Sometimes it can seem that the news on climate change is discouraging (to wit: The story I came across recently indicating that climate change is already having a clear effect on human health), but I’d like to offer a different perspective. The fact that there’s near-daily news about recycling, conservation, sustainability, and reducing pollution is a good sign, as it means that these issues are at the forefront of our minds, globally. And in turn, hopefully this means more action will be taken.
Check out these five encouraging stories from around the world. Reading them gives me hope for the future in furthering recycling and sustainability efforts in the right direction.
1. Carmel, California: Teen diver finds golf balls littering ocean floor
Eighteen-year-old Alex Weber has written a scientific paper documenting the potential pollution caused by golf balls deteriorating in the ocean. Her impetus: Two years ago, while free-diving off the coast of Northern California, she discovered that the ocean floor was covered with golf balls from nearby golf courses. Over the course of 75 collection missions, combined with the collection efforts of two other organizations, she’s gathered up these balls — more than 50,000 in all, and she continues to work to clean up, and prevent, this kind of pollution.
2. Brooklyn, NY: New grocery store eschews packaging
Customers shopping at Precycle bring their own vessels from home to stock up on goods. The recently opened store aims to eliminate unnecessary packaging as a means to reduce waste. The store’s owner, Katerina Bogatireva, has already seen firsthand the benefits of shopping in a zero-waste store — she was able to reduce her household trash for the week to less than 5 pounds (for reference, the average American generates as much as 4.4 pounds of trash per day).
3. Gothenberg, Sweden: Volvo pledges to use recycled plastic in cars
Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has pledged that by 2025, 25 percent of the plastic in its cars will be from recycled sources. In a demonstration car that the company made to kick off its efforts, plastic from both industrial and consumer waste was used in parts like the central console, the floor, air ducts and the wheel arcs.
4. Dominica: Caribbean island bans plastic
This month, the island of Dominica begins its pledge to ban all common plastic and single-use foam food containers. The island, which is often referred to as “Nature Island” because of its pristine rainforests, aims to become the first climate-resilient nation in the world, meaning it will best prepared to weather the damaging effects of climate change. The company also announced plans this year to construct a geothermal energy plant.
5. Amsterdam: Finalists named for Plastic Recycling Awards
Forty finalists were named for the Plastics Recycling Awards, which will be given during the Plastics Recycling Show Europe in April. Among the finalists are innovative manufacturing and construction products as well as a kayak made from 100% recycled HDPE plastic, bottles made from ocean plastic, and a smart waste-bin that automatically sorts and compresses recyclables!
Whether it’s good news or bad, the increasing frequency of news coverage of environment-related events from around the world will surely have one benefit: Helping to keep the importance of taking care of our world at the forefront of people’s minds.