Spreading Optimism: Earth Day 2019

 

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Yesterday we celebrated Earth Day. While we are painfully aware that we are living on the brink of devastation due to Climate Change, pollution and a shortage of natural resources, we thought we’d examine some of the efforts that are being made to protect the environment and the positive benefits of those efforts.

Technology


Innovations in technology have played a significant part in finding solutions to many of the environmental challenges we face
. The example that has been front and foremost in the last few months is a 600 metre floater and net system called System 001 which has been created to clean up plastic in the ocean.

The system was launched on September 8, 2018 from San Francisco, to be tested. It will be relaunched in a few months once the known issues have been resolved and the design updated. When it is fully operational, 60 of these plastic harvesting systems will be deployed to reduce the Pacific Garbage Patch by up to 90%, in under two years.

Business


Many large corporations as well as small, local businesses are getting more involved in efforts to protect the environment
. Compliance to regulations plays a part, but many businesses are taking their responsibility a step further by committing to real change.

One such local business here in Ireland is the Hotel Doolin. Some of the environmentally friendly actions they have implemented include:

  • Harvesting their own Rain Water.
  • Building a Polytunnel and garden, were they grow their own vegetables and herbs.
  • Stocking organic bath & soap products in their rooms. No single use plastics.
  • Sending e-invoices where possible to reduce the amount of paper that we use and also re-use paper at the front desk and offices.
  • Segregating waste throughout the hotel and recycling as much as possible.

Our two favourite's, because they're so easy for just about anybody to implement, are:

  • They have a no disposable cup policy for the staff.
  • They offer 30 cent off if you bring your own cup for take-away coffee.

Sustainable Energy Projects


Wind farms and solar energy plants are producing significant amounts of clean, green energy, thereby lowering the national carbon footprint
.

In 2018 Wind provided 85% of Ireland’s renewable electricity and 30% of our total electricity demand.

Satellite Imaging


NASA’s satellites are helping geo-scientists
evaluate the earth’s topography. By studying these images and data, experts can assess the impact of mining, cultivation and infrastructure on the global environment.

This is key to providing governments, and other decision makers, with less invasive and more environmentally friendly ways of managing the land for the benefit of all.

The Ozone Layer


In the 80’s the depletion of the ozone layer was the most significant threat to humanity. .
The Montreal Protocol (1987) banned the production and use of aerosol sprays and coolants world wide.

We are now beginning to reap the rewards of this collaborative global action. According to a UN report published in 2018, the ozone layer is on a path of recovery. Scientists believe it will be fully repaired by around 2060.

 

While we know that we need to keep the pressure on governments, organisations and individuals to take action agains Climate Change and other environmental issues, it's good to pause once in a while and take a look at the initiatives that are in place and the efforts that are being made and be thankful.

 

Michelle Robertson 
OLA Communications Officer
22 April 2019