The past year has been one unlike any other, as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world and changed our definition of normal. However, amidst the uncertainty, there’s always a silver lining to offer a glimmer of hope and help us continue the new year
with a smile.
Renewable forms of electricity are sweeping across the world
In the year 2020, the electricity generated by renewable sources in the United Kingdom overtook gas and coal power, which spells good news for the environment. With an increase in the number of wind farms, almost one-fourth of the total electricity was generated by wind turbines. It is heartening to note that a prominent world leader like UK has taken positive steps towards phasing out gas power within the coming decade. In India, renewable energy generation stands at 136 GW and is on the way to achieve the target of 175GW by 2022, as the government continues to invest heavily in cost-effective sustainable energy solutions.
Cleaning up the oceans is not an unachievable dream
The Pacific Ocean has an astounding 87,000 metric tonnes of trash, mostly plastic. An idealistic Dutch teenager named Boyan Slat dreamt of creating floating platforms to collect the rubbish in tighter areas. He founded the company Ocean Cleanup and garnered $40 million in funds. After years of research, this dream became a reality and the company succeeded in collecting most of the plastic before it reached the oceans. The company even made sunglasses from the plastic extracted from the ocean!
Some rare species on the verge of extinction are back
The Antarctic blue whales were abundantly found off South Georgia. However, whaling made these species nearly extinct. The species that had nearly disappeared are back, with over 58 blue whales sighted on record. Elsewhere, the kakapo of New Zealand, also known as the world’s heaviest parrot, was known for having its existence endangered by predator mammals. They were also struck by a respiratory disease, but prompt treatment in Auckland cured them and they are now back in circulation.
Unemployed oil workers gain fruitful employment in the solar industry
The coronavirus pandemic brought several industries to a standstill, rendering several oil and gas employees jobless. However, the booming solar industry of Texas absorbed these professionals. The similarity in the skillset of these two industries ensured a smooth transition.
Bowhead whale population recovers despite Arctic warming
Bowhead whales living in the Arctic Circle were nearly wiped out of existence by commercial whalers at the beginning of the 20th century. Their large slow-moving bodies made them an easy target for the whalers. However, these whales are returning to Alaska in large numbers in what is one of the greatest conservation success stories.
The work on the Great Green Wall in Africa received a giant boost
French President Emmanuel Macron declared that $14 billion had been apportioned for funding the work of the Great Green Wall, which is a herculean task of planting trees across 5,000 miles in the Sahel and Sahara region. The aim is to revive degraded land, create jobs and protect the biodiversity of the region. The financiers of this project are the French Government, the World Bank and African Development Bank.
Conservation has acquired a new dimension with changing times. As societies awaken and adapt themselves to face the ecological crisis and shared ownership of the planet, the following quote comes to mind:
“Disasters and emergencies do not just throw light on the world as it is. They also rip open the fabric of normality. Through the hole that opens up, we glimpse possibilities of other worlds.”
– Peter Baker