EcoCREDIT Weekly Sustainability Wrap Up — April 28 ‘22
Remember that old 2008 High School Musical score “We’re All In This Together”? That accurately sums up our collective fight against climate change. Studies show that if we all collaborate on a coordinated global song and dance, we too might get a happy, movie-style ending to our impending climate crisis!
…If only it were that easy.
Unfortunately, real-world problems aren’t nicely tied up in a 120-minute, fun-filled narrative with no loose ends and a heartwarming story. However, that makes solving them even more rewarding and engaging. Real-world problems require real-world solutions. Entities and individuals are working hard every day to improve our ailing planet — to them, we extend our sincerest gratitude!
Growing Up Green
If you’ve ever taken a deep breath of the pollutant-filled air that lingers within most of the world’s major cities and thought to yourself: “Ahh, this is the perfect environment for agriculture!” then… well, you might not have a green thumb. That’s okay! While not the optimal conditions for agriculture, rooftop gardens have been making inroads in cities for the last few decades. They’re a great way to greenify largely unused space. However, it offers limited square footage relative to the number of hungry mouths of a major city.
Thankfully, vertical agriculture has taken the world by storm. Building vertically isn’t new — humanity has been crafting towers for millennia and skyscrapers for just over a century. However, what we put inside these structures has begun to change. A recent ten-point plan put forth by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change shows that cities can grow as much as 30% of their food using vertical agricultural technologies! Given that London accounts for 13.5% of the UK’s population, growing up rather than out is a sustainable move.
Twitter Time (It’s Everywhere, We Know)
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Elon Musk is buying Twitter. With that out of the way, let’s put the major news of the day to the side and talk about another potentially controversial move recently undertaken by the Bird Website. Twitter has announced that they will no longer run advertisements that deny climate change. More specifically, they’re disallowing content considered misleading, the company announced on Earth Day.
Twitter isn’t alone in this move. A panel of more than 200 globally recognized scientists has called on social media platforms to monitor climate-related content more closely. The panel asserts that the monitoring and removing of such content should mirror how social media platforms handled Covid-19 misinformation during the height of the pandemic. Applauded by some and decried by others, the move highlights the growing role that technology platforms play in how humanity collectively interprets and acts upon new information.
Plastic Fruit, For Dinner?
Sometimes science produces something that socks and awes humanity. Often this science is a byproduct of our natural world, demonstrating the power and importance of nature and all it offers. The University of Texas at Austin recently discovered when they created a variant of a well-known bacteria. Turns out, flipping a few genomes like pancakes empowers the microorganism with the ability to literally eat plastic. Focusing on polyethylene terephthalate (also called PET — thank goodness there’s an acronym), which makes up 12% of global waste, the tiny bug buddy can dissolve plastics in as little as 24 hours.
Normally PET materials take centuries to break down in our natural environment. These pesky yet convenient plastics are responsible for things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a 1.6 million square mile nurdle of human-made waste that mars the great expanse of the world’s largest ocean. Innovations like these offer glimmers of hope that humanity’s runaway pollution problem isn’t game over for our planet. As the world grows ever more conscious of our role in climate change and how we harmonize with our ecology, we stand a greater collective chance of avoiding the worst fate for our shared world.
Wrap Ups’ Wrap Up
This week’s wrap-up was incredibly fun to write. It’s not every day that the world’s richest man buys one of the world’s most popular social media websites. While important for human culture, it’s perhaps even more groundbreaking that scientists have discovered a way to melt up to 12% of global waste using biological means. We live in incredibly interesting times, and the 21st century seems only to be getting more interesting as time goes on.
We’re working tirelessly to future-proof humanity’s efforts to preserve our environment. As interesting as this century may get, it will pale compared to the environmental degradation wrought if left unchecked. As we get closer to the release of Ecolands, we’re incredibly proud of the progress thus far.
For now, let’s all do our part. Change starts with us, whether it’s picking up a bit of trash, recycling more often, or opting for more sustainable alternatives in our daily lives. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world! That way, we’ll all be around to enjoy the exciting remainder of what the 21st century has left to offer.