Protecting Mexico’s Ecosystems & Investing in Carbon Removal- Top 5 Happy Eco News – 2021-08-09

Finally, the rains came. Until yesterday, near my home in British Columbia, there was smoke in the air from forest fires hundreds of kilometers away. Huge in scale, some of these fires are bigger than entire US states. The smoke has been here in varying amounts all summer, but for now, it is raining, the air has cooled, and the thick acrid smoke is gone. My hope is that the men and women who have been tirelessly battling the fires get a reprieve.

Forest fire is part of nature and healthy for the forest that it consumes, but this year the haze that hangs over us is different. A wildfire season out of control has consumed homes, businesses, countless animals, and human lives. The smoke is a stark reminder of the damaging actions of the past and an ever-hotter future. But we are not alone. The people in Russia, Turkey, Greece, California, Oregon, and so many others suffer along with us.

Once a picturesque small town, Lytton BC has been destroyed by wildfire. Photograph: Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

Finally, in this year of pandemic and suffering, regular people are waking up and beginning to demand action. For the first time in the 5 or more years that I have observed these huge fires (and subsequent smoke), the people affected are beginning to really talk about climate change. Many of these people, the ones affected the most, are those that live in rural areas and often work in forestry, mining, oil & gas, or other extractive industries. Like many people reliant on these heavy industries for their livelihoods, many have been resistant to admit that these industries may actually be making things worse. Debilitating fire smoke all summer is NOT normal, losing entire towns is not normal. Finally, they see that while change is scary and uncertain, a future of more fires and more smoke is even scarier and can no longer be denied.

Actually, no, it’s not fine. It’s an emergency and we need to act like our house is on fire – because it is.

Finally, people are waking up and taking action on a scale larger than before. If not for them, for their children. Despite the smoke and destruction, and with the COP26 climate conference just around the corner in October, we have reason to hope that real climate action will proceed with the urgency that the crisis demands.

It is up to us all to take action. Do your part. Call or write your local officials and demand that they represent the people who elect them.

Grant Brown, Founder, Happy Eco News

Now, on to the good news!

Thanks for reading the Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5 newsletter.

This week we have a blog post by Champi Alvarez the community manager of Hurakaan Eco-Táctica and she tells us about the social and environmental initiatives taken by this NGO and all of the people who help make it possible. We also have stories about the five places where ecosystems are being restored, the shift in plant species, Spotify’s investment to kickstart demand in carbon removal, how companies are upcycling food, and a beverage company whose mission is to connect people to clean water.

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A Movement Born for the Conservation, Restoration and Defense of Mexico’s Ecosystems

Guest post by: Champi Alvarez, community manager of Hurakaan Eco-Táctica

There are people around the world who genuinely bring their best self to have an impact on changing our world for the better. People from all backgrounds, cultures and education that have been slowly but fiercely gathering towards the same goal: preserving and restoring our wonderful planet’s ecosystems. And although these places have been needing the attention that has been slowly gathering around their current state for a long time, the actions that are happening now are crucial to help them. In Mexico, these changes have been coming from people in communities and organizations that work towards social and environmental wellbeing by focusing their actions towards the cause of making a better world for the future of all living beings and all habitats. A movement that was born for the conservation, restoration, dissemination and defense of Mexico’s ecosystems, ‘Hurakaan Eco Táctica’, a non-profit Civil Association, gathers a group of people that have relentlessly been fighting for the improvement of the country’s natural beauty. The word ‘Hurakaan’ refers to ‘hurricane’; and the name “Hurakaan – Eco Táctica’” refers to being in a constant environmental and social struggle, working towards the conservation and restoration of the ecosystems…[read more].

The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5

  1. 5 places where ecosystems are being restored around the world

The ocean is getting warmer and more acidic, bleaching colorful, fish-filled coral reefs across the Seychelles. Ecosystems are being damaged by the human impact on our planet. Global warming and plastic pollution have damaged habitats, putting those living within them at risk. Restoring these ecosystems is vital to restore biodiversity around the world, with added benefits to humans. Examples of ecosystem restoration around the world include peatlands, oceans, coasts, and grasslands. The world’s ecosystems are under threat. Fires are turning biodiverse forests in California and wetlands in Argentina and Brazil into charred landscapes. The ocean is getting warmer and more acidic, bleaching colorful, fish-filled coral reefs across the Seychelles. The abuse of the soil, exacerbated by overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, is damaging the long-term economic and ecological health of struggling farm communities in China. These threats — such as commodity agriculture, climate change and overfishing — are specific to every land and seascape. But all forms of ecosystem degradation have one thing in common: When people hurt ecosystems, they also hurt economies, biodiversity and the climate. The damage is reversible, though. Restoring degraded ecosystems is not only possible, but it makes economic sense, too. Thousands of … [read more].

  1. As Climate Warms, a Rearrangement of World’s Plant Life Looms

Ponderosa pine, now widely distributed in North America, were exceedingly rare during the last ice age. Some 56 million years ago, just after the Paleocene epoch gave way to the Eocene, the world suddenly warmed. Scientists continue to debate the ultimate cause of the warming, but they agree on its proximate cause: A huge burst of carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere, raising Earth’s average temperature by 7 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), as this event is known, is “the best geologic analog” for modern anthropogenic climate change, said University of Wyoming paleobotanist Ellen Currano. She studies how the PETM’s sudden warmth affected plants. Darwin famously compared the fossil record to a tattered book missing most of its pages and with all but a few lines obscured. The PETM, which lasted roughly 200,000 years, bears out the analogy. Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin is the only place on Earth where scientists have found plant macrofossils (visible to the naked eye, that is) that date to the PETM. The fossil leaves that Currano and her colleagues have found there paint a vivid portrait. Before the PETM, she said, there lived a forest of cypress, sycamores, alders, dogwoods, walnuts and… [read more].

  1. Shopify to spend $5 million per year “to kickstart demand in carbon removal”

Shopify’s Sustainability Fund is pumping $5 million into projects that remove atmospheric carbon and publishing the results so other companies can follow its lead, fund director Stacy Kauk told Dezeen. Established in September last year, the fund “intentionally overpays for carbon removal, funding pilot projects and generating demand to kickstart the market and drive down future prices.” The Canadian e-commerce brand is sharing its research on its website and in a free downloadable 50-page “playbook” document. Above: Stacy Kauk is director of Shopify’s Sustainability Fund. Top: Shopify has created an animation illustrating types of businesses its Sustainability Fund is backing “We wanted to share those commitments so that people can get familiar with the companies and learn about our selection process and the research that we’ve done,” Kauk said. “It allows folks that don’t have an engineer or a scientist on staff doing deep dives into the technical world of carbon removal to know that these are vetted companies. It can give you the confidence to follow along.” Shopify provides services including payment and shipping tools to over 1.7 million online retailers. It is committing money to climate initiatives because it’s “on a mission to be a 100-year… [read more].

  1. Breaking the cycle with upcycled food

ReGrained upcycles leftover grain from breweries to cooks creating baked goods. Soon — just as the plastic milk gallon in the dairy aisle and the beer can in the alcohol section have the three arrows signaling the packaging is recyclable — food products at grocery stores will have a new label to indicate the product is made with upcycled ingredients. Upcycling takes byproducts of a process — in this case, food production — that normally would be considered trash and incorporates them into new products for consumption. On the eve of the Upcycled Food Association ’s (UFA) launch of a certification and packaging label for upcycled products, Alesha Hartley, certification manager of the Upcycled Food Association, and four member companies talked about the challenges facing the upcycled food world at GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 21 conference. Matriark Foods takes remnants of fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, and creates vegetable broths and purees for schools, hospitals and food banks. But the hardest part for the company wasn’t the food, it was the paperwork. “I think if we knew how complicated that would have been before we started, maybe we would have given up before we even started,” said Anna Hammond… [read more].

  1. FreeWater is the startup connecting people to free, clean water

A new philanthropic marketing startup based out of Austin, Texas is providing companies with a way to advertise while doing good. FreeWater provides beverages in eco-friendly, BPA-free packaging paid for by the ads printed directly onto the bottles. Companies can choose to either distribute them for free or sell them for a profit. Beverages are packaged in aluminum bottles or paper cartons. FreeWater will donate 10 cents from each beverage to charities that build water wells for people in need in Africa. “When you do the math, we only need 10% of Americans to choose our free product so we can solve the global water crisis permanently,” said Josh Cliffords, Founder + CEO. “That’s water wells or systems put in place for 800 million people in need. And each time we introduce a new product it will donate to a different charitable cause.” Cliffords created the startup after volunteering with refugees who had little access to clean water. According to FreeWater, 800 million people are living without safe drinking water, and 3.6 billion people live in areas that suffer from water scarcity at least one month per year. “I wanted to change the experience of giving to charity and… [read more].

 

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