10 planet-saving things that prove we’re not totally screwed after all
8 Minute Read.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom going on with the climate crisis these days. And rightfully so. But that newfound awareness about how f**ked we might be if we don’t get our act together can sometimes be the only thing we hear anymore.
But there’s also a bunch of badass people doing incredible things around the world to help with all of the overwhelming problems that we’re facing. And I wanna give a shout out to a few of them. So you see that we are making progress, even if it seems a bit slow at times.
Here are 10 planet-saving things happening right now…
We can now use drones to plant billions of trees
A startup by the name of BioCarbon Engineering has created drone technology that can plant up to a billion trees every year. Their drones fly about 6 feet above the ground, firing germinated seed pods at a speed that [gets] them under the soil” (National Geographic). And since each drone operator can manage up to 6 drones at a time, that’s a whole lotta trees. Hello future, is that you calling? Deforestation is a huge problem and trees play such a crucial part in removing carbon from the atmosphere. But if we can plant trees faster than they’re cut down and reforest areas that are not longer being used for agriculture or mining, this could be exactly the solution we’ve been looking for, and a hell of a lot faster than replanting trees by hand.
Burger King rolls out the Impossible Burger Nationwide
You may be wondering wtf this has to do with the planet, but here’s the thing: Burger King sells 75 burgers every second. That’s a lotta cows that are producing a whole lotta greenhouse gases, which are majorly contributing to climate change. But with the introduction of the Impossible Whopper (a plant-based alternative to traditional beef burgers that literally tastes like the real thing), our global demand for factory-farmed meat, and the greenhouse gases and toxins that come with it, will completely change. A much-needed overhaul to our food system is on its way, and as weird as it sounds, when big chains like Burger King and Macdonalds start switching things up, that’s when you know you’re on the cusp of something.
PS. I’m not saying that the Impossible Whopper is the healthiest thing in the world. After all, it’s still Burger King. But from an environmental perspective, plant based burgers are so much better for the planet than factory farmed burgers. And if people are gonna eat at Burger King, I’d much rather they eat a plant-based burger.
States fight back against dirty energy
With a rather orange, short-term thinker in the White House, there’s been a lot of rollbacks on environmental protections over the past few years. Including ones that encourage the coal industry to ramp up instead of die down. But 22 American states have formed a coalition to urge the federal court to block these rollbacks and show that we, as a democracy, are not gonna accept this.
Airport nixes Plastic Water Bottles for Good
As part of their goal of being 100% zero waste by 2021, San Francisco Airport has banned plastic water bottles. Now, travelers have the option to drink from water fountains, bring reusable bottles to fill at hydration stations, or they can buy their water in recyclable glass or metal containers.
The Ocean Cleanup is starting to kill it! Plastic waste that is…
In January, 2019, The Ocean Cleanup completed their first mission with the world’s very first ocean garbage cleanup system. And in early July, they returned to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with an improved version of their system ready to clean up even more trash.
Refillable Hotel Toiletries are actually becoming a thing!
Next time you forget your own toiletries when traveling, you may not have to use those single-use hotel toiletries anymore, which have always been as much about putting the hotel’s name in your travel bag as they are about actually giving you enough to clean yourself…let’s be honest! But the InterContinental Hotel Group (also owner of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Kimpton Hotels) is making the switch to bulk-sized toiletries in their 5,600+ hotels. Can I get an AMEN?!?
Solar power is actually cheaper than energy from fossil fuels (at least in China)
When most people consider switching to solar power, their first thought is usually: “How much is this gonna cost me?” And for most people, it’s just not feasible…at least not yet. But in certain parts of China, that barrier-to-entry no longer exists. “Solar energy in hundreds of Chinese cities is now cheaper than electricity supplied by the national grid” (CNN). And since China has the world largest population, coupled with some of the most unhealthy air pollution, the impact of switching to renewables could have world-changing (literally!) benefits to climate change and to global air pollution levels.
Introducing Air Protein!!!
By now, you’re probably well aware of all of the plant-based proteins out there that are trying to feed the world. We’ve got soy protein, pea protein, and whey protein, among others. But I’m about to blow your freakin’ mind with this one. We can actually now create protein out of AIR!!!!!
Initially started by NASA in the 1960’s, scientists were trying to find a way to feed astronauts during long haul trips. The technology was never fully realized by NASA. But a company by the name of Air Protein picked up the baton and actually made air a viable source of protein. They produce clean, sustainable, protein without the GMO’s, antibiotics, hormones, gluten and animal cruelty. And here’s the kicker…their process also removes carbon from the atmosphere, which means it has the power to not only feed the world’s growing population; it also has the ability to remove all of the excess carbon in the atmosphere, helping us tackle climate change on a mass scale.
I see that very confused, furrowed brow on your face. So here’s a breakdown of how it works: you take a special class of microbes, which are natural single-cell organisms, and you feed them carbon dioxide. They feed off of the carbon, and convert it into protein that we can actually eat.
This is you ? ? with your mind-blown (in a good way)
Everyday people, just like you, are taking our pollution problems into their own hands…literally
A man in Mumbai by the name of Afroz Shah has inspired and corralled hundreds of people to clean up a beach in Mumbai that was completely covered in trash, sometimes as much as 5 feet high! Over the past few years, Afroz and his volunteers have cleaned up over 20 million pounds of waste from the beach, not only bringing it back to its natural state. But also creating an awareness within the community that our pollution problem is just that…our problem. We can’t just send things away and not have consequences.
Afroz has also taken his mission to other communities, educating them about proper waste disposal and inspiring cleanups in other areas of India.
So just in case you were wondering…one person can make a difference in this world. And the ripple effect is a real f**king thing!
You could win $20 Million dollars for solving climate issues. No but seriously…
Since 1994, the non-profit XPRIZE, has been funding million-dollar competitions that solve big picture problems like amazon deforestation, coral reef extinction and water contamination. This year alone, they’ve got 2 competitions going. The first is the Coral Restoration XPRIZE, which is offering a $10 million prize to the team that restores the largest areas of coral reefs in our oceans. The second competition, launching later this year, will award a $20 million prize to the team who can figure out an economical model that makes trees more valuable in the ground that when they’re cut down.
What’s so cool about this non-profit is they’re incentivizing scientists, entrepreneurs, and problem-solvers across the globe to find out-of-the-box solutions to the issues our planet is facing. And the competitions end up facilitating hundreds of millions of dollars in research and experimentation. In a past competition, over $300 million dollars were collectively spent by the various teams who were vying for a $10 million dollar prize.
I recently went to an environmental conference in San Francisco. And the thing that really stuck with me after all of the talks and panels I went to was that we already have all of the planet-saving solutions that we need to solve all of our environmental issues. We just need to figure out how to get them to market and make them economically viable.
So instead of just focusing on the negative, which I believe is human nature (if I’m not mistaken), I wanted to share these amazing actions that are happening around the globe. To make sure you’re not just seeing the dark cloud hanging over us. But can also see the light coming through…
What gets you excited or scared about the future on our planet? Share in the comments below.