Scotland votes ‘No’: Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom. Around 85% of voters turned out to vote in the referendum. A total of 2,001,926 people voted ‘No’ to independence, whilst 1,617,989 voted ‘Yes’.
19 September 2014
It’s been history in the making.
The people of Scotland have decided to continue their 300-year union with England. So the UK survives.
Pro-independence campaigners say they’re disappointed, but insist the high turnout shows there’s an appetite for change. Few would disagree, and accept the result doesn’t mean Britain goes back to business as usual.
In the hours and days ahead, the Prime Minister David Cameron and the other party leaders will now have to deliver on their promise in the last days of the campaign to give Scotland more powers.
And no-one believes that can be done without a wider shake-up of how the rest of the UK is governed.
Walk or cycle for ‘a happier commute’: Walking or cycling to work instead of driving a car can improve people’s feelings of health and happiness. That’s what a study at the University of East Anglia in the UK suggests.
15 September 2014
For many people commuting is a necessary evil. Most see going by car or van as the ‘least worst’ option. This study by the researchers at the University of East Anglia challenges that assumption.
It suggests walking, cycling or travelling by public transport can lift the mood. Crucially, it suggests those who switch from the car to an active commute feel better across a range of psychological measures, including concentration, decision making and the ability to face up to problems.
The researchers say policies encouraging people to leave their cars at home could have a dramatic impact on public wellbeing.
Ozone layer ‘recovering’: The Earth’s protective ozone layer is starting to repair itself, according to a panel of United Nations scientists. The main reason behind its recovery, they say, is the fact that certain chemicals, such as those used in aerosol cans, were gradually banned in the 1980s.
12 September 2014
It was in the 1980s that many of us became aware that small individual actions could harm the planet itself.
Hairsprays were cited as one of the causes of the hole in the Antarctic ozone layer. People were told to wear sunscreen to avoid skin cancer as the layer thinned and more UV light got through.
By 1987 world governments had agreed to ban most of the ozone-eating chemicals.
The World Meteorological Organisation say at last the ozone layer is showing signs of thickening, although it will be a while before they know if the hole is actually healing.
The same organisation warned earlier this week that climate change was heading in the opposite direction with greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a record level.
Eat less meat to save the planet, says study: Scientists are warning that we all need to eat less meat to help protect the environment. The study, by Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities, says that greenhouse gases from food production will rise by 80% by 2050 if we don’t change our eating habits.
1 September 2014
The study examines what needs to be done if greenhouse gas emissions from farming are to be cut alongside emissions from transport, homes and industry.
It says, on current trends, with people round the world getting richer and eating American-style diets, farm emissions will boom as forest land is converted to agriculture and fertiliser is sprayed on the fields.
The report says the emissions’ growth can be contained somewhat, if farmers in developing countries are helped to improve their yields from existing fields. It’ll help to stop wasting food too, the authors say.
But then there’s the really hard bit: they say persuading people to eat less meat and dairy produce can actually lead to a big overall cut in emissions from farming.
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