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France voted to ban short domestic flights

France voted to ban short domestic flights
French lawmakers have moved to ban short-haul internal flights where train alternatives exist, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

The Senatehas voted for one of the key and symbolic provisions of the climate and resilience bill. It concerns the abolition of domestic air routes, when an alternative train journey of less than 2.5 hours exists.unless the routes in question carry at least 50% connecting passengers, to avoid transfer to foreign hubs.

Airlines around the world have been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with website Flightradar24 reporting that the number of flights in 2020 were down almost 42% from 2019.

This measure is inspired by the proposals that came out of the Citizens’ Climate Convention, except that the citizens had set the bar much higher, calling for an end to domestic flights when an alternative train journey of less than four hours exists.

The measures could affect travel between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux. The French government had faced calls to introduce even stricter rules.

France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed.

But this was reduced to two-and-a-half hours after objections from some regions, and the airline Air France-KLM.

But to go a little further we will compare the carbon footprints of the two means of transport, the plane and the train.

Is flying really the most polluting?

For a long time now, when we talk about global warming, we have tended to blame air travel a lot. Indeed, for many years, air travel has been considered the most polluting mode of transport, far more polluting than trains, buses and even cars. Is this true?

Admittedly, overall, air transport  accounts for less than 4-5% of global CO2 emissions, i.e. more than twice as little as road transport. But air travel is still one of the most polluting modes of transport, along with the car. For example, on a journey of a few hundred kilometres, the plane will pollute 10 to 50 times more than an electric high-speed train, or 5 to 10 times more than a bus. The problem with air transport is its generalisation and trivialisation: long-distance air travel should remain exceptional. From an environmental point of view, the growth of air transport is therefore not desirable in itself.

For a plane there are 285 g of CO2/passenger/km.

If you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint on your next flight, we invite you to read the article by our friends at EastEcoTips Offset your carbon footprint when booking your flight.

But what about the train?

Let’s take a concerted example: a trip from Paris to Marseille. If, by TGV, the CO2 emissions for each passenger is 1.7 kg per kilometre, the car will emit 127 kg. This is 74 times more than the train with a single passenger. However, if there are four passengers, it is only 31 kg per passenger. For this one and a half hour journey, it will emit 82.7 kg of CO2 per passenger according to the DGAC. 49 times more than the train.

The gap between the two forms of transport widens if you take shorter journeys. Like a trip from Paris to Rennes. With a Ouigo, we are talking about 0.7 kg of CO2 emissions per SNCF customer. That’s 84 times less than a car (59.3 kg of CO2) and 115 times less than a plane (80.7 kg of CO2 per passenger).

On average, the train emits 14 g of CO2/passenger/km.

So while the difference in pollution is greater or lesser depending on the journey or the number of passengers, the idea given by the SNCF boss is the right one. Undoubtedly, rail is the greenest of the three modes of transport.

Source: BBC / YOUMATTER.

What do you think of this measure? Would you like to see the same implemented in your country?

 

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Where does the oxygen come from?

Contrary to popular belief, most of the oxygen on earth does not come from trees. So, where does oxygen come from?

In fact, according to scientists, the ocean and phytoplankton produce between 50% and 80% of the oxygen on our planet.

Why do we mistakenly think that trees produce most of our oxygen?

Well, that’s a shortcut we make, that’s what our parents tell us, that’s what we learn at school. But, according to a 2010 study by science.org, tropical forests are responsible for about 34% of the earth’s photosynthesis.

This does not change the fact that trees are very important, they make oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the air (CO2). They are true natural carbon dioxide (CO2) recycling machines. They simply produce less oxygen than we think.

So where is all the oxygen produced?

We tend to forget this, but phytoplankton and the oceans produce more than 50% of the oxygen on our planet. Phytoplankton are the largest producers of oxygen on earth. Like land plants, phytoplankton make oxygen through the mechanism of photosynthesis.

What are phytoplankton?

Phytoplankton, or plant plankton, are micro-organisms that are invisible to the naked eye. These tiny one-celled plants just float in the ocean surface, and go with the flow and they drift with the currents.

They grow through photosynthesis, meaning they convert CO2 using the sun energy, and release oxygen. They also need nutrients from the bottom of the ocean itself like iron, nitrogen or phosphate. Not only do they provide oxygen for all of us on earth, but phytoplankton are also at the bottom of the food chain in the ocean. Small fish eat them and are in turn eaten by bigger fishes.. Surprising as it may seem, it is not huge trees but these tiny plant organisms that play a major role in renewing the oxygen in the air we breathe.

Unfortunately, phytoplankton are in danger because of global warming (if you want to read more about global warming, we invite you to read the article “Climate change is accelerating“. Indeed, they prefer cold waters and as the ocean temperature increases, the population of phytoplankton decreases. This will have a big impact on marine biodiversity and on the land in general as phytoplankton is also part of the food chain.

How does phytoplankton photosynthesis work?

To put it simply, thanks to its chlorophyll, phytoplankton captures sunlight which it uses as a source of energy to produce glucose. To create this sugar, it needs carbon and hydrogen, two elements that it finds in the carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) naturally present in its environment. It then releases what it does not need, namely O2, oxygen.

If you want to read more about phytoplankton, please read the article “phytoplankton are the biggest producers of oxygen on earth“.

Sources:  National Geographic, Science.org.

About us:

Moonqua is a leading influencers agency for ethical brands. We carefully select the projects we work on to avoid greenwashing. We believe that companies working to bring a solution to the important challenges we face today should be able to work with the most talented influencers, who are fighting for the same causes. We aim at creating meaningful campaigns and connect the most authentic content creators with the most ethical brands to achieve inspiring campaigns. We help raise awareness about great products, projects and initiatives that aspire at making the world a better place and reach the largest amount of people on social media. Whether you are a brand or a content creator, we want to hear from you! Find out more about our services for ethical brands and for influencers.

 

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“Recyclable” does not mean it will be “recycled”

We drink a Coca-Cola, put the bottle into the recycling bin, and then what happens to recycling waste?

What really happens to the recycling waste?

Each city, each council, each state has different recycling facilities. So even if a product says “recyclable”, it is impossible to know if it is actually going to be recycled.

In countries like the UK or the US, many recycling plants will sort the waste, but much of the actual recycling will be loaded on to container ships to be sent to other countries. Most developed nations produce more waste than they can process at home: the US, the world’s most wasteful nation, produces 2kg (4 pounds) per person per day.

In 2018, China refused to take on the trash from the rest of the world. So all the recycling waste went to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam or Malaysia. The waste is burned in open landfills, illegal sites or facilities with inadequate reporting, making its final fate difficult to trace. A Greenpeace Unearthed investigation in 2018 found mountains of European waste in illegal dumps in Malaysia, where waste is often burned or abandoned, eventually finding its way into rivers and oceans.

Of the 8.3bn tonnes of virgin plastic produced worldwide, only 9% has ever been recycled, according to a 2017 Science Advances paper entitled Production, Use And Fate Of All Plastics Ever Made.

Is recycling a myth?

Yes, recycling as we imagine is a myth. When we put a plastic bottle in the recycling bin, it does not turn into another plastic bottle. This is called downcycling. Odds are, it probably doesn’t even get recycled at all and ends in a dump somewhere in another country.

So, how can you reduce waste at your level?

Individual eco-friendly changes can have a big impact.

We’ll give you some examples of small habits you can adopt to help make things better.

1- Use a reusable bottle/cup for beverages

2- Use reusable grocery bags, and not just for groceries

3- Always avoid single-use items!

4-  Buy secondhand items and donate used goods

5- Remember the 3R’s: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!

If you want to know more tips of this kind we invite you to go and see the article by Rhianne Jordan.

Before buying something, think first: do I really need it? If you do, try to reuse it as many times as you can before disposing it, you can also repurpose it or repair it if it breaks. Recycling should be the last alternative.

About us:

Moonqua is a leading influencers agency for ethical brands. We carefully select the projects we work on to avoid greenwashing. We believe that companies working to bring a solution to the important challenges we face today should be able to work with the most talented influencers, who are fighting for the same causes. We aim at creating meaningful campaigns and connect the most authentic content creators with the most ethical brands to achieve inspiring campaigns. We help raise awareness about great products, projects and initiatives that aspire at making the world a better place and reach the largest amount of people on social media. Whether you are a brand or a content creator, we want to hear from you! Find out more about our services for ethical brands and for influencers.

 

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What is Wishcycling

If you are thinking “this is probably recyclable”, it’s called wishcycling, and it does more harm than good. But what does wishcycling mean?

What is wishcycling?

It’s actually pretty simple: wishcycling is putting something in a recycling bin in the hope that it will be recycled.

Why is it problematic?

Wishcycling is a serious problem and it is something we all need to address.

Workers in recycling facilities try to remove incorrect items by hand (wish-cycled items, which get sent to landfill anyway), but sometimes they miss them.

For example, plastic bags get wrapped around the cogs and clog up the machines, damaging equipment and endangering workers.

Wishcycling diminishes the quality of the recycled end-product. Even small amounts of contaminants can ruin an entire batch. Once this happens, manufacturers don’t want to buy it, and recyclers are forced to send valuable material to landfills.

Economically, sorting rubbish slows down recycling operations, which costs more, as does the disposal of that rubbish.

Environmentally, non-recyclable waste can spoil otherwise recyclable items, and including waste in recycling results in additional trips to landfill, which is costly for the environment.

What you probably don’t know…

Mixing paper with drink cans results in wet paper, which is not recyclable. Unwashed plastic food containers, such as mayonnaise and peanut butter jars, can’t be recycled either. And many of the items we buy every day were never designed to be recycled. Such as plastic grocery bags, toothpaste tubes, hard-molded plastic packaging, plastic wrap, compostable or biodegradable plastic containers and construction paper.

The irony is that, to recycle more, we need to recycle less. Which means we need to stop clogging up the recycling stream with non-recyclable items. No matter how happy we feel about sending them to a ‘good’ place.

Waste that is thought to be recyclable but is not:
  • Nappies
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Paper towels and kitchen towels
  • Paper towels
  • Pizza boxes with grease
  • Plastic bags and film
  • Plastic screw caps
  • Juice cartons and other coated cardboard beverage containers
  • Plastic coated boxes, plastic food packaging boxes, or any plastic without a recycling logo
  • Shredded paper
  • Takeaway packaging
  • Metal hangers

We all try to recycle as much as we can. Wishcycling is well intentioned, but it does more harm than good. We know, recycling is very confusing. So, you might be tempted to put something in the recycling bin “just in case”.

So what can we do?
  • Find out what waste is accepted by your local authority.
  • Double check before you throw it away.
  • Don’t assume that all plastics are accepted at the rubbish collection.

If you have a doubt, put it in the regular bin, don’t take the risk to contaminate the recycling!

If you want to know more about recycling and what happens to our waste, please see the article “Recyclable” does not mean it will be “recycled”.

About us:

Moonqua is a leading influencers agency for ethical brands. We carefully select the projects we work on to avoid greenwashing. We believe that companies working to bring a solution to the important challenges we face today should be able to work with the most talented influencers, who are fighting for the same causes. We aim at creating meaningful campaigns and connect the most authentic content creators with the most ethical brands to achieve inspiring campaigns. We help raise awareness about great products, projects and initiatives that aspire at making the world a better place and reach the largest amount of people on social media. Whether you are a brand or a content creator, we want to hear from you! Find out more about our services for ethical brands and for influencers.

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Google Maps will show eco-friendly routes

With this new feature, Google Maps will show eco-friendly routes as well as fastest routes. Which one would you choose?

Quick introduction

We all know Google Maps. It is one of the most used tools by the users of the Google platform.  It allows you to search for places and geolocate a specific place, and also gives you the possibility to calculate routes,acting as a GPS. Also, thanks to Google Street View, it is possible to visualize the appearance of a place from the street view.

Some current features of Google Maps:

– Plan your routes

– Create a list of places to visit

– Share your location in real time with other users to find each other more easily

– Save maps on your phone without an internet connection

– Discover in Street View, get photos of places you’ve visited

– Measure distances

– Get where to find coordinates

– Show the most ecological routes

There is a new eco-friendly feature!

As part of its commitment to tackling climate change, Google has announced a new feature in Google Maps later this year. The app will not only show the most eco-friendly routes, but also make it the default option. If there is a significantly faster route, Google will offer choices and allow users to compare estimated emissions.

Google said the feature would launch first in the US later in 2021 “with global expansion underway”.

How will it work?

Google estimates how much fuel your car will need based on traffic data, grades and slopes, and altitude.

It will also look to avoid low emission zones in cities where they are in place, such as France, Germany, UK, Spain, etc. Google Maps will start directing drivers to routes it believes are the most environmentally friendly, based on a list of factors.

The search engine said it would highlight the routes that generate the lowest carbon footprint, mainly using traffic data and road gradients.

Google Maps users will also be able to compare car, bike, public transport and other travel options in one place, rather than switching between sections, thanks to a new feature launched this year.

The US tech giant says it has long been developing sustainable practices to benefit the environment and has committed to going carbon-free by 2030 to help cities control their greenhouse gas emissions.

Source : BBC.

If you want to know other ways to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling, we invite you to read the article “Offset your carbon footprint when booking your flight“.

About us:

Moonqua is a leading influencers agency for ethical brands. We carefully select the projects we work on to avoid greenwashing. We believe that companies working to bring a solution to the important challenges we face today should be able to work with the most talented influencers, who are fighting for the same causes. We aim at creating meaningful campaigns and connect the most authentic content creators with the most ethical brands to achieve inspiring campaigns. We help raise awareness about great products, projects and initiatives that aspire at making the world a better place and reach the largest amount of people on social media. Whether you are a brand or a content creator, we want to hear from you! Find out more about our services for ethical brands and for influencers.

 

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Lab-grown meat is coming soon

Lab-grown meat (or “clean” meat) is coming soon. After years of research, companies are now able to grow meat from cells in a lab.

It marks a significant step forward for an industry that aims to create real meat without the huge environmental impact and welfare problems of intensive livestock production.

No lab-based meat products are on sale to the public yet, however a US company has said its chicken nuggets will soon be in a few restaurants.

Is it better for the environment? Yes. Lab-grown meat has a much smaller environmental footprint than traditional meat which requires intensive livestock production.

The taste? It has a muscle-like texture similar to conventional meat, but companies are still working on the taste before it goes on sale.

The cost? Companies are working to make it affordable for everyone when it hits the shelves. They went a long way, as the first lab-grown beefburger, in 2013, cost €250,000!

Is it vegan? So far, a few animal cells are needed to start the cell culture, and these are extracted from a living animal. So no, it’s not vegan.

Is it safe to eat? It is still unclear under which regulation this lab-grown meat would fall. In the U.S. for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture looks after the real meat, dairy, and eggs we currently consume. The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, monitors food additives and products made from human cells. But currently there’s no oversight for vetting the technology used to create most lab-grown food.

As you can see, still many questions to be answered! What do you think? Could this solve the environmental issue around meat production? Would you try it?

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These are textile alternatives to leather and cotton

Did you know?

The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the world’s waste water, and 10% of carbon emissions.

Cotton makes up for 40% of the world’s clothing but is very resource-intensive with about 15,000 litres of water required to make one pair of jeans.

Leather is a by-product of the meat industry. Large amounts of water and chemicals are needed, and current alternatives, like polyurethane, are petroleum-based.

The good news is that new textiles made from bio materials are getting more and more attention from designers.

What alternatives to leather?

Piñatex is a leather-like substance made from discarded pineapple leaves, which has been used in collections by Hugo Boss and H&M.

Mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, is being used to create food, packaging and textiles. As mushrooms don’t need much looking after, the material can be grown into a fixed shape within a few days.

What alternatives to cotton?

Tencel, also known as Lyocell is made by extracting cellulose fibre from trees and its manufacture is thought to use 95% less water than cotton processing.

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Scientists have discovered how to break down plastic

Good news! A team of scientists from the Northwestern University in Illinois (US) have found a way to break down the bonds that make Polyethylene.

Polyethylene is one of the most common types of plastic. We find it many househld products like plastic bags, bottles, etc.

The process cuts the plastic polymer turning it into liquid oil. It does that through a catalytic technique using metal nanoparticles to chop the polymer apart.

This liquid oil can then be used for other purposes, like lubricant, and scientists are looking into other potential uses.

The strong bonds that make Polyethylene are what makes plastic so durable. It is why plastic never degrades.

Although this is still an early discovery, let´s hope one day it can help the fight against plastic waste.

In the meantime, we can all so our bit by reducing our use of plastic, and reduce our waste.

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Phytoplankton are the biggest producers of oxygen on earth

Did you know that more than half of the oxygen on earth is produced by these tiny one-celled plants in the surface of the ocean called phytoplankton?

As we often speak about the oxygen produced by trees and plants, we often forget that phytoplankton are the biggest oxygen producer on earth.

These tiny microscopic plants just float in the ocean surface, and go with the flow!

They grow through photosynthesis, meaning they convert CO2 using the sun energy, and release oxygen. They also need nutrients from the bottom of the ocean itself like iron, nitrogen or phosphate.

Not only do they provide oxygen for all of us on earth, but phytoplankton are also at the bottom of the food chain in the ocean. Small fish eat them and are in turn eaten by bigger fishes.

Unfortunately, phytoplankton are in danger due to climate change. ?

Phytoplankton prefer cooler water, and as the oceans are getting warmer, their population is decreasing. Migration of phytoplankton to cooler waters could impact marine life that could starve.

In conclusion, it is important to protect our oceans!

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Why bees are so important?

Why bees are so important? 

Big parts of our ecosystem and biodiversity depend on bees. The bees need the flowers for food, and the flowers need the bees to reproduce.

Bees are the most important pollinators. They help plants to grow, breed and produce food by transferring pollen.

Most fruits, vegetables, nuts and plants like sunflowers, cocoa beans, coffee and tea, as well as cotton need bees to increase their yield and quality.

Bees are also key to maintain biodiversity by pollinating plants that grow seeds, fruits and berries that will be eaten by other animals, and maintain the food chain.

Unfortunately, bees population is a strong decline.

This is due to climate change, pesticides and habitat loss. This will put at risk the balance in our ecosystem, and could trigger food shortages.

What can we do to help the bees?

✅ Don’t use chemicals and pesticides to treat your garden.

✅ Keep a small basin of fresh water outside your home because the bees are thirsty.

✅ Buy local, organic food. Organic food fields contain less pesticides and toxic chemicals.

✅ Remember: bees are not here to sting you! Just let them do their job ?