Environmental enthusiasts are often faced with the uphill task of staying motivated in the light of grim statistics. However, all isn’t doom and gloom. The world of environmental preservation has been witnessing some much-needed innovation that serves well to inspire others to join hands and help protect our planet. Read on for all the good news stories which show that no effort is small when it comes to caring for our environment.
Washington welcomes back dolphins
Back in the 1880s, Washington DC’s Potomac River was a pristine water body dubbed as the ‘nation’s river’ and served as home to bottlenose dolphins. However, things went downhill and it became a murky waterbody that eventually got deserted by dolphins, leading to clean-ups and environmental initiatives from around 1972. Fifty years down the line, things have finally been looking up; not only has the dolphin spotting increased greatly, but it has also become a fertile breeding ground for them.
1000-year-old cherry tree in Japan
A beautiful reminder of the strength of mother nature can be witnessed by the 1000-year-old cherry tree in Japan. It has survived the harshest of weather changes in the course of its life. But more importantly, back in 2011, when the most powerful earthquake in the history of Japan triggered a tsunami that damaged a nuclear powerplant just thirty miles away from the tree. Deemed as the worst nuclear disaster in the world, several towns around had been blanketed by radiations. Yet, the Takizakura tree stood there in all its glory. Still blossoming with a cascade of delicate pink flowers, just as it has for over 1000 years, it serves as the best example of resilience.
Innovations in sustainable packaging
In the age of online shopping, fashion brands end up using huge quantities of single-use plastic packaging to safely deliver their products. This amounted to an approximate packaging waste of nearly 170 kilos per person in the European Union. That’s when fashion giants sat up and set examples of sustainable packaging for the world to follow. Monday’s Child, a luxury clothing brand for kids, started using boxes that double as dollhouses to ensure reusability and made from plant-based materials and biodegradable plastic that minimise environmental impact. Another fashion brand, Pink Boutique, took a sweeter route to saving the environment by replacing polythene mailing bags with a completely recyclable alternative made from sugarcane.
Waste-to-wages plan in Ghana Informal waste pickers have always been around cleaning up society, but their work goes highly unnoticed. However, in Ghana, a pilot project between the World Economic Forum, the Global Plastic Action Partnership and the tech giant SAP is looking to change the narrative. They plan to collaborate with over 2,000 waste pickers and quantify the data in order to analyse the actions which need to be taken. They will ensure that the waste pickers earn fairer wages for their work. Policymakers will use the collected data in order to decide where to build recycling plants. Socially responsible companies will pay a premium for plastics that will benefit the end-user and protect the environment.
Australian wildfires finally contained
Australia has been fighting off disasters on two fronts, in the form of coronavirus and wildfires. When things looked bleak for the firefighters, much-needed relief from heavy rainfall helped in containing the fires in South Wales, which was bore the maximum brunt of the wildfires. Reportedly, Sydney received the heaviest rainfall ever in 30 years. It serves as a silver lining to herald in the environmental recovery process in the region.
Sea otters help resuscitate Californian kelp forests
The kelp forests in California have been in a state of decline due to an unprecedented marine heatwave which hampers its preferably cold habitat, and large areas of the forest have been covered with sea urchins since 2014. However, the good news is that green-pawed sea otters have been preying on the sea urchins and helping restore balance to the ecosystem.
The concept of sustainable development was ideated back in 1987, warning us about the negative impact of economic growth and globalisation on the environment, and providing alternative eco-friendly schemes. Now, more than ever we need everyone to be on the same page in acting towards protecting the environment to see the power of collective action