Climate Joy Week #45: Nike Releases Shoe Made of Waste, Delta’s $1bn plan to Be the First Carbon Neutral Airline and more…

Climate Joy Week #45: Nike Releases Shoe Made of Waste, Delta’s $1bn plan to Be the First Carbon Neutral Airline and more…

It’s been going on a year since we launched this series to celebrate positive environmental news and with the increase of climate anxiety, it’s needed now more than ever.

So here is some good news to inspire hope and cheerfulness:

1. Nike releases ‘Space Hippie’ shoes made of waste

Sportswear giant Nike has released its latest shoe collection and they’re made of recycled waste. Each of the four different designs in the collection – named Space Hippie 01, 02, 03 and 04 – are made from scrap material taken from Nike’s factory floors, “space junk” the brand calls it.

The shoes also feature other repurposed materials such as recycled plastic bottles. The cushioning part of the trainer is made from surplus ZoomX foam taken from the production of the Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit running shoe while the outsole part of each shoe in the Space Hippie collection is built from “crater foam”, made from a mixture of standard Nike foams and 15% recycled waste rubber.

“It is about figuring out how to make the most with the least material, the least energy and the least carbon,” said John Hoke, Nike’s chief design officer. “I’d say Space Hippie attacks the villain of trash.” These latest products are the company’s first step towards employing the process of the circular economy, which aims to eliminate waste and pollution from production.

Nike Space Hippie 01. Credit: Nike.

2. BP sets net zero carbon target for 2050

Fossil fuel behemoth BP has set an ambitious target to shrink its carbon footprint to net zero by 2050.

Bernard Looney, the company’s chief executive relayed that BP will “invest more in low-carbon businesses – and less in oil and gas – over time”, but did not set out the detail of how BP plans to meet the goals until an investor meeting in September. He also assured investors that BP would safeguard the $8bn paid out in shareholder dividends every year by becoming “a force for good as well as a provider of competitive returns”.

BP’s green goals have evoked mixed feelings amongst environmental campaigners, many of whom have criticised the absence of a clear strategy by the company to make good on its pledge. Looney addressed this by stating, “I know many may doubt our intentions, based on seeming inconsistencies between what we say and what we do. I get that. We are taking steps to more firmly and visibly align our intentions with our actions and become much more transparent.

“We’ll still be an energy company but a different kind of energy company,” Looney says. 

3. Virginia lawmakers pass major renewable energy legislation

The Virginia House and Senate passed sweeping energy legislation a few days ago and we just had to share the news! The new legislation referred to as the Clean Economy Act is set to move the state from the background to the forefront of renewable energy policies in the United States – and given the country stepping away from the Paris Agreement, this is cause for celebration.

The Act lays out a plan to get Virginia to a 100% renewable energy generation with the House version setting the goal for 2045. The Senate version of the Act sets the deadline for 2050 at the latest. The legislation also paves way for enormous expansion of solar and offshore wind generation plus battery storage, and even an energy efficiency standard that utilities must meet. The state may also be added to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon cap-and-trade program.

WAMA Underwear

The bill also clears the way for the development of up to 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, which is costlier than the other forms of renewable energy, by declaring it in the public interest. 

Virginia is estimated to reap thousands of new, high-paying jobs alongside billions of dollars in private investment from the execution of these climate policies.

4. Church of England votes to set net zero emissions goal by 2030

On Wednesday, the Church of England—of which Queen Elizabeth II is officially the head—voted overwhelmingly to target net zero emissions in its operations by 2030, rather than its original target of 2045.

The vote to move the net zero goal by 15 years has unleashed a vivid debate on how—and even whether—the church should address climate change. For instance, Brian Wilson from the diocese of Southwark in central London, called the move a distraction from the Church’s purpose stating that “…the top priority of the Church is to preach the gospel to the lost and to save those who will be sent into hell if they do not receive the gospel.”

Reverend Simon Butler (along with many others) also from Southwark, disagrees, stating “I am not confident about who exactly is going to hell and who isn’t. But I’m certainly not prepared to be part of a country whose actions may further contribute to people in Australia living in further hell than they already have in the past year.”

5. Delta announces $1 billion plan to be the first carbon neutral airline

Legacy airline Delta has announced an ambitious plan to become the first US airline to go carbon neutral, committing $1 billion over the next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business.

Related Post: Cleaner Plane Travel: 7 Airlines That Offer Carbon Offset Programs

The greenhouse gas emissions released by airlines increased by 32% from 2013 to 2018, according to a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation but this move by Delta will put pressure on other airlines to follow suit, particularly as the UN is warning that airplane carbon emissions could triple by the year 2050.

Delta has outlined how it will achieve its goal:

  • The company will seek to reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing the use of jet fuel and increasing efficiency.
  • It will offset carbon emissions by investing in carbon removal programs in forestry, wetland restoration and other negative emissions technologies.
  • The company will seek coalitions with its employees, suppliers, global partners and other stakeholders to reduce their carbon footprint.

6. France to limit access to Mont Blanc to protect biodiversity

France will restrict access to Mont Blanc in the Alps in an effort to halt reckless summit attempts and protect the biodiversity of the mountain and its surroundings.

French president Emmanuel Macron has stipulated that the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB) is responsible for monitoring and protecting the environment and establishing a protected zone around Mont Blanc to limit the number of people who can access the summit, which stands at 4,800 metres, the highest in western Europe. Under the new rules, climbers will be asked for proof that they have planned their ascent, that they have reserved places at reservations en route and are carrying specified equipment.

Considering that 30,000 people attempt to climb Mont Blanc every year – around 200-300 a day, some who ignore weather and safety warnings and some who leave rubbish on the mountain, this is great policy to protect biodiversity by the French government.

And that’s the scoop for this week’s edition of our Climate Joy series. Make sure to check back in next week and until then, spread the Climate Joy by sharing this post!

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Feature image of Nike’s new shoe collection ‘Space Hippie’ made of repurposed and recycled waste.

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