LINKS OF THE WEEK: MAY 21-27, 2023

Regenerative agriculture, solar power investment, and baby steps towards a global plastic treaty. Plus Angelina Jolie makes an appearance!

A lynx sitting crouched on the ground, looking off to the left with its magnificently pointed ears facing back
Photo by Glen Hooper on Unsplash

WHAT “ELECTRIFY EVERYTHING” ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKEThis Mother Jones article seems to offer a good overview of what decarbonizing the economy will look like in the US. And Canada too, I'm guessing. (Spoiler: we need to "build, build, build.")

FIRST STEPS TOWARD A GLOBAL PLASTICS TREATYTime for another installment of "a pox on all things plastic!"Negotiators are meeting in Paris next week to discuss a global plastics treaty with the aim of agreeing on a common approach by the end of next year. Yay! It's about freakin' time. As the author (former Unilever CEO Paul Polman) says in the headline, "A reckoning is coming–and smart businesses can see it."

INVESTING IN REGENERATIVE AGRICULTUREThis report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development on what the transition to a regenerative agriculture model looks like an interesting read. I appreciate that it looks at the topic from a farmer's perspective.

ENOUGH WITH FOSSIL FUELS, SAYS POPEI am certainly not a big fan of organized religion but I can appreciate Pope Francis calling for the world to rapidly ditch fossil fuels and end "the senseless war against creation." There are a lot of people who see him as a direct line to God – it would be great if they started following his lead and pressuring their governments and industries to decarbonize faster.

PROTECTING TIGERS IS GOOD FOR THE CLIMATEA recent study has shown that India’s efforts to protect its endangered tigers have helped prevent more than a million metric tons of carbon emissions. Since 2007 the country designated 52 tiger reserves where logging and deforestation have been heavily regulated, almost 6,000 acres of habitat have been saved and the number of wild tigers has more than doubled from 1,500 to more than 3,000. Win-win-win for tigers, the ecosystem, and humanity!

SOLAR POWER INVESTMENT TO SURPASS FOSSIL FUEL SPENDINGAccording to the International Energy Agency, solar power investment will surpass oil production spending this year. Clean energy spending is set to grow 24% this year to $1.7 trillion – while fossil fuel spending will grow 15% to $1 trillion. YES, it's obscene that so much is still being spent on fossil fuels. BUT with $1.7 being spent on solar for every $1 spent on fossil fuels, maybe the scales are tipping in the other direction?

CHECK OUT THIS ECO-INDUSTRIAL PARK IN ICELANDI recently posted about this "eco-industrial park" in Iceland, where companies are all working in conjunction with a geothermal energy plant to use the geothermal products in their own operations (including a spa, biotech company growing barley, land-based fish farm, and a company making methanol from CO2).

Some commenters on my post wondered where the fish food was coming from, which is a great question to be considered (the whole enterprise doesn’t seem super “circular” if one aspect of it is negatively impacting marine environments) – and I noticed that the fish farm is being run by the same company that got into trouble for letting diseased fish escape into the wild from marine-based farms here in BC. But I do like the concept of all of these companies working together to eliminate as much waste from the process as possible.

ARE HYDROGEN-POWERED PLANES THE FUTURE OF FLIGHT?The companies featured in this article on The Cool Down seem to think so…

ANGELINA JOLIE LAUNCHES CIRCULARITY-FOCUSED FASHION HOUSEThe deification of celebrities is gross BUT I do have to say that Angelina Jolie's plans to launch a collaborative fashion brand that uses only deadstock and places creators at the forefront sounds pretty awesome. More people with huge public platforms should throw their clout behind initiatives that could help accelerate our transition to a circular economy!

A “SLOW WATER” APPROACH TO THE COLORADO RIVER PROBLEMThis Erica Gies article about “slow water” methods and how they can make the Colorado River Basin (and other water systems) more resilient contains some great ideas.

Also: every time I read about the Colorado River I think of Paulo Bacigalupi's eco-dystopian book, The Water Knife. 😬(The book is awesome! The world it depicts... is not.)

AN EV BATTERY THAT CHARGES IN 3 MINUTES?? US company Prieto Battery has revealed a new 3D "interdigitated " EV battery that they say charges in three minutes, works at extremely low and high temperatures, and is non-flammable. They say their performance and safety claims have been independently verified by a third-party testing lab. (I love that the company's founder and CTO is a woman!)

MILLIONS DITCHED CARS FOR BIKES DURING THE PANDEMICCTV recently looked at what cities around the world have been doing to promote cycling. Interesting to see that Montreal apparently did more than any other North American city studied to expand safe cycling in the pandemic!

ONLY 13% OF GLOBAL METHANE EMISSIONS ARE BEING TRACKED??That’s what a recent study has concluded. Kinda crazy when you consider that methane is responsible for 25% of current global warming! BUT it does does seem to present an opportunity to decrease climate-damaging emissions fairly quickly simply by implementing tracking methods and fixing those danged leaks already.

(It also raises the question: how much damage are we causing to the planet through negligence – and how quickly can we mitigate that damage simply by being more attentive and cleaning up our messes??)  

CIRCULAR LAND-BASED SHRIMP, FISH, AND SEAWEED FARMSDanish researchers are working to further develop a closed, sustainable cycle on land that utilizes residual nutrients and CO2 from shrimp and fish farming to grow high-value seaweed for the food and healthcare industries.

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