Good News Stories March 2019

During March the news channels told us about the horrific acts of violence and terror in Christchurch. Brexit got even more confusing, and nobody in power seemed to be listening to the ever-growing demand for action on climate change – even when thousands took to the streets to protest.

We understand the need to document, however we also think in today’s complex world that it’s good to spread a little joy. So here’s our round-up of our favourite good news stories from March:

Asda cuts 6,500 tonnes of plastic from own brands

Since February 2018, Asda has removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own-brand packaging. They have done this by redesigning or replacing the plastic used in almost 1,000 individual product lines. This includes:

  • Swapping family chilled ready meal trays from black plastic to foil
  • Changing pizza bases from non-recyclable polystyrene to fully recyclable cardboard
  • Replacing 5 million plastic bags on its bedding range with a cardboard band
  • Taking plastic covers off over 50 million greetings cards.

They claim that all these changes are equivalent to removing 600 million empty plastic bottles from its stores.

Asda hasn’t stopped there, they’ve also made changes to packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables, making it more recyclable by changing all fresh produce trays from black plastic to clear as it moves towards making all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

Supermarkets still have a long way to go to becoming more sustainable and help fight the tide of plastic waste, but we think it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Rare turtles return after world’s largest beach clean-up

A recent beach clean-up on Mumbai’s Versova Beach has been declared the largest in the world by the UN.

It is said that waste in certain areas on the beach was up to 5 feet deep. Local resident, Afroz Shah, rallied the local community to come together to give the beach a much needed clean. Within a year more than 1200 volunteers joined the cause to help. Between them, the volunteers and Shah’s team managed to remove over 11 million pounds of trash, which made it the largest beach clean-up in the world.

The community transformed the beach from an unhealthy eyesore to a spot that could be enjoyed again. Not only had Shah and his team restored the beach for humans, they had rehabilitated it for marine species. Because of the extreme pollution, it is reported that it had been decades since Sea Turtles last nested on the beach. Not long after the clean-up there were reports of Turtles returning to nest on the beach once again.

During a regular beach clean-up, volunteers saw rare Olive Ridley Sea Turtle hatchlings scampering across the sand. Upon hearing the news, Shah and his team rushed to the beach and camped overnight to guard each hatchling as they raced to the sea.

The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle are the smallest species of Sea Turtle in the ocean. Although they are abundant, they are still listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Ben Shieldaig now has guaranteed protection after it was put up for sale

The Woodland Trust Scotland have announced their successful purchase of the 1,752-foot-tall Ben Shieldaig after it was put up for sale by a private landowner. This entire mountain will now be guaranteed protection in the future thanks to the charity which managed to collect £1.6 million in just eight weeks. The organisation now plans to begin planting, protecting and regenerating the mountain which stands next to Loch Torridon in the northwest highlands.

The beautiful peak is home to an ancient Pinewood Forest that can be traced back to the end of the last Ice Age, as well as a temperate rainforest of native birchwood. The huge mound is teeming with Scottish wildlife including Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Otter and the UK’s smallest Dragonfly.

World Bank is giving $22 billion in funding to help Africa fight climate change

Africa is set to receive a massive financial windfall, courtesy of the world’s largest developmental banking organisation.

In addition to the $200 billion that it has already pledged towards fighting climate change, the World Bank Group is stepping up its support for Africa by committing $22.5 billion between 2021 to 2025.

The funding, which more than doubles their commitment to climate-related projects over the last five years, is part of the group’s 2025 target to ‘Step Up Climate Action’ which they launched as an initiative in December 2018.

This announcement comes in tandem to the United Nations’ third One Planet Summit (OPS) earlier this month. The summit brought together international government leaders and representatives from the private sector, including entrepreneurs, donors, organisations and other global stakeholders to discuss collaboration on climate action.

In the wake of the most recent climate report from the IPCC, the World Bank has been reported, along with the rest of the international summit leaders, to view 2019 as a pivotal year to plan accelerated climate action – and this year’s summit narrowed its focus on ways to accelerate and step-up climate action in Africa.

The additional funding from the bank builds upon its ongoing African Climate Business Plan (ACBP), which has financed over 176 conservation projects across the continent and become a critical support mechanism for countries to institutionalise climate action that meet their contributions submitted under the historic Paris Climate Agreement.

The bank is now collaborating directly with eight countries – Rwanda, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Namibia, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Kenya – on climate adaptation and mitigation.

New Zealand approves largest national park expansion in history

Kahurangi National Park is located on the north western coast of New Zealand and is known for its diverse landscapes of high plateaus, freshwater swamps, and coastal forests. The borders of this beautiful New Zealand park have been expanded by 158,000 acres making it the largest addition of land to a national park in the nation’s history.

The news of the national park’s expansion, which now includes an area known as the Mōkihinui lands, was praised by national conservation groups who have been advocating for the national park to include the Mōkikinui River catchment. The fight for the protection of the Mōkihinui River began in 2008 when Merdian Energy proposed a hydroelectric dam that would have completely fragmented and flooded part of the river and forest.

Due to a large opposition campaign led by the conservation organisation Forest & Bird, the development project was cancelled in 2012. The cancellation of the dam was a huge win for the organisation, but they knew that their fight to protect the river was not over; the organisation felt it was essential to advocate for the reclassification of the Mōkihinui River to conserve land as part of the Kahurangi national park.

The inclusion of Mōkihinui lands to Kahurangi National Park will be made official on April 11th 2019, and will increase the size of the park by 14%. The addition of the river catchment will further diversify the national park, as it includes a grouping of geology, riverine habitat, vegetation, animal and plant life not seen elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *