Sadiq Khan says he’ll extend the ultra low emission zone

The new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised to expand the ultra low emission zone to help tackle London’s air pollution problem. It is something he describes as London’s biggest environmental challenge. When he visited a primary school in Aldgate this week he said, “For me it can’t be right that this school on three occasions last year has to make the call whether to allow children to play in the playground breathing in this dangerous stuff or play indoors.”

Air pollution hangs in the air lowering


You can also follow London’s air pollution on a nowcast page, seeing whether pollution has reached high levels or not, which for people with asthma can affect whether they spend a lot of time outside or not.



Big Surprise at Amazon River Mouth

Scientists and oil companies were completely surprised to find a huge coral reef which is 3, 500 square miles below the muddy waters at the mouth of the River Amazon. Corals usually thrive in clear, sunlit, water so it was a huge surprise to find one in the heavy sediment of Amazon river mouth.

The reports co-author said: “I was flabbergasted, as were the rest of the 30 oceanographers. Traditionally, our understanding of reefs has focused on tropical shallow coral reefs which harbour biodiversity that rivals tropical rainforests.”

But as quickly as it was found it might disappear rather too soon as the Brazilian government has sold 80 blocks for oil exploration and drilling at the mouth of the Amazon and 20 of these are already producing oil – some, it is thought, right on top of the reef.

Amazon delta. True colour satellite image of the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. Composite image compiled from LANDSAT data taken between 1986 and 2001.


Environmental Ethics Revision

You can use some of your Unit 1 Section 1 knowledge about creation and the environment when dealing with Unit 8 Section 2’s topic of Environmental Ethics.

Big Bang – Scientific theory of how the world began
Evolution – Scientific theory of how humans have evolved from other less complex organisms Genesis – Book in the Bible containing creation stories
Myth – story with a deeper meaning
Creationists – literally believe the world was created in 7 days as in Genesis
Natural Selection – Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest
Omnipotent – God is all-powerful
Stewardship – looking after the world and creation. Some Christians believe God gave humanity the responsibility of looking after the earth.
Dominion – having control/power over creation. In the Bible God gave humans dominion (power) to subdue and use the earth.

From that strong basis you’ll need to add a few more Unit 8 specific words:

Environment: the surroundings in which plants and animals live and on which they depend for survival.
Natural resources: naturally occurring materials. such as oil and fertile land, which can be used by humans.
Global warming: the theory that the earths atmosphere is warming because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels.
Pollution: releasing harmful substances into the air, sea or earth.
Conservation: protecting and preserving natural resources, animal life and the environment.
Watching some simple youtube videos to understand Global Warming and Climate Changeis sensible as it’s been included as an exam question a few times in recent years. There’s even one by David Attenborough on how Climate Change might affect Britain.
global warming
This youtube video has a horrendous variety of computer generated voices but does keep it short and sweet about the different types of pollution!
Plasticised tells the story of a section of the Pacific Ocean which has a huge floating plastic island of plastic trash. A similar focus is a documentary called The Plastic Age featuring Pharrell Williams.
marine litter
There are some incredible clips about pollution in China and stories about how some Chinese are actually buying clean air from Canada.

An environmental disaster as bad as the BP Oil Spill – heard of it?

Thousands of fires have been lit in Indonesia to clear land for for palm oil and paper production.

indonesia forest fire

Burning the forests is a cheaper way to clear the land but the results have been devastating for the environment and people’s health. Most of the fires are taking place in peatland forests which are unique wetland ecosystems meaning rare species are being threatened. Humans too are feeling the results with a toxic smoke spreading over Indonesia and neighbouring Malaysia.

kuala lumpa malaysia

The pollution has got so bad that people are being given face masks, getting health check-ups and some people are even being evacuated. Suddenly Indonesian cities are becoming the most polluted in the world.


Protest against a Third Runway at Heathrow

Today there was a protest in central London against the planned third runway at Heathrow. The shadow chancellor (so the Labour MP who’s been chosen to compete with the real chancellor – the person interested in the economy) John McDonnell was there saying it would be “down to people power” to prevent the airport’s expansion if it is backed by parliament and court appeals against the decision fail. He said: “In my constituency at the moment, people are literally dying. They’re dying because the air has already been poisoned by the aviation industry. They’ve promised us after every inquiry, no further expansion. They are liars. They have consistently lied to us. They now tell us if they get a third runway, there’ll be no increase in noise and no increase in pollution. They’re liars. They lie every time to us.”

Pretty strong stuff from the MP for Hayes and Harlington.


McDonnell said 4,000 homes would be “demolished or rendered unliveable” in his constituency if the third runway went ahead. “At one point they were going to drive a road through our cemetery and we were going to have to dig up our dead,” he said

Khan, the MP for Tooting, said: “The UK supreme court two months ago held that our air was in breach of the EU air quality directive. Our air is a killer. It makes you sick and it’s illegal. In those circumstances how can we say yes to a new runway at Heathrow airport?”