Outrage and Hope – Top 25 Happy Eco News for 2020

Thank you for reading the Happy Eco News for December 28, 2020, the last newsletter of the year.

This week, we will be reviewing the Top 25 news stories from 2020. These are the stories that resonated the most with you, the audience. The Top 25 was identified simply by the number of page views for each story for the calendar year of 2020.

A quick shout out to my two favourite Texans, Gina and Marianna from Mother Daughter Earth!

These two wonderful ladies graciously had me on their podcast earlier this month as a follow up to the first one I did back in September.

Please check out their website at MotherDaughterEarth.biz for tips and tricks on how to live your best green life.

It is always a lot of fun chatting with Gina and Marianna. We cover a wide range of interesting positive news stories about the environment (and have lots of laughs doing it).

Also, please check out my Patreon page if you would like to support Happy Eco News. Your contribution will help Happy Eco News grow so we can help more people.

Happy New Year!

Year-end message for 2020

By Grant Brown, Founder, Happy Eco News

A year of tragedy, discord, and Hope

For my whole life, the number 2020 was used to describe what is known as perfect vision.

Unfortunately, after the events of the year 2020, instead of clarity, it forever will be associated with death, loneliness, and outrage. The Covid-19 pandemic, George Floyd, wildfires, and hurricanes battered our world and our society. Pretty much everything that could have gone bad did.

But in amongst all the negatives were the everyday people, trying to do their best.

Sure, we can point fingers at small groups of people, sometimes lone individuals who have shown a penchant for anti-social behaviour. Sure, they now have their particular brand of crazy amplified on social media, but for the most part, the vast majority of people have tried to do the right thing. We closed our businesses and isolated when necessary. We protected our elders and our weak. We took to the streets and demanded justice for our brothers and sisters… [read more]


The Happy Eco News – Top 25 for 2020:

1. Fungus Found Growing at Chernobyl that Actually EATS Radiation

The walls at Chernobyl are being covered by a strange fungus that actually eats and grows on radiation. In 1986, the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were undergoing routine testing when something went terribly wrong. In what has been described as the worst nuclear accident in history, two explosions blew the roof off one of the plant’s reactors, and the entire area and its surroundings were covered in enormous amounts of radiation making it unfit for human life. Five years after the disaster, the walls of the Chernobyl reactor began to be covered by an unusual fungus. Scientists were pretty confused by how the fungus could survive in an area that had been so heavily tainted with radiation. They finally figured out that not only was it able to survive the radioactive environment, but the fungus actually seemed to thrive on it. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation also know as the Exclusion Zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor established by the USSR soon after the 1986 disaster. According to a report by Fox News, it took another ten years for researchers to test the fungus and discover that it… [read more]

 

2. Plant your loved one in this egg and turn them into a tree after death

The Capsula Mundi burial urn is finally available for purchase. When it comes to stories about green burial options, the piece I wrote on the Capsula Mundi concept last year seemed to strike a chord with readers (other than the typical comments about how useless and ridiculous some people thought it was), but even so, the crowdfunding campaign for the project didn’t really catch on. However, regardless of the failure of the Kickstarter campaign, it hasn’t stopped the creators from following their mission of helping people plant trees, not tombstones. Although a body-sized Capsula Mundi pod isn’t yet ready for burying your loved ones in, designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have brought a decidedly smaller version of the concept to life, which is now available for purchase. The product is the Capsula Mundi Urn, which is designed to accept the cremation ashes from the deceased, and to then be buried next to an existing tree, or in a hole over which a tree will be planted. The Urn is made from a biodegradable polymer (bioplastic) that will essentially be turned into soil and nutrients for the tree in “a few months to few years”… [read more]

 

3. Food in the nude – NZ ditching plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets

A group of supermarkets have abandoned the use of plastic wrapping for virtually all of their fruit and vegetables in a project labelled ‘food in the nude’. Nigel Bond owner of one of the stores says their new shelving system reminded him of when he was a kid going to the fruiterer with his Dad and one could smell the fresh citrus and spring onions. He says by wrapping products in plastic we sanitise them and deprive people of this experience. “When you take on these projects they can be a disaster and lead to customer pushback but in my 30 years in the supermarket industry this simple change has resulted in the most positive feedback from customers I have ever received.” The initiative is part of the war against plastic. In New Zealand the days of single-use plastic shopping bags are numbered – most supermarkets are no longer providing them at the check-out – while the government late last year agreed to regulations for a mandatory phase-out across all retailers from July… [read more]

 

4. Good news for climate change: India gets out of coal and into renewable energy

In the often grim world of climate reporting, there is at least one upbeat story: India has been aggressively pivoting away from coal-fired power plants and towards electricity generated by solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide the country emits into the atmosphere should come down dramatically. The reasons for this change are complex and interlocking, but one aspect in particular seems to stand out: The price for solar electricity has been in freefall, to levels so low they were once thought impossible. For example, since 2017, one solar energy company has been generating electricity in the Indian state of Rajasthan at the unheard-of, guaranteed wholesale price of 2.44 rupees per kilowatt-hour , or 3 US cents. (In comparison, the average price for electricity in the United States is presently about 13.19 cents per kilowatt-hour, and some locations in the country pay far more. As recently as 2008, the average homeowner on Block Island, Rhode Island , paid a staggering 61 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, before any other fees or charges—which can nearly double the… [read more]

 

5. Deutsche Bank Immediately Ends Funding For Oil Sands And Arctic Oil Projects

Deutsche Bank is ending financing for new oil and gas projects in the oil sands and the Arctic region effective immediately, becoming the latest major bank to reconsider lending money to fossil fuel projects in sensitive areas. Deutsche Bank will no longer finance any new projects in the Arctic or the oil sands and will review all its existing business in the oil and gas industry, the bank said in a statement on Monday. Deutsche Bank unveiled an updated Fossil Fuels Policy to set new limits on financing business activities that involve oil, gas, or coal, and pledged to end its global business activities in coal mining by 2025 at the latest “in order to help drive the transformation to a sustainable economy.” “In its current form, the Policy sets us ambitious targets and enables us to help our long-standing clients with their own transformation. It will allow us to play our part in protecting the climate and helping the EU to achieve its goal of being climate neutral by 2050,” CEO Christian Sewing, who also chairs Deutsche Bank’s Sustainability Council, said. Last year, Deutsche Bank and 129 other banks – representing a third of the world’s banks, worth… [read more]

 

6. China Turns On the World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm

Last week, workers switched on a solar energy plant capable of producing 40 megawatts of power, which floats on a manmade lake in China’s Anhui province near the city of Huainan, reports Sarah Zheng at the South China Morning Post . The array is the largest floating solar project in the world, though at the brisk pace China is building new renewable projects it’s unlikely to hold that title very long. Built by the company Sungrow Power Supply, the power plant will produce enough energy to power 15,000 homes, Zheng reports. While the company has not revealed the exact size of the operation, it produces twice as much energy as the previous holder of the largest-floating-solar-plant title, which is located in the same area and was launched by the company Xinyi Solar in 2016. Anhui province is a coal-rich region, and the Sungrow plant is located on a lake that was once the site of intensive mining. Heavy rains filled the area with water. As Zhen reports, the depth of the lake varies from 12 feet to 30 feet. So why build solar plants on top of lakes and reservoirs… [read more]

 

7. Indian State Bans All Pesticides. Wildlife, Crops and Tourism Flourish.

State goes 100% organic. Wildlife returns, crop yields improve, tourists flock. Governments around the world are looking to the Indian state of Sikkim to see if going organic is viable. So far all signs are pointing to yes. The state banned the import of all pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and GMOs in 2003, becoming the world’s first fully certified organic state in 2016. At first farmers struggled with the transition, with steep declines in crop yields, but the government promised things would get better in the long run and to compensate for their losses in the short-term. A decade and a half later, “the cloud-wreathed state is starting to see the dividends” of its investment, The Washington Post reports. Within three years their harvest returned to what it used to be, says the farmer in the BBC News report below: And now the yield for most crops is actually higher than it was during the days of conventional farming, according to a report by the Center for Research on Globalization. Fruit yields are up 5%, and the state’s cash crop cardamon has increased a whopping 23%. That’s in part thanks to rebounding pollinator populations. Since pesticides have disappeared, wildlife… [read more]

 

8. Bar soap is making a glorious comeback

Sales of bar soap had been sadly slipping, but now shoppers are wising up to its many benefits. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was lamenting the sad slippery slope of bar soap. I concluded that the demise of the humble soap bar was about misguided fear (of germs) and the unfortunate convenience of liquid soap (and all its wasteful plastic packing). “As we are continually proving our preference for things we can throw away instead of having to actually clean,” I wrote, “we are, in the end, making a much bigger mess.” Between 2014-15, sales of bar soap fell 2.2 percent compared to an overall market growth of 2.7 percent. But now, following decades of decline, bar soap appears to be back in the game. Sales of bar soap have climbed by nearly 3 percent over the past year, according to data research by Kantar Worldpanel. And sales of bar soap grew faster than both liquid soaps and shower products over the period. “For the first time this century,” Kantar Worldpanel’s strategic insight director, Tim Nancholas, said, “barred soap is making a return.” Seriously, this really is cause for celebration. Sometimes shifts… [read more]

 

9. ‘Extinct’ Formosan clouded leopard spotted in E. Taiwan

A leopard thought to be extinct, the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura), has been spotted by several witnesses in the wilderness of southeast Taiwan, reported CNA. Alangyi Village rangers recently spotted what they believed to be a Formosan clouded leopard hunting goats on a cliff in Taitung County’s Daren Township. In response, the Taitung District Office of the Forestry Bureau said that this is a very important development and they are actively working on confirming the sighting. Kao Cheng-chi (高正治), President of the Association of the Austronesian Community College Development Association and village chief of the Paiwan Tribe, said that in June of last year, the Alangyi Village set up a team of rangers to patrol traditional areas. Unexpectedly, two different groups of rangers spotted what the Paiwan people refer to as “Li’ uljaw,” or what is known in the West as the Formosan clouded leopard, on the prowl in the wild. One team member vividly described clearly seeing a leopard climbing a tree, before scrambling up a cliff to hunt goats. Another team member described seeing a leopard darting past a scooter before… [read more]

 

10. Climate projections may have ignored the world’s secret weapon against climate change

In Central America, a rich blend of lush, tropical trees are home to one of the world’s most biodiverse communities. They provide a leafy haven for some of the planet’s most incredible creatures, like jaguars and three-toed sloths. And it turns out these trees play another vital, hidden role in preserving Earth’s environment. All trees play a part in combating global warming, breathing in carbon dioxide and storing it in the ground. But when it comes to how effectively they carry out this environmental role, not all trees are created equal. In a new study of Panama’s tropical forests, researchers modeled forest demographics using a dataset spanning 40 years and nearly 300 tree species. They reveal that long-living, slow-growing, and massive trees make up most of the forest’s biomass. These so-called “long-lived pioneers” play a disproportionately large part in stashing carbon. Protecting these trees is vital to the planet’s future, the researchers say. Current climate-change forecasts tend to treat all trees equally, but this study suggests some should be taken into greater account than others, fundamentally altering the forecast models. “This analysis shows that that is not good enough for tropical forests and provides a way… [read more]

 

11. The Tide Is Turning (And Is It Ever!)

In the US, renewables are expected to see fifty times as much net capacity added in the next three years as nuclear and fossil fuels combined. Wind turbines in the desert (Photo by Dennis Schroeder | NREL, Public Domain) I was recently stunned by something I really should have noticed a week ago but had not. Every month or so I take a look at the postings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to see what they say is going on. In particular, I look at the reports on energy infrastructure. Every month or so seems to have turned out to be not often enough. I was running through proofreading materials for Green Energy Times (GET), when I found an item from the SUN DAY Campaign (SDC) that was to be published. I ran through it rather quickly, because I knew it had been proofread at least twice already. Suddenly, I was struck by this paragraph, which refers to expected capacity installations considered to have “high probability” by FERC: “In total, the mix of all renewables will add more than 53 gigawatts (GW) of net new generating capacity to the nation’s total by April 2023. That is nearly… [read more]

 

12. The Ocean Cleanup is Working and History is Being Made Cleaning Up The Oceans and Garbage Patch

Just when we thought that we had hit rock bottom and there is hardly any opportunity to revive the mistakes that humans have already committed towards nature, a ray of hope appeared promising better and cleaner days. According to reports, there is a massive patch of plastic debris of plastic wastes that rest on the bed of the Pacific Ocean, somewhere around the Northeast of Hawaii; and it was mainly the ocean currents that encouraged this massacre to pile upon one another. Even though it is commonly referred to as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” sometimes it is also known by the name of “The North Pacific Gyre.” If the claims are to be believed, this is one of the largest ecosystems that ever dwelled on the face of the earth with its realms stretching up to millions of kilometers. To give you a clearer idea of magnanimity, the size of the Great Garbage Patch can be equated with that of Queensland, Australia. In the present times, one of the most significant issues that have been continuously raising alarms is plastic pollution in oceans. As the children of the earth, it is our responsibility to rid of all the… [read more]

 

13. Oceans can be restored to former glory within 30 years, say scientists

The glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation, according to a major new scientific review. It reports rebounding sea life, from humpback whales off Australia to elephant seals in the US and green turtles in Japan. Through rampant overfishing, pollution and coastal destruction, humanity has inflicted severe damage on the oceans and its inhabitants for centuries. But conservation successes, while still isolated, demonstrate the remarkable resilience of the seas. The scientists say there is now the knowledge to create an ocean renaissance for wildlife by 2050 and with it bolster the services that the world’s people rely on, from food to coastal protection to climate stability. The measures needed, including protecting large swathes of ocean, sustainable fishing and pollution controls, would cost billions of dollars a year, the scientists say, but would bring benefits 10 times as high. However, the escalating climate crisis must also be tackled to protect the oceans from acidification, loss of oxygen and the devastation of coral reefs. The good news, the scientists say, is a growing awareness of the ability of oceans and coastal habitats such as mangroves and salt marshes to rapidly soak up carbon dioxide and bolster shorelines… [read more]

 

14. The Beginning of A New Industry to Suck CO2 From The Atmosphere

A Canadian company in west Texas, near what is considered the most productive oilfields of the continent, is building a new and exciting plant. The main objective of the plant is to suck out those extra tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air, which is one of the ruling components catalyzing air pollution. If things go according to the outlined plans, Carbon Engineering’s solitary plant will stand tall as a revolutionary strategy to combat climate change. In a recent interview, CEO Steve Oldham stated that “We’re pulling the CO2 back down” and we cannot hold our excitement to witness how things eventually turn out to be. Considering the ever-surging levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, educated humans from all around the world in labs and boardrooms are always outlining schemes that would reduce CO2 emissions to restore the vitality of the planet. However, the good news is, a generous amount of carbon dioxide has already been removed from the air, and this provides the common human with a ray of hope for better days. A paper published in the scientific journal “Nature Climate Change” stated that for climate change to remain static at 2 degrees Celsius, about 120-160… [read more]

 

15. Endangered sea turtles hatch on Brazil’s deserted beaches

Nearly 100 critically endangered sea turtles have hatched on a deserted beach in Brazil , their first steps going almost unnoticed because of coronavirus restrictions that prohibit people from gathering on the region’s sands. The 97 hawksbill sea turtles, or tartarugas-de-pente as they are known in Brazil, hatched last Sunday in Paulista, a town in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. Photographs taken by government workers, the only people to witness the event, showed the tiny creatures making their way down the beach and into the Atlantic waves. Locals have been forbidden from gathering on Pernambuco’s spectacular shoreline since last weekend, when the state governor, Paulo Câmara, ordered a partial shutdown and urged residents to stay indoors to slow the spread of coronavirus. Bolsonaro threatens to sack health minister over coronavirus criticism Read more Speaking to the Guardian last week, Câmara said such measures – which the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has actively undermined – were vital if Brazil were to avoid a crisis similar to the one that has taken hold in Europe. “Only isolation will stop the curve growing at the speed it is growing in other places,” he said. Câmara said the government of Pernambuco, which has… [read more]

 

16. The End of Oil Is Near

This past spring, coastlines around the globe took on the feel of an enemy invasion as hundreds of massive oil tankers overwhelmed seaports from South Africa to Singapore. Locals and industry analysts alike used the word armada —typically applied to fleets of warships—to describe scenes such as when a group of tankers left Saudi Arabia en masse and another descended on China. One distressed news article proclaimed that a “floating hoard” of oil sat in tankers anchored across the North Sea, “everywhere from the UK to France and the Netherlands.” In April, the US Coast Guard shared an alarming video that showed dozens of tankers spread out for miles along California’s coast. On May 12, Greenpeace activists sailed into San Francisco Bay to issue a challenge to the public. In front of the giant Amazon Falcon oil tanker—which had been docked in the bay for weeks, loaded up with Chevron oil—they unfurled a banner reading, “Oil Is Over! The Future Is Up to You.” The oil industry has turned the oceans into aquatic parking lots—floating storage facilities holding, at their highest levels in early May, some 390 million barrels of crude oil and refined products… [read more]

 

17. The Pandemic Is Turning the Natural World Upside Down

From inside her living room in London, Paula Koelemeijer can feel the world around her growing quieter. Koelemeijer, a seismologist, has a miniature seismometer sitting on a concrete slab at the base of her first-floor fireplace. The apparatus, though smaller than a box of tissues, can sense all kinds of movement, from the rattle of trains on the tracks near Koelemeijer’s home to the waves of earthquakes rolling in from afar. Since the United Kingdom announced stricter social-distancing rules last month, telling residents not to leave their homes except for essential reasons, the seismometer has registered a sharp decrease in the vibrations produced by human activity. With fewer trains, buses, and people pounding the pavement, the usual hum of public life has vanished, and so has its dependable rhythms: Before the spread of COVID-19 shut down the city, Koelemeijer could plot the seismometer’s data and see the train schedule reflected in the spikes, down to the minute. Now, with fewer trains running, the spikes seem to come at random. “It’s very literally reflecting a slowdown of our lives,” Koelemeijer told me over Skype. Koelemeijer said she briefly geeked out over the recent data before reality… [read more]

 

18. Biological Concrete That Grows Moss and Provides Insulation while Absorbing CO2

It is now possible to develop buildings supporting the natural growth of vegetation without even risking structural integrity. Moss covered walls look beautiful, but for the past several years, they were a matter of worry due to the slow destruction they cause to the structure with time. However, this problem is now solved forever. The researchers at Structural Technology Group, Barcelona, recently announced the successful development of a new material that supports the natural and accelerated growth of potential pigmented organisms. This biological concrete material is designed for the building facades as well as other building developments in the Mediterranean climates. It promises several thermal, environmental, and aesthetic advantages over traditional structural solutions. This concrete allows the growth of a few specific types of vegetation that can also provide insulation to the building. The essential feature of this concrete is its ability to produce natural biological support to the growth of a few specific biological organisms, especially mosses, lichens, fungi, and microalgae. It can cover the entire building with vegetation that keeps on changing color in different seasons throughout the year. People find it an aesthetically pleasing solution for… [read more]

 

19. These 45 stunning pictures show what happens when Mother Nature takes over again

BrightVibes has compiled a selection of images of abandoned places, cars and even whole towns that are losing their battles against disappearing entirely due to the irresistible force of nature. 1. Old tree roots encapsulate even older temple ruins. Image taken at Ta Phrom, near Siem Reap, Cambodia. 2. Abandoned Train Station In Abkhazia, Georgia. 3. Ta Prohm Temple, Agkor, Cambodia Source: 500px/Pietro Bevilacqua 4. The square root of tree. Location unknown. Source: Imgur 5. Abandoned boat succumbs to shrubbery. 6. Vintage automobile graveyard, Belgium. 7. Overgrown Ferris wheel. Location not indicated. Source: Flickr/Kyle Telechan 8. Old Abandoned Mill, Sorrento, Italy Source: 500px/Jason Wallace 9. Bicycle Eaten by A Tree On Vashon Island, Washington 10. Trees Winning Against Concrete In Hong Kong 11. Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve, Long Island Source: Instagram/bridgette_kistinger 12. Kudzu claims unknown bridge. 13. Weapon of war loses battle to nature. Tournai, Belgium. 14. Mossy phone booth. Hoh Rainforest, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State. 15. Abandoned Bridge Near Manu, Peru Getting Overgrown With Vines 16. Castle Hackett. Galway, Ireland. Hackett Castle (otherwise known as Castlehackett) was originally a two storey tower house built in the 13th century with third and fourth… [read more]

 

20. U.S. report bumper bee bonanza — Honeybee numbers on the increase in multiple U.S. states

Things are looking up for honeybee populations in many U.S. states While there is definitely a justifiable cause for concern on a global level about the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) affecting the health of bees, some good news has recently come to light about the present condition of these crucial pollinators in the United States of America. The latest bee colony report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes a surprising increase in the number of colonies across the nation, with some states experiencing a particularly rapid expansion of their bee populations. Reporting the most dramatic growth was Maine, which counted a whopping 73% increase in colony numbers since 2018. See below for more encouraging statistics from other States experiencing a honeybee boom in 2020. Source: Unsplash/Simon Berger new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describes a 14% national increase in bee colonies According to the latest report from National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Nebraska, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Maine reported the largest percent increases in bee colonies over the last two years. Oklahoma reported 69% growth, only slightly behind Maine for the title of “most improved” bee colony. However, the highest percent growth is… [read more]

 

21. 7 countries that have legally recognized the rights of nature

With every new headline relaying the detrimental effects of climate change, it can be easy to overlook the positive climate news that filters through our feed each week. There is good being done on the environment’s behalf, with nature increasingly being afforded legal rights of its own. A number of ecosystems around the world have been declared living entities by local or federal courts, many of them also granted personhood, and laws are being codified to manage, conserve, and protect the natural environment. From Australia to the Americas, these seven countries have set the world stage with landmark cases concerning the rights of nature. In Ecuador, nature is known as Pachamama, a loose translation of Mother Earth from the Inca fertility goddess of the same name. In 2008, the nation famous for being a launch point for the Galapagos Islands, one of the original 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, made history by becoming the first country in the world to ratify a constitution amended to include nature’s rights. Article 71 of the redrafted constitution states that Pachamama not only has the right to exist but also to have its “maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structures, functions, and… [read more]

 

22. Oil Companies Are Collapsing, but Wind and Solar Energy Keep Growing

A few years ago, the kind of double-digit drop in oil and gas prices the world is experiencing now because of the coronavirus pandemic might have increased the use of fossil fuels and hurt renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms. That is not happening. In fact, renewable energy sources are set to account for nearly 21 percent of the electricity the United States uses for the first time this year, up from about 18 percent last year and 10 percent in 2010, according to one forecast published last week. And while work on some solar and wind projects has been delayed by the outbreak, industry executives and analysts expect the renewable business to continue growing in 2020 and next year even as oil, gas and coal companies struggle financially or seek bankruptcy protection. In many parts of the world, including California and Texas, wind turbines and solar panels now produce electricity more cheaply than natural gas and coal. That has made them attractive to electric utilities and investors alike. It also helps that while oil prices have been more than halved since the pandemic forced most state governments to order… [read more]

 

23. Scientists Discover 400-Year-Old Greenland Shark Likely Born Around 1620 – Earthly Mission

Researchers used radiocarbon dating of eye proteins to determine the ages of 28 Greenland sharks and estimated that one female was about 400 years old. The former vertebrate record-holder was a bowhead whale estimated to be 211 years old. As lead author Julius Nielsen, a marine biologist from the University of Copenhagen, put it: “We had our expectations that we were dealing with an unusual animal, but I think everyone doing this research was very surprised to learn the sharks were as old as they were. Greenland sharks are huge and can grow up to 5m in length. Yet, they grow at just 1cm a year. They can be found, swimming slowly, throughout the cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic. The team believes the animals only reach sexual maturity when they are 4m-long. And with this new, very lengthy age-range, it suggests this does not occur until the animals are about 150 years old… [read more]

 

24. Climate change’s surprise twist

The economics, politics, and science of climate change are converging and catapulting this problem from a joke among critics to a prominent concern. Driving the news: Shifts across Washington, D.C., among corporate leaders and within financial institutions are creating a foundation that could produce big movement on this problem for the first time since, well, forever. Why it matters: If the world’s political and business leaders are going to seriously move to cut heat-trapping emissions, they first need to pay attention to the problem. They are starting to now, fueled by unrest from the world’s youth, cheaper renewable energy, more bouts of extreme weather, and other evidence of global warming itself. The big picture: We’ve written about these shifts individually here and here and here over the past year or more. It’s worth examining them together as a whole because the amount of new attention on climate that’s occurred in a matter of weeks is staggering. Big caveats exist and the prospect of substantive action on the problem remains deeply uncertain, but the arc of change is forming. In Washington, congressional Republicans and even President Trump are scrambling to acknowledge the problem after years of denying it… [read more]

 

25. 7 Caribbean Countries Are Banning Single-Use Plastic Starting Jan. 1

Slowly but surely, more and more cities, states, and countries are enacting bans on single-use plastic and polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) all around the world. And beginning Jan. 1, 2020, there will be a ban on the use and import of single-use plastic and polystyrene in seven Caribbean countries: the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, the Yucatan Times reported. Each of those countries is coastal, located all around the Caribbean Sea. Ocean plastic is a mounting issue, negatively impacting marine life, underwater ecosystems, the climate, and more — so these nations reducing single-use plastic could make a significant difference on ocean pollution. “January 1 represents an important date in the fight against plastic pollution that affects not only Jamaica but the entire world,” said Daryl Vaz, head of Jamaica for Economy and Employment, as reported by Spain’s News. Vaz often uses his Twitter to discuss environmental protection, and he recently represented Jamaica along with Prime Minister Andrew Holness at September’s UN Climate Action Summit. The new law is part of the Bahamas Environmental Protection Act 2019, according to the Yucatan Times. It’s unclear exactly what forms of… [read more]

 

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