Our planet is heating up, our oceans are rising, and our land is being depleted for agriculture. These are the stories we hear daily and year on year these catastrophes seem to be getting worse and more extreme. We believe that it is important and are pleased that the major issues facing our planet are getting the air time they deserve (not always enough) but sometimes it can get a little overwhelming.
That’s why we have decided that on a monthly basis we will highlight some of the positive stories about people and events that are trying to fight against the tide of plastic and the rising heat to do a little good for our planet. These stories are just as important as the negative ones and sometimes it is these stories that inspire change, showing that we can make a difference to what sometimes feels like a losing battle.
We have rounded up some of our favourite good news stories for January 2019 from the web, social and news channels from the little to the big, covering all the areas that we feel passionate about.
170 Foxes Rescued
Foxes regularly get bad press and we don’t agree with this, so we were pleased to hear about 170 foxes being rescued from a Chinese fur farm and given a new home at a Buddhist Monastery.
Animal activist Karen Gifford has spent the last few weeks documenting the rescue initiative in a series of Facebook videos that were shared with her by a woman named BoHe.
BoHe was one of the volunteers who helped rescue the white foxes that had been bred and raised at a nearby fur farm. Not only did she help save the foxes but also owns a dog sanctuary that homes over 2,400 canines, many of which were rescued from the dog meat trade.
The fur farm that the foxes were rescued from was preparing to close its doors due to a lack of income and were going to dispose of their remaining foxes. After hearing that the animals needed a new home, the residents of the Buddhist Jilin Nursing Garden in Mudanjiang, China said that they were happy to welcome the critters onto their property.
Karen Gifford is now rallying for donations to help buy food for the foxes who will reportedly be staying at the monastery until volunteers are able to construct a permanent shelter.
Hawaiian Coral Reefs Are Stabilising
Scientists have reported that Hawaiian coral reefs are finally stabilising after mass bleaching event. Four years after the worst mass bleaching event in Hawaii, scientists are thrilled to say that the states coral reefs are finally on the mend.
According to surveys conducted by The Nature Conservancy, Hawaiian coral reefs are showing signs of growth and stabilisation. The healthier reefs were generally located away from excessive exposure to human influences, but even the vulnerable cauliflower coral species that experienced 98% bleaching in 2015 has shown signs of recovery.
Endangered Rainforest to be Protected
Tanzania is going to protect its globally unique and endangered rainforest after 40 years of research. Conservationists are pleased after this new announcement, which means Tanzania will be protecting its forest ecosystem in East Africa, following research that demonstrated it is under threat from illegal activities including tree-cutting for charcoal and the poaching of elephants and other animals.
Previous research had shown that the Magombera Forest in Tanzania could disappear by 2018 if action wasn’t taken to protect it. A conservation program, called the Udzungwa Forest Project and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), with help from local villages, demonstrated the significance of the unique wildlife and importance of the land to the people of the region.
In 2018, the Udzungwa Forest Project and TFCG, reached their target of $1 million to protect the forest in partnership with nearby villages and the Tanzania Forest Services Agency.
The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, with financial and scientific support from the several conservation groups, will now create a 6,463-acre Magombera Nature Reserve to protect the plants and animals of the forest.
$2 Million Donation to Chimp Sanctuary
An anonymous $2 million donation from a stranger is providing a new home to over 200 chimpanzees who have been living in research facilities. The chimps are now one step closer to retirement thanks to the multi-million donation which was made to Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana.
The gift was made at the end of the year by an anonymous supporter who is committed to supporting Chimp Haven’s “Welcome Them Home” campaign, a concerted effort to build more habitats and expand veterinary care suites to accommodate the chimps’ transitions from research facilities.
Chimp Haven is a private, non-profit refuge on 200 acres of forested land in Northwest Louisiana. It’s home to more than 260 chimps already retired from biomedical research. While federal funds cover a crucial portion of the lifetime care of these government-owned chimps, the organisation relies entirely on the generosity of donors to cover the construction necessary to welcome even more retirees into Chimp Haven’s care.
The campaign-driven expansion, which includes new forested habitats and open-air enclosures, will enrich the lives of retirees with new spaces to play, explore and interact. Additionally, it provides ample space for Chimp Haven to accommodate chimpanzees still waiting for sanctuary retirement.
Olympic Uniforms to be Made From Recycled Clothing
Sportswear brand Asics will recycle used clothing to make the official uniforms for Japan’s Olympic and Paralympic teams. The uniforms will be worn by the home team at next year’s games in Tokyo.
Asics hopes to gather 30,000 items through collection boxes in stores and at sporting events. It comes as the fashion industry faces increasing pressure to make more sustainable clothing.
Asics said the uniforms will be made from polyester extracted from donated items. Other recyclable materials extracted from the items collected will be turned into fuel, among other uses.
First Single Use Plastic Free Flight
The world’s first plastic-free flight took to the skies just after Christmas, operated by a Portuguese airline that says it can “no longer ignore” the impact the single-use material has on the environment.
Hi Fly, a company that wet leases aircraft in Portugal and Malta, replaced plastic cutlery and containers with bamboo and compostable alternatives crafted from recycled material. The flight took passengers from the carrier’s headquarters in Lisbon to Brazil on an Airbus A340 on Boxing Day and is the first of three more test flights to follow, all carrying a total of 700 travellers.
The aim, according to Hi Fly president Paulo Mirpuri, is to adopt a plastic-free policy on all its flights by the end of 2019. Among the scores of single-use plastic items that have been replaced are cups, spoons, salt and pepper shakers, packaging for bedding, dishes, individual butter pots, soft drink bottles and toothbrushes.