Climate Countdown

Source: BBC

Outdoor volunteering

Volunteering in the great outdoors

Environmental as anything!

There are plenty of things you can do in your home to conserve energy and help the environment, but why not think about getting out and about to do your bit?

We all know that saving energy in the home and using our bikes instead of taking the car will help to conserve and improve the environment around us. But by volunteering with an environmental charity or organisation, you could be learning new skills and meeting new people as well as doing your bit to save the planet.


Tree planting is one activity which helps to make a positive impact on the environment and improve the quality of air around us. Organisations such as Northumberland Wildlife Trust hold tree planting events and other activities, such as peat bog restoration.

Volunteers are welcome to go down and take part in activities such as this, and in a few years time you could go back and revisit the tree which you planted as part of a brand new forest.

If you feel you're more geared towards wildlife, you could help out at Scotswood Natural Community Garden, which is right in the heart of Newcastle, just off Whickham View.

Volunteers come and get involved in gardening and wildlife conservation, which includes helping with pond dipping activities in the Lily Pond and willow weaving.

There are all sorts of other activities you can get involved in that can help the environment, from exercising in a green gym to children's art projects centred around recycling.

Find out more

For an information pack about eco-friendly volunteering opportunities, or for advice on how you can save energy around the home, contact the CSV Action Desk.


Telephone: (0191) 221 2815

Local backing for carbon progress

Longannet power station
The carbon capture plan at Longannet would be the first in the UK

Source: BBC

Fife will be a "power-house" for modern energy generation if carbon capture plans go ahead, it has been claimed.

West Fife councillor William Walker has welcomed early indications from the UK Government that the Longannet power station proposal will proceed.

It would make it the first plant in the country to capture carbon emissions, storing them beneath the Forth estuary.

Scottish Power has been carrying out research into the plan, which would reduce the company's carbon footprint.

Mr Walker said: "This all fits in well with Scottish Power's quest to become the cleanest possible generator of electricity using coal.

"The company is already spending some £170m on flue gas desulphurisation which is another step towards the cleanest possible operation.

"Longannet has come a long way since being labelled 'the dirty man of Europe' just a few years ago."

The Scottish Government is also discussing plans to re-start deep-mining of coal in west Fife.

First Minister Alex Salmond gave his backing to a new 45MW biomass power station near Markinch which would supply energy to a paper mill and to the national grid.

Mr Walker added: "Everything is beginning to fall into place for long-term energy generation in Fife under the best environmental and economic conditions.

"With a methane gas survey and extraction project also due to start soon in the area, west Fife is now well on track to become a power-house of modern energy conversion with all that means for local, quality employment and sustainable development into the future."

Power station may extract methane
Longannet Power Station
Methane extraction is one of a series of changes being considered
Source: BBC

Scottish Power has said it wants to begin extracting methane from beneath one of its coal-fired power stations.

The company has applied for planning permission for the pilot project at Longannet power station, in Kincardine.

The plan would be to deposit carbon dioxide in a coal seam. The methane would then be pushed out, collected and burned for power.

It has been hailed as the first project of its kind in the UK. A similar, smaller scheme was tested in Australia.

Several schemes have been planned by Scottish Power, which needs to substantially reduce its carbon emissions.

We have to reduce emissions because it is causing climate change
Scottish Power spokesman

Longannet, which generates about 40% of Scotland's electricity, is also the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

The plant would only be able to generate a small amount of electricity, but would enable Scottish Power to reduce emissions at the site by burying carbon.

A company spokesman said: "We have to reduce emissions because it is causing climate change. But we need coal because it is flexible.

Saline aquifer

"We can turn it on and off quickly in response to demand.

"We would push carbon into the coal seam directly. It would then displace the methane, we could collect it and then burn it.

The deep mine where the methane would come from flooded in 2004. Since then the coal has become inaccessible.

The proposals still have to be approved by planners at Fife Council.

Scottish Power has confirmed that it would receive £2.3m from the UK Government to research carbon capture schemes.

The company will work with Edinburgh University to look for sites where carbon can be stored underground.

A saline aquifer below the seabed of the Firth of Forth has already been identified as a location.

Free Energy From Wind Generators

By Darren Chow
Most people would certainly say yes to free energy. There are many natural sources of free energy if you just explore the possibilities the surroundings can give to you. One of the best examples of energy producer that you can utilize is the wind. With the use of a device known as wind generators, you can easily convert the kinetic energy from the wind to usable electric energy. What is best for this energy resource is that it is safe, clean and more importantly renewable.

Several manufacturers specialize in building these innovative wind generators. These commercialized products are engineered to provide electricity sufficient to power up the whole household. Manufacturers of these wind turbines use high quality products to ensure that the device would last for a long time. Although these energy-producing devices are durable and very efficient when it comes to providing alternative source of energy, these may rather be costly for the income of common households. Many homes that need to have alternative solutions in lowering their electric bills cannot afford this expensive device.

The awareness in the need for renewable sources of energy has led to the development of innovative solutions to provide affordable home energy systems. Many people are practicing building a wind generator for home use nowadays. Because of the availability of instructional materials about the construction of these wind generators, homeowners can easily create their own cost-efficient energy resources. You can find helpful manuals and e-books about do-it-yourself wind turbines. Most of the materials to be used on these improvised devices usually come cheap on hardware outlets and scrap equipments on your garage.

Since homemade wind generators use cheap and recycled materials, there is a high possibility that the output would be substandard. To ensure that your energy-producing equipment has the efficiency as the commercial prototypes, the need of a quality blueprint for your device is important. Even though it may not be as strong as the commercial one, you will be ensured that you would get the electricity that you need to power up your home.

The use of wind energy has been gaining popularity nowadays. As a renewable energy resource, most people within the windy areas took great advantage of using wind generators on their homes. The homes within some communities all use such energy devices for a profitable cause. The excess energy produced by the wind generators are sold back to the utility suppliers thus these devices not just saves you money but also gain profits as well.

If your home is luckily situated on a windy location, you should take advantage of the opportunity of using the wind for your home energy needs. Aside from the financial benefits it can bring, you also have the chance to participate in the campaign for a cleaner environment.
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