Big Cat Comeback, World’s First Home Hydrogen Battery – Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-02-08

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a guest blog from musician Amy Woodburn who has partnered with a young singer to create songs for climate change. We also have stories that feature how big cats are coming back in Argentina, how Ikea is helping preserve a forest, Elon Musk’s investment in new carbon technology, and what is touted as being the world’s first home hydrogen battery.

Thank you to our newest patrons, Marianna and Gina from Mother Daughter Earth for their contribution.

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ISYLA: Songs for Change on Climate

by Amy Woodburn

Just before the world went mad (or madder) in January 2020, I took the photo below. It pictures the then 18-year-old girl who had agreed to meet me, a mum in her forties, to help me hammer an action plan for my hair-brained idea that I could effect change on climate with my songwriting.

I didn’t know singer Lizzie at all really when I took the picture. I had only met her fleetingly at the end of a local Extinction Rebellion meeting. I knew she was passionate about climate action and music. And that she had good jumpers (sweaters), and that was pretty much it. [read more]

The Happy Eco News – Weekly Top 5:

  1. Why Ikea just bought an 11,000-acre forest in Georgia

In southeast Georgia, a forest covering nearly 11,000 acres was at risk of being split up and developed. But a conservation organization acquired the land to protect it—and Ikea’s parent company, Ingka Group, just bought it under a contract that will continue to protect the local ecosystem. For Ikea, it’s one piece of a strategy to become “climate positive” by 2030 , meaning that the company will reduce more greenhouse gas emissions than it emits through its value chain. As the company slashes emissions directly by using renewable energy, shifting to electric delivery vehicles, rethinking materials, and implementing new business models such as taking back old furniture and repairing it for resale, it’s also turning to trees to suck CO2 from the atmosphere. In Georgia, the company acquired the forest from a nonprofit called the Conservation Fund. The group buys up working forests—meaning they’re places where wood is harvested—and puts in place permanent easements that mean the land can never be broken up in a future sale and the native forest will be protected and restored as habitat for local species. (In this case, the forest, near Georgia’s Altamaha River Basin, is a habitat for the gopher … [read more]

 

2. Elon Musk Pledges $100 Million for Carbon Capture Technology

Carbon Capture SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk lobbed an environmental grenade into the discourse Thursday evening, promising to pony up a substantial $100 million toward a prize for new carbon capture technology. “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” he wrote, enigmatically. Technologically, Musk is referring to an umbrella of yet-unrealized concepts that would attempt to arrest climate change by sucking carbon out of the air and either making use of it or simply sequestering it where it can’t cause any further warming. It’s a cool idea, but experts worry that it’ll never scale enough to make a difference to the global climate — or even that it’ll give corporations an excuse to maintain bad environmental habits. Financially, the context is that Musk has had an extraordinary run of financial luck lately due to soaring Tesla stock, briefly becoming the world’s wealthiest person before being bumped off the top spot again by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. The wealth boost seems to have put him in a charitable frame of mind; earlier this month, he was publicly soliciting ideas for how to donate money. Details Hazy As with all things in Muskworld, though, the … [read more]

 

3. This is the World’s First Home Hydrogen Battery

Hydrogen House Australian energy company Lavo is throwing down the gauntlet to Tesla’s Powerwall with a home battery storage system that doesn’t conventional batteries at all, New Atlas reports — opting for hydrogen as fuel instead. For both systems, the idea is to soak up any excess energy generated through solar or wind energy systems, as well as provide an emergency ration of power in case the grid ever fails. Lavo’s massive battery, which it’s calling the Green Energy Storage System, is technically an electrolysis unit that can generate hydrogen from water, store it, and then turn it into electricity using a fuel cell, much like a hydrogen vehicle. Thanks to its massive 40 kilowatt-hours capacity, Lavo’s battery has nearly three times the capacity of Tesla’s current-gen Powerwall 2. That’s plenty of energy to power an average home for two days straight — and a strident shot across the industry’s bow. All That Power Lavo says its system will last longer than lithium battery systems thanks to its reliance on hydrogen gas rather than the chemicals in a conventional battery. It’s also technically more environmentally friendly as it doesn’t use as many rare earth metals. But then there’s also … [read more]

 

4. 6 Home Energy Trends for 2021

A number of trends are converging to make 2021 a year of big changes to our home energy use. With an increased focus on climate change, the widespread popularity of smart home technology, and falling prices for clean energy options, the pace of adoption of new energy technologies for homes is increasing rapidly. Here are the top six home energy trends that will have the biggest impact on most people in 2021. 1. Smart homes will get energy smarts 2021 will be the year smart homes have energy intelligence built into them to help combat climate change. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Zigbee are collaborating on interoperability standards that connect smart devices. The next step is energy awareness. Today, your home might have smart LED bulbs or smart thermostats that help you reduce your energy usage. In 2021, smart homes will get smarter about how much electricity the entire home is using. For example, you’ll be able to get feedback that helps you reduce energy waste and adjust home energy use to match the grid conditions. 2. Growth in clean energy There will be continued momentum toward solar adoption. With prices for solar dropping and solar mandates from … [read more]

 

5. Big cat comeback: Jaguars prowl Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands after 70 years

Conservationists recently released three jaguars — a mother and two cubs — into Gran Iberá Park in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province in an attempt to rewild the local ecosystem. Jaguars haven’t been present in the Iberá Wetlands for the past 70 years, after hunting and habitat loss drove them to local extinction. The ultimate goal of the jaguar reintroduction program is to re-establish a healthy, genetically diverse population of jaguars in Gran Iberá Park, which has the capacity to hold about 100 jaguars, according to conservationists. It’s been 70 years since jaguars left their round, four-toed footprints in the ground of the Iberá Wetlands, a 1.3-million-hectare (3.2-million-acre) tract of swamps, waterways, and islands in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province. But things are changing now. Two weeks ago, conservationists opened up a pen that held two 4-month-old jaguar cubs, Karai and Porã, and their mother, Mariua, giving them free and open access to Gran Iberá Park, a 709,717-hectare (1.75-million-acre) park established in 2018 by the NGO Tompkins Conservation. This release is part of a grand scheme to rewild the Iberá Wetlands by reinstating several species, including the jaguar ( Panthera onca ), which was driven to local extinction due to … [read more]

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