1. US REJOINS THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENTShortly after Trump’s election to office, he revealed his plan to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement - making the US the only country to do so.
Fortunately, the Biden-Harris office has announced that they will recommit to the agreement. With a global mission to keep warming below 2°C, it’s crucial that a powerhouse such as the US backs this global initiative.
Furthermore, Biden-Harris is committed to challenging the climate crisis. Key areas of the Biden Plan include achieving a 100% clean energy economy and fully integrating climate change into US foreign policy.
2. REDUCTION IN AIR POLLUTIONIf there was one silver lining to come out of the pandemic, it was the impact it has had on the environment. With travel paused, the environment finally had the chance to heal.
In March, air travel reduced by 50% in comparison to 12 months previous. And, at the end of this year, researchers at the Global Carbon Project reported a 7% reduction in carbon emissions. That equates to 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon, which is a landmark victory.
However, we must remember that this is a temporary decrease. There’s a lot of work ahead for a sustainable future.
3. BLUE WHALES SIGHTED IN SOUTH GEORGIABefore the moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced, blue whales were hunted almost to extinction. So, back in February, scientists were amazed to survey 55 blue whales off the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.
When the ban on commercial whaling was instigated, sightings of the largest creature on earth were incredibly rare. So to see such a figure is fantastic news for our ocean ecosystem.
Scientists also report that the numbers of other Southern Hemisphere whale species are also on the rise, including humpback and right whales.
4. PLASTIC STRAW BAN
England officially banned the use of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds on 1 October. This means that it is now illegal for businesses to sell or supply any of these products to individual customers.
This is a starting point; we still have a journey ahead in terms of removing plastic packaging and disposable items.
5. NEW ECO-INITIATIVES
Despite the global pandemic, 2020 has been a big year for eco-entrepreneurs. We’ve seen a number of incredible products and services launch this year that empower consumers and give us a glimmer of hope for a greener future.
- Giki Zero: this handy app enables us to track our carbon footprint and learn how we can reduce it.
- Nova Pod: A co-working centre in Cape Town, Work & Co, launched a solar-generated work station. We just hope the idea spreads further afield sooner rather than later.
- Zero-waste shops: Since the first zero-waste store launched three years ago in the UK, at least 200 have opened nationwide. Even the events of 2020 haven’t held back, and new ones have opened this year in London, Lincoln and beyond. Plus - Holland & Barret started rolling out eco-friendly refill stations in select stores.
And of course, Nature Unite launched our reusable bottle this year! By using recycled Oceanbound plastic we are doing our bit to help keep plastic pollution out of our vulnerable oceans.
Here’s to greener land and bluer oceans in 2021.
Written by the Nature Unite team