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Kerala has taken a bold step with its ban on single-use plastics

Whether it will be successful remains to be seen; however, it is a praiseworthy step nonetheless  The state government of Kerala has banned the manufacturing, sale, storage and transportation of single-use plastic products like carry bags, disposable cups, straws, PET bottles, etc from January 1, 2020. This key decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on November 21, 2019, after taking into account the environmental and health issues the state faces given that it generates close to 45,000 tonnes of plastic waste a year. Kerala had already imposed restrictions on the use and sale of plastic less than 50 microns in 2018 and facilitated its proper collection, segregation and recycling. However, that decision's robust implementation and availability of affordable alternatives remained a challenge. With the current notification, the governing body has not only listed the banned products (branded and non-branded as well as compostable alternati…
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This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

Palau's practice of "bul" bans fishing in protected areas, allowing the marine ecosystem to bounce. Palau will ban fishing on 80% of its marine territory to allow coral reefs to recover and protect coastal areas against the impact of climate change.Fish stocks have already doubled in Palau's protected areas.Almost 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. People on the Pacific archipelago of Palau firmly believe in the old saying, "We do not inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children." For centuries, they have been managing their delicate marine ecosystem sustainably through the practice of "bul." This involves making certain parts of the reef off-limits to fishing during spawning and feeding to allow its 1,300 species of fish to thrive.

30+ tips for a plastic free Christmas

toggle menu Christmas presents wrapped with fabric by Steve Cukrov Photography / Creative Fairy lights are up. Trees are decked out with sparkly ornaments. All I Want For Christmas Is Youis playing on loop in the background. Yep, it’s officially the Christmas season.
Christmas is often a time of excess and over-consumption. With the huge plastic pollution problem clogging our oceans and killing our marine wildlife, there’s no better time to make sustainable choices this season.
While it might be tempting to get swept away by the festivities and buy into the consumer hype… there is  a way to be swept away by all the pretty lights and  be environmentally friendly at the same time.

Here are some essential Christmas items that you can swap for sustainable and plastic free options! It’s time to have a truly green  Christmas.
Decking the halls sustainably

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

A La Poste postman on his daily route. Image: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
While we’re living longer, not everyone is living healthier and happier lives – and many countries are struggling to look after an increasingly lonely, ageing population. By 2050, it’s predicted that more than a quarter of people in France (20 million) will be aged 65 and over, as women are expected to live to 90 and men to 87.
But the country has come up with a unique way of catering to the needs of its elderly, while enabling them to remain living in their own homes. Image: Insee Mail workers for the French postal service La Poste are being paid to pop in on elderly people on a weekly basis, before sending updates to concerned relatives. Called Veiller Sur Mes Parents (watch over my parents), the service costs from 19.90 euros ($22.50) a month and includes a weekly visit and report, as well as a monthly personalized newsletter made from family messages and photos the post worker prints out. There’s also a 24-hour h…

UNESCO adopts the first United Nations international treaty on higher education

26 November 2019 global-convention-adopted-c-getty-rawpixel.jpg Getty/Rawpixel On 25 November 2019, UNESCO’s Member States adopted the first United Nations convention on higher education when the plenary of the 40th session of the General Conference endorsed the Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education. The new convention establishes universal principles for recognition of studies and degrees, and will improve mobility for the more than 220 million students enrolled in higher education worldwide.

Vienna Discussion Forum 2019 on ending violence against women

VIENNA, 21 November 2019 - The first Vienna Discussion Forum, a platform to discuss and call for action on gender equality within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressed gender-based violence from the perspective of the respective mandates of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), namely women’s economic empowerment (SDGs 8 and 9), and crime prevention, criminal justice responses (SDG 16). The Forum, which marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), was organized by UNIDO and the UNODC, together with the representatives of Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is clear that we need to develop comprehensive approaches to address violence against women. Crime prevention and criminal justice responses and women’s economic empowerment can complement each other in this endeavour,” said UNIDO Director General LI Yong. “We work together with gove…

Greenhouse gases hit a new record in 2018, says U.N.

Extreme weather events like this 'Sand Fire' in Los Angeles are adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Image: REUTERS/Gene Blevins Emma Farge, The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose from 405.5 parts per million in 2017 to 407.8 ppm in 2018The World Meteorological Organization found the annual increase in another greenhouse gas methane was the highest since 1998The figures come ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Madrid next week Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2018, exceeding the average yearly increase of the last decade and reinforcing increasingly damaging weather patterns, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday. The U.N. agency’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is one of a series of studies to be published ahead of a U.N. climate change summit being held in Madrid next week, and is expected to guide discussions there. It measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases responsible for global warming, rather than…