WAKE UP CALL: Start your day right with GRID's grab bag of sustainability news

Battle against bags

The war against plastic bags is on and the plastics industry isn’t going down without a fight. Across the world, countries and cities are banning, limiting or charging extra for plastic bag use. But in the U.S. the plastics industry’s deep pockets and strong political connections are making it difficult to reduce the bags' use. Although some U.S. states and cities have been successful in passing restrictions, this industry has answered by launching expensive campaigns and lawsuits against this attempt at environmental protection. Rolling Stone

Robotic bird takes flight

Aside from being a little bigger than the gulls that inspired it, the German-made SmartBird appears to function just like any other bird. To fly, the robotic avian simply flaps its wings and flexes its torso to provide directional control. The similarities are almost eerie. But don’t search the skies for SmartBirds; this research is primarily being used to learn how to maximize energy-efficiency and resource conservation. Guardian

“Horticultural Hogwash”

The Harry Potter books are certainly considered fictional and, as ecologists can point out, so are the movies’ depictions of birds and animals. Here’s a blog post over at Nature.com that delves into the flora and fauna errors in the fantastical Potter series. Harry Potter fans beware, you might not like the “horticultural hogwash”! Maniraptora: Tastes Like Chicken via Nature.com

When glaciers are life

Most likely, you don’t come in contact with glaciers on a regular basis. But, what if your life depended on the water they provide? With climate change happening across the world, glaciers are in retreat, and their disappearance is wreaking havoc on global communities. In his documentary Glacial Balance, filmmaker Ethan Steinman tells the stories of these communities and the new challenges they’re facing as glaciers continue to disappear. The film isn’t finished, but the trailer below gives a preview of what life is like for the Ura Chipaya (“water people”) in southern Bolivia. Check out the film's kickstarter page too. Grist