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Edinburgh Castle will ‘go dark’ for Earth Hour

Last year, Edinburgh Castle went dark for Earth Hour 2011. This year, the Castle we be dark again for another hour, to combat global warming.

This Saturday, Edinburgh will go dark.

In conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour 2012, Edinburgh will join hundreds of cities from all over the world by switching off lights and electricity, and going dark, for an hour.

Earth Hour is scheduled on the last Saturday of every March, closely coinciding with the equinox,  and will happen this Saturday, March 31st at 8:30 pm.

Earth Hour began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, and since then has spread massively across the globe. In 2011, more than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour, according to the WWF website.

Their website also stated “We’re delighted that all 32 local authorities in Scotland are participating again this year – promoting the event, arranging switch offs and organizing events.”

There will be a great number of monuments in Scotland that will join in going dark, including the Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, Urqhuart Castle, and Scott Monument are just a few that will celebrate Earth Hour.

According to Mandy Carter of WWF Scotland, local authorities are working to promote Earth Hour to local communities, some by having switch off events and fundraisers. But they are using the trickle down affect to help spread the word.

Here in Edinburgh, the City Council has launched an Earth Hour photography competition that is running from 5th March to 13th April with the theme, ‘ What we’re doing about climate change’ to help promote Earth Hour.

To find out more about Earth Hour, or how you can get involved at the WWF Scotland website or at the WWF Website.

Aberdeen gas leak “no problem”

An oil rig in the North Sea has been evacuated after the discovery of a gas  leak on Sunday 150 miles (240km) off the coast of Aberdeen.

Total E&P UK (TEP UK), operators of the platform, has stated that 238 people have been evacuated from the rig, and no injuries have been reported. The platform is currently unmanned and powered down. The reason for the leak is still unknown.

The Aberdeen Coastguard has confirmed that the situation is still ongoing, and that there have been reports of a sheen from a possible leaking of gas into the water around the rig. They also stated that Total is attempting to ascertain  what to do next.

“Investigations are continuing to determine the cause of the ongoing gas leak and TEP UK is monitoring the situation closely,” said a spokesman for Total.

The spokesman also said that they are “cooperating fully with all relevant authorities including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).”

The city of Aberdeen has released no warning to the public. They have said that “It is miles and miles off shore, so there is no problem. In fact it is a beautiful day for a paddle.”

Dr. Dance one of many to headline Edinburgh Science Festival

Dr. Dance will be exploring the psychology and the genetics of dance.
Photo: Edinburgh Science Festival

Come rain or shine, this week will see the kick off of the 25th annual Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Preparations for the March 30th opening are going “pretty good” according to Frances Sutton, PR manager for the festival, as works are continues to set up for the nearly 200 events being offered this year.

Final event speakers have been put in place,  particularly with the Edinburgh  event on March 31st, which boast a great range of 13 speakers including Suzy Glass, talking about the art of creating through trial and error, and Dr. Peter Lovatt, who will be looking at the science of dance.

“I am a Peter Lovatt fan, always have been,” said Sutton. “He is Dr. Dance, a professional dancer turned scientist. ”

The Science Festival will run for two weeks and will host events for all ages to experience. The festival is one of the worlds largest celebrations of science in technology, and it aims to inspire individuals to explore the wonders around them. The events are held all across Edinburgh, and are easy to get to from any part of the city.

With everything coming into place during the last few days, there have been a few changes. NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who has taken many of the images from the International Space Station, has had to cancel his appearance. However, for the most part, everything is progressing  as planned, according to Sutton.

A few events have sold out, but there are still  spaces available for most ticketed events. The festival staff recommends booking in advanced to be sure that you have a place.

Bookings can be done online quick and easy at the Festival Website, but also by phone by calling the box office at 0844 557 2686, or on person at the box office on the Fringe.

“We are all very excited,” says Sutton,  “Let’s get on with it, let’s go. It is 2 years worth of work. We build it, design it, but putting it on is what we do.”

Though the festival may have to compete with the rising  warm temperatures and sunny sky’s for the opening.

“The irony is that the weather doesn’t help. We are hoping for rain.”

More on this story:

Images signal the start of Science Festival

Possible Junk Food Advert Ban

Scotland’s Public Health Minister, Michael Matheson,  has introduced a pre-9pm ban on the television advertising of foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt content.

Matheson has also written to Westminster Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asking whether he would support a move to introduce this ban across the UK.

“We want to introduce a pre-watershed ban and are looking to the UK Government to support such a move which would carry the additional benefit of encouraging our partners in the food industry to reformulate their produce to lower salt, fat and sugar content,” said Matheson.

The ban would restrict the viewing of junk food and sugary snacks and affect a wide range of corporations such as Pizza Hut, Mars, Cadbury, KFC and McDonalds.

With the highest obesity rate in the UK, the new proposal is intended to combat Scotland’s obesity problem. Particularly Scotland’s childhood obesity which is a concern for heath experts with 1 in 5 primary school children being considered overweight. Currently there is a ban on advertising junk food during children programs, how ever Matheson is seeking tighter regulations and further actions.

“Broadcast advertising influences the choices made by children and can shape their attitudes to food as they grow into adulthood.  Tackling obesity and encouraging people to make healthier life choices is one of the most important things we can do to improve the health of our nation,” continued Matheson.

Even if Westminster refuses to join with the ban, the Scottish Government with still mover to introduce the ban within the country.