Author: Anna Ray

Environment Editor 2018-19

Wales could meet 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2035, under an “ambitious” new plan set out by policy experts Environmental Policy in Wales has long been at the forefront of the Climate movement with hefty targets for emission reductions and waste management strategies. Now, one aspect of the new policy has emphasised the need for reforestation of Wales and with targets to high – Welsh farmers have raised concerned of that this drastic land-use change will have the their industry. With Wales targeted to an 80% reduction in Carbon emissions by 2050, extensive measures must be…

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Lent for many people is a time of giving up a favourite food or a bad habit, and for years I’ve given up things I love – I stopped drinking fizzy drinks, I gave up Bourbon biscuits (the horror!), and last year I went Vegan for lent. This year, however, I decided to go a step further than I’d considered before – giving up plastic; something that is found all around us, and is ever-lasting. With the hope of reducing my use of plastic, I embarked on this journey, aiming to challenge myself and see how possible it really is.…

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Research led by Dr Christian Dunn from the Bangor University Wetlands group has found microplastic pollution in both the Afon Cegin and the Llyn Cefni Reservoir. Microplastics are defined as fragments or fibres of plastic that are less than 5mm. The most prominent source of the pollutant are car tyres; clothing; plastic pellets (use to make general plastic goods); paints and road markings. Previous investigations have shown the detrimental impact that ingestion of microplastics may have on aquatic life and their persistent qualities that enable bioaccumulation throughout trophic levels. Scientific investigations are still ongoing as to the consequences of these…

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Veganism is becoming more mainstream. The latest statistics from the Vegan Society state that the number of Vegans in the U.K. has risen from 150,000 in 2006 to over 540,000 just 10 years later. It has also been stated that moving towards a plant-based diet cuts land-use by 76% in comparison to meat diets. It would seem that Veganism promotes an all-round win for the planet, but how can we take that one step further? Living as a strict vegan for some years, I found myself wrapped in an all pervading definition of what I thought it was to live…

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Aquaculture promises to feed an ever-growing population, replacing the ‘poor-man’s protein’ – rice –  with fish protein. However, the conversion from rice paddies to create aquaculture environments is having far reaching and unintended consequence for global warming. Researchers across the globe have been focusing their efforts towards understanding how anthropogenic actions affect the quantities of GHGs in the atmosphere. Key to understanding the underlying mechanisms of emissions are the microbial interactions inherent in soil processes. “Paddy fields produce huge quantities of methane when decaying plant material is broken down by microbes called methanogens in the oxygen-free waterlogged paddy soils. But in the…

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A discovery we should all be excited about: Scientists have found a way of turning CO2 back in to solid coal at room temperature, a promising technological innovation for climate change mitigation. It was in Melbourne that it first happened, the RMIT university research team deciphered a way of capturing the Carbon using liquid metal hydrolysis to create solid coal flakes. The novel discovery was first published in Nature Communications and has been hailed as a permanent way to remove the CO2 provoking climatic warming. The more one studies energy generation in depth, the more one comes to realise how…

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A recent report has been leaked through the BBC expressing concerns from Natural Resources Wales staff regarding how internal restructuring may affect their ability to protect the environment. Formed in 2013 from three separate organisations, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are one of the largest government sponsored organisations in Wales. Their role is essentially to protect the environment and their responsibilities span from advising the Welsh government to educating the general public to implementing flood control measures. Imperative to the proper functioning of ecosystems, NRW also bears responsibility for monitoring water quality and biodiversity along with numerous other responsibilities essential to…

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The Chemistry department has been threatened, having knock on effects to other departments throughout the Environmental Sectors of the University. On 18th January 2019, students and lecturers alike came together to protest the proposed cuts that would see the entire chemistry department closed within the next three years. The general consensus remains that the anticipated loss of expert chemistry staff and the department as a whole would result in harm, as oppose to benefit for the university, and will have definitive negative impacts on Environmental-based courses. “We contribute to a lot of other courses; from Biology to Environmental Science. It’s…

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In late 2018, the Fit Cymru Project at Bangor University saw the addition of new Solar PV panels on four of the universities buildings: Brambell, Thoday, Wheldon and Canolfan Brailsford. Since then, permission has also been granted to place additional panels on the library section next to the Grade 1 listed aspect of the main- arts building. Instillation is expected to begin over the Easter holiday period and staff are excited by the prospect of partaking in the creation of a low-carbon future for Wales. The funding came from a Welsh Government initiative to improve energy efficiency and lower overall…

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Anglesey breathes a sigh of relief as plans are postponed to build the new Wylfa Power Station. In December of last year, the people of Anglesey engaged in a protest against the building of 100 new pylons across the island for the purpose of energy transfer from the Power Plant. Fortunately for the Islanders, the building has been postponed for the next 3 years following a funding deficit. We interviewed Bangor University’s own expert on Renewable Energies, Dr Paula Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management), to gauge the situation, and give a broader overview of the idea of Nuclear energy:…

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The ScienceAlliance Communication Workshop at Bangor University explains the crucial link between Journalism and Science, encouraging students to share their discoveries with the world and inspire change. Simon Willcock, a senior lecturer in Environmental Geography at Bangor University, organised and curated a workshop with the esteemed Environmental Journalist, Jeffrey Barbee. Their first collaboration entailed the scaling of a 125 m cliff to reach the ‘untouched’ forest of Mount Lico. This venture gained significant media attention and contributed a key turning point for Dr. Willcock in term of interactions with journalism: “A huge risk in science, and it has a bit…

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The local community of Anglesey gather support in order to protest the National Grid application to erect 100 new pylons across the island. A plan to build power-lines across Anglesey from the proposed £12 BN Wylfa Newydd nuclear reactor has generated massive controversy. Residents feel that the new scheme would have a devastating effect, not only on the environment, but consequently on the tourist economy too. The ‘Anglesey Say No To Pylons’ group have been rigorously protesting to protect their Island from plans by the National Grid. Over 13,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, although permission has…

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We are always in rush. Rushing to lectures because we spent 5 too many minutes in bed. Rushing to the shops to scavenge for a cheap deal for dinner. Rushing to complete an assignment we left until the last minute. But how often is it that we just stop, take a moment and actually take in the environment around us? You would be amazed how much you can overlook when you’re rushing from place to place, busy in your own thoughts, not really paying attention to what is going on around you. Trees often go unnoticed in the urban landscape,…

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On 18th October, two advocates from the environmental initiative named ‘Extinction Rebellion’ came to Treborth for the talk entitled ‘Climate Change: Heading for Extinction and What to Do About It’. Since then, Menai Bridge has experienced its first formal protest under the same initiative, with more to be expected. Set-up in 2016, Extinction Rebellion are a fast-growing network of around 5000 people across the UK who believe in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in order to change government environmental policy. Using examples of the Indian Independence and Civil Rights movements in the US, the presentation at Treborth discussed the…

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Slates General Food Store, Bridge Street, are acting to reduce plastic waste by enabling consumers to purchase every-day goods with ‘bring-your-own’ containers. Business owners Dan and Cherise began their packaging-free products line 3 weeks ago and the initiative has been met with enthusiastic responses from locals and students alike. For the past year, they have been providing ECOVER refill services to their clientele and are currently seriously engaging with the of supplying no-waste, plastic-free services. Dan was happy to talk and explain the logic behind the scheme: Can you explain why you decided to go plastic-free and why you think…

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If you haven’t already heard, ‘Waste Awareness Week’ (or W.A.W.) has been a huge success. The Sustainability Lab has been busy this autumn period preparing for and carrying out Bangor University’s very own waste initiative. It has been dedicated to raising awareness and introducing positive solutions for environmental sustainability. Combining forces of numerous University departments and external organisations alike, our staff have worked tirelessly to offer five days of proactive events enabling students to contribute to waste solutions, both now and in the long term. “Waste Awareness Week” was all about education and how students could help further their ideas…

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