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DAILY DOSE: Southeast Asian countries making serious sustainability moves; Wildlife conservation meets chaos.


The news that the President of the United States is attending a United Nations summit on climate change shouldn’t be news worth citing prominently. However, given the previous administration’s intransigence on all things environmental, it’s worth noting here. Per the Associated Press, “President Joe Biden heads to a vital U.N. climate summit at a time when a majority of Americans regard the deteriorating climate as a problem of high importance to them, an increase from just a few years ago. About 6 out of 10 Americans also believe that the pace of global warming is speeding up, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.” Now, if only governments went beyond making “pledges” and actually made agreements that are legally binding. That would really be something.


Developing countries are in unique positions to transition to green energy economies. Many nations lack extensive energy infrastructure so installing newer sustainable technologies does not involve uprooting a system that’s been in existence for decades. An article in Reuters highlights how some regions are taking up the challenge. “Southeast Asian nations are speeding up their plans to transmit renewable energy through a proposed regional power grid, with first trials set for 2022, as the area strives to meet climate change targets, government and company officials said. Some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are also exploring carbon capture storage (CCS) technology to reduce emissions, officials said at this week’s Singapore International Energy Week conference. ASEAN has proposed that 23% of primary energy come from renewable sources by 2025.” Singapore plans on importing renewable electricity from Malaysia by 2022. Later that year, utilities in ASEAN will start transmitting electricity under a Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore power integration project as part of a regional grid project.

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It’s really hard to keep up with commercial industries’ ways of rebranding what they do. According to an article in Wired, the new Blue Food Movement is just the seafood industry putting a sustainable spin on its unsustainable practices. According to the article, “…this blue-food narrative relies on generalizations and omissions that obscure the facts about the impacts of seafood. Just as harmful industries such as Big Oil and Big Livestock have promoted superficial production tweaks and embraced the language of sustainability, so too has the seafood industry. While the Blue Food Alliance boasts the membership of sustainability nonprofits like EAT, it also includes seafood titans like the Walton Family Foundation. As countless unsustainable industries claim to go green, public messaging on blue food bears all the hallmarks of a branding pivot—call it a ‘bluewash.’” It’s really hard to keep track of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to doing the right thing. Eating has become a real chore.


Covid-19 continues to pummel Russia, even while a temporary lockdown goes into effect. Per the Associated Press, “The daily number of COVID-19 deaths in Russia hit another high Tuesday amid a surge in infections that forced the Kremlin to order most Russians to stay off work starting this week. Sluggish vaccination rates have allowed the coronavirus to spread quickly across Eastern Europe. Ukraine and Bulgaria also reported record daily death tolls on Tuesday. Russia’s national coronavirus task force reported 1,106 deaths in 24 hours, the most since the start of the pandemic. The number brought the country’s pandemic death toll to 232,775, Europe’s biggest by far.” Amazing how resistance to being vaccinated is such a wide-spread phenomenon.


Efforts to save the Chinese giant salamander represents an interesting wildlife conservation case. It’s a mixture of good intentions, questionable science, and societal factors that make the endeavor a chaotic mess. An article in Sixth Tone takes a look at all the challenges and contradictions plaguing conservation efforts. “The water-dwelling predators are the world’s biggest amphibian — up to 1.8 meters long — and tens of thousands of them once thrived throughout all of China’s major river systems. But they’ve been hunted to near extinction, and extensive reintroduction campaigns have been hampered by a lack of research and little monitoring. Meanwhile, a recent discovery that the salamander is genetically much more diverse than was previously believed has raised the question of whether repopulation efforts are doing more harm than good.”


We’ll end today’s Daily Dose with an ounce of good news from Retraction Watch. “A paper claiming that cases of myocarditis spiked after teenagers began receiving COVID-19 vaccines that earned a ‘temporary removal’ earlier this month will be permanently removed, according to a publisher at Elsevier.” Questionable research that provides fodder for anti-vaxxers who cherry-pick data should never see the light of day. Mind you, if well done research reaches the same conclusion, that’s fine. It’s not about the conclusion, it’s about how you get there that matters.

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