A dose of climate optimism: stories from the US and Germany

1. In the last five years, solar has grown almost 800% in New York.

Since 2011, solar power has boomed in New York state. Solar now provides enough power for 121,000 households, and has created 8,000 jobs. New York has big plans: they want 50% of their electricity to come from renewables by 2030 - in just 13 years time!

2. Hydrogen powered trains are hitting the rails in Germany.

Lower Saxony has just ordered the first ever zero-emissions hydrogen powered passenger trains. 14 of them, in fact. The trains run using a hydrogen fuel tank on the roof and can travel 500 miles per day. They’re super quiet and only emit steam. After testing this summer, they’ll be rolled out in December.

3. Crowdfunded solar lamp-posts are lighting this Detroit community

When Detroit was hit with a $4m street light bill it couldn’t pay, the company that owned the lamp-posts came and dug them up from poorer areas like Highland Park. Enter Soulardarity, who set to crowdfunding for solar-powered street lights and worked with locals to build them. So far they’ve installed over 50 street lights, with 100 more on order.

4. Germany’s environment ministry have banned meat at their official parties.

The Ministry of Environment in Germany has announced they will no longer serve meat at official functions. They said it was because of meat’s high environmental impact, especially on climate change. As the guys responsible for the environment, they wanted to set a good example.

5. The world’s largest launderette has solar panels!

Yep, who knew that was a verified title? But the World’s Largest Laundromat (that’s its name!) in the Chicago suburbs has installed 36 solar thermal panels to heat their hot water. The launderette is a bit of a community hub with a mini arcade, free pizza on Wednesdays and citizenship classes for migrants, so having renewable power right at the heart of the community can only be good.

Photo: New York National Guard, creative commons