Welcome to our two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of articles to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.

This week examines the changing face of consumers and sustainability, with a focus on using less ‘stuff’ and promoting a greater level of recycling or reuse. We also examine how the world is being asked to come up with even more novel ways of producing food and how tastes are likely to be shaped by what might be regarded as unconventional produce.

Walking the talk… Here at Energy TS we are often looking for ways to make a positive difference. Many of you may not have known, but last week was Keep NZ Beautiful week (insert link to their webpage here), where groups were encouraged to spend time cleaning up their local areas. We think we made a difference, with plenty of rubbish and recycling found. Check out our blog.[1]

Recycling is changing. People are more motivated to make changes if they can see it affecting their personal life, and recycling can be shown to give many varied benefits other than just financial ones. We need to emphasise how individual recycling contributions are part of a bigger community sustainability movement too, if we are to encourage growth in this area.[2]

The fashion industry is not renowned for its sustainability initiatives, but in a world-first the fashion magazine Marie Claire did the unexpected, discussing basic sustainability tips and sustainable fashion alternatives. Accolades to them, and a step in the right direction, but more is needed. The primary change in fashion must come from consumers, realising if you minimise consumption and increase quality, less waste is an obvious outcome.[3]

Asians are more conscious consumers, maybe because they are often near the sources of production, and see what poor working conditions are like, thus are more mindful of having responsible manufacturing and quality. Those consumers more distant to the production are likely to be less conscious about these things. Improving quality will also reduce waste and the need to recycle as much.[4]

Could vertical fish farms be Singapore’s answer to food security? Singapore consumed 86,352 tonnes of fish last year, of which local farms provided 6,536 tonnes or 7.6 %. Floating Ponds is one way to solve security of supply issues, and enables Singaporeans to understand the journey of food from farm to fork by embedding food production within the community.[5]

‘Meat’ in the future may be very different to how we define it today. Think of gloopy puree made into meat-like lumps, mixed meat and plant concoctions, plant stuff turned into protein, insect patties ... Taking action on climate change will mean the world will have to change its diet, and away from traditional farm raised produce.[6]

The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody has been paying attention until now. Higher levels of CO2 were always thought to be largely beneficial for plant growth, but it has now discovered that these higher levels has been reducing the protein in staple crops. A bit like too much of a good thing, they are able to grow faster, but become less nutritious in the process.[7]

The windscreen phenomenon’ - why your car is no longer covered in dead insects. Where a trip in high summer would once have necessitated taking a squeegee to the front window, now the glass is largely clear, drivers are reporting. Experts mostly blame intensive agriculture and the use of pesticides over the past 50 years for the decline in insect numbers.[8]

One of the saddest things in this day and age is the concept of ‘productive land’ or the very idea that nature, in and of itself, has no inherent value. This article cites two instances where nature lost out to economics, but highlights that there are alternative natural capital models that are trying to calculate the benefits of nature.[9]

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.


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