- The global transition to clean energy, explained in 12 charts
- Vanuatu bans disposable diapers in fight against plastic
- Finding hope in the face of extinction
- How a paper company is restoring tropical forest in Sumatra
- Fear not the electric car: 4 myths busted
1) The global transition to clean energy, explained in 12 charts
As you might have heard, the planet is warming up , and in response, people are trying to switch to cleaner energy, to heat it up less, or at least more slowly. So how’s that going? A report released this month goes into that question in considerable detail. The Renewables Global Status Report (GSR), released annually by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21, a think tank), digs into the growth rates of various energy sources, the flows of clean energy investment, and the world’s progress on its sustainability goals. It is a treasure trove of information. It is also … really long. 250 pages long. So many words! In an effort to save you, the modern information consumer, precious time, I have gone through the report and extracted the 12 charts and graphs that best tell the story of clean energy as of 2018. Before we get started, a few background facts. First, we’re still moving in the wrong direction. Global carbon emissions aren’t falling fast enough. In fact, they aren’t falling at all; they were up 1.7 percent in 2018 . Second, we’re still pushing in the wrong direction. Globally, subsidies to fossil…
2) Vanuatu bans disposable diapers in fight against plastic
Parents will have to embrace the old-fashioned cloth diapering method. That’s not a bad thing. The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has announced that it will ban disposable diapers . The ban is part of a nationwide effort to curb plastic pollution, which has overwhelmed the tiny country in recent years. With such limited land mass, it has no “away” where it can toss its garbage and forget about it. Vanuatu’s is believed to be the first such ban on disposable diapers anywhere in the world. Disposable diapers are made from a blend of plastic and wood pulp. Each one is used for a few hours, then tossed into a landfill, often encased in additional plastic, where it will linger for an estimated 200 to 500 years. A baby uses between five and eight thousand diapers prior to potty-training, and the U.S. alone generates 18 billion a year. That’s a whole lot of feces-infused plastic waste. Yuck. Vanuatu’s ban makes sense from a environmental management standpoint, but many citizens are unhappy.
3) Finding hope in the face of extinction
If you’re an adult, chances are you remember something about the natural world that your kids will never experience. Maybe you recall the horned lizards you used to spot on your way to school, or the fireflies by the berry patch at dusk or the field of wildflowers where you made flower crowns. What your kids may end up remembering instead is the day a United Nations report said 1 million animal and plant species would face extinction in the next 20 to 30 years. The recent U.N. report is perhaps the loudest alarm in a time of increasingly alarming news. Biological diversity, the incredibly complex pattern of all living creatures, is under assault. We are worried: It is bad — but not hopeless. We can save what’s left, and we know how. But first we have to believe that it’s possible. Why are we so sure? Because we have an informative case study: California.
4) How a paper company is restoring tropical forest in Sumatra
Amid recent reports of an increasing crisis in global biodiversity caused by habitat loss, land conversion for agriculture, climate change and pollution, an ecosystem restoration programme based in Indonesia has reported a win for wildlife. Called Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER), it recorded an increase in its biodiversity list within its forest restoration area in the 150,000ha of peat forest it is restoring on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island in Riau Province, Sumatra. Several species classified as globally threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recorded were found in the area, which is one of the largest remaining Sundaic lowland Tropical peat forests in Sumatra. According to RER’s recently published Progress Report 2018 , the number of unique plant and animal species recorded in the area grew from 717 in 2017 to 759 in 2018, including the critically endangered helmeted hornbill and Sumatran tiger. Established in 2013 by pulp and paper company, APRIL , RER is supported by partners Fauna & Flora International, and local non-government organisations (NGOs) BIDARA and Laskar Alam.
5) Fear not the electric car: 4 myths busted
Drivers will tell you they don’t think about dead batteries or how far they can go Blaine Kyllo For bchydro.com I’ve been writing about electric vehicles (EVs) for the past four years, and in just that short time it seems like everything has changed. More manufacturers are developing and selling EVs, the vehicles that are on the road can travel further on a charge, and there are more charging stations in more places. And then there are the perks, such as primo parking spaces, and the freedom to travel in HOV lanes on the highway even when you’re driving by yourself. Over this time I’ve also talked about EVs with many people. Some have been curious. Some have been sceptical. Some have been ardent fans. But one thing that’s consistent is that once people try an EV, they become fans. I’ve also learned that owning and operating EVs is not like owning other cars. It’s not just that you “fill them up” by plugging them in.