sustainability
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

sustainability

An illustration of deep seabed mining. WWF

For the first time, major companies are adding their voices to the call for a ban on deep-sea mining.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Natalie Marchant

  • Wood accounts for 10% of yearly waste material in the US.
  • The Baltimore Wood Project salvages wood from buildings to repurpose and resell locally to create a circular economy.
  • The initiative also has social benefits, by creating job opportunities in a post-industrial city that has an 8.5% unemployment rate.

An initiative in the US city of Baltimore wants to salvage and reuse as much wood as possible, while also creating jobs.

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boonchai wedmakawand / Moment / Getty Images

Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.

Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.

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Oscar Wong / Moment / Getty Images

If you're looking to create a healthier lifestyle through an organic plant-based diet, produce delivery services offer all that you can buy in your local farmer's market from the comfort of your own home. Plus, many of them are a great way to reduce food waste through rescued produce and pantry staples.

The ability to cook more meals at home is an amazing opportunity to ditch a sugar and fat-fueled diet and fuel your body with fruits and vegetables. Here is a curated list of the best produce delivery services available.

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Group photo from a #BIKEYGEES class in Berlin, Germany. DEUTSCHE FERNSEHLOTTERIE / JAN EHLERS

By Marianne Dhenin

Many Americans learned to ride bicycles as kids. I still remember zipping around a cul de sac in my neighborhood, shrieking with glee and reveling in my newfound freedom after the training wheels came off. But those who did not have the opportunity to learn to ride during their childhood often face uncertainty or anxiety about learning as adults. Bicycle education programs help those who want to become cyclists overcome that fear while also addressing problems in their communities — from pollution to racial injustice.

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California moves more water than any other system in the world. Steve Proehl / Getty Images

Installing solar panels over California's network of water canals could save the state an estimated 63 billion gallons of water and produce 13 gigawatts of renewable power every year, according to a feasibility study published in Nature Sustainability.

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SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

Kids are the ones that will be inheriting the world from us. Getting them invested early in protecting the environment will ensure that their curiosity and interest will live on once they become adults.

Figuring out how to introduce the concept of renewable energy to kids can be tricky. The more significant challenge comes down to getting kids interested and excited versus putting them on the receiving end of another lecture.

It will take a bit of planning and creativity, but there are ways to get children interested in renewable energy even at a young age.

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De Beers Namaqualand Mine, Kleinzee. Matthew Gavin Frank

By Matthew Gavin Frank

In early 2021, De Beers — the world's biggest diamond company — achieved something of a public relations coup when it announced two new prestige jewelry lines intended to position the notoriously polluting corporation as environmentally friendly and responsible.

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A Yao woman walks on the edge of a rice field in the Longji rice terraces in Longsheng, Guangxi, China. Buena Vista Images / Photodisc / Getty Images

Lives around the world are threatened by the climate crisis, but some suffer its effects much more than others.

For example, it is well documented that women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. A 2016 report by the United Nations found that women in China, who make up 70 percent of the agricultural workforce, will suffer from environmental change more than men in the country because of fewer employment opportunities and access to income options, Global Citizen reported.

As the gender divide grows more severe as a result of climate change, tracking the progress of sustainable development is increasingly important. But current tracking methods to assess this progress are generally limited to economic terms and monetary values, according to a recent paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That's why researchers developed a new indicator to track sustainable progress called "years of good life (YoGL)," the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) reported.

YoGL will track overall well-being to assess the success of sustainable development projects and create a form of global "currency" to measure how certain development options are useful for a broad range of populations, beyond just monetary value, the IIASA added.

"Life expectancy has long been used as a very comprehensive indicator of human development, with avoiding premature death being a universally shared aspiration. However, mere survival is not enough to enjoy life and its qualities," Wolfgang Lutz, founding director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, told the IIASA.

"The Years of Good Life indicator only counts a year as a good year if individuals are simultaneously not living in absolute poverty, free from cognitive and physical limitations, and report to be generally satisfied with their lives."

Researchers say the YoGL tracker can "assess long-term human well-being as the ultimate end of sustainable development." This includes considering the impacts of environmental change, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity, on human well-being.

"If we used YoGL as a currency to measure the long-term impacts of the ongoing crisis rather than GDP per capita or life expectancy, we would not only account for the material losses and the lost life years, but also for the losses in physical and cognitive wellbeing," study coauthor Erich Striessnig added, according to the IIASA.

The tracker could also assess which sustainable development methods work and pinpoint where solutions may be needed the most.

Researchers found that in most developed countries, 20-year-old women are expected to have more than 50 years of a "good life left," but women in the least developed countries could expect less than 15, the IIASA reported. In Yemen, women can expect only 10 YoGL.

Although women are generally expected to live longer lives than men, their YoGL are lower in most developing countries, exposing a gender divide in these countries, according to the IIASA.

For the future, improved data availability is needed for the YoGL tracker to inform decisions on sustainable development, especially in places where there is "a significant gender inequality in objective living conditions and subjective life satisfaction," the authors wrote.

In a recent opinion piece in CNN, Melanne Verveer, the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security and Jessica Smith, the research and policy manager at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, wrote that in order to combat the climate crisis, gender inequality must be strongly considered:

"Climate change is an existential threat to all of humanity, but not equally. Because gender inequalities are compounded by racial injustice, climate impacts are even more pronounced for Indigenous women and women from low-income communities and communities of color."

Although women bear the brunt of the climate crisis, they are also often the ones leading the way in developing solutions. For example, Verveer and Smith cite a study that found more elected female leadership leads to more stringent climate policy. "We cannot effectively address the existential threat of climate change, neither at home nor abroad, without the full and meaningful participation of women," they added.

A woman harvests home-grown lettuce. sanjeri / Getty Images

By Sarah Reinhardt

When it comes to healthy eating, there's a lot we already know.

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The of success or failure of nature-based solutions ultimately depends on the extent to which the world transitions to healthier, more sustainable planet-based diets. casanisaphoto / Getty Images

By Brent Loken

Natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands and oceans, do a pretty good job of storing carbon and supporting biodiversity.

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Elena Feodrina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Whether for removing makeup, cleansing or applying a moisturizer or toner, many people use cotton pads as part of their skincare routine. However, if you're using them frequently, they can add up to a lot of waste, which is where reusable cotton rounds come in.

These sustainable alternatives to cotton balls, pads, or makeup wipes can be washed and reused over a thousand times, which prevents as many single-use products from ending up in landfills and waterways. Below, see our recommendations for the best reusable cotton rounds and a few more reasons why switching to reusables is worth the investment.

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Planting dandelions could help reduce deforestation caused by traditional rubber plantations. Tashka / Getty Images

By Jack McGovan

In 1931, Soviet scientists were on the hunt for a natural source of rubber that would help the USSR become self-sufficient in key materials.

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