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The orchid whisperers: Rare blooms find an urban perch
16 June 2019 - Encyclia tampensis orchids once flourished unaided in South Florida. Today, they are extremely rare in the wild, due to shrinking habitat and rampant exploitation in the orchid trade of decades past. But conservationists are working to restore populations of native orchids to the region. ... The Million Orchid Project, as it is called, is part of a broader push to reintegrate native plants into urban environments. (more)

US: How Baltimore is saving urban forests - and its city
15 June 2019 - The words 'city' and 'forest' don't usually go together. But urban forests can bring striking benefits, from lower crime rates to higher home values. With concern growing about climate change and rapid worldwide urbanization, city forests have emerged as one widely touted solution to a host of social and environmental challenges. Municipalities from Barcelona, Spain; to Melbourne, Australia; to Chicago have put urban canopy coverage at the center of their long-term strategic plans. (more)

A simple online system that could end plastic pollution
14 June 2019 - Poorer communities in the developing world bear the brunt of plastic pollution. Could a new digital payment system spark a clean-up revolution? (more)

China turns on the world's largest floating solar farm
14 June 2019 - Floating on a lake over a collapsed coal mine, the power station in Anhui province can produce 40 megawatts of energy. (more)

Two-hour 'dose' of nature significantly boosts health - study
14 June 2019 - A two-hour 'dose' of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace. (more)

Cymru am byth! - How speaking Welsh became cool
13 June 2019 - 'Cymru am byth!' means 'Wales forever!' The number of speakers is growing fast, while bilingual TV thrillers and Welsh language rock songs are reaching a new audience. What's behind the resurgence? (more)

Supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam start using banana leaves instead of plastic
13 June 2019 - Last year, a report by Credit Suisse warned that there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. One of the most visible contributors to this mess is supermarket packaging. But Rimping supermarket in Chiang Mai, Thailand has come up with a very natural alternative -- banana leaves. Facebook users lauded a recent post about how they're subbing plastic wraps for leaves, and now other Vietnamese supermarkets are following in their steps. (more)

America's renewable energy capacity is now greater than coal
12 June 2019 - America's coal industry has already been left in the dust by natural gas. Now it's under immense pressure from the renewable energy boom. The renewable energy sector had slightly more installed capacity than coal in April, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report. US power plants can produce more energy from clean sources than coal for the first time in history, according to the SUN DAY Campaign, a nonprofit research group supporting sustainable energy. (more)

UK flower-growing industry in full bloom and worth 121m pounds sterling
12 June 2019 - The British-grown flower industry is now worth pounds sterling 121m -- up from pounds sterling 82m in 2015 -- following years of decline owing to imported stems, figures reveal. The uplift has been driven by increased consumer demand for British blooms, in turn allowing UK growers to expand and flourish. Environmental benefits include increased biodiversity as growing flowers supports wildlife such as bees and butterflies across local farms. (more)

Charging an electric car in America is about to get a little less painful
11 June 2019 - ChargePoint and Electrify America have reached an agreement that aims to make it easier for drivers of electric vehicles to switch between EV charging networks. (more)

Plastic straws and bags no more: Canada aims to clean up its act
10 June 2019 - Canada plans to ban some single-use plastics like straws, bags, and cutlery by early 2021 to reduce non-recyclable waste and protect the world's oceans, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday [10 June]. (more)

India offers $360 million subsidy for 5,000 electric buses
8 June 2019 - The Indian government plans to incentivize cities to include electric buses to their public transport fleet through financial subsidies. The central government will offer subsidies worth Rs 2,500 crore (US$360 million) for the deployment of 5,000 electric buses. Under the current exercise, a total of 40 cities shall be selected where a subsidy will be distributed for deployment of electric buses based on population. (more)

Europe's largest solar plant unveiled amid Spanish renewable rebirth
6 June 2019 - The 300 million euro investment plan comes amid buoyant optimism for Spain's long suffering solar sector. Spanish utility giant Ibedrola has laid out a plan to build Europe's largest solar power plant in the country. The company is currently consulting the environment ministry over building a 590-megawatt solar farm in the Western region of Extramadurra, it said in a statement on Thursday [6 June]. (more)

India to order taxi aggregators like Uber, Ola to go electric - documents
6 June 2019 - India plans to order taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola to convert 40 percent of their fleet of cars to electric by April 2026, according to a source and records of government meetings to discuss new rules for clean mobility. New Delhi is looking to push the new policy to boost the adoption of electric vehicles as it tries to bring down oil imports and curb pollution. (more)

More city dwellers connect with their food via street markets
6 June 2019 - From Moscow to New York, street markets around the world are finding new fans as urban dwellers look for a deeper connection to their food and local communities, market managers, property developers, and tourism bosses said on Thursday [6 June]. (more)

Muslims celebrate Eid, ending Ramadan holy month
4 June 2019 - Muslims around the world celebrated the Eid-al-Fitr religious holiday on Tuesday [4 June], marking the end of Islam's holy month of Ramadan. (more)

South Korea confirms plans to step up shift to renewable power
4 June 2019 - South Korea's energy ministry on Tuesday [4 June] said it had finalized plans to raise the share of the country's power output generated from renewable sources to as much as 35 percent by 2040. Asia's fourth-largest economy is shifting toward cleaner energy amid growing criticism over its air quality. (more)

UK govt to help savers invest in good under new initiative
3 June 2019 - All Britons putting money into savings products and pensions are to be given the chance by a new independent institute to choose investments that can do good and get financial returns, the government said on Monday [3 June]. ... So-called impact investing -- which marries social and environmental outcomes with financial returns -- has grown rapidly over the past decade, but the sector tends to be mostly accessible to large or institutional investors. (more)

Australian musicians band together to invest in solar farms
3 June 2019 - In the spring of 2017, immediately after the release of the Australian band Cloud Control's third album ... the band's keyboard player, Heidi Lenffer, was contemplating what their upcoming tour would cost. But this time she wasn't just thinking about the money; she was thinking about emissions. (more)

Electric vehicle sales up 70 percent in Europe
3 June 2019 - The European passenger plug-in vehicle market scored some 37,000 registrations in April, growing 30 percent compared to the same period last year. In April, fully electric vehicles (BEVs) jumped 70 percent year over year (YoY), to some 24,000 deliveries ... (more)

US: New York City sees extraordinary leap in humpback whale sightings
3 June 2019 - For most New Yorkers, wildlife spotting is confined to squirrels, the odd raccoon ... But in the waters surrounding the city a very different animal experience is quietly booming: sightings of whales. A total of 272 whales were spotted last year, compared with five in 2011, thanks to legislation mopping up pollution, experts say. The sightings [are] almost all of humpbacks ... (more)

Australia: World's largest macadamia processor switches to solar power, boosting return for growers
31 May 2019 - The world's largest macadamia processor has turned to solar power in a bid to lower energy costs, lift profitability, and reduce its environmental footprint. The Macadamia Processing Company (MPC) has installed a 600-kilowatt solar electricity system on the roof of its factory at Alphadale, near Lismore in northern New South Wales. It's expected the almost $1m solar project will pay for itself in less than three years. (more)

US: Hungry goats are on the front lines of wildfire prevention in Southern California
31 May 2019 - For Southern California, using grazing goats is a solution spreading like wildfire. Non-native grasses flourished in Southern California, during the winter's soaking rains. ... because of their tendency to dry out quickly, these invasive grasses pose a greater risk of becoming fuel for spreading fires. And while the goats offer a greener solution than bulldozers and machines traditionally used to clear brush, they also offer a great cost benefit. (more)

Work not handouts: entrepreneurs reboot image of refugees
30 May 2019 - As social entrepreneurs -- who aim to do good, as well as make profit -- a growing number of refugees are rebuilding their own lives, rather than relying on handouts. (more)

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