The Prince of Wales launched a ‘Magna Carta’ for Earth, rewilding created new and unusual jobs in England and bookshops defied the pandemic, plus more stories of progress
Most people are familiar with the Magna Carta, the historic tome that laid the foundations for human rights. Now there’s the Terra Carta – or ‘Earth charter’ – which seeks to safeguard the planet by putting sustainability at the heart of the private sector.
As he unveiled the initiative this week, the Prince of Wales called on firms to sign up to the Terra Carta, which offers a roadmap for businesses to become more sustainable. The charter was launched alongside a fund run by the Natural Capital Investment Alliance, which aims to direct $10bn (£7.3bn) towards safeguarding nature by 2022.
“The Terra Carta offers the basis of a recovery plan that puts nature, people and planet at the heart of global value creation – one that will harness the precious, irreplaceable power of nature combined with the transformative innovation and resources of the private sector,” said the Prince of Wales.
Image: New York Public Library
Vacancy: bison ranger, apply within. It’s hardly a role that comes around often – or ever before in the case of the UK, which for the first time is recruiting two bison handlers to oversee one of the country’s most exciting rewilding initiatives.
Successful applicants will work in Blean Woods, Kent, where they will monitor the wellbeing of reintroduced bison, due to arrive in spring 2022. The project is being led by Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust, which hope the animals will re-engineer the woods, making way for butterflies, birds and other species.
“While we are not expecting applicants to have significant experience with bison, this will be a demanding role requiring excellent ecological knowledge, deep understanding of animal behaviour and a passion to tell others about these incredible animals,” said Stan Smith of the Kent Wildlife Trust.
Image: Jeremy Stenuit
One upside of lockdown is that it has prompted us to rekindle our love affair with literature, with some research claiming 35 per cent of people have read more during the crisis.
Even so, the idea of opening a bookshop in the middle of a pandemic will likely seem like a farfetched narrative to some. However, according to the Booksellers Association, more than 50 bookshops launched last year despite the coronavirus crisis, outnumbering the 44 that closed.
The increase in openings helped the association swell its membership to 967 bookshops in the UK and Ireland – the most number since 2013.
Image: Renee Fisher
Debunking the myth that sustainable farming can’t feed the UK was a report by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, released this week.
Based on modelling by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), it suggested that the UK could grow enough healthy food to feed the predicted 2050 population, while doubling fallow land for nature and reducing farming emissions by 38 per cent.
The catch? A shift in eating habits, with a 36 per cent reduction in meat consumption, the near-elimination of sugar and an increase in fruit, vegetable and nuts. A 10 per cent reduction in waste and the removal of chemical sprays would also be necessary.
Image: Ed Owen
Last week Positive News reported on the record number of people taking part in Veganuary. Offering a counterbalance to the plant-powered movement, while also promoting sustainability, is the upstart Reganuary campaign.
Launched by the Ethical Butcher, a meat supplier, Reganuary makes a case for eating meat from regenerative farms, rather than switching exclusively to a vegan diet, which relies on imported goods. “Big manufacturers are replacing factory-farmed meat with processed vegan food, which is not solving a problem, it’s shifting it somewhere else,” Glen Burrows, co-founder of the Ethical Butcher, told iNews.
The UN says embracing a plant-based diet is one of the best things we can do for the planet. However, the Foor Farming and Countryside Commission report (see story above) concludes that animal husbandry and sustainable farming are not mutually exclusive. “It’s about being holistic rather than reductionist,” added Burrows. “Nature wants lots of things to grow.”
Image: Jakob Cotton
A social enterprise that upcycles unwanted electronics has launched a campaign calling on Londoners to donate redundant laptops, so they can be fixed up and given to disadvantaged children.
The Restart Project, which oversees a network of volunteer repairers, launched the campaign after Ofcom reported that 9 per cent of children in the UK don’t have access to a computer. Laptops can be donated at sites across the capital.
“It’s great to see people realising that the dusty laptop in their cupboard is valuable and can have a second life,” said the Restart Project’s Vanessa Ternes.
Image: Annie Spratt
A digger operator in Yorkshire, a tree surgeon in the Midlands and a stonemason in Scotland are among the experts to feature on a national register of tradeswomen, which is set to launch on 15 March.
The not-for-profit project National Register of Tradeswomen is the brainchild of Stopcocks Women Plumbers founder Hattie Hasan MBE. Speaking to Positive News, she said the aim was to ensure that vulnerable householders who feel safer with tradeswomen are able to find them.
“[Some] women are scared to allow tradesmen into their home,” said Hasan. “Being able to access a register of certified, fully qualified tradeswomen is one way they can take back some control.” Read the full story here.
Image: Stopcocks Women Plumbers
Main image: Nick Perez