The Sustainable Secret to Happiness & the Top 5 Happy Eco News Stories for October 4, 2021

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In BC where I live, we are now fully in the fall. The leaves on the trees are turning colour, the warmth of sunny days transitions quickly to the chill of late afternoon and an early dusk. Despite the cooler weather, autumn might just be my favourite season. As much as I love the summer, I love the fall. I love it despite the shorter, darker days and increased rain, and because of the sheer beauty of the wild places near me at this time of year. I love it for the wild wind storms that showcase mother nature’s fury and strength. I love it for the quiet of the parks and camping areas, and the knowledge that these highly utilized, semi-wild places finally have a break from people, regenerating until the next human onslaught of spring and summer.

Here in the Pacific North West, all our rivers large and small will soon be full of wild salmon, bringing a huge surge of nutrients into the heart of the coastal forests. At higher elevations, the rivers run fast and full, raging down the steep inclines of our Rocky Mountains, to slow in the lower gradient, freestone sections where the salmon splash in the shallows, spawn and then die, their life cycle complete. The coastal forests themselves are dark, quiet, and full of life, even in this cool, slower metabolism season. Creatures of all sizes, from eagles to bears, follow the riverbanks, feeding and dispersing the nutrients from the sea that are contained in the salmon’s very flesh, the elements of which can be found in the plants and animals so far from the ocean.

As the fourth quarter of the year begins, we can finally forget the heat, dryness, and fires of summer. As the days get shorter, we instinctively look to our dry, warm dens for comfort. In my mind, this comfort is made even better by an exhilarating day outside, in the crisp air of wild places.

Grant Brown, Founder, Happy Eco News

This week we have a blog post by Hamish Dunham, the founder of Kun Eco who tells us about how living a sustainable lifestyle can lead to happiness.  We also have stories about the carbon legislation law passed by Colorado, aquaponics which could be the future of agriculture, West Midland’s as the UK’s fastest-growing network of electric car chargers, Gradient’s cooling and heating system with a low carbon footprint, and how to eat an environmentally friendly diet.

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Eco-conscious People Are Happier People

Guest post by: Hamish Dunham, founder of Kun Eco

What makes people happy? It’s the age old question that has divided philosophers, psychologists, and even regular Joe’s like you and I.

Take a minute to think about the last time you felt particularly happy. Was it when you were with family and friends? Did you nail that big project at work? Was it when your team won the big game against their rivals? Was it on pay day when you saw your hard earned cash flow into your account? Or, when you bought that new house plant?

Research suggests that there’s no clear recipe for happiness. Instead, it seems that happiness is a subjective experience influenced by some obvious and some not so obvious factors. As a Happy Eco News reader and, presumably, a bit of an eco-warrior, you’ll be pleased to know that one of these contributing factors might be your sustainable lifestyle…[read more].

Sponsored Post: Working in harmony with nature: successful sustainability 

By: Jacqueline Watson, Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

Over 25 years ago, our founder, Dr Paul Clarke, a tropical disease specialist, travelled to Southeast Asia and, during his trip, learnt about the use of Eucalyptus citriodora oil as a naturally derived insect repellent. Dr Clarke partnered with his friend and future co-founder, Ian Hughes-Guy, to determine if the oil’s insect repellence efficacy could be verified through the rigour of scientific testing. After extensive research, they confirmed that the locally sourced remedy was equal to the most effective synthetic alternatives and it was this discovery that inspired them to found Citrefine and manufacture Citriodiol®, a plant based active substance for insect repellents. Today, there are three effective synthetic insect repellents for consumers to choose from, but only one effective naturally sourced repellent, which is the active substance derived from the Eucalyptus citriodora trees. Essential oil production is an inherently green business and, with the rising demand for ‘natural’ personal care products, such as insect repellent, comes a growing responsibility to recognise the impact of energy and resource intensive activities, such as manufacturing and production, on the environment and to implement a robust series of measures to minimise the consequences…[read more].

The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5

Colorado Passes Embodied Carbon Legislation

It is unlikely that you know how much carbon was produced by making your driveway. But if you did, you might think about ways to build it better. That is the concept behind the “Buy Clean Colorado” legislation signed into law July 6 by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Under the new law, future public construction projects will have to meet clear environmental criteria for the use of seven common construction materials. With the passage of HB21-1303: Global Warming Potential for Public Project Materials (the formal name of the Buy Clean Colorado legislation), Colorado joins a growing group of states pursuing an untapped opportunity for carbon reductions: The carbon “embodied” in public buildings and roads. With a goal to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050, Colorado has some of the most ambitious climate goals among U.S. states. This legislation will help the state to meet these bold targets…[read more].

  1. Aquaponics: The future of agriculture?

Like a shimmering purple spaceship, the glowing greenhouse stands in the middle of an old dairy factory in an Eindhoven industrial park in the Netherlands. It can’t fly — but if the founders of the startup Phood Farm have their way, their business will soon take off. They hope the future of agriculture will be birthed here. The method used by the five young founders to grow up to 200 kilos of lettuce per week on an area smaller than a tennis court is called aquaponics — a combination of aquaculture, or fish farming, and hydroponics, which is growing vegetables in water without soil. The two systems together create a highly resource-efficient water and nutrient cycle.… [read more].

  1. West Midlands overtakes London in UK’s electric car charger revolution

The West Midlands has overtaken London as the region with the fastest-growing network of electric car chargers, thanks to a push by Coventry to rapidly move away from petrol and diesel cars. The number of electric car chargers in the West Midlands rose by a fifth between April and July, according to data from Zap-Map and the Department for Transport. That compared with growth of 12.6% in the east of England. London still attracted the most new charge points in absolute terms, with 309 additions, but the West Midlands, which has a much smaller population, was close behind, with 272. The Climate Change Committee in June described improving the UK’s charging network as a priority for the government before the 2035 ban on new petrol and diesel engines . It said the government should aim for about 150,000 public charge points operating by 2025, “widely available across all regions of the UK”. However, London – with 13% of the population – still accounts for 31% of public chargers as charging companies cater for its wealthier citizens. The UK had 24,400 public chargers in July, up from 15,000 in October 2019 when the DfT first started publishing comparable data… [read more].

  1. Gradient offers cooling and heating with a lower energy footprint

As the Earth continues to warm, passive designs for natural ventilation and heating are no longer enough in many areas. To escape extreme temperatures in either direction, effective air conditioning and warming are becoming an increasingly essential element of home design. Yet, it comes at a cost to the environment in the form of high energy usage. A company called Gradient has set out to change that with a window unit that’s efficient, innovative and climate friendly. Centralized heat pumps have been growing in popularity because of their energy-efficient technology. But those centralized systems are overtly expensive and unattainable by many. Gradient solves both problems with an affordable, compact window unit that can replace any bulky, loud window unit. Another unique feature of the design is the way it drops below the surface of the window, so it doesn’t block the view, eliminating the eyesore of most window units. Plus, it’s easy to install, taking about 15 minutes with minimal tools. The innovation introduces an attainable way to cool spaces, but also produces heat. That means it can heat and cool any space with a window. Although the company says it hasn’t received an official efficiency rating, it states that … [read more].

  1. How To Eat A More Environmentally Friendly Diet

The food that you eat contributes massively toward your individual carbon footprint, as each meal or snack can either help to save the planet or speed up its destruction. Unfortunately, there are so many popular foods that are causing a variety of different environmental issues, from deforestation to toxic waste, so it’s never been more important for you to make a positive change. If you’d like to find out more about how you can eat a more environmentally friendly diet, then simply read on to uncover an array of handy hacks and top quality tips that you can make the most of now!  … [read more].

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