Tuesday 24 March 2020

Positive News for Spring

5 More Feel Good Stories for Spring
We like to keep things upbeat, let's take a look at some positive news for 2020 💕 

1. Whales are making a come back. 
Did you know that 75% of the planet’s surface is covered by ocean? Did you know also that trees are not the only things that help absorb CO2?

Per the Good News Network (Mar 2020): Dr. Chiami, an economist at the International Monetary Fund found that just a 1% increase in phytoplankton in the sea would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year.
Dr. Ralph Chiami highlights the influence that whales, especially great blue whales—and their poo—have on climate change. It is all due to the predominance of whale fecal matter in the diets of the tiny ocean dwellers called phytoplankton.

It's reassuring therefore to see blue whales making a comeback (see reports below).

'Researchers counted 36 sightings of 55 critically endangered Antarctic blue whales during their 2020 trip, up from just one sighting of two whales in 2018, according to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) team.'

According to Eco watch (Feb 2020): 'In addition to Antarctic blue whales, BAS recorded 790 humpback whales over 21 days, and estimates that there are now more than 20,000 of them feeding off the island in the summer.'

2. New Climate Change Rules in Europe

According to BBC Environmental News (Mar 2020): 'New rules could spell the death of a "throwaway" culture in which products are bought, used briefly, then binned.' (I can hear you all saying hurrah!)

'The regulations will apply to a range of everyday items such as mobile phones, textiles, electronics, batteries, construction and packaging.'

This initiative is set by the EU, but word is Britain will also benefit, as manufacturers may not be willing to design products for two different markets. 
Let's hope we can do away with our throw away culture, as manufacturers purposefully build in a form of obsolescence to encourage people to buy more.

3. Wax worm has an appetite for plastic!

Wax worms are maggot like creatures which are larvae from a moth that likes to eat the waxy material found in bee hives. They have a special type of bacteria in their guts that acts like an enzyme that helps to digest wax. The discovery though was by accident -when a bee hive was decimated and the worms disposed of in a plastic bag, they merrily digested their way out of it!

This is not to say we should be releasing lots of wax eating moth maggots out into the world but studying how they digest plastic and break it all down is useful science - although of course we do need to reduce our reliance on plastics in the first place.

See initial article in the National Geographic (April 2017).  

In Mar 2020 scientists in Canada discovered these worms can survive entirely off a plastic diet and a form of alcohol is produced as a result!

4. Yorkshire Tea have Fine Tuned their PLA Teabags

Yorkshire tea had some teething problems during their first release of plastic reduced tea bags. Some of the bags would split open, so with the help of Sheffield University they fine tuned their production and are pleased to announce a new version of tea bags (Mar 2020).

They are keen to emphasise that they prefer NOT to call them 'plastic free' as natural plastics are still used (but thankfully not petro chemical ones). PLA plastics can be made from corn, coconut, banana leaf and all sorts of other natural fibres.
Click here to see how other tea companies are doing to reduce their plastics in tea.

5. Farm Trial Declared a Success for Wild Life

Positive News Site (Mar 2020) 
reports that a trial subsidy scheme to allow farmers in England to use their land to encourage biodiversity has been a success. 
'The two-year pilot was carried out on farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire. According to Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, which led the trial, participating farms had 43 per cent more seed-bearing plants than nearby sites that claim existing subsidies. Such plants provide a rich food source for birds in winter.'

This trial was co-funded by the EU, let's hope the British government keeps up the good work to help protect our local countryside, as we certainly need to do more!

Before You Go!

I leave you with a video on what it's like to save trees and how 50 million trees have changed the world. 

Do consider helping to support Ecosia, this is a web search engine tool that donates trees for clicks so you can donate just by doing your daily browsing. Enjoy!

Some Other Links of Interest:

Positive News Jan 2020  / Lovelier Planet News 2019 
Can Seagrass Help Us Breathe? / Trees for Life