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Here are all the positive environmental stories from 2022 so far

All the positive green stories from 2022.
All the positive green stories from 2022.   -   Copyright  Grant Ritchie
By Marthe de Ferrer

Eco-anxiety, climate doom, environmental existential dread - as green journalists, we see these terms used a lot - and often feel them ourselves.

There's a lot to be worried about when it comes to the climate and nature crises, but when a sense of hopelessness becomes the overarching emotion, apathy begins to creep in too. Last year three environmental educators, all part of EcoTok, penned this excellent piece for us about dealing with eco-anxiety and the need to remain hopeful - or "stubbornly optimistic", as Christiana Figueres puts it.

The media has a huge part to play in combatting climate doom. It's our job to be truthful and accurate in our reporting, not trying to downplay the severity of the situation or greenwash reality. But it's also our job to show that there is hope!

So, for 2022, as part of our ongoing effort to tackle eco-anxiety (both that of our readers and our own), we are going to be keeping track of all the positive environmental stories from this year.

This article will be regularly updated with the latest good news. It may be something small and local, something silly that made us smile, or something enormous and potentially world-changing.

If you come across a great, positive story that we haven't covered here - please do reach out to us on social media, either on Instagram or Twitter to share your ideas.

Positive environmental stories from May 2022

Human urine could be an effective and less polluting crop fertiliser

It might sound disgusting, but scientists are pretty confident this unique natural solution could be a good alternative to chemical fertilisers. 

Urine is not normally a major carrier of disease and doesn't have to be heavily processed before it can be used on crops. 

It would mean completely rethinking toilets to capture the urine before it ends up in the sewers. Prototypes were first tested in Swedish ecovillages in the 1990s but now experiments are being carried out around the world. 

Positive environmental stories from April 2022

This man won the lottery and is using his €200m winnings to create an environmental charity

We love this story simply because it shows how brilliant people can be. 

The winner wrote an open letter, while keeping his anonymity, to explain why he has made the excellent decision.

Can't recommend reading this piece enough, especially if you're feeling down about the world.

Meet the sloth cubs 'learning to be wild again' at this orphanage

Did you know that sloths are one of the most endangered mammals on the planet?

The issues begin young in Costa Rica, with many cubs found orphaned. 

But this rehabilitation centre is doing amazing work with these mammals and helping the population survive.

Solar energy can now be stored for up to 18 years

This was one of our top-performing articles this month - it seems our readers just can't get enough content about solar power!

And this was some particularly good news to receive.

Switzerland's biggest city is turning off gas for good

As the IPCC report calls for us to completely leave fossil fuels behind, it's always nice when we see that put in action.

With the tragic war in Ukraine as a catalyst behind this decision, it's hard to feel entirely positive about this news - but it's undoubtedly a step in the right direction from a climate perspective.

These chimpanzees were tested on for years and then abandoned to die on an island

Okay, hear us out. This doesn't sound like a positive story...and it's not - for the most part.

But there is some hope at the end, and it's a portion of environmental history everyone should know more about.

'Night solar panels' are able to generate enough energy to charge a phone. But how do they work?

Specially designed panels could help solve the current problems with solar energy, by generating power once the sun has gone down.

The panels were discovered in 2020, when scientists at the University of California Davis, US, hit the mainstream.

Created by Professor Jeremy Munday and coined ‘anti-solar cells’, the solution allows us to harvest electricity from the night sky. Research conducted this year now confirms these nighttime solar panels produce enough energy to charge a mobile phone.

Positive environmental stories from March 2022

A US billionaire has turned Chile's Patagonia region into a national treasure

This is an extra brilliant story, because it also is helping save an endangered species too - the Andean huemul deer.

There are only 1,500 of them left in the world, and the Cerro Castillo National Park in Patagonia, Chile is home to many of these remaining deer.

This region has been protected by US billionaire Douglas Tompkins, also the founder of The North Face, who dedicated his fortune to conservation.

Wind and solar power growth finally on track to meet climate targets

Solar and wind power can grow enough to limit global warming to 1.5C if the 10-year average growth rate of 20 per cent can be maintained to 2030, according to a new report.

Solar generation rose 23 per cent globally in 2021, while wind supply gained 14 per cent over the same period. Together, both renewable sources accounted for 10.3 per cent of total global electricity generation, up 1 per cent from 2020.

The Netherlands, Australia and Vietnam had the fastest growth rates for renewable sources.

"If these trends can be replicated globally, and sustained, the power sector would be on track for 1.5 degree goal," thinktank Ember said in its report.

Sweden’s innovative wooden skyscraper captures as much carbon as 10,000 forests

With the largest percentage of forestland in Europe, Sweden is looking at new ways to incorporate trees into its architecture.

This wooden skyscraper in the city of Skelleftea is constructed from over 12,000 cubic metres of wood - and is capable of sequestering nine million kilograms of carbon dioxide throughout its lifetime.

Could this be 2022's greenest innovation yet?

Italian fisherman sinks illegal trawlers with 'other worldly' underwater sculptures

Paulo Fanciulli has been fishing on the wild expanses of the Maremma coastline for over 40 years. In the late 1980s, he started to notice the signs of illegal trawling and decided to act.

So, the 'House of Fish' sculpture park was born with 39 sculptures made of local Carrera marble currently sunk to the bottom of the sea. They snag on the heavy nets used by illegal fishermen and encourage marine life back into the waters.

This tiger family is starting a new life after 15 years living in a train carriage

Abandoned by the circus, a family of four tigers spent years living in a cramped train carriage in Argentina. They'd never felt grass under their paws or walked on the earth.

After being discovered by authorities in 2021, a team of veterinarians and wildlife experts from Four Paws International spent months working to relocate them.

Now, after a 70 hour journey, they have arrived at their new home, LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Here they'll be the closest to their natural habitat they have been in years - maybe even for the first time.

Panama brings in new law granting nature the 'right to exist'

Groundbreaking new legislation in Panama has granted nature the "right to exist, persist and regenerate its life cycles. It means parliament will now have to consider the impact of its laws and policies on the natural world.

The country now joins Colombia, New Zealand, Chile and Mexico which have granted nature legal protection, either through their constitutions or the court system.

This billionaire wants to buy up Australia's coal plants - just to shut them down

Billionaires often have quite a bad reputation when it comes to climate change. But Mike Cannon-Brookes, the third richest person in Australia is trying to change that.

Frustrated with the Australian government's disregard for the climate, he is trying to buy three of the country's coal power plants. The aim is to do what the government won't by shutting them down for good and replacing them with renewable energy.

'Most significant environmental deal since Paris': UN agree on landmark plastic pollution treaty

In what the UN Environment Agency has called "the most significant environmental deal since the Paris accord," government officials punched the air after they agreed to create the first global plastic pollution treaty.

The details of the final, legally binding pact are still being worked out but it could have big ripple effects on businesses and economies around the world. It is due to be finalised by 2024.

Positive environmental stories from February 2022

China opens its first vertical forest city to residents

We're huge fans of Italian architect Stefano Boeri, and his latest project in China is yet another example of biophilic design at work.

The forest city will absorb around 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, while emitting approximately 10 tonnes of oxygen.

And the buildings are just stunning.

Blasting bananas with light could pave the way for more eco-friendly biomass

It's a lengthy headline, but bear with us. It turns out that if we zap banana peels with a powerful lamp, renewable energy is instantly generated.

This is a weird and wonderful discovery - our favourite kind at Euronews Green - and it can also be done with corn cobs, coffee beans and coconut shells.

Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to 'teminate pollution'

The actor, former Republican politician and environmentalist has pledged to "terminate pollution."

While the green movement isn't short of celebrity backers, it's good to see support from both sides of the American political spectrum.

Positive environmental stories from January 2022

Bleached coral reefs can still provide nutrition

Although coral reefs all over the world have been damaged by rising sea temperatures, leading to wide-scale bleaching - it turns out these ghostly white tropical reefs seem to still remain rich sources of micronutrients.

This doesn't mean we should stop trying to prevent coral bleaching events, but it does mean that where the damage has been done, there is still some hope. This is particularly good news for the many coastal communities that rely on reefs for food.

Europe's greenest city has free public transport and highways for bees

There's a lot we can learn from Tallinn it turns out. The Estonian capital is set to be the European Green Capital for 2023, due to its innovative and modern approach to sustainability.

What's particularly impressive about Tallinn is that it used to be home to a number of heavily polluting industries. It's a shining example of how change is always possible, and hopefully a blueprint for other cities in Europe and beyond.

Students have designed a 'floating house' to save people from floods

This is a good example of crisis leading to innovation. While the reason for the invention is still deeply troubling, the students behind this project have created something truly brilliant.

Their design is able to provide shelter for at least six weeks, and could be used as storage for food, water, medicine and sanitation products as part of resilience programmes.

This tiny Mexican fish has been saved from extinction

There's something really compelling about any story to do with a species returning from the brink of extinction. While it's of course terrible that things reached a tipping point like this, it also goes to show that there is always hope - even when the worst possible outcome seems inevitable.

This particular case is fascinating. The tiny tequila splitfin disappeared from the wild in 2003 due to human activity, but thanks to the efforts of conservation centres, colonies of this little freshwater species are thriving once again.

The Australian start-up fighting deforestation with an army of drones

While the climate crisis gets the most attention, the biodiversity crisis is something we should all be paying a lot more attention to. That's why this company's project, combining AI with drones, is so fantastic. It's a faster, cheaper way to tackle deforestation.

At the same time, however, it doesn't cause the issues often found with tree-planting schemes. The method is designed to boost the health of the surrounding ecosystem, while being careful to avoid monocrops and non-native species.

Making conferences virtual or hybrid could significantly mitigate climate change

We were shocked to learn that (pre-pandemic) the global conference industry produced as much greenhouse gas emissions as the entirety of the United States. It's a seriously polluting sector, but a recent study has found that moving to more online-only and hybrid events could majorly benefit the planet.

According to the 2021 IPCC report, we have 8.3-9.7 years before we exceed the 1.5℃ global warming limit. But researchers say that moving conferences online could extend that deadline by around 1.5 years.

Oceanographers rejoice after pristine coral reef discovery in Tahiti

Diving in the waters off of Tahiti’s tropical coastline, marine researchers uncovered one of the largest coral reefs ever found. And, unlike many of its counterparts, it appears to be completely unaffected by human activity.

Although they occupy just 0.1 per cent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine life.

So it's easy to see why this is such excellent news.

Solar-powered bikers are busting illegal wildlife poachers in South Africa

This fantastic story fuses together two areas of interest for many of us in the climate movement: protecting nature and clean energy.

Our journalist Rosie Frost spoke with the amazing Swedish company behind the initiative to find out more.

We will be updating this article regularly, with the latest positive environmental stories and breakthroughs from around the world. If you spot a great idea we haven't covered, please let us know on Twitter or Instagram.