When it comes to the state of our natural world: global warming, air pollution, waste built up, ozone layer degradation, species extinction, it appears there is little good news, little cause for celebration.

But still, there are a few bright lights on the environmental front, and I think in this month of December, the end of the year, it is good to focus on them. From small scale to grand scale, it is heartening to see that people throughout the world are taking our climate crisis seriously, and this may just give us hope and inspire us to keep up the fight for our
dear Earth.

Some good news:

First, there are fewer climate deniers. According to a study by a coalition of environmental groups and researchers, this year the percentage of climate deniers in the United States has ebbed to the lowest level.

And the United Nations is now pledging to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships with 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 – some 16 percent of the global population, as meaningful stakeholders in our shared environmental future. Young people are showing up and turning up the pressure as never before to respond to the climate emergency.

And there are more international agreements. Nations have disputed the best ways to combat climate change for more than three decades. Such debates have led to several key accords, including the Montreal Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

And recently a landmark decision was made to establish a loss-and-damage fund, that would mainly compensate developing countries most affected by the climate crisis. It was estimated that the cost to developing countries could be from 160-340 billion dollars by 2030, and much more if climate change accelerates.

And good news on a smaller scale, but good news just the same:

2023 is on track to be the year of one of the largest pink salmon runs in Puget Sound in the past decade.

And restoration contractors in California and Oregon will plant nearly 19 billion native seeds as part of efforts to restore land along the Klamath River, which is currently dammed,

while farmers in Pakistan are trying to make a baby glacier,

and a Texas Girl Scout troop is tackling water conservation by doing everything others troops do, but under water,

and outside of Boston, a vacant lot has been turned into a quarter-acre “food forest,” with hopes to develop 30 more by 2030.

And then we have the Wyoming forest which added a medicinal garden consisting of over 100 plants that have spiritual, medicinal, and nutritional significance to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, thus helping to avoid the loss of traditional knowledge as well as plant varieties.

And then there is the volunteer group, the Garbage Humans of ATX, which gathers regularly to keep parks clean in Austin Texas,

while Cape Cod women, the “Old Ladies Against Under Water Garbage” dive into local ponds to remove hundreds of pieces of trash, from beer cans to dog toys in just 90 minutes,

as a school district in Alaska switched its calendar, allowing students to participate in seasonal harvests; the strategy designed to pass along traditional knowledge of land stewardship to the next generation.

This is all good news, and we can all participate in some way in the creation of more good news. I hope this list will serve as an inspiration. As one of my elementary school teachers used to say, “Put on your thinking cap.”

If you have ideas, let me know, and I will include them in the next Seedling.

Now, from Anne Murray, first performed in 1982!

Thank you for being on this journey.

Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.

Till next time,

It’s Not All Bad – The Year in Positive Environmental News