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January 2020 Eco-Report

January 2020 Eco-Report
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Part of a series of archived reports in Refugia
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Author: Sylh Alanor
Date Posted: January 15, 2020
Dispatch: Unknown
Word Count: 1449

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An’eth’ara, na lethall’en!

This is the Refugia Eco-Report for the month of January 2020, reflecting on our growth and changes experienced in December. This is the final Eco-Report of 2019, and also the final Eco-Report of my first term as Councillor of Culture! Even were I not re-elected, I would have finished this and passed it along to the winner to mess with as they pleased. To put it bluntly, we did not reach our goals. But we knew that last month, and I spent way too much time talking about why. So I won’t do that this time.

The important part is that we’ve reached the end of one of our self-set goals and reached one of those goals briefly. Given the hardships we faced over the year, it’s amazing that we did as much as we did and I’m extremely proud of everyone in the region for contributing to our growth. We should all be proud of ourselves for what we’ve done.

Let’s go through the numbers quickly, since they’re not the central focus of this month’s Eco-Report. To re-iterate one final time, we unanimously set a goal to reach 5000 Eco-Friendliness and 1500 Environmental Beauty as regional averages by the end of the year.

Environmental Beauty

We’ll start with Environmental Beauty (click the thumbnail on the left for larger image):

As of 01/12/2019, our regional score was 793.41, 706.59 away from our goal. And as of 01/01/2020, our regional score was 805.36, 694.64 away from our goal. This means that, though our region has grown by 30 nations during the month, the vast majority of which were still brand-new nations. And yet, we grew our regional average by 11.95. This is highly impressive and another thing we should all be proud of.

Environmental Beauty

Ultimately, what we’re seeing here is the investment we made in November and December start to pay off. We’ve officially exited the freefall and stabilised due to the new nations we picked up in November and December starting to raise their environmental scores and pushing our average up in bulk!

Now, as for Eco-Friendliness (click the thumbnail to the left for larger image):

Ultimately more of the same. The chart shows us exiting the freefall of November 2019 and stabilising. The only difference here is that our Eco-Friendliness average wasn’t higher at the end of the month than the beginning. As of 01/12/2019, our regional score was 1856.49, 3143.51 points from our goal, and as of 01/01/2020, our regional score was 1763.03, 3236.97 away from our goal.

Suggestions for Improvement

Gotta be honest with you all, I didn’t come into this one prepared. That’s mostly because of moving and starting university and all around having my life flipped over in the past 30 days. I have a small amount to talk about on my subject, so it won’t be as long as normal, BUT I do have something I would like to write here, since this is a little more of an editorial than an actual science article.

Going into the new year, I would like us to take the environmental angle we’ve been promoting as a region another step. Instead of just setting seasonal goals and reporting on progress, I would really love to be able to highlight individual nations who have had the most growth each month in Eco-Friendliness and Environmental Beauty. I think that doing some more with this platform than just talking at all of you would do some good. And I think we shouldn’t stop there, but I would really like input from everyone on how to properly craft that.

My topic this week is the lowering or elimination of meat (and preferably dairy) from our diets for environmental reasons. This is something I’ve been trying to hold back on, because I’ve been called preachy in the way I justify my diet choices in the past. I also don’t know that it’s necessarily necessary to talk about with other people, you know? But there’s an undeniable climate benefit to lowering your meat consumption, and dairy as well if you can help it.

Cattle farming is a significant source of greenhouse emissions, most notably methane, which is approximately 20x more potent than carbon dioxide. Completely avoiding the animal rights or health arguments, there’s still plenty of evidence to suggest that cutting meat, at least somewhat, is a good decision.

Some of the biggest concerns regarding animal agriculture is that demand for beef leads to deforestation, especially in Brazil, where growing beef markets in Asia and North America are providing enough demand that the country is cutting into even more of the Amazon so that they can have space to farm more cattle. This destroys ancient eco-systems and forested areas, when we’re already in a climate crisis worldwide. The argument follows that more we can decrease demand, the less incentive there will be for governments to support environmental destruction. At least this particular method of environmental destruction.

It’s made me sad historically to see significant portions of the plant-based community adopt zero-sum solutions for veganism. Either you go 100% or not at all. It’s my belief that this stops people before they’ve even fully considered the position; they see this brick wall of a requirement, and just walk away without making any changes at all. But cutting out meat entirely for even just one day per week is one-seventh of your weekly intake. If you don’t have a lot of meatless options for a lunch at work, meal-prep is an option over the weekend. This is good for other reasons as well, and makes your week generally easier. Little steps are how we improve, and improving ourselves can lead to good impacts on the world around us!

Environmental News

Now for some quick positive environmental stories before we go!

First up, a story that’s a little bit outside of our normal purview in the Eco-Report. This isn’t a story about a new invention or policy, but something a little more close to home for me and, I assume, a lot of the people reading this. It’s the story of a woman, a climate-change activist, who grew up in a conservative household with family members who made fun of or were disgusted by climate change activists. It’s the story of how she’s pushed through this and continued her work, and especially worked to change classically anti-climate areas of the United States to thinking about climate change as more than just a political point.

Next, a story about a community in Bangkok that has undertaken a massive architectural project to accomplish two goals: help the environment and to keep this concrete city of Bangkok (or at least their part of it) from sinking into the soil every time it rains. The gardens they’ve built not only grow food and absorb heat/carbon from the atmosphere, but they divert water from the streets and into little holding areas, where it can be used to irrigate crops during droughts. The rice being grown on top of this community could, over a year of growth, make 100,000 meals.

As always, please always feel free to contact me with any news, suggestions, or improvements you’d like to see in future ecological reports. I try to respond to all telegrams within 24 hours and RMB posts much faster. New nations who are reading this eco-report for the first time, I need your help! Send me your suggestions for how to improve our environmental impact, interesting sites, and uplifting stories about the environment so that I can include them in future dispatches!

Da’reth Shi’ral,
Sylh Alanor