31 May This Week in Environmentalism
Floating Solar Panels in Japan Draws International Interest
Floating solar panels in Yamakura Damn Reservoir, Japan are estimated to produce enough energy to power 5000 homes. The reservoir will become the largest floating solar panel installment in the world. This has sparked worldwide interest in floating panels, especially of water-poor regions. Not only will the panels help create power, but can also be used to reduce evaporation and algal blooms, maintaining safe drinking water. The technology is spreading to California, India, and some parts of China, likely to emerge within the coming years.
New York Times
G7 Nations Plan to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies
The Group of Seven (G7) is an organisation designed to ease economic ties between strong industrial nations. Composed of the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the European Union, it has a heavy impact on economic trends even outside of the group. At it’s most recent summit, the G7 promised they would eliminate the majority of fossil fuel subsidies within their respective countries. This includes both consumption and production.
Wildfire Bringing Rise to New Forest
The 2015 wildfire near Fresno, California decimated more than 150,000 acres of forest land. However, foresters are finding that young sequoia have been sprouting up in the masses within the burn site. Rangers of Sequoia National Park have been happy to see the growth, only worried that there could potentially be overcrowding. Within a couple hundred years, this may become an immense forest!
New UN Study Claims that Human-Caused Environmental Changes are Increasing
In a new study by the United Nations, over 1200 scientists teamed together to research global climate change trends. The results: they’re getting much worse, much faster. The study divided the world into distinct regions to measure environmental effects all coming to the conclusion that air pollution, water shortages, and climate change were all hastening. Said to be caused by human fossil fuel consumption and enhanced urbanisation, the effects could be devastating: water shortages; desertification; disposal issues; and further destruction of wildlife. Not only that, exacerbated air pollution from methane and nitric oxide could pose a serious threat to worldwide health.
More than Milkweed is Causing the Depletion of the Monarch Butterflies
It has been a matter of speculation for decades that decreased milkweed plants in the Northern US has led to fewer numbers of monarch butterflies each year. New research suggests that there may be more to it than that. The weakest points in the migratory cycle was in fact in Mexico, where a large portion of the population began dying. Many were unsuccessfully completing the trip due to a couple potential factors: less flower nectar along their route to give butterflies the energy to complete the journey and obstructed landscapes. More than half of monarch winter territory has been lost from deforestation. There has been a similar pattern for many other migratory species. While the situation may seem grim, scientists advise gardeners to continue planting milkweed as it can only help.