SnippETS for 29 August 2019

Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter. This week we look at the proposed Green New Deal, as laid out by Bernie Sanders who is a US presidential hopeful. Under the proposed $16.3 trillion plan, the U.S would transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 (only eleven years) & create 20 million jobs in the process. A global game changer.

We then look how people and businesses are making a social and carbon difference. In some Indian cities, rickshaw operators are now being offered leased to own electric alternatives. Here in NZ, which is a nation of SME’s, we examine how businesses are transitioning into a more sustainable future and reducing their carbon footprints.

As NZ is very still much a primary producer, how we relate to the land is critical. We carry a series of articles examining the positive possibilities for regenerative agriculture and why soil has to be our friend. Urban farming also gets a look in and how it could become part of how we manage our roof spaces more effectively. They can do far more than just keep the water out.

e plane developments (there are a lot) are lifting off in impressive numbers. We like Alice. Read it and you probably will as well. Most of the examples discussed highlight the fast-paced development and varied options being tested through to commercial release.

Our final article looks at an Irish teenager – 18 year old Fionn Ferreira, who took out the Google Science Award for a process to remove microplastics from the world’s oceans. Using magnets to attract microplastics, his device successfully removed 88% from the water sample. Wow.


Although Trump is withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement and believes climate change is a hoax, one of the leading democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders, has put forward an incredibly bold and ambitious $16.3 trillion climate strategy to decarbonize the US economy. The ‘Green New Deal’ would also create 20 million new jobs and seek ‘Just Transition’ for the oil and gas industries (similar to here in NZ). If implemented this would surely put the world back on track! Read more.....




There is an initiative in India that also seeks to both improve lives and reduce emissions. This new social venture aims to do it with electric rickshaws. Not only will electric rickshaws improve productivity for manual riders, but it will also help restore clean air in one of India’s most polluted cities by replacing the petrol-powered ones. Read more.....






With all of this happening overseas, we thought it would be worthwhile to give a mention to what some Kiwi businesses are doing to reduce emissions. This article focuses on the small businesses who have measured their business emissions and are now on their journey Towards Zero Carbon. Read more.....








Lately, a healthy soil movement has emerged, focused on practices referred to as regenerative farming. It’s based on a set of practices to make soil resilient, rich and in need of fewer inputs — and better at storing carbon underground. These regenerative practices include reduced tilling to keep decomposing organic matter in the soil, planting off-season cover crops which bring new nutrients to the soil and rotating crops and animal grazing among fields to give soil a chance to replenish. Read more.....

A recent IPCC report stated that land degradation represents “one of the biggest and most urgent challenges” that humanity faces. To avert climate catastrophe, the report warns, people need to make changes in agriculture and land use, i.e. rethinking humanity’s relationship to the soil. The report estimates that serious changes in forestry and agriculture, to curtail deforestation and improve soil management, could reduce global emissions by between 5 per cent to 20 per cent. Read more.....







Project Drawdown, an NGO founded by Paul Hawken, puts regenerative agriculture at No. 11 on its list of the 80 most impactful solutions to global warming on the planet, and estimates regenerative agriculture can save the planet upwards of 23.15 gigatons of carbon dioxide. With the planet’s total remaining "carbon budget" around 570 gigatons, any solution that can draw down 23 gigatons is substantial. Forward-thinking companies such as Allbirds, Patagonia, Organic Valley and Everlane have expressed interest in regenerative agriculture and the associated carbon benefits. Read more.....




And not all farms have to be land-based. What will be the world’s largest urban farm, the 14,000m2 Paris farm plans to grow more than 30 different plant species, producing around 1,000kg of fruit and vegetables every day in high season. Tended by around 20 gardeners, they will also be using entirely organic methods and grown in rhythm with nature’s cycles. “The goal is to make the farm a globally-recognised model for sustainable production,” says Pascal Hardy, founder of the project. Read more.....




So how do rising CO2 levels impact on plants? As it turns out, more CO2 generally leads to higher rates of photosynthesis and less water consumption. But higher levels of photosynthesis don’t necessarily lead to more biomass production, let alone to more carbon dioxide sequestration. And even if plants grow more, and faster, some studies show there is a risk for them to have shorter lifespans. The biggest impact may be in the form of water savings, as plants tend to close their leaf pores slightly under elevated levels of CO2.

Read more.....

Times are changing fast! It seems like only yesterday that the concept of electric cars seemed far off, yet they are now being seen on our roads with ever greater frequency. It appears that the next big frontier for battery power to crack is aviation. Here we have an article that discusses some of the companies taking on the challenge, and how they are progressing. Read more.....






It really is amazing what young scientists can dream up! Here we have an article about an Irish teen who has developed a simple technique for cleaning microplastics from water. He uses a simple chemistry concept that like attracts like to gather the particles, and then a trick of magnetism to remove everything from the water. Certainly, worth a read! Read more.....






Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet.

Read more.....

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