Author: Samantha Newman

Environment Editor | 19-21

Photo by Dallas Krentzel (CC BY 2.0) Nemonte Nenquimo is an indigenous activist that was recently given the 2020 Goldman environmental prize for her grassroots work that protected over 500,000 acres in the Ecuadorean Amazon from oil extraction. Born in 1986, she is a member of the Waorani nation and co-founder of Ceibo Alliance, an indigenous-led nonprofit that focuses on protecting indigenous land, life and cultural survival in the upper Amazon.  In her early life, she left her family who lived on the traditional Waorani community of Nemonparte to study at a missionary school. After the missionaries attempted to force her to…

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Photo by Garry Knight (CC0 1.0) A climate lawsuit filed by six young activists has been approved and prioritized by the European Court of Human Rights. In this landmark case, the activists allege that the 33 countries have not made the cuts to greenhouse gas emissions that are needed to protect their futures and physical and mental well-being.  The crowdfunded case, filed in September, is the first of its kind to make it to the court in Strasbourg. As a result, the ECHR has given the 33 countries, which include the EU countries, Norway, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Ukraine and the…

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Bangor University is participating in the SHAPE Sustainability Impact Projects, an initiative created by the British Academy and Students Organising for Sustainability Kingdom (SOS-UK). SHAPE is used by the British Academy as a collective term for Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy/Environment. These disciplines are important for understanding the fabric of the world, and how people interact within it. While academics and leaders in SHAPE fields have already contributed to major social and environmental change worldwide, approaches to sustainability challenges still often rest solely on people in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).…

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Photo by James Shook (CC BY 2.5) In a legal system, a non-human entity can be granted the same rights and responsibilities as a person. This is a not a new occurrence, as corporations have been historically granted legal personhood status. What is new is the designation of an ecological entity, in this case a river, as having legal personhood as granted by the Aotearoa/New Zealand government in 2017. The Whanganui River is now legally known as Te Awa Tupua, which means an integrated, living whole from the mountains to the sea. This acknowledgement of the river as a legal…

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While low speed electric vehicles first bring to mind a picture of senior driven golf carts, they should be understood as a much more complex, innovative and pervasive industry that has tremendous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in response to climate change. Low speed electric vehicles, referred to henceforth as LSEVs, are small compact vehicles that reach a top speed of 37mph that have become particularly successful in China, the location of the largest electric vehicle market in 2020. LSEVs offer the perfect alternative to motorcycles and bikes for urban centres as they are inexpensive, easy to park and,…

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Photo by Mouenthias (CC BY-SA 4.0) Scientists hope that a new super-enzyme that is able to convert plastic back to its original materials in a matter of days will be a huge help in battling pollution. It was created by combining two enzymes, known as PETase and MHETase, that are produced by the bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis which eats plastic. Natural degradation of plastic can take hundreds of years, but this super-enzyme works at room temperature to break it down up to six times faster than the previously engineered enzymes. The super-enzyme could enable us to completely recycle the most common…

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Photo by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website (CC BY 3.0 AU) David Attenborough can tell me that the world is well and truly collapsing around us and yet I still love nothing more than listening to him. Maybe it’s in his comforting voice, or the fact that he has been blessing our screens for almost 70 years, but he can make even the most overwhelming and devastating topic palatable. Apparently, I am not the only one invested in whatever the national treasure has to say, as the ratings for Attenborough’s recent BBC One presentation ‘Extinction: The Facts’ can attest. Despite…

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Photo by Izabela Janachowska (CC BY 3.0) The growing popularity of gender reveal parties might be a cause for alarm given that expecting parents have gotten more creative and more dangerous with their methods, resulting in disaster, wildfire, and even death. What started as a phenomenon in the U.S has slowly started to pop up throughout the UK. Gender reveal parties involve revealing the sex of an unborn baby using the colours pink and blue, often it is a surprise even for the parents. Initially, gender reveal parties mostly involved parents cutting into a cake and revealing pink or blue frosting…

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Photo by Vortexrealm at English Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5) Research by Bangor University has been used in Feedback’s Bad Energy report demonstrating that Anaerobic Digestion (AD) may not be as beneficial in mitigating carbon emissions as was previously hoped. AD is the process of breaking down organic materials like food waste and manure using microorganisms to produce methane-rich biogas that can be used as a renewable energy source. It was heralded as an “environmental silver bullet” that would be comparable to wind and solar energy in its potential impacts. AD would simultaneously address organic waste management and provide renewable energy…

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We warmly welcome the new Bangor Environmental Action Society that recently started in January of this year. The group emerged as a response to the need to push for greater environmental action, both at home and beyond. They work closely with the students and staff of Bangor University, as well as the local community, in order to promote activism and more concrete steps toward addressing the climate crisis. While it just started this year, the group has already hit the ground running with some major events under their belt, such as the Valentine’s day climate strike and a recent de-turfing…

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Christmas movies and cartoons alike tend to paint an idyllic scene of Christmas Eve, with a town lit up by Christmas lights and Santa’s sleigh passing through a sky full of stars. Unfortunately, the reality is not as picturesque. Light pollution, the brightening of the night sky due to obtrusive, excessive, or misdirected anthropogenic sources of light, may not be our top priority when considered next to climate change or chemical trash dumping, but it is still keeping us from enjoying a view of the stars. The problem of light pollution increases exponentially during the holidays, when lights and decorations…

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Opinion: Reckoning with my own standpoint on the morality of zoos has proven to be a complicated issue. While proponents of zoos herald them for their educational benefits, research funding and conservation efforts, critics argue that they exploit animals and keep them in unsuitable conditions for human entertainment and profit. Without a doubt not all zoos are of equal standing, as there are very few legal requirements enforcing animal welfare and enclosure specifications. Yet, some people take great joy in working for and supporting zoos and some of the past research accomplished through zoo-based funding has proven to be invaluable.…

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When referring to the plastic free movement, it is not a discussion of one particular group. Rather it is a general fervour, a siren call, a plea to businesses and individuals alike, made by climate activists across the globe. It has taken many forms such as Plastic Free Friday, Plastic Free July, and Break Free From Plastic, but they all send the same message. The continued use and production of single use plastic needs to end.  These groups focus both on activism and awareness and are fighting to not only convince people to use less plastic but also to educate…

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At first glance, Halloween and being environmentally conscious do not seem to go hand in hand. We buy socially relevant costumes new each year, meant to be worn once, then they sit in the back of our closets until we finally get rid of them. Individually wrapped Halloween candy is given out and consumed in excess; after all, that’s the spirit of Halloween. Now, I’m not suggesting that we curtail our chocolate and candy intake. There are just a few things that we can do to make our Halloween festivities a little bit greener. When it comes to Halloween costumes,…

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An examination of the emerging tiny house movement as a sustainable option for reducing one’s ecological footprint. Sustainability practices have been at the forefront of both global and local efforts to mitigate the negative effects of globalization, urbanization, resource exploitation, and climate change. Understanding its unique characteristics and approaches is essential to utilizing it successfully to implement improvement efforts at any scale. Environmental sustainability can be understood as a method of using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged, so that ecological balance can be maintained. Understanding the concept of sustainability is aided by looking…

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As I’m sure you’re aware of by now, climate change is causing a global emergency. This does not just affect the environment and the world: it is a human rights issue. Climate change affects food production and access to food, causes natural disasters that claim thousands of lives and destroys as many homes, and makes sea levels rise, which also displaces thousands of people. It is resulting in fundamental rights such as shelter, food, and clean water being denied to millions of people across the world. Millions of people across the world are standing up for our rights in this…

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