EcoBuzz – Time for the US to Step Up

ECO TIP – Install low flow shower heads and save up to 1,000 lbs CO2e & $140 per year

Low flow shower heads save you 10-30% on your water heating bill, and 50% of water used per shower. Standard shower heads use around 5 gallons of water per minute, and some high-end fixtures use as much as 12 gallons per minute. According to Energy Impact Illinois, low-flow shower heads work by using air pressure instead of water pressure to create that sense of force when you’re bathing, using 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute instead of 5 or more. They cost about $25, can be installed in 10 minutes, and they’ll pay for themselves in 6 months. Learn more.


THE BUZZ…

When nations work together…

Leaders in the global fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have signed a ‘Declaration for Ambition,’ pledging to lead from the front in the months leading up to the UN’s September 2019 Climate Summit. Signing countries included Argentina, Britain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Spain and Sweden. You may notice that the US is not on that list. It’s time we demand better from our country’s leadership.

The EU is aiming for a zero-carbon economy, with three agreements to transform the continent’s energy creation and consumption policies. Three agreements were established in June. The first was to source 32% of their energy from renewable sources. The second to increase energy efficiency. And the third will ensure secure, cost-effective, and climate friendly energy is available across the bloc.

Fewer plastic straws in the UK and Ireland…

McDonald’s will start using biodegradable paper straws at all of its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland starting in September. This means up to 1.8 million fewer plastic straws per day from the UK alone will be making their way into our oceans and waterways. There are also plans for straw alternatives in the US, France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia, though no details have yet been released. Want to be part of the movement regardless of where you live? Request no straws when you order at your local eateries or big chains.  

We need to protect our coral reefs before it’s too late…

A paper published in Nature Communications this month details the cost of losing the coastal protection provided by natural coral reefs. For the worst storms, the cost of flood damages could go up by 91% in the US alone. That’s roughly $272 billion. It’s just further evidence that the time to get serious about management of our coastal ecosystems and marine biomes is now.

State of the environment…

Counterpunch recently summed up the state of our environmental impact. Rather than curbing CO2 emissions, they’re actually rising exponentially, says Dr. Wadhams of Cambridge University. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have stated that today’s rate of increase of CO2 is roughly 100 times faster than at the end of the last ice age. And it looks like we may be headed for the sixth major extinction event on this planet, unless we make some major changes soon. Meanwhile, Yes Magazine remembers a time when politicians weren’t derailing the discussion over environmental destruction with partisan bickering. Back in the late 80’s, we were all ready to work together to fix the looming problems. It’s time to get back to that level of cooperation, or face dire consequences.

Losing a powerful ally…

One of the biggest stories in the nation’s capitol right now is the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. This is likely to be very bad news for environmental interests in the US. It’s almost certain that the judge replacing him will be more conservative, and though Kennedy’s record on environmental issues was a mixed bag, his nuanced understanding of environmental issues often gave standing to cases that otherwise would not have been seen. With the future of the court up in the air, it’s time for us to band together and step up our efforts to effect real change on the grass roots level.

Public transit in Chicago is going high tech…

The Boring Company has been in talks with the city of Chicago to provide a high speed underground transit system. The project is intended to provide cost-effective and efficient transit between the city’s downtown business district and O’Hare International Airport. It’s expected to make the commute from the Loop to O’Hare a 12 minute ride, at a cost of just $20-25 per ride. The hope is that this will alleviate much of the gridlock associated with airport traffic, as well as the emissions caused by all of those cars on the highway. Remember, public transit is a far more energy efficient way of getting around town, even when it’s not built by Elon Musk.

Solar power is a cheaper, more efficient option…

Nevada Power (part of Berkshire Hathaway, owned by Warren Buffett) signed a deal in June to build six new solar farms. These farms are expected to produce 1001MW of electricity, and will be built for a staggeringly low price. Expected to open for commercial operation by 2020 or 2021, they’ll provide a nice economic incentive to switch to renewable energy sources as coal, gas, and nuclear power take a back seat. Be sure to take advantage of the savings on power by installing solar panels in your own home.

Additionally, Maui College in Hawaii announced a net-zero plan, aiming to make them the first campus in the US to be 100% solar powered. The first solar panels should arrive at the campus later this summer. Energy efficiency measures have already been successfully implemented, and the campus is now partnering with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Billionaires in tech are funding exciting energy concepts…

Meanwhile, a $1 billion fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures, funded by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and several other CEOs and Silicon Valley superstars, has announced its first two investments. One funding recipient is Form Energy, which is working to develop batteries that last longer and are more efficient in order to bring down the cost of electric vehicles and solar powered homes. The other is Quidnet Energy, which uses water and unused oil and gas wells in shale rock formations to generate electricity in a novel and renewable way.


EYE ON PROTECT OUR WINTERS

Protect Our Winters (POW) is a charity aiming to band together the outdoor sports community to focus on positive climate action. Started by a professional snowboarder, Jeremy Jones, the initiative has organized summits, marches, and even sent Jeremy to testify before congress. But they need your help. And so, they’ve created a handy roadmap to help you take action to fight climate change today.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: