Lately, It seems as though all we here about is the downfall of planet earth. With the climate crisis and the foretellings of a mass extinction, the situation is a bit alarming. However, it is not all doom and gloom, there have been plenty of positive occurrences recently. Here are a few of them:
Just last week, Panama has joined the listed countries (Colombia, New Zealand, Chile and Mexico) through which nature has been granted legal protection, be it through their constitutions or the court system. After a year of discussion and debate, a new law granting nature the “right to exist, persist and regenerate its life cycles” has been granted, taking effect in 2023. The parliament will be legally obliged to promote the rights of nature using its foreign policies, a step in the right direction in preserving the environment.
Picture Credit: Girl with red hat
Saving even one species, amid the warnings of a sixth mass extinction, is a small victory. The “Mexican Tequila fish” disappeared from the wild in 2003, but with the combined efforts of UK’s Chester Zoo and the Michoacana University of Mexico, the Tequila Splitfin is making a comeback. After forming a strong colony in a lab, 40 each of males and females have been released into artificial ponds in order to expose them to a semi-natural environment. Four years later and the 80 fish that were released are thriving and have multiplied to form a total of 10,000 fish in total. So far, 1500 fish have been released into the wild, from the confines of the artificial ponds. “This is the first time an extinct species of fish has ever been successfully reintroduced in Mexico and so it’s a real landmark for conservation,” says Professor Omar Dominguez, from the Michoacana University of Mexico.
China has completed its first “Vertical Forest City”, housing approximately 500 people and over 5000 plant life including shrubs and trees. As the work of architect Stefano Boeri, the towers forge a star-like effect by combining open and closed balconies. The project includes 4,620 different types of shrubs, 2,409 square meters of perennial grass, flowering plants and creepers, and a total of 404 trees. The vegetation used has been selected from native, non-invasive species. What’s even more impressive is, the vertical forest is estimated to absorb approximately 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide and emit 10 tonnes of oxygen. Another similar “Forest City” project is underway in Liuzhou, since it is one of the areas with the highest amount of smog in the whole world.
Billionaire Cannon-Brookes made a bid to buy AGL on February 19th. Co-founder of the software giant Atlassian and the third richest person in Australia, Cannon-Brookes plans on buying AGL, an electric company which owns three out of the sixteen of Australia’s coal plants. One would wonder how that is good news for the environment, but the positive aspect to this is that he plans to shut down these coal plants for good. Cannon-Brookes plans to spend $20 billion on replacing the coal plants with renewable energy plants. Resistance for his plan has been met, claiming it is too “unrealistic”, but Cannon-Brookes says negotiations are still ongoing. Currently, Australia holds the title of having the highest emissions per capita in the whole world due to the burning of coal. AGL is the biggest energy producer in the country, a shift to renewable energy within the company could cause a massive change all over Australia. Cannon-Brookes hopes to achieve zero emissions by 2035.
Picture Credit: Max Kukurudziak
Another encouraging development that happened earlier this week is the discovery of an unblemished coral reef in the waters just off the tropical coastline of Tahiti. Researchers claim that this is one of the largest coral reefs ever found, stretching out to three kilometers, and it appears to be completely unaffected by human activities. Most reefs are found in relatively shallow waters, whereas this reef was found to be between 35 and 70 metres deeper. Coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine life, providing shelter and food, as well as protecting coastlines from storms and rough waves, minimising erosion. This particular reef included one of the rarest corals on earth, distinctive rose-shaped corals. According to researches and reports, between 2009 and 2018, 14% of the world’s reefs were destroyed, due to pollution, climate change or over-fishing. However, scientists believe that the depth of this reef may have played a factor in its preservation, shielding it from temperature changes in shallow waters. More dives have been planned in the coming months, and researchers hope this will lead to understanding more about the matter and possibly protecting the existing ecosystems of the world.
With all these developments, it is encouraging, there is still hope for our planet.
March 23rd 2022 | 9:45 PM