Some tasty bite-sized chunks of good news to perk up the day.
Hats Off to Diane
In December 2019, Diane Wilson won a landmark case against Formosa Plastics, one of the world’s largest petrochemical companies, for the illegal dumping of toxic plastic waste on Texas’ Gulf Coast. The $50 million settlement is the largest award in a citizen suit against an industrial polluter in the history of the US Clean Water Act. As a part of the settlement, Formosa Plastics agreed to reach “zero-discharge” of plastic waste from its Point Comfort factory, pay penalties until discharges cease, and fund remediation of affected local wetlands, beaches, and waterways. No wonder she is one of the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2023.
England’s Lionesses, the reigning European football champions, will play in their first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup final against Spain on Sunday after defeating co-hosts Australia 3-1 in yesterday’s semi-final clash at Stadium Australia. They will meet Spain in the final on Sunday.
40 Year Quest
Over her 40 years in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, Karen Strier has unlocked some of the mysteries of the critically endangered northern muriqui monkey. "They're graceful. They even smell good, like cinnamon," she told Associated Press. When she began her research, deforestation had nearly wiped them out, with just 50 left in the wild. Strier learned over time how peaceful these primates are, and how much autonomy the females have. She is based at the Feliciano Miguel Abdala Reserve, where the northern muriqui population has grown almost fivefold, all thanks to her efforts.
Perception v Reality
The United States currently has lower inflation, higher employment, lower interest rates, higher rates of home ownership, and a lower poverty rate than it did in 1984, when Reagan released his 'It's Morning Again in America' advert. The stock market is approaching an all-time high, household savings are near peak levels, more travellers are passing through its airports than ever before, retail sales are growing, wage growth is outpacing inflation, and the economy is booming thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. And yet, a CNN poll released last week found that 51 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting worse, and 71 percent say things are going poorly in the country. Hmmm. Any guesses as to why people might be feeling so negative? Surely it's nothing to do with the doom peddled by mainstream news media?!
New Mammal Unearthed
Finding a new animal species hidden in some unexplored corner of the world isn’t uncommon - an estimated 7,000 species of insects will be discovered in 2023 alone. But finding a new mammal isn’t nearly as routine, especially one that’s been living among us for nearly three million years. The Talpa hakkariensis is a species of mole that lives in the mountainous southeastern region of Turkey. This new species, along with another subspecies of mole known as Talpa davidiana tatvanensis, are new members of the Talpa genus of subterranean, invertebrate-munching mole.
US DAC Projects
The U.S. Gulf Coast has long been America’s epicenter of oil refining and fossil gas processing. Now, two new facilities in the region will aim to undo some of the damage caused by burning all those fossil fuels - by removing carbon dioxide directly from the sky. The Biden administration has announced the first two winners of a $3.5 billion competition that aims to accelerate “direct air capture,” or DAC, projects across the United States. Two more winners will be announced next year. “It’s a really big moment for this technology, for the sector and for carbon removal as a whole,” Sasha Stashwick, director of policy at Carbon180, told Canary Media. She said the program has the potential to boost the total global capacity of DAC projects by roughly 400 times.
Where do solar panels go when they die? Quite possibly Yuma, Arizona. Solar panels only last so long before they become damaged or worn out, so as solar power scales up, so too does the issue of solar waste - much of which currently goes to landfills. That’s why We Recycle Solar has opened the first utility-scale solar panel recycling plant in North America. The plant can process up to 7,500 panels per day. In some cases, the panels can be refurbished; the plant is like “your local thrift store that looks to upcycle,” according to CEO Adam Saghei. Those that can’t are broken down to their component materials - including valuable ones like copper - which are then repurposed.
"Imagination is the highest kite one can fly." Lauren Bacall
On this Day
17 August 2008: At the Olympics in Beijing, American swimmer Michael Phelps helped his team win the 4 × 100 metre medley relay, becoming the first athlete to win eight medals at a single Games.
A song made entirely of artists singing 'Hey'. Hey, why not?