The news is often crammed with existential dread surrounding the fate of our environment, however the good news should not be overshadowed. In light of this years environment day, this article will showcase some positive environmental achievements.
A recent study discovered 30,000 different enzymes that could degrade 10 different types of plastic. Plastic pollution has a deadly and direct impact on both the environment and wildlife, along with the chemical impact of persistent organic pollutant build-up, with the main issue being it isn’t bio-degradable. Although initially discovered by accident, the new enzyme reveals a new way to turn plastic bottles back into plastic bottles, as the 14% of bottles currently recycled can only be turned into opaque fibres for carpets or clothing. Research is currently underway to use the best technology to optimise it into a super-fast operating enzyme perfect for industrial use.
After winning £200 million back in December 2020, an exceptionally generous move has been made by a man, who wishes to remain anonymous. He has decided to donate almost all of it to “protect the living and watch over our own future,” being used to set up an environmental foundation known as Anyama. After witnessing first hand the effects of deforestation the anonymous lottery winner wants to spread the message that humans can preserve the natural environment if we want to—and that giving makes people more happy than having. This is one of the largest recorded donations to an environmental fund by a single person and will make a huge difference to the current climate crisis!
It has been calculated that wind and solar power can grow enough to limit global warming to 1.5C. But, only if the average growth rate remains at 20% till 2030. Although not yet fully able to cover the total electricity demand, 2021 saw solar generation rise to 23% globally; with wind supply gaining 14% over the same period. Both of these renewable sources accounted for 10.3% to global electricity generation. This is great news for working to a more sustainable planet, with the main thing limiting this growth is getting profitable industries to change their ways. However, if this current growth continues the 2030 goals will be acheieved!
Another brilliant piece of news is the breakthrough ability for solar energy to be stored for up to 18 years! Scientists say this new and radical break through enables solar-powered electronics to be one step closer to becoming apart of our daily lives. Although still in its early stages, researchers have found a way to produce electricity by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator. This will allow stored solar energy to be used on demand, regardless of season, time of day, weather or location!
We’ve all seen the news articles crying out about the loss of coral reefs, which are necessary to the survival of thousands of marine species. But all hope is not lost, recent studies have discovered that bleached coral reefs can still provide nutrients. This unexpected hope proves that local communities can still thrive despite the impacts of climate change. Although they coral reefs should continue to be sustainable managed to protect the vulnerable populations, this new evidence shows that the already bleached environments are not completely lost.