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  • March 30, 2019 5 min read

    Looking for good news? We're serving up 9 stories that prove all is right with the world!

    If you're looking for some positive stories from the last month, then you've come to the right place. We've made a list of good news from around the world that are heart-warming, thought-provoking, and may even inspire all out joy.

    Here is the third edition of our monthly good environmental news round-up to help take you to your happy place (check out February or January's good news if you need an extra dose of happiness). 

    1. Big Banks Dump Coal

    Major banks from around the world are putting an end to their investments in the coal industry. In 2019 alone, five big banks have already dumped coal from their portfolios, including British Barclays Bank, Export Development Canada, Nedbank (South Africa), Varma (Finland), and Vienna Insurance Group (Austria). 

    This shift away from fossil fuel investment has been driven, in part, by activists around the world pushing for a transition to low-carbon and renewable energy sources.

    Good work, people! Keep on making your voice heard and our planet an even better place to live!

    Students Protesting Climate Change

    2. Students Take to the Streets for Climate Action

    Over a million students around the world, inspired by teen activist Greta Thunberg, skipped school on March 15th to take part in more than 2,000 demonstrations across 125 countries to protest government inaction on climate change.

    The students were expressing their disappointment in the adults who have done little to mitigate climate change despite the numerous and escalating warnings from scientists regarding the dangers posed by a warming planet.

    One thing is obvious. Our climate future is in good hands!

    3. Empowering Women Improves Conservation Efforts

    A new study published this month out of the University of Colorado is highlighting the importance of involving women in the decision making process around conservation efforts.

    Groups of forest-dependent communities in Indonesia, Peru, and Tanzania were asked to make decisions regarding how many trees to cut down and offered them different incentives based on their choices, including a reward for minimizing their harvest. Overall, the study found that the groups composed of at least 50% women significantly reduced the amount of trees they cut down, and distributed the reward more evenly among the group.

    Looks like when women are involved in conservation efforts our forests will be even better served. As if we needed more reasons to empower women!

    forest pathway with sun shining through trees

    4. Oregon Bans Fracking for 10 years

    The Oregon government put its foot down and approved a decade-long ban on fracking in the state. 

    Fracking, the practice by which pressurized liquid is pumped into the ground to release oil and natural gas, is a highly controversial extraction process. It has long been claimed that fracking pollutes groundwater and even contributes to earthquakes.

    Though no fracking operations are currently in place in Oregon, the beautiful Willamette Valley - the heart of Oregon wine country - has been targeted by the oil and gas industry as a potential site for some time. 

    Yet another step away from a fossil-fuel and extractive focused economy. Bring on the green energy!

    5. England Courts Also Throw Wrench into Fracking Works

    Earlier this month, England's High Court determined that the government's planning policy for fracking was illegal. 

    The ruling stated that the consultation process was insufficient and failed to consider all the scientific evidence, including the impact of climate change. This ruling will give activists and environmental organizations the ability to use climate change as a legal objection to further fracking or extractive projects in England.

    Fracking - 0, Planet Earth - 2.

    6. World's Third-Largest Retailer Gives Plastic-Free Produce a Try

    More good news from across the pond!

    Tesco, the world's third-largest retailer by gross revenue, launched a trial to eliminate plastic-wrapped fruits and vegetables. The month long pilot project will run through April (just in time for Earth Month!) at two of its locations, removing packaging from 45 of its produce products, including apples, onions, bananas, and more.

    This isn't the retailers' first sustainability effort. Last year the grocery giant announced it would eliminate hard-to-recycle plastics by 2019, and by 2025 Tesco wants all of its packaging to be fully recyclable. 

    Every effort, big or small, can make a difference!

    Close up of giraffe sticking its tongue out

    7. World Bank Invests $22 Billion To Fight Climate Change in Africa

    Just before the third annual One Planet Summit in Nairobi, Kenya on March 14, the World Bank Group announced it would commit more than $22 billion to "expanding renewable energy, protecting biodiversity, and boosting adaptation and resilience," across the African continent between the years 2021 and 2025. This is in addition to the more than $200 billion the group has already pledged to fighting climate change globally.

    African countries are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Flooding, drought, and intensifying storms threaten the lives and livelihoods of many of the continent's 1.2 billion people.

    The World Bank Group is putting their money where their mouth is - hopefully more organizations will follow suit!

    8. Largest U.S. Public School System Is Going Meatless On Mondays

    The New York City public school system announced it will introduce Meatless Mondays to all of its schools starting in the 2019-2020 school year. Every Monday, more than 1.1 million children will be offered vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus. 

    Going vegetarian once a week is an easy and affordable way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. By eating just one less burger a week we can cut our carbon emissions by the equivalent of driving 320 fewer miles in a car. 

    And not only is a meatless Monday good for the planet, it's also good for your health!

    Landscape of New Zealand's mountains

    9. New Zealand Approves Largest National Park Expansion in Nation's History

    New Zealand's Conservation Minister announced 64,000 hectares of land will be added to Kahurangi National Park at the northern tip of the country's south island. 

    The area includes the Mokihinui River, which was controversially proposed as the site for a hydro-electric dam back in 2007. Stiff opposition put an end to that project, and now the river and its surrounding catchment area will be saved from future projects.

    Including the river in the national park will "ensure stronger protection of the Mokihinui area’s significant cultural, ecological, historic and recreational values," says New Zealand Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage. 

    low angle shot of a field of tulips

    Hopefully all those stories gave you a boost for the rest of your day! 

    Good news is our there, folks. You just need to look for it!

    Check out February's round-up while you're at it, and when April finally arrives we'll have plenty more good news to share.

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

    by Joseph Coppolino

    Organic Content Creator & Enviro-fabulist