Oi 👋 Did you know? Multiple studies show natural forest regeneration is cheaper, sequesters more carbon, and maintains more biodiversity than hand-planted reforestation. For some massive forests, such as Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the best strategy is, therefore, to leave it alone and let nature take its course.
- Finland is teaching young people how to recognize disinformation, hoaxes and conspiracy theories by leveraging critical thinking. As a result, the country now has the best media literacy in Europe.
- Indigenous-led resistance to fossil fuel projects in North America has prevented emissions equivalent to 400 coal-fired power plants from entering the atmosphere in the last decade.
- The UK government will introduce legislation to include electric vehicle charging points on all new-built homes and offices in England by 2022.
- You can get a free trip on the metro in Rome by recycling 30 plastic bottles. During its first six weeks of operation, the Ricicli + Viaggi (Recycle + Travel) initiative processed over 350,000 plastic bottles and offered €17,500 worth of free travel.
- Since the 2015 Paris agreement, three-quarters of the world’s planned coal-based power plants have been cancelled.
Solar Water PLC created an affordable and sustainable desalination system that produces fresh water from sea water on an industrial scale without causing any emissions.
Its Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) solution is a stainless steel solar dome that leverages solar power to evaporate sea water and condensate it into fresh water. The system also uses solar concentrators and heliostat mirrors to generate the required level of thermal energy.
According to the company, this technology could provide millions of litres of fresh water per day while being entirely carbon neutral. The resulting water can readily serve urban development, agriculture and tourism but needs secondary treatment to be drinkable.
The desalination process also produces salt and other minerals such as high-purity marketable Potassium Sulphate, Magnesium Hydroxide and Calcium Carbonate, relieving pressure on the nearby marine environments.
Why does it matter? Even though the Earth is “the blue planet,” only 3% of its water is freshwater. Over a billion people lack access to it, and demand will exceed supply by 40% in 2030 due to climate change and population growth. Moreover, the existing desalination plants rely on fossil fuels and cannot scale without worsening the situation.
The water crisis already generates wars, deaths and irreversible damage to marine life. In this context, environmental-friendly solutions are more than welcome. Our future literally depends on them.While studying engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, Angad Daryani designed a device that captures the pollution from the air so we can turn it into something else. Today, his startup Praan aims to build affordable and versatile outdoor air purifiers that can fit into the existing infrastructure (e.g. street lamps).
The innovation sucks the polluting particles out of the air and collects them in a container. However, Angad’s design does not use filters, like in household air purifiers. Indeed, people would have to replace these filters every day in cities as polluted as Indian megapolis. On the other hand, Praan’s filterless purifier can operate for several months before requiring maintenance.
This technology filters around nine cubic metres of air per minute and stores 11,540 cubic centimetres of pollutants. And, Praan gives the collected carbon to Carbon Craft Design, another Indian company that uses the pollutants as pigment to create stylish decorative flooring tiles for restaurants, shops, and hotels.
Why does it matter? India is home to 22 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, and its toxic air kills more than one million people each year. Moreover, black carbon can absorb one million times more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Also, studies suggest that a PM2.5 increase of just one microgram per cubic metre corresponds to a 15% increase in Covid-19 deaths.
Now more than ever, tackling air pollution in cities is crucial. Moving forward, Angad aims to make his purifier more affordable to help as many people as possible.
In Italy, 350 canines from the Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs (Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio, or SICS) act as lifeguards and watch over 30 of the country’s busiest beaches.
These dogs undergo 18 months of basic training, followed by sessions to learn the more intensive lifesaving techniques such as jumping from helicopters and leaping from speeding boats. At the end of the training, each dog is paired with a trainer to form an elite SICS unit that saves lives.
The man behind this initiative, Ferruccio Pilenga, had the idea to train his dog in the late 1980s after discovering how good a swimmer he was. According to Ferrucio, his dog “pulled a water-filled dinghy with three people on board for half an hour”: a feat that no human could achieve!
Why does it matter? Thanks to their strength, willingness to perform, and bond with their trainer, SICS dogs save around 30 lives every year. Moreover, their intensive training makes them particularly effective in life-or-death scenarios where the capabilities of one or two lifeguards might be easily overwhelmed.
Italy is currently the only country to recognize canine lifeguards officially. However, SICS is setting up training centres in the US, Germany, Switzerland and Spain to spread its knowledge and ensure safer waters worldwide.
🌍 Meanwhile, Worldwide…
⚽ The Forest Green Rovers is the world’s first carbon-neutral soccer club with a 100% renewable-energy powered stadium, a fertilizer-free lawn and a vegan-only menu for the fans. This initiative benefits the environment, but it also saved the club from financial troubles and provided jobs for the entire community.
🧱 In Kenya, Gjenge Makers recycle plastic waste into colourful plastic bricks twice as strong as their concrete counterparts. So far, the company has processed more than 20 tonnes of plastic waste and created more than 100 jobs for garbage collectors, women and youth.
🚗 Researchers from Texas A&M University propose to capture water and carbon dioxide (CO2) from passenger vehicle exhaust and use it to grow food. An average passenger car in operation can emit about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 and 21,000 litres of water per year. Repurposing these two wasted products would reduce cars’ carbon footprint while helping the agricultural industry.
🛰 Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is about to launch Privateer Space, a new company focused on monitoring and cleaning up objects in space. The details are pretty blurry for now, but this initiative could prove to be extremely useful. Indeed, the low Earth orbit contains nearly 6,000 tons of waste, and the current space race among billionaires only worsens the situation.
🚕 In South Korea’s Seocheon County, anyone who lives more than 700m from a bus stop can call a taxi for 9 cents! This government-subsidized policy aims to support the population in rural hamlets – typically elderly who don’t own a car – and is cheaper and greener than keeping empty buses driving around the countryside.
That’s a wrap. If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share this post to spread positivity among your friends. For any feedback, reach out and drop a comment here or on LinkedIn :-)
Have an amazing week ahead 💗