It’s been a tough year. Instead of focusing on more bad news, we’ve rounded up the most encouraging environmental stories that made headlines this month

The climate crisis is overwhelming to say the least. While it’s great to make individual changes, we know that more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by only 100 companies. With so many forests on fire, natural disasters occurring at higher rates than ever, and the feeling that our small acts of eco-friendliness don’t matter, we can easily get discouraged into inaction. So let’s celebrate these huge environmental wins that happened in September and stay motivated to protect our planet!


1. New Zealand promises to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

new zealandPhoto by Nate Watson on UnsplashJacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, made a promise this month to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 if reelected. Previously, New Zealand's goal to reach 100 percent renewable energy was slated for 2035, but Ardern is placing it five years earlier than originally planned.


2. Eco-friendly laundry Brand Tru Earth ranks as one of Canada's fastest growing companies

Tru EarthB.C.-based zero-waste laundry brand Tru Earth ranked 167th on The Globe and Mail’s second annual list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies, which acknowledges the 400 boldest businesses in the country. Tru Earth’s signature product is an innovative zero-waste laundry strip that is an ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, liquidless detergent. The brand also offers other eco-friendly lifestyle products, like reusable makeup pads, reusable grocery bags and wool dryer balls.


3. Endangered pileated gibbon is born at UK zoo

pileated gibbonBlackpool ZooAn endangered pileated gibbon, native to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, was born at Blackpool Zoo in the UK this month. Gibbons have become endangered mainly due to habitat destruction and there are only 14 of this species located in UK zoos with just two pairs left for breeding.


4. Climate Week in NYC holds free livestreams on various topics

climate changePhoto by Markus Spiske on UnsplashClimate Week in New York City went COVID-friendly by taking the event online with free livestreams and workshops. Some of these events tackled topics such as: Green Recovery from COVID-19, Ending Racism and Classism in the Climate Movement, Women in the Climate Change Workforce, An Indigenous Vision for a Just Transition, plus much more.


5. China to aim for carbon neutrality by 2060

ChinaPhoto by Ralf Leineweber on UnsplashPresident Xi Jinping of China just announced the country’s goal to hit carbon neutrality by 2060. He also said that the country plans to peak its emissions before 2030. China has mentioned this goal before, but this is the first time there has been a commitment to a long-term goal, including carbon neutrality.


6. Washington State bans wildlife killing contests

foxPhoto by Gary Bendig on UnsplashWashington is the seventh state in the U.S. to ban killing animals for sport and prizes. Previously, those in favour of the killing contests tried to justify their actions by claiming that hunting helped with population control, despite the fact that the animals in question, such as foxes and coyotes, aren't an issue. The Humane Society of the US (HSUS) hopes that more states will follow Washington’s lead in banning killing contests.


7. California to ban sale of gas-powered cars by 2035

electric carPhoto by Andrew Roberts on UnsplashGavin Newsom, the governor of California, signed an order to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035. California has had some of its worst-ever recorded wildfires this year and this move will help cut down on the carbon pollution produced by transportation in the state. In fact, transportation accounts for more than half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.


8. Irish meat company launches vegan bacon

naked baconAn easy way to cut down your individual carbon footprint is to eat fewer meat products. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or a 'Meatless Monday' devotee, you can look forward to trying this new vegan bacon. Irish meat company, Finnebrogue Artisan, has launched a vegan bacon at 600 Tesco stores throughout the UK. The new product is called ‘Without the Oink’ and contains vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, iron and B12.


9. Sweden is turning homes into renewable energy stations

swedenPhoto by Jonathan Brinkhorst on UnsplashSweden is already powered by 54 percent renewable energy, but it isn’t stopping there. Apartments in the city of Ludvika are home to new energy technology. Three buildings with 48 apartments are now housing photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems connected by a micro-energy grid. Instead of consuming power, this system produces enough power for 77 percent of residential needs. Sweden is hoping to spread this model across the country.