August 2021 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Please enjoy this complete list of Everblue's research summaries and sustainability tips for the month of August. Read through to learn about rescuing waste and the latest IPCC climate report!

AUGUST 5: RESEARCH SUMMARY - RETHINKING WASTE

By studying an Australian NGO that was “rescuing” wholesome, edible food from being thrown away, researchers found that by rescuing 18,105 tons (that’s over 36 MILLION pounds) of food, they saved 1,743.5 gallons of water from being wasted and prevented the release of 16.5 pounds of greenhouse gasses. The NGO gave the rescued food to food insecure people, as rescued food is much more low-cost to acquire than buying it directly.


RESEARCH: Rescuing Food from the organics waste stream to feed the food insecure: An economic and environmental assessment of Australian food rescue operations using environmentally extended waste input-output analysis. Reynolds, Piantadosi, & Boland. 2015.


AUGUST 6: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - PEELS PACK A PUNCH


Want to prevent the waste of water, food, and excess energy? Eat your peels! Many peels and scraps from fruits and vegetables can be repurposed into tasty dishes or household products. Here’s just a few ways to use them!

  • Banana peels can be used to dust houseplants and give them a nice shine. They can also be used to make a delicious curry! You can find the recipe here

  • Save peels and scraps from carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, kale, and mushrooms to make vegetable stock for soups

  • Pear and apple peels make great snacks or additions to granola or oatmeal when dehydrated, plus they have tons of fiber

  • Adding citrus peels to white vinegar makes a fresh smelling and all-natural- ocean-friendly multi-purpose cleaner

Since some of these recipes require more scraps than you may make at one time, it’s a good idea to keep a container in your freezer to hold the scraps until you have enough. Happy upcycling!

Click this link for a ton of fun recipes using food scraps and peels, and get cookin’! Comment on this blog post with reviews of any of the recipes you try!


AUGUST 24: RESEARCH SUMMARY - IPCC SIXTH ASSESSMENT REPORT

This whole week, Everblue has been covering the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) published on August 12 by the International Panel on Climate Change. Keep reading for a summary of the most important scientific findings from this report and a few of Everblue’s notes and thoughts on the AR6.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere. New paleoclimate (data and history of the earth’s atmosphere and climate) evidence published in this report state that the changes we are seeing in our climate right now are unmatched in many centuries to thousands of years. This shows that these changes are not part of any climate pattern; they are attributed solely to human burning of fossil fuels.

  • We are expected to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius warming as early as the 2030’s, as opposed to the 2040’s (which the IPCC had predicted in 2018). 1.5 degrees C of warming marks a threshold scientists have been warning us about for years that will bring increased risks to human health, food security, water supply, and economic growth, along with temperature extremes, rising sea levels, and loss of sea ice. Furthermore, at 1.5 degrees C of warming, global fish catches each year would decrease by about 1.5-3 million tonnes and coral reef cover would decrease by about 70-90%.

  • In order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and not more, we have to cut CO2 emissions as much and quickly as possible and reach net zero emissions. Net zero emissions means that even if a small amount of greenhouse gases are being emitted, they are balanced out by carbon capture technologies or by carbon sequestration (drawing carbon back down to the earth - think planting trees!)

EVERBLUE’S NOTES

  • Climate change is not up for dispute. It is happening, and the cause can be scientifically traced to human activity. When scientists say something is unequivocal, we listen.

  • The responsibility for human-caused climate change does not fall equally on all shoulders. Communities that do not rely on large quantities of fossil fuels to sustain their lifestyle are least responsible, though they bear the brunt of climate disasters. Our response to climate change must focus on supporting and listening to these communities.

  • Some effects of climate change such as sea ice melting, ocean temperatures increasing, and sea level rising are to some extent unavoidable because of the amount of warming gases that already exist in the atmosphere, so we will need to proactively put infrastructure into place soon in order to safeguard against these changes.

  • In our lifetimes, climate change will drastically affect our weather, coastlines, and natural spaces. However, we know what we have to do and we have technologies to do it. So, we have to hold our policymakers and industry leaders accountable and work to make sure adaptations to climate change are brought about equitably.

Photo: Francesco Ungaro


AUGUST 30: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - COMBATING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

So, we’ve just finished reviewing the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report on climate change, the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). So, a lot of you might be thinking, well, what do we do now?


The AR6 is a sobering reminder of how far we have left to go in order to limit the warming of our planet to only 1.5 degrees C. And while it’s still important to turn off lights when you leave the room, bike or carpool instead of driving your own car, and limit the amount you fly on airplanes, truly addressing climate change is going to take larger-scale industrial and societal change. But, oftentimes, the only information we see on how to reduce climate change are centered around these small daily actions, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of the larger solutions that people around the world are already working on.


Enter, Project Drawdown! This nonprofit is determined to find each solution to climate change that people are working on around the world. Some of these solutions focus on limiting CO2 output, while others center around drawing down CO2 out of the atmosphere (hence the name Drawdown.) To learn more about current climate solutions and ideas that already exist, and how you can be a part of supporting their implementation, visit @projectdrawdown and their website drawdown.org.


And, as an additional bonus, reading about so many unique, innovative, and powerful ways people are working to solve the climate crisis is incredibly uplifting! Who knows, reading a bit of Drawdown’s work might just give you the extra motivation you need to volunteer, make some calls to your representatives, or have a chat about the climate with your friends and family.




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