Dancers helped power a live music venue, Greece made green energy history, and nations agreed a path to net zero aviation, plus more positive news
This week’s Positive News roundup
Whether you move like Jagger or dance like a robot from 1984, it doesn’t matter at the Glasgow music venue SWG3. There, whatever shapes you cut on the dance floor can be used to heat the building for days to come.
It’s all thanks to an ingenious energy system called BODYHEAT, which captures the heat emitted from revellers and stores it in 12 boreholes beneath the venue. There it stays until it is required to heat the venue at a later date. The system went live last weekend.
“As well as being a huge step towards our goal of becoming net zero, it will hopefully influence others from our industry and beyond to follow suit, working together to tackle climate change,” said Andrew Fleming-Brown, the venue’s managing director.
Image: Max Titov
For the first time in its history, Greece ran exclusively on renewable energy for a few hours last week, it was announced on Monday.
According to IPTO, Greece’s independent power transmission operator, renewables accounted for 100 per cent of power generation for at least five hours last Friday.
Greece plans to double its installed renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade, but analysts reckon Athens might reach that target sooner, according to Reuters.
Image: Waldemar Brandt
In the age of fake news, it’s vital that people know how to critically evaluate the information they receive via the media.
Enter Finland. It introduced media literacy training to schools in 2016, and has once again been ranked Europe’s most resistant nation to fake news.
Finland was closely followed by Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden and Ireland in the Media Literacy Index 2022. The UK ranked 11th.
The annual index launched in 2017 to highlight the countries leading the way in tackling fake news. It is produced by the European Policies Initiative at the Open Society Institute Sofia.
Image: Charles Deluvio
A news literacy course has launched online to help people decode the media.
The free course is run by the non-profit News Literacy Network, and helps people develop the critical skills to understand what the role of the news is, what impact it has on us, and crucially, where else to look to develop a more accurate worldview.
It comes as research suggests that thirty-eight per cent of us now avoid the news because it is so bleak. Find out more about the course here.
Image: Roman Kraft
Countries this week finally agreed to a long-term plan to cut aviation emissions, albeit a decidedly woolly one.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation said it would support an “aspirational” net zero goal for aviation by 2050. The plan was accepted by 193 countries, but campaigners criticised it for lacking ambition.
Aviation is a tough nut to crack in the race to net zero, owing to a lack of ready-to-go alternatives to jet engines. Though it currently only accounts for around 3 per cent of global emissions, pre-pandemic the sector was the fastest growing source of emissions – a trend that is expected to continue as the world reopens.
Like shipping, aviation emissions were omitted from the Paris agreement. That a goal has finally been agreed, therefore, is a small step in the right direction.
Image: Ben Klewais
Campaigners are calling on the UK to follow France’s lead by banning short-haul flights where there is a viable rail alternative.
A report released by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) thinktank on Monday suggests that such a policy could cut the UK’s domestic aviation emissions by a third.
According to the IF, travelling by plane is around seven times more carbon intensive than taking a train. It argues that the negative environmental effects of domestic aviation are not reflected in air fares, and that successive governments have failed to adequately tax air fuel and passengers.
The thinktank added that tax reforms on aviation could raise money for government investment in green technology and affordable travel options.
Wera Hobhouse, a Liberal Democrat MP who contributed to the report, said: “If the French can ban domestic flights with a rail equivalent, so too can the United Kingdom.”
Image: Kevin Woblick
Each year, an estimated 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets end up as plastic waste in our oceans. As well as being dangerous for boats, the nets can continue to ‘ghost fish’ for up to 600 years, killing countless fish, dolphins and seals.
This week, the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy proposed a solution in the form of the UK’s first and only fishing net recycling scheme.
The initiative allows fishermen and women to deposit their old gear at harbour side recycling points. The nets will then be taken to the plastic processing firm Milspeed for recycling.
“This is an important step to reducing nets in our oceans,” said Keep Britain Tidy’s Neil Hembrow.
Image: Krisztian Tabori
Street art is bringing more than just a feelgood boost to drab city centres – it is saving lives, too.
This week Positive News reported on the growing movement to paint roads bright colours in a bid to make them safer.
A study of 22 ‘asphalt art’ sites found that crashes involving pedestrians and other vulnerable road users were cut by 50 per cent. It has prompted more cities to introduce them.
Image: James Brosher
It was World Mental Health Day on Monday, and to mark it we asked readers to share their tips for maintaining good mental health during winter.
As ever, we were flooded with responses and are grateful to our community for taking the time to get in touch. Some common themes emerged; many cited food, music and talking therapies as sources of comfort. Other strategies were less orthodox, among them ice baths.
Read the full range of responses here, you might find they help lift your spirits as the nights draw in and the temperature drops.
Main image: Michael Hunter
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