Snippets for 9 June 2022




Thanks for reading our Snippets newsletter this week. We hope you find it interesting.


We start this week with a couple of impactful comments from the UN Chief. First, that fossil fuels are a dead end, and subsidies of these are a scandal. He also comments to the young that they should be thinking seriously about the environmental conscience of businesses they are considering working for. Two very big statements that would not have been made in the not so distant past – the mindset out there is changing.


With a social outlook aspect to our newsletter this week, we look at how top scientists keep an optimistic viewpoint, and then at how Jo(e) average could try understanding the human ability to wipe species out, and how this could be minimised by eating more pests. The increased prevalence of carbon footprint info on product labels helps us all become more aware and buy greener. And behaviour of populations with low water supplies is changing – maybe you don’t need a precisely manicured lawn, some native vegetation may survive better and look just as stunning in its own way, as some California residents have found. Their governing bodies are pleased with the way peoples’ mindsets are changing so water use is being considered.


In the UK there is a lot of awareness in communities around how to improve the natural areas they have, and many solutions are being implemented. But in Scotland, rewilding has rapidly become a solution, but not without its problems. Is this the best way to get nature back on track? And Palm Oil is also a fantastic product in many ways, but maybe not so much if it uses land that is better used, or kept, for other less destructive ventures?


We end with a very in-depth article from Stuff this last weekend around the Lake Onslow proposition – a massive water battery that could solve New Zealand’s energy requirements… but at what cost?

We start with a strong, blunt message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres: fossil fuels are a dead end. It’s a message that we may not have seen from the head of the UN even 5 years ago, showing how much thinking has changed. The UN chief also labelled fossil fuel subsidies, which many governments continue to give, a “scandal” – highlighting how fossil fuel industries receive $11 million every minute of every day, more than triple what renewables receive. Read more....

Continuing with his strong messaging, the Secretary-General also encouraged younger people to avoid working for “climate-wreckers”. This is again bold messaging, as the UN chief is effectively telling young people to withhold their labour from fossil fuel industries, stating “as graduates, you hold the cards”. And there appears to be an appetite for this kind of action, as a poll in New South Wales and Queensland showed the vast majority of residents see green technologies as key to their long-term prosperity. Read more....

If we are to take effective climate action, we will need to keep hope alive, that we can pull through the climate crisis, despite worsening scenarios. It’s a careful balancing act, managing feeling grief for the damage already done while still holding out hope we can achieve what needs to be done to limit warming. It’s a balancing act UN Environment Programme Director, Inger Andersen, is all too familiar with. She says she would not be able to do her job if she didn’t have hope and see a pathway through this crisis. Read more....

Invasivorism, what is it and how can it help us? Nine times out of ten, humans have created situations enabling invasive species to thrive destroying local species to extinction, so why not utilise these invasive species where possible, creating gourmet meals to feed ourselves. Although this article is looking specifically at areas in the US, this is a global issue. These pests could potentially become a valuable resource. Read more....



Would guidance around a product’s carbon footprint assist you when purchasing? More and more companies seem to think so. Labels are appearing on products, from food and drink to cosmetics, showing their climate impacts. This fresh wave of efforts at “carbon footprint” labelling is being praised by some as giving consumers advice to tackle climate change, or at least become more climate aware. Mandatory, standardised labelling should become an expectation on any product. Read more....

Adaption to our changing environments is critical to our survival. Some areas in Southern California have made big changes to conserve water - better infrastructure management & monitoring (build it right & fix it quickly), right through to getting rid of water hungry lawns and replacing with native vegetation. They have enacted comprehensive plans across the full use of fresh water and the reuse of grey water that has seen big savings. Read more....



The UK government and Natural England (the government's adviser for the natural environment in England), has recently announced five unique nature recovery projects spanning around 99,000 hectares. This is aimed at tackling wildlife loss and transforming the public’s access to, and enjoyment of, nature in Somerset, the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, and Norfolk. Work in the projects will range from converting farmland into chalk grassland to restoring “dew ponds” and managing wetlands and other lands sustainably. Read more....

One of the ways to address threats our planet faces, from climate change and extinction of species, is by rewilding – restoring land to a natural sustainable ecosystem function that requires minimal human intervention or management. A recent trend has seen huge areas across the UK being snapped up to rewild by businesses, billionaires, and asset managers, attracting controversy and being dubbed as another form of greenwashing. It’s easy to see the appeal from the point of view of corporations and the wealthy. But what are the consequences for the rest of us? Read more....

Oil palm can produce up to ten times more vegetable oil per hectare than other crops, which is why global plantations have been flourishing. It is also very harmful to biodiversity. Plans are now afoot to introduce oil palm into the Brazilian Amazon, which is already facing significant environmental challenges. This move poses an ecological quandary, in that the oil palm which will be used as ‘green diesel’ allows a transition away from fossil fuels, but at what cost to Amazon biodiversity and its ability to sequester carbon. Read more....


Our final article examines the New Zealand Battery Project, the functioning of our electricity market and the possible future of Lake Onslow. At the moment, the NZ market is hindered by only having eight weeks of hydro lake storage and a reliance on thermal generation at Huntly to get it through dry years. If Lake Onslow is converted into a pumped hydro storage scheme, then with its proposed 5,000 GWh capacity, NZ will effectively be able to become 100% renewable. But at what cost? Another ecological quandry. Read more....









This week we have a couple of innovative articles we hope you enjoy:






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