Top 5 Happy Eco News – February 3-9, 2018
- Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation just announced a bold new plan to curb climate change
- ‘We Can’t Recycle Our Way Out of This Problem’: Ben & Jerry’s Bans Single-Use Plastics
- Youth climate change protests spread through Belgium in fourth week
- Volvo creates Living Seawall to combat pollution and promote biodiversity
- Camera Traps Reveal Something Incredible Is Happening Inside The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
1) Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation just announced a bold new plan to curb climate change
A landmark climate report in late 2018 explained exactly what’s at stake if the world doesn’t limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, from the total loss of coral reefs to millions of people at risk from sea level rise. Now, a new report lays out a blueprint to keep warming in check– without, as many plans do, relying on controversial nuclear power or new technologies to capture CO2 (including machines that suck carbon dioxide from the air ) that haven’t yet been proven at scale. The report says it can happen for far less money than we’re currently spending to subsidize fossil fuels. In the project, called the One Earth Climate Model , funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s One Earth initiative, researchers had “the ultimate goal of finding a way to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 Celsius without resorting to geo-engineering or nuclear.”
2) ‘We Can’t Recycle Our Way Out of This Problem’: Ben & Jerry’s Bans Single-Use Plastics
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced major efforts on Monday to quickly curb its use of single-use plastics . By April of this year, its 600-plus Scoop Shops around the world will only offer wooden spoons, rather than plastic ones. Paper straws will also only be available upon request. All together, the move is expected to prevent 2.5 million plastic straws and 30 million plastic spoons from being handed out each year, Jenna Evans, Ben & Jerry’s Global Sustainability Manager, said in a press release . “We’re not going to recycle our way out of this problem,” she said. “We, and the rest of the world, need to get out of single-use plastic.” Evans explained that if all the plastic spoons used by Ben & Jerry’s U.S. shops were placed end to end, they’d stretch from Burlington, Vermont to Jacksonville, Florida.
3) Youth climate change protests spread through Belgium in fourth week
The streets of Brussels were buzzing on Thursday as thousands of Belgian teens marched for the fourth week in a row, demanding more extreme measures be taken to combat climate change. This week the young protesters were joined by youths demonstrating in Liège and Leuven with a combined total of more than 30,000 participating in the movement. In addition to turning out each week in mass quantities, these young Belgians are taking individual measures to battle climate change. Many eat locally sourced foods, commute via bicycle, or maintain vegetarian diets to reduce harmful emissions. On Thursday, 3,400 Belgian scientists signed a letter urging authorities to make “far-reaching, structural measures to quickly and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
4) Volvo creates Living Seawall to combat pollution and promote biodiversity
Volvo has installed an environmentally friendly seawall along the coast of Sydney’s harbour that aims to improve biodiversity and water quality in the area. The Volvo Living Seawall consists of 50 hexagonal tiles with small corners and recesses that are designed to imitate the root structure of native mangrove trees – a popular habitat for marine wildlife. Irregular-shaped tiles attract sealife Each tile is made from marine-grade concrete that has been reinforced with recycled plastic fibres. Developed in collaboration with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab, the project offers an alternative to traditional, linear seawalls, which are often linked to the loss of surrounding ecosystems. Attached to the surface of the existing seawall structure , the irregular-shaped tiles are designed to attract wildlife such as oysters and molluscs, which filter the water by feeding on passing particles.
5) Camera Traps Reveal Something Incredible Is Happening Inside The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
In April 1986, a catastrophic nuclear accident took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Ukraine’s border with Belarus, spewing out vast amounts of dangerous radioactive debris. Today, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) spans 2,600 square kilometers (1,000 square miles). It’s almost void of human life, but for the country’s wildlife, it’s an inviting wilderness in which to thrive. Now, a new study, published in the journal Food Webs , adds to the evidence that Chernobyl’s wild animals are well and truly flourishing . A research team from the University of Georgia, who have been investigating the CEZ’s wild residents for years, recently set up an experiment to investigate the area’s scavengers. They placed whole carp along the banks of rivers and canals and set up camera traps to snap any critters that showed up for a snack.