I’ve been trying to stay positive throughout the whole hideous pandemic but this week it’s gotten the best of me.
We’re fortunate enough to be sheltering in place near the ocean where we’ve been able to stay sane with daily beach walks and lovely, clear air. Unless Wednesday.
I woke up to what looked like a vivid sunset, along with the dense, acrid smell of smoke. US readers will know that we are facing massive wildfires on the west coast, and even our little corner of Oregon is not immune, as there have been outbreaks to the north and east of us. While we’re intensely lucky not to have to evaculate thus far (fingers crossed), the air remains at a dangerously unhealthy level so all outdoor activities are curtailed for now.
Suddenly, sheltering in place is even more claustrophobic, while my anxiety is skyrocketing and even minor annoyances feel overwhelming. Praying for rain.
OK, enough whining; how about some activism? In news from London, thirty bare-breasted women locked themselves to the railings outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament to demand action on climate change. Members of Extinction Rebellion, they’d written the dire consequences of global warming on their bodies to call attention to our world’s predicament.
I’d go topless too if I were a few decades younger.
Garbage: it’s not just for landfills anymore! A company in New York City has created an all-purpose cleaner made from 97% food waste plus 3% sustainably sourced natural fragrance. Lab tests indicate that it’s 99% effective at cleaning tough dirt from multiple surfaces.
Rather than adding water — which accounts for as much as 90% in most household cleaners — all the liquid in this product is directly derived from the recycled food waste.
And instead of a plastic spray bottle that might or might not get recycled, the product comes in a refillable aluminum bottle.
Old oil and gas rigs might have a new lease on life that could benefit both industry and the planet, says a study from the University of Edinburgh.
Instead of decommissioning North Sea oil and gas rigs, which costs a boatload of money, they could be refitted — for 10x less — as pumping stations for self-contained carbon dioxide storage sites below the seabed.
The sites could be used to lock away CO2 produced by power stations, as well as emissions generated by natural gas production.
No, the bears aren’t on patrol… although that would be something to see! Picture a group of polar bears armed with walkie-talkies, alerting each other to salmon sightings, thin ice, and the nearest watering hole (aka, cool bar).
Nope, this is actually something serious. As summer ice continues to shrink due to climate change, polar bears are staying on land for longer periods of time. This is dangerous to both humans and the animals who are killed in self-defense.
In Wales, Alaska, a patrol started in 2016 actively protects both bears and people using deterrents such as noisemakers, better lighting, and warning plans when bears enter communities. The WWF is actively helping other Alaskan villages launch similar programs.
The Nature Conservancy recently reported survey results indicating that Hawaiian coral reefs are showing signs of growth and stabilization after devastating bleaching occurred in 2015. The healthier reefs were generally further away from excessive exposure to “human influences”, but even the most vulnerable species are starting to recover.
What’s more, there’s good news for fish living on coral reefs impacted by climate change*. A new study suggests that these reefs can still be productive, as the fish get most of their food from the currents which flow past them.
File this under “From the mouths of babes”: A group of 21 young plaintiffs aged 11-23 years old, have filed suit against the Trump administration for actions that cause climate change, and for failing to protect essential public trust resources. Bravo!
The case (officially Juliana v. United States) argues that their generation will be denied their constitutional right to life, liberty and property if nothing is done. Adding fuel to the fire: a United Nations report issued in October predicts climate catastrophe if global emissions continue at their present rate. Significant progress must be made in the next 12 years, a timeline that’s all too real to these young activists.
Youth v. Gov, as the suit has been nicknamed, aims to put the administration in the spotlight, with the goal of holding corporations and governments accountable for their role in the crisis.
Yes, the first hurdle is getting people to actually admit there is such a thing, and that it poses a major threat.
But here’s reason for guarded optimism: According to recent reports, a new technique can convert carbon dioxide back into coal. In theory, this could make huge inroads into eliminating the global dangers of greenhouse gases.
Of course, a massive undertaking would be enormously expensive. But where there’s money to be made, there’s a way.
That alone might convert some skeptics.
Coal: It’s not just for barbecues anymore! Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com