Good News Stories July - Summer Sunset

Good News Stories July 2019

Summer is offically here!

During July we’ve had record-breaking hot weather. Another year on the trot. This has the climate-consious among us fearing for our planet even more.

It’s not just the weather that hit the headlines. The UK has gifted Trump with a new friend in power. As we know, Boris Johnson was elected PM. Only time will tell how that will work out.

But rest assured there were some seriously good news stories this July. England (Men’s) won the Cricket World Cup. England (Women’s) scooped Bronze at the Netball World Cup. Both fantastic sporting achievements that will inevitably encourage the next generation of budding athletes.

There was also an abundance of people and organisations doing their bit for our planet last month. But unfortunately, they don’t seem to get the media attention they deserve. So please read our good news stories for July. Help to raise awareness around the fantastic work that our communities are doing to make our planet greener and more sustainble.

Ethiopia ‘breaks’ tree-planting record

Good News Stories July - Ethiopian Tree

Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in a day. It’s believed to be a new world record.

Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, is leading the project. It aims to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change in the drought-prone country. The UN says Ethiopia’s forest coverage declined from 35% of total land in the early 20th Century. Reaching as little above 4% in the 2000s. Mr Abiy launched the tree-planting exercise as part of his Green Legacy Initiative. This initiative is taking place in 1,000 sites across the country.

The aim is to plant a total of four billion indigenous trees. Promotional videos have run on state media urging the public to plant and care for trees. Staff from the United Nations, African Union and foreign embassies in Ethiopia have also been taking part in the exercise.

The current World Record for planting trees in a single day is held by India. They used 800,000 volunteers to plant more than 50 million trees in 2016.

Canada passes most progressive Fishery Act yet

Good News Stories July - Canadian Fishing Boats

The stage has been set for rebuilding the abundance of fish in Canada’s oceans. A new modernised Fisheries Act has been launched. For the first time since its inception in 1868, rebuilding plans are now required for depleted fish populations.

These changes, amongst others, unlock tremendous potential for renewed ocean health.

“Today is a great day for our oceans. The overhauled Fisheries Act has the potential to be one of the most transformative things that has happened for our oceans in many years. We thank Fisheries Minister, Wilkinson, and former Fisheries Minister, Dominic LeBlanc, for prioritising rebuilding fish populations. The Act now lays a strong foundation to support healthy oceans for generations to come.” says Oceana Canada Executive Director, Josh Laughren.

In Canada, only 34% of fish populations are healthy. Whilst more than 13% are critically depleted. Of 26 critically depleted stocks, only five have rebuilding plans. The Act’s new provisions should change this. Mandating that rebuilding plans be created for all fish populations in the critical zone. With the target of rebuilding them to sustainable levels.

But what does this mean for the future of fishing in Canada?

The Act also bans importing and exporting shark fins in Canada. Fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year. This included many endangered species. Canada has been the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia.

“Billions of people worldwide depend on our oceans for their food and livelihood. By rebuilding its fisheries, Canada is helping lead the way toward healthier, more sustainable, and more resilient oceans,” says Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action.

The Act’s amendments also uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognise Indigenous knowledge. They incorporate modern fisheries management practices. These practices include precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches. They will help to restore important habitat protection measures and feature a clear purpose to manage and control fisheries.

Oceana Canada worked closely with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations, advocacy groups, fishers and others to bring the changes to the Act to fruition and will continue to advocate for fisheries rebuilding in Canada.

For more good news stories during July, read on…

California is deploying hundreds of electric school buses

Good News Stories July - School Bus

Hundreds of old diesel-powered school buses in California are set to be replaced with all-electric vehicles. All thanks to new funding from the Californian state.

The California Energy Commission this week approved nearly $70 million in funding. This will help to replace more than 200 polluting school buses. The old buses will be swapped with all-electric buses. The new buses will help to reduce school children’s exposure to harmful emissions. This scheme will also help the Califonian State reach its climate and air quality goals.

“School buses are by far the safest way for kids to get to school. But diesel-powered buses are not safe for kids. Developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to harmful air pollution. Making the transition to electric school buses that don’t emit pollution provides children and their communities with cleaner air and numerous public health benefits.” says Energy Commissioner, Patty Monahan.

Most of the Energy Commission’s awards support buses in disadvantaged, low-income communities. These communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution and health problems from poor air quality. 90% of the electric buses that will be distributed through the new program will be operating in disadvantaged communities.

In addition to the health benefits, the switch to electric will save schools money in fuel and repair costs. The Energy Commission estimates that schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per bus over 20 years.

Population doubles for one of New Zealand’s rarest birds

Good News Stories July - Orange Fronted Parakeet

The adorable Orange-fronted parakeet is making an impressive comeback. Once New Zealand’s most endangered forest bird species. This increase will see the population double with an epic hatch in 2019.

Known in the island nation as ‘kākāriki or karaka’, the bird lives in beech forests. It was thought to be completely extinct until 1993, when it was rediscovered in Canturbury.

There were only 100-300 individuals recorded before this hatching season. This year’s bounty of new-borns is estimated to more than double their numbers.

Kākāriki are found only in a few places. Their natural habitat is a unique upland valley of beech trees. These spectacular animals feed on plants and insects. But when the beech trees produce seed, this becomes the bird’s preferred food source. This year beech trees are fruiting like crazy. They’re producing so much seed that wildlife conservationists haven’t seen anything like it in 40 years.

Field staff have found at least 150 wild-born chicks so far this season. Since the tiny Orange-fronted parakeet has the ability to breed for 18 months straight, this baby boom might not end until the food runs out.

Conservationists purchase rare Temperate Rainforest

Good News Stories July - Temperate Rainforest

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has achieved one of its highest conservation priorities. It has successfully protected a British Columbia watershed containing a rare temperate rainforest from development. This type of ‘snow forest’, which receives most of its moisture from snow, is found almost nowhere else on Earth.

The National Land Trust hailed its purchase of the Next Creek Watershed, found in the Darkwoods Conservation Area, as the ‘largest private land conservation project ever achieved in Canada’. Darkwoods protects the habitats of nearly 40 confirmed species-at-risk. These include the grizzly bear, wolverine, peregrine falcon, and the only remaining herd of mountain caribou in the region.

Darkwoods’ forest ecosystem is home to the highest tree diversity in British Columbia. Its forests store more than 2 million tons of carbon, roughly equal to the annual carbon footprint of over 500,000 Canadians.

Thanks for reading our good news stories for July.

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