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5 Positive Environmental News Stories From This Year

With Earth Day less than a month away, it’s the perfect time to celebrate Mother Nature and the beautiful creatures within it. When it comes to news about the environment, the media is often inundated with headlines warning about rising sea levels, air pollution, or coral reef bleaching. There is a state of unpredictability around the future of the planet, and this harsh reality creates eco-anxiety, stress, and even depression among young adults and college students.

However, as Gen Z becomes more eco-conscious through living and shopping sustainably, and government funding increases for conservation efforts, there is some positive environment news from the last year. Here are five news stories that can relieve some of your eco-anxiety and brighten your day.

New research shows hopeful signs for the future of coral reefs

In 2018, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that 99% of the ocean’s corals would succumb to the rising temperatures if waters rose by 3.6 degrees. In an effort to preserve the world’s coral reefs and gain more information, researchers spent 22 months analyzing several types of coral found in the waters of Hawaii and testing them in waters that represent global warming. The researchers posted their findings on March 10, and the results showed resilience and growth. There were low mortality rates and some species were even thriving, showing that despite increasing temperatures, there is hope for the beautiful coral reefs that light up the sea.

175 countries agree to plastic waste treaty

The plastic pollution crisis has been at the center of environmental concern for years, but governments across the world have taken a big step to combat the growing numbers. On March 2, the United Nations said that representatives of 175 countries have agreed to develop a “first-of-its-kind” global treaty that will decrease plastic waste by analyzing every step in the lifecycle of plastic. On top of reducing plastic waste, the treaty will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of plastic. This is one of the biggest steps taken by world leaders in protecting the environment since the Paris Agreement, an agreement signed in 2015 by 196 countries aimed to limit global warming.

black lion tamarin born at european zoo

The Black Lion Tamarin monkey species, which was once believed to be extinct, welcomed a new baby to their troop on December 12, 2021. The three-month-old baby, Grace, is a part of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s work to save the monkey species from extinction. There are estimated to be only 1,000 of these species left in the wild, so baby Grace is nothing short of extraordinary. Every single birth of the Black Lion Tamarin species is an important step in preserving their population for years to come.

a mangrove forest turned from a tourism project to a thriving ecosystem

Back in 1994, a mangrove forest located on Ashton Lagoon in the Caribbean was torn down to become a foundation for a hotel and a golf course. What once was crystal blue waters quickly became a murky yellow, and the once ecologically diverse ecosystem was destroyed for the beginning stages of yet another tourism project. In the following years, the construction company behind the build, Valdetarro Construction, filed for bankruptcy, leaving the forest barren with remnants of construction materials. Ecosystems that are disrupted often aren’t able to be rehabilitated, but this Mangrove Forest began to come back to life and lay a blueprint for the revival of other mangroves. 

The forest was declared “ecologically dead.” However, local fishermen and environmentalists came together to revive the forest that was once home to so many plants and animals. Through restoration planting and removal of construction materials, the mangrove forest is now thriving over 20 years later and is home to an ecosystem that supports the livelihoods of local fishermen.

Australia plans to spend $35 million to protect koalas

The cute, cuddly faces of koalas are being protected by efforts made by their home country of Australia. The marsupials have been in danger due to fires and disease with only about 100,000 to 330,000 of the species left in the wild. Australia plans to spend an additional $35 million (AU$50 million) on habitat restoration, population studies, and the expansion of research. This brings the total amount spent on koala protection to $56 million (AU$74 million), which could make the future of koalas a little bit brighter.

There is no denying that we all need to take much-needed steps to create a healthier environment for now and the future, but stories like these instill hope for what is to come. Through conservation efforts, funding, and becoming more eco-conscious, the world can become a greener place. In honor of Earth Day, donate to a charity, research how to live sustainably, or even create a garden of your own!

Hannah is an Editorial Intern for Her Campus and a Staff Writer for HCFSU. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, or rewatching her comfort shows (Friends, The Vampire Diaries, or Gossip Girl) for 20th time!
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