These days it can be easy to become preoccupied with all the negative impacts humans are having on the environment and forget about the small, everyday successes which many environmental organisations are also achieving. Of course, it is important to maintain an awareness of the gravity of the climate crisis and to continue working towards making our lifestyles more compatible with nature, but we must also recognise the positive changes occurring in order to encourage us to continue to do so.
Here is a short roundup of some resources dedicated to bringing positive environmental news to the public’s attention, as well as a summary of some positive initiatives which have taken place around the world in recent weeks.
A podcast run by Friends of the Earth providing listeners with practical ways to engage with the climate crisis, whilst also reporting on current climate affairs and providing reading lists and inspiration for action in the show notes of each episode.
Hosted by Joshua Spodek, this podcast interviews leaders from various sectors who have managed to retain their environmental credentials and stick to their morals whilst becoming successful in their fields. With guests including Maja Rosen, founder of the anti-flying initiative We Stay on the Ground, the podcast provides enlightening and encouraging perspectives on living modern life in a more conscious way.
A Harvard Law School podcast discussing ways to implement more environmentally conscious policies, Clean Law interviews a variety of professionals working within the legal and academic sectors to discover new ways of protecting the environment through new legislation. Despite regressions in climate policy which have occurred in the US since Trump’s inauguration, many guests remain positive that by implementing protective measures into the legal system it will remain possible to protect the environment into the future.
It really is what it says on the tin: the Happy Eco News website is dedicated to bringing positive environmental news to the public’s attention. With multiple categories including energy, food and people, the news outlet also provides a Weekly Top 5 section, sharing the best news stories of the week.
Not just reporting on environmental news, Positive.News is a website and quarterly magazine which promotes the circulation of, funnily enough, positive news! Focusing on all forms of current affairs, their environment section is always up to date, with well-researched and uplifting climate news. Their ‘What went right this week’ column is a heartening reminder that things are being done to mitigate human impact on the environment, and their articles share stories whilst also inspiring readers with ways they can get involved.
A UK charity with the aim of increasing the number of trees in cities, Trees for Cities believes that having more trees in urban spaces improves health, unites communities, and helps to increase interest in the natural world. They produce an annual report charting their progress as well as an e-newsletter to keep followers updated on campaigns and initiatives, and their website advertises ways to get involved with the movement.
An initiative which promotes taking individual action and protesting further destruction to the environment, Friends of the Earth have had many successes over the years. A self-proclaimed ‘grassroots environmental campaigning community’, Friends of the Earth has hundreds of groups across the UK and provide a 6-point action plan to help the government reach net zero faster. The website provides opportunities to get involved on a local or national scale, as well as providing updates on current campaigns.
A round-up of recent victories for the environment:
- The UK has banned all sale of single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. There is still a long way to go to stop the overproduction of single-use plastic, but this is another step in the right direction.
- China has pledged to reach net-zero by 2060, meaning CO2 emissions must reach their peak by 2030. This decision suggests that China – the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – may be joining in the decision for a ‘green recovery’ from Covid-19.
- A new enzyme which digests plastic waste has been discovered! Created by linking the two enzymes found in the first plastic-eating bug discovered in Japan in 2016, this ‘super-enzyme’ is able to digest plastic six times faster than its peers, suggesting a huge breakthrough in our ability to deal with plastic waste.
- The conservation group Somerset Wildlands is getting involved with rewilding initiatives by fundraising to by land on the Somerset Levels. Once purchased, they intend to transform land which has previously been used for intensive farming to reintroduce and protect wildlife.
Image: Lucy Lloyd, Edinburgh Climate Strike 2019