It wasn’t all bad. Here’s some of the good news from this year.
Environmental Rights Amendment Passes in New York
Markus Spiske / Pexels
In November, New Yorkers voted to add 15 words to the Bill of Rights of the New York State Constitution, stating that “each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” With the passage of this amendment, New York joins Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, which all have similar constitutional provisions for environmental protection.
The measure received overwhelming support at the ballot box; nearly 70% of voters voted “yes” on Proposal 2 to adopt the ballot measure. The Environmental Advocates of New York, who supported the amendment, say that including these environmental rights in the Constitution will “provide the same fundamental protections that we provide to our rights to free speech, freedom of religion, due process and property,” and sends a message that environmental health is of equal importance.
With this new right to a healthful environment, citizens have a tool for fighting back when those rights are threatened, and governments must consider human and environmental health when making decisions. Some energy experts have said that the amendment might also discourage developers from pursuing fossil fuel projects in the state, and give strength to lawsuits against polluters.
Monarch Populations Are Bouncing Back
Matthew Simmonds / Pexels
After hitting an all-time low last year, western monarch butterfly populations are bouncing back.
These iconic orange and black insects migrate thousands of miles every year. Migration begins in August, and the butterflies reach their overwintering sites in November, where they stay until March. Eastern monarchs – those whose summer breeding grounds are east of the Rocky Mountains – overwinter in Mexico, while Western monarchs (west of the Rockies) do so in sheltered groves along the California coast. Generations of butterflies often return to the same groves, or even the same tree.
Last year, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies in California: a huge change from the tens of thousands recorded in the years prior, and a 99% decline from the millions that overwintered there in the 1980s. Since then, the migratory route of monarchs has been destroyed by sprawling housing and development, increased pesticide and herbicide use for commercial agriculture, and the eradication of the milkweed they depend on. Climate change is also a factor in their dwindling numbers. Migration happens in sync with the seasons and the blossoming of spring flowers, but extreme, fluctuating temperatures have disrupted these natural rhythms. The presence of monarchs in California is considered an indicator of ecosystem health, and their absence shows that climate change and habitat destruction are taking their toll. The butterflies don’t have any state or federal legal protections, and the Western Monarch Count finds that the quasi-extinction risk of monarchs is 72% within 20 years.
However, on October 20 of this year, monarch counts on Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove and a nearby site totaled roughly 8,000, compared with the mere 300 counted last year. The monarch count lasts three weeks, but unofficial estimates put this year’s population at California overwintering sites at around 50,000. This still represents only 25% of the population that flocked here 5 years ago, but conservationists are encouraged to see these numbers rising.
Protections Restored to Three Public Lands
Bears Ears National Monument. Bob Wick / BLM
In October, President Biden issued a proclamation restoring protections for three national monuments: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the coast of New England.
This reverses the largest rollback of federal land protection in U.S. history in 2017 by then-president Trump, who sought to cut Bears Ears land by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante by 50%: a reduction of 2 million acres. With this move, Trump sought to loosen regulations on industry, and open up the protected land for mining, oil and gas extraction, logging, off-road vehicle use, possible development, and other commercial activity. Some Native nations and environmental groups decried the decision, citing the 100,000 archeological sites on the land that would be put at risk. Bears Ears land is sacred to regional Native American tribes, and Grand Staircase-Escalante is full of paleontological resources that would be jeopardized. Several Native American tribes immediately filed lawsuits after the announcement, including the Navajo Nation.
In 2020, Trump also rolled back protections on Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, which opened up the marine ecosystem for commercial fishing. The monument encompasses 5,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean – including three underwater canyons, each of which is deeper than the Grand Canyon – home to 1,000 species of coral, fish, sea turtles, sharks, whales, and seabirds. It is the first and only national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, and protects ocean ecosystems and species that are important for scientific investigation and national heritage from industrial fishing.
National monuments are similar to national parks – which are created by Congress – but are instead created by the president through the Antiquities Act, and are protected from development by law. Many groups still uphold that these acts by President Trump to roll back protections were illegal.
These monuments are hugely important to Indigenous culture, biological diversity, outdoor recreation, and the economic stability of the regions they reside in, and Biden’s restoration of the original boundaries is a huge win for the environment and Native communities.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Grows
Alex / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
The effort to pull money from oil, gas, and coal gained momentum this year.
Divestment is happening in all sectors. An October report by DivestInvest found that 1,500 investment institutions – responsible for $39.2 trillion in assets – have committed to divesting from the fossil fuel industry.
The Ford and MacArthur foundations – two of the biggest names in philanthropy – committed to divesting from fossil fuels this year. These groups follow the Rockefeller Foundation, which committed to divesting its $5 billion endowment last year. The philanthropic sector is worth roughly $1 trillion, and the announcements of these large organizations might represent a tipping point, encouraging others to follow in their wake.
Faith organizations are also taking action. In the week before COP26, 72 faith institutions announced their divorce from fossil fuels, representing the largest joint-divestment of religious groups in history. Also at COP26, more than 20 countries and financial institutions agreed to stop financing fossil fuel development overseas, and instead fund clean energy (although these countries will still be able to fund projects at home).
Student activist groups have long been pushing for colleges and universities to divest, and this year, Loyola University Chicago, Dartmouth College, University of Illinois, Boston University, and Harvard – America’s richest university – have announced plans to do so.
APB of the Netherlands, Europe’s biggest pension fund, announced plans to divest 15 billion euros, and New York City’s pension funds $4 billion. Maine will also require public funds to sell off their fossil fuel investments by 2026: the first state to do so.
While major investors begin pulling their support, the number of fossil fuel bankruptcies has grown: 100 in the U.S. alone last year. The divest movement is also happening in tandem with greater funding for renewable energy projects, sending the message that fossil fuels are not a sound financial investment, and divesting can be. BlackRock, in fact, found that divestment didn’t have a negative effect on performance.
More People Are Going Plant-Based
Grooveland Designs / Pexels
A 2020 study of retail traffic data conducted by Ipsos Retail Performance found that over 9.7 million Americans are now following plant-based diets, up from only 290,000 in 2004. That’s 9.4 million more people in only 15 years! It’s estimated that about 3% – or 10 million people – of Americans are vegan or vegetarian. This number itself hasn’t changed much, which indicates that people are not labeling themselves as vegan or vegetarian, but are still enjoying more plant-based foods and eating a more plant-based diet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on consumer habits, which includes grocery shopping and food choices. Nearly 1 in 5 people (or 18%) in the U.K reported eating less meat than pre-pandemic times, and a similar percentage said that, even after the pandemic has passed, they’ll remain fully vegan or vegetarian. And, between 2019 and 2021, the percentage of consumers who identify as "meat eaters" fell from 85% to 71%, according to an annual report by the Food Industry Association.
Interest in plant-based meat and dairy alternatives is also growing. The plant-based food industry is a $7 billion dollar enterprise and is expected to be valued at over $162 billion by 2030. The majority of American households purchased plant-based foods during the height of the pandemic – mostly milk alternatives like oat or almond milk, and meat substitutes like Impossible meat and seitan. A recent study found that 1 in 4 Americans report eating more plant-based protein than in the spring of 2020. The health benefits of eating less meat are likely driving the surge; plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even severe cases of COVID-19.
Major fast-food chains are joining the trend and making meatless options widely available. Panda Express introduced their Beyond Meat Orange Chicken at several locations this year, which sold out in under two weeks. Chipotle is rolling out their new plant-based chorizo, and KFC has announced their plans for plant-based chicken nuggets. Fine-dining has also taken the meatless movement in stride, including the famous Geranium – named the 2nd best restaurant in the world this year – in Copenhagen, and the famous Eleven Madison Park in New York City.
Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Along with her most recent position at Hunger Free America, she has interned with the Sierra Club in Washington, DC., Saratoga Living Magazine, and Philadelphia's NPR Member Station, WHYY.
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The Biden administration came under fire last month for overseeing the largest offshore oil and gas leasing sale in U.S. history. Now, a new report suggests this wasn’t an isolated incident.
The analysis from Public Citizen reveals that the new administration has issued more permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands per month than the Trump administration did in its first three years, as Yahoo News reported.
Public Citizen looked at federal public lands drilling permit data and found that the government had approved an average of 336 permits per month in 2021. Excluding January 2021, when former President Donald Trump remained in office for most of the month, that’s 333 permits per month while President Joe Biden was in charge. The average is a more than 35 percent increase from when Trump took office in 2017 but is down by more than 25 percent from the average for 2020.
Biden promised in his campaign to ban new oil and gas leasing in public lands and waters and issued a moratorium on the practice, but this was struck down by a judge in June of 2021. However, the permits covered in the new analysis are not new sales but rather permit approvals for previous sales, Yahoo News pointed out.
This means that the administration is partly boxed in by the sales made under previous administrations, though environmental groups argue they have more leeway than they are taking.
“Certainly, the deck is stacked against the Biden administration when it comes to leases that have been sold in the past,” Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director at the Center for Western Priorities, told Yahoo News. “However, it doesn't have to be a complete rubber stamp. The administration can ask companies to go back to the drawing board if they haven't done a full environmental analysis of what the impacts could be.”
Prentice-Dunn noted that the Biden administration had approved 98 percent of the permits it had reviewed through the end of September, even more than the Trump administration’s 2020 approval rate of 94 percent.
“If 98 percent approval isn’t a rubber stamp, I don’t know what is,” Prentice-Dunn said.
Other environmental advocates say the Bureau of Land Management should consider the impacts of drilling on the climate crisis when it issues permits, and not merely the effects on the environment immediately surrounding the drilling site, as is currently the practice.
Public Citizen noted that no new oil and gas development can go forward if the world is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
However, about 246 million tons of coal, 314 million barrels of oil and 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas were produced from U.S. public lands in 2020, and almost 1,300 metric megatons of greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be released from public lands drilling over the next 12 months.
One positive sign is that the permits approved by the Biden administration did begin to decrease during the second half of 2021, The Independent reported.
In conclusion, Public Citizen called on Biden to honor his pledge made at the COP26 climate conference to maintain the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.
“In the coming months, energy companies are likely to mount a well-funded campaign to continue business as usual,” the report authors wrote. “Congress and the Biden administration must resist that pressure and push aggressively to move the nation – and the world – away from planet-destroying fossil fuels.”
From lighting up the night when you return home to boosting security, installing solar flood lights is a great way to invest in your home’s functionality and safety. Solar flood lights harness their energy from the sun and don’t require wiring or electrical work, making installation a breeze even for renters. And thanks to waterproof designs and efficient LEDs, they offer a fix-it-and-forget solution to myriad lighting predicaments.
In this article, we’ll recommend four of the best LED solar flood lights and motion-detector lights on the market today.
Best Solar Flood Lights: Our Recommendations
- Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
- Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
- Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
- Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks
Best Overall: AmeriTop Motion-Sensor Lights
This high-quality motion-sensing solar flood light from AmeriTop boasts super-bright LEDs for top-notch security. Highly efficient solar panels and LEDs mean lighting whenever and wherever it’s needed, and a 26-foot motion-sensing radius ensures nothing can get close to your house without getting some serious time in the limelight.
- 800-lumen output
- 20% efficient poly solar panels
- 26-foot radius motion sensor
- Wide 270° lighting area
- Automatic on and off
- Adjustable light head and sensor
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 18,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: "It was exactly what I was looking for. They are easy to install, just the right size and project a lot of light. Love that it is solar.” — Joshua via Amazon
Why Buy: The AmeriTop triple-head outdoor flood light is a robust solution for exterior lighting needs, featuring high-intensity LED bulbs, a quick charge time, a wide flood angle and motion-sensing areas, and IP65 waterproofing. Short of the sun itself, there’s no better solar security floodlight for your home.
Best Light Bar: TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights
The TBI Pro ultra-bright solar motion sensor flood light can illuminate up to 1,600 square feet, making it perfect for walls, posts, paths and gardens. Each light fixture casts a searing 2,500-lumen ocean of light, adding security and comfort to any exterior. This model has three lighting modes, so if you don’t need to burn a hole in the dark, you can select a different mode to set a lighter ambiance. From outdoor security to entertaining, these are a great choice.
- 2,500-lumen output
- 1,600-square-foot lighting area
- Super-wide 280° lighting angle
- Motion-detection up to 40 feet
- 12-hour runtime with 4,400 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- Automatic on and off
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panels
- Two units per purchase
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 1,300 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Wow! These things are really bright! Much brighter than we had anticipated. The motion sensor device is neither too sensitive or not sensitive enough — it's just right.” — Light-Zone via Amazon
Why Buy: These high-power solar flood lights prove great things can come in small, affordable packages. You get two super-bright 2,500-lumen bar lights with three brightness settings, a wide lighting angle and superior motion sensitivity reach. And at under $65, they’re perhaps the best value you can buy.
Best Compact Lights: Kolpop Solar Security Lights
Small but tremendous, Kolpop’s Solar Security Lights package offers six 800-lumen solar-powered security lights, each capable of illuminating over 320 square feet. Three brightness settings give you the power to adjust lighting to fit the occasion, from a chill get-together to all-night security.
- 600-lumen output
- 120° motion detection area with 16-foot range
- 8- to 10-hour runtime
- 8- to 10-hour charge time in full sunlight
- 1,800 mAh battery
- Three lighting modes
- IP65 waterproof rating
- Fixed solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 4,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I love these lights and have bought two packages for our country home … I installed these four months ago and am totally satisfied so far. They don't last as long on overcast days, but that's to be expected.” — Donald via Amazon
Why Buy: Six feature-packed solar security flood lights at an amazing price. These suffer a bit on charge time, output and motion/lighting angles, but their affordability and modularity mean you can install them anywhere you so desire. They’re a great buy for folks who want compact solar security wall lights.
Best Street-Style Light: RuoKid Solar Street Lights
There are several reasons to abandon the traditional flood light style, and RuoKid’s street-style solar flood lights encompass them all. Exceptional brightness, a cool urban design, and an adjustable solar panel and light head make these perfect for brightening dark driveways, patios, front door entryways and more.
- 1,500-lumen output
- Illuminates 970 square feet
- Aluminum alloy housing and mounting hardware
- 4 to 6 hours in full sunlight for full charge
- 8-hour runtime
- 5-year warranty
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Remote controlled
- Adjustable solar panel
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,100 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “This light stays on from dusk until dawn with full sun the day before. I installed it as a security light. I live in a rural area with no street lights, and it works perfectly compared to other lights I have purchased..” — Yardman11236 via Amazon
Why Buy: RuoKid designs its products for use on the street, so they’re made to withstand years of heavy-duty service. This awesome 1,500-lumen street-style solar flood light combines power, capacity, durability and function into an attractive, modern design.
How to Choose the Best Solar-Powered Flood Lights
A single doorway doesn’t need 2,500 lumens, nor is a single solar-powered flood light sufficient for lighting up a driveway. Before choosing the best solar-powered flood light, consider the following factors:
- Brightness: In general, brighter is better, but if you only need to light a small area, you might not have to fork over the extra cash for a higher-output unit. If you want to cover a large area with a single bright light, go for at least 1,600 lumens. Or, install multiple lights with a smaller output.
- Features: Today’s solar-powered flood lights are ripe with features. Most have multiple brightness settings and weatherproofing as standard features, but consider other important elements such as remote controls, adjustable/modular solar panels, tilt and pan adjustments for lights and sensors, and metal constructions. As always, the more features, the higher the price, but the investment will be worth it.
- Durability: All of our picks are waterproof, but you may want a light that’s truly built to last. The RuoKid Solar Street Light has an all-metal design and is made to take a beating. Look for weatherproof lights that will hold up through multiple seasons.
- Ease of installation: Compared to their wired counterparts, solar-powered flood lights are a breeze to install. Some require more assembly and mounting than others, so if you’re not on friendly terms with your toolbox, pick a solar flood light that requires little more than a screw to install.
Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Flood Lights
Do solar flood lights really work?
As long as they have consistent daylight for at least a few hours, solar flood lights work exceptionally well. They utilize the same sensor technology as their wired counterparts but require no wiring and have an overall simpler installation thanks to their built-in solar panels.
What is the brightest solar LED flood light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights have an impressive 2,500-lumen output. These are some of the best solar flood lights if brightness is your top priority.
How long do solar-powered flood lights last?
As far as runtime, most solar flood lights provide uninterrupted lighting for 8 to 12 hours. Assuming a solar light has no defects and is installed and used as intended, a solar flood light battery will last 3 to 4 years before needing replacement. Other components of a solar flood light can last up to a decade or more.
What is the most powerful solar security light?
TBI Pro Super-Bright Outdoor Solar Lights are the most powerful solar LED security lights on our list.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.
Conservation groups are offering a $43,000 reward for information about the killings.
Oregon police are seeking assistance in the poisoning of eight wolves in the state since February.
“We are furious and appalled. These poisonings are a significant blow to wolf recovery in Oregon,” Defenders of Wildlife senior northwest representative Sristi Kamal said in a press release from the conservation groups emailed to EcoWatch. “Such a targeted attack against these incredible creatures is unacceptable and we hope our reward will help bring the criminals who did this to justice.”
The Oregon State Police offered a timeline of the killings on Wednesday:
- February 9: After one dead wolf was reported to state police, troopers found all five members of the Catherine Pack dead, along with a deceased magpie. The wolves were found southeast of Mount Harris in Union County.
- March 11: Another dead female wolf from the Keating Pack was found in roughly the same location after her collar let off a mortality signal. A dead skunk and magpie were also found nearby.
- April: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lab reports confirmed that all of the dead animals had been poisoned. Another dead male wolf from the Five Points Pack was found in Union County.
- July: A young female wolf from the Clark Creek Pack was also found dead.
The last two wolves were poisoned with different substances, and lab results indicated the death of the last female wolf might be related to the first six poisonings.
“Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers have continued in their investigation in the intervening months but have exhausted leads in the case,” the police wrote. They are therefore asking the public for help.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the Oregon State Police (OSP) TIP Hotline by calling 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (677) or emailing [email protected] Callers are asked to reference the case number #SP21-033033.
The news comes at a vulnerable time for U.S. wolves, which lost their endangered species protections at the start of 2021. This has led to the return of wolf hunting in several states, and the killing of nearly a third of all wolves in Wisconsin in February.
In Oregon, wolves were taken off the state endangered species list in 2015, but shooting wolves is not currently legal in the state except to defend human life or sometimes livestock, The New York Times reported. Wolf Conservation Center executive director Maggie Howell said that the Oregon poisonings were “unusual” and could be related to the wolves’ delisting on both the state and federal levels.
“Peer-reviewed research shows that poaching worsens when legal protections for wolves are relaxed,” she told The New York Times.
There were 173 wolves counted in Oregon last winter, a 9.5 percent increase over the year before, but still far less than their historic range in the state. State biologists will have to wait until the 2021-2022 winter count is completed to assess how the poisonings impacted the state population.
The conservation groups behind the reward are the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Oregon Wild, Predator Defense and WildEarth Guardians.
All of them called for greater respect and protections for wolves.
"It is tragic that we are losing so many wolves in Oregon, as wolves continue to be lethally targeted both here and nationally,” Lizzy Pennock of WildEarth Guardians said in the press release. “The loss of these wolves, in addition to extensive lethal removals at the hands of the Department this year, is a stark reminder of the need to enhance proactive nonlethal measures in wolf management to foster coexistence."
While many homeowners are switching to solar power to help reduce or even eliminate their month-to-month utility costs, there’s no arguing that startup costs of solar panels can be high. One way to save money upfront is with a DIY solar panel installation, but is the challenge of building your own system worth what you save on labor?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of DIY solar panel installation, including safety factors, permitting and how much money it saves in the long run.
If you’re looking to compare DIY costs to the cost of hiring a professional, you can use this tool or fill out the form below to start getting quotes from solar companies in your area.
DIY Solar: Considering the Cost Savings
Let’s talk dollars and cents. The cost of solar you’ll find in most research reflects more than just the solar panels themselves. It also takes into account other costs, including wiring, inverters, racking, administrative fees (permits and inspections) and labor.
The average cost of solar, when installed by a top solar company, can range from $10,000 to $20,000 — and that’s after tax credits, incentives and rebates are applied. Homeowners trying to save money might consider eliminating the labor associated with system design and installation, which can make up 10-25% of total costs.
Here in Louisiana, our market research shows the cost of solar averages around $2.57 per watt. A 5-kW system would cost me around $12,000 before the tax credit, so a DIY solar installation could save me over $2,000.
On the flip side, professional installers buy solar panels, solar inverters and solar batteries from wholesale distributors in bulk, accessing a wider range of products for lower prices than what’s available to the general public. This price difference likely won’t offset the savings on labor, however.
Consider the longevity of your system as well. How much value can you expect in the long run? Do you trust your own installation to last 25 to 30 years, matching the lifespan of the best solar panels installed professionally? Solar is a long-term investment, so before you set off on your DIY project, make sure your handiwork can stand the test of time.
Pros and Cons of DIY Solar Panel Installation
Beyond price, there are a number of pros and cons to weigh before attempting to install your own solar panel system.
Advantages of DIY Solar Panels
Here are a few of the major benefits of DIY solar:
- Cost savings: The most obvious advantage of installing your own solar panels is the cost savings. If you go for a DIY project, you’ll be racking up the savings — both on your electric bill and solar system installation. By eliminating the need for design and labor help, you can save a decent chunk of change on your residential solar energy system.
- DIY system design: Installing your own system lets you keep complete control of your design and aesthetic. So, if you’re an amateur solar enthusiast, electrician or DIYer and have a very specific vision for how you want your solar array to be assembled, going the do-it-yourself route can give you free rein to do as you please.
- Easing into solar: DIY solar panels can also be a smart option for those who are looking to start small, with a more modest home solar project. For example, maybe you’re not looking to offset 100% of your energy use but want to try out a couple of panels to see how much they offset your energy costs. The DIY route can be very cost-effective, especially if you have low energy needs.
Disadvantages of DIY Solar Panels
While there are notable perks to the DIY solar approach, there are also some drawbacks worth noting:
- Product availability: Installing DIY solar panels limits the range of products available to you. As mentioned, professional installers have direct access to the most efficient solar panels from leading distributors, and at better prices. As a consumer, your options are going to be more restricted. Being able to purchase the best solar panels can increase system efficiency, reliability and durability significantly, providing more savings on the back end.
- Potential safety hazards: DIY solar installations are complex. To do it right, you need to be pretty knowledgeable about electrical systems and how solar panels work. Without that know-how, you run the risk of loose connections and other wiring problems. These issues can be real fire hazards, jeopardizing the safety of yourself, your home and your family.
- Efficiency issues: Professional solar installers have the knowledge needed to design a solar system that helps you maximize your energy use. An installer can recommend the exact types of solar panels, roof mounts, inverters and battery banks you need, as well as the proper placement of those components. Without their expertise, you may wind up with a solar system that isn’t as efficient as it could be.
- Legality: In some municipalities, DIY solar panels may actually be illegal. You should always check with your local zoning board to ensure that you’re even permitted to do a DIY solar installation, especially if you’re planning a completely off-grid system. If you plan to feed excess energy back to the grid, you’ll need to apply for interconnection with your local utility.
- Navigating savings opportunities: Professional installers have years of experience claiming all of the rebates and tax incentives in their operating areas. Identifying and securing these opportunities on your own is doable, but it will be time-consuming, and getting the details right will be important.
The bottom line: Installing your own residential solar system can yield some notable advantages, including cost savings, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best option.
Without the proper expertise, the savings on the front end of your installation may not offset the long-term benefits of a well-designed, efficient and durable system. Due to the safety hazards, limited product options and lack of real solar expertise, many homeowners decide that a DIY solar system installation just isn’t worth it.
Starting A DIY Solar Project
If you do decide to go with DIY solar panels, make sure to check local zoning ordinances to be certain you can legally install your own system. Keep in mind you’ll have to apply for all permitting and interconnection, including fees and inspections. From there, start researching different solar panels, batteries and inverters, while also ensuring you have the right baseline knowledge regarding electrical work.
One thing to keep in mind is that many solar installers offer no-obligation estimates. Even if you’re leaning toward a DIY solar system, there’s no harm in considering your options and learning a bit more about the solar installation process. Many top companies will even complete a free home consultation and send you a proposal with their recommended system design.
If you’re interested in a little bit of free professional help, you can connect with a certified installer near you using this tool or by filling out the following form.
Installing Your Own Solar Panels
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of solar and feel you’re qualified to undertake a DIY solar project, here’s a brief outline of the steps to take:
- Size your system based on the energy use of your home and available roof space. Some zoning requirements require spacing of at least a foot between the solar panels and the edge of your roof. (Again, a free solar consultation can help with this.)
- Purchase your solar equipment (solar panels, inverters, wiring, racking, etc.)
- Install your racking or build a secure platform for the solar panels.
- Mount and secure the solar panels on the racking.
- Wire the solar panels.
- Connect your solar array to your home’s control panel.
- Obtain permission to operate from your local utility company (if applicable) before turning the system on.
FAQ: DIY Solar Panels
Can I install my own solar panels?
You can install your own solar panels to save on labor and design costs. However, there are a few disadvantages to consider: Professional solar companies have access to wholesale prices of a wider range of solar equipment, and improper installation can lead to severe safety concerns or inefficient systems.
Is it illegal to install your own solar panels?
It is not typically illegal to install your own solar panels, but this will depend on your area. You should always check with your local zoning board to ensure that you’re even permitted to do a DIY solar installation, especially if you’re planning a completely off-grid system. If you plan to feed excess energy back to the central power grid, you’ll need to apply for interconnection with your local utility company.
Is it cheaper to install your own solar panels?
It can be cheaper to install your own solar panels, as you’ll save money on upfront costs like labor, design, transportation and more. However, by purchasing your panels online or directly from a distributor, you may not have access to the best solar panels or as wide a product selection as you might like.Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.
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But with hundreds of manatees dying of starvation in 2021, wildlife conservationists are desperate to save these creatures.
For weeks, state officials have been considering whether or not to create a pilot program to feed the animals. An official pilot program is set to be revealed this week, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given approval for a limited feeding trial.
The pilot program will launch near the Florida Power & Light plant in Cape Canaveral. In the winter, manatees tend to swim in the Indian River Lagoon to keep warm, as warm water is discharged from the plant into these nearby waters. Officials will feed the manatees a variety of greens, including cabbage and lettuce. The plan is to use a controlled method for feeding, such as a conveyor belt, to limit human interactions. Officials stress that this trial is not a green light for people to start tossing food into the water for manatees, an act that remains illegal.
In 2021 alone, over 1,000 manatees have died, many of whom died of starvation caused by pollution. This number is more than double that of 2020, when 498 manatees died. Over the past 11 years, seagrasses in the Indian River Lagoon have decreased by about 58%, leaving manatees with less to eat.
“It’s the entire ecosystem that is affected by this and will be affected for a decade to come,” said Patrick Rose, executive director of Save The Manatee Club. “This is a necessary stopgap measure. It is a problem created by man and man is going to have to solve it.”
Seagrasses provide essential food for manatees, and they are a known carbon sink. Seagrass is responsible for up to 10% of the ocean’s carbon storage capacity and can capture carbon about 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. But human pollution, like agricultural runoff and sewage, creates breeding grounds for harmful blue-green algae in waters. This algae then blocks sunlight from reaching the seagrasses, leaving manatees without food and killing off an important carbon sink.
“Literally, saving manatees is part of saving the ecosystem. If we can get this taken care of, manatees will flourish. If we don’t, they won’t,” Rose said. “We are in the most critical position.”
Manatees are currently considered threatened after being downgraded from endangered status in 2017. Several officials and environmental advocates continue to campaign for these animals to be relisted as endangered, especially as the death count continues to increase.
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The Lower 48 states are set to see temperatures far above average for the next two weeks, and low snowpack levels in the Mountain West augur poorly for the region already experiencing widespread drought.
Even farther west, however, Hawaii is under a state of emergency as a winter storm dumped snow at higher elevations and more than a foot of rain at lower elevations, setting off flash flood warnings.
While impacts vary by region, warmer temperatures, more frequent and severe droughts, and more extreme precipitation events are all signals of climate change, which is primarily caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
As reported by The Washington Post:
In the absence of human influence, heat extremes and cold extremes would remain roughly balanced. Instead, a 2.5-to-1 ratio of daily hot versus cold records has been observed in the United States this year — 30,511 to 12,177, to be exact.
That preferential tendency toward heat extremes becomes even more marked globally, particularly when comparing all-time records. So far this year, 704 record high maximum temperatures have been recorded worldwide, and only 134 record lows. That’s more than a 5-to-1 ratio.
As the Earth continues to warm because of human activities, late-season heat and bizarre winter warm-ups will become increasingly common and greater in magnitude.
For a deeper dive:
Temperatures: The Washington Post; Snowpack: The Washington Post; Hawaii: NPR, E&E News, CBS, NBC, ABC, Gizmodo; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves, 2020-'21 Western drought, Extreme precipitation increase, Flooding
Vicious Cycle of Increasing Wealth Gaps, Disproportionate Climate Harms Is Worsening Globally, Report Finds
This inequality is perhaps best illustrated by the equivalence between the climate pollution produced by one billionaire's nine-minute joyride into space and the lifetime carbon emissions of 1 billion people. The world's richest people have become more, and disproportionately more, wealthy in recent decades and that trend has accelerated during the pandemic.
“Global inequalities seem to be about as great today as they were at the peak of western imperialism in the early 20th century,” the report said. The uneven impacts of climate change will “exacerbate global inequalities, which are already very high,” Lucas Chancel, lead author of the report, told Yahoo News. “Poorest countries like Bangladesh or Small Island States will be hit very hard by rising sea levels or extreme weather events.
In rich countries, the poorest groups of the population are also more vulnerable to floods or forest fires induced by climate change, because they have fewer resources to recover after their homes are destroyed.”
As reported by Yahoo News:
It’s easy to understand why these big discrepancies exist. Richer people have larger homes with more high-energy amenities like air conditioners. They are more likely to own cars, to have bigger cars and to take airplane trips. They buy more new products, from smartphones to clothes, that each have their own carbon footprint.
It’s also unsurprising that the average American produces more emissions, adjusted for income, than their European counterparts: Americans tend to have larger homes and to drive more and in less efficient cars. That’s largely because of different government policies. Gasoline taxes in the United States are the second-lowest, after Mexico, of any country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The average American pays $0.56 per gallon in gasoline taxes. In the United Kingdom, the average gasoline tax per gallon is $2.82; in Japan it’s $1.91, and in Germany it’s $2.79.
For a deeper dive:
WIL report, climate: Yahoo News, E&E, The Hill, Fortune, The Seattle Times; WIL report, wealth: BBC, CBS, Fast Company; Year of disasters: National Geographic; Commentary: The Guardian, Lucas Chancel op-ed
The primary source of methane gas released into the atmosphere from floodplains in the Amazon basin is vented through tree root systems, say researchers led by the University of Birmingham, with considerable emissions occurring when no flooding is present.
The researchers discovered evidence that these trees emit a much higher amount of methane than soil or surface water, and that this is the case in both wet and dry conditions, a study published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A showed.
“While in wetland areas without trees, methane would usually be consumed by the soil on its way towards the surface, in forested wetland areas, tree roots could be acting as a methane transport system, venting it into the atmosphere via the tree trunks,” reported Andrei Ionescu of Earth.com.
“In such conditions, methane appears to be able to escape into the air even when it is produced in soil and water that is several meters below ground level. Thus, existing models could massively underestimate the extent of methane emissions in wetland areas such as the Amazon basin,” Ionescu reported.
“After reaching the atmosphere, methane causes more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years. While CO2 has a longer-lasting effect, methane sets the pace in the near term. At least 25% of today’s warming is thought to be led by anthropogenic methane production,” reported David J. Cross of AzoCleantech. “Since pre-industrial times, methane release has accounted for around 30 percent of global warming and is growing at a fast rate,” he added.
To test the theory that tree roots are acting as a transport system for methane, the researchers took measurements from the floodplains of three of the central Amazon basin’s main rivers. The response of the trees to changing water levels due to the annual flood were measured four times during the year.
“Methane emissions were measured using a portable greenhouse gas analyser and then calculations were done to scale the findings up across the Amazon basin,” reported Phys.org. “Overall, the team estimate that nearly half of global tropical wetland methane emissions are funneled out by trees, with the unexpected result that trees are also important for emissions at times when the floodplain water table sits below the surface of the soil.”
Typically, models assume methane is only produced in flood conditions.
“Our results show that current global emissions estimates are missing a crucial piece of the picture,” said Professor Vincent Gauci, study lead author of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, as reported by Phys.org. “We now need to develop models and methods that take into account the significant role played by trees in wetland methane emission.”
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If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced in time to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis and civilization as we know it collapses, the future wanderers of the apocalyptic wasteland will at least know how it all happened.
That’s the idea behind Earth Black Box, a bus-sized steel monolith being built in the Tasmanian desert to record every bit of data on the climate crisis and our collective response.
“The purpose of the device is to provide an unbiased account of the events that lead to the demise of the planet, hold accountability for future generations and inspire urgent action,” the project website reads. “How the story ends is completely up to us.”
The project is a collaboration between a variety of makers including the University of Tasmania, marketing communications company Clemenger BBDO and artistic collective Glue Society, according to CNN.
It will be a 10-meter-by-4-meter-by-3-meter (approximately 34-foot-by-13-foot-by10-foot) steel monolith that will sit in a remote, rocky part of Tasmania’s west coast, as Australia’s ABC News reported. Inside, the device will be filled with storage drives connected to the internet and powered with solar panels. The drives will record both scientific data tracking the global climate and headlines and social media posts tracking the politicla response.
The idea is to replicate the “black box” that tells the fate of an airplane after a crash.
"Obviously it's really a powerful concept when you say to someone, 'Earth's got a black box'. Because they're like, 'Why does it need a black box?'" Jim Curtis from Clemenger BBDO told ABC News. "But first and foremost, it's a tool."
The device won’t be completed until early in 2022, but the data recording began during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November, according to CNN. Right now, the black box will have the capacity to store data for the next three to five decades, but the designers are hoping to increase its storage capacity.
They are also still working out how to make the box accessible to people in the far future. Whoever finds it will need to break through three-inch steel walls and understand basic symbols, according to ABC News.
"Like the Rosetta Stone, we would look to use multiple formats of encoding," the developers told ABC News. "We are exploring the possibility of including an electronic reader that stays within the box and will be activated upon exposure to sunlight, also reactivating the box if it has entered a long-term dormant state as a result of catastrophe."
However, the device is also intended as a sort of wake up call. Currently, the pledges made by world leaders through 2030 put the globe on track for 2.4 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100, according to Climate Action Tracker. But scientists have warned that it is essential to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
"When people know they're being recorded, it does have an influence on what they do and say," Jonathan Kneebone of the Glue Society told ABC News. "That's our role if anything, to be something in the back of everyone's mind."
Climate activists who were not involved with the project thought it sent an effective message.
"It is a very creative way of approaching what's potentially the most disastrous outcome of the climate crisis by essentially creating this 'doomsday vault' for [climate] data," Vladislav Kaim, a Moldovian member of the UN Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, told CNN. "To me, it shows the extent to which there is no consistency in the climate space to trust politicians on anything they say. It sends a very strong message that the real black box here is in the minds of the politicians who had all the levers required to avert the catastrophe but decided to keep passing the buck until it was too late,” Kaim added.
We break down how much it costs to go solar in the Bay State.
Massachusetts has quickly established itself as one of the most renewable energy-friendly states in the nation, and a large part of that is due to its growing solar energy industry. Surprisingly, however, the cost of solar panels in Massachusetts is actually over 10% higher than the national average.
Solar energy is beneficial for the climate and helps ensure reliability of power, but installing solar is also a major financial decision. How long will it take for solar panels to pay for themselves, and how much upfront capital is needed to get started? How much do solar panels cost in Massachusetts, exactly? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more.
Keep in mind that financials aren’t always clear-cut, as many components factor into the final cost of solar panels. The only way to know for sure how much solar would cost for your home is to compare free quotes from solar companies near you. You can get started by using this tool or filling out the form below.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Massachusetts?
As noted, installing solar energy projects in Massachusetts is more expensive than the U.S. average. Based on market research and data from top solar brands, the average cost of solar panels in Massachusetts is about $2.94 per watt. Compared with the U.S. average of $2.66 per watt, residents of Massachusetts can expect to pay about 11% more.
Of course, the cost per watt is just a normalizing metric, but how much an individual project will cost depends on total system characteristics. For an average-sized solar power installation project of about 5 kilowatts (kW), someone in Massachusetts can expect to pay an all-in cost of $10,878 after the federal solar tax credit is applied.
Of course, this value changes based on the size of the project, and the following table of potential system capacities highlights how that can fluctuate:
Size of Solar Panel System
Massachusetts Solar Panel Cost
Cost After Federal Tax Credit
Take note that these values are simply averages. Some systems may cost notably more than indicated in the table if the installation environment is particularly challenging or a more expensive installation company is chosen. Other customers will find their total bill to be lower than indicated above if their projects are straightforward and easy to complete.
For an accurate estimate for your home, you should consult with an expert and/or solar installer who can fine-tune a quote to your specific needs.
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts?
One reason it’s helpful to engage with an expert or consultant is that there are many factors that can and do influence the final cost of a solar system in Massachusetts. Solar energy system installation is not simply an off-the-shelf purchase that comes with a single price point. Rather, it’s a personalized and customized project that can see costs fluctuate higher or lower based on any of the following factors:
To start off, not all solar installations are built the same, and a key driving factor influencing the cost of your solar panels is the solar equipment chosen. This can be as straightforward as whether the project uses top-of-the-line, highly resilient, highly efficient solar PV panels (which will be more expensive) or if it uses the most basic and affordable solar panels.
In addition to that, though, solar systems feature various other types of equipment that can come with a range of price points. These types of equipment include the racking and hardware used to secure the panels to the rooftop, the digital technologies and software tools utilized to maximize the productivity of the panels, and any advanced mechanisms like solar tracking technology that include added costs.
How you choose to pay for your panels will also influence total costs. For most installations, paying in cash will give you the quickest (and highest) return on your investment. However, with system costs that readily exceed $10,000, not all homes or businesses will be able to pay upfront. In such cases, solar financing options come into play, often with added costs.
If taking out a solar loan, the terms of that loan agreement will influence the exact amount of money paid when all is said and done. The longer that is needed to pay back the loan, the greater the interest will be accrued and the more the total costs will end up being.
Another option for those who don’t want to take out a loan is leasing the solar panels or engaging in a power purchase agreement (PPA). With either of these options, the homeowner doesn’t actually own the solar panels, so they don’t have to pay to have them installed. Your solar company will handle installation costs, and you’ll simply pay for the power the system produces.
Solar leases and PPAs are not recommended for homeowners who are looking to save money by switching to solar. Although your monthly electric bills may be slightly lower, you won’t be able to claim the federal tax credit, and there’s no “break-even” point after which you no longer have to pay for the energy you use.
Lastly, solar projects are significant undertakings, and like any home construction project, the final cost will inevitably depend on the company chosen to perform the installation. Anyone seeking to price out what solar panels will cost them should do their homework to get quotes and terms from multiple solar installers, as each company will have its own rates (which may or may not directly vary based on the quality of the work done).
Further, solar installation companies may be local in footprint or they may be broader national installers. While the national companies can better compete based on scale, many local installers in Massachusetts will end up offering lower prices or special deals to help them compete with larger companies.
Massachusetts Solar Incentives
While the upfront cost for solar panels can be intimidating, those considering diving into the world of solar energy should be encouraged by the fact that there are a number of incentive programs that allow homeowners in Massachusetts to save on their solar panel installations.
We’ve summarized need-to-know details in the table below, but you can read more about each offering in our Massachusetts solar incentives guide.
Massachusetts Solar Incentives
Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit
Massachusetts homeowners are eligible for a 15% tax credit (up to $1,000) on their state income tax filing
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
This program allows Massachusetts residents to be compensated for every kilowatt-hour of energy generated by their solar systems.
Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions
Massachusetts does not collect sales tax on solar equipment and omits the added value of solar panels from property tax assessments.
Massachusetts Net Metering Program
Homeowners are paid per kilowatt-hour for all excess electricity their panels generate and push back into the central power grid.
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
This solar incentive is available to all Americans. It allows solar adopters to claim 26% of their total equipment and installation costs as a tax credit on their next federal filing.
Any certified solar company in Massachusetts can ensure your system qualifies for the above incentives — and can help you apply for them. To connect with a top solar installer near you, you can use this tool or fill out the quick form below.
FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts
Is it worth going solar in Massachusetts?
One reason solar energy has become so popular in Massachusetts is that it provides a great return on investment for homeowners. While the upfront cost of solar panels in Massachusetts can be a barrier to entry, virtually all projects (except solar leases or PPAs) have a payback period of less than a decade. If you can afford the installation costs, then yes, it is worth going solar in Massachusetts.
How much does it cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts?
The cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts will vary greatly based on many factors, including the size of the project, the solar incentives utilized, the financing method used to pay for them, the solar installation company chosen, the specific equipment used and more.
That said, the cost to install solar panels comes out to an average of $2.94 per watt, about 11% greater than the national average of $2.66 per watt. For a 5-kilowatt solar system, that would mean a cost for installation (after applying the federal solar tax credit) of about $10,878.
Are solar panels free in Massachusetts?
No, solar panels are not free in Massachusetts. That said, the costs are continuing to fall and many solar tax incentives exist at the local, state and federal levels, aiming to make them more affordable. Virtually all solar projects, when installed by experts, will end up paying for themselves well within their lifetime, creating a net profit for owners in the end.
Do solar panels increase home value in Massachusetts?Yes, solar panels are a valuable asset for any home, and for a homeowner who takes the initiative to plan and install them, the resale value of their home will inevitably go up. Thanks to a key benefit offered by the state of Massachusetts, the increase in home value due to solar installations is omitted from property tax assessments.
A lot of the talk surrounding plastic pollution focuses on its impact on marine ecosystems. But there may actually be more microplastic pollution in the soil than in the ocean, according to UN research.
“The report serves as a loud call for decisive action to curb the disastrous use of plastics across the agricultural sectors,” FAO deputy director general Maria Helena Semedo wrote in the report foreword.
Plastics are used in agriculture for a variety of purposes, from mulching films to plastic tree guards to controlled-release fertilizers coated with polymers. In fact, world agriculture used 12.5 million tonnes (approximately 13.8 million U.S. tons) of plastic for plant and animal production in 2019 and 37.3 million tonnes (approximately 41.1 million tonnes) for food packaging the same year.
While plastic can be beneficial to agriculture, its widespread use also raises concerns about its impact on public health and the environment when it degrades.
This is especially concerning for the world’s soils. When microplastics from mulching film build up in surface soils, for example, they reduce agricultural yields. There is also a concern that microplastics in agricultural soils could work their way up the food chain to harm human health. Some plastics contain toxic chemicals themselves, and plastics can also collect and transport diseases and chemicals when they enter the ocean.
University of Sheffield professor Jonathan Leake told The Guardian that there was evidence that plastic pollution in the soil harms earthworms, which are important for soil health.
“Plastic pollution of agricultural soils is a pervasive, persistent problem that threatens soil health throughout much of the world,” he said. “We are currently adding large amounts of these unnatural materials into agricultural soils without understanding their long-term effects.”
The UN agreed that more research is needed to understand how plastic pollution is impacting the world’s soils.
“The trouble is we don’t know how much long-term damage the breaking down of these products is doing to agricultural soils,” Mahesh Pradhan, coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global Partnership for Nutrient Management, said in a recent statement. “We need to develop standardized methods of detecting microplastics in soil to better understand how long they remain there and how they change over time.”
The FAO report also called for improving the management of agricultural plastics through “the 6R model” – refuse, redesign, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. More specifically, potential solutions could include changing practices to phase out plastic altogether, replacing plastics with biodegradable alternatives or designing better ways to manage or reuse plastic waste.
Innovation is also a possible solution, Kristina Thygesen, a senior expert at GRID Arendal who is collaborating with UNEP on agricultural plastics, said.
“Right now, a farmer might use plastic to control weeds, but maybe a small machine could be developed that can recognize weeds and remove them,” she said in the UNEP statement. “We live in a high-tech world, and we can find solutions if we really want to. We need to develop a new generation of agricultural technology.”
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The study, published in PLOS One, found that people who eat meat produce 59% more emissions compared to those who follow vegetarian diets. To start, the authors evaluated seven references to determine the greenhouse gas emissions of many different foods and to create a detailed algorithm. The algorithm accounted for different aspects of each food, including production, land use, soil, climate, processing, and transport, among other factors.
Study authors interviewed 212 participants — only 7 of which self-identified as vegetarian — about their food habits and used the participants’ food recall logged in a database of over 3,000 foods, called myfood24. The research also relies on the data for over 3,000 generic foods and over 40,000 branded foods. Participants could include their dietary intake information for one to three days, and the study authors created a 24-hour average that accounted for food and portion sizes. The research models were also adjusted to account for recommended nutritional intake, age, and body mass.
The research noted that the mean for emissions from daily dietary intake was 7.4 kg CO2eq/day, which was consistent with findings in similar studies. The largest percentage of dietary-based emissions came from meat at 32%, followed by drinks (including tea and coffee) at 15% and dairy at 14%. The study authors did not find significant differences in emissions based on age or body mass.
“We also show that diets meeting a range of RNIs generally have lower GHG emissions than those not meeting the RNIs [Recommended Nutrient Intakes],” the study said. “For example, diets meeting recommendations for lower saturated fat, lower sodium intake and a larger proportion of total energy intake from carbohydrates, were also lower in meat. Based on our results for the nutrients studied, future efforts to optimise diets for personal and planetary health may result in both nutritional and environmental benefits.”
Further, while meat was the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, tea, coffee, dairy, and even confectionary items like cakes and cookies can also contribute to a larger carbon footprint. The authors concluded that emissions can be reduced with policies that focus on nutrient-dense, sustainable and plant-based diets.
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