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Environmental News Made Simple
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Good morning curious.friends,

Absolute scenes are unfolding in Central London and across the world this week as Extinction Rebellion's autumn uprising kicks off with a bang! The Curious Earth team have been in London hanging out with Jean Luc the pink octopus and the atmosphere is truly incredible! 

Have you been along to show your support? We'd love to hear from you!

This week, we feature guest writer Sophie Hunter, who gives us the down-low on #PlasticFreePeriods!  

Reading time is 3:57 minutes.
Enjoyyy
UK Wildlife

🌳 UK Wildlife - not in such a good state... 

by Helen Steiger

What's Going On Here?

UK wildlife continues to be in decline, according to the State of Nature Report published this week. Since 1970, we have continuously lost nature, with 41% of species (plants and animals) decreasing in number. 

What Does This Mean?

The report is an update from the 2016 report, but was a much larger undertaking than previous years. For the 2019 report, over 70 environmental organisations and research organisations collaborated and used their expertise to provide ‘the clearest picture to date of the status of our (the UK’s) species across land and seas". 

As well as measuring species abundance and the number of critically endangered species (according to international standards), the report also detailed the main drivers of this decline. These included climate change (surprise surprise), modern-day farming methods (we no likey pesticides here!) and other common suspects such as pollution and invasive species.

Why Should We Care?

UK wildlife is one of the most measured and surveyed in the world, and this report has implications beyond our green and pleasant land. Results mimic declines witnessed around the world, as we continue to undermine the natural systems that help to keep us all happy and healthy. 

Nature provides so many benefits we don’t even realise, positively impacting our physical health and mental health and wellbeing. By diminishing wildlife, we are having a negative impact on society, as well as the environment, and reducing nature’s resilience to future changes (like continuing climate change). When we lose one species, this impacts other species and entire ecosystems - basically biodiversity (lots of different species all living together) is really important and beneficial! 

However, rather than see this report as a sorrowful news story, it is also a source of inspiration and hope. There are so many opportunities to conserve nature and encourage wildlife within the UK. Already we have seen otters reintroduced into less polluted waters and the fen raft spider pulled back from extinction through the restoration of its habitat! The report also shows that time donated by volunteers towards conservation projects has increased by a whopping 41% since 2000 - may it continue to rise! 
 

Be Curious!

  • Bring wildlife into your local area - check out these tips for your garden - note that these can also be applied in your local green spaces if you don’t have access to private green space! 
  • Support nature-friendly farming - buy organic, buy local and buy from reputable farming organisations/businesses that practice farming methods that allow wildlife to flourish alongside their crop and livestock. 
  • Support initiatives that increase wildlife - get involved in schemes and events run by the Wildlife Trust and other nature-based conservation organisations e.g. RSPB, National Trust
  • Go wild - explore our wild spaces around the country (treating them with respect of course!) We like these recommendations...
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Plastics

🚽 Plastic-filled periods...

by Sophie Hunter

What's Going On Here?

Sanitary pads, tampons and applicators, which nearly all contain high levels of plastic, are the fifth most common item found on Europe’s beaches. More widespread than single-use coffee cups, cutlery or straws. 

Let’s meet the movement tackling this issue and fighting for #PlasticFreePeriods, and saving people thousands of pounds in the process!

What Does This Mean?

Nearly all mainstream period products contain plastic. Applicators are the obvious culprits, but tampons also contain microplastics, along-side harmful bleaching chemicals and most sanitary pads are 90% plastic.

Did you know the plastic content of one pack of pads is the equivalent to 5 plastic carrier bags?!

Campaigners are joining forces for an Enviromenstrual Week of Action from 12th-19th October to raise awareness and promote the switch to organic, plastic free pads and tampons, or better still - cut the waste out altogether by using a menstrual cup or reusable pads or period pants.

Why Should We Care?

In the UK alone it’s estimated that nearly 700,000 panty liners, 2.5 million tampons and 1.4 million sanitary pads are flushed down the toilet every day, costing an estimated £80 million. A cost we all pick up via our water bill. 

It also results in nearly 5 pieces of menstrual waste being found every 100m along our beautiful British coastline, according to research by the Marine Conservation Society.
 
But it’s not all doom and gloom! The surge of activism in this area now means there are many companies selling plastic-free alternatives. Also switching to reusables could be good for your pocket as well as the planet – a menstrual cup costs around £20 and lasts for 10 years, saving you £1,000s on monthly disposable products over your lifetime. Cha-ching!!

Be Curious!
Want to #GoGreenOnYourFlow but not sure how? Want to find out more about #PeriodAction?

Check out the Enviromenstrual Week of Action for all the info you need or better yet attend the Enviromenstrual Festival happening in London on 16th October - An evening of workshops, stalls, art, talks, food and drink. Plus goodie bags with free products, including a menstrual cup!

See what the founders of the Week of Action, Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) have to say about plastic in period products here.

Fancy becoming a bit of an activist? You don’t even need to leave your sofa - write to or contact on social media manufacturers and retailers of conventional period products asking them to ditch the plastic. Find everything you need here.

Follow the hashtags and spread the word on social media - join the movement to #EndPeriodPlastic
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Other news we found curious...

20 firms are behind a third of all carbon emissions - Guardian
Police kettle Jean Luc the giant pink octopus - Metro
30 major cities have already peaked their emissions - Business Green
Nearly 400 temperature records broken this summer - BBC
How water-wise is your diet? - Guardian
Is your trainer habit damaging the environment? - Huffington Post
Some corals regrowing after 'fatal' warming - Phys.org
Helen Steiger
NEWS WRITER
Sophie Hunter
NEWS WRITER
THANKS FOR READING

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