Would you like to sign an open letter about the Teach the Future campaign which NAEE is supporting?   There is still time to do this.  It’s being organised by  NUS / SOS-UK.  This link takes you to the letter.  All you have to do is to add your details, wait until it says “saved” in the blue bar, and then close the page.  ∫∫∫

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46 students, 73 supporters, and 53 MPs attended the parliamentary reception organised by Teach the Future.  If you click here, you’ll find an article our Chair of Trustees wrote in the TES in support of what the students are requesting.  Here’s a comment on the day from the NUS President, Zamzam Ibrahim.  There were also features in the Guardian, and on the BBC .  ∫∫∫

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A new plan to halt the decline in UK wildlife focuses on three key animals.  Following a report that found that 41% of UK species studied had declined over the past 50 years, the think tank ResPublica has said wildlife protection needs a new approach.  It is proposing the creation of a wildlife regulator with legal powers to help three bellwether species — true, sparrows and hedgehogs.  Phillip Blond, director of ResPublica, was quoted in The Times saying:

These species are good proxies for nature, so in protecting hedgehogs, we help protect other land mammals like the vole, for example.  This change would tie you to do specific activities to help these species: limiting pollution going into our rivers, defending against habitat loss. Green goals are often too abstract or extreme, but everybody wants their child to see a hedgehog.” 

There have been many responses to this suggestion; some of these focused on the badger which is protected (except from DEFRA) but which also eats hedgehogs.  Is it too simplistic to put two and two together?  ∫∫∫ 

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TRAFFIC has a new report on wildlife trafficking.  The study recognised and analysed thousands of successful seizures across ten countries in Southeast Asia (the ASEAN countries) in recent years, focusing on some of the most traded groups of terrestrial animals. It revealed, among others:

  • The seizure of about 225,000 kg of African Elephant Loxodonta africana ivory implicating Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam over the period 2008–2019;
  • The trafficking of an estimated 895,000 pangolins globally from 2000–2019, while over 96,000 kg of pangolin scales mostly of African species were seized from 2017–2019 across Malaysia, Singapore, and Viet Nam, representing about 94% of the total quantity of scales confiscated in Southeast Asia during this period.
  • The seizure of 100,000 Pig-nosed Turtles Carettochelys insculpta in Indonesia from 2003–2019;
  • Over 45,000 songbirds seized in just Sumatra and Java from 2018–2019;
  • Over 6,000 Indian Star Tortoises Geochelone elegans – originating from South Asia – seized in just 10 incidents in 2017 alone, with all of them heading to either Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore;
  • Over 3,800 bear equivalents seized in Asia, implicating almost all Southeast Asian countries, from 2000–2016 ∫∫∫

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No one has taken responsibility for carbon reduction in the HE / FE sectors since HEFCE gave way to the Office for Students [OfS].  HEFCE did a good job in encouraging institutions to take this difficult job seriously.  Now, things might just be changing.

Whilst noting that its regulatory remit and powers do not specifically require the OfS to take action to address the sector’s carbon emissions, it says that it has identified three areas for possible intervention, and where it might add value to carbon reduction by the sector.  It looks set to …

  1. consult on the future collection and publication of carbon emissions data from institutions
  2. publish information on the sector’s carbon emissions, and students’ attitudes to climate change, to encourage providers to act
  3. signpost the option of Salix loans to providers and explore the possibility of linking OfS capital funding to decarbonisation
  4. develop its own sustainability plan.

Such a pity it has taken so long to do this.  Time to change those regulatory remit and powers as well, perhaps. ∫∫∫

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It was International Polar Bear Day last Thursday.  Polar Bears International says watch Bare Existence, a short film produced by Canada Goose which documents its work with polar bears to raise awareness and inspire action.  ∫∫∫

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In an article for Study International, Ledetta Asfa-Wossen says that Green schools gather momentum but asks whether they are here to stay.  There’s a link to the recent NUS / Green School Project survey.  The article contains comment from NAEE members and supporters.  For example, Nina Hatch and Bill Scott commented:

We are not enthusiastic about the idea of a green school as we think all schools should in this sense be green.  All schools should enable young people to learn about the natural world.  … Doing this will help prepare young people to play their part in facing up to and helping to deal with what is the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced.”

And Ben Ballin said: “The key difference between a ‘green curriculum’ and any other is not so much the content but its purpose.” ∫∫∫

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Marianne Krasny from Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab has just published a new book (open access) called Advancing Environmental Education Practice.  Details here.

UNEP  has published the Little Book of Green Nudges. It says:Whoever or wherever you are, if you want to create positive change at your university, this book is for you. Nudging has enormous potential to make our universities and our societies greener and we don’t have time to waste.”  Details here. ∫∫∫

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Here are details of the Future Parks programme in Birmingham.  The city has won a place on a new multi-million-pound initiative to enhance the future of its parks and green spaces.  It is receiving a share of more than £6m of funding and £5m worth of advice and support from some of the country’s leading experts in conservation, fundraising, volunteering and green space management. ∫∫∫

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The latest climate update from The Economist is here.   There are features on public transport, Jeff Bezos’s billions, and Canadian oil pipelines.  A climate chart shows how advanced economies are slowly managing to decouple  electricity production from carbon.  ∫∫∫