It’s International Beaver Day, plus the Eiffel Tower generates renewable energy? Asian climate resilient health systems, and power, heat and fertilizer from Finnish farm waste?!
International Beaver Day, Eiffel Tower Generates Renewable Energy? Asian Climate Resilient Health Systems, Power, Heat And Fertilizer From Finnish Farm Waste?!
INTERNATIONAL BEAVER DAY
International Beaver Day was created in memory of the “Beaver Woman” Dorothy Richards. She studied beavers at Beaversprite Sanctuary in New York’s Adirondack Mountains for fifty years. When she died in 1985, friends and professional associates of hers created a nonprofit, Friends of Beaversprite to carry on her educational efforts.
And they chose Richards’ birthday, April 7 to celebrate the first International Beaver Day in 2009. Why do beavers matter to us? They’re nature’s engineers. According to Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife, beavers are more than intriguing animals with flat tails and lustrous fur.
Historically, beavers have been hunted for their fur and meat. Beaver pelts have been a major driver of the fur trade. Before protections began in the 19th and early 20th centuries, overhunting had nearly exterminated the species.
The beaver works as an ecosystem engineer and keystone species as its activities can have a great impact on the landscape and biodiversity of an area. Aside from humans, no other animal appears to do more to shape its environment.
When building dams, beavers alter the paths of streams and rivers allowing for the creation of extensive wetland habitats. In one study, beavers were associated with large increases in open-water areas. When beavers returned to an area, 160% more open-water was available during droughts than in previous years when they were absent.
Beaver dams have a tendency to raise the water table, both in mineral soil environments and in wetlands such as peatlands. In peatlands particularly, their dams can stabilize the often fluctuating water table, which controls the levels of both carbon and water.
Their populations have rebounded. In human culture, the beaver symbolizes industriousness and is the national animal of Canada.
DEEPER DIVE: BWW, Wikipedia, NatGeo, Chesapeakebay.net
BUILDING CLIMATE RESILIENT HEALTH SYSTEMS IN ASIA
Six countries in Asia listed as least-developed countries (LDCs) have joined a project called “Building Resilience of Health Systems in Asian LDCs to Climate Change”. These countries are Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste.
The objective of the project, running from 2019 to 2023, is to strengthen the capacity of their health systems’ institutional capacity for planning, decision-making and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
It isn’t only that these countries are among the least-developed in the world. Because they have less infrastructure, they are less prepared to respond to the health impacts of increasingly volatile weather events from climate change. The project’s four outcomes include:
- Strengthen institutional capacity to effectively integrate climate risks and adaptation options in health sector planning and implementation
- Improve surveillance and/or early warning systems for effective decision-making
- Enhance climate resilience in health service delivery
- Enhance regional cooperation and knowledge exchange
Under the project, Laos began a climate change mitigation initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions at district hospitals in the Savannakhet District and Sekong province.
At both hospitals they have replaced the low-temperature incinerator with an autoclave, which sterilizes medical and lab equipment and waste with heated pressurized steam.
Why does this climate/health project matter to us? Climate change is a global health issue. The health effects of climate change include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few. Programs that help communities begin the process of adaptation are essential.
DEEPER DIVE: WHO, Relief Web
FIMUSKRAFT–TURNING WASTE INTO ELECTRICITY, HEAT AND FERTILIZER
The Climate Daily has reported on various companies exploring the use of biodigesters to handle the twin problems of agricultural animal waste and resultant GHG emissions. One Finnish company FimusKraft entered the fray in November 2019, developing a cost-effective method to turn waste from cattle, pigs and humans into electricity, heat and fertilizer.
Their slogan? “Poop is not a waste, it’s a source of energy & heat.”
The multi-stage process involves fermenting the bio-waste, which produces gas. After the bio-gas is created, it is produced and stored and can be used as a source for other power plants like solar or wind power networks.
FimusKraft biogas plant is modular in design, meaning it can be scaled up (or presumably scaled back, too) to handle the needs of the locality.. Each module produces 30 kW of electricity and 60 kW of heat. Different combinations of biowaste can be used. For example the minimum system inputs are the waste from 200 cattle, 800 pigs or 3000 humans.
“Ewww” factor aside, a beneficial byproduct of the biogas process is soil amendment– an environmentally friendly, nutrient-rich compost for plants,that is high in nitrogen. Why does turning poop into electricity matter to us? It’s an example of the circular economy, and more importantly it adheres to the Polluter Pays Principle, wherein they who make the poop reuse and repurpose it responsibly, minimizing harm to the climate.
In 2021, FimusKraft expanded its service reach to Alaska through Launch Alaska, a nonprofit organization that brings technology working on climate solutions to Alaska.
DEEPER DIVE: FimusKraft, Nature, Launch Alaska
MON DIEU! THE EIFFEL TOWER GENERATES RENEWABLE ENERGY!
The Eiffel Tower was fitted back in 2015 with two wind turbines, solar panels and rainwater collectors as part of ongoing renovations to the iconic Paris structure. The renewable energy renovations are part of the City of Paris Climate Plan which lays the path for Paris to now accelerate its emissions reduction efforts, aiming to be a carbon neutral city by 2050.
The Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company that oversees the tower, funded the near $34 million cost for aesthetic and safety renovations. The last time the tower was renovated was 30 years ago. The wind turbines, installed by New York City-based Urban Green Energy (UGE International Ltd.), offset the annual consumption of all commercial activities on the tower’s first floor and generate more than 10,000KW hours per year.
The solar panels meet 50% of the tower’s needs for hot water. The collected rainwater is used to flush the toilets at the tower. And in 2021 the tower used renewable hydrogen that illuminated it using green light as part of its ongoing efforts to be totally green, pun intended.
Why does the Eiffel Tower’s renewable energy update matter to us? It’s another example where modifications were made and the results are making a notable difference to mitigate climate change!