Spring is here! The season of asparagus, cherry blossom, chirping birds, artichokes, morel mushrooms, wild garlic, snowdrops, and this year sustainability news has been sprouting up all over the place.
With such a bounty of wild produce out there, we’ve gone foraging and proffer you an exquisite salver tray of the finest news we’ve found. And rather than start with a meager morsel or a mediocre canapé – let’s get going with something big and bold and satisfying:
Did you know that the blue whale is the largest mammal ever to have lived? Way bigger than even a Brontosaurus or any other dinosaur?
Not all whales are that massive but they are amazing creatures – every one of them. It’s sad to think that they are still hunted for meat and blubber. In fact, their numbers are historically low and some whales, like the North Atlantic right whale, are critically endangered.
But there are glimmers of light, whale-wise. And this month two of those glimmers pierced through the gloom. Firstly, the brilliant humpback whale has been removed from Australia’s threatened list after years on the brink of extinction. The decline in the whaling industry and conservation efforts have helped.
And secondly, there’s good news from an island on the other side of the world. Iceland has banned whaling! They’ve realized there’s more money in tourists marveling at whales than munching on them. They’ll be hanging up their harpoons by 2024.
If we could breach up from the oceanic depths and release joyful jets of water from our backs then we would. But we can’t. So onto the next piece of news in our roundup, which is about microplastics.
Some unsettling news: microplastics can stick to your organs
It’s no shock that microplastics are teeny, tiny, monsters. We know they get released when we wash our synthetic fabric clothes, ending up in the ocean harming marine life. We know they accidentally get gobbled up by fish, and then end up in our bodies by those of us who gobble fish.
But for the first time ever, the little terrors have been detected in human blood, where they can roam around and latch on to our organs. Details on how this is affecting us or how it could affect us are not yet known. Concerning, to say the least…
A skyscraper sequesters as much carbon as 10,000 trees
Skyscrapers aren’t renowned for their ability to sequester carbon. In fact, they’re more known as the big shots of the dirty urban sprawl that releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
Not this fancy new skyscraper though! It’s in Sweden and was made with timber, not typical materials like concrete and steel. It absorbs a top-notch 9 million kilograms of CO2.
How does that work? Well, it’s because wood sequesters (absorbs) CO2, whereas concrete production is the largest single industrial emitter of CO2 in the world. That said, we do have question marks over the negative impact of the trees that are chopped down for all this wood but there must be some sustainable explanation for it. We hope.
In any case, with 20% of new multi-storey buildings being wooden, Sweden is taking solid strides towards a future with better buildings.
A destroyed Ugandan village is now a solar powered town built on shea butter
You read that right. After a decade of war in northern Uganda, the village of Okere Mom-Kok was practically destroyed. But passionate to save his village, Ojok Okello started a project to transform it into a sustainable city where all 4,000 residents can enjoy solar-powered electricity, clean water, a school, a health clinic, and a community hall. Students can even pay part of their school fees in corn and beans. Way to beat the world’s financial system!
The best part is taking advantage of the natural resources of the village, such as the shea tree. The community has put effort into regenerating and protecting it by promoting its reforestation. They also sell Okere Shea Butter as part of a cosmetic line. Now, the whole town smells like shea butter. Mmm!
Revival of coral reefs in Fiji
After Fiji experienced the Pacific’s most destructive cyclone ever, which is unfortunately linked to climate change, we’re happy to hear the island’s reefs are reviving again. The wonderful reefs of Fiji were “reduced to rubble” but they have recovered so quickly that scientists’ wildest expectations have been exceeded.
While this is good news, we shouldn’t smile at this pleasing situation and stroll on. The death of coral reefs is still an extremely concerning issue. All over the world, healthy and vibrant coral reefs are on the decline. Yet, they are vital to not only marine life ecosystems but also for humans to be able to sustain themselves and heaps of other reasons. Local management of reefs should be a global priority, we reckon.
Burger King decides to try out the everso trendy veganism?!
On March 14th, Burger King decided to go entirely vegan for a month in its flagship restaurant in Leicester Square, London.
Although probably not for the most convincing reasons – and at the end of the day still not a company who can be considered all that sustainable, or even one to be honest about their burger sizes – this is nevertheless a positive step towards normalizing plant-based diets and making them more accessible to folk.
This one-month trial could lead the way for loads of other fast food chains to take a step (or maybe a stumble) in the right direction for animals and the environment. We’re curious to know how it goes and what’ll happen after the trial, which is maybe something to come back to next month.
The big news: Will Smith
Last but not least, we can’t forget about what happened at the Oscars. OMG! Rather than prattle on about this shattering event, here’s the definitive take:
See you next month.