Kick starting the week with a raft of good news snippets.
With six months to go until Cop26 in Glasgow, its president Alok Sharma has just set out his vision. Taking inspiration from UN chief António Guterres, he's putting coal in the crosshairs, calling on leaders to stop financing new plants and abandon the fuel. It's a theme the UK can speak to with authority, having gone from generating 40 percent of electricity from coal to less than 2 percent in under a decade. It would indeed be very good news if the rest of the world followed suit.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has taken the necessary steps to reinstate migratory bird protections after Trump's exemptin was, happily, struck down by the courts. The change by the Trump administration to the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act was aimed at limiting the protection only to activities that purposefully kill birds, but exempting all industrial hazards from enforcement. Any “incidental” death - no matter how inevitable, avoidable or devastating to birds - became immune from enforcement under the law. Not any more!
On a similar theme, the successful reintroduction of native bison and wolves in the US has been so environmentally beneficial that researchers are looking into other once-plentiful species that could be used to restore ecological balance. The latest effort is one to reintroduce the jaguar to the Southwest.
Across the pond, more than 20 million Brits have now been fully vaccinated after almost 400,000 further jabs were administered on Saturday. A total of 20,103,658 people in the UK have now had both coronavirus vaccine doses, including 391,246 who received their second dose yesterday.
As companies continue to search for more environmentally regenerative materials to use in manufacturing, the tyre industry is beginning to revisit an old Soviet method of rubber cultivation, using a plant that is considered a pesky weed in the West - dandelions. A major tyre company in Germany has partnered with the University of Aachen to produce dandelion rubber tires in a bid to cut back on landfill waste, microplastic pollution, deforestation, and economic shortcomings related to rubber tree cultivation.
Over 300 of the largest US companies have called on President Biden to commit to cutting emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030. Calling on Biden to “catalyse a zero-emissions future” by investing in renewables, clean transport and energy efficiency, signatories are hopeful that with this administration, their appeal does not fall on deaf ears.
Virtual Chelsea Flower Show starts today if you're a member. Otherwise, for mere mortals, tomorrow. Visit RHS 'Virtual' Chelsea Flower Show. In the meantime, if you're a UK city dweller, don't miss todays article on Airbnb for Gardeners.
Buzz Aldrin took communion when he landed on the moon in 1969, sipping wine from a silver cup that he kept in his “personal preference” kit. Russian cosmonauts also enjoyed a sharpener during those early days of space travel, when they were given Cognac rations onboard Mir to “stimulate their immune system.” On 14 January this year, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule splash-landed in the Atlantic. Its contents: a case of Petrus 2000 that, strictly for experimental purposes, had spent more than a year in space on the ISS. One of those 12 bottles of Pomerol is now being offered for private sale at Christie’s and is expected to fetch around £700,000, with the proceeds going to fund future space projects.
Dive in Deeper
Airbnb for gardeners: The number of garden allotments available in UK cities has, sadly, been shrinking for years and the waiting lists for space grow ever longer. But a great new idea could help solve this dilemma and make a lot of people very happy. [2 mins] Dig in...
Stairway to Heaven
It's not everybody who loves the Led Zeppelin classic, but clearly this tuneful parrot does...