Last year was a tumultuous one for the planet and moments of environmental catastrophe can loom large in the rearview mirror – but there is plenty of cause for optimism to outshine the climate doom.
African penguin colony defies extinction
Wildlife conservationists at the De Hoop Nature Reserve in South Africa hatched a successful plan to re-establish the African penguin population by craftily planting decoy penguins to attract others to the area. In November, a pair of chicks were spotted – the first at the reserve in 15 years.
The ozone layer is on the mend
According to NASA scientists, the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has reduced by more than 4 million square kilometres since 2006, and continues to decrease thanks to limits placed on ozone-depleting gas emissions.
Pollutant-busting deliveries on the rise
Live in a city? You may have noticed an increase in cargo bikes – bikes adapted to carry weightier items, and even people – taking the place of delivery trucks around town. What you won’t have seen is the improvement in air quality they bring: cargo bikes cut carbon emissions by 90% compared with vans, and have been heralded as a gamechanger for the environmental impact of whizzing your latest online purchases from A to B.
Solar power on track to outstrip coal
Over the next five years, the world’s renewable power capacity is projected to increase by 75% according to a report by the International Energy Agency. Solar energy is set to take pride of place as the biggest source of the world’s electricity by 2027.
Intergenerational plant power
New research has uncovered that plants may share animals’ ability to survive in adverse environmental conditions by passing adaptations down to their offspring – like altering the length of the cold period needed to define their flowering time. It could mean the planet’s plant life is hardier than first thought in the face of pressure from a changing climate.
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