03 Mar Positive Eco News from February 2021: From the deepest depths to the highest heights
We’re two months into 2021, and we’re so excited to see the year start out with so many optimistic moves for environmental advocates across the globe! Today we’re bringing you the monthly Wearth Positive Eco News segment, with a focus on fantastic sustainability stories from February.
From the depths of the oceans to flying through the sky, this month really has seen some exciting developments for every part of the planet.
The US is officially in the Paris Agreement
The US officially joined the Paris Agreement this month, just 107 days after it left. This symbolic signing is a fantastic start for the US as it attempts to establish itself as a sustainability advocate. However, its Parisian peers (which is not the official title for the Agreement's cosignatories, might we add) are not going easy on the country, with high expectations following the US’ four years of climate inaction.
From a political symbolism perspective, whether it’s 100 days or four years, it is basically the same thing. It’s not about how many days. It’s the political symbolism that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity of addressing climate change.
Former UN climate chief, Christina Figueres
Former UN climate chief, Christina Figueres, explained that one particular fear was that the US would start a trend of abandoning the climate fight due to its position as a powerful player in the global economy. However, like us at Wearth London, they knew Trump’s ignoring science was not a good idea, and no other countries left the Agreement!
While many brilliant sustainable businesses worked to innovate environmentally-friendly technologies and ways of working, they did so without the vital support of the federal government. The issue that President Biden and his team of eco advocates are dealing with now is catching up with the planet-focused developments of other countries around the world.
Heathrow Pitches to Cut Carbon
Some are writing novels or mastering a new language; others are mastering the art of baking or learning to improve their yoga skills. If you've been wondering what self-improvement journey the travel industry has been on while everyone has been at home, you’ll be pleased to hear about Heathrow airport’s transition to eco activism.
Okay, perhaps we won’t see Heathrow collaborating with Extinction Rebellion just yet. But we are going to see the airport spending significant resources on cutting edge (and carbon) research. Following the success of its pitches to Innovate UK’s Future Flight Challenge, Heathrow is launching two new planet-friendly projects: Fly2Plan and Project NAPKIN.
Fly2Plan focuses on embracing new technologies, such as cloud infrastructure and blockchain, to manage airport data and enable a decentralised operating model. But it’s the other project that really interests us environmental advocates.
Project NAPKIN, which is not in fact focused on supplying serviettes alongside airplane snacks, is named an acronym that stands for New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network. The project aims to construct a blueprint that could pioneer zero carbon aviation in the UK. Not only would this improve connectivity throughout the country, with increased opportunities to travel emission-free and guilt-free, it would also position the UK internationally as a sustainable aviation innovator.
Which country wouldn’t want that on their CV?
UK Funding to Cut Emissions
The British Government has pledged to support the country’s most polluting industries (stick with us here) on their journey to a lower environmental impact. The £40 million investment by the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund is contributing to research on acquiring carbon neutrality amongst the most energy-consuming sectors.
Businesses are eligible to apply for grants of up to £14 million to develop innovative, eco-friendly solutions to their current practices. These could range from manufacturers recycling wasted heat to generate renewable electricity, to replacing natural gas with hydrogen in the food and drink sector.
The Ocean Panel
What is likely the first ever virtual international agreement took place this month, as the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy zoomed in on (see what we did there?) the issue of how to manage the ocean and its wildlife in a 100% sustainable way. Comprising 14 coastal nations, The Ocean Panel united online to establish the culmination of years’ worth of environmental research and collaboration.
So what did they commit to? The participating nations pledged to reserve almost a third of their seas to be protected areas. This complies with the call for eco action by the UN, as published in a 2020 draft plan by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
Particularly of note is the fact that the world’s biggest economies were not invited - the planet was placed before profit in an agreement that is guaranteed to be a win for the earth and its oceans.
Which positive eco news stories from this month did you discover? Let us know on Instagram @wearthlondon!