“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.” – Jay Inslee
Yes indeed, Climate Change is a big talking point these days. The effects of our warming planet are starting to be felt across the globe, and many of us have recognised that it as a real threat. So, yes, the subject is a little scary at times, but along with that fear comes many examples of courage, passion, mindfulness and hope. The quest to battle climate change has bought many of us together, impassioned for a single purpose. The planet may be sick, but the recent demonstrations and widespread habitual lifestyle alterations, such as a rise in veganism and a reduction in the appetite for single use plastics, are a sign that we all care deeply about the world that we live in, and, as a collective, are prepared to do something about it!
It may appear, at times, as if the battle against climate change is being lost. Although there is a very long way to go in order to help the planet to heal, there are plenty of wins to celebrate. Mindfulness for the planet’s wellbeing, and how our behaviours affect it have led to a number of victories for our world in 2019. Peruse these small victories and be hopeful!
1. Regenerative Agriculture
One of the issues around the way that we farm is that we are running out of farmable space! The space that we currently occupy for farming isn’t going anywhere, true. But research estimates that the land we currently use to farm upon may only have around 60 years of resilience left in it. Topsoil takes hundreds of years to develop, and at the rate we farm, this may be depleted in less than a century. However, all is not lost. Regenerative agriculture, which mimics and accelerates the natural process of soil development, improves soil health and extracts excess carbon from the atmosphere. The use of this type of process is on a steep incline, so much so that food packaging is starting to be marked with regenerative labels.
2. Power Shift
2019 has seen power provided by renewable sources, such as wind and solar, account for a third the planet’s electricity. This is expected to continue to rise as, amongst other projects, there are a large number of off-shore wind farms currently under construction across the globe.
3. Surge in Reusables
Not only has the sale of reusable items such as coffee cups, water bottles, shopping bags and Tupperware shot up in the last 12 months, but many companies are investing a lot of time and energy into developing packaging and recycling systems. For example, some UK supermarkets are set to introduce refillable milk stations in there stores. There are also private companies currently working on a recycling system whereby they will collect packaging from your doorstep when you are done with the contents in order to reuse the packaging for the very same purpose. This is not just recycling; it is reusing on a massive scale.
4. Plastic Crackdown
The plastic in the ocean issue is still pretty big. In fact, no significant dent has been made on the issue in quite some time. However, a new piece of legislation just passed by the EU should make a large difference. They have voted to ban 10 different categories of single-use plastics from member states by 2021. Some of these categories include cutlery, plates, straws and bags.
5. Meat Free Schools
This development actually covers two issues! Schools in the UK are always looking for effective ways to save money. One of the ways many schools have managed to do this is by cutting down on their meat consumption. This also has a positive effect on their carbon footprint! Some schools have vegetarian days of the week, some have simply gone completely vegetarian. With many other schools set to follow suit, this is a win for the planet and for the quality of food being served to schoolchildren.
These are some of our favourite wins for the planet this year, but there are many more things to be hopeful about; the various initiatives to introduce more trees across the globe for example, or the number of clothing retailers now offering recycling services for unwanted garments. The battle is not won… but progress is being made. This is good!
By Chris Thomson
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