With reports of rising temperatures and increased natural disasters, it’s not uncommon to feel worried about climate change. But it’s important to celebrate the small wins. There are lots of people and organisations doing amazing things for the planet right now. Check out our favourite good news stories about climate change from the last few months…
1. Philanthropic Lottery Winner
A man who won 200 million on the EuroMillions used his winnings to set up an environmental foundation to protect forests and boost biodiversity. The French media have referred to him as ‘Guy’ and reported that he is living in the South of France. According to Guy, the money will be used to “protect the living and watch over our own future”.
2. Extinct ‘Fantastic Giant Tortoise’ Found Alive on The Galapogas Islands
A rare species of tortoise, believed to have been extinct for over a century, has been discovered alive. The chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as the ‘fantastic giant tortoise’ was thought to have died out centuries ago. It is native to the Galapagos Fernandina island. The only know specimen was discovered in 1906 but in 2019 researchers discovered a female tortoise on the island. Last week they finally proved the two are related.
3. Solar energy can now be stored for up to 18 years thanks to a scientific breakthrough.
Until recently, solar energy has been classed as a variable renewable; it can only be used when the sun is shining. But a technological breakthrough means this energy can now be stored. The technology is based on a specifically designed molecule of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen that changes shape when it comes into contact with sunlight. It can then be stored in liquid form for later use. A catalyst releases the stored energy as heat while returning the molecule to its original shape, ready to be reused again. Scientists have refined this system over the years and it is now possible to store the energy for an incredible 18 years.
4. New High Rise Office In Melbourne Covered With 1,182 Solar Panels
A new high rise office building in Melbourne has been designed to be self sustainable. On completion it will be covered in 1,182 solar panels, along with extra solar panels on the roof. Electricity will be harnessed onsite and used immediately, which makes it more efficient and helps reduce strain on the grid.
5. Seagrass is Adapting To Climate Change & Turning Into A Carbon Sink
A new study has found that a species of underwater plant, known as Poseidon’s ribbon weed, has been effectively cloning itself for the last 4,500 years. It now covers an area the size of Cincinnati and serves as an effective water purifier and carbon sink.
6. Chile’s Patagonia Placed Under Environmental Protection
Over 30 years ago, US billionaire Douglas Tompkins dedicated his fortune to conservation. In 1990 he bought and donated 8,000km2 of land to Chile and Argentina to help improve biodiversity. His vision was to create a reserve in southern Chile for both hikers and animals to enjoy. The founder of The North Face and Esprit sadly died in a kayaking accident in 2015. This inspired Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to create 5 new national parks, placing millions of acres of land under strict environmental protection. Patagonia National Park is now thriving, providing a safe place for animals, including the endangered Andean huemul deer.
7. Australia’s First Eco-Conscious Prime Minister
Australia’s new leader, Anothony Albanese says Australia could become a new renewable power. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Albanese said “Australian businesses know that good action on climate change is good for jobs and good for our economy, and I want to join the global effort.”
8. Whale Rescued From Illegal Fishing Net
Spanish divers have rescued a 12m humpback whale that was trapped in an illegal drift net off the Balearic island of Mallorca. The whale was spotted by a ship about 3 miles off the coast of Mallorca. The Palma de Mallorca’s Aquarium Marine Rescue Centre responded and sent a ship out to try and help the whale. Unfortunately the whale was completely trapped in the fishing net and couldn’t even open its mouth. After attempting to free the whale from the boat, four divers entered the water and used their knives to cut the whale free. One of the divers, Gigi Torras, reported: “The first ten seconds she got a bit nervous, you know, but then call me crazy, but I think she knew we were there to help her and she just relaxed”.
9. The First Net Zero Cancer Operation
Surgeons at Solihull Hospital in the West Midlands have carried out a 5 hour bowel cancer surgery that was completely carbon neutral. This is the first ever net zero cancer operation. Emissions from the procedure were cut by 80% with the remaining 20% offset by two surgeons cycling and running to work. They also planted trees in the hospital grounds to further offset their footprint. Hospitals have a surprisingly large carbon footprint. The NHS accounts for around 6% of the country’s total CO2 emissions.
10. Goats Are Helping To Prevent Wildfires In California
A buildup of dead vegetation in parkland and wilderness areas is accelerating wildfires across California. In 2021 more than two million acres of wilderness was lost to wildfires. Meteorologists are predicting that 2022 could be a catastrophic season for wildfires. Herds of goats are being used to eat the unwanted vegetation and invasive plants. The ‘cleared’ land that is left behind acts as a fire break and can successfully stop wildfires.
The first 6 months of 2022 have seen some bold and inspiring climate action across the globe. But you don’t need to be a millionaire or the next prime minister to make a difference. Check out the links below for some easy ways to help tackle the climate emergency.