5 Uplifting Sustainability Stories to Celebrate
With 2020 came countless news stories focusing on the grim state of the world. The past year took a toll on public health, the global economy, public health and our way of living. However, there were also some positive, under-reported news stories surrounding the environment and sustainability that should be celebrated.
It has become more clear than ever that the link between human and planetary health is closely tied. This has highlighted to the world the need for preserving and preserving nature, wildlife and biodiversity in order to combat climate change.
Despite all the negativity in the media, there were many solutions invented and implemented that brought a positive outcome in terms of sustainability. Here are some of the uplifting stories from the past year to celebrate and hopefully inspire.
#1 ‘Greenest’ Electricity Year Ever in Europe
For the first time in the industrial age, it was recorded that renewable resources such as wind and solar power have now become the European Union's main source of electricity. Data showed that in 2020 renewable sources generated 38% of energy, overtaking fossil fuels as well as coal-generated power.
Denmark achieved the highest proportion of wind and solar power, contributing 61% of its electricity. This focus on using renewable energy is only set to increase as more countries begin implementing and installing more wind and solar plants.
#2 Human Footprint Decreased as a Consequence of Pandemic
According to the Global Footprint Network Living Planet Report there was a decrease in human ecological footprint as a result of global standstill caused by the pandemic during 2020. Due to the suspension of industrial activities such as fossil fuel combustion and wood harvest, carbon emissions were reduced.
With fewer buses, trains, and people pounding the pavement, the usual hum of public life slowed down. The human produced vibrations were significantly decreased as well as air pollution and CO2 consumption. While many of us are raring to get back into action and assume ‘normal life’, it’s important to celebrate these small wins for the planet.
#3 Chernobyl Fungus Eats Radiation
Five years after the Chernobyl disaster, the walls of the Chernobyl reactor were starting to be covered by an unusual growing fungus. It was not until last year that they discovered that the fungus actually was feeding and thriving on radioactivity.
Researchers claim that the fungus is rich in melanin, allowing it to absorb the radiation and transform it into another type of energy. The mould is now being tested by scientists as a radiation shield to potentially protect astronauts leaving Earth’s atmosphere.
#4 China Turns On the World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm
China turned on the world’s largest floating solar project, built in the province of Anhui - a coal-rich region, located on a lake that was once the site of intensive mining. This power plant will be able to produce enough energy for 15,000 homes.
This admirable project is even built on top of a manmade lake that is not ecologically sensitive. By building solar farms on lakes and bodies of water assists in protecting ecosystems and the agricultural land from being exploited for energy use. The water also cools the electronics in the solar panels, which helps the panels to work more efficiently.
Even more promising is that the Sungrow solar farm is just one tiny piece in China’s push towards renewable energy. The country has announced an investment of $361 billion in renewable power with a focus on wind, solar and hydropower.
#5 Oil Giants Pledge Net-Zero Emissions & Biodiversity Goals By 2050
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), has recently set out new requirements as part of their membership conditions for businesses.
In order to meet the new rules, more than 200 of the world’s biggest companies, including Shell, Chevron, Volkswagen and PepsiCo, have committed to reaching net-zero emissions until 2050, as well as with another plethora other environmental targets.
This is a fantastic initiative from the business sector. It’s vital that these firms take steps towards more environmental initiatives as their input has the power to accelerate global sustainable development.
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