Nov 10, 2021 Episode 72
Will COP26 help save the planet? Indian’s floating solar power station, California high school’s bad win and the blue banana
EPISODE 72 – Global eco summit
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!
I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and….
MAMA: I’m Lyndee Prickitt.
LEELA: The big-story explainer who just happens to be my Mama.
So, this week on Newsy Pooloozi…
We’ll find out what the world leaders, who met in Scotland, agreed to do to stop global warming. One way is embracing clean energy, like solar power. Well, wait till you hear how India’s floating solar plant works.
Also, find out why a high school football team in California is getting into trouble for winning their match.
And you’ll never believe what blue food is getting people excited.
You gotta listen to the end to find out why.
LEELA: But first, it’s time for…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: More than 25,000 people around the world – from teenage activists to leaders of nations – went to Glasgow, Scotland, to attend or be on the sidelines of COP26, which is now wrapping up.
LEELA: And we’re gonna give you the low-down on this important environmental summit. Starting with the first thing we all want to know: why on earth is an environmental summit called COP… 26?!
MAMA: Ha, good question! I’m afraid the answer is deeply dull – it simply stands for Conference of Parties. This is the 26th one.
LEELA: That doesn’t sound dull. Party! Party!
MAMA: Yeah, sadly not that kind of party. But the other definition – as in members of a group. As in a group of countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
LEELA: Yeah, that is dull.
MAMA: Yes, But, what they’re discussing isn’t. Most environment experts say this is the most important meeting world leaders have ever had.
MAMA: Ever. Because they reckon this is the last chance leaders have to take united action needed to stop the earth warming up.
LEELA: Well, have they?
MAMA: Good question. There have been some major advances. Over 100 countries promised to end deforestation by 2030.
SFX OF A TREE FALLING
MAMA: Do you know what that means?
LEELA: Uh… they’ll stop cutting down forests?!
MAMA: Bingo! And why does that matter
LEELA: Oh, oh. I know this. Trees, well, all plants, absorb carbon dioxide (which is a greenhouse gas we now have too much of) and kindly convert it into oxygen, which we breathe.
MAMA: Exactly. That’s why rainforests, in particular, are called the “lungs of the planet.” Never mind the loss of forests means a lot of plants and animals have nowhere to go. So, this pledge would protect 85% of the world’s forests.
LEELA: Wahhoo! Well done, COP26!
MAMA: Yes, though some say the deal doesn’t protect enough land soon enough. But, as far as that other greenhouse gas goes – methane – over 100 countries have also agreed to reduce it by 30% in the next nine years.
LEELA: OK. Sounds good.
MAMA: And many countries have promised to become net-zero by 2050.
LEELA: And net-zero means – however much a country messes up the atmosphere, it has to clean it up by just as much.
MAMA: Gosh, you have been listening!
LEELA: For once.
MAMA: However, critics say that these “net-zero promises” with dates set so far in the future are just a way of delaying action.
LEELA: I know that trick. Hee-hee… I promise I’ll clean my room next month.
MAMA: And there’s been another big criticism of COP26 – that even though richer countries created most of the pollution that caused the climate crisis, poorer countries will be most affected by it. Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, put it this way:
Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados: “It is like me throwing garbage in your yard and telling you that you must pay to clean it up. You can’t pay to do anything because you now have to spend all of your money on the garbage I have thrown in your yard. It is unjust. It is wrong.”
MAMA: So, it’s no wonder thousands of people took to the streets of Glasgow, and other cities around the world, saying not enough has come out of the summit.
LEELA: So, they’re angry.
MAMA: Some are. But sometimes anger – if you don’t let it eat you up – can be motivating. As former US President Obama said when he spoke at the conference.
BARACK OBAMA, former US President: ” To all the young people out there. I want you to stay angry. I want you to stay frustrated. Channel that anger, harness that frustration, keep pushing harder and harder for more because that’s what’s required to meet this challenge. Gird yourself for a marathon, not a sprint.”
LEELA: OK, then. (takes quick few breaths as if about to run) Let’s do this: Ready. Set. Go!
SFX OF RACE STARTING
MAMA: And that’s Leela racing to a better future… Well, staying with the environment – you might have noticed on Newsy Pooloozi we like to showcase the advances clever minds are coming up with to try and create a cleaner environment. Well, we have some electrifying news from a reservoir in Southern India.
LEELA: Wait. Electrifying news from a body of water? That sounds dangerous!
SFX OF SIZZLE
LEELA: Wait. Electrifying news from a body of water? That sounds dangerous!
MAMA: Huh – that’s a good point. Whoa, that makes this story all the more impressive.
MAMA: Yes, India’s National Thermal Power Corporation, as in the electric company – is installing a massive floating solar power plant in the state of Telangana.
LEELA: What? A floating power-plant? I think my head might explode.
MAMA: Never fear, our India environment correspondent Sahasra Sridhar is here to help unpack all these sizzling details.
LEELA: Thanks for joining us, Sahasra. Let’s begin with the basics. What is solar power?
SAHASRA: Solar power is energy from the sun converted, or changed, into thermal or electrical energy.
SFX OF LIGHT AND COMPUTER SWITCHING ON
LEELA: Ah, energy to power up our lights and refrigerators, computers and heaters and so on and so on. But instead of coming from nasty fossil fuels, like burning coal, it’s using renewable energy – meaning it can always be renewed – like the sun. Gotcha.
SAHASRA: It’s the cleanest and most easily available form of energy, and we can use it long-term – I don’t think the Sun’s gonna blow up anytime soon!
LEELA: I hope not!
SAHASRA: This plant is made of huge solar panels to absorb all the sunlight possible, and then semiconductors (which are materials that pass a little bit of energy along) are used to convert this into electricity! This is one of the largest floating projects on a natural reservoir.
LEELA: And a reservoir is a reserve of water – which is always handy if there’s a drought! But, tell me something, why are all the solar panels floating on water anyway? Why not just put them on land?
SAHASRA: Because on land, you need to rent (or) buy this huge space, which’ll take both more time and money! They also reduce evaporation of the water they float on and are more efficient due to the cooling effect of the water and are easier to set up.
LEELA: Wait – so that means there’s a second benefit too – since keeping the water cooler means it doesn’t evaporate so fast. And in India’s heat that’s a real issue! So, it’s a win-win. Impressive.
SAHASRA: I guess these inventors were “very bright indeed!”
LEELA: Ha ha, good one, Sahasra. Thanks a lot for explaining this electrifying news.
SFX OF SIZZLE
MAMA: That one never gets old, does it?
SFX OF SIZZLE
WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”
MAMA: Which is this week brought to us by India’s theatre group Loud & Clear with Storee ki Boree, featuring Inayatt, Ishanvi, Rijak and Devansh.
INAYATT GOGIA: The Eastern European country of Poland is warning things might get ugly at its border with Belarus. Poland thinks its neighbor is trying to encourage trouble amongst the hundreds of refugees, who are at its border, hoping to get into Europe.
ISHAVNI MISHRA: The mystery of the strange “black hole” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is solved! Its discovery on Google Maps created a social media storm – of speculation. But, never fear, it’s been identified as an un-inhabited island belonging to the Republic of Kiribati. Phew!
RIJAK KAUR NARANG: A nurse, from the United Kingdom, finds a tiny gold Bible, while using a metal detector in the fields of York. The land is near property once owned by Richard the Third, who ruled England in the 15th century. Experts say the tiny relic could be worth one-point-three million dollars!
DEVANSH GUPTA: And… A family in the South American country of Peru got a shock when the puppy they bought turned out to be a fox! At first the family pet played happily with other dogs in the neighborhood. But as it grew up, it started to hunt chickens and ducks. Now authorities want to send him to the zoo!
LEELA: Why, thank you Loud & Clear with Storee ki Boree team – for that wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world. And now…
SPORTS STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports News!”
MAMA: Now we all like to win, right?
LEELA: I sure do!
MAMA: And that’s a good thing – having a competitive spirit is a great attribute. And winning feels good, no doubt about it. But, rubbing your opponent’s nose in the face of your win –
LEELA: You mean, like saying, “Loser! Na, na, na, boo-boo!”
LEELA: Uhhh, that’s like kindergarten uncool.
MAMA: Indeed. It’s called being a bad sport and one California high school football team has been called out for it. As our Sports Correspondent in LA is about to tell us.
LEELA: That would be Porter Robbins – over to you.
PORTER: Thanks, Leela.
So, I play at least three different sports competitively and I can tell you – I play to win!
But, sometimes, there’s a point at which you know you’ve won and there’s nooooo way your opponent can come back, right?
Well, that’s when the “mercy rule” is usually applied.
It’s a little like when you’re arm wrestling with your friend, who’s much stronger than you, and you have a code word, like “Uuuncle!” to make them stop.
Well, instead of having to “cry uncle,” in the mercy rule both sides agree to shorten the length of play, even though – technically – the clock keeps running.
This spares the other side any further humiliation.
But even as Inglewood High’s football team was up 59 to nothing (!) after the first quarter, their coach didn’t call for the “mercy rule” to be applied.
Instead, he let his team keep playing and keep scoring… and scoring… and scoring. When the game finally ended, it was 106 to none.
Uncool or what? Talk about being a bad sport.
The high school principal has apologized for their poor sportsmanship and promised it would never happen again.
Let’s hope they’ve understood the importance of winning on… AND off the field!
In Los Angeles, California, I’m Porter Robbins, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Good one, Porter! Thanks for that report. And finally, let’s head to the lucky dip machine and see what final fun story it has for us this week.
ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”
LEELA: So, Mama.
MAMA: So, Leela.
LEELA: If I say banana what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
LEELA: Yes, OK. After that,
MAMA: Bananas are full of the mineral potassium.
LEELA: OK. So, maybe a less mother-concerned-with-nutrition answer and something more visual. I say bananas and you say…
LEELA: OK… Let me try something else. When I say banana what color comes into your head?
MAMA: Yellow! Obviously. Unless they’re not ripe. Then they’re green.
LEELA: Right. So if I said I’d like to try some blue bananas, please, you’d say?
SFX OF BOING-BOING
MAMA: I’d say that’s bananas!
LEELA: Or science fiction, more like. But, no. It’s a thing. Cue the music, Mama.
And enter: the blue-banana!
When I say blue, I mean a light pastel blue shade – but still!
Believe it or not, it’s a completely natural variety, called the Blue Java, which grows in SouthEast Asia and the Fiji islands in the South Pacific.
In other words – in humid and sunny places.
It’s even able to resist the cold, which certainly isn’t the case with our usual yellow bananas, which means the blue ones could grow easily in more places.
And with climate change on everyone’s mind, many are wondering if it’s time we turned to the blue banana.
See, the yellow bananas that we all love – that some of us eat everyday – don’t grow in most people’s backyards.
So, in order to keep up with our banana demand, the tropical fruit is shipped and flown all over the world.
Well, that’s not great for the environment, is it?
That’s why loads of people are going monkeys for the blue java banana.
And not only is it able to resist cold spells better than the yellow varieties, but it also has a smoother, ice cream like consistency, or texture, aaaaaaaaaaanddd, tastes more like vanilla than banana.
MAMA: Oh, kind of like the custard apple fruit here?
LEELA: No. Custard apples taste like custard.
MAMA: Which is kinda vanilla-ish… You’re shaking your head no. OK. Anyway, I wanna try a blue banana now! Although, you know, we should be extra nice to the old yellow bananas too.
LEELA: True. Wait. Why?
MAMA: ‘Cos you don’t want to hurt their ‘peelings’ – get it?
LEELA: Oh, man! That reminds me – why did the banana have to go to the hair salon?
MAMA: Oooh, don’t know.
LEELA: Because it had split ends.
FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – More than 25,000 people from around the world – from teenage activists to national leaders – are wrapping up COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. What’s COP26 stand for?
The 26th Conference of Parties.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – At COP26 many countries have promised to become net-zero by 2050. And in simple terms, what does that mean?
However much a country messes up the atmosphere, it has to clean it up by just as much.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – India’s National Thermal Power Corporation is installing a massive floating solar power plant in Telangana, southern India. Aside from being clean energy – what’s the added benefit of a floating solar plant?
It keeps the water beneath cool and so slows its evaporation.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A California high school apologizes for its football team’s 106 to zero 0 victory as the winning team declined to invoke a “mercy rule,” which is?
When both sides agree to shorten the length of play, even though – technically – the clock keeps running. This spares the other side any further humiliation.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The Blue Java banana is on everyone’s lips even if hardly anyone has tasted this vanilla-flavored, blue colored, cold resistant variety, which comes from where?
South East Asia and the Fifi Islands in the Pacific Ocean
And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website, newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooploozi!
But first… Happy Veterans Day! Which is…
MAMA: On November 11 every year Americans brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who frequently risk their lives to protect others. So, thanks, y’all!
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Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Popoloozi!