Company Goes Green With New Carbon Neutral Distillery In Kentucky

Recently, the alcohol manufacturer Diageo announced that its newest distillery being built in Kentucky, would be completely carbon neutral.

Today, Perry Jones, president of North America Supply for Diageo—a London based company—explained that the whisky-making production site will be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity, able to manufacture nearly 10 million proof gallons a year, which is the same as 3.8 million 9-liter cases.

ABC News reported, “The $130 million distillery of Bulleit bourbon is expected to be fully operational in 2021.”

“As a company we know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change,” Perry Jones, president of the company explained. North

He added, “This groundbreaking undertaking to electrify our operations and then power them with renewable electricity will result in one of the largest carbon neutral distilleries in North America.”

He explained that the move is another step in the company’s goal to source all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

ABC reported that in this case, the “renewable electricity will be supplied by Inter-County Energy and East Kentucky Power Cooperative.”

According to the company, the distillery will incorporate other features to offset the carbon generated for production, and together the combined efforts will equal roughly 117,000 metric tons of carbon emissions. Or, about the same as removing 25,000 vehicles from operation for a year.

The new 72,000 sqft distillery will also include a dry house and warehouses, use electric boilers, instead of those powered by fossil fuel, and feature LED interior lighting with solar powered exterior.

The company explained that the warehouse interior lighting will also feature activity based sensors, so that it is only on during loading/unloading work. Lowered roofs will also help reduce heating and cooling requirements.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear praised Diageo’s actions, calling it “a notable example of a historic Kentucky industry embracing a new future.”

ABC explained, “Kentucky distillers produce about 95% of the world’s bourbon supply, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

“The new Lebanon distillery, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Louisville, is on the southern tier of the state’s main bourbon production belt in central Kentucky. It reflects Diageo’s deepening commitment to bourbon production. The plant will supplement the company’s Kentucky operations at the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville and its distillery at Shelbyville.”

House Unveils New Policy Recommendations In “Climate Crisis Action Plan”

Democrats in the House of Representatives have unveiled a new strategy for counteracting climate change. The newly created House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released their “Climate Crisis Action Plan” guide, containing over 500 pages of recommendations for the federal government.

CBS News reported that the plan combines climate solutions with job creation, based on 12 pillars of investment that include “developing renewable energy, building resilience to climate impacts, and prioritizing environmental justice.” The goal is net zero emissions by 2050.

Representative Kathy Castor of Florida, explained to CBS News, “Climate solutions are economic solutions. Solving the climate crisis means putting Americans back to work in clean energy jobs that will grow our economy.”

“The United States must harness the technological innovation of the moonshot, the creativity of our entrepreneurs, the strength of our workers, and the moral force of a nation endeavoring to establish justice for all,” the report states.

The net zero scenario means that emissions are still produced, but they are counteracted by actions that absorb or remove them, thereby creating an atmosphere that does not increase emissions.

The plan involves spending to build cleaner energy, transportation, construction and manufacturing, though mandatory polices.

In addition to the specifics laid out, the plan places priority on environmental justice. “We’ve seen this during the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed too many Black and Brown lives in communities across America that are exposed to higher levels of air pollution,” Castor said.

The measures outlined for achieving this goal involved spending money on specific communities and increasing environmental laws in the same areas.

Whether or not the plan will receive any support from conservative members of the House is unknown.

The move comes a day after the “high priest” of the environmental humanist movement and founder of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger, issued an “apology” for the climate change overestimates he made.

Can Planting Trees Be Bad For The Environment? New Stanford Study Explains

A photo of tall trees sequestering carbon in the woodlands of Tennessee after a cold winter

According to a new study released by Stanford University, certain campaigns to plant overwhelming amounts of trees could backfire. In the first study of its kind, Rob Jordon explained in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, about the efforts to curb climate change and “biodiversity loss” through reforestation projects conducted by governments.

But, the news isn’t bad.

Jordan wrote, “The analysis, published on June 22 in Nature Sustainability, reveals how efforts such as the global Trillion Trees campaign and a related initiative (H. R. 5859) under consideration by the U.S. Congress could lead to more biodiversity loss and little, if any, climate change upside.”

However, the findings actually explain that reforestation efforts do have significant benefits, as long as the projects are carried out correctly.

Essentially, a government program could backfire, because it is based on quantity, not quality.

“If policies to incentivize tree plantations are poorly designed or poorly enforced, there is a high risk of not only wasting public money but also releasing more carbon and losing biodiversity,” said study co-author Eric Lambin, the George and Setsuko Ishiyama Provostial Professor in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. “That’s the exact opposite of what these policies are aiming for.”

Jordan wrote:

There is no question that forests have an outsized role to play in efforts to slow global biodiversity loss and combat climate change by sequestering carbon as biomass.

So it makes sense that tree-planting as a solution has gained traction in recent years with ambitious commitments, such as the Bonn Challenge, which seeks to restore an area of forest more than eight times the size of California by 2030, and Trillion Trees, which seeks to plant as many trees as its name implies.

A closer look reveals faults in the optimistic plans. For example, nearly 80 percent of commitments to the Bonn Challenge involve planting monoculture tree plantations or a limited mix of trees that produce products such as fruit and rubber rather than restoring natural forests.

Plantations typically have significantly less potential for carbon sequestration, habitat creation and erosion control than natural forests. The potential benefit dwindles further if planted trees replace natural forests, grasslands or savannahs – ecosystems that have evolved to support unique, local biodiversity.

The Stanford study examined these aspects, along with others, such as offering private land owners subsidies to plant trees.

Basically, what happened in Chili was that native forests were threatened by the subsidies. Because the government paid landowners to plant new trees, plantations were established, which did nothing to actually achieve the goal. The result was a loss of biodiversity.

Logically, the findings support the reforestation efforts of private groups. Legitimate organizations that are working to plant trees to combat climate change, do so with the intent of sequestering carbon and restoring wildlife habitats that have been lost, not simply collecting a check.

And, these organizations are able to do more, faster, because they are able to work with the local government, ensuring that only native species are placed and that the habitat is restored to its original state, rather than replaced.

The Stanford study makes one thing clear… governments are less effective in combating climate change through reforestation efforts than dedicated organizations are… much less.

“Nations should design and enforce their forest subsidy policies to avoid the undesirable ecological impacts that resulted from Chile’s program,” said study co-author Cristian Echeverría, a professor at the University of Concepción in Chile. “Future subsidies should seek to promote the recovery of the many carbon- and biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems that have been lost.”

Volunteers Join Michigan Organization To Restore “Canopy” In Madison Heights

Residents and civic minded individuals in Michigan have watched, as over the years, growing infrastructure projects have removed beautiful trees that cover neighborhood sidewalks and homes. But, just recently, volunteers joined with the statewide organization, ReLeaf Michigan, to bring back the green canopy cover in Madison Heights.

The group focuses on restoring urban tree canopies, along with an educational plan that informs the public about the importance of trees, as well as how to select them for urban areas, plant and maintain them.

By June 19, 2020, the group had planted over 30,000 trees in 400 different Michigan communities.

In an article for candgnews.com, Andy Kozlowski explained that “Madison Heights City Councilwoman Emily Rohrbach joined the group’s board of directors in 2018.”

“When I first ran for council, unsuccessfully in 2017, I ran on the idea that the tree canopy in Madison Heights is in danger of being lost,” Rohrbach said. “Since then, I was able to connect ReLeaf Michigan with the city of Madison Heights, working with (Mayor Pro Tem) Roslyn Grafstein, the Environmental Citizens Committee and city staff to bring this first tree-planting project here this year,” he added.

So, on the first week of June, 32 trees—a mixture of white oak, tulip, redbud and maple—were planted.

“This street is going to have a beautifully diverse tree canopy in a few years,” Rohrbach explained in the article. “Because ReLeaf is an organization led by master arborists, the proper planting and care for these trees is extremely important to the organization. To that end, volunteers are given a detailed demonstration on how to properly plant trees and care for them.”

To work around the current COVID restrictions, groups of volunteers were limited to the same household, and masks were required when among others. ReLeaf Arborist Marvin Pettway was there to oversee and direct the activity.

The city also agreed to a watering schedule that will safeguard the newly planted trees.

Rohrbach explained that the waterworks refurbishments that have taken place over the past 15 years cost the lives of many of the mature trees that lines neighborhood streets, either because the water mains needed the space, or the new water lines damaged the roots.

“When this work began, the city did not have a plan to replace trees that were lost. Since then, the city has committed to replacing trees lost with new road construction, but there still wasn’t a plan to replace the trees that were lost before that policy was implemented,” Rohrbach stated.

He added, “Now we are working on a plan to identify ‘hot spots’ in the city that are in need of a tree replacement program, and are working with groups like ReLeaf Michigan and identifying outside funders like Holistic Industries and Alternative RX, who are committing funds to replacing trees.”

Rohrbach said that many of the trees in her own neighborhood were lost in this way.

“I can attest to how much of an impact the loss of those trees is felt by residents,” she explained. “Our home cooling bills increased, our lawns sizzled in the sun and spending time outdoors was less pleasant. Studies show that neighborhoods with more trees are safer and everyone is healthier.”

“Our tree canopy is a vital part of the city and is a distinctive feature that attracts people to our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, too many neighborhoods have seen their tree canopy decimated due to tree pests, illness or construction,” Rohrbach said.

She added, “When this city was first established, and homes were erected, almost every house had a silver maple tree planted in the easement in front. Silver maples were often chosen at that time because they grow quickly and are nice shade trees. However, they have about a 50-year healthy lifespan when planted in an urban environment. Other trees planted in the city around the same time have also faced issues — ash trees were decimated by the emerald ash borer, oak wilt took many trees, and Dutch elm disease took many elm trees.”

The ash borer beetle, which has caused serious problems for North American trees, is an invasive species.

But thankfully, the efforts to restore that leafy covering has begun and is gaining speed.

Roslyn Grafstein from the Mayor Pro Team explained, “I have spoken to many people on or near Moulin, and when the trees came down, they stopped running or walking in the area due to lack of shade.”

She added, “We grow up hearing how trees clean the air we breathe; they help reduce smog and enhance the respiratory health of a community. Trees naturally promote greater physical activity and reduce stress, while improving quality of life. With everything going on in the world, we need more trees to help with all these issues.”

Wales Plans National Forest After Falling Behind In UK Tree Planting Efforts

An overlook of the woodlands at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

According to the BBC, Wales fell behind the rest of the United Kingdom in its efforts to counteract climate change by planting more indigenous trees.

Quoting forestry experts, the outlet reported that the Welsh Government only achieved about four percent of its targeted planting in the “clearly disappointing” results.

Wales planned to cover 2,000 hectares for the year, but could only plant around 80 during the 2019-2020 season.

Given that throughout the UK, over 13,000 hectares were created during this time, the Welsh Government was quoted as taking “significant steps” to increase output.

The BBC reported that the break down for the amount of hectares planted were, “10,860 in Scotland, 2,330 in England, 200 in Northern Ireland and 80 in Wales.

“More than 80% of the new planting occurred in Scotland, heralded as ‘outstanding’ by the Scottish Government though it too missed its annual target.”

The results follow the ministers’ 2018 strategy to boost tree planting rates in Wales.

The BBC reported, “The latest goal – a personal ambition of the First Minister Mark Drakeford – is to create a National Forest, running the length and breadth of the country.”

Other advisors suggest increasing the target to 5,000, to underscore the need.

“(They’re) clearly disappointing, but we do understand that the Welsh Government has recently outlined ambitious plans for a Welsh National Forest and doubled the funding for Glastir Woodland Creation grants, both of which we hope will make a real difference,” Rory Francis of the Woodland Trust in Wales in explained.

He also supports a “new land-use policy… supporting tree planting in the right places.”

Anthony Geddes, National Manager for Wales at CONFOR said the figures were “disappointing.”

“We know there is high demand out there to plant trees and, thanks to hard work from all parties, the funding and the processes are falling into place to respond to that demand and get planting,” he added.

Geddes explained that the Welsh Government received applications for more than 7,000 hectares of new planting in 2019, and added that forestry and timber contribute to the annual economy.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government told the BBC “the timing of Rural Development Programme funding, funds made available last year will support tree planting in the upcoming planting season this winter.”

“Last year we funded the planting of 1,500 hectares of trees to re-stock existing woodland,” he continued. He also said that “work has begun” on establishing a new National Forest “across” Wales.

New Climate Change Study Finds Link Between Co2 Levels And Sea Ice

Drone photo of a forestry projects that sequesters atmospheric CO2
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A new study has linked the role between sea ice across the Southern Ocean and Co2 levels during times of climate change.

Science Daily reported that the study could provide a much needed resource for developing future climate change models.

The international team of researchers, led by Keele University and including experts from the University of Exeter, “demonstrated that seasonal growth and destruction of sea ice in a warming world enhances the amount of marine life present in the sea around Antarctica, which draws down carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in the deep ocean.”

According to the study, the Southern Ocean has captured “half of all human-related carbon,” which has entered the ocean.

Based on that fact, the Southern Ocean around Antarctica is a very important area to examine. Essentially, these researchers attempted to pinpoint why this area is so effective as a “carbon sink,” and then use those conclusions to reduce the uncertainty of future climate change models.

Science Daily reported:

To understand this process further, the researchers studied data relating to one period where atmospheric CO2 levels changed rapidly.
 
 
This occurred after the Last Ice Age, around 18,000 years ago, when the world transitioned naturally into the warm interglacial world we live in today.
 
During this period, CO2 rose rapidly from around 190 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm over around 7,000 years, but one period in particular stands out; a 1,900 year period where CO2 levels plateaued at a nearly constant level of 240 ppm.
 
 
The cause of this plateau, which occurred around 14,600 years ago, is unknown, but understanding what happened during this period could be crucial for improving climate change projections.
 
 
Professor John Love, from Exeter’s Biosciences department and co-author of the study said: “My research group and I are very excited about being part of this important investigation. We developed new techniques in cell biology to find, collect and analyse the rare and very tiny particles and cells that had been frozen in the ice for millennia.
 
 
“Like flies in amber, these minute fragments give us a unique window into past events, enabling our colleagues in the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean sciences to develop a better understanding of climate change then, and now.”
 
 
Lead author Professor Chris Fogwill, Director of Keele University’s Institute for Sustainable Futures said: “The cause of this long plateau in global atmospheric CO2 levels may be fundamental to understanding the potential of the Southern Ocean to moderate atmospheric CO2.”
 
To find the answer, researchers went to the Patriot Hills Blue Ice Area of Antarctica to catalog and establish new evidential records of marine life, frozen in the ice cores.
 
 
The nature of blue ice areas make them the perfect location, because erosion causes the ancient ice below to flow to the surface.
 
 
Professor Chris Turney, a visiting Fellow at Keele’s Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences from UNSW Sydney said: “Instead of drilling kilometres into the ice, we can simply walk across a blue ice area and travel back through time.
 
 
“This provides the opportunity to sample large amounts of ice for studying past environmental changes in detail. Organic biomarkers and DNA from the Southern Ocean are blown onto Antarctica and preserved in the ice, providing a unique record in a region where we have few scientific observations.”
 
The researchers learned that during the 1,900 year period when carbon levels plateaued, there was also an increase in marine life, both the quantity and variation.  The discovery offers the first evidence of “increased biological productivity,” and “suggests hat processes in the high latitude Southern Ocean may have caused the CO2 plateau.”
 
The causes of the changes are still unknown.
 
This modelling revealed that the plateau period coincided with the greatest seasonal changes in sea ice during a pronounced cold phase across the Southern Ocean known as the Antarctic Cold Reversal. During this period, sea ice grew extensively across the Southern Ocean, but as the world was warming rapidly, each year the sea ice would be rapidly destroyed during the summer.
 
 
The researchers will now use these findings to underpin the development of future climate change models. The inclusion of sea ice processes that control climate-carbon feedbacks in a new generation of models will be crucial for reducing uncertainties surrounding climate projections and will help society adapt to future warming.

Missouri Group ‘Re-Tree Tecumseh’ Announces Next Planting Event

A drone shot of young trees at a planting site in Madagascar

On Saturday, June 27, Re-Tree Tecumseh (RTT) is calling for volunteers to help plant trees. Local news outlet WLEN News reported that the group will meet at AJ Smith Recreation Center, 810 N. Evans Street, at 9:00 a.m., and the event is scheduled to end at 12:00 p.m.

Because of concerns over COVID-19, the spring planting schedule had been on hold until local stay-at-home orders were rescinded. Volunteers are asked to wear masks and social distancing will be ensured, but no prior experience or special equipment is required.

The group aims to plant 20 flowering trees.

Experts will demonstrate how to properly plant and mulch the new tree, making this a great outing for the family.

Jim Karle of Karle Landscaping (Tipton, MI) has agreed to donate his time and planting equipment, in order to dig the holes. Rich Hoadley of R & W Tree Nursery (Morenci, MI) has donated the flowering trees at a reduced rate.

According to organizers, the event will happen regardless of weather. Volunteers are asked to wear sensible attire good for outdoor work, such as closed toe shoes and comfortable clothes. Also, bringing garden gloves or rakes is suggested, if you have them.

The group’s website explained that all ages, from middle school and up are invited to participate. Water and light refreshments will also be provided.

WLEN reported, “Re-Tree Tecumseh is a grassroots organization, founded in 2018, whose mission is to establish and fund an ongoing tree-planting program on public property in the City of Tecumseh. RTT planted 31 young trees in 2019 and hopes to plant a total of 75 in 2020. Learn more at www.retreetecumseh.org.”

New World Record? Did Ethiopia Really Plant Over 350 Million Trees In One Day?

Image of an open field scattered with trees and a lush rainforest in the background in central Brazil

The country of Ethiopia recently claimed that, with the help over 23 million people, it had planted 350 million trees in one day. If confirmed, the act would be a new world record.

The BBC investigated the claim, but the verdict was guarded.

Essentially, if what the government is claiming is true (about the number of people involved), then it is possible that the country could have accomplished the task, but it has yet to be independently confirmed.

What has been confirmed, however, is the major effort undertaken by the country earlier this year to make a dent in the massive deforestation and climate change impacting the region.

According to the United Nations, forest cover in Ethiopia dropped from 35 percent of its total land in the early Twentieth century, to slightly more than 4 percent by the 2000’s.

Therefore, the country is aiming to plant 4 billion trees in the next few months, with a target date of October 2020.

To accomplish the massive undertaking, the government handed out seedlings to volunteers across the country prior to the big day, and some government workers were given the day off to assist officials from the United Nations who took part.

The BBC reported that Tim Christophersen, who coordinates work on forests and climate change at the UN, explained that if the event was well organized, such a feat could be accomplished.

“It is not impossible, but it would take a very well-organized effort,” Christophersen said.

He added that realistically, one volunteer could plant 100 trees in one day.

Dr Tefera Mengistu, the National Forest Sector Development Program coordinator for the country, said that more than 23 million people were involved.

However, there are still some questions.

No actual tally of volunteers has been made, and there has not been an announcement about the amount of land used.

Additional discrepancies also exist between official reports.

However, even if the country didn’t make a world record, the effort was lauded by the UN.

England Asks For Public Input on Massive Reforestation Effort

Image of trees bare trees as far as the eye can see viewed from ground level in the spruce fir forest in the Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg Tennessee

As the movement to reforest areas that have been cleared from centuries of use increases, England is seeking the public’s input on how and where millions of new trees should be planted.

The BBC reported that ministers have launched a consultation to explore ways of reaching their ambitious goal of covering 30,000 hectares each year, by the year 2025.

That boils down to 30 million new trees every year.

The Forestry Commission explained that it wanted to ensure “the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason.”

While politicians argued back and forth concerning the primary focus of the project, the government decided to talk to actual landowners about how to reach the goal, indicating a new tree strategy could be forthcoming later in the year.

The consultation will seek to identify:

  • How to increase planting to combat climate change across the globe.
  • Ways to improve protection and management of existing forest areas.
  • Improve the way people connect with nature for increased wellbeing.
  • Methods to increase the ways trees can act for economic support.

The 12-week process will also include a number of incentives, in order to increase urban area woodlands.

Sir William Worsley, the government’s former National Tree Champion, explained, “The England Tree Strategy will set out how we plan to accelerate woodland creation, but also importantly how to manage and protect the trees we already have.”

All things considered, the UK goal is to double its tree cover as an integral step in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Launching Our New Mobile Games

8 Billion Trees brand image of a kid smiling giving a thumbs up while wearing a green 8 Billion Trees t-shirt and holding hands with his mother at a tree planting site in the Amazon Basin

We are happy to announce we are launching some mobile games, which will support our tree planting operations!

If you are looking for a game to play that will help plant REAL trees this is it.

Check out our Andriod games here!

These games are brand new and we are still working out the bugs and getting set up for iOS, so thank you for your patience while we figure out this gaming thing!

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