by Tom Bosschaert

Jan. 26, 2016

Tom Bosschaert

Historic Paris climate deal achieved: nearly 200 nations sign in end of fossil fuel era. This is highly needed because 2015 is again warmer than the year before. It is also the year in which Scotland, Costa Rica and Uruguay supplied almost all their energy from renewable sources. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Global News: 2015 is the hottest year on record

  • Global data show that a powerful El Niño system, marked by warmed waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean, helped to drive atmospheric temperatures well past 2014’s record highs.

  • A short recap of the most important points of the historical Paris climate deal.

  • Soil restoration is our ally in the fight against global warming. It is inexpensive (or even profitable), effective and easy to implement, and it yields multiple benefits. Besides capturing carbon and reversing desertification, it enhances regional cooling, strengthens resilience against droughts and floods, and improves food quality.

  • 11 laws from around the world that stand in the way of gender equality, based on a report by Equality Now.

Energy & Environment: Dried up Bolivian lake

  • Bolivia's second largest lake has all but dried up, threatening the livelihood of fishing communities and spelling ecological disaster for hundreds of species. "The Bolivian government is blaming El Niño and climate change, and certainly those played a role, but they are not saying that they have also failed to implement the management plan for the basin," says Lisa Borre, a senior researcher with the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in New York

  • Impressive renewable energy accomplishments:

    • Uruguay makes dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy. In less than 10 years the country has slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs, without government subsidies.

    • Almost all of Costa Rica's electricity came from renewable sources this year, making it one of a few countries in the world to eschew fossil fuels in energy generation.

    • Wind power supplied 97% of electricity needs of Scottish households in 2015. Meanwhile solar also soared, providing 50% or more of the household electricity or hot water needs during a total of seven months of the year. It may bode well for Scotland to reach its goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2020.

  • A Chinese billionaire bought 28,000 acres of American wilderness to preserve wildlife, fish, and forests.

Business & Economy: Funding pro-fossil fuel research.

  • In a Greenpeace sting, two professors agreed to accept funding to produce pro-industry research while concealing the source of that funding.

  • The Gates Foundation is accused of 'dangerously skewing' aid priorities by promoting 'corporate globalization'. Far from a “neutral charitable strategy”, the Gates Foundation is about benefiting big business, especially in agriculture and health, through its “ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalization,” according to the report published by the campaign group Global Justice.

Science, Technology & Design: Peak curtains

  • ‘We’ve hit peak curtains:’ Even IKEA thinks everyone’s bought enough useless stuff.

  • Collecting plastic waste near coasts 'is the most effective clean-up method'. Analysis finds that placing plastic collectors near coasts would remove 31% of microplastics, versus 1% if they were all in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage patch’.

  • Populists are on the march throughout the World. The strategies they use are eerily similar, such as playing with fear.

  • This printer not only prints, it also recycles printed paper.

Urban Environment: Academics opposing flying

  • Flying hurts the environment. Yet academics, most very well intentioned, jet-set around the globe. Fifty-six scholars from across academic disciplines and national borders have launched a petition to raise awareness about the ugly carbon footprint flight travel has on the environment.

  • Signs of the ‘Human Age’, these pictures show the influence of humans on our landscape, ranging from huge farms, concrete cities, and landfills.

  • The Canadian prime minister welcomed Syrian refugees in a heartwarming way.

  • 400 million fewer animals were killed last year due to more people opting for a plant based diet.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Nobel peace prize for the bicycle?

  • The Nobel Peace Prize 2016 should go to the bicycle - at least that is what two presenters on Italian state radio believe, and they have started a petition to push for it.

  • Pearl Jam have announced they will be donating $100,000 to the victims of the mining disaster that struck the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil last month. The toxic mudslide, triggered by the bursting of two dams co-owned by BHP Billiton and Vale, became one of the biggest environmental catastrophes in Brazil’s history.

  • This Indian cafe is run by acid attack survivors attracts visitors from around the world.

  • Shell made a gross ad comparing renewable energy to a woman who needs a “reliable” man.

If you come across news items suited for the Wormfood, or a theme you would like to see a newsletter being dedicated to, please let me know and we'll do our best to make some magic happen.

Jan. 26, 2016