The conversation surrounding the current state of our Earth is often depressing, and rightfully so. The effects of human impact have caused a variety of issues including climate change, deforestation, air pollution, and a whole host of other problems we are fighting to reverse. But, in celebration of Earth Day, I thought it would be beneficial to take a more positive look at the amazing efforts we have done to give back to the planet that’s given so much to us.
Cars have long been a major source of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere. An estimated 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US are caused by exhaust fumes from vehicles. To combat this, many companies have been looking towards manufacturing electric cars as an alternative to gas.
The sale of electric vehicles around the world has soared in 2022, increasing by 62%. Furthermore, the US Postal Service has announced that it will introduce at least 66,000 electric mail trucks before 2028. This progress is a clear indication that many people are concerned about protecting the environment and are willing to restructure their daily routines to do their part. Changes like these will motivate manufacturers to prioritize making their products more eco-friendly.
Using clean energy
President Joe Biden signed a bill in August of 2022 that will be a massive step forward toward clean energy for the US. The Inflation Reduction Act will put the US on a path to roughly 40% emission reduction by 2030. The investments included in this bill will bring down consumer energy costs and increase energy security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This move is indicative of a societal push towards renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. For the first time ever, California was able to run on 100% clean energy this past year, primarily from solar power. Its efforts will undoubtedly inspire other states to follow suit and invest in clean energy.
The European Union has put forward new plans to fight deforestation and reduce the loss of biodiversity. The new law will mandate that companies conduct strict due diligence on the production of palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber, and rubber as those are some of the biggest contributors to deforestation. What this means is that operators and traders will have to prove that their products are produced on land that was not subject to deforestation after the end of 2020. These companies will also be required to collect precise geographical information on where they source their commodities so that they can be checked for compliance.
Millions of people, including indigenous peoples and other related communities, rely heavily on forest ecosystems for their livelihoods. This new plan will support their livelihoods as it reduces biodiversity loss and overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Protecting Endangered Species
The population of Emperor penguins has been steadily shrinking and was projected to shrink by around 26% to 47% before 2050. In October 2022, the species finally received protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act, which was introduced in 1973, provides a framework to conserve and protect both the species and their habitats.
This could very well save the species’ existence, as the current climate crisis could have driven them toward extinction by 2100. The protection they have gained under this act will provide the tools necessary to protect their dwindling habitats and flocks. Protecting the animals that live on our earth with us is just as important as protecting the Earth itself, and labeling certain species as endangered will lead to tangible efforts toward their conservation.
The fight to save our earth feels incredibly daunting from this side of it. But the amount of time and effort we spend stressing over it proves we care. I’ve been impressed by the steps that have been taken globally. The brave changes that have been made despite the fear of the unknown and the potential cost of failure. Choosing eco-friendly alternatives can be inconvenient and costly at times, but ultimately, worthwhile. Our situation is far from hopeless, and every step we take to protect and conserve our planet does make a difference.