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🌱 The Grumpy Optimists #110
How many times does a wind turbine need to spin to power a house for two days?
Happy Monday. 👋
Welcome back to another episode of the Grumpy Optimists.
Last week I had the pleasure of heading to the Blue Earth Summit in Bristol. From talks on green finance to hearing about Kirsten Neuschafer’s solo sailing trip around the world and listening to Charles Clover talk about the power of our seas to rewild when we give them space to do so. It was a true grumpy optimist dream and a privilege to listen to some of the smartest and most inspirational people working in climate. Some of those people I am lucky enough to call my friends too. I'll try and post a link to the talks when they become available so you can all watch too.
Besides me getting out of the office for two days, there’s also plenty of news to talk about this week so let’s get into it.
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👀 Articles to read
🍃 World’s largest offshore wind farm produces energy for the first time. For the first time, the Dogger Bank initiative in the North Sea has supplied energy to the UK's national grid. The most interesting fact? Every rotation of the 107m long wind turbine blades will power an average British home for two days. It’s genuinely up there as the best fact I’ve learned in a long time.
🐄 Lidl announces price parity for vegan products. Lidl Germany will make its own brand vegan range priced equally to animal products in an attempt to make it easier for consumers to eat less meat. This is part of the company’s shift towards promoting plant-based products, cutting the emissions and impact of the products they sell.
🥕 Brussels makes surplus food donations mandatory. Over 100 supermarkets in Brussels will now be legally required to sell surplus food to prevent waste. The move comes as over 70,000 people in Brussels rely on food banks. In the UK, the government recently scrapped laws aimed at improving food waste reporting and in effect, reducing food waste.
🏊🏻♂️ Sport England tells sports to get active on climate change. Sport England, an organisation that invests £300m of government money every year had called on the sports they fund to do more to tackle climate change. In my opinion, combining sport and climate change is one of the best ways to encourage people to engage with climate action. This news is particularly great as Will Hale who I started The Grumpy Optimists with back in 2020 has spent the last year making it a reality. Shoutout to you Will, you handsome man.
🤳🏻 Google announce more sustainability tools. Google are killing it with their commitment to releasing sustainability features recently, this time they’re releasing a tool for people buying an EV, expanding their flood hub to identify risk and improving their home energy comparisons. Nudges like these are crucial to helping consumers choose lower-carbon products and engage with sustainability in everyday life.
☕ Irish town bands single-use coffee cups. Killarney has become the first Irish town to phase out single-use coffee cups after being fed up with litter from overflowing bins. Visitors will be able to pay €2 for a cup deposit which can be returned to over 400 locations across Europe. It’s a move that should be happening all around the world with the UK alone throwing away 2.5 billion cups a year.
🐮 Feeding seaweed to cows can reduce methane emissions by up to 90%. Cows contribute 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions mainly due to methane and deforestation. That’s the same as the global shipping industry. However, research from Sweden’s environmental protection agency found that adding the red algae seaweed Asparagopsis to cows’ diets cut methane by as much as 90%. The seaweed works by stopping organisms in the gut from producing methane and has led to calls for more research to scale up the findings.
🍺 Climate change is making beer taste worse, that’s a problem. As if there weren’t enough reasons for wanting to tackle climate change, new research suggests that beer’s taste and price will change without farmers adapting to hotter and drier weather. Companies like Yakima Chief Hops are tackling the problem of climate change head-on, investing in decarbonising their operations and also the production of the hops themselves and improving the biodiversity of the soil they grow in.
🇮🇳 India calls for developed nations to be carbon-negative. India wants developed nations to do more to reduce their emissions giving developing nations more time to catch up. Under the proposal due to be tabled at COP28, countries like the US, UK and Canada will have to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they produce. This is different to net zero which means that emissions emitted are balanced with those removed. While it might seem like a way to delay climate action, it’s a genuinely valid point when you look at the emissions produced over the last 250+ years.
🤝 Climates X Memes
This week was written with a sniffly nose and cold toes in my single-glazed bedroom in London. A lot of upbeat music was needed to get me through the chills of being ill and living in a D-rated energy-efficient home. If you would like to leave a like or share this post with your friends, enemies or colleagues (potentially the same thing) that would be most appreciated, no chocolate bar attached this week, I’m gonna be broke if I keep giving away imaginary KitKats each week.
George, the Grumpy Optimist 💚