December good news

December good news

James Chondrogiannis, Contributing Writer

 

With 2021 coming to an end, The Schreiber Times is here to present the “good news” stories that are helping to bring in the new year. 

China recently pledged to replant forests with trees equal to the size of Belgium over the next five  years.  The country’s national parks will be expanded with green corridors to connect wildlife species to different habitats. In addition, there will be more enforcement on the illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife-related products.  

By 2035, the quality and stability of national forest, grassland, wetland and desert ecosystems will have been comprehensively upgraded,” said Vice-Chairman of the Grasslands and State Forestry Commission Li Chinliang at a press briefing.

 14,000 square miles of forest will be created every year based on their estimations.  The area will mainly be planted in regions that are more deprived of water.  According to Chunliang, if all goes to plan, this could give native wildlife a new habitat to thrive in, along with steering an effort towards a greener tomorrow.

“This seems like a very ambitious project by China, and I 100% support it.  If they succeed, hopefully other countries around the world follow in their footsteps and help repopulate the world with trees and other plants,” said junior Antonio Sottile.

 

It has now been proven at the University College London that red light therapy can help to improve your eyesight as it deteriorates from age. As people grow older, it is very common for their eyesight to decline to the point of needing glasses. In a small trial consisting of 24 people led by Professor Jeffery, it was found that simply staring into a deep red light or close to an infrared light source could improve color vision.  By staring into these wavelengths of light, it simulates natural sunlight, which drives our retinal-mitochondria to produce the most ATP (a molecule that stores and transfers energy in cells) it can.  This makes cells more energy efficient, and this knowledge has doctors very excited for a new at-home treatment for this common problem.  Additionally, it was reported by researchers such as Dr. Janis Elles from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that the same treatment can be applied for other age-related problems.

 

In the realm of space, Nasa and SpaceX have teamed up and launched the first rocket in order to test a defense system for destroying potentially dangerous asteroids.   Known as NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), it is the first full scale mission to create defense against hazardous space objects.  The rocket was launched on Nov. 23 from the Vanburg Space Vase in California.  Built by the Johns Hopkins applied physics laboratory in Maryland, the rocket will impact a non-threatening asteroid. Its goal is to change the path of the asteroid by using a measuring system from ground-based telescopes.  Although the odds of an asteroid or other large objects found in space fatally crashing into Earth are quite low, this protection system has been said to be an amazing solution if there is ever a potential risk of collision.

“Even though I don’t think that an asteroid will be the end of the world anytime soon, it is reassuring to know that there is a way to deal with the threat of something from space colliding with Earth,” said junior Owen Schindler.

Over in Oslo, Norway, the world’s first electric self-propelled container ship has been created in order to replace the diesel trucks that are typically used.  The boat will travel between Porsgrunn and Brevik, a trip that is done over 40,000 times by diesel- fuelled trucks.  The ship, known as the Yara Birkeland, will save an estimated 1,000 tons of CO2 annually.  On the ship, there is a 6.8 megawatt-hour battery pack that allows the ship to reach a speed of up to 28 miles per hour.  It also has the ability to carry around 3,200 tons of fertilizer and will begin operations next year.  Yara Birkeland has launched a program to create a zero-emission fuel source by using their own ammonia, which is responsible for 1.2% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think that attempting to use more environmentally friendly power sources is a good step in the right direction.  Hopefully, there are many more of these ships to come in the future,” said junior Jack Robinson.