Sat in the weird lull between Christmas and New Year? Watched one too many Die Hard sequels and at the point where the only thing that fits is leggings? In need of a pick me up? Us too! This is why we’ve got you covered with some of the best green news stories of 2021.
Let’s break up the monotony and take you into 2022 with renewed energy.
Manatee numbers in the Amazon are increasing
Although they can’t be accurately counted, evidence suggests that the manatee population is on the up.
As all three varieties of manatees worldwide are listed as vulnerable to extinction, it’s great news to see Amazonian manatees making a comeback.
The two major threats to manatees are loss of habitat and collisions with boats and ships. One of the main reasons we support the Rainforest Trust is so that we can protect animals from losing their habitat. It’s great to see that projects like this are making a difference in the Amazon.
And manatees aren’t the only species making a comeback. Tuna, Siberian tigers, European bison, and the saiga antelope all stepped away from the brink of extinction in 2021.
Clean Air Zones are on the up
In 2021, three clean air zones opened up across the UK, with at least two more due to begin in 2022.
There are two main impacts of these zones. It’s hoped that this will speed up the adoption of low emission and electric vehicles to reduce our combined carbon footprint and they’ll improve local air pollution.
Busy city centres can be incredibly polluted. By reducing this, we can improve the lives of young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions who live in these areas and have a positive impact on their health.
Ikea launched its buyback scheme
In the UK, Ikea is the biggest furniture retailer. Early this year, the retailer began a scheme to buy back unwanted items. These items will then be reused, recycled, or rejigged rather than dumped.
The customers who return items could receive up to 50% of the original RRP in vouchers that they can spend in-store.
With such a big brand adopting a circular approach, it’s likely we’ll start to see more furniture stores following suit and reducing the waste they produce.
A team of Ecologists produced the first-ever report on UK nature-based solutions to the climate emergency
Over 100 ecologists produced a first of its kind report addressing how nature can help combat the UK’s climate and the biodiversity crisis.
They detail how efforts to regenerate woodland, restore grassland, and rewet peatland could be substantially enhanced to maximise carbon retention.
The report from the British Ecological Society asks for substantial government buy-in and funding.
Why is the report so great? Well, it shows UK-based scientists are really pushing forward their efforts to help us do more. It also means that in the future we should start to see rewilding projects actually take place, so we’ll have more nature on our doorsteps to enjoy.
COP26: The UK pledges £290m to help poorer countries
It’s hard to ignore the biggest climate news story of 2021, COP26. Setting the politics aside there were some important (and positive things) that happened!
The government in the UK pledged a substantial amount to help poorer countries cope with climate change.
Sometimes, it can be hard to see the impact of climate change here in the UK. We’re seeing milder winters and increased flooding, but some of the countries that are suffering the most (think typhoons, tsunamis etc) are actually doing the least when it comes to carbon emissions.
Most of the money will be used to assist Asian and Pacific nations to plan and invest in climate action, improve conservation and ensure low-carbon development, as well as humanitarian aid relief.
What’s great about this is that the West is showing some accountability for the climate emergency, and we hope there’ll be more of this in the future.
Protected areas are increasing
A report in May revealed that in the last decade an area of land the size of Russia has fallen under some sort of protection.
Since 2000, the world has gained an area of forest the size of France, which means that we’re beginning to win against deforestation too.
Plus, in 2021, planning began on a “shark superhighway” in the South Pacific which will protect marine life from overfishing.
The EU’s single-use plastic ban took effect
If you’ve been following along with us for a while, you’ll know that we don’t love single-use plastics which is why this move from the EU in July was very welcome. This means that plastic food containers, straws, polystyrene takeaway containers, and cotton buds were all banned.
Following on from this, France introduced a ban on plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables (which comes into play in 2022) and Spain has done the same with a 2023 deadline.
Similar bans are also currently under discussion here in the UK.
We hope that this could have a huge impact, as the government will have to invest in developing alternatives, and major retailers will have to be more eco-conscious - fabulous news for everyone in the EcoVibe community.
And that’s our wrap up of 2021, here’s hoping 2022 is even better!