The world is going through a lot. Instead of focusing on the bad news, we’ve rounded up the most encouraging environmental stories that made headlines this month

The climate crisis is a critical issue—and urgent, collective action is needed to save the planet. While it can be discouraging to hear about the many environmental challenges we face, there are plenty of people working to create a more sustainable future by committing to better environmental policies and initiatives. It’s important to recognize these champions and give them credit for their efforts.

So lets celebrate these environmental wins that happened in February and stay motivated to protect the planet!

1. More than 100 countries pledge to protect the oceans

oceanPhoto by César Couto on UnsplashGlobal leaders gathered in Brest, France for the One Ocean Summit, with the goals of mobilizing the international community and taking action against issues facing our oceans, such as climate change, illegal fishing, pollution and the overexploitation of marine resources. The summit led more than 100 nations to commit to measures that will help protect oceans from harm inflicted by humans.

2. Canada proposes new environmental billMoraine LakePhoto by Redd on Unsplash

The Canadian government proposed to update the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, pushing for the right to a healthy environment for all Canadians, with an emphasis on vulnerable Canadians who are disproportionately exposed to harmful chemicals. “All Canadians expect and deserve a healthy environment. This bill is a big step towards strengthening the protection of Canadians’ health and the health of the lakes, rivers, lands and forests we all love," said Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change.

3. Iceland to ban commercial whale-hunting

whale IcelandPhoto by Kristina Delp on UnsplashIceland has announced its plans to end the slaughter of whales by 2024, issuing no more new permits after the 2023 ones expire. Iceland is currently one of the only countries that still authorizes commercial whale-hunting, along with Norway and Japan, but the shrinking market demands along with criticism from animal rights activists is leading to an end to the controversial practice.

4. Canadian doctors can now prescribe parks passes

Banff National ParkPhoto by Rocky Mountain Trails on UnsplashIt’s no secret that being in nature is beneficial for our mental health—breathing in the fresh air, disconnecting from devices and appreciating the natural world around us are major mood-boosters. An initiative by Parks Canada and PaRx now allows select doctors in Canada to provide patients with a free annual pass to the country’s national parks (worth more than $70), encouraging them to connect with nature as a form of therapy.

5. HSBC commits to cutting oil and gas clients’ emissions

oil rigPhoto by Zbynek Burival on UnsplashBanking giant HSBC has announced a new target to reduce emissions in the oil and gas industry by 34 percent by 2030, in line with its larger goal of achieving net zero by 2050. “The science is clear that global emissions must significantly reduce this decade to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees," said HSBC's group chief sustainability officer Dr. Celine Herweijer.

We hope these pieces of good news will encourage you to think positively and motivate you to play your part as we work towards a more sustainable future!