Concluding the week with a round-up of good news snippets.
The meowing of wildcats could soon echo around Britain’s woodlands again after plans were announced to reintroduce the animals to England and Wales. The Wildwood Trust announced the reintroduction programme and is hoping to roll back the clock for an animal that was persecuted to extinction over a century ago. The felines prey on rabbits and rodents, helping maintain the balance of ecosystems. A similar scheme was launched in Scotland in March.
Miami-Dade County, the fourth largest school district in America, just became the first Southern school district to commit to an ambitious goal: switching to 'clean energy' entirely by 2030.
An environmental coalition that includes the governments of the UK, US, and Norway, and international companies, including Airbnb, Amazon, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, and Unilever, have set up LEAF. The Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance innitiative (planning to raise $1 billion this year alone) represents by far the single largest private-sector investment to protect tropical forests. The goal is for governments, businesses, and NGOs to pay for high-quality emissions reductions from tropical forests, verified against an independent standard. “This is a game-changer in the fight to save tropical forests - a new model for catalyzing finance, at a scale that is truly up to the challenge,” said the Environmental Defense Fund.
Goats have officially reported for duty along the Shenango River in Pennsylvania to rid the river banks of poison ivy. GoatScape says this is a resourceful way to take care of the problem, and the goats love it. 'This is an alternative to pesticides and herbicides. We aren't using any chemicals, and the goats just eat. They eat around the clock, so they will be here 24 hours a day until they are done.'
Fully vaccinated tourists from the States will be able to come to the European Union over the summer, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told the New York Times.
Germany’s supreme constitutional court has ruled that the government’s climate protection measures are insufficient to protect future generations, after a complaint brought by environmentalist groups. In a groundbreaking ruling, the judges of the Karlsruhe court, Germany’s highest, said the government now had until the end of next year to improve its Climate Protection Act, passed in 2019, and to ensure it met 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals more immediately.
A huge hurdle in the US transition to renewable energy is the question of what will happen to the thousands of jobs in the coal and gas industries. Fortunately, multiple studies have shown the economic benefits associated with a transition to a greener energy future, and now, even America's largest coal miners' union is on board with the shift. United Mine Workers has announced that it would support a transition to renewable energy sources provided that union members were given opportunities for well-paying jobs in the new solar, wind, and hydropower sectors. Happily, Joe Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan contains provisions for this.
Dive in Deeper
Robot weed killer uses AI: It's part of a fourth agricultural revolution, its makers say, bringing automation and big data into farming to produce more while harming the environment less. [1 minute read] Progress...
Ancient fossil may provide evolutionary clue: Scientists have discovered a billion-year-old fossil in the Scottish Highlands that could reveal a new link in the evolution of animals. [1 minute read] Multicellular...
Treasure hunters dig for Nazi gold: Excavators to start their search in the grounds of an 18th century palace in Poland after location details were revealed in secret documents belonging to an SS officer. [1 minute read] More...
Be transported to the frozen tundra of Scotland's Cairngorms National Park in this stunning 4 minute film.