Good news roundup: May 2022

June 1, 2022

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Each month we share some good news storys on subjects like sustainability, the natural world, biodiversity, and clean teach that you may have missed.

This month we're talking about finding an ancient forest in a sinkhole, scuba divers removing tonnes of rubbish from a lake, and how wind forecast tech could save us millions a year.

Read on to find out more!


An Ancient Forest Discovered in a 630-foot Sinkhole

An ancient forest has been found at the bottom of a 630-feet sinkhole, climbing 130 feet tall. The sinkhole was discovered in China’s Guangxi region by cave explorers, who alerted the authorities to their findings.

Expedition leader Chen Lixin and his team have been exploring the sinkhole, discovering that it has three large caves, is 1000 feet long and is 500 feet wide.

Sinkholes are not uncommon in China’s Leye county, a Karst landscape characterised by sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, and springs. Karst landscapes are formed when rainwater mixes with carbon dioxide and wears away bedrock.

Due to differences in geology and climate, the way karst appears on the surface can vary wildly, producing small caves you would hardly be able to squeeze into, or spectacular sinkholes, as discovered here.

Chen Lixin told The Guardian, “I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now.”

Seems pretty magical to us.

You can read more in the original story here.

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Palm trees growing out of another giant sinkhole in China’s Hubei Province in 2020. Song Wen / Xinhua via Getty Images

Scuba Divers Remove 11 Tonnes of Rubbish from Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, located between California and Nevada, is more than 2 million years old. The lake has been warming 15 times faster than the century before, and algae and fine sediment particles are affecting the clarity of the water: still, the water is so clean that it doesn’t need to be filtered before drinking.

Despite the purity of the water, Lake Tahoe is filled with debris. A California non-profit, Clean Up the Lake, has tasked volunteer scuba divers to remove the rubbish from the 72-mile shoreline.

The clean up lasted for 80 days, and 24,797 items of debris were removed from Lake Tahoe. The divers removed 11 tonnes (!) of rubbish from the Lake, including engagement rings, 1980s Nikon cameras, pieces of boat, lampposts, wallets and plastic.

Founder and executive director of Clean Up the Lake, Colin West, told NBC Bay Area, “the sunglasses, the cellphones, the hats, the construction material – a lot of this has happened accidentally or from wind storms. No one is trying to lose a boat anchor.”

A permanent art sculpture will be made and displayed from the collected rubbish.

“Our hope is that it will inspire greater environmental stewardship and remind those who love Lake Tahoe that it’s up to all of us to take care of it,” said Tahoe Fund CEO, Amy Berry.

Super cool! We love to see communities coming together to save our wild spaces.

You can read more in the original story here.

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A diver with the rubbish. Image from https://cleanupthelake.org/media-gallery/

Wind Forecast Technology could Save us $150 Million Every Year

The wind is abundant and a clean energy source. But it is intermittent: wind fluctuates, disrupting the conventional planning and operation of the electric grid.

Consequently, utilities need accurate wind forecasts to determine if they need to purchase energy from other sources. Poor forecasting costs the utility millions, and the consumer normally fronts the cost. Let’s be clear, in the UK 3 million, or 13% of households, live in fuel poverty and the rising costs of living make this problem a very real issue for low-income households.

A new study shows that more accurate wind forecasts generated by NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) flagship weather model are saving utilities, and US consumers, big money. The NOAA weather model uses highly accurate wind forecasting technology to efficiently manage planning and operations.

Scientists from Colorado State University and NOAA’s Global Systems Laboratory calculated that over the last decade, accurate weather forecasts have saved US consumers over $150 million.

Sweet! Let’s hope the NOAA weather model makes wind energy more viable.

You can read more in the original story here.

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Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

That's all for this month. If you'd like to share a story with us then get in touch by emailing hello@alectro.io and we'll add it to the next month. Thanks for reading!

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