A closeup of a tennis ball bouncing off a grass court, highlighting one of the topics discussed in the 32nd issue of eco-friendly news.
Jul 1, 2024
weekly eco news

The ITF Develops A Sustainable Tennis Ball and a Promising Relationship Between Bison and Carbon Capture - 32nd Issue

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A glance at what the EU’s game-changing nature restoration entails

lake Garda during a partly cloudy day which is one of the natural areas to be protected by EU's Nature Restoration Law.

The EU Environmental Council recently adopted the Nature Restoration Law (NRL), marking a crucial moment in the fight to tackle environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. The new law aims to restore 20% of degraded ecosystems in the EU by 2030 and all degraded ecosystems by 2050.  

As part of this, the law aims to restore 30% of land, sea, coastal, and freshwater areas in EU member states to good condition by 2030. To maximize the chances of achieving such ambitious targets, states must collate Nature Restoration Plans outlining how they will enhance biodiversity and undo years of environmental damage. 

Other requirements noted in the new legislation include restoring 30% of agricultural peatlands, improving urban green spaces, increasing pollinator populations, and contributing to the EU’s target of planting 3 billion additional trees by 2030. 

Of course, hitting these targets will be tricky for most states, as they will have to weigh the socio-economic benefits and drawbacks of individual climate measures. We look forward to seeing the different impacts the new law will make…

Environmentally friendly tennis balls could transform the sport

A closeup of a tennis ball bouncing off of grass.

With the Wimbledon Tennis Championships taking place across June and July, ecologically minded people are considering how the tournament affects the environment. After all, Wimbledon’s carbon footprint hit a staggering 34,894 tonnes of CO2e in 2023. 

The good news? The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has developed a tennis ball prototype with a significantly lower environmental impact than a traditional model. Unfortunately, conventional tennis balls are easily lost, damaged, or worn out, with tournaments such as Wimbledon or the French Open consuming scores of balls annually. As such, the team designing the new ball focused on making a long-lasting model that uses eco-friendly materials but doesn’t compromise performance.

While the prototype requires further development, it signals an exciting milestone in reducing the environmental impact of tennis.  

Study finds even small-scale conservation efforts could save thousands of species from extinction

A wooden sign communicating "restoration area stay off" on national conserved land

A recent study has found that protecting a mere 1.2% of the Earth’s land surface could help prevent thousands of unnecessary extinctions. The researchers identified almost 17,000 sites that should be assigned protected land status, helping avoid the looming prospect of rare animals and plants going extinct over the next few years. 

The researchers state that governments can achieve such land protections by extending Indigenous rights, assigning protected status to government-owned land, and purchasing lands for conservation purposes. The majority of areas requiring urgent protection were identified in the tropics. However, temperate forests, grasslands, and tundra all received a mention, meaning many states across the world should take the research into consideration. 

Wildfires race through the Arctic Circle

A closeup of a map educating the audience about the whereabouts of the arctic circle on earth.

Wildfires have been sweeping through the Arctic Circle in 2024, a stark reminder of the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis. The news of these fires should raise concern and motivate scientists, governments, and individuals to take immediate action to prevent further damage to our environment. 

This year marks the third out of five in which intense fires have affected the Arctic Circle, suggesting we may be nearing a dangerous climate tipping point. As well as reducing the ability for ice to reflect solar radiation, wildfires can burn through tundra and boreal forests that release huge amounts of greenhouse gases from organic soils. Such developments should serve as a clear warning to governments and relevant decision-makers across the world.

Could the humble bison help save the planet?

A closeup of the side temple of a Bison with a soft expression.

While many consider carbon capture technologies and tree-planting initiatives the most critical tools in tackling emissions, a new study states that large land mammals could play a surprisingly important role. In measuring the climate impacts of bison in Romania, researchers found the animals’ ability to compact the soil helped increase the land's carbon capture abilities by a factor of 10

While bovine cattle are often condemned as significant methane emitters, new research suggests that wild bovine animals may actually help tackle the climate crisis. Reintroducing bison into degraded ecosystems could, therefore, represent a simple and innovative solution to rising emissions. The bison's ability to compact the soil and increase the land's carbon capture abilities by a factor of 10 could significantly contribute to our efforts to combat climate change.