Reducing Waste One Outfit at a Time & the Top 5 Happy Eco News Stories for September 6, 2021
This week we have a blog post by Jamie D’Souza, Content Manager, Happy Eco News. She tells us about why she chooses to shop secondhand and how we can reduce clothing waste. We also have stories about a tropical forest that will grow in Helsinki and provide heat to the city, Greenland’s new government campaign against oil and gas exploration, Madrid’s plan to build an urban forest, the environmental impact and scientific research of Arctic kelp, and how California’s wind farms could power 1.6 million homes.
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Guest post by: Jamie D’Souza, Content Manager at Happy Eco News
I used to play this silly game when I was younger, where I would go through everything I was wearing that day and identify which stores I had gotten each item from – the more stores the better. Today I play a similar game, where I identify which of the items of clothing that I’m wearing are secondhand. You know it’s a good day when the entire outfit has been previously loved! I have to admit, I wasn’t always a fan of secondhand clothing, especially as a teenager. When you’re in high school, you’re surrounded by all the brand names and new styles that literally everyone has and because you so desperately want to fit in, you can’t exactly admit that you’re wearing secondhand clothing (don’t judge me, I’m sure we’ve all been there). Lucky for me I quickly grew out of that phase and I am now more than happy to flaunt my secondhand finds. I have to thank my mom for normalizing this for me. Our endless hours spent at a second-hand store nearby our house, finding furniture, flowerpots, and paintings on the side of the road, and going to garage sales really changed my perspective…[read more].
The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5
A design proposal for a series of tropical islands has just won the Helsinki Energy Challenge. The goal of this contest is to decarbonize heating systems in the capital city by 2030. Projects like Hot Heart by Carlo Ratti Associati are going to make that happen. Hot Heart is a series of islands that store thermal energy and can support tropical forest ecosystems from all over the world. The islands are actually 10 basins that are cylindrical in shape. Each measures almost 740 feet in diameter. The basins serve as hot water reservoirs that are capable of storing millions of gallons of water. The system works like a thermal battery. Four of the 10 reservoirs are enclosed in transparent domes, and this is where the floating forests will thrive. These tropical ecosystems will serve as social gathering spots, and the domes will be warm even during the harsh Helsinki winters. Imagine sitting in a rainforest during the coldest day in Helsinki! Here are the basics of how it works: seawater heat pumps convert wind and solar power into heat, which is stored in the Hot Heart reservoirs. An AI system controls the production and consumption of thermal energy… [read more].
Greenland’s new government campaigned against the resource extraction projects seen by others on the island as a route towards financial and political independence from Denmark Greenland’s natural resources minister Naaja Nathanielsen said the environment and climatic impacts of further oil and gas extraction had been assessed as being “too high” when weighed against potential financial gains and was therefore being stopped. And, not issuing further exploration licenses was a “natural step,” because Greenland took the “climate crisis seriously,” according to the vast Arctic island’s Cabinet led by Prime Minister Mute Agede. “The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect, we have much more to gain,” the cabinet said, stressing sustainable farming of its natural resources such as fisheries stemming from Inuit traditions. Energy minister Kalistat Lund said Greenland was experiencing “the consequences of climate change in our country every day” and took ” climate change seriously.” Its parliament, the Naalakkersuisut, was working to attract new investments “for the large hydropower potential that we cannot exploit ourselves,” Lund said. “This step has been taken for the sake of our nature, for the sake of our fisheries, for the sake of … [read more].
To combat climate change and pollution, Madrid is building a green wall around the city. A 75-kilometre urban forest with nearly half a million new trees “What we want to do is to improve the air quality in the whole city,” says Mariano Fuentes, Madrid’s councillor for the environment and urban development. “To fight the ‘heat island’ effect that is happening inside the city, to absorb the greenhouse emissions generated by the city, and to connect all the existing forest masses that already exist around the city.” The project will also make use of derelict sites lying between roads and buildings to help absorb 175,000 tons of CO2 per year. When finished, Madrid’s ‘green wall’ will be a forest of indigenous trees that can absorb CO2 but also the heat generated by human activity. Temperatures under the shade of these trees are 2 degrees lower than the rest of the city. Madrid’s urban forest is part of a 360-degree approach aiming to make cities more environmentally friendly, beyond just restricting private car use in urban centres, said Fuentes. “It has to be a global strategy,” added Fuentes. “It’s not only about cars, but also a pedestrianisation strategy, the creation… [read more].
In August 2019, an Arctic research vessel, the MV William Kennedy, anchored off the shore of Southampton Island, at the north end of Canada’s Hudson Bay. A group of researchers set off in a Zodiac, across waters that 30 years ago would have been covered with ice, even at this time of the year. Now there was only open water, revealing a seabed that had never before been mapped. Southampton Island was bare of any vegetation—scoured flat by ice. But beneath the waves was vibrant with color. Tangles of Saccharina latissima, or sugar kelp, floated in dense, five-meter canopies, olive green against the Arctic blue. Another algae, Laminaria solidungula, grew wide blades in bushy clumps. A bit deeper, the underwater forest graded to the leafy Agarum clathratum, known as sieve kelp, alongside a variety of red algae. Around the forest, the team found sea stars, brittlestars, clouds of mysid shrimps, and other crustaceans. “It was incredible,” says Karen Filbee-Dexter, who joined the expedition as a then-postdoc in biology at the University of Laval. “Some of those kelps were 10 meters long and really reminded me of those pictures you see off California of giant … [read more].
Several full-scale floating wind farms already operate in Europe and Asia. The future’s booming demand for batteries forges new global alliance Northern California has some of the strongest offshore winds in the U.S. giving it great potential to produce renewable energy. The area could generate 4.6 gigawatts, enough to power 1.6 million homes. The continental shelf drops off quickly, making it expensive and near impossible to install wind turbines. One solution is making the turbines float. Several full-scale floating wind farms are already operating in Europe and Asia. Northern California has some of the strongest offshore winds in the U.S., with immense potential to produce clean energy. But it has a problem. Its continental shelf drops off quickly, making building traditional wind turbines directly on the seafloor costly if not impossible. Once water gets more than about 200 feet deep – roughly the height of an 18-story building – these “monopile” structures are pretty much out of the question. A solution has emerged that’s being tested in several locations around the world: making wind turbines that float. In fact, in California, where drought is putting pressure on the hydropower supply and fires have threatened electricity imports from the… [read more].
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