Ocean Science & When Life Gives You Oranges – Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-03-15

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have Dr. Christine A. Ward-Paige, a marine scientist to talk about eOceans – a platform designed to track the ocean in real-time. We also have stories about how waste oranges are being used for electricity, a skyscraper that purifies the air, the new green paper sector, an innovative way to heat homes, and what happens when a country breaches environmental law.

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People- Powered Ocean Science

Guest Post By: Dr. Christine A. Ward- Paige

What is eOceans? 

As a marine scientist, I always meet locals who are adamant that I’m studying the wrong thing, looking in the wrong place, or that decisions are misinformed because they are missing the local perspective. I created eOceans as a platform for marine scientists, ocean explorers, communities, governments, and other organizations to track the ocean together in real-time.

The problem we solve 

Everything we know about the world’s ocean and its influence on society depends on the important discoveries made by marine scientists. The problem is that science can be a slow process, with people working on different projects in different places all over the world. We are still making one observation at a time, writing it all down, and analyzing for one question at a time. As a result, our findings lag years to decades behind business, society, and ocean change. People who explore the ocean see change happening all the time. eOceans is fixing this by reinventing the way marine science is done, making it accessible to everyone as it happens… [read more]  

Sponsored: Solving the Plastics Problem: Cox Enterprises Invests in Nexus Fuels 

Nexus Fuels, LLC (Nexus), a leading circular waste-plastics operation, has secured a major investment from Cox Enterprises to accelerate its market expansion. Nexus converts waste plastics, formerly bound for landfills and oceans, back into their original components so they can be used to create new materials. Nexus’ environmentally friendly recycling process can convert waste plastics into virgin plastic precursors and resins that partners, like Shell and Chevron Phillips, can use to develop entirely new products.

Recent reports by the American Chemistry Council, Plastics News, McKinsey & Company, Inc., and others highlight the urgency of addressing environmental challenges posed by the growth in plastics waste. Nexus proves that plastics can positively meet society’s needs in their original form and then be converted into new products like furniture, home appliances and medical equipment — creating an infinite, circular lifecycle for plastics. This circular economy also reduces the need to continually mine for fossil fuels – delivering the tangible results the marketplace seeks. [read more]

This Week’s Top 5 Happy Eco News

  1. Seville’s plan to turn oranges into electricity

Spanish engineers have updated the old citrus cliché, bringing it into the eco era — when life gives you oranges, make electricity. In Seville, they’re repurposing the many tons of fruit that the city’s 48,000 orange trees drop in the streets. Instead of a sticky, pulpy wintertime hazard, the methane from these rotting oranges will soon generate clean energy . Seville’s municipal water company, Emasesa, will start this new program by using 35 tons of fruit in a facility that already turns organic matter into electricity. The methane captured from fermenting oranges will drive the generators for water purification plants. If the orange experiment is successful, old fruit could one day supply the grid with surplus power . Scientists report that early trials show that 1,000 kilograms of oranges can fuel five homes for a day. If all of Seville’s oranges were harvested, they could power 73,000 homes. Recent: Vincent Callebaut proposes a green, food-producing footbridge for Paris “We hope that soon we will be able to recycle all the city’s oranges,” said Benigno López, the head of Emasesa’s environmental department, as reported by The Guardian . “The juice is fructose made up of very short carbon chains and … [read more]

  1. A skyscraper will purify Shenzhen’s air with aquaponic gardens

Zaha Hadid Architects has been crowned a competition winner for its proposed design of Tower C at Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, a planned business and financial center that will serve the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. Informed by 3D-modeling tools, the skyscraper features a futuristic, energy-efficient design with terraced levels, dramatic curves and expansive glazing. The project targets high-performance energy standards with environmentally friendly elements such as water collection and recycling as well as aquaponic gardens to help purify the air. Located within a global technology hub, the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base will accommodate 300,000 employees every day and include residential developments, a transportation center, venues for international conferences, exhibitions, cultural and art programming and a landscaping plan with native grasslands and coastal wetlands. Tower C, which will be located at the intersection of the Shenzhen’s planned north-south green axis and the east-west urban corridor, will serve as a “multidimensional vertical city” housing a mix of programming including offices, retail, dining, entertainment amenities, a hotel, convention center and a variety of cultural facilities. The building will be located above a subterranean public transport interchange served by the expanding Shenzhen Metro network. Taking inspiration… [read more]

3The new green paper sector doesn’t need trees

Canopy executive director Nicole Rycroft stands next to straw bales at Columbia Pulp Mill in Washington. Rycroft photo For Nicole Rycroft, the first modern, tree-free commercial-scale pulp mill in North America was a “lightbulb moment” about the climate crisis. The new mill in eastern Washington state, called Columbia Pulp , runs entirely without woodchips. Instead, it makes pulp, for paper products like tissues and food containers, out of some of the hundreds of millions of tonnes of wheat straw that is left over after farmers harvest their grain. Rycroft, as the founder and executive director of Vancouver non-profit Canopy , has been advocating for new technologies that take advantage of agricultural residues, food waste or old clothing, and turns them into everyday products, without the need for trees. Her pitch is straightforward: climate scientists say conserving the world’s forests is key to slowing climate change, yet three billion trees per year currently go into paper packaging and another 200 million into clothing. Meanwhile, there are tonnes of alternative fibre sources destined for landfills or the burn pile that can be made useful again, even accounting for some left over to ensure the organic integrity of the soil. But convincing… [read more]

4.Thames Water hopes to harness human ‘poo power’ to heat homes

Thousands of homes in south-west London could soon be warmed by the waste from their local sewage works as part of England’s first poo-powered district heating scheme. Thames Water hopes to harness the heat of human waste from its treatment plant in Kingston upon Thames to warm more than 2,000 new homes that form part of a regeneration plan for the borough’s Cambridge Road estate. Typically, the water company flushes the clean warm water that remains after it has treated its customers’ sewage back into a local river system as effluent. But under the new plan it will funnel the warm water to an energy centre where the effluent will help heat the water destined to warm local homes. The new Thames Water energy centre will use heat pumps to boost the temperature of the water higher, and heat exchangers to transfer the heat of the waste water to a separate system of water pipes which will carry hot water to the district heating scheme . Caroline Kerr, the leader of Kingston council, described the scheme to turn waste into clean energy as a “groundbreaking” step to help make the homes on the Kingston estate some of the greenest… [read more]

  1. EU takes Germany to court for breaching environment laws

At issue is the country’s failure to implement the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive which focuses on the conservation of natural areas, wildlife, and plants. The European Commission filed suit against Germany in the European Court of Justice, the bloc’s highest court, for long running violations of existing nature conservation laws. For years, the Commission in Brussels has been criticizing Germany for violating the EU’s Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive, as have domestic environmental organizations. “According to the latest information from the authorities, Germany has still not designated a significant number of areas as special protection areas,” the Commission wrote in a statement released on Thursday. “Therefore, the Commission is taking Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union.” 1 | 9 Environment Ministry sees demands as excessive Describing the situation as “legal dissonance” with Brussels, Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry responded by saying that the Commission’s demands went “too far,” in the opinion of the both the federal and state governments. Their implementation would “mean an immense financial and administrative effort.” In 2019 the Commission had raised “new allegations regarding the setting of detailed conservation targets and the publication of management plans,” as the ministry put it. It said that, in… [read more]

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