Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-05-24
Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a blog post by Isamary Hernandez, the creator of ISAVIBESHOP, and why she started an eco-friendly cleaning product company. We also have stories about the solar and wind energy transition, how to reduce your carbon footprint with food, green groups in Belize buying a forest to protect it, climate change images that have an impact, and thriving coral reefs in Australia.
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I was born in a very small country in South America. We used to reuse everything we could, not with the intention of saving the environment, but just out of necessity.
When I was 10 years old, we moved to Canada and our whole life changed, even the way we consume things. North America has a culture of just buying a lot of stuff that we don’t really need and for some reason, compared to Europe, we are really under developed when it comes to living sustainably.
When I moved out of my parent’s house during my college years, I started to educate myself about our impact on the earth. I learned that we need immediate change in our consumption because we do not have unlimited resources; there’s a mathematical contradiction between a linear economy and the cyclic way that nature works. I then started my eco-friendly journey,… [read more].
The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5
Arguably, the fastest change in global energy systems in history is underway. In 2020, new solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind capacity comprised 75% of global net new generation capacity (Figure 1) according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. New PV and wind capacity was 10 times larger than net new hydro and coal capacity and 100 times larger than net new nuclear, carbon capture & storage, bioenergy, geothermal, solar thermal and ocean energy generation capacity.
Extravagant deployment growth rates are required for other low-emission technologies to catch PV and wind… [read more].
The-Tor via Getty Images Greenhouse gases — water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons — are causing the Earth to get warmer, thus leading to more natural disasters, health issues and food supply disruptions. To reduce humans’ carbon footprint (the average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons per year, compared to the global average of 4), individuals and institutions can adopt a climate-friendly diet or a low-carbon diet, because what we eat matters. “If each and every person in the United States gave up meat and dairy products on one or more days of the week, ideally, all days of the week, we would save the environment from thousands of tons of carbon emissions,” wrote Dana Hunnes for UCLA Sustainability. “Similarly, by reducing our animal-based foods consumption, we would reduce our water use at least by half as animal husbandry utilizes more than 50% of fresh water.” Hunnes pointed out that though 1 pound of tofu has half the protein beef does, it only costs 6 gallons of water per gram of protein versus 20 to 80 gallons of water per gram of protein for beef. In 2018, Joseph…[read more].
These logs are historic,” says Elma Kay, standing in Belize Maya Forest, where she has been doing an inventory of felled trees. “These are the last logs that were cut here, for mahogany and other hardwoods, left behind by the previous logging company.” Trees will no longer be cut down in this 950 sq km (236,000-acre) area, after the land was bought by a coalition of conservation organisations to save one of the world’s last pristine rainforests from deforestation. “The forest will now be protected in perpetuity,” says Kay. The news is timed to coincide with Earth Day, the annual event established in 1970 to mobilise action on environmental issues. The newly named Belize Maya Forest is part of 150,000 sq km (38m acres) of tropical forest across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala known as the Selva Maya, a biodiversity hotspot and home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species. “The minute you start driving through the forest, it’s teeming with biodiversity,” says Kay, one of the directors of the locally run Belize Maya Forest Trust. “I can’t tell you how many ocellated turkeys we saw … [read more].
Remember when I said we should make Drake drag around a balloon the size of a blimp to illustrate his carbon emissions, to see, in living bling, his invisible carbon footprint? Of course, you don’t, because it was a muddy and vague visual. Barry Saxifrage has conveyed this idea so much more brilliantly by visualizing our unseeable emissions with a very seeable metaphor: straws. And, well, it induces shock and straw. Saxifrage examines the disconnect between how Canadians want to see ourselves (climate leaders! ) and what we really are ( climate laggards! ) by going deep on trying to represent the average Canadian vehicle’s carbon emissions with straws. He uses two plastic straws to represent each gram of CO₂. In so doing, he can quickly visually articulate our emissions. When driving, we emit the equivalent of 15 straws every second, or 400 straws per kilometer. Yes, 400 straws EVERY KILOMETER. (Note: he’s using plastic pollution to convey our overall climate pollution. See handy and frightening chart below.) Canada has the dubious distinction of driving the world’s dirtiest cars and trucks, with the U.S. coming in a very close second. (Readers in other parts of the… [read more].
- Rowley Shoals: thriving Australian reef shows what’s possible when ecosystems are untouched by humans
What would a tropical reef look like if it could escape the man-made perils of global heating and overfishing? A new study suggests it would look like Rowley Shoals, an isolated archipelago of reefs 260km off Australia’s north-west coast. “As soon as you jump in you realise there’s something special,” said fish biologist Matthew Birt. “The coral cover is amazing.” Birt has just led a study on the three reefs that make up the uninhabited Rowley Shoals, using cameras with baits that allowed Birt and colleagues to analyse the marine life over 14 years. The study found the relative isolation of Rowley Shoals, protections from commercial fishing, and its shape and location has sustained threatened species and rich biodiversity during a time of “unprecedented degradation of coral reefs” elsewhere around the world. Giant fish like the humphead Maori wrasse and humphead parrotfish – both growing to more than 1.5m – were seen regularly at Rowley Shoals, despite their globally threatened status. “What was remarkable was there was no real change in the abundance [of fish] through time. We don’t see any evidence of decline,” said Birt, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (Aims). The humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)… [read more].
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