Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Good News Round-Up- for Week 2 September 2017

by Nomad

This month's Good News focuses on the big picture. Confident in knowing that these dark days of Trump and weather-related disasters will soon pass, I decided that I ought to look at the quiet revolutions going on around us which are transforming the planet.

Even while the bad news makes the headlines, progress continues. So let's take a look at that for a moment.

New Reports See Bright Futures for Wind and Solar

According to two recent reports, we might be underestimating the influence that solar and wind energy will play in the near future. These optimistic forecasts suggest that the radical trends of the last decade are unstoppable and what we are looking at is something akin to an energy revolution.

Both of these reports offer forecasts that are wildly optimistic relative to the mainstream modeling community, but it’s not because they predict wind and solar are going to have some unprecedented explosion.

They simply predict that wind and solar are going to keep doing what they’re doing — continuing to scale up, continuing to improve and, most importantly, continuing to reduce the price of manufacture. If these things all keep moving at roughly the same rate they have been, we shall be on course for a green energy transformation. I think that great news.

Wind power costs could drop 50%. Solar PV could provide up to 50% of global power. Damn.

Mega-Cities and the Value of Trees

Trees. Who would want to live in a world without them? Especially if you live in a city. Megacities with limited green areas can make urban life a fairly dismal place. As far as I am concerned, too much cement is bad for the soul. 
But is it possible to put a dollar value on trees in cities?

A study by College of Environmental Science and Forestry at State University of New York (SUNY) has found that trees provide a megacity with more than $500 million each year in services that make urban environments cleaner, more affordable and more pleasant places to live.
The study's lead author, Dr. Theodore Endreny, points out:
"If trees were to be established throughout their potential cover area, they would serve to filter air and water pollutants and reduce building energy use, and improve human well-being while providing habitat and resources for other species in the urban area."
What's the annual value of trees? $500 million per megacity, study says: Researchers focus on 10 cities on 5 continents

How to Save 20 Million Lives and $350 billion

Basic childhood immunization is one of the few health interventions to which most of the world’s poor have access, free of charge and through the public sector.  
For rich and poor nations, prevention is always more cost-efficient than treatment. A recent study reveals in real terms how much is actually saved through vaccination programs.

Between the years, 2001 and 2020, vaccinations in the world’s poorest countries will have prevented 20 million deaths and saved $350 billion in healthcare costs, researchers project. The broader economic value from lives saved by vaccinations is estimated to be $820 billion, say researchers.
Vaccines in poor countries have saved 20 million lives and 350 billion dollars since 2001

Thousand Year Old Survivor of Hurricane Harvey

It's going to be next to impossible to compile an inventory of all that has been lost after Hurricane Harvey drowned Houston. One thing that wasn't lost was a 1,100-year-old oak tree left standing at Goose Island State Park.
The “Big Tree” has a diameter of 11 feet and a circumference of more than 35 feet. The community of Rockport has appreciated the tree for more than a hundred years, calling in experts like Appel to help care for it. And it’s not the only tree that survived—many younger, less remarkable live oaks survived the hurricane. And, with the way the climate is changing, some of them may thrive there for another 1,000 years.
This 1,000-year-old oak tree survived Hurricane Harvey
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So, that's the good news. I realize it's not much but it is a little better than the daily Trumpeting of lousy news.

But perhaps you can find more. So, that's my nomadic challenge. See if you can find one positive news story a day to post in the comment section.