It has been 3 weeks since my last top 5 email. Thanks again to Maggie and Laura for their contributions. Also, while I was away, my first ever podcast interview was released!

The Mother, Daughter, Earthcast is the podcast of Gina and Marianna of  Mother, Daughter Earth. Gina and Marianna are very down to earth people trying to do the best that they can to live eco-sensitive lifestyles. They offer gardening tips and eco-hacks as well as recommendations on household products to help make day to day living easier and better for the planet. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with them and I hope you check it out too.

All smiles! Marianna and Gina from Mother, Daughter Earthcast. Image thanks to Mother, Daughter Earth.

Enough bragging about my newfound notoriety as an online personality (kidding), now for the weekly update!

In the last couple of weeks, the world has changed yet again, the pessimist might say it’s even gotten worse. Other people might say things have gotten a little better.

Certainly, the fires in the West are bad; the city where I live is geographically distant and across an international boundary, but we are united with California, Oregon and Washington if not by empathy and concern, by smoke.

Lions Gate bridge, Vancouver. Shrouded by smoke from fires in another country, Vancouver, which is known for clean air and water fell far short of its reputation last week. Image courtesy CTVnews.ca.

Indeed, the air quality in Vancouver one day last week was 4th worst in the world; only Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco were worse on that day. We are hundreds of miles away and we found ash had fallen from the sky on our car, soot on all outdoor surfaces.

Word of another Arctic ice shelf showing signs of collapse, likely accelerating global temperature increases even further, and more tropical storms on the way across the Atlantic headed toward the Caribbean and Eastern USA. I mean, what the actual fuck is going on? Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, global warming.

Do not get complacent. Remember, this is not normal. This is not fine.

Memes come and go but ‘This is fine’ has become a social media staple for 2020. With the fires in the US, it is more relevant than ever.

But in amongst all the anxiety-inducing headlines and smoke, there was also some really good news too.

This week the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen set the bar much higher for climate action and green recovery in the EU. Image courtesy euractiv.com.

This week the EU has taken some pretty serious action. As the smoke from the fires in the West of North America reaches European shores, the EU’s most powerful senior official on Thursday unveiled a plan to kickstart Europe’s economy. With a “green new deal” in mind, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said the EU should significantly toughen its emissions-cutting target from 40% to at least 55% by 2030. It would seem that the opportunity to reboot the European economy with green investment will not pass by the Europeans and many economists from all backgrounds agree it is the right path forward.

Shipping has long been exempted from emissions regulations. This is all about to change. Image courtesy RLTheis via Twenty20.

This follows a vote by the European Parliament on Tuesday in favour of including greenhouse gas emissions created by the maritime sector in the European Union’s carbon market starting in 2022. Years of continued debate and lack of significant climate action by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) forced the EU to take the lead. This is very significant, as the maritime industry has largely been exempted from emissions reduction regulations. Now, the polluter will pay – in Europe at least.

In Shenzhen, China, almost all of the vehicles are battery-powered and eeirily silent as they drive around the city. Image courtesy thatsmags.com.

On Wednesday, on the other side of the world, China showed a continued commitment to helping reduce its emissions by announcing further efforts to reduce emissions. China’s former chief climate negotiator said in a speech on Wednesday that the country had met its 2020 carbon emission target three years of schedule and was “making active preparations” for updating the 2030 target. Considering the fact that while China is still the world’s largest polluter, it is also reducing its pollution the fastest of any country, many expect that China will announce a net-zero carbon policy by 2030 at COP26 next year in Glasgow.

Some very positive and very important decisions are being made right now and in the near term ahead. It is extremely encouraging to see that the policies being made are science-based, and reflect the will of the majority of people. It truly gives me hope that we as a society will be able to make the big changes necessary in order to fix some of the problems previous generations have made. We did it with Coronavirus, now it is time to fix climate change.

Despite the ocean fog, I managed to see some sea birds flying and salmon jumping. Just being out here helps regenerate me. Image courtesy Grant B.

And today for me? The smoke has cleared. I went for a boat ride to see if I could view some wildlife in the local estuary and maybe soothe my soul, even just a little.

Grant B

Happy Eco News, September 21, 2020

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The Weekly Top 5:

1) New Energy Storage “Water Battery” Breakthrough: Look Ma, No Underground Powerhouse 

New Energy Storage “Water Battery” Breakthrough: Look Ma, No Underground Powerhouse

2) Simon Sinek Says We Got Global Warming Wrong

Simon Sinek Says We Got Global Warming Wrong

3) Amid devastating forest fires, One Trillion Trees movement puts down U.S. roots

Amid devastating forest fires, One Trillion Trees movement puts down U.S. roots

 

4) U.S. Plastics Pact Vows to Make All Plastic Packaging Recyclable by 2025

U.S. Plastics Pact Vows to Make All Plastic Packaging Recyclable by 2025

5) Majority of groundwater stores resilient to climate change

Majority of groundwater stores resilient to climate change

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