Concluding the week with some bite sized chunks of good news.
To support ongoing conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is putting an additional $300 million toward its Andes-Amazon Initiative, which is the largest private philanthropic push to protect and conserve Earth’s biggest tropical forest. The extension of the initiative will bring the foundation’s projected investment in the region from 2003-2031 to more than $800 million. Thus far the Foundation has protected 400 million hectares (988 million acres) of land across the Amazon Basin. The new money will boost this number by ensuring effective management of an additional 100 million hectares (247 million acres) in the region by 2031. Moore was a co-founder of Intel and, yes, he's the man who came up with Moore's Law.
Hats Off to Virtue
A Nigerian mom found out the hard way that jaundice is still a dangerous disease in Africa - but now she’s putting an end to the infant disease with her new tech startup, making solar-powered cribs. Happily Virtue Oboro's son survived his jaundice but the scare his mother got made her determined to find a solution. The treatment is fairly simple and widespread in developing countries: blue-light phototherapy. Virtue's solution was to invent a portable, deployable phototherapy unit that's powered by the African sun, and costs one-sixth the price of a normal phototherapy crib - and manufactured in her homeland of Nigeria.
No Plastic Rings
Giant beverage company Molson Coors has announced that the six-packs of its Coors Light brand will no longer use dangerous and environmentally unfriendly plastic rings. Instead, they’ll be selling their beer in a recyclable, sustainable cardboard alternative. This move makes Coors the largest US beer brand to shift away from the plastic rings. “We’re chill about a lot of things, but single-use plastic isn’t one of them,” tweeted Coors Light. “So we’re eliminating plastic rings from our packaging starting this year and finishing by 2025.”
Nepal Bird Sanctuary
Conservationists have welcomed the declaration of Nepal’s first official bird sanctuary as a big boost for more than a dozen globally threatened species. The Ghodaghodi complex, a wetland in western Nepal, spans 2,563 hectares (6,330 acres) and comprises a series of lakes, marshes and forests. It's home to more than 360 bird species, some of them native and some migratory.
Shepherds and foresters can work together to prevent wildfires from developing into unmanageable disasters, research shows. The key is to mix feeders like goats and sheep in a semi-wild condition and provide an economic return for farmers. In 2003, the Spanish government created a program called RAPCA that has proved financially effective in reducing biomass. Andalusian shepherds got an initial 300 euros (around USD$340) plus between 42 and 90 euros per hectare depending on the area’s grazing difficulty. Today, 220 farmers graze their flocks in about 6,000 hectares of public forests. In 2016, Spain's Pau Costa Foundation created its “Ramats de Foc” (Fire Flocks) brand, which supports fire services in critical areas by adding value to meat and dairy products from animals grazing in those areas. Today, 22 shepherds, half of them new to the job, graze flocks in 600 fire-critical areas, clearing them of inflammable biomass.
In October 2021, Austria introduced the KlimaTicket, offering unlimited access to every form of public transport in the country for €1095 ($1,200) per year. 134,000 KlimaTickets were sold in the first two months, shattering the government’s first-year target by over 30 percent before 2022 even began. Furthermore, in Vienna, 800,000 users bought an annual transit ticket for the city's public transport at the low cost of €412 ($450). That's more than 40 percent of the capital’s population and more than the number of car owners in the city. So, the concept of subsidised public transport is definitely working, helping to make mobility climate-neutral by 2040.
Quote of the Day
"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives." Ralph Waldo Emerson
On this Day
18 March 1837: American politician Grover Cleveland, who is the only U.S. president to serve two discontinuous terms (1885–89 and 1893–97), was born.
Dive in Deeper
For most people, when you say the word 'panda' it instantly conjures up an image of a black and white bear. But did you know the giant panda is named after the red panda? But that was a mistake as they are actually from different taxonomic families. Read on...
Nature Mood Booster
Tiger cub meets her father for the first time.