Sometimes it feels as if the only way you’re going to make out alive is run faster than the thing chasing you, so you run and run, but it seems no matter how fast you go the consequences the actions of yours and others are no match for you. Eventually they will catch up and then what? Sometimes it just feels like there is too much to do and there’s not enough people sharing the responsibility.
I live on a steady diet of pessimism and cynicism (I call it realism, but no one seems to buy that) which some think that means that I feel hopeless all the time, but I don’t. What it does mean is that I often forget that some people need some optimism in their diet otherwise they’re not going to live for very long, metaphorically speaking. As a pessimist I have come to expect the worst of people and it helps lessen the blow of disappointments of every day, but some people just can’t live like that. When it comes the environment or really any cause that has such an overwhelming amount of problems being added to it daily, it gets a little hard for me to not get stressed out. As drive down the street everyday and I see the dumpsters overflowing, my mind starts racing to count up the years that the things I see will take to decompose. The numbers are never good. So today I researched, for both my sanity and all those optimists out there, some good news where the work has already been done and for which we can check some semi-large problems off our environmental check list.
Saving The Amazon: Winning the War on Deforestation
For years, the story told about the Amazon has been one of destruction – the world’s largest rainforest, a region of amazing biodiversity, key to the fight against climate change, being remorselessly felled.
In the decade between 1996 and 2005, 19,500 sq km (7,530 sq miles) of jungle was lost on average every single year. The comparison is overused, but that really is an area about the size of Wales or New Jersey each year. It reached a peak in 2004 when more than 27,000 sq km was lost.
Then, in 2004 Brazil declared war – it said it would cut deforestation by 80% by 2020.
Seven years later and it has almost reached its goal. The latest figures, released just weeks ago, show that 2011 had the lowest rates of deforestation since records began three decades ago – just over 6,200 sq km was cut. That’s 78% down on 2004, still a lot of trees – an area the about the size of Devon, or Delaware – but a huge improvement. Read More
Levi’s drops Asia Pulp & Paper due to its link to deforestation in Indonesia
BLevi Strauss & Company became the latest firm to drop Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) as a supplier due to concerns over APP’s continued clearing of rainforests in Sumatra, reports the Rainforest Action Network, a green group in the midst of a campaign against APP.
According to a forest products purchasing policy [PDF] posted on its web site last month, Levi’s will “not knowingly purchase wood and paper products from endangered forests and other highly controversial sources such as high-risk regions for illegal logging.” The clothing-maker will reduce consumption of forest resources by using recycled material, reducing packaging, and giving preference to products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to improve the environmental performance of the forestry sector.
Levi Strauss & Co. also said it would favor paper products processed without chlorine to reduce pollution, and would develop a training program for employees on forest stewardship and environmental sustainability. Read More
Swedish Cities Close to Building a Bicycle Superhighway
With all the handwringing over aging infrastructure, rising energy costs, high speed rail and other public transportation projects that are spiraling in costs, cities and towns could look at solutions that can improve mobility and do not the bust the budget: bicycles and bicycle paths.
Now Sweden’s transportation authority has approved a four line bicycle superhighway (or a bicycle-bahn?) between Malmö and Lund, a nearby university town. The 10.5 mile link would be for the most part adjacent to rail tracks, feature exits but no intersections and offer wind protection from hedges. Bicycle service stations would also be included on this link. The proposed highway would also have links to bicycle and pedestrian paths to other towns in this southern tip of Sweden. Read More
California orders hike in number of super clean cars
California, long a national leader in cutting auto pollution, pushed the envelope further Friday as state regulators approved rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and put significantly more pollution-free vehicles on the road in coming years.
The package of Air Resources Board regulations would require auto manufacturers to offer more zero- or very low-emission cars such as battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles in California starting with model year 2018.
By 2025, one in seven new autos sold in California, or roughly 1.4 million, must be ultra-clean, moving what is now a driving novelty into the mainstream.
The board also strengthened future emission standards for all new cars, making them the toughest in the nation. The rules are intended by 2025 to slash smog-forming pollutants from new vehicles by 75 percent and reduce by a third their emissions that contribute to global warming.
The new rules also call for a reduction in pollution by 75 per cent from 2014 levels, as well as increased support for the commercialization of hydrogen fuelling stations for fuel cell vehicles. These FCV pumps are sparse in California now, and virtually non-existent in Canada. Read More
Judge orders Florida water pollution limits
A Southwest Florida conservation official is calling a federal judge’s ruling on clean water limits a total victory for the environment.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in Tallahassee on Saturday ended years of delays in setting and enforcing specific limits on sewage, manure and fertilizer contamination in Florida waters. The rules must take effect March 6, Hinkle ruled. Read More
London restaurants launch ‘straw wars’ campaign
Restaurants, bars and hotels have joined forces to try and reduce the routine and ‘unnecessary’ use of plastic drinking straws.
They disappear in thousands from fast food and takeway outlets every day and, discarded in similar numbers, have become a litter pickers’ nightmare and a scourge of Britain’s beaches. Now some of London’s top restaurants, bars and hotels have joined forces to try and reduce the routine and “unnecessary” use of plastic drinking straws, urging the entire hospitality and fast food sector to follow its initiative.
The restaurants behind the launch of the so-called “straw wars” campaign are to stop automatically handing out plastic straws to customers, and only hand them out when requested. Plastic straws can, theoretically, be recycled. But the campaign organisers argue that they rarely are recycled by individuals eating fast food “on the move” and that there is rarely any dedicated waste collection for restaurants, pubs and bars, which means they end up in landfill. Westminster City council, for example does not accept plastic straws for recycling from corporate users. Read More
Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Report 2012: Bicycling is on the Rise
The Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report shows that bicycling is getting more popular as a method of transportation; the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57% from 2000 to 2009.
The report also highlights bicycle and pedestrian safety issues and the economic benefits that are derived from these activities. This information is worth bearing in mind since this week, the House plans to vote on the approval of a new $260 billion transportation bill, part of which would eliminate bicycle and pedestrian programs – flying in the face of bicycling and pedestrian trends. Read More
(On a side note, my city has just noticed or has just decided to care about the fact that we have no side walks. And by no side walks, I mean NONE. The ones we do have are pretty much destroyed. I don’t know what they’re planning on doing about because they only educated us on the problem without offering any solutions or a plan which I thought was kind of mean.)
European Carbon Regulation for Airlines Takes Off
2012 started with some good news. On Sunday, the European Union began charging all airlines flying into and out of Europe for their carbon emissions. Covering a third of all global flights, this new scheme is one of the widest-reaching measures adopted lately by any country or regional bloc to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Given all the hurdles and protest it faced, the fact that this scheme actually began is not just an incredible accomplishment for the EU, but also a bit of a miracle.
The new scheme will make all airlines flying to, from or within the EU liable for their CO2 emissions. They will receive tradable carbon allowances, covering a certain amount of CO2 emitted each year, based on historic data. Carriers that exceed their limit will be able to buy allowances from other carriers that have emitted less than allowed. The EU believes this cap and trade scheme is the fairest way to cope with aviation’s contribution to global warming and incentivize airlines to reduce their footprint, which represents about 3 percent of global CO2 emissions. Read More
For more happy news go to http://www.greatnewsnetwork.org/