Clean Energy Growing in Popularity

Anyone looking at the energy industry instantly notices the growth of clean energy relative to non-renewable sources. Clean energy is getting so popular that nations which you might not think of embracing renewable energy are investing quite a lot into the field. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently highlighted seven projects around the world which exemplify the global trend to clean energy.

3. The clean energy transition is happening in Russia too.
“I was in Moscow a few weeks ago. We launched our roadmap for Russia for an energy transition. A lot of people didn’t believe we’d ever do this, but we did this together with the ministry of energy. We have projections that they can quadruple renewable energy in their system by 2030. The minister of energy agreed with that assessment publicly… He said we know the world of energy is going to change, [and] we have to decide if we want to be part of the vanguard of this movement, or if we want to be struggling a few years down the road to catch up with everybody else.”

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Thanks to Delaney!

Reducing Waste in Food Courts

fries

Poor waste management presents more than just food waste in food courts located in mass or offices. The waste of time, money, and energy plague most of these food operations. In yet another example of how being more efficient with waste saves more than the planet, the CBC took a look at how some food courts in Canada are dealing with waste. There are easy solutions like better signage and reducing what restaurants need to hand out with every meal and there are more complex solutions like dehydrating the food waste. Of course, the best way to reduce waste in food courts is to bring your own lunch from home.

The food court at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto used to generate 120 bags of garbage a day. Now it produces just three — despite the fact that it serves noodles, fried chicken, burgers and other fast foods to 24,000 customers a day.

The good news is that far more food court waste is recyclable than you might think. Cromie and his team went through a load of garbage collected at a local food court by CBC News and found 86 per cent of the items in the “garbage” stream could actually have been recycled.

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How the Aral Sea got its Flow Back

ocean shore

Perhaps one of the best examples of human destruction of water resources the Aral Sea, and now it’s becoming an example of how humans can repair the damage we’ve done to our natural bodies of water. We’ve looked a the sea’s restoration before since it’s such a fascinating example. The recovery of the sea from over-consumption of and diversion of water still has a long way to go but we’re seeing progress already and the natural recovery of the northern part of the Aral sea is happening faster than predicted. The next step in the very long process to recover the full sea requires not physical changes but policy changes from its coastal nations.

The return of the North Aral Sea has fuelled a revival of the fishing industry in Aralsk. In 2006, the annual fish catch totaled 1,360 tons, which comprised a majority of flounder – a saltwater species that the Kazakhs dislike. By 2016, the Aralsk Fish Inspection Unit recorded 7,106 tons of fish as freshwater species have returned, including pike-perch – which bring in a hefty price for local fishermen – breams, asp, and catfish.

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How Canadian Cities can Copy Copenhagen

“It’s colder here than anywhere else” is a popular myth that Canadians tell themselves which then leads to Canadians thinking that solutions used in the rest of the world won’t work in the country. This is not a good thing. The good thing is that Canadians are tepidly looking to other northern countries to see how common problems are solved. Copenhagen has similar weather to many cities in Canada and has alleviated traffic through good bicycle infrastructure. What’s most important is that Copenhagen supports their bicycles year-round unlike most Canadian cities.

And it pays off: According to one economic analysis, every kilometre driven in a car costs society 89 cents; by contrast, every kilometre driven on a bike saves 26 cents.

Most streets in the capital have four distinct lanes – a sidewalk, a cycling track, parking and a driving lane. The city notes that every time it adds a bike lane, cycling traffic increases by 20 per cent to 50 per cent along that route.


In fact, commuting time has fallen because the city built a network of “cycle super highways” from the suburbs and adopted a “green wave” policy, whereby traffic lights for bikes are synchronized for bikes travelling at 20 kilometres an hour and, if you maintain that speed, you rarely stop.

Canadians often dismiss cycling as impractical because of the weather. Copenhagen is certainly more temperate than Toronto (or Edmonton) but, when it does snow, bike lanes are cleared first. Copenhagen also gets a lot of rain – 177 days a year – but people dress for it.

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Bike Race Footage Shows Climate Change

Bicycle

By watching an annual bicycle race researchers found evidence of climate change. The Liège–Bastogne–Liège one day race has been running for decades and filmed since at least the 1980s. Because the route covers much of the same ground every year some researchers figured that they could use it to witness how plants are reacting to our warming climate, so they watched a lot of races but watched the trees not the racers. This sort of research is really neat since it provides another way to visually analyze our planet and share that knowledge.

Co-author Lisa Van Langenhove sifted through more than 200 hours of television data of the race shot between 1981 and 2016. Though the route had changed over the years, the team selected 12 climbs and landmarks where they could pinpoint individual trees. They studied 46 trees in particular. Most of them were not native to the area and included magnolia, hawthorn and forsythia.

The researchers found that in the 1980s, there were virtually no leaves on trees. After 1990, however, many trees were already in full leaf.

The change was significant. When leaves begin to emerge on a tree branch, it’s referred to as flushing. The study found that between 2006 and 2016, 45 per cent of trees had begun to grow leaves. That’s compared to nearly zero in the 1980s.

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