Happy New Year
The whole team of Silent Spring Consultants wishes you a fantastic 2023.
To start the year with a positive note you can read 12 positive environmental stories from 2022 that brought a smile to our face!
1. Circular economy: Human hair recycled to clean waterways in Belgium
A Belgian NGO is using human hair clippings to absorb environmental pollutants.
The hair is turned into matted squares, which can be used to absorb oil and other hydrocarbons. The mats can be placed in drains to soak up pollution in water before it reaches a river. They can also be used to deal with pollution problems due to flooding and to clean up oil spills.
2. The EU has approved a €28 billion German renewable energy scheme
The EU has approved a €28 billion German renewable energy scheme.
The policy is aimed at rapidly expanding use of wind and solar power. It is designed to deliver Germany's target to produce 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Replacing an existing renewables support scheme, it runs until 2026.
3. EU solar power soars by almost 50% in 2022: Which country installed the most?
Solar power in Europe has soared by almost 50 per cent in 2022, according to a new report from industry group SolarPower Europe.
It reveals that the EU installed a record-breaking 41.4 GW of solar this year - enough to power the equivalent of 12.4 million homes. That is a 47 per cent increase from the 28.1 GW installed in 2021.
In one year, the bloc’s capacity to generate power from this renewable source has increased by 25 per cent.
4. Nations agree landmark deal for biodiversity at COP15
A historic deal for nature has been made at the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal, Canada.
It is the most significant effort yet to protect the world’s land and oceans and provide finance to prevent biodiversity loss in the developing world.
The UN biodiversity conference - known as COP15 - has been considered the “last chance” for nature's recovery.
5. India’s original eco-warriors: Meet the Bishnoi community who won’t cut down living trees
The Bishnoi community are India’s original eco-warriors.
Members of the Hindu sect - which has more than 1.5 million devotees - have been fighting to protect the environment for more than 500 years.
The community believes in the sanctity of all life, shunning meat and avoiding felling living trees.
6. EU to impose world-first ‘carbon tariff’ on environmentally damaging imports
The European Union has announced a deal to impose a carbon dioxide tariff on imports of polluting goods such as steel and cement.
Known as the "Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism" (CBAM), the agreement will cover industrial imports from the bloc's 27 member states, targeting the highest polluting products first.
This CBAM scheme "will be a crucial pillar of European climate policies ... to encourage our trading partners to de-carbonise their industry", explains MEP Mohammed Chahim from the Socialists and Democrats Party.
7. Carbon capture: UK’s first plant could remove 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the air a year
A huge carbon capture power station has won planning permission for the first time in the UK.
The Keadby 3 plant in north Lincolnshire is the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to be greenlit by the government.
Keadby 3 would have a generating capacity of up to 910 megawatt (MW) and capture up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, according to SSE. It says this represents at least 5 per cent of the UK government’s 2030 target.
8. In Barcelona, kids are 'jumping out of bed' to join bike buses
It's fun, it's green and it's becoming more popular by the day.
Barcelona's bike bus, or 'bicibus', as the scheme is known locally, allows hundreds of children to cycle safely to school in a convoy, taking over entire streets in Spain's second largest city.
The citizen-led project, supported by Barcelona City Council, began in March 2021 with one route in the Sarria neighbourhood
9. Farmers in India are fighting climate change and desertification using nature
Climate change is exacerbating the loss of arable land - but Indian farmers are fighting this process of desertification with natural techniques.
"This soil used to be as hard as a brick," said 37-year-old farmer Ramesh. "It's now like a sponge. The soil is rich with the nutrients and life."
10. Renewables to produce more energy than coal in the US for the first time this year
Renewable energy is on track to produce more energy than coal in the US this year.
According to figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), more than a fifth of all electricity by the end of 2022 will come from hydropower, wind and solar.
That is higher than coal at 20 per cent and nuclear at 19 per cent. The only other year this happened was 2020 when energy generation was reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
11. India's first fully solar powered village is helping residents to save time and money
The village of Modhera in western India's Gujarat state has become the country's first to run entirely on solar energy.
India, the world's third-largest carbon dioxide emitter, aims to meet half of its energy demands from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2030.
12. China is building the world’s largest wind farm and it could power 13m homes
China is planning the world’s largest wind farm, a facility so huge it could power the whole of Norway.
Chaozhou - a city in China’s Guangdong province - has revealed ambitious plans for a 43.3 gigawatt facility in the Taiwan Strait.
Because of the windy location, its turbines will be able to run between 43 per cent and 49 per cent of the time.