Living Off Grid

The definition of offgrid is to be not connected to or served by publicly or privately managed utilities (such as electricity, gas, or water). Photographer Ed Gold lived alongside a small community who live on a Scottish peninsula which is either a 5 mile walk or a boat ride to reach. The photo story is reported on the BBC and is a really interesting view of how people choose to live off-grid.  BBCiWonder also explore this topic and wonder what you need and what costs are involved.

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Eat less meat to cut carbon emissions

Scientists have said eat less meat to cut carbon emissions but the UK’s climate minister Claire Perry has told BBC News that it is not the government’s job to advise people on a climate-friendly diet. Friends of the Earth are not impressed at all. They think it is a dereliction of duty and that government ministers should show leadership on this difficult issue. Would you stop eating meat in an effort to help slow down climate change?

It is a shocking facts that raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprits.

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Experts say that our battle over climate change is going to have to get more personal.  This might involve:

  • driving smaller cars
  • walking and cycling more
  • flying less
  • buying less fast fashion
  • wearing a sweater in winter
  • eating less meat

There will need to be a cultural shift and they want governments support those messages to it will be an impossible task keeping the global temperature rise at 1.5C. Religious groups are already preaching to their supporters about how to act now on climate change. Operation Noah was set up in 2004 to provide a Christian response to the climate crisis. They work with all Christian denominations and support interfaith work on climate change. Their catch phrase is faith motivated, science informed and hope inspired.

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Follow chicken from the farm to the fryer

A short 10 minute documentary on the BBC showed chicken lover Hezron Springer how the fried chicken he eats travels from the farm to his local fried chicken restaurant. He’s shocked that chickens only live until 39 days old when they are killed for their meat.

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It is always good to know where your food is coming from, either from a health or ethical  view point

It’s a bit complicated, but legal court requirement is no longer needed for some forms of passive euthanasia

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In Britain Active Euthanasia is illegal but some forms of Passive Euthanasia are allowed with different legal restrictions. Up until today if you were in a vegetative state your doctors and family even if they all agreed to withdraw food and water still needed to go to court to actually do so, and let you die. Well today the Supreme Court, which is England and Wales’ highest court decided that families will no longer need to go before the courts for approval to withdraw feeding tubes from loved ones in a permanent vegetative state.

Help the environment, stop consuming meat and dairy

It makes absolute sense. New research has shown that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. This is hugely important because the loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

When you also factor in that new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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Other interesting discoveries from the latest research were:

  1. Freshwater fish farming, which provides two-thirds of such fish in Asia and 96% in Europe, was thought to be relatively environmentally friendly but has a large impact. “You get all these fish depositing excreta and unconsumed feed down to the bottom of the pond, where there is barely any oxygen, making it the perfect environment for methane production,” a potent greenhouse gas, the report’s author explained.
  2. Grass-fed beef, thought to be relatively low impact, was still responsible for much higher impacts than plant-based food. “Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.”

You should maybe think twice before you order a steak with a glass of milk!

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66.4% to 33.6% vote in favour of overturning the abortion ban in Ireland

Watching how people debated the change in abortion law in Ireland showed the age old arguments about freedom for the woman against the right to life of an unborn child. 66.4% of voters wanted to repeal a part of the Irish constitution called the Eighth Amendment, which says an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant woman which effectively bans terminations.

The vote will possibly affect those north of the border too, as Northern Ireland has the strictest abortion laws in the UK. In Northern Ireland even in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality these would not be grounds for a legal termination.

In England there is talk to amend the law on abortion even further so that women could take the abortion pill at home rather than having to administer it at a clinic, which is very demeaning if you have to travel on public transport straight afterwards.  Christian and Muslim arguments about abortion are interestingly varied and sometimes not what you’d expect.

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More rain due to climate change, the type of soil locally and deforestation

In Argentina where deep rooted forests have been replaced by the short rooted soya bean than only grows for a few months a year, the last few years with more rainfall and the nature of the soils has lead to the incredible emergence of rivers 60 metres wide in places. One river now stretches for 25 kilometres and carries large amounts of sediment which sometimes gets dumped on crop fields downstream.

Back in 2008 farmers started to see shallow run-off channels, and in the last five years those streams have become deep trenches. This is all a reminder that when humans drastically change their land use, in this case with deforestation and a massive increase in soya bean farms, nature often shouts back.