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

The climate crisis is severe—and saving our planet is a challenge that requires collective and ongoing efforts. While it’s easy to get discouraged by all the bad news circulating in the media, luckily there are plenty of people who are making commitments, taking initiatives and implementing policies that prioritize the environment. It’s encouraging and important to take a look at these champions and signs of progress as we work towards a more sustainable future.

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

1. Google Flights adds search function for CO2 emissions

airplanePhoto by Nikhil Mitra on UnsplashThere are many things to consider when booking a flight—time, duration, price—but now, eco-minded travellers can also factor in their environmental impact when selecting a flight. Google Flights has added a colour-coded system (with green being the most—you guessed it—green flights), allowing users to opt to minimize their footprint with air transport.

2. Radical cloud-brightening experiment aims to save the Great Barrier Reef

great barrier reefPhoto by Carles Rabada on UnsplashScientists in Australia are testing out a new way to prevent future bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef—by brightening the clouds! The concept may sound farfetched, but there is science behind it. The method involves spraying a fine mist of seawater into the atmosphere, which then evaporates and leaves behind salt crystals around which water vapour can condense. More droplets result in brighter clouds, and this in turn will make the clouds more reflective, deflecting the sun’s energy away from the earth and allowing the water to cool, protecting the reef from heat damage.

3. Scientists predict that the ozone layer will be fully recovered by 2050

ozone layerPhoto by ActionVance on UnsplashIn 1985, scientists detected a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica that was being caused by the use of human-made products, primarily chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Global leaders got together to form the Montreal Protocol, phasing out CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, and now experts are saying that the ozone is on track to be completely healed by 2050. This is encouraging news and serves as motivation for the international community to mobilize together and combat the climate crisis. For more information on the ozone, take a look at our article on World Ozone Day.

4. A Danish company is repurposing old wind turbine blades into bike shelters and other structures

wind turbinePhoto by Thomas Reaubourg on UnsplashEven when it comes to clean energy sources, it is difficult to find a fully sustainable solution due to the waste that comes from solar panels, wind turbines and the like. But a Danish organization called the Re-Wind Network is working to solve this problem by repurposing old wind turbine blades into bike shelters, and aspiring to also create structures such as pedestrian bridges, skate parks and noise barriers.

5. Google is banning ads that spread climate misinformation

reading on phonePhoto by Becca Tapert on UnsplashMore good green news from Google! The Google ads team has announced it will “prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. The new policy will come into play next month and will apply to Google advertisers, publishers that run Google ads and YouTube creators. Here's hoping more platforms will be inspired to do the same!

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.