Our planet is going through a lot of challenges and the future can seem bleak at times. Instead of focusing on all the bad news, we’ve rounded up the most encouraging environmental stories that made headlines this month

In this day and age, the news can be overwhelming. While overall trends regarding climate change seem to skew on the negative side, there are still plenty of advocates and activists who are fighting the good fight for our planet, and they deserve to be acknowledged. There is plenty of progress being made and every little bit matters.

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

1. Scientists have developed a new fabric made up of recycled plastic

fabricPhoto by Juliana Mayo on UnsplashIn an effort to fight plastic pollution and allow for sustainable fashion, scientists have found a way to recycle polythene—a plastic found in plastic bags, packaging and other unsustainable materials—to manufacture a new fabric for clothing. Research says this polythene fabric is more environmentally friendly than fabrics like cotton, wool, nylon, and polyester, and is comfortable and able to be used for various types of apparel.

2. After being destroyed by a cyclone, Fiji reefs have recovered and are as vibrant and alive as ever

Fiji reefPhoto by Juliana Mayo on UnsplashAfter a devastating cyclone occurred in Fiji five years ago and destroyed the coral reefs across the Namena reserve and Vatu-i-Ra conservation park, the reefs have now recovered beyond the expectations of conservation experts. As coral reefs continue to suffer from global warming, this speedy recovery gives us hope that other reefs may also persevere through the challenges they face.

3. Queensland has introduced a ban on single-use plastics

strawsPhoto by FLY:D on UnsplashThe Australian state of Queensland has passed a law that bans single-use plastics such as plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, plates and polystyrene containers and cups. For the time being, there are exemptions for certain plastic straws and spoons attached to food packaging. This ban follows Queensland’s 2018 ban on single-use plastic bags, all in an effort to reduce plastic pollution and save the animals and environment that suffer from it.

4. A Ugandan village is undergoing a revitalization thanks to solar power and shea butter

ugandaPhoto by Roman Nguyen on UnsplashAfter facing destruction that came from a decade of war, the Northern Ugandan village of Okere Mom-Kok is undergoing a transformation towards sustainability. The village has introduced solar energy to provide electricity to all its 4,000 residents, sources clean water from a borehole, and harvests shea butter from the local shea trees as a commodity to help bring funds to the village. The revitalization of Okere Mom-Kok is being led by local resident Okoj Okello.

5. The total mass of electronic waste in America is declining

electronic wastePhoto by John Cameron on UnsplashA study by Yale School of the Environment’s Center for Industrial Ecology has found that the mass of electronic waste in America—such as computers, smartphones, digital cameras and audio-visual equipment—is on the decline. Driving factors in this decline are attributed to the decrease in large televisions and computer monitors, as well as consolidating devices into multi-functional use (such as using phones for cameras and laptops for televisions).

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