European Bison Rebound, Carbon-Neutral Jet Fuel – Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-02-01

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have Helene from Ailuna explaining how their new app will help people make the changes needed to do their part to save the planet. We also have stories that feature welcome news about the conservation of bison in Europe, how researchers have developed cost-effective, carbon-neutral jet fuel, why bamboo may become the carbon sequester of choice, Amazon’s move to electric delivery vans, and the first national park in West Virginia. 

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Ailuna: bringing together technology and good people for a brighter future

By Helene Rønning

Humans are complex beings. We are constantly innovating, analysing information and solving problems. Yet at the same time, we can be complacent, destructive and blind to the problems we are causing, especially without any support or help to do things differently.

Most of us want to help change the world for the better. But we don’t know where to start, we feel alone, overwhelmed or just don’t believe that our small actions can make a difference.

Small changes, big impact

But every little positive change can have a huge cumulative impact on our environment and on the planet as a whole. It’s just difficult to see that impact as one person.

But imagine this: there are millions of people just like you out there. Millions of people who aren’t quite convinced that their actions and behaviours in their kitchen or bathroom, or when they’re going about their daily life, are having any kind of impact at all. What if every single one of those people decided to make one small change to their life today? That would equate to a massive impact!

What if we could all come together to see how our collective changes are making a difference? Being able to see all those people making small efforts to reduce waste, live a greener lifestyle and address the climate crisis would be quite the motivator.

[read more]

 

Sponsored: Cox Enterprises Accelerates Sustainability Goals by 10 Years

Cox Enterprises announced on January 21, 2021, that it has accelerated its goal to be carbon and water neutral from 2044 to 2034 as part of the company’s national sustainability program, Cox Conserves. The new Cox Conserves strategy expedites the company’s zero environmental footprint goals by reducing, replacing and recycling within its own operations, along with developing new renewable projects and partnerships to offset impacts.

Since Cox set its original goals in 2013, clean technologies and renewables have advanced,
and the costs associated with these industries have decreased. At the same time, the pace of climate change has led to ever-worsening consequences and driven a more urgent need for change.

“Our planet is in crisis,” said Ira Pearl, vice president of environmental sustainability. “Corporate involvement is critical to addressing climate change. When companies, governments and people work together, we can build a more sustainable future.”

By achieving carbon and water neutrality 10 years earlier, Cox will substantially reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, while also having a meaningful impact on both drinking water and water-related ecosystems. The Zero Waste to Landfill goal will retain its original target of 2024.

[read more]


The Happy Eco News – Weekly Top 5:

1. These Oxford Scientists Just Created Carbon-Neutral Jet Fuel From CO2

A team of researchers at the University of Oxford have revealed what they say is a cost-effective and efficient way of producing jet fuel from carbon dioxide, offering hope that one day vacationers might be able to jet off abroad without the cost—and associated guilt—of a hefty carbon footprint. The team at Oxford Chemistry, including chemists Benzhen Yao and Tiancun Xiao, and led by professor of chemistry Peter Edwards, successfully converted CO2 gas directly into jet fuel using an inexpensive iron-based catalyst. Previous successful attempts to turn CO2 into jet fuel have required complex processes and expensive chemicals. But as revealed in the journal Nature, the Oxford researchers believe the new method could produce a competitively priced fuel that could potentially eliminate the high emissions burden of air travel. “As you can imagine, we are really excited about these results and the impact they will have on sustainable aviation fuel,” researcher Benzhen Yao told Forbes.com. “Under the pressure of climate change, our discovery will contribute significantly to worldwide sustainable fuel production processes.” The team began researching the possibility of turning CO2 into fuel over a decade ago,… [read more]

2.  The European bison population is no longer vulnerable

The European bison’s population has increased sufficiently for it to be removed from IUCN’s list of vulnerable species. Thanks to long-term conservation work, the population has increased to more than 6,200, up from a 2003 figure of only 1,800. Rather than vulnerable, the European bison is now classified as “almost threatened.” Romania is the place to be if you’re a bison — or somebody who wants to see them roaming free. The largest populations are in Vânători Neamț Natural Park, Țarcu Mountains and Făgărș Mountains. The Tarcu herd of over 65 bison was developed by WWF Romania and Rewilding Europe. The 5-year LIFE Bison project started in 2016 and is set to end March 30, 2021. Its mission is to create a viable population of bison in Romania that would breed in the wild, promoting biodiversity . The project also aims to use bison as an ecotourism draw that will help local communities. The LIFE Bison project is co-funded by the LIFE Programme, the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action that was created in 1992. “The bison calves born in the wild and the support of local communities are good signs that bison belong to… [read more]

3. The Radical Case for Growing Huge Swaths of Bamboo in North America

As a kid, Lauren Lydick would pack up a towel, a Harry Potter book, and head out alone into the bamboo groves. As a teenager, she took a blanket, War & Peace, and weed. Sometimes reading, sometimes just lying on her back looking up through the green, Lydick felt like she could be anywhere. Thailand, maybe, or Malaysia. It’s said that in rural parts of Japan, parents tell their children, “If you feel an earthquake, run into the bamboo. Its roots will hold the earth together for you.” Lydick felt that sense of protection somehow, even though she lived in Imperial County, California, one of the hottest, most polluted places in North America. And even though there was no escaping her easily-triggered, asthmatic chest. Lydick’s nickname in high school was Pneumonia. She laughs about that now, at 23, and remembers it not as a mean, bullying thing so much as camaraderie. Most of Lydick’s friends had asthma too—they’d share inhalers and watch out for each other in[read more]

4. Amazon shows Rivian electric delivery vans it will use starting in 2021

Amazon on Thursday revealed the Rivian electric delivery van it plans to start using in 2021. The e-commerce and logistics giant announced last year that it had ordered 100,000 electric vans from electric-truck hopeful Rivian. Amazon, which is also a Rivian investor, plans to have 10,000 of these vans in service by 2022, and all 100,000 on the road by 2030. Based on early photos, it appears that the design of the van has changed somewhat since it was first announced. The design is unique to Amazon, and vans will carry that company’s logo rather than the Rivian logo. The headlights, however, seem to signal some continuity with Rivian’s R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV . The launch of both vehicles has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the R1T scheduled to start deliveries in June 2021, followed by the R1S in August 2021. That’s a delay of approximately six months from when they were originally due. Amazon electric delivery van designed by Rivian Rivian has teased the pre-production ramp-up of the R1T, but little has been revealed about a production ramp for the vans, which will be made at the same facility: a former Mitsubishi factory[read more]


5. America’s Newest National Park Is Also the First in West Virginia

The U.S. is beginning the new year with a new national park. The nation’s 63rd national park is also the first to be designated as such in the state of West Virginia, Veranda reported. New River Gorge, in Fayetteville, was officially changed from a national river to a national park as part of the COVID-19 relief bill that passed on Dec. 27, Condé Nast Traveler reported. “Redesignation of the National River to a National Park and Preserve will shine a brighter light on West Virginia and all that it has to offer, and provide another catalyst for our tourism industry and local businesses,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said in a statement reported by 12 WBOY. The New River Gorge is already a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It sees almost one million visitors every year and boasts activities like hiking, fishing, rafting, rock climbing and camping, according to Veranda. Despite its name, the river is actually believed to be one of the oldest in North America. It has been important for West Virginians throughout the state’s history, serving both[read more]

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