The Top 5 Happy Eco News Stories for January 10, 2022

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This week we have two blog posts. The first one is by Neil Kitching, the author of Carbon Choices who gives us the solutions we need to remain optimistic about the climate. The second post is by Sharon Michelle, MSc Psychology who tells us the importance of getting connected with nature. We also have stories about the US’s new standard for energy efficient lightbulbs, how COP26 brought nature back into climate negotiations, microbes that are evolving to digest plastic, the first solar powered airport in the US, and how cleared land can be restored to tropical forests.

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New Year’s Climate Optimism

Guest Post by: Neil Kitching, Scottish author of Carbon Choices on the Common-sense Solutions to our Climate and Nature Crises.

Climate optimism? Why on Earth is a serious writer on climate change writing an article called ‘Climate Optimism’? Simply, because the solutions to climate change have multiple benefits for people, society and the environment. Action on housing, city and rural land-use, travel, shopping and our diets will all improve the quality of our lives in so many ways.

Powering our Homes

Do you want your electricity to be supplied by coal or by gas? Coal mining is locally destructive and burning coal causes regional air pollution and global climate change. It is also a dangerous occupation for the workers and is a bulky, dirty material to transport…[read more].

Get Connected to Nature

Guest Post bySharon Michelle, MSc Psychology

Connection for me is the key to understanding how I feel about the world, how we got to where we are right now, and where we go next.    

In the UK, the start of the pandemic caused a collection of people to embark on a flurry of panic buying leaving the supermarket shelves almost bare. I bumped into my neighbour who is unemployed, and a single dad who has no family to lean on. Even in normal times, he struggles to manage day-to-day living. He’d just returned from the shops empty-handed as the only items left on the shelves were the expensive ones that he couldn’t afford. He had no savings to bulk buy anyway as his benefit money only covered the basics, which were no longer available. He felt powerless, hopeless, and said he was extremely worried for the future, especially how he was going to feed his little boy. This kind of behaviour is reflected in the worst of our societies, in the actions of the richer nations affecting poorer nations, and has left much of the natural world decimated…[read more]

The Happy Eco News Weekly Top 5

  1. Sure Looks Like Donald Trump Is Gonna Lose the Lightbulb War

Takeaways:

  • The Department of Energy in the US has implemented a new standard for energy efficient lightbulbs which would require the use of LED lighting.
  • The switch will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 222 million metric tons over the next 30 years.
  • Switching to LED lights will also save consumers nearly $3 billion a year…[read more].
  1. 5 Reasons Why COP26 Should Finally Mark a Turning Point for Forests, Food and Climate

Takeaways:

  • Despite the mixed messages the public had about COP26, the conference did bring nature back into climate negotiations.
  • 141 countries committed to conserving and restoring forests by 2030 and injecting $20 billion to do so.
  • It was also made more apparent that we, as a society, need to treat food and land use transition with the same degree of urgency as energy and industry transitions…[read more].
  1. Microbes Are Evolving to Digest Plastic, Study Finds

Takeaways:

  • Researchers have found that microbes found in ocean and soils around the world are evolving to digest plastic.
  • A recent study found that over 30 000 enzymes that have the potential to digest 10 different types of plastic.
  • “We found multiple lines of evidence supporting the fact that the global microbiome’s plastic-degrading potential correlates strongly with measurements of environmental plastic pollution — a significant demonstration of how the environment is responding to the pressures we are placing on it,” says Aleksej Zelezniak, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden…[read more].
  1. First US Solar-powered Airport is in Tennessee

Takeaways:

  • Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Tennessee is the first and only airports with a solar farm that can generate enough power for all its energy needs.
  • The solar farm also has storage to power the building after sundown and in low light conditions.
  • All of the lights in the airport were also switched to LED lights that are hooked up to motion detectors and are only used when needed… [read more].
  1. Cleared Land Can Return to Tropical Forest in Just 20 Years

Takeaways:

  • A study published in Science found that if previously forested land is left alone for 20 years, it can return to 80% of its old growth status.
  • Researchers found that this might be a better way to protect biodiversity and fight climate change compared to growing new trees in plantations…[read more].

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