5 good news stories for the planet

5 good news stories for the planet 🙌

Good news for the planet

In Norway, a subspecies of reindeer has almost fully recovered from near extinction in the archipelago of Svalbard. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Svalbard reindeer was massively hunted, and its population plummeted. Facing this threat, this wild reindeer was protected in 1925. Several animals were reintroduced in areas where they’d disappeared. Recently, a scientific inventory has just shown that the reindeer had returned to all their native habitats. The number of reindeer is now estimated at 22,400, almost 13 times more than in the 1950s.

In Tunisia, the government decided to ban some plastic bags. While between 2.7 and 13.7 billion plastic bags are used on average every day around the world, a Tunisian decree aims to prohibit their production, import or distribution. This ban only concerns single-use plastic bags, bags with a high concentration of heavy metals and some so-called "oxo-degradable" bags, which are falsely marketed as being biodegradable. Those primarily affected are pharmacies and shopping centers from March 1, 2020, and then the whole country from January 1, 2021. Tunisia is joining other African countries that have officially banned some plastic bags like Rwanda, Kenya, Gambia, or Morocco.

In the Cayman Islands, an endangered species of grouper is making a comeback. During the breeding season, the Nassau groupers gather in large shoals, becoming easy targets for fishermen. Significantly overfished, this grouper is considered critically endangered. Its population sharply declined near the Cayman Islands, pushing authorities to act. In 2003: fishing is prohibited in several areas during breeding season. In 2016: new restrictions
are set up, such as the ban on some fishing techniques and capturing over 5 groupers per ship and day. Thanks to these measures, in 15 years, the number of Nassau groupers has more than tripled near Little Cayman Island. Its waters are now home to the largest known aggregation in the world.

In Madagascar, a major reforestation campaign has started. While the country lost 44% of its natural forests between 1953 and 2014, President Andry Rajoelina has recently announced his ambition to replant 60 million trees in one year. On January 19, 2020, in just one day, 1.2 million trees have already been planted by 12,000 people. Tree nurseries have been built to produce plants and supply them free of charge. In total, the reforestation should cover 400 km², 4 times the size of Paris.

In the world, energy-related CO2 emissions have stabilized. As the global economy continues to grow, 33 gigatons of CO2 were emitted in 2019, as much as in 2018. After 2 years of growth in emissions, the International Energy Agency explains this stabilization as stemming principally from: the growth of renewable energies, the transition from coal to natural gas in several countries, and the growth of nuclear production. CO2 emissions have even decreased by 5% in the European Union, by 4% in Japan, and by 2.9% in the United States. These decreases offset the increases in the rest of the world, principally in Asia where coal continues to develop. According to the IPCC, reducing CO2 emissions in 2020 and decreasing them to net zero between 2040 and 2055 would allow us to keep global warming at 1.5°C in 2100.