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

From heat domes to flooding and unprecedented cold, the impact of the climate crisis is being felt more and more severely around the globe. We must all take action to protect and preserve the planet, or future generations will be left to deal with more environmental uncertainly and challenges.

To help keep us motivated to fight climate change, it's important to acknowledge the progress that is being made towards a more sustainable future, so lets celebrate these environmental wins that happened in December...

1. Chicago is planting 75,000 trees to address climate change and environmental racism

chicagoPhoto by John Jacobson on UnsplashPlanting trees is a great way to help save energy and combat climate change, and the city of Chicago is investing $188 million in a climate package that includes planting 75,000 trees in an effort that also addresses environmental racism. The trees will be planted in areas that are populated by people of colour who have been disproportionately affected by climate change due to racist policies and practices.

2. Scientists have created sustainable glitter from fruit

glitterPhoto by Amy Shamblen on UnsplashWith New Year's Eve coming up, many people enjoy dressing up and getting festive, but conventional glitter contains harmful microplastics that get into the soil and ocean, posing a threat to the environment and species. Luckily, scientists from Cambridge University in the UK have created a sustainable form of glitter made from fruit pulp, which is both vegan and biodegradable, allowing you to sparkle without harming the environment.

3. Churchill, Manitoba goes green with new electric polar bear viewing vehicle

polar bearPhoto by Dan Bolton on UnsplashOne of Canada’s most renowned tourism attractions—polar bear viewing in Churchill, Manitoba—just got greener. Manitoba’s government has transformed one of its Tundra Buggies (a polar bear viewing vehicle) to run on an all-electric engine. Now driving almost silently across the vast landscapes, this vehicle shows a major shift from the other rumbling diesel engines.

4. Vegetable products like beet extract are being tested as alternatives to salt on icy roads

snowy roadPhoto by JavyGo on UnsplashDuring the winter months, salt is commonly used to de-ice the roads, but this leads to undesirable effects as it can pollute waterways, contaminate ecosystems and corrode vehicles. This is prompting some places like Washington D.C. and Winnipeg to trial vegetable alternatives, like extract of sugar beets, which is more biodegradable and less corrosive.

5. Majority of adults striving for greener Christmas, according to WWF

green ChristmasPhoto by Mourad Saadi on UnsplashA survey by the World Wildlife Fund revealed that 64 percent of adults were planning on being more environmentally friendly this Christmas compared to last. A driving factor in this shift is credited to COP26, with WWF's executive director of advocacy and campaigns stating, "It’s clear from this data that there’s been a tangible COP26 effect in the UK. Without urgent action, we’re facing a code red for the planet, and the public have heard that message loud and clear. People care and are ready to adjust their habits over the festive season to help tackle the twin threat of climate change and nature loss."

While we still have a lot of work to do in protecting our planet, we hope these pieces of good news will encourage you to think positively as we work towards a better future!