LINKS OF THE WEEK: August 20-26, 2023

Apple blows people's minds, France pays people to get their clothes repaired, Mexico considers making ecocide a crime, and more. (Plus: you don't want to know how much the world spent on fossil fuel subsidies last year... 😬)

LINKS OF THE WEEK: August 20-26, 2023
Photo by bapt miller / Unsplash

APPLE BLOWS MINDS, REVERSES COURSE ON CALIFORNIA’S “RIGHT TO REPAIR” BILL
Big news for repairability advocates this week! In what's being called a "surprising about-face," Apple has come out in support of California's new Right to Repair bill. Industry experts believe the company's support will greatly improve the bill's chances of getting passed.

Of course, some people are questioning whether Apple has ulterior motives, given its long-time battle against right-to-repair legislation. Here's hoping it's because the company has realized durable tech devices that use the minimal amount of resources are the future and want to get the jump on their competitors.🤞

SPEAKING OF RIGHT TO REPAIR BILLS…
This Newsweek article offers a decent overview of recently passed legislation in the U.S. and around the world. It’s great to see the progress being achieved by consumer groups and sustainability advocates! Collection action works. ✊

FRANCE PAYS PEOPLE TO GET THEIR CLOTHES REPAIRED
The country recently launched an initiative to reduce textile waste by paying people to repair their clothes instead of throwing them out. Starting October, people will be able to claim between €6 and €25 of the cost of mending clothes and shoes. The money will come from a €154 million fund and is meant to support businesses in offering more apparel repair services. Unfortunately, only certified businesses can be used to delivered the repairs – which means people who repair their own clothes won’t get paid to do so. It would be great to see that law get updated so anyone can do the repairs.

MORE COUNTRIES CONSIDER MAKING ECOCIDE A CRIME
Mexico is the latest country where politicians have introduced a bill to criminalize ““any unlawful or wanton act committed with the knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment.” Gotta love it! Though I think they should have to pay whether they have explicit knowledge of the consequences of their crimes or not.

BERLIN’S JOURNEY TO BECOMING A MORE BIKEABLE CITY
Interesting look at the rise of cycling in Berlin after a 2018 law was passed requiring the building of more bike lines. Surprise, surprise: in areas where pop-up bike lanes have become permanent there has been an 11% decrease in car traffic and a 40% increase in bike traffic. 😲

CALIFORNIA’S EMISSIONS DISCLOSURE BILL COULD BE IN TROUBLE
The Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act would force big companies to report their emissions to the California Air Resources Board. This information could be critical in the fight against climate change – but big business is doing its best to sink the proposed bill.

FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES SURGED TO A BRAIN-BREAKING $7 TRILLION
That’s a $2 trillion increase just in the past two years! Here’s my conspiracy theory: I swear that all the stupid culture wars sucking up all the oxygen in the room are meant to distract us from THIS rage-making fact: globally we’re currently spending 7% *of the entire world’s GDP* on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry – an industry that generated $3 billion a DAY in profits 2022.

Remember this the next time someone tells you that transitioning to a clean energy world is “expensive.”

HOW MUCH LAND IN U.S. CITIES IS USED FOR PARKING LOTS?
Meanwhile, in “They Paved Paradise to Put Up a Parking Lot” news, a recently released collection of online maps shows how much land in US cities is used as parking lots. According to The Parking Reform Network, Wichita KS is 35% parking lot while Las Vegas, NV is 32% and San Bernadino, CA is a brain-melting 49% parking lot.

Imagine the possibilities if people decided to take back most of that land from empty parked cars and use it for housing and green space instead? 🌳🚵🚶👪🌲

INDIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY FIRM INVESTS $3.3 BILLION IN GREEN HYDROGEN
The money will be used to build a new clean-energy powered plant that will produce green hydrogen and ammonia. Sounds interesting but my perhaps ignorant questions are, what is the base material that they will be making the hydrogen and ammonia FROM? And how much energy will be required to power the process?

COULD OCEAN WAVES BE THE ANSWER TO OUR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY NEEDS?
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about wave energy which seem to indicate that a whackload of money is currently being poured into this fledgling industry. As someone who lives on the coast, I often wonder if wave and/or tidal energy could work here but I’ve heard that it’s a challenge to create equipment that doesn’t corrode in the ocean saltwater. It will be interesting to see if/how this technology develops.

COULD SAND BE THE NEXT LITHIUM?
The Washington Post explores the possibility of building batteries that can store renewable energy in natural materials such as sand, salt and rock – with a focus on the world’s first commercial-scale sand battery in Finland. Energy storage solutions will play a key role as we transition to a clean-energy future.

OR MAYBE IT’S IRON-AIR BATTERIES TO THE RESCUE
This PBS article looks at Form Energy, the iron-air battery company building a new plant in West Virginia where a steel plant once stood. The process of “unrusting” sounds pretty cool!

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