Sustainability Reads: January 1- January 8

Spotlight on solar: the world’s first solar road opened in France, China announced a $361 billion investment in renewables by 2020, and solar/wind is now the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries. In the United States, positive news for solar came from Google, which announced it’s set to go 100% renewable in 2017, and Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Bill, which lays out support for clean energy in the state.

Big data shows how what we buy affects endangered species
Here at the Sustainability Co-Op, we talk frequently about the relationship between what we buy and the environment, which is why we think this study analyzing the impacts is a big deal. Researchers used big data to map the impacts of global supply chains on 6,803 vulnerable/endangered species. Here are the “threat hot spots” caused by U.S. consumption:

  • Southeast Asia and Madagascar
  • Southern Europe (biggest surprise was causing hotspots in southern Spain and Portugal)
  • The Sahel in Africa
  • The east and west coasts of southern Mexico
  • Throughout Central America and Central Asia and into southern Canada.

Our impacts span the globe, but this type of tailored insight can enable policymakers and companies to reduce our contribution. Study by researchers Daniel Moran and Keiichiro Kanemoto, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. 

Potential for collapse of key Atlantic current rises
Two new studies show that global warming is more likely to slow a large Atlantic Ocean current than previously thought. If the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation slows, it could chill weather in northwestern Europe, hurt fisheries and raise sea-levels in the United States, and disrupt the regional climate in Central and South America. The two studies factored in elements previously missing from climate models and reflect the continued unfolding of climate change impacts. Article by Andrea Thompson at Climate Central.

Tips for the week ahead: use the search engine Ecosia.org, which uses its ad revenue to plant trees (over 6 million planted to date); participate in Meatless Monday; and if you missed our piece Top 10 Movers And Shakers In Sustainability – 2016, please check it out on Huffington Post Green.

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