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UK Guardian - Environmental News

Environment news, comment and discussion on key green, environmental and climate change issues from the Guardian

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  • Thanksgiving of the future: how climate change could transform our food – interactive

    Climate change is changing the way we grow, distribute and choose food. Shifting environments could alter the nutritional value of our vegetables – but they could also result in tastier turkeys, as we look for more sustainable farming techniques. Our interactive explores what the future holds for the classic American holiday feast – click on the red arrows to learn more

    Americans love the Thanksgiving myth. But food folklore masks a painful reality

    What was actually in the first Thanksgiving dinner?

    Lunch from a lab? A Brooklyn company builds a better burger

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  • You don’t have to be an activist, just saying you care is sometimes enough

    You might not have the power, time and money to live as sustainably as you’d want to, but you can create change by simply asking questions

    Cognitive behavioural therapy speaks about how ‘all-or-nothing thinking’ can lead us to depression and inaction. It is something that I personally have had to guard against as I have struggled to lead a more sustainable life over the years. There are always compromises, and that nagging voice says ‘I cant do enough, so I may as well not try.’ Reading Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett’s response to Vivienne Westwood in the Guardian, ‘Living ethically isn’t cheap, Vivienne’, made my inner voice rear its ugly head again – she finishes with the words ‘people don’t seem to care … or don’t have the energy to care. Caring is a luxury’.

    Living an ethical life is always a messy compromise, influenced by (lack of) power, time and money to varying degrees, and balancing it with our other needs and wishes in life. It can be difficult to live up to one’s own aspirations. And it can be even worse when others try and impose their standards on you, with the implication that ‘you aren’t ethical enough, so you are a bad person’. A natural response is to avoid thinking about it. I care, but I cant do enough so I’ll forget I care.

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  • Guardian Cities Mumbai: day four

    The Guardian Cities team is in Mumbai this week, exploring every aspect of the city in association with Follow this blog for the latest stories, films and live tweets from all over the city - and tune in at 1.30pm GMT / 7pm IST for a live-stream of our debate with NDTV on comedy and censorship in India

    Day one, day two and day three: as they happened

    The Guardian’s India correspondent Jason Burke has been interviewing Aditya Thackeray, 24-year-old scion of India’s most controversial political dynasty.

    The portrait of the family patriarch, Bal Thackeray, a cartoonist turned rightwing populist politician who founded the Shiv Sena organisation in 1966 and led it until his death two years ago, is everywhere: hung in offices in slums, on the walls of cheap restaurants, beside temples. Images of the patriarch’s successor – his 54-year-old son Uddhav – and grandson Aditya, who heads a youth wing – are alongside. The trio look down on the teeming metropolis of 20 million-plus.

    But after three decades of dominance of municipal politics, the Shiv Sena is, like so much in India, in transition.

    We have a wonderful gallery of portraits of the people in Mumbai - contrasting the 1930s with the 200s from Jason Scott Tilley.

    We’re seeing games where there are around 15% women, normally you would not see a single one at Indian football. And educated women coming along with their female friends, not just going with their husbands or children. SR

    We also take a look at the prospects for football in India as the Indian Super League seems to caught the imagination of the Indian public, in at least eight cities anyway.

    It’s been highly positive. For the city of Sachin Tendulkar it’s surprisingly positive that we have 25,000 coming to each match at a stadium that is far out of town.

    And not just in Mumbai but across India. The fact we have players like Freddie [Ljungberg] and Nicolas [Anelka] here and fans can make contact with them after watching them back in the English Premier League days is clearly exciting for Indian fans.

    It is time to enter the sport zone, we have two stories just launched - one looking at Mumbai’s runners, specifically the early-rising ones, as Latha Venkatraman joins the dawn chorus of those looking for space in which to pound those trainers.

    The number of women joining the ranks of recreational runners is slowly swelling – and barring occasional incidents of ‘eve-teasing’ (a euphemism for sexual harassment) most female runners find the Mumbai streets safe. Mumbai is a relatively danger-free city for women to run in, says Shah. “When I run, I am with myself and it helps me to unwind,” she adds.

    “I am feeling strong after today’s run. Way better than my expectation,” says Avani Patel. She echoes Shah’s comments about Mumbai being a safe city for women. “I really enjoy this run. You meet so many runners,” says Bansuri Bharadwaj, an architect who has been running half, full and ultra marathons for two and a half years. As a female runner, it is good to connect with other runners, she adds.

    Former Taj Hotel chef Dinesh Bahrani popped in to the Juhu Beach children’s shelter this afternoon to give the boys a cookery lesson.

    Dinnertime at Juhu Beach: black daal and chicken in coconut @bombayfoodies #guardianmumbai @guardiancities

    The force is strong with these skywalks

    Mumbaikars might be forgiven for having the impression that transit planning here is an oxymoron, but the truth is that concerted efforts are sometimes made to address the worst problems. Take Mumbai’s controversial skywalks, for example, designed to make life easier for pedestrians. Though some have nicknamed them “the ugly caterpillars”, they serve a vital purpose, writes Menaka Rao:

    No matter the skywalk, you can find people leaning on the railings, talking to their loved ones, taking a smoking break (although it’s illegal in public spaces), waiting for friends, reading a newspaper or taking an afternoon stroll above the hustle and bustle of the city.

    Well, we had to talk about the traffic at some point ...

    If you’ve never had the experience of trying to relocate from south to north of this city by car during Friday evening rush hour, you haven’t lived - or rather, nearly died. It makes one wonder how Mumbai can possibly function on any level amid such serial chaos - and, for that matter, how everyone appears to stay so calm (horns are honked, sure, but scenes of actual road rage are few and far between ...)

    India is thought to have some of the world’s deadliest roads, with an estimated 1.2 million fatalities over the past decade - that’s one every four minutes. Over the same period, 5.5 million have been seriously injured.

    Mumbai drivers are generally skilled and good at driving, Wasim insists, but he did once see an accident happen next to him that seriously injured its passengers and the driver. “One guy had a broken leg, another broken ribs, and the cab driver fractured his wrist - but they recovered.” The driver was back on the road within days in another rented car. “It’s his livelihood, so he has to.”

    This institutional ‘analytical vacuum’ has been easily filled by civic-society pressure groups – small groups of ‘concerned’ middle-class citizens with interests in improving their journey to work by car. It has also been manipulated by corporate interests, who have a financial stake in steering transport planning towards large lucrative projects such as flyovers.

    Which books best sum up Mumbai? Yesterday we shared Jerry Pinto’s top six novels that depict the city and asked you for your favourites. Here’s what you said:

    @guardiancities @burke_jason Sacred Games #guardianmumbai

    @guardiancities Rohinton Mistry's Such A Long Journey is another memorable Bombay-based story. #GuardianMumbai

    @GuardianBooks @guardiancities Bombay Wali -- collection of short stories set in Mumbai by Veena Gokhale @Veenago

    Dongri To Dubai has got to be one of the most gripping books I've ever read.. getting nostalgic about retro Bombay #GuardianMumbai

    Mistry's A Fine Balance is both incredibly moving and evocative of Mumbai. In addition I'd include 'Last Man in Tower' by Arvind Adiga (apartment block politics at its best) and 'The Death of Mr Love' by Indra Sinha (beautiful).

    I know his other novel has been mentioned here already but I really loved Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Rohinton Mistry's Tales from Firozsha Baag, a series of interlinked stories involving the residents of a Bombay apartment building. Vivid, poignant and funny.

    people keep on missing behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo off these lists. an amazing book.

    Much still remains to be done, but time is running out. Climate scientists predict that chances of a 2005-like flood could more than double in Mumbai by 2080, and the losses could triple. “We need preventive measures, rather than a Disaster Management Cell, when we know [flooding] is an extreme event we’re prone to,” says Rishi Aggarwal, an environmental activist involved in urban planning and mangrove conservation. “But we have not learned anything in 10 years.”

    Yesterday, following Elizabeth Soumya’s story about Mumbai’s urban leopards, our reporter Nick Mead headed out to the city’s Sanjay Gandhi national park to see if he could track down one of the remaining big cats. Here’s what happened ...

    I'm in Sanjay Gandhi national park - 100 sq km of tropical forest in the heart of Mumbai, and home to 21+ leopards

    250,000 people live in or on the border of the park, many in illegal settlements. The park wall is on the right

    Human settlements create garbage and attract stray dogs - easy prey for leopards

    Conservationist Krishna Tiwari sets up an infra-red camera trap near a path to an illegal village inside the park

    'When the sun goes down this is leopard territory,' says Tiwari. The big cats visit this path most nights

    Many leopard victims are children crouching in the forest at night to answer a call of nature

    Tiwari helps park-dwellers dig latrines and tells children to visit the forest at night with an adult and a torch, and crouch in open space

    Unfortunately this is the closest @guardiancities got to spotting an urban leopard ... #guardianmumbai

    Yesterday I spent the day with the Koli fishing community in Chimbai Village, with my final run returning after the live blog had battened down its hatches.

    Night fishing with Chimbai Village crew, 10km out in Arabian Sea. Story tomorrow @guardiancities #guardianmumbai

    Bally the Fish (named after 90s Brummie Bhangra star Bally Sagoo) went from sea to plate to belly. @guardiancities

    Watch all the live debates from our series so far.

    Good morning Mumbai, Saptarshi Ray here to welcome you to day four of the special Guardian Cities week in this fine city.

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  • Planned London super sewer branded waste of time and taxpayer money

    Project assessor no longer backs Thames Tideway Tunnel saying spiralling £4.2bn bill brings only limited benefits

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