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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: surf’s up for social prescribing, plus more

Posted 28th October 2022 • Written by •

England launched surfing prescriptions, there was an upside to the energy crisis, and the low-cost rail revolution gathered pace, plus more positive news

Surfing prescriptions launched in England

Young people in England who experience depression and anxiety will be prescribed surfing, rollerskating and dancing as part of a mental health trial in England. 

Doctors in 10 regions will have the option to prescribe such activities to people aged 11 to 18. Participants will be monitored by researchers at University College London to see whether it boosts their mental wellbeing. 

Though more research is needed, evidence suggests that in some cases prescribing activities to patients can boost health without the need for medical intervention.

Here are some of the more unusual social prescriptions, including Shakespeare performances. 

The world energy order is being reshaped – report

It may be cold comfort for those fretting about bills (especially as Shell records more bumper profits), but the global energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represents a “historic turning point towards a cleaner future”. 

That’s according to the latest edition of World Energy Outlook (WEO), published by the International Energy Agency this week. 

For the first time, it predicted that global demand for all fossil fuels would peak by the mid-2030s, as governments double down on renewables. As a result, emissions will likely fall from 2025.

The report also said there was scant evidence that climate policies have contributed to an increase in energy prices. It found that regions with a higher share of renewables typically had lower bills, offering a riposte to net zero skeptics. 

But the report also came with a warning: on current trajectory, fossil fuel demand will not fall fast enough to avoid 2.5C of warming by 2100 – way above the 1.5C ‘safe’ limit agreed in Paris. This echoed the findings of a separate report by the UN, which warned that 2.5C was inevitable unless countries introduced radical policies to curb emissions. There’s much work to be done. 

Sticking with energy…

The UK’s latest prime minister Rishi Sunak reinstated England’s ban on fracking this week. 

His predecessor Liz Truss had given the green light to the controversial process, despite its impact on the environmental and a lack of evidence to support her claims that it would drive down energy bills.

Campaigners welcomed the move, but called on Sunak to reverse Truss’ plans to open more oils fields in the North Sea. They also criticised the prime minister for declining to attend the Cop27 climate summit next month.  

A new code launched to tackle music industry racism

The UK music industry is to adopt a new code of conduct to tackle racism and discrimination, it was announced this week. 

The code was launched by Black Lives in Music after a report by the organisation revealed that 63 per cent of black musicians had experienced racism in the UK industry.  

The Anti-Racism Code will come into effect in 2023 and will cover issues around pay, inclusion and safety.

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