Obama and Canada Bans New Coastal Oil and Gas Drilling

ocean shore

Obama is leaving office and he’s clearly worried that the next president will ignore climate change and its effects on humanity. In order to stymie any damage that president Trump can do, Obama has passed a law that effectively bans ocean-based drilling for oil and gas in some areas. In support, Canada has passed a similar law that will ban arctic drilling. With fossil fuels becoming less profitable and alternative source energies getting cheaper the need to drill in precarious places become less tenable.

The ban affects 115 million acres (46.5 million hectares) of federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and 3.8 million acres (1.5 million hectares) in the Atlantic from New England to Chesapeake Bay.

The White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly announced their move to launch “actions ensuring a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem.”

Obama said in a statement that the joint actions “reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”

Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment.

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Spent Grains From Beer Used to Grow Mushrooms

beer

An enterprising student went on a brewery tour and discovered a lot of food waste. Grain is used when making beer in a similar way that tea is steeped, after the grain has been soaking in the water it is discarded. In some areas that grain gets turned into compost, other areas the grain can end up in a landfill. Beer is an energy intensive product and being able to cut waste is beneficial for everybody, and that’s what the student did. He has started a company that takes that grain and uses it to grow mushrooms!

One day, not long after he arrived in 2015, he was eyeing a pile of spent grain left over after the sugars are extracted during the fermenting process. Brewers not only want to dispose of it, but ditch it fast, because bacteria begin to work on the grain and, after a couple of days, cause an awful stink. “Why are we throwing this away?” he remembers asking a professor. He was directed to microbiologist Paul Tiege, a research scientist in the Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), who encouraged Villeneuve to run nutritional tests on the spent grain. “Alex spotted an opportunity . . . actually, several opportunities . . . where others see a liability,” says Tiege, who worked alongside Villeneuve on his research. “He fleshed out his idea, developed a research plan and decided to turn the idea into a business.”

Tiege says it was fortuitous timing, as the innovation centre had created an incubator fund in 2015 of up to $5,000 to ensure “innovative ideas do not get stuck in the development phase.” Villeneuve’s idea was greenlighted, and he began testing

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Now is the Time to Sell Stocks in Fossil Fuels

Most everyone knows that fossil fuel energy is on its way out and renewable energy usage is accelerating. This means that air quality will improve and energy will become cheaper, all good things. Yet, there’s a large group of companies that don’t see the obvious. Enter the divestment campaign. Divestment campaigns have been around for years and are showing great strides in getting shareholders to take their money from world-destroying industries and put that money into other, friendly, industries.

This year divestment initiatives doubled to $5.2tn! That’s a lot of money leaving oil companies.

The new report, produced by Arabella investment advisors for the DivestInvestcoalition, collated public pledges to sell off some or all fossil fuel investments and added up the overall investments managed by those institutions. The total was double the $2.6tn reported by the last analysis in September 2015.

It is often difficult to calculate the precise proportion of fossil fuel investments in complex funds, but about $400bn of the $5.2tn total is likely to be in coal, oil and gas. Asset managers controlling $1.3tn – a quarter of the total – have also committed to increasing their investments in clean energy to accelerate a transition to the low-carbon economy.

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Thanks to Delaney!

How Cities are Turning Food Waste Into…Food

fruit store
Cities have a problem with food: they waste a lot of it. The current food distribution setup encourages bulk deliveries via trucks which means that when that large amount of food goes bad – a lot of it does all at the same time. Governments have looked into this problem and are addressing it at the city level by finding novel ways to use the nearly-expired food. Some places are using food that can’t be sold in grocery stores for charity while others use it for entirely other reasons. It’s great to see food waste decrease a little more each year!

And giving food to hungry people—surprise surprise—makes society a lot better. One of the best examples is in the English former industrial town of Leeds, where food that would be thrown away from supermarkets goes to a big state school in a poor neighborhood. The school gets enough to feed all 600 pupils a nutritious breakfast and lunch for no extra cost to itself or to parents. Because the pupils aren’t hungry or coming down off sugar rushes, there’s less truancy, they behave better, and their exam scores have gone up.

But food banks and charities also end up with leftovers, so there’s been an explosion in organizations, like Les Confitures de Dominique in Bordeaux, that turn unwanted fruit and veg into jams, smoothies, chutneys, and soups. In fact, there’s a whole new industry of turning food waste into other food, like Toast Ale in London, which takes the unwanted bread ends that can’t be used for prepackaged sandwiches and turns them into beer.

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Thanks to Delaney!

There’s Profit in Reusing Office Furniture

Office room

When opening an office a key thing to take into consideration is where people are going to work. In these modern times just letting employees sit on the floor won’t cut it. Buying furniture can be expensive and add a lot to startup costs, so an enterprising company has taken to selling used furniture.

When companies upgrade their offices they just throw out their old furniture -8.5 million tonnes of it went into the trash last year! There’s money to be had in saving that furniture from landfills, and that’s where reusing office furniture becomes profitable.

“In Canada and the United States, the purchase of new office furniture is in the realm of a $10-billion-a-year industry, so the amount of churn is exceptional, and for the most part it’s always been considered a waste stream,” said Richard Beaumont, vice-president of strategic accounts at Green Standards. “Through resale, metal recycling and charitable donations we, on average, divert just under 99 per cent from landfills by weight.”

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