In this week's newsletter: U.S. rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement, join us for a Solar One webinar with indigenous youth environmentalists next week, a leather replacement textile made from pineapple leaves and much more!
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U.S. Rejoins the Paris Accords

The United States is rejoining the Paris climate agreement, fulfilling one of President Joe Biden’s earliest campaign promises and generating sighs of relief around the world as governments struggle to keep the planet’s temperature from surging to even more dangerous levels.

On Wednesday, just five hours after his inauguration and amid a flurry of other presidential actions, President Joe Biden signed an executive order returning the U.S. to the landmark accord to slash carbon emissions. The move will be official in 30 days.

Rejoining the agreement, however, is just the first step. To fulfill its obligations under the pact, the Biden administration will have to quickly throw together a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions before the next U.N. climate meeting, scheduled for December in Glasgow. Other countries will expect the U.S. to come with a goal to slash CO2 emissions by 45 to 50 percent by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels) and get overall emissions to zero by the middle of the century. And it won’t be enough for the United States just to set those targets. Biden will also have to show the country can reach them — and that it can be counted on not to back out for a second time.

You can more about this on Grist.org here.

Next Week: Solar One Webinar with Indigenous Youth Environmentalists

Did you know that according to the 2010 US Census, NYC is home to the most Indigenous people in the country? 

Join Solar One for this webinar featuring five Indigenous youth from around the country and world who are working towards climate action and protecting Indigenous rights. Panelists will share information on the organizations they have founded and are part of. They will share ways youth from anywhere in the world can support and defend the environment and Indigenous rights.

For teachers and students, the GDL team has prepared this reflection worksheet which will allow students to receive extra credit for attending. This webinar will also be posted to the Solar One GDL YouTube channel afterwards, so the Student Reflection Worksheet can be used after students watch the recorded webinar as well.

Thursday January 28th at 5pm EST

Panelists for this webinar are Naelyn Pike, Sareya Taylor, Nanieezh Peter, Quannah Chasinghorse and Emmanuela Shinta. You can register here!

What Is Piñatex?

Piñatex is an innovative natural material made from pineapple leaves that are left over after the fruit is harvested. It is a way of utilizing a product that would otherwise be discarded, which reduces the amount of organic waste going to landfill and thus the methane emissions that would result. 

Piñatex was developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a Spanish leathergoods expert who grew horrified at the environmental impact of leather production while working in the Philippines in the 1990s. Nor did she approve of the petroleum-based alternatives that are commonly used, such as polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane. At the same time, Hijosa noticed how some traditional Filipino garments were made from pineapple fibers, which kickstarted her research into how such a resource could be transformed into something more widely usable.

The fabric is made by extracting fibers from the pineapple leaves after harvest. They are washed and dried in the sun, then undergo a purification process that results in a fluffy fiber. This fluff is blended with corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) and turned into a non-woven mesh called "Piñafelt," which is the base for Piñatex products. This mesh is then sent to Italy or Spain for finishing, where it is colored using pigments certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard and given a coating that adds durability, strength, and water resistance, as well as a metallic sheen if desired.

You can read more about this on Treehugger.com here.

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Upcoming Virtual & Socially Distanced Events

1/26
Crushing the Code NYS: Commercial
Online, 9am-1pm, $75 general admission
2-day course continuing on 1/27

Benchmarking Report: NYC's Energy & Water Use 2020
Online, 1-2pm, $20 general admission/$10 Urban Green Council members/Leadership Level, Sponsor & Organizational members free

Climate Mobilization Act Primer
Online, 1-2pm, free

1/28
Crushing the Code NYC: Residential
Online, 9am-5pm, $75 general admission

Radio BE-Ex: Financing Deep Retrofits with Sadie McKeown
Online, 1-2pm, free

Public Workshop: A Vision for Maritime Activation & Public Access along Staten Island’s Northeast Shore
Online, 5:30-7pm, free
 
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