LINKS OF THE WEEK: Sept 17-24, 2023
Batteries made of paper, soap made from plastic, California gets feisty on the climate front, and the US announces a new "army" to fight climate change.
Happy Monday! I’m a day late with the Links of the Week post because I spent the weekend in a cabin at a lake about an hour north of me, where I went for a great hike in the forest and ate some tasty seafood and pasta. Life is delicious!
Here are some of the big environment & sustainability stories that caught my eye and imagination last week. And big thanks to Stephanie, who sent me the link to the first story in the list. You rock!
The Biden administration announced the American Climate Corps – a new initiative to train thousands of young people in the skills they need to pursue careers in clean energy, environmental conservation, and climate resilience. The White House says they expect 20,000 recruits to join in the first year.
(Pssst Canada… you paying attention?)
California is suing Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron over their role in causing climate change. The lawsuit alleges that the companies misled the public for decades about climate change and should be required to help fund recovery costs associated with climate-change intensified extreme weather events, such as drought and wildfire.
Speaking of California getting feisty on the climate front…
California legislators have passed the first bill in the US that will require large companies doing business in the state to disclose all emissions tied to their operations and supply chain. As California is the largest economy in the US and the 5th largest in the entire world (!!!) this seems like it could be a relatively big deal if Governor Gavin Newsom ends up signing it into law – which isn't a guaranteed thing.
Concerned that Russia's war with Ukraine could lead to energy shortages, France implemented a 15-point "energy sobriety plan" last year to limit the amount of energy people and organizations use in their daily lives. Their goal was to reduce energy use by 10% within two years – and they were able to accomplish it last winter through sufficiency measures such as lowering thermostats, dimming or turning off lights, and offering subsidies for heat pumps and other energy-saving purchases. Common sense stuff!
Is anyone paying attention to this whole Earthshot thing? It's nice that Prince William is shining a light on organizations that are working to make a positive impact on the environment. But he gives away only £1M to five winners a year? Seems kinda chintzy for the heir to the British throne.
(Cool to see that a company making more sustainable tires and another that recycles lithium-ion batteries made the list, though.)
Singapore-based start-up Flint has figured out how to make batteries out of zinc, manganese, and a hydrogel-covered cellulose paper that functions as both separator and electrolyte within the battery. The company has created a prototype with 60-70% of the energy density contained in a lithium battery and is looking for ways to increase that density while exploring ways that the technology might be useful at its current density.
(Seriously... there are so many developments in the field of batteries these days I fully expect to see stories about new batteries being made out of seaweed, soup cans, and eggshells or some such thing.)
Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a method to upcycle plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene into surfactants that can be used to create soap and detergent. According to this SciTechDaily article, the process can be used on both plastic types at once, which means they don’t have to be separated. The researchers are also claiming this method can be scaled up in a cost-effective manner with a comparatively small environmental impact. Good news if true!
Here's an interesting photo-driven exploration into some of the material solutions being utilized to help the fashion industry cut down on its little (ahem) waste problem – from traditional Indian fabrics to textiles made from agro-industrial fruit waste.
You have to click on the titles under each photo to read the attached articles. (The page design doesn't make that super obvious.)
Introducing the planet’s new superhero force headed up by aspiring billionaire dogooder, Richard Branson, and including Robert Redford and Jane Goodall among its ranks. (Gentle reader, when I saw the name they had given to themselves, god help me but I giggled.)
And finally, I leave you with this article from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which asks, “Can we redesign our economy from one that degrades to one that regenerates?”
I especially like this part:
Read the full article here: THE GENEROUS CITY
That's it for this week! Have a great one and if you see any interesting stories in the field of green tech or sustainability, please send it my way!