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John Comben obituary

John Comben, who has died suddenly aged 64, was a leading member of Incredible Edible Totnes, a project that plants herbs and vegetables in flowerbeds and disused spaces so that produce can be freely harvested by the public.

He and those involved in the project, backed by the charity Transition Town Totnes, worked regularly on beds and an arboretum in the south Devon town. His career as a gardener and horticulturalist gave him a huge knowledge of plants and growing that he shared with project volunteers, and he supplied plants and seedlings.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Activists occupy British Museum over BP sponsorship

Protesters say the petroleum company is trying to ‘artwash’ its image by sponsoring cultural establishments such as Tate Modern and British Museum

Activists have occupied part of the British Museum, as part of a day of demonstrations against sponsorship of Britain’s cultural institutions by BP.

Hollywood actor Ezra Miller joined members of 15 different groups in the London museum’s Great Court on Sunday, to sing songs and make statements calling for the current deal with the oil firm not to be renewed.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Government passing the buck on air pollution, says campaigners

Critics say plan to make councils responsible for policing pollution in urban areas offers no extra money or new powers

A government plan to meet European air quality limits by letting councils ban diesel vehicles and charge drivers more for parking polluting cars and vans is “disappointing” and could result in further court cases and tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, critics say.

The plan, drawn up by the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) in response to a supreme court ruling, proposes individual emission limits for four different vehicle types.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Chile plans world's biggest marine park to protect Easter Island fish stocks

Local people say way of life is under threat from industrial vessels, and see plan as chance to protect environment and repair relations with mainland

In the pre-dawn gloom in a small harbour on Easter Island, three fishermen fill their boats. Instead of piling nets, they load rocks which they will use to drop a line tens of metres below the swelling waves. The lines will be hauled up hand over hand with their catch, huge yellowfin tuna.

The technique would be recognisable to the fishermen’s ancestors who have worked these waters for hundreds of years. But this way of life on one of the world’s remotest inhabited islands is under threat, say local people and conservationists, from illegal fishing by industrial vessels that dwarf these tiny boats.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The future of food: from jellyfish salad to lab-grown meat

What do tomorrow’s dinners look like, and how will you adjust? Our special feature sheds light on a world of algae, cowless beef, insect lollies and even an mouthwatering recipe for jellyfish salad…

Read more of our future of food special:

In the first section of our future of food feature, we look at some of the adjusted, alternative, and entirely new foods which could become the mainstays of tomorrow’s mealtimes.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The Innovators: London air-raid shelters sprout a growing concern

Farmers using hydroponics and LED technology to grow greens underground are ready to harvest their first crop

As German V2 rockets pounded London in the later stages of the second world war, one of the underground safe havens where thousands of people sought refuge was a tunnel system deep below Clapham High Street in the south of the capital.

Seventy years on, the network of tunnels is in use again but for an altogether different purpose: farming. Open the cage-style doors of the lift after descending 100ft below street level, and the modern-day visitor will find an underground farm.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Future of food: how we grow

As the world population grows and food security is threatened, the pressing challenge for agriculture is to produce more food, more efficiently and more sustainably. Here are a couple of the latest innovations.

Read more of our future of food special:

“I know it sounds utopian”, says Steve Fry, apologetically, as he explains the merits of multi-layer hydroponics. Known colloquially as “vertical” farming, the approach in which plants are grown in water instead of soil has grown significantly over the past 20 years. Fry, as head of hydroponics hardware firm HydroGarden, believes it is the next step in reforming the wasteful, polluting, oil-dependent aspects of the farming industry, and preparing for future threats to food security.

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Source: Guardian Environment

The eco guide to green parenting | Lucy Siegle

How to bring up a child with small carbon footprints

Britain’s latest parenting guru is science writer and mother-of-two Zion Lights with her Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting. This enters a world that has often been seen as hippy or for the too-posh-for-Pampers set (or a combination of both). But that’s unfair. It’s 25 years since Juliet Solomon codified earth mother and father techniques in Green Parenting, and the big aim remains bringing up children with small ecological footprints.

This is a tough ask. In industrialised economies, one child will be responsible, over their lifetime, for consumption and pollution equating to that of 30 to 50 children in the developing world.

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Source: Guardian Environment

Canning byelection: Tony Abbott says Liberals will win, despite negative poll

Asked if he would step down over a Coalition loss, PM says ‘well we’re not going to lose’, despite a new poll showing a 10% swing away from the Liberals

Tony Abbott has predicted the Coalition will win the Canning byelection, dismissing suggestions that his leadership is in trouble.

Related: Canning byelection: Abbott asked about leadership and Dutton’s ‘lame joke’

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Source: Guardian Environment

Hollywood v heritage on Ireland’s rocky outcrop where monks once trod

The filming of Star Wars on the Skelligs, bird sanctuary and world eco-site, brings the clash between the environment and the Irish economy into sharp focus

High up on a brackeny hill in the glen of Ballinskelligs, where the Ring of Kerry is at its most beguiling, a modest, two-storey house commemorates one of Hollywood’s more curious Irish connections. This is the family home of Cathy Moriarty, who leapt to fame as Jake La Motta’s wife Vikki in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull after she was spotted by Joe Pesci in a bathing beauty contest in a New York bar.

Only a few miles up the Kerry coast on the Dingle peninsula lies Hollywood’s most feted Irish connection, where Robert Mitchum, John Mills and a full cast and crew pitched up one summer in 1970 to spin the bleak enchantment of Ryan’s Daughter.

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Source: Guardian Environment