3 Bits  – Happy Earth Day 52

3 Bits periodically provides three bite-sized items of interest about climate news.

1. Happy Earth Day!

April 22nd is Earth Day! The earth thanks Senator Gaylord Nelson, Congressman Pete McCloskey, and activist Denis Hayes for making the first Earth Day a reality in 1970. In addition to creating national awareness and involvement in environmental issues, Earth Day was the springboard for several essential bipartisan initiatives such as the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, passage of the National Environmental Education Act,  the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.  Today, Earth Day activities encompass 150,000 partners in over 192 countries.  The theme for 2022 is “Invest In Our Planet” – a campaign that encourages businesses to proactively invest in sustainable practices, noting that companies with strong Environment Social Governance (ESG) standards can also perform well financially. (Source: Earth Day)

2. Harnessing Plants

The Salk Institute’s Harnessing Plants Initiative is researching ways to tweak crop plants so that their roots can enhance their natural carbon capture cycles to retain significantly more carbon. Looking closely at the root structure of coastal wetland reeds, they have found that the plants have the ability to grow protective sleeves called suberin that encase its roots and help the plants protect against the effects of saltwater. Because of the structure of suberin, carbon molecules captured in the roots remain in the soil and sediment even when the plant dies rather than breaking down and being released. Salk Institute scientists are optimistic that modifying crop plant roots so that they produce suberin could potentially pull 25% of the carbon out of the atmosphere and contain it. (Source: KPBS)

3. 5 Things We Can Do

In recognition of Earth Day, there are five immediate action items that individuals can do right away to reduce their carbon footprint. These include: 1. Walk or Bike – whenever you can, leave the car behind. This can be difficult, especially during the work week but even one or two days a week makes a difference; 2. Plant Trees – reforestation is a potent climate change solution and, as the old adage goes, the best time to plant a tree was yesterday;  3. Don’t Buy Fast Fashion – “The average American discards 80 pounds of clothing a year, and 85 percent of it ends up in landfills, where the material used to make it produces methane” – say no more!; 4. Switch Out Lightbulbs – LED bulbs use a quarter of the energy as incandescent bulbs; and 5. Change How You Eat – while one’s diet is a highly personal subject, it is good to be conscious of the fact that producing a single plant based serving produces less than ½ a pound of carbon dioxide, while the production of a single serving of beef produces 6 pounds of carbon dioxide. Every little bit helps. (Source: Patch.com)

While the urgency surrounding climate change demands attention, CCC also wants to showcase where progress is being made and where committed organizations and people are doing their part. We hope you find 3 Bits to be interesting and informative.