Celebrating Resiliency

The Rockefeller Foundation has produced a new documentary celebrating areas humans live in that are designed to be resilient to climate change. By building our cities and countries around the concept of resiliency we can better prepare for what’s ahead when it comes to unpredictable and extreme weather. It’s design thinking applied on a ecosystem level that allows human civilization to continue while supporting existing natural systems.

The clip above is focussed on Louisiana post hurricane Katrina, the movie explores other places around the world that have also rejuvenated their loyal ecosystems to thrive once again.

Resilience is also a key theme at Rockefeller, which believes national, even global change can start at a city level. In a way, municipalities are the perfect ecosystems to try transformational projects that other cities can tweak or adopt. To that end, the group has invested over a half billion dollars in various resilience initiatives including the National Disaster Resilience Competitionand 100 Resilient Cities.

According to Carter, the film’s concept began with the idea of chronicling several success stories that others could learn from. The group quickly realized that had they enough material for a movie about the broader global movement. Resilience test cases include New Orleans, which has rebuilt better, greener and stronger in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Read more.
Watch the full movie here.

Global Carbon Output Decreases

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In order to avert catastrophic climate change we need to dramatically cut global carbon output. That’s what the Paris Agreement is all about and it comes in to force in just three more days. The really good news is not just that we have decreased carbon output it’s also that the Paris Agreement is going to accelerate the decline. Things are looking good in the carbon reduction portfolio!

The biggest driver was a decline in China’s coal consumption, which resulted a 6.4% drop the carbon intensity of the world’s second biggest economy.

A centrally-led shift of the economy to a service-based industry has begun to shut down the vast coal-fuelled steel and cement sectors. For the first time, China led the rankings table for the biggest drop in intensity.

The UK and US were also significant contributors, reducing by 6% and 4.7% respectively, to the overall drop as both governments introduced policies that pushed coal plants out of business. In the UK coal use dropped by 20% for the second year running.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “In the week in which the Paris Agreement comes into force, this is very promising news in showing that the dominant paradigm of economic growth is swiftly changing, which makes the Paris targets look more achievable.

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Watch Before the Flood Right Now

When I started this website about good news I never thought I would be mentioning Leonardo DiCaprio, but here we are. The award winning actor teamed up with Fisher Stevens to create a really good documentary about the state of climate change. The documentary weaves together the historical context we find ourselves in and how the current power structures (economic and political) contribute to the ongoing issues around climate change. Change is happening faster than predicted and the documentary encourages us to act even faster.

It’s a good documentary that paints a dreary picture but not without hope for saving the future.

Here’s the trailer in case you need more convincing.

We Can Use Nanotechnology to Scrub CO2

Scientists working with nanotechnology to try and create methanol from CO2 accidentally discovered that they made ethanol. Happy accidents are always welcomed – particularly when it can help the environment in multiple ways. The electrochemical process uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. This is fantastic news if it can be scaled up as it’s a way to something bad for the environment into a fuel source. The team that worked on the project is hoping that it can be used to store energy from renewable sources.

“A process like this would allow you to consume extra electricity when it’s available to make and store as ethanol,” said Rondinone. “This could help to balance a grid supplied by intermittent renewable sources.”

The researchers plan to further study this process and try and make it more efficient. If they’re successful, we just might see large-scale carbon capture using this technique in the near future.

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Buying Recycled Products is Good for Everything

Reduce, reuse, and recycle is a mantra heard time and time again. Yet, not everyone follows it (remember that they are in that order for a reason: reduce what you consume in the first place, then reuse what you can, and recycle the rest). It can be easy though. When you do buy stuff (remember that you should try not to buy things – reduce) buy recycled because there are a ton of reasons from energy consumption to sending a message. Over at Grist they compiled a compendium of reasons to buy recycled.

Still, I’d encourage you to continue buying the 100-percent recycled stuff if you can — for foil as well as any other product — for so many reasons. Recycled content saves natural resources, so we can mine fewer metals, cut down fewer trees, and tap less petroleum. It uses less energy to produce, sometimes dramatically so; recycled aluminum can be whipped up with 95 percent less power than virgin aluminum. Recycled material slashes pollution and saves water, too. And let’s not forget it prevents our consumer castoffs from languishing away in a landfill.

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