Environmental News Made Simple
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Good morning curious.earthlings, 

This week the World Economic Forum in Davos kicked off. Is it going to be another climate change debate with lots of talking and minimal action?

Microsoft are looking to erase their carbon footprint, both in the past and the future, which raises a great debate about historic carbon debt.

Reading time this week is 3:47 minutes.

p.s. Episode 3 of the podcast (all about eco-anxiety) is out tomorrow, check it out on Spotify, iTunes & Google Podcasts
Climate Change

💚 Swipe right for climate action ➡️ 

by Maya Comely

What's Going On Here?

OkCupid has just launched a new feature allowing users to filter out climate change deniers...environmentalism IS sexy after all! 😍

What Does This Mean?

The free dating site recently discovered that people are thinking about climate change! Their hot research found that:

💚 Most daters are really concerned about climate change and are discussing the issue on their dating profiles.
💚 Climate change is more important to daters than the economy, eradicating disease and world peace. 
💚 Young daters are most concerned about climate change, and women daters are more concerned about climate change than men daters (♀️💪🏽).

They also said there’s been a 240% increase in mentions of environmental terms on people’s profiles. So what did they do? They rolled out a new filter feature to steer away those pesky climate change deniers ⬇️⬇️⬇️.

Why Should We Care?

Let’s not jump to any conclusions here (e.g. caring about the environment will get you more sex), but climate denial is clearly a growing deal-breaker when it comes to finding a potential partner. I mean let’s be honest, unless you fancy having a heated debate on a date, most of us would do anything to avoid dating someone who actually thinks climate change is fake news.

In support of OkCupid’s findings - Tinder’s most recent year-in-review found that terms such as “climate change”, “environment”, and “social justice” are the most popular inclusions in Gen Z user bios (and that millennials were more interested in finding a travel partner…#gapyah).

The fact that our Gen Z’ers are incorporating their love for the planet into their dating life - is pretty damn cool. It reflects the huge increase in public engagement around the climate crisis and the rise in environmental activism. So get on board that environmental love train!

Be Curious!

💚 Be loud and proud about your love for the planet! If you’re a single pringle ready to mingle and you’re into your dating apps - try out OkCupid’s new filter or try chucking in an eco line or two into your bio (⬆️ see above pic for some inspo ⬆️)…it may attract your numero uno 😉.

💚 If you’re feeling keen go straight in with one of these eco-inspired lines…🥁
  • “I should call you carbon, cause you're causing a period of unprecedented warming in my atmosphere.”
  • "Is your middle name turbine? Cuz you've got me spinning."
  • “Don't say you've got a girlfriend, cuz that would be an inconvenient truth.”
  • “We don't need to frack to make the bed rock.”
  • “If you were a year you'd be the last one, cause you're the hottest on record.”
Please note: we hold zero responsibility for the success of these #climatepickuplines.  

💚 Find your ‘veg-match’ on Veggly - yep, this is a dating app just for vegans and vegetarians...🍆

💚 A shared passion to save the planet doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker when it comes to dating. Use it as an opportunity to teach them a thing or two...and simply fall into that sweet green love! 💚

💚 Need some tips on being eco-friendly in the bedroom? Check out Charlotte’s article she wrote back in October! 🛏️
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Which household items create as much air pollution as your car?

by Alexandra Genova

What's Going On Here?

Household products like nail varnish, air freshener and detergents could pollute just as much—if not MORE—than vehicles.

What Does This Mean?

We’re talking about VOCs. As some chemistry buffs may already know, this is not some new millennial slang, but stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs have a high vapour pressure at room temperature, meaning they release “off-gas” in our homes; basically products that “coat” things will contain VOCs. The list of products containing VOCs is extensive; from cosmetics to upholstery to paints to perfumes to carpets, so it is very likely that your lungs are familiar with VOCs, even if you aren’t.

Volatile = easily evaporates at normal temperatures
Organic compound = any chemical compound that contains carbon

New research published in Science shows that these volatile chemical products now contribute one-half of emitted VOCs in 33 industrialised cities (that were tested) with vehicles making up the other half.  

Why Should We Care?

Some studies suggest that indoor air is seven times more polluted than what we breathe outside. So how bad is this for our health and the health of the planet? The levels of perfume chemicals are regulated inside products, but what we then do with those products is entirely up to us and overuse of a combination of them could pose a health risk and reduce air quality. 

The research was conducted in Los Angeles but is believed to reflect a general global trend and showed that the compounds break down into particles known as PM2.5, which contributes to 29,000 deaths in the UK each year due to respiratory problems. 

It’s also bad news for outdoor air quality. Many of the VOCs in these products are reactive once in the atmosphere and can contribute to the formation of two major air pollutants, ozone and fine particles - a large fraction of which are eventually released into the atmosphere, polluting the air much like vehicles do. 

Be Curious!
So what can you do to better regulate the air quality in your home (and outside)? 
  • A good start is to use natural and organic beauty products that don’t use harsh chemicals. Brands like Bulldog, Balance Me and Faith in Nature are widely available.
  • Ecover and American company Puracy sells cleaning products that are free from chemicals -  you could also make your own!
  • House plants can also be great VOC absorbers: the best are English ivy, geraniums and lavender (and they smell great too!).
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Other news we found curious...

Single-use plastic: China to ban bags and other items - BBC
Microsoft to erase its carbon footprint, past and future, in climate push - Reuters
Sadiq Khan pledges to make London carbon-neutral by 2030 if he is re-elected as mayor - Independent
World’s consumption of materials hits record 100bn tonnes a year - Guardian
Greta Thunberg: 'Forget about net zero, we need real zero' - BBC
Chicken from UK supermarkets and fast-food chains 'fuelling mass forest loss in South America' - Independent
Oil and gas firms investing less than 1% of funds in low-carbon transition -
Alexandra Genova
Maya Comely

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