When you pay attention to the news about the environment, the stories you come across are often grim. Many of them are alarming, warning about how we can’t continue our demanding lifestyles without irreversible damage to the planet.
Those stories are important, and it’s important to heed their warnings, but it is also important to remember and pay attention to the good news stories. We need to celebrate the wins, even the small victories, and to remind ourselves that a much better world is possible.
Over the past year there have been a few positive stories about the environment that may have escaped our attention. As motivation to continue healing our home in 2019, here are some of the most positive environmental news stories from 2018.
1) The population of Bowhead Whales has significantly rebounded off of Alaska’s North Slope.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
Since Craig George and his colleagues began recording whale numbers 34 years ago, their counts have increased from 1,200 animals in 1978 to 3,400 in 2011. From those numbers of whales seen, George estimates there are now 14,000 to 15,000 animals.
“It’s pretty dramatic how it’s changed,” George said.
The rebound of this population reminds us that the efforts we take to protect a species on the brink of extinction today can pay off exponentially for a future generation.
2) Hawaii intends to be the first U.S. State to run entirely on clean energy
From the World Economic Forum:
In a significant move, four mayors from across the state have signed an agreement to run Hawaii’s public transport system using only clean energy by 2045.
Making the announcement aboard a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Maui mayor Alan Arakawa said: “The goals we are setting today are not only desirable, but attainable, and help send a message that Maui County and Hawaii are open for innovation to help ensure the greater health of our communities and the planet as a whole.”
In addition to being one of the U.S.’s leading tourist destinations, Hawaii also features one of its most sensitive ecosystems. This shift should strengthen its resilience.
3) A hidden coral reef was found off the Carolina Coast
From NBC Science:
“It was a thrill to see these newly discovered habitats firsthand,” Erik Cordes, a Temple University biologist and one of the scientists who made the discovery, told NBC News MACH in an email. “Every dive in Alvin is different, and we always expect to find something new. But I have never found something this significant, something that profoundly changed our concept of where these habitats could exist.”
This discovery gives us hope that there are more of these precious coral reefs yet to be found off the world’s coasts. It has also reshaped the way scientists understand coral’s behavior and can lend knowledge that helps with the protection of other larger reefs.
4) The trend of repair cafes are pushing back against throwaway culture
From The Guardian:
“Today, the repairers will divert 24kg of waste from going to landfill and save 284kg of CO2. Some items can’t be fixed on the spot – notably a hunting horn split in two, which requires soldering with a blow torch – but very little needs to be thrown away.”
Fixing broken or damaged materials rather than throwing them away to be replaced is a significant step towards a more sustainable way of living. These cafes are making the practice much more accessible for everyone.
5) 50 years after being wiped out, black rhinos are back in Chad:
“On Thursday, six rhinos will be flown to Chad’s Zakouma National Park from the South African city of Port Elizabeth, sedated and confined in specially-crafted crates to ensure they don’t cause a commotion mid-air.
The initiative comes against the backdrop of a poaching crisis that saw more than 1 000 rhinos slain in South Africa last year to meet red-hot demand for their horns in Asia, where they are prized for their alleged medicinal properties.”
This is also a boost in hope for other countries seeking to restore rhino populations on the brink of extinction, including Tanzania.
6) Adidas is working to use only recycled materials in its products within five years:
From CNN Money:
“The German company is also expecting a sharp increase in sales of its Parley shoes, which are made with plastic waste that has been intercepted before it reaches the ocean. While still a small share of its global sales, Adidas expects purchases to jump to 5 million pairs this year compared to 1 million in 2017.”
Adidas not only clothes some of the world’s top athletes, but also millions of their fans in practically every country on earth.
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