Sometimes it can feel like the news is all doom and gloom, so we’re highlighting the most positive and uplifting news stories relating to sustainability, social justice and the environment for a little motivation and reminder to us all to keep going.
Thursday 29th May
Senior officials have pledged that the European Union’s recovery plan will “do no harm” to the bloc’s landmark goals to tackle the climate crisis and threats to the natural world. Following the unveiling of a €750bn (£671bn) recovery plan to pull EU economies out of the deep economic downturn caused by coronavirus, the European commission announced further details of green spending on Thursday.
The go-ahead has been given to the UK’s biggest solar farm, stretching 900 acres on the north Kent coast. The government has approved the controversial scheme, which will supply power to 91,000 homes. The project could include one of the world’s largest energy storage systems. But it has been fiercely opposed by many local people, and it’s divided green groups.
An Ikea store near Frankfurt in west Germany handed over its car park to a local mosque for socially-distanced mass prayers and won praise online. Around 800 Muslims prayed in the large outdoor space to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday.
‘I have to take care of myself first’: the online support group helping doctors deal with trauma – Positive News
A digital group support service has been set up to help healthcare workers cope with emotions that have been triggered during the Covid-19 crisis “My coworkers were contracting the virus, which made me feel unprotected and unsafe,” says Dr. Stella MonDragon, a paediatrician based in Spain.
Tuesday 19th May
The European commission will launch a sweeping effort to tackle the global biodiversity crisis on Wednesday, including a call for 3bn trees to be planted in the EU by 2030 and a plan to better protect the continent’s last primeval forests.
Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically since lockdowns were imposed around the world due to the coronavirus crisis, research has shown. Daily emissions of the greenhouse gas plunged 17% by early April compared with 2019 levels, according to the first definitive study of global carbon output this year.
All adults in England will be considered organ donors when they die, after a change to the law this week that will presume consent unless the family intervenes or the individual opts out. At present 80% of adults in England say they would consider becoming a donor, but fewer than 40% have signed up to the current register.
Two-thirds of Americans have had an “eco wake-up call” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey. A poll of 2,000 Americans revealed 64% have had a moment since the pandemic started wherein they realized they needed to be more eco-friendly.
Growing Underground is a hydroponics farm below the streets of southwest London, which is powered by renewable energy A disused air raid shelter is an unlikely source for a salad. But that’s exactly where you’ll find Growing Underground, a hydroponics farm below the streets of southwest London.
Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is among the world’s most famous protected tracts of land, and attracts over 4 million visitors a year – normally.
Thursday 14th May
Imagine buying a wool coat when it is actually cold out, instead of in the middle of summer. The coronavirus could make that a reality. Is Black Friday as we know it over, at least when it comes to shopping for clothes?
The masks are being distributed to some of the world’s poorest communities, whilst helping provide jobs during the crisis An initiative to provide free face masks to some of the world’s poorest communities has launched in several African nations in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Long seen as annoying creatures that can leave holes in your clothes, moths have been badly misjudged, say scientists. New research suggests they play a vital role as overnight pollinators of a wide range of flowers and plants. The study says that the moths’ transport networks are larger and more complex than those of daytime pollinators like bees.
Imagine mentioning William Shakespeare to a university graduate and discovering they had never heard of him. You would be incredulous. But it’s common and acceptable not to know what an arthropod is, or a vertebrate, or to be unable to explain the difference between an insect and spider.
Thursday 7th May
Cycling in the city could increase ten-fold says mayor, announcing plans for a post-lockdown London The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans to overhaul the city’s streets to encourage more people to walk and cycle when the lockdown is eased.
“Pollinators were the key,” says Edgar Mora, reflecting on the decision to recognise every bee, bat, hummingbird and butterfly as a citizen of Curridabat during his 12-year spell as mayor. “Pollinators are the consultants of the natural world, supreme reproducers and they don’t charge for it.
A brown bear has been spotted traversing a rugged and sparsely populated area of north-west Spain for the first time in 150 years thanks to a set of camera traps and a bit of luck.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented slump in demand for fossil fuels, but not renewable energy The fall in demand for energy due to coronavirus will dwarf the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and result in a record annual decline in carbon emissions of almost 8 per cent.
Quarantined City Residents Are Celebrating Ramadan by Decorating Their Homes With Stunning Light Displays
Since the COVID-19 outbreaks have disrupted many of the traditional festivities of Ramadan-such as going to mosque and sharing meals with loved ones-one Michigan town has launched a sweet new initiative to celebrate the Islamic holiday from quarantine.
Friday 1st May
NHS staff are being offered free therapy through several initiatives designed to help key workers cope during the pandemic Through the coronavirus crisis, NHS staff are working incredibly hard to attend to patients’ physical and mental health. But what happens to their own health?
With cinemas and theatres closed until further notice, people in Prague are being steered towards drive-in festivals Inspired by the old drive-in cinemas made famous in the US, Czech theatre director, Karel Kratochvíl, hatched a plan to put on an arts festival in Prague, which people could enjoy without leaving their cars.
Cities around the world are taking the lead in post-coronavirus planning, with a raft of environmental initiatives being rolled out in places from Bogotá to Barcelona to ensure public safety and bolster the fight against climate breakdown.
Wednesday 29th April
An “unprecedented” hole in the ozone layer which developed to become the largest ever seen over the Arctic has closed just weeks after opening, scientists observing the phenomenon have said. The gap in the vital layer, which protects the Earth from harmful radiation from the sun, set a new record for ozone depletion in the northern hemisphere when it formed earlier this month.
Britain has gone without coal power for 18 days in a row – the longest period since the industrial revolution. The milestone was recorded as demand for power fell almost 20 per cent compared to the same period last year, as the majority of businesses remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Conservationists are celebrating yet another environmental milestone as the last polluting coal-fired power plants in Austria and Sweden closed their doors. Sweden’s original commitment to stop using coal was a target the country wanted to achieve by 2022, but the recent closure of Stockholm Exergi AB’s Värtaverket power plant means the nation will see their goal realized two years early.
After 45 days at home, children in Spain up to the age of 13 are allowed to leave their homes for an hour a day. With around 220,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 20,000 reported deaths the country has one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe
Friday 24th April
Once thought to be extinct in the UK, the black bee is reappearing thanks in part to two refugee-run beekeeping projects “It’s amazing,” says beekeeper, Ali Alzein, sounding excited over the phone to Positive News, from his home in Hammersmith.
Thursday 23rd April
Millions to gather online on Earth Day to demand urgent climate action amid coronavirus pandemic – follow live
Earth Day has now reached its 50th year, with millions estimated to take part in the annual day of environmental action to tackle the huge challenges facing our planet. This year’s plans for events have been upended by the coronavirus crisis, but the movement has planned 72-hours of digital action instead to celebrate the theme of climate action.
Tuesday 21st April
Milan is to introduce one of Europe’s most ambitious schemes reallocating street space from cars to cycling and walking, in response to the coronavirus crisis. The northern Italian city and surrounding Lombardy region are among Europe’s most polluted, and have also been especially hard hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Marine life researchers in Florida say that coronavirus restrictions keeping humans and harmful waste off beaches are having a beneficial effect on the numbers of endangered leatherback sea turtles in the state.
Since thousands of couples have been forced to cancel, postpone, or adapt their wedding plans during the COVID-19 outbreaks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it easier for nuptials to tie the knot. This weekend, the governor announced that New Yorkers will now be able to obtain marriage licenses remotely.
Thursday 16th April
The financial fallout from coronavirus is pushing more women into period poverty. Charities are rallying to help Before the pandemic, Alice Bates regularly volunteered at the Manchester-based charity, Every Month, where she and other helpers prepared period packs – containing pads, tampons and a bar of chocolate as a treat – for distribution at food banks and refugee shelters “At the moment that’s difficult,” said Bates, who during the lockdown has turned her living room into a mini production line.
Wednesday 15th April
Amateur sewers across the UK are using their skills to make hospital uniforms for health workers fighting coronavirus Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many frontline NHS staff are finding themselves without the protective clothing they need to safely do their jobs.
A 99-year-old war veteran who is walking 100 laps of his garden before he turns 100 has raised more than £10m for the NHS. Tom Moore originally wanted to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together by completing laps of his garden. But he has now topped 10,000 times his initial target thanks to donations from nearly 500,000 people online.
Nurse launches appeal for fabric hearts to help keep intensive care patients connected to loved ones
A nurse has launched an appeal for volunteers to create matching fabric hearts for patients and their relatives during the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the outbreak, visiting has been severely restricted at hospitals across the UK, leaving many people feeling alone and detached from their loved ones.
Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have fabricated a solar cell with an efficiency of nearly 50%. For perspective, the average solar cell has an efficiency rate of 15% to 20%, meaning it’s capable of converting just a small fraction of absorbed sunlight into electricity.
Monday 13th April
The screenshots began to circulate on Delhi WhatsApp groups last week, captioned with varying expressions of disbelief. Having checked the air quality index, something of a sadistic morning ritual among residents of India’s capital, most could not believe their eyes.
Thursday 9th April
Private vehicles are being designed out of urban areas with encouraging results for communities and businesses One of the things I remember about growing up in the West Midlands is the burgundy overalls.
The initiative will put more money in the pockets of farmers and help reduce the country’s agricultural emissions The initiative will put more money in the pockets of farmers and help reduce the country’s agricultural emissions Solar power in India has just had a major boost.
Monday 6th April
The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy have both been deemed essential workers amid New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown, the nation’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised children in her daily press conference. Asked about worries from younger citizens over the Easter Bunny being able to fulfil its duties, she said: “You’ll be pleased to know that we consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers.
Thousands of British homes will be paid to use electricity during the day for the first time, as wind and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy during the coronavirus lockdown. On Sunday morning, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up almost a fifth of the power system.
Scottish fruit farmers have solved a recruitment crisis that could have resulted in this year’s harvest of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries being destroyed. Several thousand people, including students and restaurant and bar workers laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak, have taken low-paid fruit-picking jobs in Tayside and Fife normally done by seasonal workers from Bulgaria and Romania.
Thursday 2nd April
There’s no denying that this is an unprecedented time for the global community, let alone the fashion industry. Retailers have been forced to close their doors and face considerable losses as customers and workers alike are encouraged to stay at home.
The glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation, according to a major new scientific review. It reports rebounding sea life, from humpback whales off Australia to elephant seals in the US and green turtles in Japan. Through rampant overfishing, pollution and coastal destruction, humanity has inflicted severe damage on the oceans and its inhabitants for centuries.
Green campaigners and climate leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure on governments around the world to make stringent new commitments on the climate crisis, as a vital UN climate summit was delayed until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A herd of goats has taken over a deserted town centre, eating hedges and flowers from gardens. Usually, the wild herd of about 122 Kashmiri goats venture from the Great Orme into Llandudno during bad weather. But town councillor Carol Marubbi believes the lack of people around because of coronavirus has drawn them down.
Monday 30 March
Environmental campaigners give their verdict on the Court of Appeal’s ruling against a third runway at Europe’s busiest airport In a landmark verdict, the UK’s Court of Appeal ruled in February against government-approved plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.
Friday 27th March
International cooperation on ozone-depleting chemicals is helping to return the southern jet stream to a normal state after decades of human-caused disruption, a study shows. Scientists say the findings prove there is the capacity to heal some damaged climate systems if governments act promptly and in coordination to deal with the causes.
People around the UK have taken part in a so-called “Clap for Carers” tribute, saluting NHS and care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The Royal Family and the prime minister joined well-wishers who flocked to their balconies and windows to applaud. A message from the NHS on social media described the tribute as “emotional”.
A British conservation charity is urging people confined indoors or only allowed to roam outside briefly to begin a new tradition emulating hanami, the Japanese custom of relishing the fleeting sight and scent of blossom. The National Trust is encouraging people to join its scheme to salve the spirit in this most difficult of springtimes.
Some 170,000 people signed up overnight, and by Thursday morning, 504,303 people had answered the call for volunteers to help the national effort to fight the Covid-19 virus More than 500,000 people have signed up to volunteer for the NHS in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Thursday 26th March
After giving $500,000 worth of shoes to healthcare workers, Allbirds is now offering to split the cost with you to donate a pair
Allbirds announced that it will give shoppers the option to donate a pair of Allbirds shoes for half-price to healthcare workers when they buy a new pair for themselves. For those who don’t need new shoes, you can also choose to simply donate a pair to a healthcare worker at a discounted rate of $60 (normally $95).
The world’s wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 after a year of record growth for offshore windfarms and a boom in onshore projects in the US and China. The Global Wind Energy Council found that wind power capacity grew by 60.4 gigawatts, or 19%, compared with 2018, in one of the strongest years on record for the global wind power industry.
Twin ring-tailed lemurs have been born at a UK zoo. The endangered primates were born to mother Fiona and father Dog at Chester zoo on 2 March and have just begun to venture outside.
Each of us can help lighten our ecological load-in our homes, our neighborhoods, and the wider world. This story is part of the optimistic argument for the future of the planet in our special issue on Earth Day. Read the pessimistic argument and the rest of our stories here.
This story is part of the optimistic argument for the future of the planet in our special issue on Earth Day. Read the pessimistic argument and the rest of our stories here. Editor’s Note: Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, announced March 24 that she had experienced mild flu-like symptoms and may have had COVID-19.
Shifting to a digital-first distribution strategy, “daily global demand and supply optimization” and tight cost management are major tenets of what Nike executives called their “coronavirus playbook” on a Tuesday earnings call. “Our measures of success in the near-term will be rooted in the amount of inventory on hand relative to the pace of digital demand, store re-openings and traffic patterns,” CFO Andy Campion said.
Generosity will help in winning the war against coronavirus, says Sarah Mower, but the big question is whether the spontaneous surge of human spirit, creativity and practicality will grow strongly enough – for long enough – to turn fashion’s priorities around
Thursday 19th March
The National Trust is planning to keep many of its parks and gardens open during the coronavirus outbreak for free. Its buildings including shops and cafes will be closed to the public by tomorrow after the Prime Minister advised people to avoid mass gatherings and try and avoid unnecessary social contact.
When it became impossible to run his real-life choirs as normal this week, vocal leader James Sills launched The Sofa Singers. The virtual group invites people from all over the world to connect through the power of song – from the comfort of their sofas
A lonely pine tree believed by superstitious locals to act as sentinel over a flooded Czech village has been chosen as Europe’s tree of the year, beating stiff competition from a Croatian gingko tree, a Portuguese chestnut and an English oak.
Wednesday 18th March
At a construction site on the Lower East Side, there’s a set of posters far different than the rest: they show photographs of people kissing while wearing surgical masks. Art in the age of Covid-19? Perhaps. But also a call for unity as the nation faces pressure living under the weight of pandemic.
Pret-A-Manger are giving NHS staff free hot drinks and slashing prices on all menu items. The food chain made the announcement on social media this morning as a thanks for all the efforts workers are making to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.
Tuesday 17th March
While people are social distancing and avoiding crowds due to COVID-19, neighborhoods are lending a helping hand to those with weak immune systems who may not be able to leave home. Kindness isn’t canceled in the Old North Knoxville Historic District neighborhood. Neighbors are taking the phrase “love thy neighbor” to a whole new level.
As Italy is gripped by a countrywide lockdown because of rocketing numbers of coronavirus cases, Italians are trying to boost their morale and have started spreading a slogan of reassurance: “Andrà tutto bene” – everything will be all right.
Southbank Centre in Britain became the latest to end oil sponsorship of art, as it disconnected its ties with the oil company Shell. In recent years, activists have struggled to stop oil companies from sponsoring art institutions in an effort to whitewash their image, while they continue indulging in harmful activities.
Help through the letterbox: postcard campaign launched to tackle coronavirus isolation – Positive News
After reading about the coronavirus pandemic in the media, Cornwall-based lecturer Becky Wass wanted to try to shrug off a growing sense of helplessness. She designed a simple postcard for people to drop through the letterboxes of anyone who may be in need of help – and the simple yet powerful idea has already gone global.
For a daughter to receive the same education as a son was rare in the mid-14th century, and Christine de Pisan’s childhood was one such exception. Born in Venice in 1364 and raised in France, Christine (also known as Christina) used the advantages of her early education to forge a prolific writing career to support herself and her family, an unprecedented achievement for the time.
Thursday 27th February
Just a few minutes from Richmond station, the River Thames flows past a parade of royal palaces, stately homes and well-groomed parks. Known as the Arcadian Thames, or London’s countryside, this is where the capital begins to transform into the wilderness beyond it.
Wednesday 26th February
Greta Thunberg has met Malala Yousafzai during a visit to Oxford University. The climate change campaigner, 17, made the trip to Lady Margaret Hall where she met the human rights campaigner, 22, on Tuesday. Ms Thunberg recently joined a school strike in Bristol. Ms Yousafzai is studying politics, philosophy, and economics at the university.
British Airways has announced it will eradicate 700 tonnes of single-use plastic from its flights during 2020. The airline said it planned to get rid of more than a billion single-use plastic items, which would fill the equivalent of more than 30,000 suitcases.
Tuesday 25th February
After the government allowed trawlers to come closer to Scottish shores in 1984, the marine ecosystem around the Isle of Arran steadily collapsed, as bottom-trawlers and dredgers intensively combed the seabed with their vibrating spikes. Now, more than 30 years later and following the interventions of local residents, there has been a dramatic revival in species of mollusks and finfish.
Thursday 9th January
The National Trust is planning to plant 20 million trees over the next decade as part of efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. The organisation made the announcement, which it says will cost £90m-100m, on Thursday to mark its 125th anniversary.
Wednesday 8th January
In the scorching farmlands of south-west Bangladesh, a single coconut tree stands as a barometer of climate change. Dulal Mondal, 70, a farmer, points halfway up the tree about two feet off the ground to indicate where the waters came the last time the area flooded.
Monday 6th January
New rules are to be introduced to ensure all new homes built in Scotland use renewable or low-carbon heating. The regulations, being introduced by the Scottish government from 2024, are part of plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable and low-carbon systems will also be phased in for new non-domestic buildings from 2024.
Tuesday 12th November
A distinctly two-tone mouse deer that was feared lost to science has been captured on film foraging for food by camera traps set up in a Vietnamese forest. The pictures of the rabbit-sized animal, also known as the silver-backed chevrotain, are the first to be taken in the wild and come nearly 30 years after the last confirmed sighting.
Wednesday 30th October
“Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have been carefully considered. “If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.” The council’s cabinet is being asked to approve the Clean Air Zone proposal at a meeting on November 5.
Tuesday 29th October
A group of YouTube stars have raised more than $6m (£4.7m) to plant trees around the world by rallying their huge numbers of subscribers. The American YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast, was challenged on Reddit in May to plant 20m trees to celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, where he posts videos of extravagant stunts.
Friday 25th October
Baltimore, like many post-industrial cities, confronts novel challenges. Once the sixth largest city in the United States, Baltimore’s population has contracted by more than a third, resulting from a complex suite of factors including job loss, economic decline and discriminatory policies or housing and lending practices.
Wedneday 23rd October
The launch of a fully electric black cab for London has been hailed by the mayor for helping clean up the capital’s polluted air. The Dynamo, a taxi converted from a Nissan electric van in a Coventry factory, is the first 100% electric taxi on the streets of London since 1899.