I don’t know about you, but September seemed to fly by and as always there were several notable news stories throughout the month.
The biggest in our opinion is the fact six million people took to the streets during a week of climate protests, uniting across time zones, cultures and generations to demand urgent action on the escalating ecological emergency. It is estimated two million people walked out of schools and workplaces to join in the protests, to anyone that took part in some shape or form we couldn’t praise you enough for taking a stand for what is right.
Carrying on from this positive note, we have once again scoured the media for some good news stories to share with you.
Read on to see our favourite good news stories from the month of September.
Plastic Bag Sales Have Fallen by 90%
Since the introduction of the UK’s 5p charge for plastic bags, sales of plastic bags at the seven biggest retail chains in England have fallen by 90%.
The data also reveals how 5p plastic bag sales have contributed around £169 million towards charities and other good causes since the charge was introduced.
The average person in England now buys just 10 bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 140 bags in 2014 before the charge was introduced.
Environmental Secretary Theresa Villiers welcomes the recently-published data by saying:
“Our comprehensive action to slash plastic waste and leave our environment in a better state continues to deliver results, with our 5p charge reducing plastic bag sales by 90% in the big supermarkets. No one wants to see the devastating impact plastic waste is having on our precious wildlife. Today’s figures are a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society.”
McDonalds is Turning Roadside Billboards into Bee Hotels
Instead of just using their billboards for marketing, McDonald’s is putting their signs to good use by attaching “bee hotels” to the backs of roadside ads.
As a means of helping dwindling bee populations in Sweden, the restaurant chain has started drilling holes into their own billboards so the structures can provide shelter for honeybees.
Furthermore, the Swedish branch of the company has partnered with outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux in order to attach small bee houses to the backs of other unused roadside billboards.
Google is Making the Largest Corporate Purchase of Renewable Energy
Being hailed as the largest corporate purchase of renewable energy infrastructure, Google has announced that they will be spending $2 billion on more solar and wind projects around the world.
According to the tech company, the initiative is projected to expand their renewable energy portfolio by 40%—or 5,500 megawatts (equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops).
The new investment is not about buying power from existing wind and solar farms but instead will make long-term purchase commitments that result in the development of new projects.
The investments will collectively fund 18 new energy projects ranging from building solar farms in Texas to wind turbines in Sweden. In total, this brings the company’s fleet of renewable energy to 52 global projects, which is driving more than $7 billion in new construction and thousands of related jobs.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said:
“We’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, in 2017, we became the first company of our size to match our entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy (and then we did it again in 2018). As a result, we became the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington D.C. or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year.”
Man Planted a Forest in the Middle of a Cold Desert
An intrepid old farmer has succeeded where many others have failed in growing a lush green oasis in the middle of a cold desert.
Anand Dhawaj Negi retired from his career in government work so he could pursue his passion for trying to plant trees in the mountainous northern regions of India.
There are more than 1 million acres of desert landscape that have been declared “uncultivable” by the agricultural department. Negi, on the other hand, was determined to find a way to make something grow.
When he first began his labour of love in Himachal Pradesh, he spent all of his savings on testing different combinations of local farming practices with more scientific methods of cultivation. Initially, his saplings had a mortality rate of 85%; but after he finally managed to hone his technique, the mortality rate dropped to 1%.
Negi now cares for more than 160 acres of forest in Kinnaur and grows kidney beans, potatoes, green peas, apples, and apricots. He has shared his farming techniques with other locals so they can cultivate their own food and greenery.
Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio pledge to help save the Amazon Rainforest
Two of the world’s biggest actors have teamed up – not to star in a movie – but to create a pair of trainers.
Will Smith, who you will know from Aladdin and Men In Black, and Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic have joined forces to release a pair of trainers made out of completely natural materials.
The trainers, made by Allbirds, are named the Tree Runners and the Tree Toppers. The company who make them say 100% of the money made from sales will be used to help fight the devastating fires burning in the Brazilian Amazon.