2019’s Good News in a Nutshell
Our dear friends,
Now that the festive season is over and January is in full swing, it can only mean one thing… it’s time for our annual Retrospective for 2019!
Each year we compile a subjective news report, focusing on positive human impact and environmental solutions to celebrate the amazing progress we have made while outlining the areas we need to improve.
TIME’s 2019 person of the year and environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, succeeded in igniting the global environmental movement, leading to waves of mass demonstrations worldwide that have resulted in a global shift in mindset regarding the climate crisis. 2019 has been branded as the year that awareness on climate skyrocketed. We can all agree that progress is starting to be made… but what next?
Keep scrolling down to read our 2019 Retrospective and bring on a sustainable 2020 – happy inspirational reading!
Everything we rely on, be it air, water, food or shelter, depends on biodiversity. However, biodiversity is deteriorating at a devastating (and accelerating) rate due to human activity. Without it, entire ecosystems will collapse, leading to catastrophic and irreversible consequences for life on Earth. Biodiversity is widely recognised for its role in the food chain, but beyond that, it has countless benefits. For instance, biodiverse melting pots such as coral reefs, protect coastlines against flooding and extreme weather events. It is interesting to note that while coral reefs only make up 0.1% of the Earth’s oceans, they support a quarter of all marine life.
Here are some examples of great victories for biodiversity and conservation in 2019. We hope it inspires you to take climate action!
- The survival of a 100 year old giant tortoise
- The Endangered Species Act responsible for an increase in sea turtle populations
- Heat-resistant coral transplant could revive dead and dying reefs
- UK Protected Marine Areas’ expansion
- Rewilding Britain
- Humpback whales recover from near extinction in the South Atlantic
- The Guam rail is the second bird in history to recover from being extinct in the wild (after the California condor), thanks to conservation breeding programmes
- Reviving Ukraine’s wetlands
- More wildlife success stories of 2019
2019 marked the rise of renewables and the fall of coal, signalling a very encouraging (and much needed) shift away from fossil fuels towards greener alternatives. Here are a compilation of articles that outline the remarkable (and overdue) successes of the renewables industry in 2019:
- A solar energy breakthrough
- Clean energy outpacing fossil fuels in the US
- The rise of sustainable energies: renewable energy sources now account for around a third of all global power capacity
- Fossil fuels at record low in UK energy mix
- 20 UK university institutions sign up to renewable energy deal
- Japan to oppose new or expanded coal-fired power plants in blow to Australian exports
- Alaska judge blocks Trump on Arctic and Atlantic drilling
- Renewables produced more energy than brown coal and gas over summer
- Biggest corporate deal in renewables from Google
The plastics industry is highly unsustainable – almost all plastics are made from fossil fuels and about 50% of all plastics are single-use and non-recyclable. To add insult to injury, less than 10% of all plastic waste has been recycled. Most plastics end up in our oceans, contaminating them and impacting negatively on biodiversity and the ecosystems that depend on them.
Despite this, positive steps were taken in 2019 to limit the prevalent and damaging throwaway culture and encourage recycling and a reduction of plastic consumption.
- Global restrictions on plastics are implemented as the European Union bans single-use plastic items like straws, cups, plates, cotton bud sticks:
- Scotland confirms 20p deposit return scheme for plastics bottles, steel and aluminium cans, glass bottles
- Ocean Clean up engineering proves their system can collect rubbish and plastics from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- Recycle, reuse, but don’t always replace: experts debate how to cut plastic waste
- Coalition of major companies trial reusable packaging for online orders
Individual efforts are important, but leadership and legislation change are paramount in addressing the climate crisis and creating real and measurable change.
2019 highlighted a significant shift in collective mindsets and we began to see that being reflected in new environmental laws and regulations.
- Norway bans deforestation... AND refuses to drill for billions of barrels of oil in Arctic
- Finally, court rules Dutch government has duty to protect citizens’ rights in face of the climate crisis
- Approval and adoption of The Declaration of the Peasants Rights and Other People Working in Rural Areas. Historic event for international human rights
- Ecuador tribe wins legal battle over the Amazon
- Plastic straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers to be banned in England
Read all about the waves of mass demonstrations that took place worldwide in 2019, resulting in climate rising to the top of public attention. While there appears to be a gap between widespread environmental values and action that reflects these values, it is very encouraging nonetheless to see the beginnings of a global shift in mindset regarding the climate emergency.
- Here is her talk at the World Economic Greta Thunberg ‘our house is on fire’:
- Youth demonstrate internationally. “The sea level is raising, so are we”
- Climate strikes held around the world
- Climate crisis: 6 million people join latest wave of global protests
- Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever
- Hundreds of thousands of students join global climate strike
It’s difficult not to feel inspired when reading about the great green advancements being made globally. Here are a compilation of news stories from 2019!
- Six solutions to heal the world
- A diet containing small amounts of seaweed will reduce methane emissions from belching cows by 80%
- Polio disease could be eliminated by 2020 in Africa
- UN climate scientists claim they can halt global warming for 300billion$
- London is to get UK's first zero-emission street
But it’s not a success story yet...
2020 and the decade following will be crucial in determining the future of life on Earth as we know it. Yes, global awareness to the emergency has been achieved, but the journey does not end here.
2019 was also a year defined by more severe and frequent extreme weather events, rising (and warming) sea levels, catastrophic megafires and a furiously changing climate.
So much more needs to be done if we are to address the climate crisis and make the appropriate changes needed to curb its devastating effects.
This is an individual, corporate and most importantly, a governmental and global challenge that cannot be addressed without collaboration and commitment from all sides. The gap between pledges and action needs to be bridged. 2020 must be a year of CLIMATE ACTION if we are to limit global heating.
While we acknowledge that 2019 was by no means an environmental success story, we believe that shedding light on good news and advancements in sustainability science will inspire hope and motivate individuals to take climate action in 2020 and the years to follow!
Our Retrospectives compliment the important themes covered in our STEM based DIVERSITY DECK® Collection and Educational Hub. Great progress has been made regarding biodiversity and conservation, renewables, plastics and recycling, environmental legislation and civil protest – and we celebrate all these victories in our Retrospective.
Inaction and limited action are no longer options. So for those who need a positive burst of information to get them started, we hope our 2019 Retrospective will serve as inspiration.
Stay tuned for more information on sustainable development and how to live sustainably! Follow our social media channels for bite-size chunks of climate knowledge, sustainability science and first-hand insight into special deals, offers and new product launches!
Happy inspirational reading!
The MAINTENANT team