Being passionate about sustainability, conservation and the environment can be pretty dreary at times — especially the constant, looming threat of total environmental collapse and how we’re seemingly inching closer to it every day. Y’know the feeling?
But if there’s anything we need to keep at the front of our minds, it’s the fact that there are good things happening. And they’re happening all the time! The hard work and dedication of conservationists all over the world is paying off in amazing ways, so let’s take a minute to be proud of their achievements and of the steps humanity is taking in the right direction!.
8 feel-good climate stories from 2023
One of the largest river restoration projects is happening on the Klamath River, which winds through parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Four dams are being removed along the river and people are working hard to prepare the river banks for restoration, as even just one reservoir along the river will gain around 900 acres of freshly-exposed riverbank!
The restoration process is a long and grueling process that includes planting vegetation like milkweed, plum, oaks and more using around 13 billion (yes, billion!) native seeds.
Not only will this massive project restore damaged landscapes, but it’s a huge step toward examining how communities can successfully heal ecosystems and allow nature to take over in the wake of human activity. How cool!
You’ve likely already heard about Florida’s coral reefs and how important they are to the marine life and shore life all voer the east coast. You may have also heard that though being a staple part of Florida’s ecosystem for millions of years, they coral reefs are disappearing quickly due to a number of factors including ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures, human activity and water pollution.
Don’t worry, this is where the good news comes in!
Thanks to coral’s regenerative properties, it is actually possible to regrow coral in underwater “farms” using existing pieces of coral. Organizations like the Coral Restoration Foundation are instrumental in this effort, as is the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota; and, this year (and every year), the non-profit Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge (CWVC) teams up with Mote to help!
Not only does this add extra hands to the mission, but it gives U.S. wounded veterans a chance to use their strength and skills to complete challenging tasks with purpose! Plus, the coral that gets grown in these farms grow 40 times faster than they would on their own, so the coral reefs are repopulating faster and faster each year!
That’s some feel-good stuff right there!
Coral Restoration Foundation™ on Instagram: "We work with local dive shops to give you the chance to spend a day in the life of a marine biologist! . Our Dive and Snorkel Programs are tailored to all levels and bring your on a coral restoration adventure, caring for the corals in the largest open ocean coral nursery in the world and potentially returning some to the wild! . Not a diver? Not a problem! Snorkelers can join our programs and observe the action getting a full view of hundreds of coral trees and seeing the difference between restoration sites and degraded reef. . Sign up today through the link in our bio! . 🎥 @coralrestorationfoundation #somegoodnews #coralrestoration #coralreef #coralgrowth #generationrestoration #photomosaic #technology #wildlife #reefhealth #raisethereef #impact #protectwhatyoulove #dowhatyoulove #reefbuilders #savethereef #wethereef #oceanstewards #reefbuildingcoral #coralpassion #oceanrescue #rescueandrehabilitation #marineconservation #chooseyourchange #reefrestoration #coralreefs #restorereefs #conservation #oceanoptimism #oceanheroes"
4,027 likes, 19 comments - coralrestorationfoundation on May 8, 2023: "We work with local dive shops to give you the chance to spend a day in the life of a marine biolo..."
Food forests are as ancient as humanity itself, but we don’t see a whole lot of it in western nations — which is a pity, really, because food forests are a one-stop-shop for all your homegrown veggies, fruits, nuts and other edible plants grown in the most efficient manner imaginable.
Luckily, though, they’re starting to gain traction here in the U.S! There are already 10 food forests in the Boston, Massachusetts area and more popping up all over the country, like this one here in Seattle (which is the largest urban one in the nation, by the way!)
And yeah, food is a big part of it, but the real value is in the communities that get closer to each other and the positive impact it’s making on young people who learn to care for their environments!
Boston Food Forest Coalition on Instagram: "Before & after of a food forest transformation ✨ Read more on the Edgewater Food Forest at WBUR 🗞️ https://www.wbur.org/news/2023/05/25/edgewater-food-forest-mattapan-boston-food-forest-coalition . . . #foodforest #beforeandafter #permaculture #urbanpermaculture #permaculturegarden #permaculturedesign #greenspace #communitycohesion #communityresilience #climateresilience #climatejustice #boston #bostonparks #urbanpark #foodforestpark #bostonnonprofit #bostonneighborhoods #neighborhooddevelopment #worktogether #foodforall"
105 likes, 1 comments - bostonfoodforest on May 25, 2023: "Before & after of a food forest transformation ✨ Read more on the Edgewater Food Forest at WBU..."
Back in 2002, Pryor Creek in Oklahoma was found to be so polluted and contaminated that the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) deemed it “impaired.” Which, if you’re in the waterway business, means it’s in pretty terrible shape.
However, thanks to years of research, testing, monitoring and conservation efforts, Pryor Creek and 96 other impaired waterways are now clean enough to make it off the list and back into healthy status — and that’s just in one state!
Okay, O.K. We see you!
Oklahoma Conservation Commission on Instagram: "Captured a zen moment of rain falling on Dirty Butter creek in Tulsa this morning - Candice Miller, Blue Thumb"
54 likes, 0 comments - conservation_ok on July 29, 2022: "Captured a zen moment of rain falling on Dirty Butter creek in Tulsa this morning - Candice Mille..."
If we could give it a better name, we’d call this record-breaking wind turbine in China “The Little Wind Turbine That Could,” because boy did it work hard.
This particular wind turbine is no small feat, to be sure. It’s actually the largest wind turbine in the world, its rotor diameter measuring a whopping 21/2 football fields wide! In addition to that, it’s got special technology that allows the blades to adjust to wind speeds and direction in real-time, allowing it to continue operating through nearly any conditions.
On September 1, 2023, the fan propelled itself (pardon the pun) to the world record list by generating 384.1 megawatt hours in just one day during Typhoon Haikui. That’s enough energy to power 170,000 homes!
Like the title says, the European Union reported that just a third of their energy generated in the first 6 months of 2023 was generated with fossil fuels; the other two-thirds were generated by renewable energy. And, on top of that, that already-impressive number was down a whole 17% from the year before — that’s some quick work!
A study in April of this year showed that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon was down by 68% from April of 2022, which is great news for the rapidly-disappearing ecosystem!
Hopefully, the trend continues!
Imagine being such an introvert that the entire world thinks your species has been locally extinct for 20 years.
But in all seriousness, lions have been thought to be locally extinct in Chad’s Sena Oura National Park, which lies on the border of Chad and neighboring Cameroon. Lion populations all over West and Central African nations have been struggling over the past few decades, but just this year a healthy female lion sat directly in front of a trail camera and assured everyone that no, they’re still there and they look to be doing okay!
They’re not out of the woods, certainly, but this is amazing news!
There’s still plenty of work to be done, sure, but each step we reach out to take has a whole trail of steps behind it that have led us here. Let’s keep the ball rolling and make next year the best one yet!
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Alessandra_Ceja19