A lot happened in 2021 – some good, some bad and others great. We wanted to spotlight the positive stories of incredible innovations, organisations, and individuals committed to making a positive impact.
12 bits of Good News in 2021
1. Good News for the Coral of Australia's Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef – the world's largest living structure – is threatened by rising temperature, which causes coral bleaching. With the help of artificial pools, scientists began moving eggs from areas of the reef where coral has been growing to other areas hit by coral bleaching.
2. Panda and Other Endangered Species are Making a Comeback
The Panda was the symbol of all endangered animals everywhere – not anymore! In 2021, China's great Panda was off the endangered animals' list. And the future looks bright for four endangered species of Atlantic Tuna. The future looks bright for some of our most vulnerable living creatures.
3. There Was Progress on Plastic Pollution
Plastic pollution is a large problem that we created by ourselves. But efforts to tackle plastic waste intensified in 2021. In Europe, 10 single-use plastic items were banned by the EU. The French government went a step further and outlawed plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables. While in Ireland, a new website was launched to help people make informed environmental choices.
4. Renewable Energy Estimations were Surpassed – to Everyone's Delight
A staggering 94% of all energy projects kickstarted in 2021 were clean. Energy prices from renewable sources like solar and wind plummeted far below those of even the most optimistic projections. Showing that cheaper energy from clean sources is a better solution for all.
5. New Technology Paves Way For Net-Zero Agriculture
Agriculture accounts for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions globally. A new study brought out in 2021 showed how new and emerging technologies could usher in a new era of net-zero agriculture in a few decades from now and how Europe could feed 600 million people from organic farming alone. Good news for global agriculture.
6. New Homes Created With 3D Printing Surfaces
Homes are now being created with the latest 3D printing technology. Of course, 3D tech is not a new thing but fully 3D printed houses, like the one Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers became the new tenants of is something we haven't seen before. By 2030, three billion people will need improved housing. 3D printing could help provide solutions to the global housing crisis as it allows homes to be produced cheaper and faster than traditional building techniques. If adopted at scale, this approach could put roofs over millions of people’s heads.
7. Largest Renewable Energy Installation in the World in China
We are not just talking about the largest – but by far the largest in the world. And the fact China is behind this project means it scores double points in our good book. So much about climate change depends on China because we are talking about the world's largest polluter nation. So, if they're cleaning up massively, it's all thumbs up from here.
8. Jeremiah Thoronka - Student & Inventor Provides Renewable Energy to 10,000 Homes
Jeremiah Thoronka from Sierra Leone invented a device that uses kinetic energy from traffic and pedestrians to generate clean power. The device powers 150 small homes. At 17 he launched his startup, Optim Energy, to power homes via kinetic energy transfer which once buried under a road it converts heat, pressure, and movement into electric currents without anyone being aware of it.
9. NASA Made Oxygen on Another Planet!
NASA and their Perseverance rover continue their exploits in Mars by successfully converting some of the planet's carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere to oxygen. While the technology is just getting started, it could pave the way for storing oxygen on Mars that could power rockets. For innovators trying to get humans on Mars, this is one giant step in the right direction.
10. Angad Daryani Turning India's Air Pollution into Floor Tiles
Indian inventor Angad Daryani is one of a growing number of entrepreneurs hoping to clean up India's skies. His solution is to capture the soot and other polluting particles in containers so they can be turned into something useful like building tiles. His outdoor purification system removes particulate matter and other pollutants from the air. The device sucks in the polluting particles and collects them in a container, leaving clean air in its place. A genius solution for a country affected so badly by low air quality.
11. New Marine Protected Areas Established
Australia announced two new marines protected parks that will cover an area twice the size of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Not to be completely outdone, Panama declared a marine reserve that is the same size as the country's entire land area. Ecuador also got on the act, announcing an expansion of 60,000 square kilometres to the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Good news for our planets marine life.
12. Electric Vehicles were on a High
Electric vehicle sales surged to a 168 per cent high the world over in 2021. And in Europe, the Tesla 3 became the best-selling car of any kind. While in the United States, the much-loved Ford F-150 rolled out its highly anticipated electric version showing big industries are utilising resources to improve their overall impact.
Eco anxiety can affect us all. The deluge of projections and data add very little to the personal experience of environmental change. If this fear-led approach successfully changed behaviours, we would have resolved the climate issues that we faced decades ago.
Though there are many challenges ahead of us, there are always things to celebrate and champion. Here's to more innovations in 2022. Together, we can conquer anything.