Here are all the positive environmental stories from 2022 so far

Publish on December 23, 2022     Source: Euronews

Eco-anxiety, climate doom, environmental existential dread - as green journalists, we see these terms used a lot - and often feel them ourselves.

There's a lot to be worried about when it comes to the climate and nature crises, but when a sense of hopelessness becomes the overarching emotion, apathy begins to creep in too. Last year three environmental educators, all part of EcoTok, penned this excellent piece for us about dealing with eco-anxiety and the need to remain hopeful - or "stubbornly optimistic", as Christiana Figueres puts it.

The media has a huge part to play in combatting climate doom. It's our job to be truthful and accurate in our reporting, not trying to downplay the severity of the situation or greenwash reality. But it's also our job to show that there is hope!

So, for 2022, as part of our ongoing effort to tackle eco-anxiety (both that of our readers and our own), we are going to be keeping track of all the positive environmental stories from this year.

This article will be regularly updated with the latest good news. It may be something small and local, something silly that made us smile, or something enormous and potentially world-changing.

If you come across a great, positive story that we haven't covered here - please do reach out to us on social media, either on Instagram or Twitter to share your ideas.

Positive environmental stories from December 2022

The EU has approved a €28 billion German renewable energy scheme

The policy is aimed at rapidly expanding use of wind and solar power. It is designed to deliver Germany's target to produce 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Replacing an existing renewables support scheme, it runs until 2026.

New EU plastic waste ban could mark the end of miniature hotel toiletries

The EU may ban miniature hotel toiletries and single-use food containers in its battle against wasteful packaging.

The proposal is part of the European Green Deal, an EU-wide plan to reach net zero by 2050, separate economic growth from resource use, and promote a circular economy.

In Europe, each person generates almost 180 kg of packaging waste on average every year. Packaging is one of the main culprits, accounting for 40 per cent of plastics and 50 per cent of paper used in the EU.

'Ray of hope’: Climate action professionals share why 2022 was an optimistic year

As we look back at 2022, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to climate action.

Progress has been made on a number of fronts, from the growth in renewable energy and sustainable transport, to COP27's loss and damage breakthrough, to legal battles won in the name of nature.

People using their skills to push for a better future haven’t given up hope, so neither should we. Here are six reasons to be positive about climate action from 2022, according to people who work on the issues full time.

EU solar power soars by almost 50% in 2022: Which country installed the most?

Solar power in Europe has soared by almost 50 per cent in 2022, according to a new report from industry group SolarPower Europe

It reveals that the EU installed a record-breaking 41.4 GW of solar this year - enough to power the equivalent of 12.4 million homes. That is a 47 per cent increase from the 28.1 GW installed in 2021.

In one year, the bloc’s capacity to generate power from this renewable source has increased by 25 per cent.

Nations agree landmark deal for biodiversity at COP15

A historic deal for nature has been made at the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal, Canada.

It is the most significant effort yet to protect the world’s land and oceans and provide finance to prevent biodiversity loss in the developing world.

The UN biodiversity conference - known as COP15 - has been considered the “last chance” for nature's recovery.

These calculations show how a renewable energy transition would save everyone money

Decarbonising the energy system is a crucial way to reduce emissions and stem climate change.

But it’s also going to save us a lot of money.

According to Oxford University researchers, ending fossil fuel use by 2050 will save the world at least $12 trillion (€11.3 trillion).

This start-up has just won £1m for its seaweed-based plastic alternative

London-based start-up Notpla believes it has an answer to our plastic waste problem: a plastic alternative made from seaweed and plants.

It's totally natural, completely biodegradable and can be used to make a range of packaging from bubbles to hold liquid to linings for food containers.

The company's founders have just won the Earthshot Prize in the ‘Build a Waste-Free World’ category, receiving £1 million (€1.2 million) to continue their efforts.

Plant power: Scientists generate electricity from a shrub in renewables breakthrough

Could we one day harness plants - as well as wind and solar - to generate clean power? It might seem like the stuff of sci-fi, but scientists have successfully used a succulent plant to create a living ‘bio-solar cell’ that runs on photosynthesis.

This (literal) green energy could enable the development of future sustainable technologies, researchers hope.

India’s original eco-warriors: Meet the Bishnoi community who won’t cut down living trees

The Bishnoi community are India’s original eco-warriors.

Members of the Hindu sect - which has more than 1.5 million devotees - have been fighting to protect the environment for more than 500 years.

The community believes in the sanctity of all life, shunning meat and avoiding felling living trees.

EU to impose world-first ‘carbon tariff’ on environmentally damaging imports

The European Union has announced a deal to impose a carbon dioxide tariff on imports of polluting goods such as steel and cement.

Known as the "Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism" (CBAM), the agreement will cover industrial imports from the bloc's 27 member states, targeting the highest polluting products first.

This CBAM scheme "will be a crucial pillar of European climate policies ... to encourage our trading partners to de-carbonise their industry", explains MEP Mohammed Chahim from the Socialists and Democrats Party.

‘Significant breakthrough’: This new sea salt battery has 4 times the capacity of lithium

Your electronics could soon be powered by an ultra cheap sea salt battery.

Researchers have built a new cheap battery with four times the energy storage capacity of lithium.

Constructed from sodium-sulphur - a type of molten salt that can be processed from sea water - the battery is low-cost and more environmentally friendly than existing options.

Belgium cracks down on private jets and short-haul flights with new tax

Belgium will impose new taxes on older, noisier planes as well as private jets and short haul flights, according to a government statement.

The move aims to reduce noise and air pollution.

As of 1 April 2023, taxes will not only be dependent on noise, but on air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the destination of the flight. Until now, small planes such as private jets have been exempt.

Carbon capture: UK’s first plant could remove 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the air a year

A huge carbon capture power station has won planning permission for the first time in the UK.

The Keadby 3 plant in north Lincolnshire is the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to be greenlit by the government.

Keadby 3 would have a generating capacity of up to 910 megawatt (MW) and capture up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, according to SSE. It says this represents at least 5 per cent of the UK government’s 2030 target.

Jonathan the Tortoise: World’s oldest living land animal celebrates 190th birthday

The world’s oldest living land animal - a Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan - has just celebrated his 190th birthday.

Jonathan’s estimated 1832 birth year predates the invention of the postal stamp, the telephone, and the photograph. The iconic creature lived through the US civil war, most of the reign of Queen Victoria, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, and two world wars.

France bans short haul domestic flights in favour of train travel

France has been given the green light to ban short haul domestic flights.

The European Commission has approved the move which will abolish flights between cities that are linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours.

The changes are part of the country’s 2021 Climate Law and were first proposed by France's Citizens' Convention on Climate - a citizens' assembly tasked with finding ways to reduce the country's carbon emissions.

These UK universities have banned ‘climate wreckers’ from recruiting on campus

Three more UK universities have banned fossil fuel companies from recruiting on campus.

Career services at the University of Bedfordshire, University of the Arts London and Wrexham Glyndwr University have promised to end all relationships with oil, gas and mining recruiters.

The ban - a product of a passionate student-led campaign - comes three months after a similar move by Birkbeck, University of London.

Disclaimer: These are compilation of links to articles in media/journals/magazines in their original form. The opinion expressed in there articles do not necessarily represent the views of ENVIS/IITM.

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