Protecting the environment is a challenging endeavor. In 2023, it was confirmed as the hottest year on record, harmful microplastics were found in supposedly clean drinking water, and there were at least 23 climate disasters causing $1 billion or more in damage relief.
While it is tempting to believe that our planet is beyond saving, with the constant negative news about humanity’s decline and the world’s deterioration, it is crucial to also focus on the positive efforts being made to protect our planet. So let’s reflect on 2023’s and celebrate impressive achievements that have contributed to the progress of the environmental movement:-
The Ozone Layer is expected to recover by 2040- The ozone layer is gradually healing, and if current measures continue, it is expected to return to its 1980 levels by 2066 in Antarctica, 2045 in the Arctic, and globally by 2040.
Australia has seen the recovery of 26 species that were previously at risk of extinction– Australia, which is known for its high rates of mammal extinction, has seen 26 species recover enough in 2023 that they should no longer be considered threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. This includes the greater bilby, burrowing bettong, western quoll, and humpback whale.
Scientists have found a type of fungus that can break down plastics- Researchers in Australia have discovered a new technique using common backyard fungi to effectively break down tough plastics, which could greatly improve recycling rates. The fungi were able to break down plastics faster than any other method currently known, providing hope for combating the plastic crisis with a sustainable and efficient solution.
Pepsi Cola is being sued for their role in the plastic waste problem- New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, has taken legal action against PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay subsidiaries, accusing them of contributing to plastic pollution that affects Buffalo’s drinking water. This 2023 lawsuit highlights the state’s commitment to clean water and holding major corporations accountable for their environmental impacts.
Solar power received more investments than oil- According to the International Energy Agency, solar power investments have exceeded investments in upstream oil for the first time ever. In 2023, over $1 billion per day was invested in solar power, surpassing the total spending on new upstream oil projects.
In 2023, there were important successes for our planet, showcasing the determination and commitment of people, communities, and the world as a whole. As we look back on these accomplishments, let them motivate us to continue the positive progress and work towards a future where the environment flourishes, sustainable practices are the standard, and green muscle memory guides our daily actions towards net-zero carbon.
Reference- Earth Day Network Newsletter, National Geographic, The Guardian, Clean Technica, Mercom India