Well, what a year this has been. As we look back over the past 12 months, it’s hard not to dwell on the lows in the battle against climate change. There have been devastating floods and droughts, dangerous tipping points reached, and increasing numbers of species becoming endangered. Should we feel hopeless?
'Our optimism cannot be a sunny day attitude. It has to be gritty, determined, relentless.'
- Christiana Figueres
We say, definitely not! We’ve been inspired by the philosophy of ‘stubborn optimism,’ a powerful concept made famous by Costa Rican diplomat and internationally recognised leader on global climate change, Christiana Figueres. As Ms Figueres said in her 2020 TED Talk on the topic, stubborn optimism is ‘the mindset that is necessary to transform the reality we're given into the reality we want.'
She said: ‘Optimism opens. The field of possibility drives your desire to contribute to make a difference. It makes you jump out of bed in the morning because you feel challenged and hopeful at the same time. But it isn't going to be easy. We will stumble along the way. Many other global emergencies could temper our hope for rapid progress and our current geopolitical reality could easily dampen our optimism. That's where stubbornness comes in. Our optimism cannot be a sunny day attitude. It has to be gritty, determined, relentless.'
So with that inspiring message in mind, we’ve decided to recap some of the best environmental news of the year, to remind ourselves that with stubborn optimism, change is possible.
Plastic pollution to be tackled internationally
A historic resolution was made in March, when 175 United Nations delegates agreed to negotiate a global treaty to combat plastic pollution. The agreement, to be legally binding by 2024, will address the production, design and disposal of plastic.
Injustice addressed at COP27
We’ve written on this blog many times about the social injustice of climate change, and the fact that many of the countries hardest hit have done the least to cause it. At COP27, world leaders agreed to a breakthrough agreement on ‘loss and damage’ funds, which will help developing nations adapt to and recover from climate change.
The ozone layer hole is predicted to close within 50 years
The harmful chemicals that damage the ozone layer have reduced by more than 50% since the 1980s, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who predict the hole over Antarctica to close up within the next half century.
Renewables are on the rise
Solar power made up more than 12% of EU electricity this summer - energy think tank Ember estimated that the same amount of power generated by gas would have cost the EU €29 billion. Overall in 2022, wind and solar power saved around 230 million tons of CO2.
Treedom continues to change lives
We’re going to give ourselves a small pat on the back too, because in 2022 we passed the milestone of 3.5 million trees planted. That means to date we have offset 926,923 tons of CO2 and impacted the lives of 209,008 farmers in 18 countries. We’re grateful to everyone in our wonderful community who helped make this happen.