Mother and Daughter Take Action and a Major Win for the Climate -Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-06-07

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter. This week we have a blog post from Mother Daughter Earth, and they tell us about the actions they took to promoting environmental change. We also have stories about tech firms focusing on human health and sustainability, the benefits of installing solar panels on canals, environmental legislation reinstated by US Democrats, a court order for Royal Dutch Shell to reduce emissions, and a ban on captive lion facilities in South Africa.

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Mother Daughter Earth’s Journey to Promoting Environmental Change

Guest post by: Mother Daughter Earth

A few years ago, my daughter and I decided to investigate how we and other people could make changes in our lives that would decrease our daily carbon footprint and help reverse global warming and climate change.

We thought we already knew a lot about this topic, since we had been living what we thought was pretty eco-consciously for years. My daughter was a Harvard educated Environmental Engineer, but it quickly became abundantly obvious that we had put ourselves onto an amazing path of learning and development that neither of us could have expected.

Our journey

Our journey started in 2019 when we decided to write a blog for 100 consecutive days with different tips and ideas on how to live a sustainable lifestyle. We read books and did research and learned so much about the complexities and sometimes the simplicity of our environment and how we all fit into this perfect natural web that humans have significantly affected and altered. Then, in 2020, we started a weekly podcast program where we interview industry leaders and cover a wide range of thought-provoking topics. This, too, has been a tremendous learning opportunity for us, and the people we have interviewed have significantly changed the way we view the world and lead our lives… [read more].

The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5

  1. Community solar, urban trees and the digitization of employee engagement

A perennial concern of corporate sustainability professionals — how to nurture employee buy-in for the organization’s programs and strategy — easily could have been sidelined during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies everywhere shifted to accommodate remote workforces. But heightened awareness about environmental and social issues over the past year has made these initiatives more timely than ever. Leading companies, including tech firms Microsoft and Akamai, are expanding their focus into new realms — ones that explore the intersection of sustainability and human health, or that allow employees to take action to reduce their own impact at home and in the communities where they live. “Many employees want to live out their personal values at work and are asking for these programs,” said Richard Keiser, CEO and founder of community solar company Common Energy, during the GreenBiz webcast last week about engaging employees in sustainability. Over the past several years, Common Energy has developed and refined a Clean Energy Benefits program, through which a company’s employees can enroll in community solar projects as a way of addressing their personal… [read more].

  1. Installing Solar Panels Over California’s Canals Could Yield Water, Land, Air and Climate Payoffs

Climate change and water scarcity are front and center in the western U.S. The region’s climate is warming, a severe multi-year drought is underway and groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many locations. Western states are pursuing many strategies to adapt to these stresses and prepare for the future. These include measures to promote renewable energy development, conserve water, and manage natural and working lands more sustainably. As engineers working on climate-smart solutions, we’ve found an easy win-win for both water and climate in California with what we call the “solar canal solution.” About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money. Conserving Water and Land California is prone to drought… [read more].

  1. Democrats Vote To Undo First Trump-Era Regulation — On Climate

Senate Democrats voted to reinstate federal limits on methane emissions on Wednesday, overturning their first Trump-era regulation by using a time-sensitive legislative maneuver afforded to them under the Congressional Review Act. President Donald Trump ’s administration rolled back the Obama-era rule last year despite opposition from some large oil and gas companies. Congressional Democrats pledged to restore it as a way to combat global climate change. Speaking with reporters ahead of the vote, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) called it “the most important environmental vote of this decade.” Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) joined every Democrat in voting to reinstate the rule. Methane gas is often released from wells during oil and gas production. It’s more potent than carbon dioxide and is a powerful contributor to global warming. Toxic chemicals and air pollutants are also released alongside methane that can lead to cancer, birth defects and respiratory issues. Plumes of methane that are invisible to the naked eye routinely spill out of industrial facilities. In northwestern New Mexico, for example, a huge methane cloud is even visible by satellite, threatening Indigenous communities. Democrats made the case for reinstating limits on methane as… [read more].

4. Climate landmark: Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut emissions

A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by net 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels in a landmark case brought by climate activism groups, which hailed the decision as a victory for the planet. The Hague District Court ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and that its current reduction plans were not concrete enough. The decision could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world. Activists gathered outside the courtroom erupted into cheers as the decision was read out loud. “The climate won today,” said Roger Cox, a lawyer for the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, which was one of the organizations behind the case. “This ruling will change the world. Worldwide, people are in the starting blocks to take legal action against oil companies following our example,” Cox added. The Hague court did not say how Royal… [read more].

  1. South Africa pulls the plug on controversial captive lion industry

The South African government has made a critical decision to ban captive lion facilities in South Africa, and to halt the commercial use of captive lions and their derivatives, according to a new report. This move is being hailed by conservationists and animal welfare advocates who have worked for years to expose the myriad of welfare issues associated with this industry. The recommendations in the report still need to go through a legal ratification process, but experts are hopeful that things will move forward in a positive way. There are between 8,000 and 12,000 lions being held in captive facilities, many of which have historically offered canned hunting, lion petting and lion walking experiences. The South African government has made a landmark decision to end the nation’s captive lion breeding industry. This includes closing down facilities that offer touristic experiences like canned hunting and lion petting, and halting the commercial use of captive lions and their derivatives. News of this decision was made public May 2, when the government released a much-anticipated that detailed the future management, breeding, hunting, trading and handling of captive lions, as well as other species such as elephants, leopards and rhinoceroses. The high-level panel… [read more].

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