Hello everyone! I am well aware of the fact that reading about the environment these days can be especially disheartening, even more so as time goes on. However, there’s always a good side to everything. That’s why today, I wanted to bring you a list of 5 good pieces of environmental news, in no particular order, to brighten up your day. Keep reading to find out what they are!
- AirSeed Technology, an Australian start-up, is fighting deforestation with their drones! Their highly advanced fleet of drones have specially-designed seed pods that can be fired into the ground from high altitudes. According to Andrew Walker, the CEO and co-founder of the startup, each drone flies autonomously (meaning they are not directly controlled by a person) and plants 400 seeds per day, which is 25 times faster than traditional methods while still being 80% cheaper. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me!
Even more impressive is the use of biotechnology in the seed pods themselves. Not only are they carefully selected for each type of habitat the drones fly over, but are also made using waste biomass. This forms a carbon-rich coating that “protects the seed from different types of wildlife, but also supports the seed once it germinates and really helps deliver all of those nutrients and mineral sources that it needs, along with some probiotics to really boost early-stage growth,” Walker says.
While in flight, the drones travel across fixed paths, recording the coordinates of each pod, which allows AirSeed to monitor the health of their trees. Even though they’ve already planted 50K trees, AirSeed aims to plant 100 million by 2024. Learn more about them here.
- Marine researchers have discovered one of the largest coral reefs off of the coastline of Tahiti, and even better, it appears to be completely unharmed due to human activity! This is truly amazing news, as coral reefs are an absolute necessity to marine ecosystems. Not only do they provide a home to about 25% of all marine life, but are also a source of food for marine life and protect coastlines from severe weather, along with countless other benefits. Unfortunately, rising water temperatures from global warming have caused a widespread phenomenon called coral bleaching, in which the symbiotic algae in the reefs turn white, essentially killing them and thus depriving the surrounding ecosystems of their benefits. The fact that this new reef shows signs of no bleaching makes it all the more great!
- Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is paving the way in the race for sustainable living, implementing a number of drastic changes that earned it the title of the European Green Capital of 2023 from the European Commission. Among these changes include an increase in green space (parks now make up 19.5% of the city!), encouraging said green space to remain ‘wild” in order to promote insect pollination, and providing clean, free public transportation to its citizens.
The real kicker here is that the city hasn’t always been like this. Tallinn used to be home to countless industries that significantly contributed to environmental issues, such as minerals and paper. Their complete “rebranding” proves that realistic environmental change is possible. Krista Kampus, the city’s head of development, puts it perfectly when she says that “in the short term, we have to make investments and we have to spend some money, but if the result is a better, greener, more liveable city for everyone, then I think this is money worth spending.” I hope that other cities follow Tallinn’s lead soon!
- The first all-electric passenger airplane is preparing to take flight! Named “The Alice”, the Israeli company Eviation’s 9-seater aircraft features battery technology close to that of today’s cellphones. It requires 30 minutes of chagrin before being able to fly for an hour, or about 440 nautical miles, reaching a max speed of about 287 mph (roughly half of that of a Boeing 737, for comparison). Eviation, which focuses entirely on electric aircraft, has designed 3 versions of the prototype; a “commuter” variant (for regular flights), an executive variant (think private jets), and a cargo variant. While it may not seem like much, Alice is a great first step towards reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, to which the aircraft industry is a significant contributor. (To learn more about the transportation sector’s carbon footprint, check out my blog post about it here.)
- AirProtein, a California-based startup, is using carbon dioxide to make meat! Yes, you heard that right! Using a process similar to that of making yogurt, AirProtein “cultivates hydrogenotrophic microbes (bacteria) inside fermentation tanks and feeds them a mix of carbon dioxide, oxygen, minerals, water, and nitrogen,” producing a protein-rich flour similar to meat protein. They then use a combination of pressure, temperature, and cooking techniques to turn the flour into meat. Not only is the process extremely cool, but it is also very good for the environment. For one, it’s actually carbon-negative as the GHG is used in the process, not produced. Additionally, “the process uses 1.5 million times less land than beef and reduces water usage 15,000 times compared to beef.” If you know anything about meat production, that’s really good news! (If you don’t, check out my blog post about it here.) And, as sustainable technologies get cheaper, so will AirProtein’s process; it’s a win-win!
That’s all for today! I hope you learned something new from this; I certainly had an awesome time researching and writing this post! If you’d like to read some more good news, check out GoodGoodGoodco’s website.
Content Sources (be sure to check these out for the full stories!):