There has been a lot going on this month…
The hottest day of the year so far was recorded on Saturday 20th April, with temperatures reaching 25.5C. The hottest Easter Monday ever recorded, across all four nations of the UK, also took place on the 22nd April.
We observed ten days of protests, blockades and disruption across London as Extinction Rebellion highlighted the imminent need to act against climate change. More than 1,100 people where arrested since campaigners first blocked traffic on the 15th April. Only time will tell as to whether this public outcry will have its desired affect and encourage politicians to stand up and implement change.
We witnessed the devastating fire of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. Donations have been pouring in ever since, with ordinary people and billionaires alike contributing towards the £650 million pounds worth of donations received in the 10 days following the fire. The question now on everyone’s lips is ‘could this money have been better spent elsewhere?’…a question for another day perhaps.
For now, we have another installment of our good news stories for you. Here’s our round up of some of our favourite stories from the month of April.
‘Attenborough effect’ leads to 53% drop in single use plastic in 12 months
According to a report which praises the ‘Attenborough effect’ – over half of consumers say they’ve reduced the amount of disposable plastic they would normally use in the last year.
The report claims that over the last 12 months, awareness raising initiatives such as David Attenborough’s TV series’ Blue Planet II and Our Planet, are having a positive effect in changing people’s behaviour.
According to the study by Global Web Index which looked into sustainable packaging in the UK and US, 42% of of 3,833 consumers who were surveyed, say products that use sustainable materials are important when it comes to their day to day purchases.
Want to find out how you can reduce your plastic waste? Check out our tips on 5 easy things you can do to reduce your plastic waste, click here.
Swiss philanthropist pledges $1 billion to help save the planet
Philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss, CEO of the Wyss Foundation has pledged to donate $1 billion (£769,470,000) across the next 10 years to help conservation efforts.
The Wyss foundation hopes to help protect land and oceans by supporting conservation work carried out across the world, as well as raising awareness of environmental issues and funding several scientific projects.
A statement announcing the longer-term plans for the cash said the foundation will focus on “creating and expanding protected areas, encouraging the international community to establish more ambitious protected area targets, investing in science, and inspiring conservation action and new investments around the world.”
Over the past 20 years, the Wyss Foundation has donated more than $450 million to preserve wild habitats around the world. Through the hard work of Wyss and the foundation, almost 40 million acres of land and water are being protected.
You can find out more about the work the foundation carries out on the official website here.
Photographer and his wife plant 2 million trees in 20 years to restore a destroyed forest
Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado decided to show what a small group of passionate, dedicated people can do by turning deforestation on its head and begin the process of reforestation.
Salgado is a renowned figure, having won nearly every major award in photojournalism and publishing more than a half-dozen books. Back in the 1990s, exhausted physically and emotionally after documenting the horrific barbarity of the Rwandan genocide, he returned home to his native area of Brazil, which was once covered in lush tropical rainforest. He was shocked and devastated to find that the area was now barren and devoid of wildlife, but his wife Lélia believed that it could be restored to its former glory.
“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed” Salgado said in The Guardian back in 2015.
“Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees. Then my wife had a fabulous idea to replant this forest. And when we began to do that, then all the insects and birds and fish returned and, thanks to this increase of the trees I, too, was reborn – this was the most important moment.”
Together, Sebastião and Lélia founded Instituto Terra, a small organization that has since planted 4 million saplings and has brought the forest back from the dead.
“Perhaps we have a solution…there is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them, or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there, and the forest is silent.”
After taking utmost care to ensure that everything planted is native to the land, the area has flourished remarkably in the ensuing 20 years and even the wildlife has started to return.
In all, some 172 bird species have returned, as well as 33 species of mammals, 293 species of plants, 15 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians, an entire ecosystem rebuilt from scratch.
The project has inspired millions by giving a concrete example of positive ecological action and showing how quickly the environment can recover with the right attitudes.
Army of Nepal cleans up Mount Everest
Over two tons of trash have been removed from Mount Everest thanks to the efforts of the Nepal Army. The soldiers worked with government and non-government organizations over the course of 5 days to collect all the rubbish and debris left behind by climbers.
The crew flew in over 2.5 tons of tools and resources to facilitate the clean-up. All the biodegradable debris that was collected from the mountain (which amounted to roughly one ton of refuse) is being transported to Kathmandu for disposal by the Blue Waste to Value group. The other ton of non-biodegradable trash is now being disinfected for treatment.
The initiative was part of the 24th annual Wildlife Week, which is organised by the regional Sagarmatha National Park Office.
The clean-up will continue throughout the Himalayan mountain range until May 19th.
Diageo to remove plastic from Guinness multipacks
Diageo is removing plastic from its multipacks of its Irish stout brand Guinness as part of a £16 million initiative to reduce its plastic footprint.
The plastic will be replaced with 100% recyclable cardboard, starting in Ireland from August this year and then across the UK and the rest of the world next year. The global drinks giant is also ditching plastic ring carriers and shrink wrap from its beer brands Harp, Rockshore and Smithwick’s.
Oliver Loomes, Country Director of Diageo Ireland said “Managing our environmental impact is important for the planet and the financial sustainability of our business. We already have one of the most sustainable breweries in the world at St James’s Gate and we are now leading the way in sustainable packaging. This is good news for the environment and our brand.”