Starting this weekly news roundup you’ll find the early signs of what will hopefully soon become a clean energy revolution, the grieving news of an upsetting discovery related to plastic, but a revelation on the same topic that may shed some light on it. Here are some of the three most shared environmental stories of the past week:
Britain to ‘ban all petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2040’
By 2040 all new cars and vans running on petrol or diesel will be banned, according to the British Government. This 105K shared news comes as one of the initiatives outlined in a plan to address air pollution. Other measures backed by ministers are those such as “retrofitting buses and other transport to make them cleaner, changing road layouts and even altering features such as speed humps and re-programming traffic lights” (Beament, E. & Agerholm, H., 2017). Their claim for supporting these rather plain measures is to try to avoid unjustly punishing ordinary working people and petrol drivers.
Criticism surrounding the current government’s lack of short-term action is being loudly spoken by the Liberal Democrats; pushing them to release the ban as soon as 2025. On the other hand, there have also been critiques coming from the AA, saying that the National Energy Grid would be put under lots of pressure when drivers set out to charge their cars after the evening rush hour (Swinford, S., 2017). Car magazine Which? also brought up how at the moment electric cars are both more pricey and less practical.
But maybe everyone is missing out on a very crucial point with regards to this clean energy transport revolution that needs to be starting as soon as possible. Because, should we even be thinking on encouraging drivers to get new cars?
What is easy to discern from this situation is that a new need is arising within customers of the car industry and what we seem to be needing so urgently is an affordable and practical solution that will allow us to use our current cars running under a clean energy system. Perhaps the key is in something that could be installed and fitted onto any car in a matter of a few days and that won’t cost customers an arm or a leg. Maybe solar panels present a good answer to this.
The question is whether car and green tech companies are up for this challenge?
Toyota and Tesla are the two pioneers in the area of solar powered vehicles. Last year Toyota unveiled the new 2017 ‘Prius Prime‘ (Lambert, F., 2016) and shortly after Elon Musk has disclosed the possibility of Tesla Model 3 having a solar roof option in the near future (Lambert, F.). The tech company behind this seems to be Panasonic, which is Toyota’s automotive solar panel supplier with the HIT™ Photovoltaic Module for Automobile being used for its Prius Prime, as well as solar and battery cell supplier for Tesla. Nonetheless, they appear to be trying to overcome the obstacle of coming up with solar panels that will be able to generate enough electricity for the car’s engine to be solely-reliant on it (Lambert, F.). Hopefully, these innovative companies with figure out this puzzle soon enough.
Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific
Same oceanographer who discovered the widely known North Pacific garbage patch in 1997 has yet again found another colossal island of plastic nearby the Peruvian and Chilean coasts; causing readers all around the world to share this saddening news a total of 37.2K times. Rather than being a physically visible floating island, these patches are usually made of tiny plastic particles that are almost invisible to the eyes as they gaze long into the big blue. This specific characteristic makes it extremely difficult, if not close to impossible, to clean up.
As discussed in last week’s news roundup, plastics pose a serious risk to human health; and when it comes to negative effects it has had on edible and other fishes living in the ocean, studies carried out in California and Indonesia estimated that “more than a quarter of all fish now contain plastic” (Montanari, S., 2017). Meanwhile, a third of seabirds in the North Sea have been “found to be suffering a ‘widespread breeding failure’, largely because of plastic waste” (Foster, K., 2016). This widespread presence of plastic in our oceans is triggering uneasiness amongst the scientific community who worries that chemicals being released by plastic may lead to the “poisoning, infertility and genetic disruption in marine life” (Montanari, S., 2017).
Plastic Oceans Foundation affirmed that “more than 8 million of plastics are dumped in our oceans every year” (Plastic Oceans, 2017). Packaging accounts for over 40% of plastic usage, around 500 billion plastic bags are used around the globe; and in 2014 in the U.S. alone approximately 315 plastic beverage bottles were sold per person (Plastic Oceans, 2017).
Things you can personally do to tackle this problem are:
- To stop using plastic straws
- Use reusable water bottles or mugs instead of plastic bottles
- Ditch the useless plastic bags and use reusable ones as a substitute
- Use cloth diapers rather than disposable ones
- Replace that disposable razor and get an elegant metal reusable one instead
- Give up chewing gum, as it’s made of synthetic rubber (plastic)
- Get rid of your face wash tube and go for a natural alternative homemade cleanser
(Plastic Oceans, 2017)
Other than that you can check out and join high impact movements such as Zero Waste and minimalism.
This is a severe matter that will possibly take drastic action to solve. So apart from acting as individuals, do you think we are ready to bring our efforts together to bring about positive social transformation? After all, like Dr. Sylvia Earl said:
No water, no life. No blue, no green.
Nine out of 10 people call for a ‘plastic free aisle’ in supermarkets, finds survey
The answer to the latter question is “yes”, as many customers seem to be fed up with the idea of foods being often packed in 3 layers of single use plastics and sometimes even more. Because that’s just straight up absurd, 91% of people in the UK are now asking for plastic free supermarket aisles.
Britain has got it right this time, and it is now in our own hands to spur similar ambitions here in the U.S. Truth is many of us are tired and want authentic development for good. We certainly don’t want hormonal problems, neither reproductive issues nor nervous system damage (Plastic Oceans, 2017). We want our friends and families to stay as far away as possible from Parkinson’s disease, heart disease and Alzheimer’s (Plastic Oceans, 2017). We want to live on a clear blue and lush green healthy planet; full of diverse and hearty magnificent creatures.
We are tired of counterproductive materials, products, companies and governments. All we want is life beyond the wreckage past generations have left and continue leaving behind.
Other important stories
- Sea Level Fears as Greenland Darkens http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40686984
- 100 Pages of Chemical Industry Secrets Found in an Oregon Barn for Decades – Until Now https://theintercept.com/2017/07/26/chemical-industry-herbicide-poison-papers/
Beament, E. & Agerholm, H. “Britain to ‘ban all petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2040’” (2017) UK: Home News. Independent, 26 July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-petrol-diesel-ban-cars-vehicles-britain-sales-fuels-fossil-government-a7860181.html
Buzzsumo “Environment” Most Shared. Buzzsumo: Content Research, July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. https://app.buzzsumo.com/research/most-shared?type=articles&result_type=total&num_days=7&general_article&infographic&video&guest_post&giveaway&interview&q=environment&page=1
Foster, K. “Microplastics in the sea a growing threat to human health, United Nations warns” (2016) Environment. Independent, 21 May 2016. Web. 29 July 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/microplastics-microbeads-ocean-sea-serious-health-risks-united-nations-warns-a7041036.html
Johnston, I. “Nine out of ten people call for ‘plastic-free aisle’ in supermarkets, finds survey” (2017) Environment. Independent, 26 July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-free-aisle-supermarkets-products-packages-survey-groceries-nine-ten-people-uk-a7859066.html
Lambert, F. “Tesla partner Panasonic unveils the 180W solar roof product for cars after Elon Musk said Model 3 could have the option” (2017) Energy. Electrek, 28 February, 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. https://electrek.co/2017/02/28/tesla-model-3-solar-roof-panasonic/
Lambert, F. “Toyota brings back the solar panel on the Plug-In Prius Prime – but now it powers the car” (2017) Energy. Electrek, 20 June 2016. Web. 29 July 2017. https://electrek.co/2016/06/20/toyota-prius-plug-prime-solar-panel/
Montanari, S. “Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific” (2017) Latest Stories. National Geographic, 25 July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/ocean-plastic-patch-south-pacific-spd/
Plastic Oceans “The Facts” (2017) The Facts. Plastic Oceans Foundation. July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. https://www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
Swinford, S. “Diesel and petrol car ban: Plan for 2040 unravels as 10 new power stations needed to cope with electric revolution” (2017) Home: News. The Telegraph, 27 July 2017. Web. 29 July 2017. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/25/new-diesel-petrol-cars-banned-uk-roads-2040-government-unveils/