Do not Give Up on Earth! Here Are Some Good Environmental News Stories of 2024
10:21:35 2024-06-05 255

Doom, defeat, and despair will get us nowhere in an environmental catastrophe, and yet all too often the negative news drowns out the positive.

While it's true that human activity is wreaking havoc on the natural world, there are glimmers of good. On World Environment Day, it's worth considering our hopes for the future as much as our fears.

2024 is shaping up to be a historic year in numerous ways. It may very well be humanity's first year beyond 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average, and yet even still, some scientists argue there are reasons to remain 'cautiously optimistic' about climate change.

Along with the many negative tipping points that could drastically worsen the current environmental crisis, there are numerous 'positive' tipping points that could help us prevent the worst of the worst.

Even small, initial changes to human behavior can lead to big environmental wins in the long run. In just the first three months of this year, for instance, more electric cars were sold than in all of 2020.

The winds of social change are here. In March, a global survey found that in every country, the majority of people worry about climate change and support policies to tackle it. In the US, specifically, another survey found 72 percent of Americans agreed that "we are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly".

One of the habits that needs kicking, and fast, is our reliance on fossil fuels. Just as the world pushes up against the very threshold that the Paris Agreement tried to hold us off from, fossil fuels are on their way out.

At the end of 2023, some scientists say the world reached a major 'tipping point' for solar power. Renewable energy now seems to be well on its way to becoming the world's main source of energy, they argue.

In fact, for the first time since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the world's demand for oil, gas, and coal is on a downturn, according to the International Energy Agency.

 A 2024 analysis from the research firm, BloombergNEF, predicts that global carbon dioxide levels may have even peaked last year. Data crunchers at the organization argue that obtaining carbon neutrality by 2050 is "tough but achievable", requiring a rapid transition away from fossil fuels.

Another habit that will need breaking if we want to reign in the destruction of Earth's environment is our unsustainable use of land and water. But even then, there is reason to believe we can turn this ship around.

Groundwater, for instance, is the world's biggest source of fresh water, and shortages are becoming a serious issue in many parts of the world, due to human exploitation and climate change. Nevertheless, evidence published this year suggests that when human societies give their groundwater resources a break, they can replenish over time.

Another hopeful study, published a few months ago, found that historically, most conservation projects are affective at reducing global biodiversity loss.

At the start of the year, a critically endangered parrot in Australia bounced back to its highest breeding numbers in 15 years, following a dedicated, decades-long conservation program.

In the midst of a sixth extinction and a climate catastrophe, it's all too easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. Every victory is an incentive to keep fighting.

 

 

 

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