We’re not going to sugarcoat things: our environment needs help… a lot of it. Plastic is overwhelming oceans, landfills are reaching max capacity, more species are going extinct, and climate change is becoming more severe just to mention a handful of the most pressing environmental concerns that constantly fill the news. That being said, environmental news isn’t all bad. Earth Month is about celebrating our planet and the good we are doing for it, and that’s exactly what we intend to do with this article. It’s easy to get so caught up in the weight of planet’s problems that the good news of progress and positive change to our planet get outweighed.
Great things happen for our planet everyday and they shouldn’t be ignored. While there is still a lot of work to be done, sharing this news isn’t only the best mood-booster there is, but a great motivator to keep the good work going. Here are eight awesome things that happened for our planet this year to celebrate:
1. The ozone is healing
We’ve been wearing down our ozone for years. Since recognizing this problem in the 1980s, we’ve come to understand that a weaker ozone is a big contributor to global warming. The good news here is that the damage to our ozone isn’t permanent (yet, that is)! In late 2018, the United Nations announced that the ozone could heal in our lifetimes… so long as we work at it! It’s not too late to repair our ozone, and knowing we could achieve realistic, positive results quite quickly is the best motivator there is to do better!
2. Technology is helping clean our oceans
Roombas, but for the ocean exist! In late 2018, a Dutch environmental start-up, Ocean Cleanup Foundation, launched an apparatus into the ocean to help clear plastic and other debris. The ‘vacuum’ was sent into the ocean from San Francisco with the intention to clear massive amounts of trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest of five giant trash piles floating in the ocean between California and Hawaii.
3. Plastic manufacturers are making a commitment to eradicate plastic waste at the source
It was announced this year that 290+ major organizations, representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally, signed The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. This commitment will put forth efforts to reduce plastic waste at the start of the manufacturing process, establish corporate responsibilities towards proper plastic waste management, and keep signatories accountable for their waste and their efforts. Signatories include The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsico, H&M Group, L’Oreal, Unilever, major packaging producers such as Amcor; plastics producers including Novamont, and many other major businesses and government groups.
4. Scientists found 229 new species
Mother Nature continues to amaze us! Over the past year, we’ve established 229 new plant and animal species… and there are still many more to go! Biodiversity scientists estimate that less than 10% of species on Earth have been discovered. So, who are some of our new (well, discovered) neighbors?
- A seahorse the size of a jellybean from the waters of Southeast Japan
- A head-scratching plant that produces sky-blue berries in a location where the plant’s pollination remains a mystery as its unique natural environment would otherwise make pollination impossible
- A radical fish boasting neon pink and yellow scales that is so beautiful, scientists named the species Tosanoides Aphrodite after the Greek goddess of beauty Aphrodite.
- And…a new species of spider that has the fastest turn of any legged animal and can catch prey three times faster than the blink of an eye, but, if you’re an arachnophobe, you can pretend this discovery didn’t happen!
5. We are wasting less water
Here is a fun-fact to whip out on trivia night: the United States is currently using the same amount of water as we did in 1970, but with a population that is almost 50% larger. We can thank an increasing emphasis on water conservation education, taps that are better at conserving and distributing the flow of water (eco-friendly shower heads for the win!), and smarter solutions for using less water.
6. Companies are putting an emphasis on sustainable practices.
This year set a record in the U.S. for corporate renewable energy procurements thanks to companies like Apple and Facebook investing in clean energy. Outside of investing in clean energy, Adidas announced that it will only use recycled plastics in all of its products by 2024 and in February of this year, Walmart also made a commitment to reduce waste from plastic packaging.
7. More retailers are working the “Circular Economy” into their business models
To understand why this is awesome news first, it’s important to understand what “circular economy” means. The circular economy is the thought and practice that any items sold should be bought, used, and then reused or repurposed in new ways once their original purpose no longer serves them as facilitated by the company that produced the item. *Imagine a cool visual of a circle here*.
As an example, let’s say you buy a brand new camping tent. After using it for years, your tent gets a rip in it. Companies who believe in the circular economy would encourage you to not to throw it away, but rather, to send it back to them to repair it with their own materials made from other recycled tents, or, send it back to them so that they can use the materials and recycle it into a new product, like the liner for a waterproof jacket.
Patagonia, Timbaland, and Levi Strauss are companies who uphold circular economy practices. This April, even Apple announced it would be joining the circular economy by launching a material recovery program from tossed products.
8. The United States is getting smarter about it’s resources
The United States is now the major supplier of wood for our country, and best yet, all of that material is from renewable areas! We also have 9 billion more cubic feet of trees in our country than we did back in the ‘50s! Talk about a win.
Sometimes, the state of our planet’s ecology and its future looks grim— it’s always easier to focus on the negatives after all! But, it’s important to share and learn from the strides our society is making to protect our planet. We are making progress. We are cleaning things up. We are making serious efforts do do better. We, as a society, just need to make sure that continue these positive actions and magnify them, while also swiftly halting the things that inflict harm on our planet. This Earth Month, join us in celebrating the feats we’ve made and make the efforts to make this planet just a little bit better from your own existence!
Celebrate Earth Month with us! For every order on BLINQ during the month of April, we are planting a tree!