Christmas is nearly upon us, so let’s get into the Christmas spirit with some good news!
This time, we’re going to jump straight into the good stuff…so carry on reading to see our favourite good news stories from the month of November.
Tesco pledges to cut plastic from its own brand products
Tesco has pledged to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic from its own brand products by the end of 2020.
The supermarket will ditch plastic ready-meal trays, yoghurt pot lids, straws and loose fruit bags, as it tackles its use of non-recyclable packaging.
From next year Tesco plans to ban those brands whose products contain too much non-recyclable packaging and remove all plastic secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurt and cereal. The retailer will also remove plastic sporks from snack pots and plans to eliminate 200 million pieces of plastic used in the packaging of its clothing and greeting cards.
All small plastic bags used to pack lose fruit, vegetables and bakery will be switched to paper bags. Plastic straws will be replaced with paper versions and Tesco will swap the black plastic trays used for its own-label ready meals with recycled board.
“By focusing on solutions that we can apply across all our UK stores and supply chain, we can make a significant difference and achieve real scale in our efforts to tackle plastic”
Says outgoing CEO, Dave Lewis.
Formula One pledges to become carbon neutral by 2030
Formula One is committing to become carbon neutral by 2030 as it looks to appeal to new sponsors and younger fans.
The motor racing competition will start by reducing its emissions by between 20% and 50% over the next 10 years. By 2021, all petrol used in Formula One will have to contain biofuel content of at least 10%. There are also plans to change the race calendar to ensure the teams fly less between races and move to “100% renewably powered offices, facilities and factories”.
Liberty Media, which bought the franchise in 2016 for $8bn (£7.3bn), confirmed that Formula One would make all its events “sustainable” by 2025 by eliminating single-use plastics and ensuring all waste is reused, recycled or composted.
The Financial Times (FT) reports that Formula One’s pro forma financial results for the year show revenues from racetracks, broadcasting contracts and sponsorship deals were $1.49bn (£1.35bn), flat compared to the previous year.
By contrast, over the past year Formula E has attracted a variety of new sponsors including electricals group Bosch, beer giant Heineken and champagne brand Moët & Chandon.
Speaking to the FT, Formula One’s chairman and chief executive, Chase Carey, described carbon neutrality as a good thing for the business “because our partners care about it.”
Island on California coast is returned to indigenous tribe
A standing ovation from the hundreds of people attending the City Council meeting in Eureka, California, marked an ‘unprecedented moment’ for indigenous people—they got their land back.
The city formally transferred ‘Indian Island’ back to the Wiyot Tribe, which had, for decades, held sacred ceremonies annually for generations until 1860.
“Today is a good day to be alive” Said tribal chairman Ted Hernandez.
After decades of pursuing legal channels and regaining pieces of the island, Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman signed a deed of trust along with Hernandez transferring ownership of the largest island in Humboldt Bay.
For generations, the Wiyot people held their yearly World Renewal Ceremony on Tuluwat, a sacred site on Duluwat Island, and, after fundraising efforts to raise $100,000 to purchase that 1.5 acre plot, the ritual ceremony was once again held in 2014. Four years later, the city gave the tribe another 40 acres of the island, which was for decades commonly known locally as ‘Indian Island.’
The transfer of the remaining 200+ acres was completed on October 21, 2019, after a unanimous vote from the Eureka City Council.
People knit mittens for burnt Koalas and raise almost $2 million to help
People from all over the world are rallying to help save one of the most iconic animals of Australia.
Since bushfires began sweeping through New South Wales and Queensland last month, dozens of koalas have been rescued from the fires and sent to animal hospitals for treatment.
Many of these rescued marsupials are now being treated for burns on their paws. As a means of protecting the critters’ paws from sustaining further injury, Australians have been encouraging crafty activists to send handmade mittens to their animal hospitals.
Not only that, rescuers have been accepting blankets, baskets, bat wraps, nests, and pouches for other animals injured by the fires.
A group of Dutch knitting enthusiasts from the Quilt Shop 100 in the Netherlands has already crafted more than 400 pairs of mittens for an Australian koala hospital.
The Animal Rescue Freecycle Craft Guild has also been publishing free sewing, crocheting, and knitting patterns to their Facebook group.
Since the collective has garnered international traction, they have received thousands of handcrafted donations from around the world. They recently asked their followers to hold off on sending any further donations until they have taken stock of all their shipments, although their still accepting donations for emergency supplies such as food, water, and medicine.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has also been raising money for their koala treatments, as well as other Australian wildlife organizations. Since launching a GoFundMe campaign last month, they have surged past their original goal and raised almost $2 million for their rescue efforts.
Humpback Whale population bounces back from near-extinction
Conservationists are rejoicing after new research showed that whales in the South Atlantic have rebounded from the brink of extinction.
Intense pressure from the whaling industry in the early 1900s saw the western South Atlantic population of humpbacks diminish to only 450 whales, after approximately 25,000 of the mammals were hunted within 12 years.
Protections were put in place in the 1960s after scientists noticed worldwide that populations were declining. In the mid-1980s, the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on all commercial whaling, offering further safeguards for the struggling population.
A new study co-authored by Grant Adams, John Best and André Punt from the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences revealed that the species’ population has rebounded to 25,000. Researchers believe this new estimate is now close to pre-whaling numbers.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the comeback; previous studies hadn’t suggested that humpback whales in this region were doing this well,”
Best told Good News Network in an email.
The study, published last month in the journal Royal Society Open Science, refutes a previous assessment conducted by the International Whaling Commission between 2006 and 2015, which indicated the population had only recovered to about 30% of its pre-exploitation numbers. Since that assessment was completed, new data has come to light, providing more accurate information on catches, genetics, and life history.
Bill Gates-backed solar company reveals tech that could spell the end of fossil fuels
A secret clean energy startup backed by Bill Gates has just gone public with the announcement of its new technology that uses concentrated solar energy to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit)—and it could be a game-changer in the fight against the climate crisis.
For perspective, that kind of heat is about one-quarter of the temperatures found on the surface of the sun. At that temperature, the energy company Heliogen can replace the use of fossil fuels in critical industrial processes, including the production of cement, steel, and petrochemicals, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from these activities.
This singular scientific achievement was accomplished at Heliogen’s commercial facility in Lancaster, California.
Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels at scale—taking a major step towards solving climate change.
Its heat technology represents a key technical breakthrough for concentrated solar thermal. Previous commercial concentrating solar thermal systems have been designed to reach temperatures of up to only 565 degrees Celsius—useful for power generation, but insufficient for many industrial processes. Many of these processes require much higher temperatures, which have traditionally been reached through the burning of fossil fuels.
The potential impact of Heliogen’s patented technology is massive. With temperatures from its concentrating solar thermal technology exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius, Heliogen will be able to replace the fuel that generates greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes with solar energy for the first time. For instance, cement production—one of the industrial processes well suited to Heliogen’s technology—alone accounts for more than 7% of global CO2 emissions.
“Today, industrial processes like those used to make cement, steel, and other materials are responsible for more than a fifth of all emissions,”
said Bill Gates.
“These materials are everywhere in our lives but we don’t have any proven breakthroughs that will give us affordable, zero-carbon versions of them. If we’re going to get to zero-carbon emissions overall, we have a lot of inventing to do. I’m pleased to have been an early backer of [this] novel solar concentration technology. Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel.”
In addition to industrial process heat, Heliogen’s technology roadmap calls for temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can perform CO2-splitting and water-splitting to make 100% fossil-free fuels such as hydrogen or syngas.