News

Eden Project directs young people to a real cool future

March 30, 2010
Author: admin

The Eden Project has launched a unique online ‘green’ careers resource, funded by the DCSF. Focussed on jobs that contribute towards building a sustainable future, Real Cool Futures features an interactive data base of inspirational case studies, written and film.

In addition to the range of career-related information that the site holds, Real Cool Futures provides a downloadable range of innovative teaching resources designed in partnership with practising secondary school teachers. The resource’s aim is to support teaching professionals in careers education, PHSE and across a number of other curriculum subjects.

As an educational charity, the Eden Project offers programmes, resources and special events exploring geography, science, and global citizenship for students at KS1-4, welcoming over 40,000 school pupils annually. Real Cool Futures is Eden’s first online initiative to reach secondary schools across the UK.

Tim Smit, chief executive of the Eden Project, said: Young people are our country’s greatest asset and the Eden Project has created Real Cool Futures to inspire young adults, helping them discover careers that will meet their aspirations of making a living, and a really positive contribution to the planet we live on. Many young people are concerned about our impact on the climate and the environment, but can’t see what society is doing about it or what they could do to make a change. Eden has launched this initiative because we want to show that careers don’t always follow a prescribed pattern and that a huge range of experiences go into making an effective professional and that a sustainable future is theirs to make.

Real Cool Futures provides the inspiration from a range of case studies that show that ‘growing up’ and getting a job doesn’t mean leaving your ideals and aspirations behind. On the contrary, we seek to demonstrate that those fired by the desire to make a contribution are our most valuable citizens and that lies right at the heart of this project.”

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Education, Environment

Eden – climate change and civil society

March 30, 2010
Author: admin

Climate change isn’t just about the weather it will blow in a fundamental and potentially stormy change to our social climate as well. The effects of climate change and our responses to it will transform every part of our lives from work to travel, from health to wealth. In fact, that’s already beginning to happen. Yet most of the talk is still about Arctic ice and rising temperatures.

The Eden Project is working with the influential Carnegie UK Trust to help throw that debate open as widely as possible. To accelerate it up through the gears from being regarded as solely the concern of environmental activists, to involving all ‘civil society’ groups - all those organisations which aren’t government or business, such as charities, church, faith and community groups and social enterprises.

Their participation and their knowledge, experience and expertise - is crucial; particularly in trying to protect the poor or disadvantaged from losing out as we struggle to deal with the social and economic fall-out from tackling climate change and the increasing scarcity of natural resources.

Tony Kendle, Director of the Eden Foundation, says: ‘This is not just an environmental issue. It is so important that this huge range of people recognise that it will have impacts on whatever their concerns are. Whether it is charities concerned with ageing or with poverty, for instance, there will be a lot of issues for them to get engaged with and we desperately need people who know their way around those territories to help find the solutions.”

To that end, Eden has made a major contribution to the Carnegie UK Trust’s Commission of Inquiry report into the future of civil society, ‘Making Good Society’, published on 15 March. On the Commission’s behalf, it investigated how to encourage these non-environmental groups to include themselves in the efforts to make a rapid and just shift to a low carbon economy, through a range of research, workshops and interviews across England and Scotland. Eden has now launched the findings as a separate, satellite ‘Climate and Scarcity Guide’.

This covers the ground across the problems and opportunities - we all face, the possible means of dealing with them, the potential roles of civil society organisations and the practical difficulties they’ll encounter.

Eden’s aims in this are quite simple but extremely important. It wants to increase the depth and spread of people looking at the challenges and ratchet up the pressure to find answers. It wants to improve the level of understanding, so that those answers are the best that can be found. And in particular, it wants to ensure that non-environmental groups understand why and how these issues are going to have such big repercussions on their future work.

Why? Well, while we can’t actually predict the weather in 40 years time, we do know that the Climate Change Act commits the UK to an 80 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That’s a massive ask to achieve it tomorrow, the country would have to shut down and hibernate for more than nine months of the year. While it seems a long way off, today’s students will still be at work and raising their own families then.

And the effects are quietly biting well ahead of changes in the weather. For instance, insurance companies are raising premiums or even bailing out of covering flood-prone houses altogether, eroding their values long before any rising waters might threaten to.

Tony Kendle says: “There are all sorts of issues like this that we are trying to tease out and give people a heads up on. Legislative frameworks and policies are already being put in place that are determining winners and losers even as we argue whether climate change is real or not. “For a lot of vulnerable groups, the solutions we introduce are going to have as big an impact as the problem we are trying to deal with and more quickly.”

If personal carbon allowances are introduced, that throws up even starker questions. Someone who is old, poor and living in low-quality housing out in the colder northern countryside far from shops and other services has a much bigger carbon footprint than a well-off southern urban professional. It is becoming increasingly clear that how we approach climate change is often going to spark arguments about social justice, rather than environmental ones.

As well as helping to defend the weak, by joining forces civil society organisations also have the campaigning clout to change the face of the whole response to this threat. Currently, much of the public information is couched in terms of personal behaviour, such as changing lightbulbs, recycling and limiting travel.

Tony Kendle says: “It’s very easy to wag your finger at somebody and say drive less. But actually, very few of us do huge amounts of arbitrary driving; it’s all to do with years of planning systems that have put homes in one place, shops in another and work somewhere else. So the real answers are a shift in planning, or, if we can’t change that, looking at things like service distribution, so people don’t have to go so far to find a doctor, for example. Those kinds of things are going to be the ones that make the big differences.

“Tackling climate change is ultimately a cultural problem. We have no hope of taking the steps that we need to unless we relearn the nature of community action and how a society works together to get the big, difficult things done, and done in a way that protects vulnerable people.”

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Education, Environment

Eden and Homebase reveal Green Living Report

March 30, 2010
Author: admin

This week sees the release of an eagerly awaited, exciting and informative report from The 21st Century Living Project.

The project report called Home Front is a partnership between Eden Project, home enhancement retailer Homebase, and Acona, Home Retail Group’s CR consultancy. It represents the culmination of over twelve month’s extensive investigation with 100 nationally representative families who were challenged to reduce their environmental footprint.

At Homebase, part of Home Retail Group, they wanted to gain in depth knowledge of customers’ needs for green projects; the findings are already informing decisions and will allow them to develop new products to help customer’s live more sustainable lives.

The four key findings of the project were:
1. This is a mass market opportunity
2. Money and savings are strong motivators of action
3. Personal advice is very important
4. There is opportunity for innovation in products and services

Rosi Watson, head of corporate responsibility for Home Retail Group, said: “It has shown us that given the right information and incentives, everyone will invest in greener homes regardless of their background and values.

It has given us a better understanding of what customers want and need when it comes to saving energy and reducing their waste, and we are now developing products and services to meet these needs.”

Tim Smit, Eden Project’s Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to find that this research supports our experience: you don’t have to be a hippy to go green, it’s easier to make changes than you think, and given the right information, plenty of encouragement and some cash, people are generally inclined to do the right thing.”

The project looked at four areas: energy, waste, water and other environmental behaviours like travel. 100 households were selected to represent the nation including all demographics, social groups and house types. They were challenged to do what they could to reduce their environmental footprint.

Homebase gave each household £500 to spend on making their home more efficient and a selection of ‘green’ products and equipment. A home audit was conducted at the beginning, and end, of the project and they were supported with a project manager and on line advice and information. 61 households received a thermal image survey of their property.

Energy use was the top priority for everybody.
overall, 81% of households took at least one energy-saving measure, with an average saving of 10%
58% increased their use of low-energy light bulbs
23% replaced white goods with more efficient models

There were some improvements in waste reduction
Average recycling rates rose from 58% at the start of the project to 63% by the end
14% installed compost bins or wormeries

There was one significant action on water conservation reported by the group.
21% installed a water butt

Travel was the area embraced by our participants with least enthusiasm. The majority of our households did not claim a change to their travel arrangements.

Interestingly, the most enjoyable activity was ‘Grow Your Own’, it was generally felt to be one of the most fun and satisfying changes by those who made it.

The full report can be viewed from 26th March 2010 on line at:

http://21stcenturyliving.edenproject.com/news.htm

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Education, Environment

Eden Project to offer 5,000 green work placements in government scheme

March 30, 2010
Author: admin

Five thousand green work placements are to be offered to young people aged 14 to 19 in a unique partnership with the Eden Project, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the RSPB, the Institute for Education Business Excellence and leading businesses.

The £2m DCSF-funded “Green Talent” scheme will nurture and inspire the environmental leaders of tomorrow and will lead the Government’s drive to connect them with job opportunities in the emerging green economy.

As well as creating the first 5,000 placements, the programme will:

  • introduce young people to the opportunities opening up in the new low carbon economy
  • inspire them to become engaged in creating environmental solutions, rather than simply informing them about the problems
  • be a catalyst to a culture change that transforms more traditional work experience so it better prepares young people for 21st century jobs 

The contract to deliver the programme has been awarded by the DCSF to a consortium led by the Eden Project in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Institute of Education Business Excellence (IEBE). The partnership will also include Arrival Education, Business in the Community through the Work Inspiration campaign and the Prince’s Mayday Network, Carbon Trust, and People & Planet.

The scheme will start in May, with the first young people due to begin their placements this autumn. It will conclude in October 2011.

Young people taken on will join a two-day interactive placement at one of six world-class environmental centres across England, discovering how people are dependent on nature, how it affects our everyday lives and how we need to appreciate and nurture the environment.

They will discuss current views on climate change and experience how businesses are already changing to more sustainable operations and how all these things affect their future career choices.

The six sites are:

  • Eden Project, Cornwall
  • Kew Gardens, south west London
  • Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s country site
  • RSPB nature reserve at Dearne Valley, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • RSPB nature reserve, Saltholme near Middlesbrough
  • RSPB nature reserve, Sandwell Valley near Birmingham

The two days at the centres will be followed by three days of work experience with select companies around the country. These businesses will be engaged in collaboration with Business in The Community through the Work Inspiration campaign and the Prince’s Mayday Network, and IEBE, and will provide work placements that will give young people a chance to hear first-hand:

  • the opportunities being created
  • the skills and talents required to join this challenge
  • how businesses are engaging with climate change
  • how they can apply their new-found knowledge in the business world

Lucy Parker, chair of DCSF’s UK Talent and Enterprise Task Force, said:

“This is a significant programme to introduce young people to the opportunities that are opening up for them in the new low-carbon economy.

“The Eden Project and its consortium offer a powerful platform from which to engage young people in an understanding of our dependence on the natural world and the potential of businesses to be a force for positive change.”

Gaynor Coley, Manager Director of the Eden Project, said: “This project launches our Green Talent programme. The DCSF has provided a fantastic opportunity for us to work hand-in-hand with businesses which care passionately about the environment, creating new opportunities for the next generation to play a real part in shaping our future.

“The aim is to provide industrial-strength solutions to some of the biggest challenges the new century is throwing at us.”

Sign up for more information about the project at the Green Inspiration website http://www.greeninspiration.co.uk/

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Education, Environment

Countrywise uncovers Eden’s exotic treasures

March 30, 2010
Author: admin

Countrywise

Some of the treasures of the Eden Project’s “secret back garden” will be revealed in the new series  ITVs Countrywise.  Presenter Rachel de Thame was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Watering Lane nursery which provides many of the plants for the outdoor exhibits  and Biomes.

Rachel was met by our very own Roger Wasley (nursery manager) and skilled horticulturist Tim Grigg who gave her an insight into our fantastic collection, including the Titan Arum, which has been nurtured from seed over several years. In its growing form the rare plant, a native of the Indonesian rainforest, looks like a cartoon tree, later it develops into the world’s biggest, smelliest flower before collapsing and dying and given off a foul-smelling odour, lending it the popular name of corpse flower.

Rachel also took a look at our quanrantine facilities. Plants brought in from other locations are kept in quarantine to make sure they have no pests or diseases before they go up to the Biomes.

Back at the main site, co-presenter Paul Heiney talks to Eden chief executive Tim Smit about the origins and aims of the project, and looks ahead to the many exciting projects being developed, including the second annual Big Lunch on July 18. Paul also sees how Eden’s “sky monkey” gardeners ascend ropes to heights of 50 metres to trim the fast-growing balsa and kapok trees in the heights of the Rainforest Biome.

The programme, the second in the second series of Countrywise, is due to be broadcast at 8pm on April 5- don’t miss it!

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Horticulture, Tourist attraction

Friday fun with Plant Records!

March 19, 2010
Author: Chris

(For a bit of fun, every Friday our Plant Records Manager, Chris Bisson, the guy who maintains all the recorded information on our plant collections, will do a regular blog slot where he recommends his favourite “plant records” – that is, songs that are in some way linked to a plant. (Do you see what we did there?) )

‘Rubber Bullets’ (1973) – 10CC

The Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is the primary source of latex, the milky sap-like extract which is processed into rubber. The tree is actually indigenous to the Amazon rainforest but discovery of vulcanization led to extensive cultivation throughout Britain’s colonial tropical regions such as Ceylon, Singapore and Malaysia.

Despite having a very dubious name, 10CC had some huge hits in the 70s including ‘Donna’, ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ and the dreary, sorry dreamy ‘I’m Not In Love’. Two former members Godley and Creme became innovative video directors, producing Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes’ and the Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’.

We have these fascinating trees growing in the Rainforest Biome!

A special thanks to Simon for picking this one for me.

Chris Bisson – Plant Records Manager  – Eden Project

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Run around the world in a Sport Relief Mile at the Eden Project

March 18, 2010
Author: Ben
Sport Relief at Eden

Sport Relief at Eden

Eden will be staging a Sport Relief Mile sponsored run this Sunday (March 21).

Eden will be hosting one, three and six mile runs, all of which take routes “around the world” through the mild Cornish outdoors, to the warm, sunny Mediterranean Biome and the hot and humid Rainforest Biome.

All the runs start at 10.30am with the event opening at 9am. All runners and their families get free entry to Eden for the rest of the day. The race entry fee is £5 for adults, £2 for children (under 16) with a family entry (two adults and two children) costing £12. The entry fee helps to cover the cost of staging the Mile event.

Sport Relief events take place around the country during March 19-21. The event has a history of dedicated people doing extraordinary things to make a difference – from David Walliams’ swim across the English Channel, to Eddie Izzard’s marathon-a-day around the UK, not to mention the thousands of people who run the Sport Relief Mile.

All the money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of poor and vulnerable people, both at home and across the world’s poorest countries.

For more information on the Sport Relief Mile visit www.sportrelief.com.

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More photos of the Yucca whipplei

March 16, 2010
Author: admin

Commonly known as ‘Our Lord’s Candle’ the Yucca whipplei in our  Mediterranean Biome is flowering for the very first time! It is native to southern California and Baja California in Mexico where it occurs in chaparral, coastal sage scrub and oak woodland plant communities usually between 300 and 2500 m.

From the centre of a rosette of long, narrow, spine-tipped leaves, the single inflorescence can sky-rocket to a height of 3m bearing hundreds of bell-shaped greenish-white flowers edged with purple. It is pollinated during the night by the female Californian yucca moth and in return the plant provides food for her larvae.

In early spring these majestic flowers provide a stunning spectacle in the Californian countryside but in the past the flowers, fruits, seeds and stems were eaten by indigenous peoples. They also provide food for antelopes, ground squirrels and hummingbirds. This plant has been an important fibre plant in the past.

So head for the Mediterranean Biome and you’ll find our Yucca on the Californian hillside beyond the Harley Davidson!

Yucca whipplei

Yucca whippleiYucca whipplei 3

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Friday fun – it’s Plant Records!

March 12, 2010
Author: Chris

(For a bit of fun, every Friday our Plant Records Manager, Chris Bisson, the guy who maintains all the recorded information on our plant collections, will do a regular blog slot where he recommends his favourite “plant records” – that is, songs that are in some way linked to a plant. (Do you see what we did there?) )

‘Pork and Beans’ – Weezer

A nice cheery tune featuring my favourite plant family the Legumes! One of the largest plant families, the Fabaceae not only include beans and peas we know and love, but also the fantastic Acacia and Flaming Coral trees. We have loads of Fabaceae here at Eden, come down and see if you can spot them. Broom, Gorse, Broad Beans the list goes on!

Chris Bisson – Plant Records Manager  – Eden Project

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Flowering now in the Med Biome

March 10, 2010
Author: admin

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