Good News Digest #7
Bad news related to climate change is hitting us at all angles. Fear and urgency are dominating the climate conversation. Yet positive climate stories and solutions are equally, if not more effective drivers of climate action.
They prove that solutions are working and are ready to be scaled. They show that nature is resilient and comes up with surprising ways of preserving itself. They send a clear signal to governments, policymakers, corporations and the wider public that there is a growing demand for cleaner technology and climate policy.
If you feel like you are drowning in bad news, we have collected lasts week’s climate change success stories to get you through the week.
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Taiwan — Find out how the country, once nicknamed ‘Garbage Island,’ cut waste by 30% and became a model for change in the recycling industry.
Malaysia — Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin announced Tuesday that her country will be returning 3,300 tons of contaminated trash back to the countries it came from: the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Japan, China, Canada, and others. This is a major opportunity for these countries to rethink their waste management systems.
New York — Poland Spring water that is still and under one gallon will be sold in recycled plastic bottles by 2022, Nestlé Waters North America shared last Monday.
Cardiff, Whales — One of Wales' largest mosques has gone plastic-free over Ramadan. In the past, it used to order 30,000 knives, forks and spoons, 15,000 plates, 15,000 cups and 10,000 bottles of water.
Pennsylvania — A waste management company, J.P. Mascaro & Sons, is running trials on a recycling program that extracts flexible plastics (typically non-recyclable) from curbside recycling pickups and transforms them into new products rather than send them to landfills.
Saskatchewan, Canada — The sales of electric vehicles doubled across the province in the first quarter of 2019.
Europe — The sales of electric vehicles went up by 70% and diesel sales dropped by 12%.
China — China has at least 20 towns entirely dedicated to researching and manufacturing electric cars.
Canada — The country has become the first country to sign on to the Drive to Zero Pledge, an international initiative aimed at increasing the number of zero and low emission vehicles in the medium- and heavy-duty transportation sector.
Great Britain — England, Scotland and Wales has officially gone two weeks without the use of coal, hitting a new power milestone since the Industrial Revolution.
Global — A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm called WattTime is going to use satellite imagery to track air pollution coming out of every single power plant in the world in real time. It will make the data publicly available, which will empower all tools and avenues for pollution reduction and fill in the gaps for pollution monitoring.
Finland — Eight municipalities pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80% from 2007 levels by the year 2030.
Minneapolis, Minnesota — Xcel Energy, one of the biggest utility companies in the US, committed to going completely carbon-free by 2050 (and 80 percent carbon-free by 2030).
Europe — A coalition of eight European cities pledged to completely decarbonize their existing buildings by 2050. The cities are Leeds, England; Dublin, Ireland; Velika Gorica, Croatia; Budaörs, Hungary; Padova, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Wroclaw, Poland and Eskişehir, Turkey.
Global — The cost of renewable energy has dropped even more over the past year, to the point where almost every source of green energy can now compete on cost with oil, coal and gas-fired power plants.
Baltimore — 79 homes will form an "eco-village" with net zero emissions in Northeast Baltimore's Tivoly Triangle. The 20 single-family houses and 59 duplexes will produce 100% of the energy they consume through renewable energy sources like solar panels.
Germany — Renewable energy generation jumps to a record of 47% for the first five months of 2019, putting Germany well ahead of its 2025 target (40- 45% of total electricity consumption from renewables).
Utah — The world’s largest renewable energy storage project was announced in Utah last week. The Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project will house 1,000 megawatts of energy storage capacity, enough to power 150,000 households for a year.
United Kingdom — Some of the UK's most prestigious architecture firms jointly signed an open letter declaring a 'climate and biodiversity emergency’ and calling on the wider architecture and construction industry to step up efforts curb its climate impact.
Baltimore — The NRDC just awarded grants to 11 organizations working to reduce food waste in their communities.
Philippines — The Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act was approved by the Philippine House of Representatives, requiring all elementary, high school, and college students to plant 10 trees each before they can graduate.
Portland — Portland and South Portland pledged to combat climate change with the launch of the One Climate Future initiative, aimed at improving transportation, building standards, energy efficiency, reducing waste, promoting sustainable consumption practices and increasing overall resiliency.
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