Eco Anxiety – The New Normal? – Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-01-18

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have psychologist Sharon Michelle helping us to understand the origin and treatment of eco-anxiety. We also have a story about how the fossil fuel industry is transforming in the new, green economy, batteries that are helping to make fossil fuels obsolete, tree planting drones, some good news about the climate and how resilient it actually is, and how Covid19 legislation is benefiting the environment.

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Eco Anxiety – The New Normal?

By Sharon Michelle, MSc Psychology

When I was about 8 years old I ran all the way home from the Cinema absolutely distraught after watching Watership Down (1978) an animated film about rabbits finding a new home because of developers moving in on their habitat.  It was my first experience with what may now be termed “Eco-anxiety” (to this day I can’t listen to Art Garfunkels “Bright eyes” without feeling a bit choked up!)

Eco-anxiety hasn’t yet been classified as an anxiety disorder, but some Health Care professionals feel it should be.  The DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) used by Health Care professionals to diagnose mental health conditions, describes several anxiety disorders where symptoms can be excessive fear, anxiety, and behavioural disturbances.  There are many causes of anxiety and around the globe environmental issues and climate change is fast becoming one of them.

I have always felt a strong, innate connection to nature.  As a young girl, I preferred to walk in the countryside and be in nature rather than play with friends, or with my brother who always wanted to stay in and watch The A-Team on TV.  I wanted to be out in the fresh air watching the birds or the leaves changing when the seasons did.  Whenever I am happy, or sad, a walk-in nature feeds my soul and I feel good… [read more]


The Happy Eco News – Weekly Top 5:

1. Inside Clean Energy: The Era of Fossil Fuel Power Plants Is Rapidly Receding. Here Is Their Life Expectancy

What if President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to get to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035 turns out to involve not radical disruption but a smooth transition? in the journal Science shows that most of the country’s existing coal, natural gas and oil power plants would be past the end of their expected lives by 2035, leaving only a small share that would need to close early under the Biden policy. Considering this, implementing the Biden plan “is probably easier than people expected,” said the author, Emily Grubert, an environmental engineering professor at Georgia Tech. By showing when the country’s fossil fuel power plants are on track to go offline, the report helps to signal to state and local governments when to prepare to deal with job losses. Most of those job losses would happen regardless of climate policy. “The overall takeaway is that we do have time to plan for this,” Grubert said. She looked at every one of the 10,435 generating units at power plants that were operating in 2018 and… [read more]

 

2. The batteries that could make fossil fuels obsolete

The advent of “big battery” technology addresses a key challenge for green energy – the intermittency of wind and solar. The twin smokestacks of the Moss Landing Power Plant tower over Monterey Bay. Visible for miles along this picturesque stretch of the north Californian coast, the 500-foot-tall (150m) pillars crown what was once California’s largest electric power station – a behemoth natural gas-fired generator. Today, as California steadily moves to decarbonise its economy, those stacks are idle and the plant is largely mothballed. Instead, the site is about to begin a new life as the world’s largest battery, storing excess energy when solar panels and wind farms are producing electricity and feeding it back into the grid when they’re not. Inside a cavernous turbine building, a 300-megawatt lithium-ion battery is currently being readied for operation, with another 100-megawatt battery to come online in 2021. These aren’t the only super-sized batteries that will soon be operating at the Moss Landing plant. An additional 182.5 megawatts produced by 256 Tesla megapack batteries are scheduled to begin feeding into California’s electric grid in mid-2021, with plans to eventually add enough capacity at the site to power every home in nearby San… [read more]

 

3. These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

This week, on land north of Toronto that previously burned in a wildfire, drones are hovering over fields and firing seed pods into the ground, planting native pine and spruce trees to help restore habitat for birds. Flash Forest , the Canadian startup behind the project, plans to use its technology to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month. By the end of the year, as it expands to other regions, it will plant hundreds of thousands of trees. By 2028, the startup aims to have planted a full 1 billion trees. [Photo: courtesy Flash Forest] The company, like a handful of other startups that are also using tree-planting drones , believes that technology can help the world reach ambitious goals to restore forests to stem biodiversity loss and fight climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that it’s necessary to plant 1 billion hectares of trees—a forest roughly the size of the entire United States—to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Existing forests need to be protected while new trees are planted; right now, that isn’t working well. “There are a lot of different attempts to tackle reforestation,” says Flash Forest cofounder and chief… [read more]

 

4. Many Scientists Now Say Global Warming Could Stop Relatively Quickly After Emissions Go to Zero

Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating. Credit: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images Parts of the world economy may have been on pause during 2020, dampening greenhouse gas emissions for a while. But that didn’t slow the overall buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which reached its highest level in millions of years. If anything, research during the year showed global warming is accelerating. Symptoms of the fever include off-the-charts heat waves on land and in the oceans , and a hyperactive and destructive Atlantic hurricane season . And through November, the last year was on pace to end up as either the hottest, or second-hottest on record for the planet, almost 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial times, inching closer to the 1.5 degree limit set by the Paris climate agreement . Here are five aspects of climate change that were new and unexpected in 2020: The La Niña Effect? Some scientists noted that the persistent heating came even with the tropical Pacific Ocean tilting toward a cyclical cooling phase that suppresses the global average temperature slightly. November’s warmth across the planet was “stunning, especially considering… [read more]

 

5. Inside Clean Energy: Clean Energy Wins Big in Covid-19 Legislation

Clean energy industries got their biggest legislative win in a long time this week, thanks to provisions tucked into the $900 billion Covid-19 stimulus relief bill passed by Congress on Monday. The legislation is not a done deal until President Donald Trump signs it, and he is making noises that he wants to see larger direct payments to Americans as part of the Covid relief. So this review of the bill comes with the caveat that it’s not yet law and the situation is unusually volatile. Deep in the 5,000-plus page bill, lawmakers included extensions of tax credits for solar power and onshore wind, plus five years of a new tax credit for offshore wind.  But not everybody walked away with what they wanted. The energy storage industry, for example, has pushed for years to get its own tax credit, but hasn’t gotten it yet. The bill contains… [read more]

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