Wednesday's seasonal bundle of only good news nuggets.
Engineers in the UK are building a tiny railway crossing for wild hazel dormice to save the vulnerable species from extinction. The bridge will be the first of its kind over a railway when it opens next summer, and will link habitats either side of the Furness line in Lancashire.“We hope that this new bridge will enable two neighbouring populations to create a local metapopulation in the area, which will really help to bring this rare and beautiful species back from the brink,” said Ian White, from the conservation charity PTES.
A United Airlines passenger aircraft touched down at the Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC on 2 December, like any other Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft would. However, the flight that traveled 612 miles (984 km) on this trip made aviation history as it was the first commercial aircraft to be powered by 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), CNET reported. SAF is a biofuel that is made using renewable biomass and products generally discarded as waste. According to the Department of Energy website, the U.S. can produce up to 60 billion gallons of SAF from one billion dry tons of biomass every year. The fuel, thus generated, that can be used directly in combustion engines contains lesser carbon than fossil fuels and can aid in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and the transportation industry, at large.
Good news for fans of Happy Days: you now have a chance to take home a piece of the classic sitcom. Henry Winkler, 76, is auctioning off a number of props and costumes. And among the items up for grabs, if the price is right, are clothing items worn by Winkler when he portrayed the iconic character, Arthur Fonzarelli, otherwise known as 'The Fonz' and 'Fonzie', according to CNN. The Bonhams auction starts today at 10.00 PST.
Vegan alternatives to leather could save more than just animals. The scientists behind fashion’s latest must-have – the “mushroom leather” handbag – believe that mycelium, a material grown from fungi which can be engineered to look and feel like calfskin or sheepskin, could help save the planet. CEO of California-based biomaterials company MycoWorks, forecast that mushroom leather could be a sustainability gamechanger, “unlocking a future of design which begins with the material, not with the object”. Fine Mycelium, a patented material which can be grown from fungi in trays in a matter of weeks, replicates the appearance and feel of leather while outperforming it in strength and durability, reports The Guardian. The material recently made its high fashion debut as an exclusive Hermès handbag.
All political lives end in failure unless, apparently, you are Silvio Berlusconi. Italy’s presidential elections in January are likely the last chance for the larger-than-life octogenarian billionaire, and his supporters are hoping he will cap off his extraordinary, scandal-plagued career with the ultimate accolade of seeing him in the country's top post - again. Mr Berlusconi, 85, holds the record as Italy’s longest-serving prime minister. He’s been in office three times, and before politics he made billions in real estate and TV broadcasting, and turned AC Milan into the world’s most successful football club. Can he possibly run again? Watch this space.
For those who want to be part of a zero carbon future but find the prospect of giving up flying, ditching the car and turning vegan daunting, help may be at hand in the UK - and perhaps everywhere, in time. Sitra, a Finnish app, gives users the key to their own “sustainable good life” by taking control of their carbon footprint and is now set to be launched in the UK. As the Finnish app's website says: 'Is your lifestyle good or bad for the environment? After this short test, you will get tips tailored for you. They will help you save time and money and improve your quality of life. And our planet will thank you!' Its developers say users in Finland, who answer the tool’s 20-odd questions and commit to change, commonly reduce their carbon footprint by 30 percent in 12 months.
When tourists reach the north Canadian community of Churchill they have long been greeted by two sounds: the howling of sub-Arctic winds and the rattle of diesel engines. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have come to the “polar bear capital of the world”, in the hope of spotting the predators. They journey on “tundra buggies” – hulking, diesel powered vehicles that rumble over the stark landscape. Now, the tour operators are switching to electric powered buggies for two very good reasons: zero emissions and almost silent travel.
On this day: 8 December 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots, was born, and six days later she became queen of Scotland; 1952: On the CBS show I Love Lucy, a pregnancy was acknowledged in a TV show for the first time, with the announcement that ‘Me and my husband are about to have a blessed event.’ 1991: The Soviet Union dissolved.
Christmas Cracker: How is Prince Andrew coping with the stresses of Christmas this year? Fine. No sweat.
Dive in Deeper
Wonders of Nature
Gorgeous 4 minute film celebrating the astonishingly beautiful planet we are all lucky enough to call home.