Not All Bad: Inspiring Events From 2016

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Most could agree that the year 2016 hasn't been the best of years by a number of accounts. For example, the world struggled with a global refugee crisis and an incredible loss of life in Syria.

In times like these it is important to take stock of the good and move forward with optimism and a renewed determination to make a difference.

Here is a list of a few remarkable things that happened in 2016 that inspire hope. There are many, more of course. Contact us to share your own story.

1. High school student fought to protect her neighborhood against a new incinerator and won

Destiny Watford, a high school senior of Baltimore, fought plans for a new incinerator that was to be placed a few miles from her school after she learned of the hazardous effects that incinerators have on human health. She started the "Free Your Voice" campaign, and in March 2016 the Maryland Department of Energy declared the construction permits invalid.

To accomplish something so important at such a young age, Destiny can certainly be an inspiration to us all for the coming year. She was also awarded the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, the youngest of this year's six recipients.

2. Renewables overtook coal as world's largest source of power

In October, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar had surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of power in the world, representing more than half of the new power capacity around the world.

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This is encouraging news as renewable energy sources are a key element in combatting climate change.

3. Portugal ran on entirely renewable energy for 4 days

In May, Portugal used renewable energy sources as its only power source for 4 consecutive days. Renewable energy has become an increasingly successful trend in Europe. According to The Guardian, in 2015, wind power alone met 42% of the electricity demand in Denmark, 20% in Spain, 13% in Germany, and 11% in the United Kingdom.

This is a huge milestone when considering the effects of clean and renewable energy.

4. President Obama banned drilling in Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

planet aid, drilling, ocean, ban, president obamaAs the year drew to a close, President Obama made a move to withdraw hundreds of millions of acres of federally owned land in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from new offshore oil and gas drilling. It is a victory being hailed by all environmentalists.

5. Southern Hemisphere ozone hole is shrinking

It was reported in June that after decades of observation, scientists believe the ozone hole over Antarctica is closing up.

The hole is opening later in the year, indicating that it has shrunk. It also has shrunk by more than 4 million square kilometers and it is not as deep as it used to be.

This discovery definitely is a welcome sign that gives us hope for the future!

6. India volunteers planted 50 million trees in one day

tree planting, India, planet aidIn July, over 800,000 volunteers in India pitched in to help fight climate change by planting 49.3 million tree saplings in just 24 hours.

This project was part of India's commitment made at the Paris Climate Agreement Conference in December 2015. In the agreement, India vowed to spend $6 billion to reforest 12% of its land.

The effort set a new world planting record. The previous record was set by Pakistan in 2013 with about 847,000 trees being planted.

7. UK's first food waste supermarket opens

In September, the first food waste supermarket opened in Pudsey. The food is priced on a "pay as you feel" basis and according to an article in the Independent, it feeds 12,000 children a week.

The supermarket will divert food waste from being landfilled and will also help out families in need!

8. Tiger population increased

Planet Aid, tiger, population, increase, new yearThe World Wildlife Fund announced in April that for the first time in a century the world's tiger population has increased. The most recent data shows there are now an estimated 3,890 tigers globally compared to an estimated 3,200 in 2010.

This is definitely a step in the right direction for one of the world's most endangered species!

9. More money raised on Giving Tuesday

The results are in from Giving Tuesday, the charitable giving movement started a few years ago in response to Black Friday consumerism. Approximately $168 million dollars was raised online this year. This is compared to the $116.7 million that was raised online last year.

10. Washington D.C. bans plastic foam

A ban on non-biodegradable foam containers went into effect this year as of January 1, 2016, in Washington, D.C. The city joins other United States municipalities such as Portland, Oregon and Amherst, Massachusetts to have this type of ban.

The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment says that foam is one of the most common types of trash found in the Anacostia River, so the ban is part of the cleanup effort. We're glad to see U.S. cities joining in on the fight against climate change!

Thank you for your continuous support and we wish you a happy New Year!