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9 POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL STORIES FROM JANUARY 2021

Kaylee Brzezinski | February 1,  2021 | 6 min read

9 Good Environmental News Stories from the Past Month that will Make You Smile 

It's a new year and with it comes new hope for the environment and our collective well-being! 2020 was, without a doubt, a year we will never forget. Between the world shutting down due to COVID-19 to political uproar and racial injustice coming to the forefront, we all felt exhausted by the end of the year. But sometimes things need to get shaken up a bit to promote change. And if you recall, we still had plenty of good news to share in 2020!

With that in mind, we're ready to look ahead and get this year started off right. This month, we've rounded up some positive environmental stories that cover everything from global reforestation impacts to positive climate action from the new administration. Let's dig in!

woman in the andes

One Tree Planted Releases 2020 Impact Report

Okay, we know we JUST said we were ready to move on from the past but this is just TOO GOOD not to share! We've released our 2020 planting report and are thrilled to announce that we planted over 10 MILLION trees in 2020! And we already have commitments to plant 13.5 million more in 2021! Those 10 million trees were planted through 113 projects spanning 15 million hectares in 28 countries on 6 continents (try to say that fast!).

frog

Tiny frog species among series of finds in Andean ‘sky islands

After two weeks spent hiking through the forests of Bolivia, scientists discovered 20 new species ranging from snakes to frogs to butterflies! The expedition was part of an Assessment Program — or in other words, an “ecological Swat team” that responds when information on a poorly known area is urgently needed. 

National park West Virginia

America's Newest National Park Is Also the First in West Virginia

The U.S. is beginning the new year with a new national park. The nation's 63rd national park is also the first ever in the state of West Virginia. "Redesignation of the National River to a National Park and Preserve will shine a brighter light on West Virginia and all that it has to offer, and provide another catalyst for our tourism industry and local businesses," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said in a statement reported by 12 WBOY.

lensball forest

UN Launches The Decade on ecosystem Restoration

January 1st marked the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which runs from 2021-2030. Because scientists have identified this time as humanity’s last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change, we really need to make this decade count.

Led by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration serves as “a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.” This is our chance to halt the degradation of ecosystems, restore previously degraded areas, and step into a new reality — one where we’ve truly done everything we can to reduce our climate change impact.

young naturalists

The teenage boys on a mission – to rewild Britain with reptiles

At 17 years old, most teenagers are focused on their studies or hanging with friends. Harvey and Tom of Britain have something else in mind: to replace the toads, frogs and lizards Britain has lost. The pair will soon launch a new company that they hope will be the country’s largest outdoor breeding facility for reptiles and amphibians. Some think they're crazy but we think they've got the right idea!

old trash in river

Decades-old litter used to teach children about the environment

It's easy to think that just because you've recycled something or thrown it away, it has disappeared forever. But in reality, that trash remains somewhere on the planet for a very, very long time. That's why Tracie Menzies uses garbage to educate children about the importance of being eco-friendly. "We tell the kids, 'this can is the same age as your parents but you can still read the writing. It's almost as pristine as the day it was dropped", says Menzies, 

orange bat

New Orange-Colored Bat Discovered in West Africa

A striking new bat was discovered by researchers in Guinea's isolated Nimba Mountains in West Africa! Scientists were conducting research in natural caves when the bat was discovered. As shared by Jon Flanders of Bat Conservation International, “while catching bats emerging from one of these sites we noticed a bat that looked very different from all the others.” No one could identify the bat, which made them realize they'd discovered a new species! 

Paris

Paris to Transform Champs-Élysées Into ‘Extraordinary Garden’

Paris is about to become greenified (yes, you read that right)! The French capital's mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said that the city would follow through on a $305 million project to transform the iconic Champs-Élysées into a green oasis. The 1.2 mile avenue is also an eight-lane highway used by approximately 3,000 vehicles every hour so in addition to beautifying the area, the new plants will also improve air quality!

map of United States

How the Green New deal informed the biden climate plan

For nature lovers in the United States and abroad, a glimmer of hope has been restored that under a new administration, climate change will be taken more seriously again. Some will be additionally relieved to know that much of Biden's plan aligns with the well-known Green New Deal. Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States and immediately signed 17 executive orders, most notably to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, halt drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, terminate permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, and restore protections for national monuments. He also told federal agencies to begin reviewing and reinstating over 125 environmental regulations that were rolled back by the previous administration — and we're here for it!

So there you have it: we're kicking off the new year with lots of hope, positive change, and new wildlife discoveries! We're looking forward to the year ahead and remain optimistic that things can only go up from here. And if not, we'll still be here every month to point out all of the good stuff that's happening around the world.

Hungry for more positivity? We've got plenty more good news stories from the past year. And if you're feeling really optimistic about 2021, consider planting a tree today

We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?