Image for Feeding bees and greening the economy: what went right this week

Feeding bees and greening the economy: what went right this week

A pair of English pig farmers fed a million bees, a supermarket got real about period products, and a plan was hatched to help the UK reach net zero, plus other good news stories from the week just gone

A pair of English pig farmers fed a million bees, a supermarket got real about period products, and a plan was hatched to help the UK reach net zero, plus other good news stories from the week just gone

Paul Hayward and his brother Mark have planted enough flowers to feed one million bees
Farmers fed a million bees

Two pig farmers from Suffolk have fed one million bees by planting wildflowers on their land, a bee survey has confirmed.

Positive News first reported on Mark and Paul Hayward’s plan to entice pollinators to their farm in 2018, when they started sowing wildflowers on 33 hectares of farmland. “Modern life has pushed nature to the fringes,” said Paul Hayward. “Farmers can help restore the balance.”

A survey by the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme confirmed this week that the initiative was succeeding in its aim of supporting one million bees. Grace Hayward, daughter of Mark, told Farming UK: “I’m immensely proud of what we have achieved here and what’s even better is nobody has been stung except my boyfriend – which obviously my dad found hilarious.”

Image: Mark Hayward

Supermarket tackles stigma of period products
Supermarket tackled stigma of period products

A supermarket chain in New Zealand has said it will no longer use oblique language like “feminine hygiene” to describe menstrual products, as part of an effort to destigmatise periods. The retailer, Countdown, will instead use the word “period”.

“Words like ‘personal hygiene’ and ‘sanitary products’ give the impression that periods, which are an entirely natural part of life, are somehow something to hide to yourself, or that they’re unhygienic,” said Kiri Hannifin, a spokesperson for the Countdown chain. “They absolutely aren’t, and we can play an important role in helping change that.”

Countdown claims to be the first retailer in the world to use the word “period” to describe tampons, pads and menstrual cups. The news was welcomed by the UK-based period poverty charity Freedom4Girls. “It’s brave and certainly a step in the right direction if we are wanting to normalise the conversation around periods,” a spokesperson told Positive News. “Language matters.”

Image: Mark Hayward

The world's largest urban farm has launched in Paris
The world’s largest urban farm opened in Paris

The first phase of what will be the world’s largest urban farm opened in Paris this week following a two-month delay caused by coronavirus.

The farm, which is located on the roof of the Paris Exhibition Centre, currently covers an area of 4,000m², but those behind the project plan to expand the space to 14,000m² by 2022.

“Our produce will be available across the whole of the city in a variety of shops, restaurants and schemes,” said Pascal Hardy, the agronomist behind the farm. Read our report from Paris here.

Image: Agripolis

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The Committee on Climate Change has published its recommendations to the UK government for initiating a green Covid-19 recovery
Plan launched to help UK achieve net zero emissions

On Thursday, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published what it described as a “once-in-a-lifetime” plan to help the UK government deliver a green Covid-19 recovery and turn the country into a net zero economy.

Among the recommendations proposed to the government in the five-point plan were widescale habitat restoration, a nationwide strategy for insulating homes and investment in digital technology to encourage homeworking and reduce commuter traffic.

There are signs of progress in some areas, as Positive News reported on Thursday. However, the CCC warned the government was not acting fast enough. “Now is the moment to get our house in order, coordinate national planning, and prepare for the inevitable changes ahead,” said Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee.

Image: Rawfilm

Study launched to see how lockdown affected animals
Study launched to see how lockdown affected animals

An international team of scientists is investigating how animals responded to the reduced levels of human activity during the Covid-19 pandemic – or, as they like to call it, the great “anthropause”.

Using data from tagged animals including fish, birds and mammals, scientists will build a global picture of lockdown effects, which could be used to inform conservation strategies.

“We may discover that relatively minor changes to our lifestyles and transport networks can potentially have significant benefits for both ecosystems and humans,” said Professor Christian Rutz, a biologist at the University of St Andrews, who is leading the study. Read more here.

Image: Marthijn Brinks

Positive news: MPs in Poland voted to ban mink farming
Dutch parliament voted to ban mink farming

Mink could be the latest animal to benefit from measures designed to combat the spread of coronavirus, after Dutch MPs voted to close the country’s fur farms by the end of the year. The motion now has to be approved by the Dutch government.

The vote was instigated after workers at mink farms in the Netherlands were found to have been infected with coronavirus. The World Health Organization said it could be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission of the virus.

If it passes the new law will hasten the closure of the country’s estimated 128 mink farms, which were due to be phased out by the end of 2023. Read more here.

Image: Ryzhkov Sergey/Creative Commons
Main image: Jenna Lee