Surferbird News-Links, 26th Edition

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Welcome to the 26th edition of Surferbird News-Links! Have you heard about the Parade of Stars? I didn't think so. For me, the phrase conjures up memories of elementary school plays on the solar system - fidgety children parading about the auditorium with glittery, cardboard stars attached to their torsos, while proud, anxious parents beam with quiet laughter.

Because I want to showcase various environmental achievements from around the globe, I'm introducing a different kind of parade of stars in today's edition of Surferbird News-Links, and you don't even have to parade around with a glittery cardboard star plastered to your chest! It probably wouldn't fit, anyway. 

I coined the phrase, Parade of Stars, as a title for one of my writing folders, which contains links to articles on businesses, communities, and countries that are making significant strides toward meeting renewable energy goals. I've been collecting these stores for a while, now, and thought you might enjoy celebrating, also. I'm not providing much commentary, however, as the titles are self explanatory. And finally, news on health and food brings up the rear along with today's earworm. So, let's fasten our seat belts, and get ready for liftoff!

Parade of Stars

Businesses

Amazon plans new solar farms in Virginia. (cleantechnica.com) - This is exciting, indeed. Amazon is on track to meet their goal of powering Amazon Web Services with 50 percent renewables by the end of 2017. This is the largest renewable project backed by a corporation east of the Mississippi River. In addition, they plan to eventually power their web services with 100 percent renewables. Thank you, Amazon.

Microsoft will power its data center in Wyoming with 100 percent wind energy. (ecowatch.com) - Take a look at Microsoft's other projects, also. Currently, they already power electricity for their data centers with 44 percent renewable energy. Furthermore, they'll be increasing this to 60 percent within the next ten years.

Communities

Oslo, Norway, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.(sierraclub.org) - You might want to take a look a this one. I'm fascinated by the various measures Oslo's city government is taking. First of all, did you know that Oslo is already the electric vehicle capital of the world? Secondly, what also impresses is that Oslo seems to get the urgency of here and now versus stretching projects our for years.

Seven thousand cities around the world will beat Paris Agreement targets, cutting CO2 emissions 27 percent by 2020. (qz.com) - Be sure to read about the Covenant of Mayors.

San Francisco banned all fossil fuel extraction on city-owned land. (ecowatch.com) - I'm feeling proud to be a Californian.

Greensburg, Kansas, rebuilt with 100 percent renewable energy after a devastating tornado leveled the town. (thinkprogress.org) - And get this: the mayor is a republican. He pulled the community together by having a conversation. This is one of the best examples of voluntarily doing what's right while saving money and being a good steward of the land and its resources. Hats off to you, Mayor Dixson.

Alabama is building its largest solar farm, which will power 15,000 homes. (computerworld.com)

Countries

There'll be no more new oil exploration in Arctic waters. (reuters.com) - Thank you, President Obama.

No more coal-powered electricity in France by 2023 (fastcoexist.com)

Canada will phase out nearly all coal by 2030, at the latest, (treehugger.com)

While Britain plans to close all coal power plants by 2025. (theguardian.com).

Half of the UK's electricity now comes from low carbon sources. (independent.co.uk)

Aruba pledges to be powered by 100 percent renewables within eight years. (ecowatch.com)

Denmark's new offshore wind farm will power 23 percent of households. (ecowatch.com)

Germany recently finalized plans to cut CO2 emissions 80-95 percent by 2050.(inhabitat.com)

All leases for oil and gas drilling on Minnesota Blackfeet tribal sacred lands have been cancelled by the Obama administration(washingtonpost.com)

The island of Ta'u in American Samoa is powered by almost 100 percent solar energy, thanks to Tesla and Solar City. (inhabitat.com)

Organizations

The Islamic Society of North America will no longer invest in fossil fuels. (treehugger.com)

An additional 16 universities have joined the fossil fuel divestment movement. (350.org)

News-Links

Health

The proper way to sneeze (sciencedaily.com) Since I have a cold, this one caught my eye. So, let's cut to the chase. Use a tissue. The next best way to prevent spreading germs is to use your sleeve. Happy sneezing!

Some prescription drugs might warrant supplements to ward off nutritional deficiencies. (marksdailyapple.com) - Most of us know of friends or family members who take prescription medications on a regular basis. However, this article suggests that some of these drugs may increase the risks of nutritional deficiencies. Take a look at a list of supplements that might help maintain nutritional health while taking specific medications. (Also, please don't forget about my disclaimer, which states that I'm not a doctor or a healthcare professional.)

Mental health

A support program for college students on the autism spectrum (nytimes.com) - Do you know someone with autism who's contemplating college? As I've mentioned before, autism is a topic near and dear to my heart. So, I was rather pleased to read about colleges with support programs, which increase the likelihood of success for autistic college students.

Food

A thought provoking read on the grain debate (qz.com) - Maybe it's not the grains themselves, but rather, the ways in which we grow and process them that create our seemingly dysfunctional health - an informative but short read on the grain debate.

Oh, and I'm reminding you one more time about Patagonia's Black Friday program. Patagonia will donate money from Black Friday sales to environmental groups! (online and in stores) Here's the link. (I'm not affiliated with Patagonia.)

Earworm

I normally don't need to manufacture my earworms, and this past week was no exception. Because of the depressing news on the Dakota Pipeline and the current divisiveness in our country, it didn't take much for this particular earworm to creep into my psyche.

But let's not focus on the negative - at least not for now. After all, those news-links, above, are quite uplifting. And then, there's the upbeat nature of this song. Furthermore, I'm reminiscing about a certain seven-year-old owl who thrived on 60's music while rebelling against convention by wearing neon-orange and yellow, two-toned shoes. She actually wore those masterpieces to school, along with her parochial school uniform. She almost got sent home for doing so, too.    Laura