We are constantly bombarded by negative stories of chaos, destruction, and crisis. It can be difficult to find hope in a world facing a climate crisis, but at Sustainable Business Consulting we have always taken a positive, solutions-focused approach to addressing the challenges of climate change. To commemorate World Environment Day, here are the best hopeful good news stories of 2019 thus far.
Global Restrictions on Plastics
This March, the European Union took a giant step to ban a wide range of single-use plastic items, including straws and cutlery. Europe is leading the way in environmental protection, and a growing wave to reduce single-use plastic has gained steam, with straw bans and plastic bag bans spreading across the US. Most recently, California passed a bill for a 75% reduction in single-use plastics, and Maine voted to ban single-use plastic shopping bags statewide.
Youth Climate Change Uprising
As climate change has risen in mainstream awareness, the youth has found its voice as climate activists and environmental advocates, standing up for climate change through school strikes that grow in numbers each week. On its 42nd week, young people are showing that they are passionate about sustainability and fighting for their future. As a result, Ireland and Britain have declared climate emergencies, and companies are urging governments to commit to significant emissions reductions.
Clean Energy Outpacing Fossil Fuels
For the first time, renewable energy outpaced coal in energy production, making renewable energy, including hydro, solar, and wind, the second largest energy source after natural gas in the US. In addition, renewable energy costs have also fallen, making even the most expensive renewables competitive with fossil fuels.
A Rising Appetite for Plant-Based Meat
The plant-based meat industry has made a huge splash in 2019. Burger King partnered with the Impossible Burger to make meatless options more readily accessible, and McDonald’s recently launched a vegan burger in Nordic markets. Not to be outdone, Qdoba and Del Taco will also offer plant-based meatless meat options throughout the year. Beyond Meat’s IPO skyrocketed as the best-performing public offering by a major US company in almost 20 years. The rising appetite for meatless meat will support emissions reductions, as meat alternatives produce 10x less greenhouse gas emissions than beef.
Cities Ready for 100% Renewable Clean Energy
Local city governments are stepping up to address the climate crisis with strong commitments to transition to renewable energy. Over 100 US cities have committed to clean energy, and by some estimates, this number may quadruple by the end of 2019. Seattle is taking this a step further, developing a zero-emission fleet of public transport buses, mandating that all parking structures include electric vehicle charging stations, and modernizing electrical grids through a grant from the Washington Clean Energy Fund.