Against the backdrop of Mozambique cyclones and drowning emperor penguins, there is hope. School strikes appear to be effective, the world’s richest can do good, and influential brands too. Read on for this week’s environmental news roundup.
Before we move into the news this week, we’d like to highlight that Mozambique has been hit by two cyclones back-to-back in the same season, for the first time in recorded history. With donations dwindling, the situation is critical and life-threatening and more help is needed. Read more about what happened here, and donate here or here.
1. Scotland declares a climate emergency following school strikes.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that this was a public promise, inspired by the students who cut school. Significantly, the declaration of a climate emergency is also a key demand of the Extinction Rebellion movement, offering hope that protests against political inaction do not fall on deaf ears. Sturgeon promises that ‘Scotland will live up to [their] responsibility to tackle it’, speaking to the young people she met and their ‘entire generation’.
2. Swiss billionaire pledges $1 billion to save Earth’s lands and oceans.
With only 15% of Earth’s land and 7% of our oceans having been protected in a natural state, urgent climate action is required to preserve them as they are. Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss’s contribution aims to protect 30% of our planet by 2030, through local efforts towards better park and protected areas management and conservation research.
3. Adidas finally figures out how to make recyclable shoes.
It took them ten whole years, but here we are. Only one material, without glue, specially designed to be recycled into another shoe. It’s impressive – because shoes, like most other products, are made out of mixed materials, making it hard to recycle. This is an example of a company (an influential one, nonetheless) trying to #CloseTheLoop, designing with a product’s end in mind. Adidas currently already makes shoes with ocean plastics and plans to use only recycled polyester whenever possible by 2024.
4. Ecuador Amazon tribe wins first victory against oil companies!
The Waorani indigenous tribe won a victory against Big Oil – in a ruling that blocks the companies’ entry into ancestral Amazonian lands for oil exploration activities. The state, which owns some of the wealth in the subsoil, violated the rights of its people by previously opening up 180,000 hectres of land for exploration, despite protecting the lands within its constitution.
5. London Marathon swaps out plastic water bottles for seaweed pouches.
200,000 plastic bottles were saved with these innovative seaweed pouches filled with a sports drink, produced by sustainable packaging start-up, Skipping Rocks Lab. The capsules can be bitten to release the liquid inside or consumed whole. If runners decided not to eat the seaweed film, it could be discarded and would break down quickly.
6. Coffee waste could replace palm oil.
Scottish entrepreneurs Scott Kennedy and Fergus Moore have come up with a way to extract oil from used coffee grounds, possibly making your daily caffeine fix a way to save the rainforests. Apparently, the waste from coffee contains all the same components as palm, and these two are aiming to have the process up and running in Glasgow by next summer – and have already secured some funding.