Hello everyone! I don’t know how you felt after reading my last positive news post, but I surely felt very empowered researching and writing about the amazing contributions being made to bettering our environment, so I figured, why not make another one? I’m so glad I did because just in about 4 months, so many great things have taken place! Keep reading to find out what they are!
- In arguably the largest effort in the history of the United States to fight the giant that is global warming, the House passed President Joe Biden’s extensive climate bill last November, after which it headed to the Senate. While the Senate has not done much about the bill yet, which caused many House Democrats to push for a response, the good part is that this is the farthest such a bill has gotten since 2009, and the bill itself is a beauty too.
It aims to cut national emissions in half by 2030 and attain the net-zero level (which means a perfect balance between the emissions produced and the emissions removed) by the mid-century. This $1.7 trillion investment is pretty extensive, but some highlights are a $555 billion investment into climate programs, most of which will incentivize low-emission energy sources through taxes, and a guaranteed place in law which will prevent future administrations from overriding it. The bill will also create countless jobs as it funds programs working to manage, restore, and conserve our coastlines, forests, and soil.
I’m really hoping the Senate approves this bill before their August recess as it has the potential to significantly rewrite the state of the US’s environment, and could possibly persuade other large nations to do the same as well (Finland is in the process of doing so as well!). It’s high time the government set aside their political differences when it comes to the planet’s well being because after all, global warming doesn’t discriminate between a Republican and a Democrat. Here’s to more good news in the future!
- The US has really been on an environmental justice roll these days, both on the federal and state levels! Just 2 months ago in April, the Senate of my home state, Connecticut, passed Senate Bill 118 on a 23-11 vote. This bill aims to ban the use of several single-use polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam, products from schools and restaurants beginning 7/1/2024. This may not seem like much, but it’s a really big win.
If you didn’t already know, polystyrene is an extremely dangerous threat not only to our environment, but our own safety. If you’d like to know more about this material, check out my blog post about it. The biggest culprits of its use are none other than schools (including universities) and restaurants. This shouldn’t be too big of a surprise though, because if you’ve ever eaten lunch in a school cafeteria, you’re bound to be surrounded by styrofoam trays and plastic packaging, and restaurants almost always use styrofoam containers for take-out.
Even though this bill will go into effect in about 2 years, I’ll be counting down every last day, because a world without styrofoam (or with less styrofoam, that is) is a world one step closer to being healthy.
- I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about the US, but I just had to mention that we’ve banned the use of single use plastics in all national parks! The Interior Department ordered that the selling of plastic water bottles / single use plastic products (ex. containers, straws, bags, utensils, etc.) be forbidden (along with other measures) only 2 weeks ago on June 8th.
In a statement, Deb Haaland, secretary of the Interior Department, proclaimed, “As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth.” Such a powerful statement! The department will not only be ordered to make sure that single use plastics are phased out by 2032 but are also required to report on their progress towards this ambitious goal. I know they’ll be able to do it!
- Alright, enough about the US, let’s see how the rest of the world is doing! In a move that might seem questionable to some of you, New Zealand recently announced their plan to tax the burps from livestock. Weird, right? Well, not really. If you’ve stuck around for a bit, you’d know that enteric rumination, a digestive process unique to livestock, releases methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. To add on, the skyrocketing demand for animal products has significantly exacerbated methane emissions, so much so that they account for about half of NZ’s agricultural emissions.
By forcing farmers to pay for the emissions created from their livestock, New Zealand will hopefully make some significant progress on reducing their carbon footprint, or should I say, carbon hoofprint? (Thanks NPR for the joke!) A final decision on the plan is set to be released by the end of the year. Way to go, NZ!
- Last, but certainly not least, Spain is working its way towards fighting food waste! The currently drafted legislation will impose heavy fines on supermarkets that bin leftovers and require bars and restaurants to offer eco-friendly containers for their customers to take home their leftovers (which apparently opposes a cultural custom but oh well!). In order for supermarkets to avoid such fines, the bill suggests turning leftover fruit into juice or giving it to companies that will use it for animal feed, compost, fertilizer, or biofuel.
This development is absolutely crucial to not only human health but also the planet’s health as the waste issue, especially the food waste issue, is such a large issue. The UN recently reported that nearly 1 billion tons of food go uneaten around the world each year while billions of people die of starvation or are disadvantaged due to a lack of quality food. Food is often not distributed to those who need it the most, which makes it all the more heartbreaking that the people who do get it waste so much. Spain itself wastes 1,300 tons of food per year, which is about 31 kgs a person, not to mention that food waste is responsible for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions (more on that next week 😉 *hint hint*). If passed, this bill will notably reduce food waste and put Spain in a healthier state.
Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the good news for now, folks! I hope this post brings a smile to your day, and I hope you’ll check out the other posts I mentioned in this one. If you’re interested in finding more good news, I’d recommend following Eco Watch or Future Earth (on Instagram). A special shout goes to @so.informed and @futureearth on Instagram for inspiring this post. Thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you next time! Have a wonderful rest of your day.