Archive for October, 2013

Roz Savage’s new book – ‘Stop Drifting, Start Rowing: One Woman’s Search for Happiness and Meaning Alone on the Pacific’

StFF beneficiary – Roz Savage – has had her new book published.  ‘Stop Drifting, Start Rowing’ chronicles her three-stage Pacific voyage that took 300 days to cover 8,000 miles from Sausalito, Calif., to Madang, Papua New Guinea and promotes Roz’s environmental messages about everything from plastic pollution to rising sea levels.

Read more here

Picture: Courtesy Phil Uhl


5000 Mile Project – complete!

Katharine and David Lowrie have completed their epic adventure – see The Guardian’s feature here.

Tomorrow (Saturday 26th October 2013) the couple will be in London celebrating their achievement.  You are welcome to join them:  1430-16.30pm, 80-100 Victoria Street, SW1E 5JL , London.

This is the banner:

with details of the presentation and run.

We would absolutely love to see you.




Sea Stars of STEM – new project from Lloyd Godson

Friend of StFF,  Lloyd Godson,  is on a mission to encourage young people to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies and careers, to conserve Australia’s unique marine biodiversity and to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

His new project is ‘Sea Stars of STEM’ will create the ultimate underwater superhero headquarters for Tik and Bubbles, characters who will inspire young people to follow their dreams and change the world through action.

The project is raising funds to make an underwater headquarters a reality, to check out his page here and maybe you can help.

Living On One – film available to buy

 StFF beneficiary – Living On One – was supported to tour their film around the US in a renovated old bus and inspire young people to do what they can to make a difference through adventure and experiential learning.  See project description on this website for details.

”Living On One Dollar’ has won Best Documentary at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and received endorsements from Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and the Director of the Hunger Games, Gary Ross.

You can buy Living on One Dollar, on iTunes and the website for $9.99.  Every purchase from the Living On One website helps send their friends Chino and Rosa, the stars of the film, to school!   Click here to buy




Creative Climate – from the Open University

The Open University’s Creative Climate project seeks to bring issues such as climate change out of the public arena and into individuals’ homes via personal video diaries, audio tracks, short films and text.  All these resources are stored and catalogued in one easily accessible online platform.

You can browse the Creative Climate website and watch a video diary of a polar scientist commenting on his recent expedition and his observations on the changing sea ice patterns in the Arctic.

Through the project you will be able to watch how local community groups are trying to change the way transport, energy and waste in your part of town and contribute your own thoughts and experiences.

Designed by Dr Joe Smith, a leading specialist in  environmental communications and public understanding, this 10-year project aims to respond directly to limitations of existing environmental media and learning content and unlock the power of the web to enhance environmental understanding and action.

Read more here


Green Creche – news from Cape Town

StFF beneficiary, Touching the Earth Lightly, design and install a safer, insulated creche structure and food garden.

Read about it here.


Picture by Leon Lestrade



Miraculous Fungi

Source – Kew Magazine, Autumn 2013, p 18 – from feature written by Gail Vines

Researchers in the UK have shown for the first time that plants can communicate by sending signals along a network of underground fungi that link the roots of nearby plants. (Ecology letters, vol 16, p 835).

Mycorrhizal fungi can serve as channels for the transmission of ‘infochemicals’ which can act as an early warning system, alerting neighbours to herbivore attack so they can take defensive action.

Aphids find host plants by homing in on a cocktail of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by their leaves and when insects begin to feed, the plants respond by emitting very different VOCs that repel aphids while attracting aphid enemies like parasitic wasps.

Researchers – Lucy Gilbert at the James Hutton Institue in Aberdeen and David Johnson at the University of Aberdeen, together with PhD student Zdenka Babikova and biochemists at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire – showed that when broad bean plants were forewarned of approaching aphids, they switched their output of VOCs to defensive mode before any aphids reached them.

This worked when the plants were connected together underground by fungi around and between their roots.  Only plants connected by underground fungi were able to respond in this way: cut off from the fungal network, the plants continued to give off aphid-attracting chemicals.

The Kew story states that implications could be far reaching – insect ecologists might need to take note of the activity of fungi in the soil and farmers could avoid ploughing and artificial fertilizers to encourage mycorrhizal fungi.

Note:  did you know that fungi are more closely related to humans than they are to plants?

For further information click here for the Kew website.

Also, click here to see a video of the Kew Fungariam