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 last month
There are many challenges facing our planet—and our role in the fight against climate change cannot be understated. But while we might feel overwhelmed with this seemingly uphill battle, there is still progress being made to protect and preserve the environment. It’s important to acknowledge these positive steps as we push forward towards a more sustainable future.
So let’s celebrate these environmental wins that happened in February and stay motivated to protect our planet!
1. Scientists are working towards using spinach plants to detect environmental pollution
Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on UnsplashSpinach isn’t just for salads, people! Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are using carbon nanotube technology to turn spinach into sensors. Currently used to detects underground explosives like landmines, these sensors are believed to be able to detect environmental conditions such as pollution, which can then wirelessly notify the scientists. Plants are extremely absorbent and are able to detect very small changes in the properties of soil and water. This is the data that scientists are tapping into to help get a pulse on climate change.
2. Alberta is reinstating its 1976 coal policy after outcry from the public
Photo by Anna Newell on UnsplashAfter the government attempted to repeal a piece of legislation restricting coal mining in the Rocky Mountains, there was a massive public outcry that has led the government to retract its repeal. “Albertans have spoken loud and clear and we have heard them. Not only will we reinstate the full 1976 coal policy, we will implement further protections and consult with Albertans on a new, modern coal policy. Alberta’s government is absolutely committed to protecting the majestic Eastern Slopes and the surrounding natural environment,” says Sonya Save, Minister of Energy.
3. Shell announces that oil production has peaked and is now declining
Photo by Zbynek Burival on UnsplashThere is good green news coming from Europe’s largest oil and gas producer. Shell announced that its oil production peaked in 2019, and is now declining by one to two percent every year as the company shifts away from fossil fuels. Shell has announced its plans to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050, both internally and for products used by its customers. As larger corporations make sustainable shifts, it will be easier for individual consumers to make choices in favour of the planet as well.
4. The world’s first “energy island” has been approved in Denmark
Photo by Mary Ray on UnsplashDanish politicians have approved the biggest construction project in Denmark’s history that has positive implications for our planet: an energy island. Measuring about 18 football fields and set about 80 kilometres off the shore, this artificial island will host 200 giant offshore wind turbines, providing electricity for Danes as well as neighbouring countries. This island is the first of its kind in the world. It is one step in meeting Denmark’s Climate Act, which has committed to a 70 percent decrease in 1990 greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
5. New innovations share progress against the risk of micro plastics
Photo by Brian Yurasits on UnsplashWhile the exact threat that microplastics pose is undetermined but potentially deadly, these minuscule bits of plastic are found in every corner of our planet and even in living beings, and are raising major concerns. However, there is some progress being made to reduce microplastics. Inventor Fionn Ferreira has created a fluid that magnetizes microplastics into groups, where they can be then filtered from water, which is said to be 88 percent effective. Furthermore, scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have created a new type of water filter made from plant cells, which can remote nano plastics from water. Innovations like these give hope to the crisis of plastic pollution, no matter how small.
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!