University of Cambridge have discovered how to create clean, sustainable fuels using carbon dioxide captured from the air and energy from the Sun.

Passing the gas through an alkaline solution, the researchers were able to concentrate the CO2 to make it easier to convert into syngas fuel using sunlight. Adding plastic waste to the system enabled the team to create useful chemicals like glycolic acid, which is widely used in the cosmetics industry.

“This solar-powered system takes two harmful waste products – plastic and carbon emissions – and converts them into something truly useful,” said co-first author Dr Sayan Kar.

9) Electricity from Humidity! (Air-Gen )

Lightening over island by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have discovered how to generate electricity from humidity. The researchers claim that just about any surface can be turned into a generator by replicating the electrical properties of storm clouds. Sounds very promising...

10) Irish Native Bee Sanctuary

To save the bees it’s important to protect native wild bees including bumble bees & solitary bees. Paul Hendrick has set up a bee sanctuary with 55 acres of organic land in County Wicklow Ireland. They purposefully do not cater for honey bees (no hives) but focus on wild native bees using meadows, flowering weeds, wetlands + trees, bushes & hedgerows to give them places to thrive all year round.

11) Earn Eco Rewards at Bracknell Forest

Choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport in Martins Heron (Bracknell Forest) just got more rewarding, with the introduction of new Eco Rewards QR codes around the area. Residents who walk or cycle to local amenities, such as the shops, parks, schools or station, will also be rewarded for choosing active travel routes.

The expansion of Eco-Rewards programme comes after the council secured funding through South Western Railway’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF). Points earned can lead to discounts, prizes, or cash-back rewards!

12) Rewilding at Northwood – Nurturing Nature

The Northwoods Rewilding Network was set up in 2021 to harness the growing appetite for nature restoration among farms, crofts, smaller estates and community landholdings. Northwoods now consists of over 60 land partners stewarding 14,000 acres.

In their recent email they cited the following key points:

In 2022, Northwoods land partners planted 108,000 native trees and set aside 4,800 acres for natural woodland regeneration plus 70 new ponds & scrapes, 22 ‘leaky’ dams & 130 acres of restored peatland means more homes for wildlife and a reduced risk of flooding.

9km of new hedgerows were planted & 10km of redundant fencing removed, allowing wildlife to expand and disperse (all with the help of land partners & 500 volunteers!)

Butterfly on Flowers by Pixabay from Pexels

What is Happening in July?

πŸ¦‹ The Big Butterfly Count is now on - Between Friday 14th July and Sunday 6th August, choose a place to spot butterflies and moths. Watch for 15 minutes. Then submit a record of the species you see!

An ID guide can be downloaded online or you can use their app to identify & report your findings.

🌞 Check out Plastic Free July – a movement that began in Australia which has since grown to 100+ million participants in 190 countries. 

Get some tips on how to reduce plastics at home, in the office or at school here at

Some Useful Apps For You to Try

If you’re out & about in the garden or nature reserve why not try these interesting apps that help you identify plants or bird song?

🐦 Merlin bird app helps you identify birds. I found the ‘record bird song’ element really helpful & manages to pick up bird song even when there’s traffic noise in the background. It highlights which bird is singing & keeps a record of your spottings you can refer back to later.

🌻 Plant Net app helps you take photos of weeds & flowers in your garden & instantly tells you what it may be (with a ranking so you can see other suggestions). I have found it to be user friendly - some weeds I have deliberately left for insects after learning more about them.

Check out our directory for lots more useful links - enjoy!