Daily Digest 3/13 – Good News Friday: South Korea Composting Its Way To Sustainability, Could an Invasive Snail Save Your Morning Coffee?

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


The 2020 census kicks off across the United States this week. It’s expected to be the largest in US history (TS)

Census spokesman Michael Cook told CNN the agency has plans in place for people, households and communities that “don’t have high connectivity to the internet.” And officials say the way the census is designed — giving people multiple ways to respond — will allow local operations to adapt if necessary.

“If we need to delay or discontinue nonresponse follow-up visits in a particular community, we will adapt our operation to ensure we get a complete and accurate count,” the Census Bureau said Wednesday.

Anyone with courage and clear thinking will do extremely well (thc0655)

In his book An Introduction to the History of Medicine, author FH Garrison described the social impact of the pandemic, writing that family members and lifelong friends abandoned one another in an effort to save themselves from infection.

And public gatherings, including church attendance, declined dramatically.

New York City Museums Teach the History of Immigration (TS)

Despite being a so-called “nation of immigrants,” the history of the United States is one of anti-immigrant prejudice and restrictive laws. At the same time, its history is one of community support, of social welfare organizations and religious sanctuaries — no more so robust than on the Lower East Side.

Here are some happy websites to go to if you’re sick of reading articles about coronavirus (jdargis)

“There are cowboy boot guys and gals all over the place — the midwest, Canada, Europe, probably the moon. It takes dedication and sacrifice to become one.”

Large-Scale Disinfection Efforts Against Coronavirus (tmn)

As health workers and governments around the world work to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, large-scale disinfection efforts are becoming commonplace. Using methods ranging from simple hand-wiping to mobile spray cannons, workers and volunteers are attempting to halt the transfer of the virus by touch. While there are questions about the efficacy of some of the broader spraying tactics, disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces can help stop the spread of the virus. Collected here, images of recent efforts in Iran, China, Italy, South Korea, and more.

Could an Invasive Snail Save Your Morning Coffee? (jdargis)

It turns out that the invasive snail species is a greedy consumer of coffee leaf rust, a crippling pest that has threatened coffee production for decades and shut down small coffee plantations.

The study, “Insights From Excrement,” which was published in January, does not promise salvation for the industry, but it does provide a measure of hope for coffee growers who have been hit hard in recent years by the rust and falling prices of coffee.

How South Korea Is Composting Its Way to Sustainability (jdargis)

The thirteen thousand tons of food waste produced daily in South Korea now become one of three things: compost (thirty per cent), animal feed (sixty per cent), or biofuel (ten per cent). “People from other countries ask me very often, ‘How did South Korea achieve this success?’ ” Kim said. Sometimes it is attributed to the fancy technology that weighs and tracks the compost, and to the R.F.I.D. chips used in some municipalities to insure that households pay in proportion to the amount of waste they produce. “That is important,” she told me. “But also I say the government shouldn’t act directly. There needs to be an intermediary between the government and the people.

Decrease in Economic Activity Due to COVID-19 Reduced Air Pollution and Saved Lives (jdargis)

But it seems overall incorrect and foolhardy to conclude that pandemics are good for health — and again I emphasize that the effects calculated above are just the health benefits of the air pollution changes, and do not account for the many other short- or long-term negative consequences of social and economic disruption on health or other outcomes. But the calculation is perhaps a useful reminder of the often-hidden health consequences of the status quo, i.e. the substantial costs that our current way of doing things exacts on our health and livelihoods.

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