A lot of significant milestones occurred in the past year, both good and bad. While in the midstoflife and finally starting to get back to normal after the pandemic, we saw the death of QueenElizabeth II, a geo-political invasion of Russia on Ukraine, political and human-rights protestsaround the world, and inflation at an all-time high. These events generated new headlines,creating turmoil and despair. However, 2022 wasn’t full ofjustbad things. Let’s look at 22 goodthings that happened to our society and the planet within the past year.
- Patagonia, a worldwide hiking and outdoors apparel brand, announced that they are giving 100% of company shares to climate change and environmental non-profits and organizations. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, believes that investing in the planet is the only way to “pay back the rent” of using the resources, space, and energy the planet provides for us. This significant and selfless initiative is exactly what large corporations need to think about doing to help reduce our total carbon footprint, and it will hopefully spark a positive trend.
- The EU implements a ban on all goods linked to deforestation. This new law will ensure there are proper regulations and limits on what can be extracted and ensure it is produced in an environmentally ethical way. The EU estimates that over 278 sq miles will be protected each year, reducing carbon emissions by almost 32 million metric tons annually.
- NASA’s JWST mid-infrared telescope produced first-time-ever photos of previously undiscovered galaxies. This new technology gives scientists new information and opportunities to better understand and study our planet by exploring more of outer space.
- Samsung announced a commitment of carbon neutrality by 2050. The company is shifting away from fossil fuels and aiming for 100% renewable energy sources to power its products and services.
- Nearly 1 in every 10 schools in the US is using solar panels. Schools are an important part of our community, so by having clean energy power, our education system will help our planet while simultaneously teaching the kids about it too.
- Ireland set a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51%. The country also released a rigorous climate plan to achieve net zero by 2050.
- Canada set a ban on single-use plastics and targets zero public waste by 2030. This includes all plastic bags, plastic cutlery, and other delivery service products. This will significantly reduce plastic production and greenhouse gas emissions annually.
- Reforestation in Burundi, Africa, marks a positive outcome after the decade-long civil war. Only 6.6% of the country’s forests survived the war and old regime regulations. Today, since starting in 2018, over 150 million trees have been planets to replenish the forest and ecosystem.
- France catalyzed a worldwide initiative to ban all advertising on fossil fuel products. Our society is so fast-paced that people don’t even have time to process what is being advertised to them. By eliminating even subconscious advertisements, we will be left with only positive messaging and options that are better for the planet.
- Indonesia announces that they plan to increase the protection of their seas. Currently, only a fraction of their coastal water is under protection, but by 2030, 10% will be protected and 30% by 2045. Coastal regions are always the first areas to feel the effects of climate change, so intensive monitoring and improved fishery management will help protect more land.
- Orphan wells, or abandoned wells, are scattered across the US and are recorded to be leaking methane and other toxic chemicals into our soil. The US has announced that they plan to plug over 100,00 orphan wells across the country.
- 2022 set a new record for global clean energy investment plans. Much work still needs to happen to match the speed of climate change. However, this increase in investment into clean energy will attract more positive change.
- Labs around the world are trying to come up with plans to deal with the millions of tons of waste from masks and gloves worn throughout the pandemic. An Australian lab discovered a way to use old PPE equipment and turn it into concrete, rather than leaving it on the ground as waste or filling up our landfills.
- On the social media side of things, Pinterest bans all climate misinformation from posts and ads. This will significantly decrease the number of allegations and conflicting opinions on serious climate matters.
- The Government of Canada has released their first National Adaptation Strategy on how to build more resilient communities and climate-ready action plans.
- Greta Thunberg published a book titled The Climate Book that explains the urgency and importance of climate matters on a global corporation scale. This book is a great resource for people to learn about the global climate crisis and how it impacts all of us.
- The Red Sox announced that Fenway Park would reach carbon neutrality. Plans to partner with climate-forward companies and organizations will help offset the emissions of hosting games and fan experiences.
- Medical schools around the world are adding climate change-driven health issues into their curriculum. Greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures are some of the strongest factors in modern-day health issues, so it is so important to relay that message to students and aspiring doctors before they enter the workforce.
- Newlight Technologies creates new ways to capture methane and harmful greenhouse gas emissions and transform it into usable food ware and fashion products. This technology can now make physical, necessary items from the atoms in the air, all while cleaning our atmosphere and the air we breathe.
- The Australian Government added an additional $1 billion into investments in Great Barrier Reef protection. Measures including ‘net-free’ zones will ensure the safety of countless marine species and coral reefs.
- The Moore Foundation donated over $300 million towards their Andes-Amazon initiative. Founders Gordan and Betty Moore are philanthropists and scientific moguls that have a passion for spreading education and working with non-profit climate conservation organizations.
- Paris, France, is set to ban all cars from the city centre. This will significantly reduce extra emissions and promote public transportation to an all-time high. This plan will face challenges within the next few years; however, this could save about over 250,000 car trips a day.
If not now, when?
2022 was a great year for environmental discovery and climate conservation action. However, it doesn’t stop there, and if we are going to catch the rate of climate change on our planet, a lot more needs to be done. Make 2023 about educating yourself on environmental projects around you and learning about how you can get involved. We all have a growing carbon footprint, but we only have so much of our finite planet left to use.