It’s not all bad news

Amongst all the negative stories in the news there are some good stories too, so we thought we’d end the year with some positive news that’s happened in 2023.

After all, we need to adopt a positive mindset to get through daily life, and watching the news everyday can bring you down if you let it. Let’s face it, a huge percentage of what we see on the news are bad news stories and I know people that have stopped watching it as it was making them depressed.

Whilst it doesn’t make the bad stuff go away, we need to look after our own mental health, so we need to balance what we see and hear to remain in a good place.

So here are a few feel good stories from this year:

A new Swedish factory is using the latest infra-red technology to help it become the biggest plastic recycling plant in the world. The infra-red cameras can identify and separate 12 different types of plastic and the site is capable of sorting 20,000 tonnes per year.

A French company is manufacturing white heat reflective paint to be used to paint roofs. The idea is that in countries with hotter climates, the sun’s heat is reflected off the building, effectively cooling it down. This reduces the need for air conditioning, saving money and reducing the impact on the environment. The paint is made using tonnes of oyster shells which are otherwise thrown away, around 130,000 tonnes a year.

Young people in Brazil are creating environments in Rio de Janeiro in an attempt to safeguard the future of the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin monkey. By creating so called “Green Corridors”, they are trying to join two areas of forest together to give the monkeys a larger habitat. They have done this by planting tree seedlings between the two areas and once established, this should provide the space for the monkeys to thrive and gradually increase their numbers.

Wind farms have been around for a number of years, and are very effective in supplying clean energy. The biggest criticism though is one of aesthetics – people think they look out of place wherever they are built. But some eco inventors are creating mini versions of the wind turbines and designing them to look like trees, so that they blend in with their surroundings.

Prince William once again presented the prizes for his Earthshot competition, where he encourages individuals and small companies to come up with ideas on how we can save the planet. One of the winners was a group of Massai women who had found a way to extract a bio-fuel from cacti, an invasive plant which although parts of it are edible, it’s spikes are harmful to livestock which causes a problem when grazing nearby. The project is providing employment for the women and they feel empowered to have created something themselves.

The small Caribbean island of Dominica has created a marine protection area for the sperm whales that visit there. Scientists have discovered that the whales’ poo is extremely nutrient rich which can help to capture carbon dioxide from the seawater. The whale faeces can help plankton to thrive and when the plankton dies, it sinks to the bottom, becoming a carbon layer which mitigates the impact of global warming.

Scientists estimates that a remarkable 4,200 metric tonnes of carbon is captured annually. Obviously this has been going on for thousands of years but by looking after their habitat, the whales can play their part in a protected area. It may not seem like much, but the report of a baby rhino being born caused great interest recently. The critically endangered male rhino was born in Sumatra and is the second born in the country this year. The numbers of this species are still less than 50, which is why the birth caused such excitement. Despite being critically endangered, the animal is still hunted by poachers in the wild. The two calves born this year were in semi-natural sanctuaries where important work is being done to save the species.

Arizona is building the first solar canal in America. A solar canal is a stretch of water with solar panels above. The idea is that the panels produce clean energy, and the water beneath is protected from the sun – therefore less evaporation occurs. The project is the result of an historic agreement between the US Corps of Engineers and the Gila River Indian Community, and is due to be completed within a couple of years. A double win as it addresses two problems at once.

So despite all the doom and gloom, there are many positives to be taken from the news.

And of course, our own individual actions to make the planet a better place can add up massively when we combine together, so don’t think there’s nothing you can do about the issues we face.

Stay positive!