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Good morning curious.friends,

Lots of big news and announcements from governments this week including Canada banning single-use plastic in 2021, UK to be 'net zero' emissions by 2050 and Michael Bloomberg has donated $500million to combat the use of coal. 

This week we cover transport and travel with some funky prototype tyres and Sweden gets even cooler with the invention of a new word, Flygskam.

Reading time is 3:47 minutes.
Enjoy, team curious

Tyre-d of unsustainable tyres? 

by Lucie Machin

What's Going On Here?

This week Michelin, in collaboration with General Motors, have released the prototype for a new sustainable model of airless, puncture-proof tyre called “Uptis” (Unique Punctureproof Tire System).

What Does This Mean?
It is hoped that this new model (planned to be commercially available by 2024) will eliminate the possibility of blow-outs, punctures and wear and tear caused by over- and under- inflation. This is important as not only does this improve safety, these properties should also extend tyres’ ‘life-expectancy’. This would reduce the overall number of tyres required, and therefore the amount of energy and raw materials needed.

This announcement comes shortly after Continental launched their Urban Taraxagum bike tyres, made of sustainable dandelion rubber, with the aim of expanding production to vehicle tyres in a few years time. What a blooming good idea!

Why Should We Care?

It turns out that apparently 200 million damaged tyres are thrown away each year. If all these tyres were lined up, they would stretch around the earth over 2.6 times! Airless, puncture-proof tyres could go a long way to limit this number.

Although rubber itself is a renewable product, only 30% of the rubber used in the tyre industry is natural – the rest is derived from crude oil! Even natural rubber isn’t necessarily sustainable. Rubber trees, from which it is made, only grow close to the equator. Long transportation distances, monoculture plantations and deforestation have driven the need for more sustainable options such as dandelion rubber.  

Michelin is one of several tyre manufacturers committed to sustainability: pledging to only use sustainably sourced rubber by 2024 and to be 80% renewable in everything they do by 2030.

Be Curious!

1. If you drive a vehicle, checking that your tyres have correct air pressure is one of the best things you can do for fuel economy.

2. Ultimately, sustainable tyres will not reduce the environmental impact of driving. Opt for walking, cycling or public transport whenever possible.

3. Use unwanted tyres for something useful, like steps in the garden (like Martyn did at Bahrija Oasis below). Here are 10 other cool ideas for old tyres.


Flygskam: It’s a Flying Shame for Sweden and France

by Imogen Berryman

What's Going On Here?

No this isn’t a typo, the Swedes who have a word for everything, have coined a new one...‘Flygskam’. It means ‘flight shaming’ and its intentions to discourage air travel seem to be working.

What Does This Mean?

Pronounced ‘Fleeg-skaam' the word has become popular in raising awareness of the large carbon footprint that air travel has, compared to rail and road travel. 

Passenger numbers in Sweden’s airports have fallen by 8% this year already and the national rail operator has reported a 21% rise in train travel. They have had to introduce more trains to cater for the increased demand.

In France, a new tax proposed by the government could be levied on plane fuel or ticket prices or by changing the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for European flights. If agreed, this could play a part in reducing air travel even further! 

Why Should We Care?

Air travel is the most polluting type of transport, emitting around 300g of CO2 per person for every km we fly. UN data scientists predict that within 30 years, aviation might become the single biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.

We might not get the Cersei treatment a la GoT when we board a flight (Shame! Shame!) but the movement is definitely gaining traction. More people are thinking twice before hopping on a plane and considering more environmentally friendly options, like trains and buses.

For example:
Plane from London to Nice = 340kg/CO2
Train London to Nice = 36kg/CO2 

(2 Curious heroes chose the train option for a wedding in September 😊)

Be Curious!

  • Make an adventure out of getting to your destination- take a look at some of the most scenic train journeys in Europe and in Britain and then you can use #tågskry (train brag!)
  • If you do travel, calculate your carbon footprint and have the option of offsetting it here.
  • Follow the #flygskam Instagram account

Latest from the blog...

21 of Greta Thunbergs best quotes about the climate emergency -

Other news we found curious...

Canada to ban single-use plastics by 2021, Trudeau promises - Independent
France moves to ban destruction of unsold consumer goods - TreeHugger
UK commits to 'net zero' emissions by 2050 - BBC
Michael Bloomberg Promises $500 Million to Help End Coal - NYTimes
Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee - Guardian
Energy industry's carbon emissions rise at fastest rate in nearly a decade - edie
You may be eating a credit card's worth of plastic each week: study - Reuters
Lucie Machin
Imogen Berryman

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