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Edible water bottle to cause a splash at EU sustainability awards

Biodegradeable water packaging made from seaweed and new way of dyeing clothes have won joint award for new sustainable products

An edible alternative to plastic water bottles made from seaweed has topped the UK round of an EU competition for new, more sustainable products.

The new spherical form of packaging, called Ooho and described by its makers as “water you can eat”, is biodegradeable, hygenic and costs 1p per unit to make. It is made chiefly from calcium chloride and a seaweed derivative called sodium alginate.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Is Bitcoin Facing An Important Decision?

An interesting situation is developing within the Bitcoin currency network. Vox and a number of other leading technology sites are reporting that there is increasing division between two different camps with opposing perspectives on the future of Bitcoin. The nature of the reported dispute might seem minor, but it could have significant consequences for the development of what has been one of the world’s most successful alternate currencies.

Since being launched in 2009, the rules of Bitcoin and its network have remained relatively unchanged. However, it is danger of becoming the victim of its own success. Growing popularity threatens to push Bitcoin usage over the current network capacity.

The technical side of increasing Bitcoin capacity is relatively straightforward. The software can be designed differently and there are strong supporters of increasing size and expansion. However, there is growing opposition, those in the community who argue that increasing the size of the network will lead to a centralisation of the currency, something which Bitcoin was specifically designed to subvert.

Whichever route the Bitcoin community decides to take, it will be a significant decision for the alternative currency. There are a number of potential scenarios at play, including the implementation of the most significant change to Bitcoin since its inception, a line being drawn under the currency and its limitations, or most dramatically (and possibly most likely) a divide being created in a previously united community.

It’s worth noting that we do not view the last of those possibilities as wholly negative (nor wholly positive). Debate, disagreement and division have a role to play in the development and creation of positive innovation.

Source: Bitcoin is on the verge of a constitutional crisis

The post Is Bitcoin Facing An Important Decision? appeared first on Circulate.

Source: Circulate News RSS

People love renewable energy, so why don't politicians get it?

From Robin Hood Energy to solar mosques, community energy schemes are hotting up – but so is the fracking scene

Robin Hood: one of Britain’s best-loved folk heroes. He speaks to our national love of subverting the rules. Fighting against institutional injustice, he protected the most vulnerable from the predatory practices of a corrupt establishment.

Nottingham city council’s new not-for-profit energy supply company, Robin Hood Energy, is not only the first of its kind, but the perfect contemporary manifestation of this spirit of righteous derring-do.

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Source: Guardian Environment

UK backs bid by fossil fuel firms to kill new EU fracking controls, letters reveal

Europe’s biggest oil and gas firms try to block environmental controls on fracking, which the government calls ‘unnecessary red tape’

The UK government has added its weight to a behind-the-scenes lobbying drive by oil and gas firms including BP, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil to persuade EU leaders to scrap a series of environmental safety measures for fracking, according to leaked letters seen by the Guardian.

The deregulatory push against safety measures, which could include the monitoring of on-site methane leaks and capture of gases and volatile compounds that might otherwise be vented, appears to go against assurances from David Cameron that fracking would only be safe “if properly regulated”.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Clean and green, but an electric car can give a driver some shocks

California’s ambitious target is a million zero-emission cars; along the way some charging issues need to be sorted out

A freeway in California, late afternoon rush hour. Most of the traffic is doing 65mph; I’m in a new electric VW eGolf at the end of a long drive and the dashboard tells me I have zero miles of range left. Zero miles. I’m just one week into electric car ownership and already mischievously seeing how far I can push it – and in a few more miles that may be literal.

The car kicks into emergency mode, the ominous glowing tortoise of doom appears on the dash and the car slows to 25mph. I crawl off at the next junction.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Canada's tar sands heartland can't deny climate change, says Alberta minister

Shannon Phillips says ‘great appetite for action’ on carbon emissions exists in Canadian province despite economy relying heavily on fossil fuel extraction

The environment minister of Alberta – the province where the tar sands industry is Canada’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions – says the days of denying climate change are over.

Related: Revealed: Canadian government spent millions on secret tar sands advocacy

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Source: Guardian Environment

Neon flashes from a little brown bird

Sandy, Bedfordshire So lustrous is the colour it’s beyond compare – but kingfisher blue is due to a trick of the light

Crusty cowpats in the riverside meadow were no longer traps for unwary feet, their liquid mocha hearts baked dry by weeks in the sun. After a summer of circumventing fresh stinky pies there was no need to watch my step.

I felt like a liberated child stomping through puddles in wellies. Each scuff and kick at the weightless clods released a sweet odour of fermented grass, a reminder of the cattle who left behind these giant droppings and poached the soil where it was soft at the water’s edge.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Cane toad sausages on menu in attempt to save Kimberley's northern quolls

It is hoped the sausages – laced with a nausea-inducing chemical – will deter the carnivorous marsupials from eating cane toads, which are poisonous

Sausages stuffed with minced cane toads will be tossed from helicopters above Western Australia’s Kimberley region in a novel attempt to prevent quolls being wiped out in the area.

Northern quolls, a spotted carnivorous marsupial, have been decimated across northern Australia due to the onward march of cane toads, a rampant introduced species that kills predators such as quolls and snakes when eaten due to poison in its glands.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The Amazon tribe protecting the forest with bows, arrows, GPS and camera traps

With authorities ineffective, the 2,200-strong Ka’apor, in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, are taking on the illegal loggers with technology and direct action

With bows, arrows, GPS trackers and camera traps, an indigenous community in northern Brazil is fighting to achieve what the government has long failed to do: halt illegal logging in their corner of the Amazon.

The Ka’apor – a tribe of about 2,200 people in Maranhão state – have organised a militia of “forest guardians” who follow a strategy of nature conservation through aggressive confrontation.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Don't be fooled by cold winters, study warns – Australia's still getting warmer

An analysis of 100 years of temperature data shows that records for warmer weather outnumber those for colder ones by 12 to one

Australians who have just experienced their coldest winters in decades shouldn’t be fooled, scientists say, with new research showing that new heat records are outnumbering new cold records at an accelerating rate.

An analysis of 100 years of Australian temperature data has found that in the past 15 years, new records for heat outnumber those for cold by 12 to one, with human-induced climate change the primary factor.

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Source: Guardian Environment