Happy Hump Day News: Emojis, Red Kites & Sustainable Bites

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In the week that a COVID-19 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford began showing promising results, we enjoyed reading positive news about the future of sustainable food, more wonders from the natural world, and an unusual method of stress relief from Iceland…

Brilliant Bites

This week served us a trio of promising food sustainability stories about three much-loved meals.

First up, IKEA has announced that it will be adding a vegan version of its famous meatballs to its menu. The introduction of the ‘plant balls’ – made from yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion, and apple – is another example of the furniture company’s efforts to become a climate positive business by 2030.

Another iconic meat-based snack – KFC chicken – is hopefully getting an environmentally friendly alternative. The fast food chain is developing a method of producing a meat substitute using chicken cells, plant material and 3D bioprinting.


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A London design student has developed packaging for ramen that doubles up as seasoning for the noodles. The biofilm breaks down in boiling water in just a minute, and would eliminate plastic packaging waste that usually covers instant noodles. For hygiene reasons, the wrapped noodles would be protected by waxed paper too.

Red Kites

The reintroduction of red kite birds 30 years ago has proved to be one of the most successful conservation projects the UK has ever witnessed. Thirteen of the birds of prey were transported to the Chiltern Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – from Spain, when the species was one of only three that were globally threatened in Britain. It’s now estimated that 1800 breeding pairs grace the skies above, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re in the vicinity!


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Ice Scream

The spectacular country of Iceland is offering an unusual virtual travel experience for those feeling the frustrations of the current world climate. A webcam stream of its most tranquil locations, you might assume? Well, it does incorporate some picturesque scenery, however the country invites you to record your loudest scream, which will then be played from a speaker in these remote locations – from black sand beaches to sprawling glaciers.


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Clever Bunny

The owners of a Sheepadoodle have trained their dog to communicate with them using various paw-friendly buttons that play English words when pressed. Bunny can put words together to make phrases, which include asking to go for a walk, for scratches, and where her loved ones are!


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Wild East

Another rewilding project is building momentum in the UK. Three farmers from East Anglia have set up WildEast – a foundation that aims to pledge 250,000 hectares of East Anglia to wildlife over the next 50 years (that’s an area one and a half times the size of London). The trio are asking other farmers, schools and businesses to get involved with the movement by giving up 20% of their land to nature. The project could eventually see animals such as wild pigs, Dartmoor ponies and lynx reintroduced to the landscape.


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And finally…

A giant smiley face with lipstick and long eyelashes was projected onto the Houses of Parliament the evening before World Emoji Day to spread a message of positivity and remind Londoners of the value of a smile – especially at times like these!


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