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Snippets for 7 October 2021

Thanks for reading our Snippets newsletter this week. We have once again included a mixed selection of articles we hope you find interesting.

Climate change probably seems like something that is bigger than all of us, and hard to make a difference on. Communicating efforts through powerful local stories could inspire people to act on climate change. We look at a series of articles both here and abroad that show what is happening. First at a state level in Australia, and then some local projects in cities around the world, including “Gorilla Gardening’, finishing with a look at some organic farmers here in NZ, all doing their bit.

While these are positive, it’s still important to hold organisations to account. Especially when “Carbon Washing” is the new “greenwashing”. But of course, when you dig deeper, they are just words that are used as marketing ploys or to paint a company in a better light.

To combat some of this greenwashing when it comes to the building space, a new ISO standard will be introduced sometime next year to provide an internationally recognised benchmark for carbon neutrality. This standard will allow architects and designers to certify their buildings and products as carbon neutral.

We often hear that vehicle batteries are difficult to, or can’t be, recycled. Well, Ford has just invested US$50 million in an upstart electric vehicle battery recycling company. Redwood can recover 95% of precious metals in EV batteries such as nickel, cobalt, lithium, and copper!

This is a good thing, as it negates the need for mining these minerals on the ocean floor. Which incidentally got the big thumbs down at a recent conservation summit.

We finish this week with a look at China, which is ending overseas funding for coal power plants. President Xi Jinping says it will fund green energy projects in developing countries instead, in a major announcement in the run-up to the COP26 climate talks in November.

We start this week off with a look at how storytelling is important to the fight against climate change. The science and the facts around climate change have been unequivocally clear for decades - but not enough has been done about it. This article discusses the importance of telling powerful, local stories of how communities and individuals are tackling the crisis. These types of stories can be hugely motivating. Read more....

One such story comes from the state of South Australia (SA). This article shows how an entire state can turn its energy woes around with proper effort and investment in the right places. Five years after a massive state-wide blackout, SA is now the only state in Australia with no supply shortfalls. This is thanks to investment in wind, solar, battery, and other renewable energy, which now has SA well on track to be 100% renewable by 2030. Read more....

Continuing to look at communities that are addressing climate change head on, our next article takes a look at cities around the world where projects are driving towards net zero climate goals. From the hills of Bogota, Colombia, to the below sea-level streets of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, Japan; communities are implementing a variety of projects that will help them reduce their emissions. It’s a great look at how people from across the globe and from all walks of life, are doing their bit in the fight against climate change. Read more....

It sounds like a bad thing, but in reality, Guerrilla Gardening may be the complete opposite. A focus on the environment is something a lot of guerrilla gardeners have in common. It’s locals making their environment greener by discreetly planting/gardening where they don’t have the “right” to, sometimes getting the ball rolling on projects that may otherwise have too much red tape to ever get going. Some discussion with those affected most by the plantings is probably sensible, before commencing. Read more....

Another local story – a couple that are organic farmers manages to produce 12,000 kilos of food from just one third of an acre! No heavy machinery used, just hard graft by hand. They set out to show that there is an alternative to large scale monoculture and have succeeded. The secret is in having healthy soil, which by the way, is improving year on year and leading to increased yields. Read more....

From telling stories, we examine how sustainability claims can be based on vague and often meaningless terminology that knowingly or unknowingly misleads consumers. In many ways carbon washing is the new greenwashing. Growing alarm about climate change has meant phrases such as "climate neutral", "carbon negative", "net-zero" and "offsetting" are now being casually bandied around, replacing terms such as "biodegradable", "compostable", "circular" and "ocean plastic" that were all the rage just a couple of years ago. Read more....

And one of the best ways to make claims that are credible, is to use an ISO standard. Due to be published in 2022 an ISO global standard that will allow architects and designers to certify their buildings and products as carbon neutral is to be released. Guidelines for determining the carbon impact of projects and the kinds of offsets that will be allowable will be included, ending confusion over the meaning of carbon neutrality and reducing the opportunities for carbon washing. Read more....

Ford is investing in electric vehicle battery recycling. One of the first things those opposed to electric vehicles will always say is that EV batteries cannot be recycled. With looming scarcity of raw materials as the market ramps up, Ford has decided to invest heavily in a battery recycling upstart to ensure its supply chain. With the potential to recycle 95% of the batteries contents, this clearly shows that EV batteries can indeed be recycled. Read more....

Speaking of scarcity of raw materials and the need to recycle more…deep sea mining has recently been touted as the next frontier to exploit, and the battle to do so is ongoing. Delegates at this year’s global conservation summit have voiced a resounding YES in support of a moratorium on deep sea mining and sent a clear message to the International Seabed Authority. So, investing in recycling appears to be a good path forward! Read more....

Our final article this week, looks at China and their investment in coal fired energy plants abroad. China says it will no longer fund overseas coal generation projects, but instead it will shift investment to helping developing countries build low carbon and renewable energy generation. This is very big step, considering that China is the largest funder of new coal projects in the world. China now joins the likes of Japan and South Korea, who also stopped funding for these types of projects. Read more....

This week we have some varied innovation articles that we hope you enjoy:

  1. Meridian subsidiary eyes Australian EV market for vehicle to grid software

  2. Ex-Reddit CEO raises $30M to offer ‘reforestation in a box’

  3. Wetlands could combat nitrates

  4. BMW's i Vision Circular Concept Is 100% Recyclable

  5. Artificial Trees could offset Carbon Dioxide emissions

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