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Let's Be Honest, Episode 44: Positive Sustainability News 2022

Let’s be honest is a Food Circle project to open up the conversation about the challenges when being or becoming a member of the SC (Sustainability Club). This series will shine a light on the different approaches to making life more sustainable and the step-backs and difficulties that arise. Being more kind and understanding, instead of critical, will hopefully help to encourage us to try instead of giving up when facing a step-back or failure. This is made possible thanks to Sapient, the mother company of Food Circle, which every year offers internships to students from all around the world, creating a uniquely multicultural environment!

Let’s celebrate the achievements and give room for honesty and struggles!

Since ages, people are sensitised and mobilised to take action upon global environmental problems. There have been activists, protests, global conferences, deaths through fighting for a purpose, organisations that support this cause and so much more to combat this huge fight for the environment that we all are involved. Yet, the progress is slow and the problems are getting bigger and bigger. Now, here we are also in the Let's Be Honest category, discussing about how people can help both personally and collectively, what to do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and change habits to save what we can. I believe it is time to present some positive green news for the present year, so we can feel hope and optimism for the future.

Carbon capture cars

Let's start with the future of this world, our younger generation, the students. A bright student team based at the Eindhoven University of Technology came up with a green idea for designing cars. They used ocean's plastic waste to build the majority of the exterior of the car and created the first sustainable in production, circular car with the possibility to be recycled when it services it's purpose. Furthermore, in July 2022 the team presented it's newest project, the car concept named Zem. Zem is able to remove the carbon from the air while driving with a special filter, also created by this prosperous team. This challenges a lot the car industry and hopefully we observe a change in car production but of course, see many Zems in the streets.

Sand batteries

Well, this sounds quite bizzare. Sand batteries, what is that?

The answer can be given by a team of talented engineers from the Finnish company Polar Night Energy. As widely known, Finland has just a glimpse of light during it's winter so the solar energy is not really accesible. The team tried to made a battery that isolates the heat from solar power during the summer and store it as a renewable energy source for the winter. This would mean a low-cost and low-impact solution to the country's reliance on fossil fuels in the winter.

Latest news is that the battery is prospering in Kankaanpaa, a town in West-Finland. It is used to heat residential and comercial properties and addittionaly a local swimming pool. It is expected that this technological innovation will be adopted by more companies and more research groups will study the sand batteries as a viable option for green power.

Biodegradable fishing nets

This is interesting. According to statistics, fishing gear equipment stands for 27% of marine litter since it is mostly made from plastic that everyone already knows where they end up and what damage they cause. However, INdiGO is developing modern, biodegradable fishing nets that will be a tremendous revolution in the marine life.

But what about the fishers?

The project surveyed 200 French and English fishers and 94% declared willing to try this new net if it as convenient, resistant and efficient as the traditional ones. Fair and square.

UN declares that everyone has the right to a healthy planet

On 28th July 2022, the United Nations General Assembly declared that everyone on the planet has a right to a healthy environment. 161 of the UN Member States voted in favour of the change and there were only eight abstentions. The majority of the UN states recognise that to achieve green goals towards a healthier planet, this needs a national constitution or national legislation. This is an important realisation, climate change is a problem to be dealt with now and not in the future.

Endagered species are back!

As the title says, 8 endagered species are being reintroduced to their natural habitats. India will receive from Namibia, that holds the world's largest population in cheetahs, 8 of their cheetahs so they can begin a restoration project. The UK is ready to welcome wild bisons for the first time in thousands of years. Addittionally, the Eurasian Lynx returned to 8 European countries. Hopefully, we will be expecting more exciting anouncements in this program.

Death Road is now considered safe

As questioning as this sounds, it is true. In Bolivia, there is a road that leads into The Yungas that once was called 'Death Road' due to it's narrow strip. The Death Road claimed approximately 300 lives yearly. In 2007, a safer public road was constructed and the traffic has dramatically dropped. As a result, wildlife that was extinct before, returned to their natural habitat and the cameras that have been installed, showed that more than 15 species of mammals and 94 species of birds had been spotted.

From subways to farming plots

If there was a competition for the most extraordinary farming idea, Taiwan would win. The country is transforming unused metro stations into underground vertical farms. The capital city Taipei's Nanjing-Fushing Station has become a 40 square meter hydroponic farm that hosts lettuce. The vegetable grows under LED lights in a sterilised environment so as to eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides. That is undoubtedly a very interesting prospect for more unused metro stations, if the conditions allow it.

China's wind farrm

China is aiming to surpass the current wolrd's largest wind farm, which title is held by the Jiuquan Wind Power that is also based in China. The facility is expected to be so big that it would power the whole country of Norway. The ambition is for the project to reach a 43.3 gigawatt facility in Taiwan Strait. It will operate between 75 and 185 km offshore, including thousands of powerful turbines. The windy location will benefit the fuction of the turbines for about 43-49% of the time. At the end of 2021 the planet's wind power capacity both onshore and offshore, was estimated around 830+ GW. Now, China accounts for more than half of this. Well, that is a problem solver.

Children's COP27

Egypt is this year's host for the international climate change conference COP27 and already surprises by giving a seat in the big table for young people's voice. It is the first time that the younger generation has a dedicated official space to express their opinions, ideas and proposals. It will be located in the 'Blue Zone', the inner, UN-managed space which hosts the global negotiations. Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg would be proud.

Greece met her electricity goals

Greece's IPTO (Independent Power Transmission Operator) announced that the country, for the first time ever, hit a major milestone. Renewable energy covered all of the country's needs in the shocking percentage of 100%.

If you need more hope and encouragement to continue or start embracing a more healthy lifestyle and habits, you can type on Google positive green/sustainable news 2022. With a quick online research you can find dozens of impactful stories to keep you going. There are so many things that happen daily around the globe that is impossible to keep up with everything. So many people and whole states are doing their best and fight for change and we never hear about them. Progress has been made but we need more. COP27 was held in Egypt this year from 6 to 18 of November and various topics around climate change and environmental problems have been discussed. Let's hope that the masterminds have a plan and will follow it.

Author: Alexandra Bakalianou


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