Jeffrey James and Maude Madison share the top ten positive action, climate change stories reported on by The Climate Daily in 2021.
Top Ten Positive Action, Climate Change Stories of 2021!!
LEO DICAPRIO’S CLIMATE MOVIE MADNESS
Today are as Maude said the top ten favorite stories of 2021 here at the climate Daily and I’m going to start with number 10. Leonardo DiCaprio is climate movie madness. In Don’t Look Up!
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dr. Randall Mindy, lead Michigan State astronomer supervising doctoral candidate Kate Dibiasky, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She discovers and he confirms the presence of a nine kilometer wide comet on a direct trajectory for planet Earth, due to hit in six months 25 days give or take.
And thanks to talk to Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, played by Rob Morgan, they gain an audience with the President of the United States Janie Orlean, played by Meryl Streep. But at the White House, they’re ignored, dismissed and demeaned– because they’re not even from an Ivy League school.
So they decided to leak the news on a feel good morning talk show and J Law has her “I’m mad as hell, I’m not going to take it because the sky is falling!” moment. And hilarity ensues from there. The movie is a brilliant allegory for how modern society is reacting to climate change, complete with an America divided between those who dare to look up to see the oncoming comet and those who refuse to look up. It’s a must see for everybody. Yeah, you gotta go, gotta see it. And you don’t even need to leave your couch. It’s on Netflix, everybody.
DEEPER DIVE: Don’t Look Up, Deadline, Volta Award
FIRST ELECTRIC CARGO SHIP SETS SAIL IN NORWAY
Coming in at number nine, the first electric cargo ships set sail in Norway. Just this past month, the world’s first self driving electric container ship made its first trip to Oslo, Norway. The ship called Yara Birkeland will eliminate the need for around 40,000 truck journeys a year that are now fueled by polluting diesel.
Why does this matter to us international and domestic shipping and fishing emitted more than 1.1 billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2018. While this ship will eliminate only about 700 tons of co2 annually. It’s a start toward the maritime sectors pledge to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030, and by half by mid century.
DEEPER DIVE: France24, NFK, Press Reader
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA BANS NATURAL GAS IN NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION
The number eight top ten story of 2021: Both Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada and San Francisco, California banned natural gas in new home construction.
Beginning this year, the new regulation prohibits the installation of natural gas appliances and or construction of natural gas piping and single family homes, duplexes coach homes and some townhomes and all buildings under three storeys in Vancouver, British Columbia.
And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban natural gas in new buildings, meaning that stoves furnaces and water heaters will no longer burn gas for heat. The city cited cost savings public health benefits and the urgent need to wind down greenhouse gas emissions to help curb the rapidly warming climate.
Why does this matter to us? “All electric construction in a new building is a critical step toward a safer, healthier San Francisco and the planet for future generations,” said Raphael mandelman San Francisco’s district eight supervisor and the author of the ordinance.
DEEPER DIVE: Plumbing & HVAC News, Home Builder Canada, Vancouver Sun, BC Energy Step Code
THE GREY WATER PROJECT
Number seven, The Grey Water Project. Teenager Shreya Ramachandran founded the Grey Water Project in 2016. It promotes the safe reuse of grey water and water conservation in order to create a more sustainable water future for everyone. It also encourages people to take action on this issue work towards reducing their own water use and understand how they can contribute to the global drought solution. 60% of all water we use daily, we don’t drink. We use it to shower wash dishes and clothes, hose down sidewalks. You get the picture. It’s basically any water that’s been used once in the home and can be used again
Recycled grey water can be reused for things like landscape irrigation, toilet, flushing and other non-potable uses–meaning non drinkable. In fact reusing grey water can save over 8 trillion gallons of water per year in the United States alone. That’s why The Grey Water Project matters to us.
Ramachandran has also created a grey water curriculum. It’s a next generation science standards aligned STEM curriculum focused on teaching students where their water comes from, how they’re using it, and the connection between droughts and climate change.
DEEPER DIVE: NextGenScience, Smithsonian, Grey Water Project
NEW UNDERWATER MUSEUM IN CYPRUS HOPES TO RESTORE SEA LIFE
Number six of the top ten stories of the year. It’s a new underwater museum in Cyprus, which hopes to restore sea life. The Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN) in Cyprus is open for business. The museum is home to an exhibition of 93 sculptures by world famous reef artist Jason deCaires Taylor.
Taylor aims to put the spotlight on rewilding our natural spaces and reforesting areas of barren habitat through his installations. All of Taylor’s work is made of pH neutral cement that facilitates coral reef growth. Each piece of art contains slits. The slits, the edges and the spaces create the ideal conditions for marine organisms to attach themselves, giving them the right environment to develop and create a rich artificial reef that will create life. Said the artist of this work, “I’m kind of hoping that it leaves the visitor with a sense of hope, along with a sense that the human impact isn’t always negative, that we can reverse some of the things we’ve done.”
DEEPER DIVE: ScubaDiving.com, TimeOut.com, Cyprus-Mail, Mexican Reef Installation
APTERA EV SUPER CAR
Number five, the Aptera EV supercar. Aptera is the first electric slash solar vehicle that requires no charging for most daily use. Oh, yeah. Thanks to the power of the sun, the dream of driving for more miles with less carbon materials and energy from the grid is now a reality, so says its website.
It’s classified as a “never charge” electric vehicle. It’s solar system can produce more power per year than most drivers will ever need for the road. The claim is made because the skin of the vehicle is comprised of solar panels. And that’s why the Aptera matters to us.
While the onboard battery supply about 250 miles driving range, the embedded solar panels are supposed to provide an extra 40 miles per day. Given that the average round trip distance of a person’s commute is fewer than 35 miles, that’s what makes it a never charge vehicle. With a “never charge” vehicle out goes the need for networks of charging stations. And that’s pretty cool because that could speed the adoption of EVs by reluctant gas guzzlers.
And save the United States tremendous amount of money. Joe Biden is going to have all these charging stations paid for by the federal government. But if your car is skinned in solar panels, you don’t need charging stations and that money can go elsewhere for environmental and climate justice.
DEEPER DIVE: Aptera, Wikipedia,
MUSSELS MAY BE THE SECRET WEAPON TO CLEAN MICROPLASTICS FROM THE OCEANS
Number four on the top ten list is mussels–the kind you find in the ocean. They may be the secret weapon to cleaning microplastics from the oceans.
Mussels get their food by filtering seawater sifting out plankton and other nutritious particles and flushing out unwanted particles from their digestive systems. Earlier this year, we talked about how with financial support from the Waitrose plan plastic fund. Plymouth marine labs began testing how effective mussels are at removing microplastics from seawater using a custom designed flume tank.
Plymouth experiments confirmed that blue mussels readily filter microplastics out of the water column, and the experiments showed that a cluster of 300 mussels by about five kilograms or 11 pounds worth could filter out over 250,000 microplastics per hour. Microplastics are then either rejected by the muscles with pseudo feces or ejected in their normal fecal matter.
Additional Experiments show that these mussel feces would rapidly sink out of the water. This means they can be collected for removal thereby taking microplastics out of the system entirely. And why does this matter to us?
Their “repackaging” of plastic materials causes no harm to the mussels. And because it’s one way to use nature to solve a human made problem, it potentially avoids the introduction of other harmful, human-made, climate altering pollutants into the ecosphere. Nothing sweeter than humans getting out of the way and letting nature do its thing.
Oh, and by the way, these are not the same mussels you might enjoy in your nearest seafood restaurant.
DEEPER DIVE: EuroNews, Plymouth Marine Labs, Center for Biological Diversity
EU COMMMISION OKAYS LOCUSTS, GRASSHOPPERS, MEALWORMS AND BLACK FLY LARVAE FOR PEOPLE AND ANIMALS TO MUNCH ON
Yes and speaking of edibles, coming in at number three, the EU Commission okayed locusts for people to munch on. Last month, The Climate Daliy reported on the rise of insects as approved food sources for humans and animals in the EU, specifically grasshoppers mealworms and black fly larvae. The European Commission then added the locust to its list of foods authorized for sale in the European Union. The goal is to market locusts as a snack or as a food ingredient in a number of food products.
Why does this matter to us? According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, FAO, insects as food emerged as an especially relevant issue in the 21st century, due to the rising cost of animal protein food insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth, and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes.
The FAO also indicates that insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat protein, vitamin fiber and mineral content. Therefore, they are an alternative protein source facilitating the shift towards healthy and sustainable diets.
DEEPER DIVE: Reuters, EuroCommish,
MASSIVE PLASTICS-MAKING PLANT IN LOUISIANA HALTED THANKS TO CLIMATE CHAMP SHARON LAVIGNE
Our top ten, story number two is a twofer. The first part of it is the construction of a massive Formosa sunrise plastics plant was halted in Louisiana, thanks to a small group of folks down there. A civilian Pentagon official ordered the Army Corps of Engineers back in October to conduct a full environmental assessment of a $9.4 billion Formosa Plastics complex planned to be constructed in Louisiana, drawing plays from environmentalists.
Major construction of the complex was put on hold by the Corps as they agreed to reconsider its permit for the plant in Welcome, Louisiana, where the Census Bureau estimates that nearly 97% of the 880 residents are Black.
“The Army Corps has finally heard our pleas and understands our pain. With God’s help, Formosa Plastics will soon pull out of our community,” said a statement by Sharon Lavigne, who founded the local group, Rise St. James, to fight the plan complex back in 2018,
And Sharon Lavigne is one of our 2021 climate champions! This is how the Goldman Environmental Prize, which honors grassroots environmental heroes for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment– often at great personal risk– describes Ms. Lavigne: “Sharon Lavigne, a special education teacher-turned-environmental-justice-advocate successfully stopped the construction of a $1.25 billion plastics manufacturing plant alongside the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Lavigne mobilized grassroots opposition to the project, educated community members and organized peaceful protests to defend her predominantly African American community.”
The plant would have generated 1 million pounds of liquid hazardous waste annually in a region already contending with known carcinogens and toxic air pollution. Whoo! Go climate champion, Sharon Lavigne.
DEEPER DIVE: AP, USNews, WBRZ-TV, Goldman Environmental Prize
THE NUMBER ONE CLIMATE CHANGE STORY OF 2021? YOU, OUR LISTENERS!
Hey, the number one top story for The Climate Daily in 2021–you, our listeners! We set out to understand where people are taking action to combat climate change in all aspects of life and share them with as many people as we could in an effort to create community in the era of climate change.
And we discovered climate champions in technology, in business, in spiritual and religious realms, as well as in science and in popular culture. Thanks to your listenership, you’ve inspired us to research and produce over 950 distinct stories of individuals and organizations taking action to combat climate change. So my New Year’s wish is for more of the same. And thank you to our thousands of listeners for giving us strength, hope and courage in the era of climate change.
I agree. Thank you so much to all of our listeners, and people who have followed us and sent us story ideas and story information. We just want you to have a fantastic 2022 .Happy New Year to you!
Our goal with the podcast is to share information about positive news, not always the gloom and doom of climate change. And helping people understand that people are really trying to do something about the issue instead of just talk about it. And that certainly makes us feel better. And we hope that sharing with you helps you feel better. So happy 2022! Here’s to more positive action to combat climate change. Hey, Happy New Year, everybody.
Happy New Year.