Here’s to 2019: sustainability successes worth celebrating

It was the year that the Amazon burned, Venice flooded and we almost lost the black rhino. With newsfeeds left lacking any positive world news, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little gloomy.

But whilst we still have an enormous fight on our hands to end the climate crisis and build a sustainable future, there were a few amazing achievements this year that we can’t help but cheer about.

Join us in celebrating the good news for a change and let these 2019 success stories inspire a groundbreaking 2020.

Record-breaking activism

On September 22nd, 6 million people marched in protest against world leaders’ inaction in the face of undeniable climate change. The Fridays for Future protests were launched by Greta Thunberg and inspired a wave of youth activism like never seen before. Were you there?

Declaring war on plastics

2019 was the year that Western governments woke up to the problem of single-use plastics. The European Union, New Zealand and Canada announced new policies to combat the problem. They follow in the footsteps of Bangladesh and 25 African countries who already have bans in place.

Not afraid of a challenge, India, the second most populated country in the world, has promised to eradicate single-use plastic by 2022. This will prevent 11kg of plastic per person per year from entering the environment. Victory dance!

The new way to travel

This year saw a big change in the way we see travel. 72% of travelers now say that sustainable travel is necessary for the future of the planet. Plus, 68% want the money they spend to go back into local pockets. 72% look for authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture. Travel operators, take note!

Meat is off-menu

This year we made huge progress in our approach to animal-derived food. 2 in 3 Americans and 1 in 3 Brits have stopped or reduced their meat consumption.

According to The Vegan Society in the UK, 1.16% of the population in Britain are vegan compared to 0.46% in 2016. At this rate, one-quarter of Britons will be vegan by 2025. As usual, it’s the younger generations leading the way. 26% of millennials are vegetarian or vegan.

Green energy

This year, for the first time, 1/3 of global power capacity came from renewable energy. Thanks to huge growth in solar and wind energy, this trend is set to continue into the 2020s, spelling good news for climate change. Shout out to Oceania for their impressive 17.7% rise in renewable capacity, with Africa and Asia in second and third place.

Reversing extinction

In 2018, the last male northern white rhino died. But in August this year, scientists brought the species back from extinction when they fertilized seven remaining eggs, reigniting hopes for a future for the rare species.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, 316 bus stops have been transformed into “bee stops” to revitalize the decimated bee population. The little sanctuaries are full of plants and wildflowers to improve urban biodiversity. We bet they look pretty cute too!

Ocean revival

In an otherwise difficult year for our oceans, some good news did emerge. Sea turtles are making a comeback. Their population increased by 980% as a result of the Endangered Species Act. And if that isn’t enough to make you cheer, humpback whales, who once numbered only a few hundred, are now up to an encouraging 25,000.

Women take the lead

In 2019, women took big steps toward equality and safety. We saw more women taking leadership roles and found out that companies with more female executives were more successful.

Meanwhile, in Malawi, a female chief came to power and annulled 1500 child marriages, outlawed the practice and sent all young girls back to school.

Despite all the doom and gloom, there are glimmers of hope on this beautiful planet of ours.

Here’s to a great many more in