We’re back with another edition of Headlines. In this environment news roundup, we cover space travel, food waste, and car pollution.
Keeping Tabs on Climate Change
The Real Price of Going to Space
These days it seems like there’s a race to get to space. Elon Musk announced this year that he wants to take tourists to the International Space Station (ISS), and Richard Branson’s got big plans to send people to space every 32 hours by 2023.
The idea of space travel is exciting, we’ll give you that. But in addition to the $250,000 price tag, our planet’s environment is paying the biggest price. According to Champion Traveler, one SpaceX rocket launch produces the equivalent of 395 transatlantic flights worth of CO2 emissions. Yep, we’ll let you sit on that for a minute.
Stop Wasting Your Food
Here’s a shocking quote to kickstart this story:
“According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming.” - The Washington Post
There’s no denying that food waste is a major problem when it comes to climate change. We’re not just talking about all the gasses emitted from rotting food, but the emissions attached to the production, transport, and packaging of it too. The Washington Post also says that “cutting down on food waste could have nearly the same impact on reducing emissions over the next three decades as onshore wind turbines.”
So are you convinced yet? Here’s what you can do to play your part in reducing food waste:
- Buy ugly produce. A big chunk of food waste comes from fruits and vegetables that were never bought at stores because of their appearance. It costs less and tastes the same, so we say: go for it.
- Nearly expired is still good. The key here is that the food is nearly expired. It’s not bad yet, so scoop it up. Stores like Meijer are offering big discounts for nearly expired foods. They’ve even got an app for it.
- Abide by the laws. There’s a reason the city imposes laws on things like food waste. So, be a good citizen and abide by them. Cities around the world, like DC, are introducing composting programs for businesses and households.
- Check out local resources. EPA’s got a whole section dedicated to food waste reduction resources on their website.
Laying Down The Law
Cities Around the World Are Cracking Down on Cars
According to IEA, transportation emissions account for almost a fourth of all greenhouse gasses. So it’s no shock that cities around the world are making moves to reduce emissions. A recent article by The New York Times details some creative ways lawmakers are approaching the whole thing.
In Bristol, UK
Diesel vehicles could be banned from the city center during rush hour by 2021. That’s just the first step toward getting rid of all polluting vehicles by 2040. If they go through with it, they could be the first city to do this in the UK. Bravo!
In New York City, United States
Following London’s lead, Manhattan is going to try congestion pricing in 2021. Increasing the price of driving is a start, but they’re also going to reallocate those funds to pay for transit in the city. The idea here is to speed up traffic, which therefore reduces the emissions from start-and-stop traffic.
In Beijing, China
The car sitch in Beijing is intense. According to The New York Times, “the number of vehicles in Beijing nearly tripled to 5 million in 2011 from fewer than 2 million in 2000.” Yikes. Thankfully, they’re doing something about it now. In addition to financial incentives to switch to less-polluting cars to stricter emissions standards, Beijing launched a lottery. So, if you want to buy a car, you’ve got to wait and cross your fingers. They’ve allocated more lottery slots for more environmentally responsible vehicles, incentivizing drivers to go the clean route.
- New Delhi, India - If you drive in New Delhi, you’d better pay attention to your license plate. Which days of the week you can drive depends on whether you have a plate ending in an odd or even number.
- Oslo, Norway - Bye-bye parking spaces. Oslo is on a mission to convert parking spaces into bike lanes, benches, and parks. In fact, they’ve already removed 700 parking spaces this year.
- Lisbon, Portugal - The city is taking every measure to encourage the use of electric cars. If you’re driving an electric car, you can reap the benefits like free parking anywhere in the city, free charging stations, and cash incentives. Heck, even Uber in Lisbon has an electric car option.
By 2050, there could be as much plastic in the ocean as fish. At Solgaard, our goal is to pull 1 million pounds of plastic from the ocean by the end of 2020.
Taking plastic out of our oceans is one small part of fighting climate change. The more we know, the more conscious we can be. Our news series, Headlines, is a regular 2-min read meant to catch you up on the latest environment and climate change news from around the world.