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Here are all the positive environmental stories from 2022 so far – Euronews

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 September 2022

Scything: The ancient farming skill making a comeback in Britain

Swapping out noisy, fuel-guzzling mowing machinery for a simple blade could promote mindfulness, reconnection with nature and wildlife conservation.

The centuries-old rural practice of scything has fallen out of favour in Britain. But Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust is undertaking a three-year project, investing in scythes, recruiting volunteers and identifying grasslands that are hard to reach with machinery or need a different approach to protect their biodiversity.

Solar power helped the EU avoid €29 billion in gas imports this summer

Solar power accounted for 12.2 per cent of the European Union’s electricity generated this summer – the highest share on record, according to a new report.

This power would have cost as much as €29 billion had it come from natural-gas burning plants, according to analysts from energy think tank Ember.

Immunity boosting foods could be good for our health and for the planet

Researchers analysed the most frequently recommended ‘immunity boosting foods’ on internet search engines. And it turns out 83 per cent of the 2,556 recommendations were plant-based.

They also found that eating a serving of the most commonly recommended ‘immunity boosting’ foods would result in lower impacts for greenhouse gas emissions and land use, and pose lower health risks compared with less recommended foods.

Ads for climate-damaging meat set to be banned in Dutch city

The Dutch city of Haarlem is putting a ban on meat advertisements in public spaces, in what is being hailed as a world first.

The ban, which is hoped to come into force in 2024, aims to reduce meat consumption and the impacts of the climate crisis. It will apply to meat that comes from large-scale industrial farming.

Swiss company invents green alternative to coffee pods

Aluminium and plastic pods used in coffee machines are a damaging source of environmental waste.

Now, Swiss company Migros has launched a supposedly ‘eco-friendly’ alternative to coffee capsules. ‘Coffee balls’ – advertised as CoffeeB – are pre-ground, condensed spheres of coffee that dissolve in a capsule-like machine.

“CoffeeB solves the capsule waste problem, and tastes just as good as traditional capsule coffee,” says company head Frank Wilde.

Scientists train dogs to sniff out dangerous invasive species

Dogs can sniff out invasive fish in lakes without even seeing them, new research suggests.

In lakes and rivers around the world, carp are wreaking havoc on local species. Native to central Asia, these common fish infest freshwater lakes and rivers, outcompeting other animals.

But scientists have discovered a new tool in the fight against the invasive creature – the powerful nose of man’s best friend. 

World’s first zero emission ferry sets sails between Marseille and Corsica

Your next trip to Corsica could be kinder on the environment thanks to a new ‘zero particle’ ferry connecting Marseille and Ajaccio.

In an industry first, the ferry’s fine-particle filtration system can capture 99 per cent of sulphur oxides and 99.9 per cent of fine and ultra-fine particles – the main air pollutants emitted by ships.

World’s oldest two-headed tortoise celebrates his 25th birthday

In the wild, a two-headed tortoise would not ordinarily survive long since it can’t retract its heads into its shell to shelter from predators. But this month, Janus – named after the two-faced Roman God – became the world’s oldest two-headed tortoise at 25.

Lovingly cared for at Geneva Natural History Museum, he is treated to a personalised care regime – including daily massages and green tea baths – that keeps him in good health.

South African court revokes Shell’s oil and gas exploration rights

A South African court has banned Shell from searching for fossil fuels along the country’s Wild Coast, a decision hailed by campaigners as a “massive victory” for the planet.

The petroleum giant planned to conduct underwater explosions to locate deep-sea oil and gas reserves. 

Activists took the matter to court, which ultimately ruled that Shell’s exploration rights were granted illegally by the government.

Solar panels provide shade and a second source of revenue for this German farm

An organic apple farm in western Germany has found an enterprising way to protect its produce during this year’s unusually hot summer – and gained a second source of revenue in the process. Solar panels shade the orchards, allowing its owner to make the most of his land.

At the same time, research is being carried out to test which apple varieties thrive under the solar canopy, and which types of photovoltaic roofs are best suited for the orchard. The results could help prevent renewable energy production from competing for precious land with agriculture.

Hawaii closes its last coal power plant

Hawai’i’s only remaining coal-fired power plant closed this month after 30 years of operation, removing the state’s dirtiest source of electricity. The facility produced up to one-fifth of the electricity on Oahu – the most populous island in a state of nearly 1.5 million people.

“It really is about reducing greenhouse gases,” Hawai’i Governor David Ige said in an interview with The Associated Press. “And this coal facility is one of the largest emitters. Taking it offline means that we’ll stop the 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases that were emitted annually.”

Positive environmental stories from August 2022

Engineers are turning old wind turbine blades into gummy bears and nappies

Wind turbines could be given a truly sweet second life thanks to a new discovery from engineers in the US.

They have invented a new type of resin, the material that coats turbine blades, that could be reused to make countertops, car tail lights, power tools, nappies and even gummy bears.

The breakthrough, from chemical engineers at the University of Michigan, could hold the key to one of the biggest challenges that comes with wind power: how to recycle turbine blades.

Rarest sea turtle on the planet hatches in Louisiana for the first time in 75 years

After being dismissed as unviable for sea turtle life decades ago, the Chandeleur Islands, off the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana, have seen the world’s most endangered turtles hatch again.

This marks the first time Kemp Ridleys have hatched in the Chandeleur waters in 75 years. Hatching season takes place during June and July, and monitoring of the waters is ongoing for more fledgling sea turtles.

France offers €4,000 to swap cars for ebikes and considers banning private jets

As part of President Macron’s plea for “collective sobriety” in energy use, French citizens are being encouraged to trade in their cars for electric bikes.

A maximum of €4,000 is available to low-income households in low-emission zones to subsidise the switch, with smaller amounts to help wealthier citizens.

The country is also poised to crack down on the use of private jets for short journeys. Transport minister Clément Beaune said the country could no longer tolerate the super rich using private planes while the public are making cutbacks to deal with the energy crisis and climate change.

EV plug-sharing is helping soothe the cost of living

A growing number of electric vehicle (EV) owners are opting to rent and let charging plugs in an attempt to beat price rises and bring in a bit of extra income.

The soaring cost of electricity has left EV owners with eye-watering bills. Sharing EV plugs is one local solution, with added benefits in areas where the rollout of public chargers isn’t keeping up with demand.

France becomes first European country to ban fossil fuel ads

France has become the first European country to ban adverts for fossil fuels under a new climate law.

Announced on 22 August, the legislation prohibits advertising for all energy products related to fossil fuels such as petrol products, energy from the combustion of coal mining and hydrogen-containing carbons.

Adverts for natural gas are still allowed for now but new rules are set to be introduced in June next year.

Scientists invent cheap aluminium-sulphur alternative to lithium-ion batteries

Green energy currently relies primarily on lithium-ion batteries for storage, but lithium is not the most environmentally friendly, cheap or safe chemical element we could be using. 

Now, scientists from MIT have created a new battery made from aluminium and sulfur. Aluminium is the second most plentiful metal on the planet, after iron. It is also cheap. Sulfur is the least costly non-metal element. As a waste product from petrol refinement, it is abundant. The entire battery can be made for about a sixth of the cost of its lithium equivalent.

This tiny floating leaf could decarbonise some of the world’s biggest polluters

Cargo ships could one day be powered by ‘artificial leaves’ floating out at sea. University of Cambridge Researchers have designed lightweight, flexible devices that use solar technology to convert light into fuel.
At just 1mm thick, the ultra-thin ‘leaves’ can float on water – and could eventually go “almost anywhere,” according to study lead Professor Erwin Reisner.

Ants could replace harmful pesticides and save the bees, scientists say

Pesticides can be immensely harmful to insect species – especially bees. But anew study has found that ants can protect crops from damage just as well as harmful pesticides, at lower costs.

Ants protect crops from pests like caterpillars and bugs. Their labyrinthine-like tunnels also aerate the soil, helping plants suck up oxygen. Researchers looked at 26 species of ants, and found that the critters could be a ‘promising tool’ in the fight against other pests.

Colourful solar panels could make green architecture more attractive

For some architects, the appearance of standard monochrome solar panels is an obstacle when integrating them into projects. 

Now researchers from the American Chemical Society have created solar panels that can take on a whole range of colours while producing energy just as efficiently as traditional ones.

Community energy is a solution to the eye-watering rise in energy bills – here’s how Sardinia did it

With energy bills set to double in the next year, people are looking for new ways to reclaim power. Community energy could be the solution. This system sees citizens produce their own renewable power and share the proceeds (energy and money) amongst the community.

 Here’s how Italian villages on the island of Sardinia cut their bills by producing their own energy.

Ecuador leads the way in working alongside Indigenous groups to protect sacred rainforest

In an unprecedented show of solidarity, communities in the Amazon, NGOs and local governments are teaming up to protect Ecuador’s rainforest.

Named the Amazonian Platform for Forests, Climate and Human Wellbeing, the collective aims to combat climate change, and protect critical ecosystems and threatened species, while incorporating the vision of the Indigenous nationalities who live in the region.

This paper battery could curb the environmental impact of single-use electronics

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) have developed a paper battery with a water switch that could be used to power single-use disposable electronics.

Once they iron out some kinks in the development, it could be used for smart labels to track objects like packages. Other applications include environmental sensors or even medical devices, the researchers say.

Because paper and zinc are biodegradable, they believe the battery could help reduce the environmental impact of single-use electronics.

The world’s fastest electric ship is taking flight on Stockholm’s waterways next year

The world’s fastest electric ship will set sail in Stockholm next year, slashing environmental impacts and commuter time.

The Candela P-12 is a 30-passenger “flying ferry” that will reach speeds of 30 knots. Even better, the ship is said to be the most energy-efficient yet.

The P-12’s flying ability and subsequent lack of wake prevent wave damage to sensitive shorelines and nature caused by conventional passenger ships.

Cheetahs are being reintroduced to India after 70 years of extinction

In India, cheetahs have been extinct for over half a century. In August 2022, however, the big cats will finally return to the country.

An ambitious conservation project aims to relocate a group of cheetahs from South Africa and Namibia to India. It marks the first attempt to move a large carnivore across continents with the aim of reintroducing it into the wild.

Over the next few years, India hopes to bring cheetahs back to several of its national parks and reserves.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef shows best signs of coral recovery in 36 years

Two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef showed the largest amount of coral cover in 36 years.

“What we’re seeing is that the Great Barrier Reef is still a resilient system. It still maintains that ability to recover from disturbances,” says the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences monitoring programme leader, Mike Emslie.

The reef still remains vulnerable to increasingly frequent mass bleaching, however, according to an official long-term monitoring programme report.

Long lost iguana ‘born again’ on Galapagos Island after nearly two centuries of extinction

A lost species of iguana has been ‘born again’ on the Galápagos Islands for the first time in nearly 200 years.

The Galápagos Island land iguana was last spotted on Santiago Island more than 187 years ago. Ecologists determined that the reptiles were locally extinct.

But three years ago, thousands of the creatures were reintroduced to the islands – and new images prove that the lizard is breeding once again.

Tax the rich: Canada imposes new levy on luxury cars, yachts and private jets

Canada is set to impose a new ‘luxury tax’ on the sale and importation of high-value cars, planes and boats. Coming into effect on 1 September 2022, the Select Luxury Items Tax Act is billed as part of the government’s commitment to a fairer tax system.

It will ensure that “those Canadians who can afford to buy luxury goods are contributing a little more,” according to a statement on the Government of Canada’s website.

Positive environmental stories from July 2022

Berlin’s Tegel airport to be transformed into environmentally friendly 10,000 person community

Eco-conscious German property hunters now have the chance to make Berlin’s former airport-turned-residential community their home.

The ambitious 5-million sqm ‘Tegel Projekt’ renovation will transform the disused Tegel airport into a 10,000-person, 5,000-apartment community with shops, restaurants, schools and parks.

Vertical gardens will keep the apartment blocks cool without the need for energy-guzzling air conditioning,  while the largely-pedestrianised community will put bikes before cars. Electric buses and a tramway are slated as future developments.

Surprise climate deal could be the ‘most significant’ in US history, says Joe Biden

An unexpected deal reached by Senate Democrats would be the most ambitious action ever taken by the United States to address global warming.

The massive bill, which revives action on climate change, could help President Joe Biden come close to meeting his pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. 

It proposes nearly $370 billion (€362 billion) of spending over 10 years to boost electric vehicles, jump-start renewable energy such as solar and wind power and develop alternative energy sources like hydrogen. 

Environmental defenders celebrate a ‘huge’ win for ‘unique’ Tasmanian rainforest

Environmentalists who took legal action to prevent a toxic waste dump in an ancient pocket of Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest are celebrating a federal court win.

Chinese mining company MMG gained approval to open a tailings dam near the town of Rosebery on the island’s west coast. 

In July, federal court justice Mark Moshinsky upheld a Tasmanian NGO’s objection to the project on the grounds that the endangered Tasmanian masked owl was not properly considered before approval was granted. A new assessment is now set to take place, effectively halting MMG’s plans for the dam.

France could make it legal to use cooking oil as fuel in bid to battle cost of living crisis

Using cooking oil being to power diesel engines has been illegal in France – until now.

In July, France’s parliament voted on a €20 billion package in response to rising inflation and potential energy shortages this winter. Although the bills still need to pass through the Senate, one of them will allow and endorse the possible usage of frying oil as fuel for vehicles. 

Not only could this provide relief for French wallets amid rising fuel prices, it could help limit pollution from diesel engines.

Tiny floating cardboard homes could be the future of sustainable Dutch living

As urban planners grapple with Rotterdam’s space problem, one company, Wikkelboat, has an idea: tiny floating homes made from cardboard.

Protected with a waterproof coating, these small buildings are insulated, durable, and have low production emissions

The floating mini-buildings have a variety of uses such as hotels, event spaces, offices and temporary accommodation. And it’s hoped they could be part of a solution to develop Dutch cities on the water.

UK energy bills to drop next year thanks to record-breaking investment in renewables

Rising energy costs are plaguing homes across Europe but in the UK, there could be some good news. 

In July, the government invested record-breaking amounts into renewables with the capacity to generate up to 11 gigawatts of energy. That’s enough to power 12 million homes at once. 

It could help generate electricity at prices around four times less than the current cost of gas. 

Conservationist Jane Goodall honoured with recycled plastic Barbie doll

World famous toy company Mattel has launched a doll of renowned conservationist Jane Goodall. 

It comes with all the accessories any aspiring naturalist could need including a model of David Greybeard, the first chimp to trust Jane when she was carrying out her groundbreaking research on these animals. It is also made from 75 per cent recycled plastic.

The primatologist said that she hopes it will provide a positive female role model for young girls. 

‘Sand batteries’ could be key breakthrough in storing solar and wind energy year-round

Solar energy stored in ‘sand batteries’ could help get Finns through the long cold winter, which is set to be even tougher after Russia stopped its gas and electricity supplies.

The new technology has been devised by young Finnish engineers Tommi Eronen and Markku Ylönen, founders of Polar Night Energy, but could be used worldwide.

Though a number of other research groups are testing the limits of sand as green energy storage, the pair are the first ones to successfully rig it to a commercial power station.

Dolphin poo plays ‘significant role’ in helping coral reefs survive, says new study

Dolphin poo could be the key to saving the world’s coral reefs, according to a new study.

Spinner dolphins, famous for their acrobatic marina displays, have some very special excrement. Their poo has “reef-enhancing nutrients” which are not to be underestimated, a report by Zoological Society London (ZSL) finds.

The dolphins are giving threatened coral reefs in the Maldives and Chagos Archipelago a helping hand by pooing in the shallow lagoons. Published this week, the study shows that the amount of nitrogen absorbed by spinner dolphins during their daily commute can improve coral reef productivity and resilience.

This tiny bacteria could change air travel forever

Forget fossil fuel travel – airplanes could one day run on sugar-munching bacteria.

Conventional jet fuel is created by burning fossil fuels like oil and gas, generating a mammoth carbon footprint. But a tiny common soil bacteria could change all this.

The ‘streptomyces’ bacteria creates an ‘explosive’ molecule when it eats sugar and researchers claim it could be used as alternative plane fuel.

“If we can make this fuel with biology there’s no excuses to make it with oil,” says Pablo Cruz-Morales, a microbiologist at the Technical University of Denmark.

Scientists develop heat resilient plants to survive climate change

A research team at US and Chinese universities say they have discovered a way to help plants survive extreme heat.

With agricultural crops around the world threatened by rising temperatures, this research could help plants resist climate change.

If the findings can be applied to commonly grown crops, it could be vital for protecting food supplies during heatwaves.

Sunflowers and dried mangoes are the key to surviving climate change in rural Zimbabwe

One afternoon in Mupindi Village, Gokwe South, more than 400 kilometres from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, a smallholder farmer called Bernard Mupindi is pruning the rough, hairy triangular leaves that grow around the stem of a sunflower.

The blooming yellow sunflowers in this 3.5-hectare piece of land are less than a month away from harvest. Mupindi still recalls growing sunflowers for his family to eat around a decade ago, but he had no idea how quickly that would change.

Little did he know, growing sunflowers would soon serve to counter the effects of climate change.

Switzerland has spent 14 years and €2 billion building this ‘water battery’

A water battery capable of storing electricity equivalent to 400,000 electric car batteries will begin operating in Switzerland next week.

The pumped storage power plant was built into a subterranean cavern in the Swiss canton of Valais.

With the ability to store and generate vast quantities of hydroelectric energy, the battery will play an important role in stabilising power supplies in Switzerland and Europe.

Positive environmental stories from June 2022

I planted a giant sequoia tree and offset the carbon footprint of my entire life

Our very own Green deputy editor, Maeve Campbell, meets Henry Emson from ‘One Life, One Tree’ to plant a giant sequoia in the British countryside.

So why are sequoias so special? Watch the video to see what happened.

‘Stop suffocating your vagina’: Reusable period pad launches to help women have plastic-free periods

A Danish startup is pioneering reusable menstrual products to help women go plastic-free on their period.

The company’s latest product, LastPad, launched this week – after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised more than 20 times its initial fundraising goal back in 2021.

LastPad is a reusable menstrual pad for planet-friendly periods that “doesn’t compromise on comfort and protection.” It comes in three sizes (from pantyliners to overnight pads) and is made with three layers. 

Local branch of UK’s biggest church is first to pledge climate action

Christians in the Oxford district of England are being asked to take a very specific pledge to protect the environment.

From now on, those who undertake confirmation or baptism ceremonies at the large Church of England diocese – which spans the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire – will also have to commit to climate action.

The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, recently approved a revision to the formal liturgy which includes the following lines,

‘Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth? With the help of God I will.’

These plastic-gobbling inventions keep rubbish out of the ocean

Millions of tonnes of plastic wind up in the ocean every year, killing plants and animals. That’s why companies around the world have developed novel devices to help reduce the ocean plastic problem.

Dutch company RanMarine has deployed several 157-centimetre wide aquatic drones called WasteSharks that capture rubbish and bring it back to land.

The drones can hold 160 litres of trash, floating plants and algae, according to RanMarine Technology.

Extinct ‘fantastic giant tortoise’ found alive on the Galápagos Islands

This species was thought to have been extinct for more than a century, the only known specimen discovered in 1906.  A lone female tortoise was discovered in 2019 on Fernandina island in the Galápagos, providing a hint that the species may still be alive. 

Now scientists have proved that the two individuals are in fact related, opening up further mysteries about the species’ survival. 

Leuven: This forward-thinking city has banned cars from its centre

In 2020, Leuven in Belgium was named the European Capital of Innovation. It invested its €1 million prize money wisely, striving to become carbon neutral by 2050. 

Leuven has become a cycling paradise with cars taking a back seat on its roads.  It is now the only city in Belgium where bikes are actually the preferred mode of transport. Thanks to a strong green mobility plan, cycling has increased by an astounding 40 per cent. 

These Scottish villagers bought a nature reserve – now they are fundraising to double its size

In Langholm, near Gretna Green on the English border, the community raised €4.5 million last year. They wanted to buy 2,100 hectares of land from the Duke of Buccleuch, one of the UK’s most powerful landowners.

The villagers were successful and have already seen results from their protection of this land. Now they are fundraising again to double the size of this community takeover. 

World’s largest vertical farm is being built in the UK and it’s the size of 96 tennis courts

The UK is heavily dependent on imported foods – especially when it comes to fruit and veg. Nearly half of all food eaten in the country comes from overseas. 

But one company is hoping to solve this problem by building what will be the world’s largest vertical farm in Lincolnshire, England. It is set to open in autumn this year. 

With a lower environmental impact than traditional agriculture, they hope that this innovative solution will produce certain crops 365 days a year without increasing our air miles. We could see British-grown strawberries at Christmas before we know it. 

Back from the brink of extinction: The Spix’s Macaws are returning to the wild

It has been 20 years since this small blue parrot has been seen in the wild. Illegal trade, hunting, and destruction of its habitat led to its disappearance. 

But one of the rarest birds in the world could soon be set for a comeback. A German NGO is working hard to breed a new population of Spix’s Macaws, bringing their number up to 180 healthy individuals. 

World’s largest plant: Scientists ‘blown away’ by 180km long seagrass discovered off Australia

This seagrass covers an area roughly three times the size of Manhattan. It was discovered by scientists at the University of Western Australia and Flinders University. 

Initially, they thought it was a meadow of different grasses but have discovered that the incredibly long plant is just one seagrass. They believe it has survived the impact of climate change thanks to one special trait – it has been reproducing asexually. 

Finland is aiming to go carbon negative by 2040 – here’s how

Finland will become the first European country to reach net zero if it meets ambitious climate targets passed into law by the government. But it wants to go one step further than that by becoming carbon negative by 2040. 

The country is still having issues with deforestation but is currently working on a plan to improve the carbon emissions of the land-use sector. It also has a wealth of natural resources it can rely on to help reach its carbon negative target.

Positive environmental stories from May 2022

Last 10 vaquitas are not ‘doomed’ to extinction

The plight of vaquitas has only worsened in recent years, but scientists have some relatively good news about the little porpoise.

Despite only around 10 individuals still existing in Mexico, a team of biologists have found that the species remains healthy and can survive – so long as illegal fishing in their waters stops.

Vaquitas, which belong to the cetacean family of dolphins and whales, are the world’s rarest marine mammals. With large dark rings around their eyes and dark patches on their lips resembling smiles, they’ve long been a poster child of conservation groups.

But despite their endearing appearance to humans, there’s a sad probability they’ll disappear in our lifetime unless quick action is taken.

Solar panels could be on all Europe’s public buildings by 2025

The European Commission is hoping to jumpstart a large-scale rollout of solar energy and rebuild Europe’s solar manufacturing industry.

The plan is part of its bid to wean countries off Russian fossil fuels.

“Solar electricity and heat are key for phasing out EU’s dependence on Russian natural gas,” the Commission said in the draft, due to be published next week in a package of proposals to end the European Union’s reliance on Russian oil and gas.

Spanish diver rescues 12-metre long whale who was trapped in an illegal fishing net

In a gripping underwater rescue, Spanish divers have freed a 12-metre long humpback whale entangled in an illegal drift net off the Balearic island of Mallorca.

One of the divers was 32-year-old marine biologist Gigi Torras.

Torras said last Friday that the rescue was a great birthday present for her – the ‘best ever’ in her words. She also felt that she received a little gesture of appreciation from the giant mammal itself.

“It was like out of this world, it was incredible, just incredible,” she said.

These surgeons have performed the first ‘net-zero’ cancer operation

The world’s first ‘net-zero’ operation has been performed in the UK, paving the way for more sustainable practices in healthcare.

Doctors at Solihull Hospital in the West Midlands carried out a five-hour bowel cancer surgery that was completely carbon neutral.

Though patients’ health is of course the priority, hospitals have a surprisingly large carbon footprint. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) accounts for around 6 per cent of the country’s total CO2 emissions.

Which makes last month’s operation all the more significant. Consultant colorectal surgeon Aneel Bhangu says that – as a high emitter – the NHS will have an impact on people’s health in the medium and longer term.

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.

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law an courts

Sparks fly over judges’ ‘capture’ claim – The Zimbabwe Mail

A Constitutional Court judge has come out guns blazing against a litigant who accused the bench of being captured by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Justice Bharat Patel said Tichaona Mupasiri must apologise and be censured after he accused the court of being captured.

Mupasiri said the ConCourt was captured in his application to join a case  involving Mnangagwa and his lawyer Edwin Manikai on one hand and businessman Mutumwa Mawere, friends of Shabani and Mashava Mines on the other hand.

In his judgement, Patel gave Mupasiri an ultimatum to apologise saying his language brought the judiciary into disrepute.

“It is ordered that the applicant (Mupasiri) be and is hereby censured for his use of inappropriate language in his founding affidavit casting aspersions on the integrity and impartiality of the court,” Patel said.

“The applicant shall file with the registrar a letter of apology in respect of his conduct referred to in paragraph | above by not later than 4.00 pm on the 23rd of September 2022.”

Mupasiri’s application for a joinder was, however, granted and with no order for costs.

“The applicant shall lodge his application and founding papers in Case No. CCZ 27/22 on or before the 30th of September 2022.

“The matter shall thereafter proceed in accordance with the rule,” he ruled.

Mupasiri had filed a ConCourt application seeking to be joined in the court proceedings citing Mawere, SMM Holdings Limited, Africa Resources, TAP Building Products and Mnangagwa as respondents.

On December 17, 2021, Mupasiri launched an application to have him joined to the ConCourt proceedings over Shabani Mashava Mines Holdings.

On December 24, Mupasiri received opposing papers through DMH legal firm whose managing partner was implicated in the case.

This was despite his application having been served on the president as a public office bearer under Section 167 of the constitution.

Mupasiri then wrote to Manikai, one of the DMH managing partners, on December 27 challenging the authority of DMH to represent Mnangagwa in his official capacity as the president when the law says it should be done by the attorney-general (AG).

Mupasiri then filed an interlocutory application on January 25 this year which was dismissed, and the matter was allegedly “swept under the carpet”.

Mupasiri was later slapped with a costs order in a constitutional matter which involved the president who was never served with the copy of his application because his office, including the AG’s office, refused to accept service.

On May 27, Mupasiri filed an appeal against the cost order, but Chief Justice Luke Malaba dismissed the appeal saying even wrong decisions by the ConCourt are not appealable or reviewable.

Mupasiri argued his application was meant to test the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country.

Source – The Standard

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law an courts

BCC demands US$60 million for power station – Bulawayo24 News

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has insisted that they will only part with the title deeds of the Bulawayo Power Station if the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) concedes to pay US$60 million in royalties.

The two institutions have been engaged in legal battles over the ownership of the power station with the local authority claiming that the power utility was legally its tenant. According to a council confidential report, the local authority has since given the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, the greenlight to engage the power utility but insists on the US$60 million royalty payment.

“Council was invited to a meeting by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works which was co-chaired with the Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary to discuss the power station matter. The meeting resolved that the parties should engage each other and that Zimbabwe Power Company should make a commitment that they were prepared to pay compensation, a document was drafted in which parties were to sign, committing each party to doing everything possible to ensure that transfer and compensation was negotiated to ensure that the refurbishment project was not jeopardised,” reads the report.

However, it has emerged that the power utility tried to push the local authority into transferring the power station ownership before any negotiations through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which the local authority rejected, noting that they would not have any leverage when conducting the negotiations once they hand over the site.

“On the issue of transfer of the Power Station, the Electricity Act Chapter 13:19 stipulated that all power stations in the country shall belong to Zesa Holdings. Council should now consider issues of compensation and payment of royalties in perpetuity. The royalties would be a source of revenue to Council. Currently Zesa Holding was owing Council ZWL $3 billion while Council owed ZWL $2,1 billion in bills. The Town Clerk also advised that four local authorities had power stations in the country. ZPC was targeting transfers in all of them. Transferring of the power station to ZPC was ideal. Council would get compensation estimated at US$60 million and royalties in the perpetuity. There was a need to recast the wording of the Memorandum of Understanding,” reads the report.

In debating the matter, councillors felt there was a need not to rush to transfer the ownership of the power station before resolving the issue of compensation. Councillor Tawanda Ruzive felt that council should consider getting into a tripartite partnership for the generation of electrical energy. In this case he said the council would provide the power station but did not support its total transfer to ZPC.

“Mayor, Clr Solomon Mguni noted that council allowed ZPC to continue operating the power station while awaiting the completion of court processes. This arrangement was good enough to allow Zesa Holding to acquire the required funding from investors. He did not see the need to sign the MoU for negotiations to take place,” reads the report.

At one point the ZPC also emerged with their own set of tittle deeds, which saw them even making moves to demolish two of the cooling powers at the power station arguing that they had outlived their lifespan, a move that was met with opposition from residents who noted that the towers were part of the city’s notable landmarks.

It was not clear how the ZPC got to have the title deeds as the power station was constructed and fell under the jurisdiction of the local authority until 1987 when Zesa was given the sole mandate of power generation in the country, taking over from local authorities.

ZPC was then required to pay royalties to the local authority, a matter which has also been subject to controversy after the power utility reneged in paying the royalties to the council.

According to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Holding’s website the Bulawayo power station is connected to the national grid through the 11 kilo-voltage and 33 kilo-voltage systems.

“The plant was commissioned between 1947 and 1957 as an undertaking by the Municipality of Bulawayo. It joined the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority in 1987 after the amalgamation of all the Local Authority Electricity Undertakings, the Electricity Supply Commission power station at Munyati and Hwange, and the Central African Power Corporation station at Kariba.

“While Bulawayo Power Station initially had an installed capacity of 120 megawatts, a refurbishment exercise in 1999 on the ageing plant gave it a new lease of life. The station capacity is now 90 megawatts. The main materials needed for the generation of electricity are coal, water, chemicals, oil, greases and spare parts for maintenance. The station currently generates an average of 30 megawatts,” the website says.

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law an courts

Airport Road Deal, Sheriff Under Fire For Aiding Ken Sharpe’s Fraudlent Land Take Over – ZimEye – Zimbabwe News

Airport Road Deal, Sheriff Under Fire For Aiding Ken Sharpe’s Fraudlent Land Take Over

25 September 2022

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A land scandal spawning from the controversial Airport Road construction project has ensnared several key institutions in the country amid charges that the sheriff of the High Court was involved in the transfer of ownership of a property without following proper procedures.

A local company that was subcontracted by businessman Ken Sharpe’s Augur Investments to construct the road linking the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport with Harare’s central business district has brought back the spotlight to the scandal ridden project after it approached the High Court.  

In the new court battle, Fairclot Investments, trading as Trucking and Construction Pvt Ltd, is demanding the nullification of a deed of settlement between Harare City Council, Local Government ministry and Augur Investments, which it says shields Sharpe’s firm from prosecution over the land deals.

Fairclot was subcontracted by Sharpe’s Augur Investments to construct the Airport Road before the construction company terminated the deal because of a payment dispute.

Following an agreement made on March 26, 2013, Fairclot constructed 2.7km of the road on behalf of Augur, which was controversially awarded the contract on May 30, 2008, without going to tender.

Under the agreement, Augur was supposed to construct the Airport Road with an understanding that 90% of the costs would be paid in the form of the land and 10% in cash.

The title deeds for the land that was identified for the deal were supposed to be kept by a private law firm until council approved the road project.

Augur went on to subcontracted Fairclot, which stopped work on the road after doing 2.7km due to non-payment.

The dispute was temporarily solved after “Augur pledged as security, stand 654, Pomona Township measuring 273 299 hectares of state land.

It has since emerged that Fairclot separately sued the sheriff of the High Court of Zimbabwe McDuff Madega for allowing the transfer of the Pomona property that was surrendered to him as security for the deal with Augur before Sharpe paid his dues.

It wants the court to declare the handover of stand number 654 Pomona Township to Augur null and void.

The company wants the property to be placed under judicial management.  

“Any and all transfers of title affected in respect of stand 654 Pomona Township registered under Deed of Grant No. 2884/10 by and in favour of any person between the date of upliftment by second respondent (Madeka) to the date of this order are hereby cancelled,” part of the application filed on May 20, 2020, read.

The matter was heard by former judge Justice Faith Mushore who reserved judgement until she was fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa early this month over “gross misconduct.”

The matter is likely to be given to another judge for determination.

Fairclot wants Madeka, who was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in June and is facing 19 charges of criminal abuse of office and illegal sale of stands, to advertise the sale of the property within 10 days of the order.

Fairclot director, Grant Tilling Rusell, argued that the decision to hand the property back to Augur was unprocedural as the company had not fulfilled the conditions of their Airport Road deal.

Augur insists that it settled its dues to Fairclot that were in local currency after government regulations in 2019 put the US and Zimbabwe dollar exchange rates at par.

Simbarashe Kadye, on behalf of Augur, argued that: “Notwithstanding the position of the law, the first respondent has instructed the second respondent to execute the liability, which by terms of the law was given the value of RTGS dollars at the rate of one-to-one with the United States dollars, to be executed in the United States dollars.

“The instruction by the first respondent to execute the said liability in United States Dollars is contrary to the position of the law.

“This is premised on the fact that by operation of the law, the said liability was deemed to be in RTGS dollars,” Kadye said.

Harare North MP Norman Markham and property developer George Katsimberis are also challenging the deed of settlement that left Sharpe and his companies owning vast tracts of land in the capital.

-The Standard

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