Good Things That Happened For The Planet So Far In 2019

This Monday, the world celebrated Earth Day and if you didn’t notice because you were recovering from a 3 day Easter Binge, you are excused. Bu when we think of our wellness journey from a You. We. All. perspective, we’re inspired to build a better future for everyone (our planet included!). 

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Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

That's partly why there are people taking their clothes off in parliament and school kids going on strike. Plus, when the nation's grandad David Attenborough starts talking, it's probably worth listening. But it's difficult. We're being bombarded with scary stories and told that we must change our ways - and soon. So what can we actually do? Well, last Friday we published an article all about how you can get involved with a project a bit closer to home that can help your immediate neighbourhood and help scientists understand what is happening in the woods and forests where you live - and help reach your 10,000 steps.

This year, MindBodyGreen used Earth Day as an opportunity to shed some light on all the good we’ve managed to accomplish in the first 111 days of 2019. Here, Emma Loewe, mbg’s Sustainability Editor, shares some environmental feats worth celebrating.

More companies went regenerative.

By some estimates, our soil can only handle around 60 more years of traditional farming before it’s totally depleted. That’s why regenerative agriculture, which mimics processes in nature to improve soil health and extract carbon from the atmosphere, feels more urgent than ever. In 2019, Applegate released its new line of regeneratively made sausages as momentum continues to grow for establishing a regenerative label to mark food grown using these practices.

The EU Government took a stand on plastic pollution.

In an effort to reduce the plastic problem in our oceans (which, sadly, is only getting worse), the European Union voted to ban 10 common categories of single-use plastics—plates, cutlery, straws, etc.—from member states by 2021. Another interesting initiative the EU is testing is a “polluter pays” model, in which tobacco companies will need to fund cleanup crews to pick up cigarette butts in public areas.

The kids spoke up.

Under the leadership of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, more than 1.4 million students across 123 countries skipped school on March 15. Equipped with signs such as Listen to our warning: Stop global warming and Don’t mess with my future, the young protesters implored governments worldwide to slow the use of fossil fuels and keep the planet safe for their generation. If these kids are any indication, our future is in good hands.

 
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Puerto Rico set a new sustainable standard.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, those in Puerto Rico are rebuilding stronger, more-resilient communities. If all goes to plan, by 2050 the island will run on 100 percent renewable energy with the help of a massive solar grid.

Brands signed onto the reusable economy.

In the not-so-distant future, you’ll be able to order household staples like cleaning supplies and ice cream in reusable packaging that will be collected from your doorstep once you’re done with it. It’s all thanks to Loop, a new initiative by recycling company TerraCycle that wants to make single-use packaging a thing of the past and already has buy-in from major players like Unilever, P&G, and PepsiCo.

For one day, online shopping went carbon neutral.

On February 28, Etsy announced that it would start making all of its shipments from online orders carbon neutral by investing in offset projects that take greenhouse gases out of the environment—and they’d foot the bill for the entire e-commerce industry to do the same for one day. The company estimates that doing this for just one day was the equivalent of taking 11,965 cars off the road for a year.

Solar and wind became more and more appealing.

It’s official: A third of power around the world comes from renewable sources and 75 percent of coal production is more expensive than solar or wind. How’s that for proof that renewable energy is taking over the world?

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Companies championed ingredients that give back to the planet.

Kernza is a grain whose deep roots extend 10 feet underground, making it especially effective at pulling carbon from the atmosphere and storing it underground. Now, there’s a movement brewing to bring this environmental superfood to the people, and this year,Patagonia Provisions began brewing a beer using kernza.

We all hopped on the secondhand train.

According to a survey by fashion resale platform thredUp, the secondhand clothing market is booming. In fact, their recent report says that it grew 21 times faster than traditional apparel retail over the past three years and is currently worth about $24 billion. Buying less new stuff is one guaranteed way to lessen your environmental impact, so bring on those gently worn jeans.

Finland committed to phasing out coal within 10 years.

Finland has long been planning to phase coal out of its economy, and the Finnish Parliament is so confident that it will happen that they voted to push up their timeline by one year. Now, as of May 1, 2029, the country will source all of its energy from alternative sources. (As it stands now, 8 percent of its electricity comes from coal.)



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100 million trees will now be coming our way.

With its newly unveiled Time for Trees campaign, The Arbor Day Foundation has committed to planting 100 million trees in the hopes of removing 578,000 tons of chemical pollution from the air. The organization is getting communities involved by recruiting 5 million tree planters around the world to join them.