In a year where it seems like a lot has taken a turn for the worst, returning Label volunteer Leah Langley informs us on some of the environmental progress that has been made in 2020.
Whilst the majority of news sources were focused on the pandemic that halted the world, there were a lot of positive news stories regarding the environment that went wholly unnoticed.
The United Kingdom said that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned after 2030 in a bid to tackle climate change. The country also managed to go without coal-powered energy for the longest amount of time since the Victorian era. The Australian Government made an announcement that was met with much delight as they pledged an $18 million package to protect Koalas around the country. China announced that it would be banning all kinds of solid imports as of January 2021. Many more governments and companies also committed to reaching net-zero carbon emission in the coming decades. China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, announced its intention to be carbon-neutral by 2060 whilst Japan, Hungary, Canada, South Africa, South Korea and the European Union are aiming for similar goals by 2050
In Turkey, over 199,000 Loggerhead Hatchlings reached the sea in specifically protected environmental areas. Turkey also set a goal of planting 7 billion saplings across the country but the end of 2023, a plan announced to mark National Afforestation Day on November 11th.
Many species that were thought to have gone extinct were “rediscovered.” Burmese Roofed Turtles were once considered to extinct, but in Myanmar, they were reared in captivity and the population has nearly reached 1000 turtles. 14 Loa Water Frogs, who are the last know of their species, we rescued from a Northern Chile vanishing river produced 200 tadpoles. A New Zealand captive-breeding and reintroduction programme saw a 30% boost in the wild population of Black Stilt. The New Guinea Singing Dog was thought to only exist in captivity before it was found in the wild in the later months of 2020. A team of researchers, in Bolivia, found a Devil-Eyed Frog and a Satyr Butterfly that had not been recorded for 98 years, whilst a Chameleon that had not been seen in over 100 years was found in a hotel garden in North-western Madagascar. Animals weren’t the only things that seemed to be reappearing as, in Gujarat, the Olax Nana plant was seen more than 100 years after its last recorded sighting. These “rediscoveries” prompted many countries to take action. In Myanmar, 156,00 hectares of remote high-altitude forest, thought to be home to the critically endangered Snub-Nosed Monkey and Red Panda, has been protected. A small conservation area was established by Nigeria’s Ekiti State to help protect around 20 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees who are the most threatened Chimpanzee Subspecies in the world. A 1,000-square-mile marine protected area because the first to exist in The Ivory Coast with the aim of protecting threatened Shark and Turtle species who live in the pristine waters.
Whilst there was a lot of bad making the press, it seems that there was a lot of environmental progress happening. Although there is still a long way to go to save our planet, these stories certainly provide hope for what is possible.
Edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor
Header by Annabel Smith – Deputy Head of Design