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Newsletter – February 2022

How Carbon Footprints are a red herring

There is more and more interest in sustainability, but it’s not always the best kind.

Unfortunately organisations seem to be getting obsessed with measuring their climate footprint and offsetting. This myopia often pushes genuinely sustainable initiatives off the agenda, particularly if they’re not measurable.

After all, how do you measure the waste you didn’t throw away or the carbon savings of materials you won’t get to reuse in the future.

I’m now deeply suspicious of companies and organisations touting a carbon neutral badge. Sure with enough offsetting even a coal mine can be carbon neutral.

And on that topic here’s a interesting video explaining the pitfalls of carbon offset schemes

Alas, I fear it’s the human weakness for the quick fix.  Let’s hope sense prevails soon.

Now onto this month’s positive eco news …..

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Photo by Tunafish on Unsplash

Irish government offers retrofit grants of up to €25,000 to households to help insulate homes

One of the sanest article on choosing sustainable clothing I’ve read in a while

Ren Skincare becomes zero waste in 3 years

The Coca-Cola Company aims to have at least 25% of all beverages globally sold in refillable/returnable bottles, or in refillable containers by 2030

And their rival PepsiCo Europe is to use 100% ‘recycled or renewable’ plastic in all packets by 2030

A very thought provoking review of going vegan from one of my favourite eco writers

Electric vehicle-charging road to open in Michigan by 2023

New zero waste store opens in Kildare

Plants are now flowering a month earlier and this will impact insects 

What to do in the garden in February (via Earthology)

Your gas stove could be leaking methane while off 

Los Angeles to phase out oil drilling

Yuman Village in Belgium is a temple of the circular economy, offering a unique ‘one stop shopping’ experience with all products in line with circular economy principles (recycling, upcycling, second hand, eco-design). 

A Keep Britain Tidy report finds how peer pressure is key to cutting household waste

New camera technology differentiates between 12 different types of plastics, making recycling better

Ireland’s bottle deposit scheme criticised for excluding glass containers

The EPA have launched The Story of Your Stuff competition for second level students

If high-income nations switch to plant-based diets, they would cut greenhouse gas emissions and sequester almost 100 billions tons of CO2 by 2100, provided the land formerly used to farm animals was reverted to its natural state

The US federal government has committed over $1 billion to the restoration of Florida’s Everglades.

A big win for mangrove conservation in Mumbai, with 53% of mangrove cover legally declared a forest by the end of 2021, a 30% increase from the beginning of the year.

Great article in the Irish Times on the political resistance against changes required to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland

The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, have been successfully restored. The islands also now host the largest seal and sea lion rookery in the world.

Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for humanity

A forestry company is at the helm of a huge new rewilding project to restore ecosystems in Finland. The restoration work will involve nine river basins and focus on recreating old spawning grounds for fish and rebuilding sustainable ecosystems.

A record 247,000 Western Monarch butterflies overwintered in California last year, a dramatic increase from just 2,000 in 2020. The boom has been linked to an increase in native plants and reduced pesticide use.

The WWF has released a report showing the century-long trend of wild tiger decline has finally been reversed.

2021 was best year for solar in Europe’s history, with 25.9 GW of new solar capacity installed, an increase of 34% over 2020, putting all EU states on track to reach their 2030 solar goals, with Latvia and Estonia already across the line, and Poland, Ireland, and Sweden expected to reach their targets next year.

Fabulous booklet on Wildlife in Buildings from Birdwatch Ireland, Kerry County Council and Donegal County Council

Eastern Pacificone of the largest privately-owned ship management companies in the world, has just announced it will no longer carry coal.

The electric equivalents of the Ford F150, the Honda CRV, Lexus RX and the Toyota Corolla – some of the most popular cars in the United States – are now officially cheaper than their petrol-powered counterparts.

Study finds that growing milk-cap mushrooms on trees can deliver more protein than beef on the same land 

Make climate change discussions fun with the board game Solutions

New product supports moss growth on concrete walls, turning them into carbon absorbing surfaces

This  frying pan made with entirely recycled aluminium uses 95% less energy than one made with virgin metal, according to Swiss panhandlers Kuhn Rikon.

Introducing the World’s first carbon neutral cheddar. I’m only including this because the company are also on their way to carbon neutral production.

The UK government has started attempts to calculate climate related deaths and hospitalisations in Britain. Interestingly warmer winters are saving more lives than hotter summers are taking.

Ecuador has expanded its protected waters by 60,000 km2, building upon the existing Galapagos Marine Reserve, which already protects 138,000 km2 of ocean from extractive activities.

China now has 326 protected marine areas covering almost 13% of its territorial waters

Over a thousand fin whales were seen swimming last week in the seas off Antarctica, the same ones in which they were driven to near-extinction last century.

A new survey in India has found forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 km2 since 2019, and now covers almost a quarter of the geographical area of the country.

Policy changes in the UK mean that farmers will now receive taxpayers’ cash to rewild their land.

Organisations in New York that throw out more than two tonnes of food each week will be required to donate or compost the waste under new legislation.

A lovely video on how to make your own willow garden obelisk 

New legislation in Italy bans fur farming across the country.

Wildlife surveys shows Mexico’s endangered jaguar population increased by 20% between 2010 and 2018

Wind became the main source of electricity generation in Spain last year, registering 23% of total production. Overall, renewables produced 46% of the country’s electricity in 2021.

The state of South Australia ran for one week on wind and sunshine alone.

Chrysler says it will stop producing combustion engine powered vehicles by 2028, Hyundai is closing its combustion engine development division, and the all-electric Porsche Taycan is now outselling the 911.

Only 8% of new cars sold in Norway last year ran purely on gasoline or diesel

Till next month. In the meantime find me on Facebook or Instagram and if you want to read previous newsletters, just click the link.

Elaine

 

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