Updated: May 12
Our Eco-watch series aims to share recent positive environmental news from around the world. It can be easy to become disheartened at the lack of progress towards lower emissions, waste and ecological destruction; it's important every now and again to focus on, and celebrate, the positive steps that have been taken.
World’s richest man commits £7.7bn Billion to fight climate change and new technology that generates electricity from thin air
We start with Amazon CEO and the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos’ recent pledge of $10 (£7.7bn) billion towards “fighting the devastating impact of climate change". On Feb. 17, he posted on his Instagram page that he was launching the Bezos Earth Fund initiative which would fund any effort that can offer a real possibility of preserving and protecting the planet. He also called for global cooperation.
“It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals. I’m committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together.”
This pledge represents almost 8% of Mr Bezos’ $130bn estimated net worth and it isn’t his first effort towards combating climate change. In September 2018, he announced the Climate Pledge, in which he pledged to make sure Amazon meets the goals of the Paris Agreement and be a carbon-neutral company by the year 2040.
Revolutionary air-powered generator
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently unveiled the ‘Air-gen,' a new green technology capable of generating electricity from the moisture naturally present in the atmosphere using protein nanowire. Electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley created this device and they say this revolutionary technology could be impactful for the future of renewable energy and climate change.
"We are literally making electricity out of thin air. The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7 ..and it even works indoors."
Air-gen devices are able to power small electronics, though the researches expect to bring the invention to commercial-scale in the near future.
Reforestation updates around the world
Reforestation continues on its slow but promising pace all over the globe. In the past months, many countries have been stepping up their efforts. Here’s a snapshot of the most recent ones:
This East African nation set a new tree-planting record by planting 350 million trees in a single day. These plantings were done as part of a larger effort to restore tree coverage in the drought-prone country.
The Indian government’s campaign to combat climate change and improve the environment resulted in a massive turnout of citizens who all came out to participate in planting different species of saplings along roads, railroad tracks, and in existing forests in a bid to increase forest coverage. They planted 220 million trees!
Indonesia banned forest clearance after President Joko Widodo issued a permanent extension on the existing moratorium that protects over 66 million hectares of primary forest and peatland. As such, there will be no more issuance of logging or palm plantation permits in those areas.
Canada recently outlined its commitment towards reforestation by revealing plans to fund the planting of two billion trees within the next ten years. This move is said to be their least expensive natural solution against the effects of climate change, as well as for lowering carbon emissions.
Want to read more Sustainability articles? Head to the Sustainability section of our blog on Form World.