Some good news at last! It's important to not bury your head in the sand when it comes to climate change, but it can be a little overwhelming too.
We want to highlight positive eco-news, for others as much as ourselves. We're not the only ones out there with a mission and a positive outlook. So we want to give kudos to the sustainability community where we can, help you feel more informed about eco-hacks and most importantly help you feel a little more positive. If you're doing your bit to help the planet, you're not alone.
Good News Stories You Need to Hear
Britain Awards Record Breaking Investment In Renewable Energy
If there's one thing that's very difficult to not get anxious about is energy. If you live in Britain, the word in a headline is usually prefaced by a huge rise, which we've seen recently with gas and electric to go up in October and January.
There's no doubt this is a particularly challenging storm to ride, with customers across the U.K and Europe due to be hit by huge hikes in their energy bill. But there is an energy efficient light at the end of this particularly dark tunnel; with the U.K set to award record-breaking contracts to solar, wind and tidal projects.
The announcement went slightly under the radar, given the small matter of the Prime Minister's resignation the same day. The story was picked up by Euronews under the angle of U.K energy bills to drop next year. While it's difficult to avoid the looming prices overshadowing this, the points to remember are these: The awards to renewable supplier projects are capable of generating a record-breaking 11 gigawatts (GW) of electricity. Or in other words, it will generate at prices four times lower than the current cost of gas.
It's estimated this will be enough to power 12 million homes in the U.K, equivalent to 6 gas-fired power stations. And while this may be news to you, this was actually announced in July.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted from Teeside: "Westminster is a mess, but this investment - and those jobs - will outlast any PM.”
He later added: “The more cheap, clean power we generate within our own borders, the better protected we will be from volatile gas prices that are pushing up bills.”
There have been protests in Glasgow and elsewhere against rising energy bills, with recent figures topping the £4200 mark for gas and electric by January 2023. It may be in renewable energy, where the tide starts to turn.
The Biden Administration Plans to Plant 1 Billion Trees
Across the pond, freakish weather is nothing new. But increasing amounts of destructive fires have left American forests and woodlands decimated. The Biden administration plans to plant a billion trees across millions of acres of the western states of America, where forests and woodlands have been particularly burned.
With a backlog of over 4 million acres of forest in need of replanting, the U.S Agricultural Department will need to accelerate its efforts. After Congress initially passed legislation to plant 1.2 billion trees over the next decade and in April, President Biden instructed the agency to improve the forests' durability as the planet deals with the ever-changing climate.
The plan will consider where best to make up the backlog of areas that need planting, taking into account areas becoming overgrown, avoiding dense woodland that by default becomes more fire-prone.
Science director for North America at the Nature Conservancy Joe Fargione believes the key challenges to the Forest Service will be finding ample seeds, as well as enough workers to plant them.
“You’ve got to be smart about where you plant,” Fargione said. “There are some places that the climate has already changed enough that it makes the probability of successfully reestablishing trees pretty low.”
But crucially, replacing those trees that die is important to prevent the exacerbation of climate change. With Fargione adding that living trees are a major "sink" for carbon dioxide, which drives climate change when it enters the atmosphere.
M&S Removes Best Before Dates Across Fruit and Veg in Bid to Tackle Food Waste
How many times have you picked up some fruit or veg from the supermarket, noticed it's due to go off tomorrow and put it back? You're not alone, which is why Marks and Spencer announced on their newsletter they'll be removing the best before dates on 300 lines of fruit and vegetables, following a successful trial.
As part of their Sustainability Roadmap, they have pledged to halve food waste by 2030. The move will cover 85% of M&S's produce, with common items like apples, potatoes and broccoli found to be frequently wasted.
Andrew Clappen, Director of Food Technology for the store said: “We’re determined to tackle food waste – our teams and suppliers work hard to deliver fresh, delicious, responsibly sourced produce at great value and we need to do all we can to make sure none of it gets thrown away. To do that, we need to be innovative and ambitious - removing best before dates where safe to do so, trialling new ways to sell our products and galvanising our customers to get creative with leftovers and embrace change."