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Inspiring: Healing Our Earth News Articles

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A Partnership With the Philippines Brings Composting to Detroit
2022-10-24, Yes! Magazine
https://www.yesmagazine.org/environment/2022/10/24/detroit-zero-waste-composting

[Pamela] McGhee and her neighbors are participating in a pilot program to build zero-waste systems for Detroit. It’s something they say the city sorely needs. For decades, Detroit was home to one of the country’s largest waste incinerators. East Side residents formed Breathe Free Detroit, one of several groups behind a successful campaign to shut down the incinerator; the plant closed in 2019. Now, that same group is working with the city to develop a composting system. Many ... see a direct line between composting and recycling and improving their community health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the most common material found in landfills and sent to incinerators in the U.S., comprising 24% of landfill materials and 22% of combusted municipal solid waste. But Detroit organizers didn’t have much experience with communitywide composting, so when they began developing a program, they turned to an unlikely mentor more than 8,000 miles away: the Mother Earth Foundation in the Philippines. Over the past 20 years, the organization has earned a reputation for training low-income communities, government agencies, civic organizations, and businesses in zero-waste practices. The two groups organized monthly calls, in which Mother Earth Foundation organizers offered advice based on their experiences setting up community composting systems. Members of Mother Earth Foundation and community organizers in Detroit plan to visit each other’s cities early next year.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Atlanta creates the nation's largest free food forest with hopes of addressing food insecurity
2021-03-02, CNN News
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/22/us/atlanta-free-food-forest-trnd/index.html

When a dormant pecan farm in the neighborhoods of south Atlanta closed, the land was soon rezoned and earmarked to become townhouses. But when the townhouses never came to fruition and with the lot remaining in foreclosure, the Conservation Fund bought it in 2016 to develop an unexpected project: the nation's largest free food forest. Thanks to a US Forest Service grant and a partnership between the city of Atlanta, the Conservation Fund, and Trees Atlanta, you'll find 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants only 10 minutes from Atlanta's airport. The forest is in the Browns Mill neighborhood of southeast Atlanta, where the closest grocery store is a 30-minute bus ride away. "Access to green space and healthy foods is very important. And that's a part of our mission," says Michael McCord, a certified arborist and expert edible landscaper who helps manage the forest. The forest is part of the city of Atlanta's larger mission to bring healthy food within half a mile of 85% of Atlanta's 500,000 residents by 2022, though as recently as 2014, it was illegal to grow food on residential lots in the city. Resources like the food forest are a rarity and necessity in Atlanta as 1 in 6 Georgians face food insecurity, 1 in 3 Browns Mill residents live below the poverty line, and 1 in 4 Atlantans live in food deserts. The forest is now owned by the parks department and more than 1,000 volunteers and neighbors are helping to plant, water and maintain the forest.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Australia to set aside at least 30% of its land mass to protect endangered species
2022-10-04, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-set-aside-least-30-its-l...

Australia will set aside at least 30% of its land mass for conservation in a bid to protect plants and animals in the island continent famed for species found nowhere else in the world, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said. Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent and has one of the worst rates of species decline among the world's richest countries, a five-yearly environmental report card released in July by the government showed. That report showed the number of species added to the list of threatened species or in a higher category of risk grew on average by 8% from the previous report in 2016. "The need for action to protect our plants, animals and ecosystems from extinction has never been greater," Plibersek said in a statement. By prioritising 110 species and 20 places, Plibersek said the areas managed for conservation will be increased by 50 million hectares. Australia ... is home to unique animals like koalas and platypus although their numbers have been dwindling due to extreme weather events and human encroachment into their habitats. Koalas along much of the east coast were listed as endangered in February. Australia has been battered recently by frequent extreme weather events including the devastating bushfires in 2019 and 2020 in the east that killed ... billions of animals and burned an area nearly half the size of Germany.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How 'biophilic' design can create a better workspace
2020-10-05, BBC
https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200929-how-biophilic-design-can-create...

Houseplant sales were skyrocketing among US millennials even before the pandemic, with a nearly 50% rise in sales between 2017 and 2019, according to the National Gardening Association. Now, many like [travel writer MaSovaida] Morgan see them as a necessary tool in fostering optimal work-from-home conditions. Experts say this desire to fill indoor environments with objects from the outdoors ties in to the growing movement toward 'biophilic design', which is a concept used to increase wellbeing through both direct and indirect exposure to nature. Biophilic design was a major office trend in the years leading up to 2020, when Amazon introduced spherical conservatories to its Seattle headquarters; Microsoft debuted treehouse conference room in nearby Redmond, Washington; and Facebook created a 3.6-acre rooftop garden at its Silicon Valley hub. Thanks to the pandemic, millions of [remote workers] now have the chance to create a work environment with their own wellbeing in mind. An increasing body of evidence shows that incorporating nature can help with things like decreasing stress and increasing productivity, creativity and attention span. Beyond adding greenery ... there are several other simple additions for optimising a home office, including light and colour. Natural light supports the circadian rhythms of the body, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormones. Those working in a ... dark environment can typically mimic natural light by incorporate a variety of lighting levels throughout the workday.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Scientists invent dirt-fuelled power source that ‘lasts forever’
2024-01-16, The Independent (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/battery-fuel-cell-forever-power-b2479535.html

Scientists have developed a new type of fuel cell that can provide endless power through electricity harvested from dirt. A team from Northwestern University in the US say the book-sized unit could be used to power sensors used in farming, as well as remote devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). The technology works by generating electricity from naturally-occurring bacteria within the soil, offering a sustainable and renewable alternative to toxic and flammable batteries. “These microbes are ubiquitous; they already live in soil everywhere,” said George Wells ... at Northwestern University. “We can use very simple engineered systems to capture their electricity. We’re not going to power entire cities with this energy. But we can capture minute amounts of energy to fuel practical, low-power applications.” The soil-based microbial fuel cell (MFC) is based on a 113-year-old technology first developed by British botanist Michael Cressé Potter, who was the first person to successfully generate electricity from microorganisms. It took until the 21st century for the first commercial applications to be proposed, with Foster’s Brewing using a prototype to convert the yeast in brewery wastewater into electricity. The latest fuel cell was tested in wet and dry conditions to power sensors measuring soil moisture and detecting touch, outlasting the power of similar technologies by 120 per cent.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘It’s kind of gross but we can do it’: How a community learned to go zero waste
2023-12-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/dec/07/its-kind-of-gross-but-we-...

When [city councillor] Alexandre Garcin dreamed up Zero-Waste Roubaix, it wasn’t sustainability he wanted to tackle, but the litter problem that plagued his city. Garcin sent out leaflets looking for 100 volunteers to participate in a free, year-long pilot programme that would teach them how to live waste-free. These familles zéro déchet, or zero-waste families, would receive training and attend workshops on topics such as making your own yoghurt and cleaning with homemade products, with the goal of halving their waste by the year’s end. Volunteers weren’t offered any direct financial incentives to participate – only the promise of helping solve the litter problem and protecting the environment. The project focused on creating an identity around zero-waste and assigning families quantitative waste-reduction targets – strategies that are proven to be effective in other contexts, and everyone got pretty straightforward guidelines – for example, “don’t buy more food than you can eat”. According to Garcin, it’s actually “not that difficult” to halve a household’s waste production. Composting gets you most of the way there, since organic waste makes up about a third of the average French family’s municipal waste by weight. Another third is glass and metal, a significant chunk of which can probably be kept out of the landfill through recycling, and 10% is plastic, much of which can be avoided by finding reusable alternatives to plastic grocery bags, cutlery, packaging and other single-use items.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Batteries of the future: How cotton and seawater might power our devices
2023-11-08, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20231108-batteries-of-the-future-how-cotto...

The power's out. But on a street in India, there's a cash machine still happily dispensing banknotes. Thanks, in part, to burnt cotton. For this cash machine has a backup battery inside it – a battery that contains carbon from carefully combusted cotton. "The exact process is secret," says Inketsu Okina, chief intelligence officer at PJP Eye, the Japanese firm that made the battery. "The temperature is secret and atmosphere is secret. Pressure is secret," he continues. Okina does say that a high temperature is required, above 3,000C (5,432F). And that 1kg (2.2lbs) of cotton yields 200g (7oz) of carbon – with just 2g (0.07oz) needed for each battery cell. PJP Eye also touts the possibility of improving battery performance as well as making batteries greener. "Our carbon has a bigger surface area than graphite," says Okina, describing how the chemistry of the anode in their Cambrian single carbon battery allows for a battery that charges very quickly, up to 10 times faster than existing lithium ion batteries, he claims. The battery's cathode is made from a "base metal" oxide. Although Okina won't disclose exactly which one, these metals include copper, lead, nickel and zinc. The company claims to be working on a dual carbon electrode battery, where both electrodes are made from plant-based carbon. Other researchers are looking at using materials as diverse as corn waste and melon seed shells to generate new types of electrodes for use in batteries.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


'Everything is natural and tastes so good': microfarms push back against 'food apartheid'
2023-06-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/10/local-food-microfarms-equity

In South Los Angeles, Crop Swap LA volunteers and staffers harvested bags of freshly picked produce from the front yard of a residence. "Everything we're growing is nutrient-dense and the food remains in the neighborhood," says Jamiah Hargins, who founded Crop Swap LA in 2018 as a small monthly swap of surplus produce. After spending years in finance and consulting, Hargins decided to create a local food distribution system to address the fact that his neighborhood was a food desert, meaning most residents have little access to healthy food. It's now one of many Bipoc-led groups across the US that are reclaiming their agricultural heritage and redefining the local food movement by growing on traditional farms and unconventional spaces such as yards, medians and vacant lots as a way to increase food security and health in their own communities. There are similar groups run by communities of color across the US. After the Chicora-Cherokee community in North Charleston, South Carolina, was left without a grocery store for more than 10 years, Fresh Future Farm stepped in. Founded in 2014, the non-profit transformed a vacant lot into a flourishing urban farm that grows bananas, sugarcane, meyer lemons, satsuma oranges, collard greens, okra and tomatoes, among other crops. Two years later, it opened a sliding scale grocery store on the same property – the first one in the area in 11 years. The non-profit also teaches home gardening classes, which is inspiring a new crop of home growers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


More than 5,000 new species discovered in Pacific deep-sea mining hotspot
2023-05-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/25/more-than-5000-new-specie...

Scientists have discovered more than 5,000 new species living on the seabed in an untouched area of the Pacific Ocean that has been identified as a future hotspot for deep-sea mining, according to a review of the environmental surveys done in the area. It is the first time the previously unknown biodiversity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich area of the ocean floor that spans 1.7m sq miles between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific, has been comprehensively documented. The research will be critical to assessing the risk of extinction of the species, given contracts for deep-sea mining in the near-pristine area appear imminent. Most of the animals identified by researchers exploring the zone are new to science, and almost all are unique to the region: only six, including a carnivorous sponge and a sea cucumber, have been seen elsewhere. One of the deep-sea animals discovered was nicknamed the "gummy squirrel", because of its huge tail and jelly-like appearance, he said. There are also glass sponges, some of which look like vases. The most common categories of creatures in the CCZ are arthropods, worms, members of the spider family and echinoderms, which include spiny invertebrates such as sea urchins, and sponges. "Our role as scientists ... is to provide the data," [biologist Dr. Adrian Glover] said. "Everyone who lives on this planet should be concerned about using it in a sustainable way. I see it as very positive that we can come up with a regulatory structure before mining takes place."

Note: Don't miss the incredible photos of these newly discovered deep-sea species, from the 'gummy squirrel' to deep-sea cucumbers. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A Biodiversity Hotspot Flourishes as Costa Rica Puts Nature on the Payroll
2023-05-15, Reasons to be Cheerful
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/costa-rica-paying-locals-protect-wildlife-b...

The Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica’s west coast occupies just 0.001 percent of the planet’s surface area, yet is home to an estimated 2.5 percent of all the biodiversity in the world. Inhabited by jaguar, tapir and close to 400 species of birds, the forests here — and others like them around the world — combat biodiversity loss and play a key role in capturing carbon and fighting climate change. “For us it has been important because before, we protected [the forests], we looked after them, but we didn’t receive anything for it,” says Lineth Picado Mena, a rural farmer living on the peninsula and participant in the government’s Payments for Environmental Services (PES) program. “Now we can support ourselves with what we have.” By paying landowners for ecosystem services, the government incentivizes them to conserve the environment. That counteracts the market forces that put pressure on landowners to convert tropical forests to farmland or other land uses. In Costa Rica, the PES program’s annual budget is between $20 million and $25 million, of which 92 percent is funded from a sales tax on fossil fuels, while nearly six percent comes from water usage fees. This allocation is fixed and provides assurance that funds will be available each year. The remaining amount is collected through various government initiatives, such as carbon credits and public-private partnerships. The program ... is credited with turning Costa Rica’s deforestation rate from one of the highest in the world to a net reforestation.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


‘Filling in the gaps’ for food access: women-run farms rethink California agriculture
2023-02-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2023/feb/15/california-women-led-farms-food-...

At Radical Family Farms, Leslie Wiser recently planted bitter melons, what she refers to as “one of our most beloved crops”, a staple in many types of Asian cuisine that grows on a vine and is related to zucchini, squash and cucumber. Women like Wiser are increasingly the face of farming in California, and nationally as well. Experts say the growing presence of women in agriculture is having an impact on how the industry operates, especially in the face of generational challenges like pandemics and climate change, with research showing that women-led businesses are more likely to take a community-minded approach to how they operate and fill in gaps during crises. During the pandemic, for example ... women farmers filled the gaps in local communities for food access. Radical Family Farm stepped in to feed food-insecure seniors throughout the Bay Area when it was not safe for them to go to the grocery store or farmers’ market. “A lot of this was driven by the attacks on our Asian elders during the pandemic,” Wiser said. “It’s still happening, with seniors afraid to walk on the streets.” Her long-term goal is to dedicate one-third of the produce from her farm to seniors in the Bay Area. “It is part of my cultural heritage to honor our elders,” she said, adding that her grandparents on both sides took care of her growing up, so delivering “culturally relevant produce” to seniors is meaningful. “Instead of getting bags of potatoes, they can get vegetables, produce and herbs that are familiar to them.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


An Indigenous reservation has a novel way to grow food – below the earth’s surface
2022-12-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/03/south-dakota-reservation-...

Near the southern border of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a curved translucent roof peeks out a few feet above the dusty plains. Below ground, at the bottom of a short flight of stairs, the inside of this 80ft-long sleek structure is bursting with life – pallets of vivid microgreens, potato plants growing from hay bales and planters full of thick heads of Swiss chard and pak choi. This is an underground greenhouse, or walipini, and the harvesters are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It is one of at least eight underground greenhouses that, over the past decade, have been built or are being constructed on the reservation – which has one of the highest poverty rates in the US. Some hope they can help solve the interconnected problems of the lack of affordable, nutritious food and the difficulties of farming in the climate crisis. Today, more than half of the residents of Oglala Lakota county, one of three counties within the boundaries of the reservation, live below the poverty line. Food access is a huge problem. The 2.1m-acre reservation is classified as a “food desert” with only a handful of grocery stores. And health outcomes, including diet related diseases, are poor – about 50% of adults over 40 have diabetes. Neil Mattson, professor and greenhouse extension specialist at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science, says underground greenhouses could help to usher in more year-round food production across the northern US but they are still fairly new in the country.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The architect helping sinking cities fight flooding
2022-10-28, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/style/article/kotchakorn-voraakhom-landscape-architect-sp...

When floods devastated Bangkok more than a decade ago, Thai landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom became determined to help her sinking hometown fight this deadly climate threat. The floods "changed my life," said Voraakhom. "I started using the tools of landscape architecture (to tackle) climate change." The 2011 floods killed hundreds and displaced millions. "For us, climate change is primarily a water crisis," she said. "Our people can feel its impacts in their daily lives, each year through worsening floods, rising sea levels, and severe drought." In many sinking cities, including Bangkok, the current urban infrastructure is not fit for purpose and is "reducing our ability to adapt," said Voraakhom, noting that many of Bangkok's waterways and canals have been destroyed or have fallen into disrepair. "For us, as a city of water, the only way is to go back to our amphibious culture and reclaim the relationship with water." The architect said she integrates nature and water into her designs to create landscapes that help alleviate flooding and add greenery to densely populated cities. Voraakhom also created Asia's largest rooftop farm, Siam Green Sky, transforming 22,400 square meters (241,000 square feet) into a lush haven. The farm, which recycles food waste from restaurants in the building below and uses it as plant fertilizer, also slows down, soaks up and stores large amounts of rainwater. It is then used to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit, as well as rice.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ants can be better than pesticides for growing healthy crops, study finds
2022-08-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/17/ants-can-beat-pesticides-...

Ants can be more effective than pesticides at helping farmers produce food, according to new research. They are better at killing pests, reducing plant damage and increasing crop yields, according to the first systematic review of ants’ contributions to crop production. Ants are generalist predators and hunt pests that damage fruits, seeds and leaves, leading to a drop in crop yields. A greater diversity of ants generally provides more protection against a wider range of pests, the study found. The analysis looked at 17 crops, including citrus, mango, apple and soya bean in countries including the US, Australia, the UK and Brazil. “In general, with proper management, ants can be useful pest controls and increase crop yield over time. Some ant species have similar or higher efficacy than pesticides, at lower costs,” researchers wrote in the paper published in Proceedings of Royal Society B. There are more ants than any other insect, making up half of the planet’s insect biomass. There are at least 14,000 known species of ant, with many more likely to remain unknown. Citrus growers in China have used ants in farming for centuries, and the insects have also been used to help control forest pests in Canada, cocoa pests in Ghana and crop pests in Nigeria. Dr Patrick Milligan, from the University of Nevada Pringle Lab ... said the findings were “both heartening and not at all surprising”. He added: “They offer a neat and tidy description of ant-derived benefits that are ubiquitous across ecological and agricultural systems.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Scientists invent popcorn-based home insulation material that’s waterproof and biodegradable
2021-11-23, The Independent (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/popcorn-home-insulation-gottingen-...

Popcorn could soon be used to create sustainable insulation for buildings, replacing the current non-biodegradable materials. Scientists have invented a method to create sustainable building insulation boards using “granulated” popcorn with “excellent” thermal insulation properties and good protection against fire. The plant-based, environmentally friendly material is a sustainable alternative to current building insulation products that are derived from petroleum, said scientists from the University of Göttingen in Germany. About 90 per cent of the materials currently used to make insulation for buildings are made of plastics or mineral fibre, which are non-biodegradable, according to the scientists. These materials generate carbon dioxide during their manufacturing stages and are also rarely recycled when a building is torn down, contributing to pollution and making them unsustainable. Conventional insulating materials made of polystyrene also tend to damage the environment, the scientists pointed out. On the contrary, the researchers said, granulated popcorn is similar to polystyrene and just as lightweight, without having the synthetic material’s downsides. “This new process, based on that of the plastics industry, enables the cost-effective production of insulation boards at an industrial scale,” Alireza Kharazipour, head of the research group from the University of Göttingen, said in a statement.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Postcards from Kamikatsu, Japan’s ‘zero-waste’ town
2022-04-27, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/interactive/2022/japan-zero-...

Tucked away in the mountains of Japan’s Shikoku island, a town of about 1,500 residents is on an ambitious path toward a zero-waste life. In 2003, Kamikatsu became the first municipality in Japan to make a zero-waste declaration. Since then, the town has transformed its open-air burning practices for waste disposal into a system of buying, consuming and discarding with the goal of reaching carbon neutrality. Now, the town estimates it is more than 80 percent of its way toward meeting that goal by 2030. The Zero Waste Center is the town’s recycling facility, where residents can sort their garbage into 45 categories — there are nine ways to sort paper products alone — before they toss the rest into a pile for the incinerators. Residents clean and dry dirty items so they are suitable for recycling. The town offers an incentive system in which people can collect recycling points in exchange for eco-friendly products. There are signs depicting what new items will be made out of those recycled items, and how much money the town is saving by working with recycling companies rather than burning the trash. It’s a way to remind them of their social responsibility. Attached to the Zero Waste Center is a thrift shop where residents can drop off items they don’t want anymore, and others can take them free. All they need to do is weigh the item they take from the shop and log the weight in a ledger so the shop can keep track of the volume of reused items. In January alone, about 985 pounds’ worth of items were rehomed.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


New Rooftop Wind Energy Invention Is Up To 16X More Efficient Than Solar Panels
2022-11-03, The Pulse
https://thepulse.one/2022/11/03/a-new-rooftop-wind-energy-invention-is-16x-mo...

A new rooftop wind harvesting device is capable of generating 50 percent more electricity than solar panels for the same cost, according to its inventors, a Texas-based startup called Aeromine Technologies. The new technology replaced the blades found in traditional wind turbines with an aerodynamic system that harvests energy from the airflow that’s created above a building, which makes it silent and safe for birds and other wildlife. These units produce the same amount of power as up to 16 solar panels. As their company website states: "Aeromine’s patented aerodynamic design captures and amplifies building airflow in wind speeds as low as 5 m.p.h., similar to the airfoils on a race car. Unlike turbines that require rotating rotor blades and many moving parts, making them prone to maintenance issues, the motionless and durable Aeromine solution generates more energy in less space." This is a game-changer ... helping corporations meet their resilience and sustainability goals with an untapped distributed renewable energy source. The Aeromine system can utilize a small footprint on a building’s roof, leaving ample space for existing solar and utility infrastructure. It provides commercial property owners, who are facing increased energy costs and rising demand for features such as electric vehicle charging stations, with an effective new tool. Aeromine’s patented technology was validated through joint research with Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Tech University.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How Mushrooms Can Save the World
2013-05-30, Discover
https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/how-mushrooms-can-save-the-world

For Paul Stamets, the phrase mushroom hunt does not denote a leisurely stroll with a napkin-lined basket. This morning, a half-dozen of us are struggling to keep up with the mycologist. He points to a clutch of plump oyster mushrooms halfway up an alder trunk. These could clean up oil spills all over the planet, he says. He ducks beneath a rotting log, where a rare, beehive-like Agarikon dangles. This could provide a defense against weaponized smallpox. He plucks a tiny, gray Mycena alcalinafrom the soil and holds it under our noses. Smell that? It seems to be outgassing chlorine. To Stamets, that suggests it can break down toxic chlorine-based polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Most Americans think of mushrooms as ingredients in soup or intruders on a well-tended lawn. Stamets, however, cherishes a grander vision, one trumpeted in the subtitle of his 2005 book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Mushroom-producing fungi, he believes, can serve as game changers in fields as disparate as medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. He describes mycelium, the web of fibrous tissue from which mushrooms spring, as the neurological network of nature, a sentient membrane that has the long-term health of the host environment in mind. To some, such language seems uncomfortably metaphysical. Yet Stamets ideas have gained an expanding audience among mainstream scientists, environmental engineers, federal officials and Silicon Valley investors.

Note: The stunningly beautiful documentary Fantastic Fungi takes you on an amazing journey through the wild and wonderful world of mushrooms. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


‘Green steel’: Swedish company ships first batch made without using coal
2021-08-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/aug/19/green-steel-swedish-company-s...

The world’s first customer delivery of “green steel” produced without using coal is taking place in Sweden, according to its manufacturer. The Swedish venture Hybrit said it was delivering the steel to truck-maker Volvo AB as a trial run before full commercial production in 2026. Volvo has said it will start production in 2021 of prototype vehicles and components from the green steel. Steel production using coal accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Hybrit started test operations at its pilot plant for green steel in Lulea, northern Sweden, a year ago. It aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with renewable electricity and hydrogen. Hydrogen is a key part of the EU’s plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Hybrit is owned by the steelmaker SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall and miner LKAB. SSAB accounts for 10% of Sweden’s and 7% of Finland’s carbon dioxide emissions. It said the trial delivery was an “important step towards a completely fossil-free value chain. The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026.” Another green steel venture, H2 Green Steel, is planning to build a fossil fuel-free steel plant in the north of Sweden, including a sustainable hydrogen facility, with production starting in 2024.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Can a map of the ocean floor be crowdsourced?
2023-10-01, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20230929-can-a-map-of-the-ocean-floor-be-c...

In 2023, Seabed 2030 announced that its latest map of the entire seafloor is nearly 25% complete. The data to make the world's first publicly available map is stored at the International Hydrography Organization (IHO)'s Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry. 17 research vessels owned by American universities ... constantly circle the globe studying the deep ocean. The ocean mappers came up with a new plan: crowdsourcing. By attaching a data logger to a boat's echosounder, any vessel can build a simple map of the seafloor. Tion Uriam, the head of the Hydrographic Unit at the Republic of Kiribati's Ministry of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development, recently received two data loggers that he's planning to install on local ferries. "It's a win to be part of that initiative," he says. "Just to put us on the map and raise our hands [to say] we want to be part of a global effort." The military or commercial value of nautical charts will always be a barrier. "Sea charts were destined to be removed from the academic realm and from general circulation," wrote the map historian Lloyd Brown. "They were much more than an aid to navigation; they were the key to empire, the way to wealth." [Marine geologist Kevin] Mackay experienced this on a scientific-mapping expedition. He received a call from a military he chooses not to name and "they said 'you need to destroy that data because there was military value ... it's a place where submarines like to hide'," he recalls. "Obviously, we ignore them because we're [mapping] for science, we don't care."

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