2017 has been a huge year for our little blue-green planet.
At times, it can be disheartening scrolling through your news feed and coming across pessimistic environmental stories from around the globe (e.g. a certain nation pulling out of the Paris Agreement and pitching coal at a climate change conference…)
However, it’s not all doom and gloom! There have been some huge achievements this year in all environmental sectors and it’s important to realise that we really are making some positive steps in the right direction.
Here are 7 environmental wins that happened in 2017!
7. Five new species of peacock spiders discovered in Western Australia
It’s exciting news when a new wildlife species is found… especially when it’s right in your own backyard!
Peacock spiders are known for their stunningly distinctive and colourful patterned bodies. These spiders are only found in specific areas in Australia and this year, five more species were found in Western Australia. Altogether, there are now more than 60 species of Aussie peacock spider!
6. New Indigenous land and sea rangers to protect Queensland’s nature
Indigenous rangers play an important role in our country to help protect and manage Australia’s unique and valuable nature.
This year, the Queensland Government announced that they’ll be hiring an additional 25 new Indigenous land and sea rangers. It’s a fantastic announcement, marking the ten year anniversary of the Indigenous ranger program in Queensland. $8.1 million will be invested over the next four years to bring the total number of rangers up to 100. Not only will this provide multiple benefits for Indigenous communities, but it’s also a massive win for Queensland’s natural landscapes!
5. Australia launches its strategy to halve food waste by 2030
We all love food… but waste? Not so much.
Every year, 3.1 million tonnes of edible food is wasted by Australian consumers, costing the economy around $20 billion. The good news is that the Australian Federal Government launched its National Food Waste Strategy, outlining actionable solutions for all industries and sectors to achieve the goal of halving Australia’s food waste by 2030.
4. Five million acres of land in Bhutan will be protected - forever!
Healthy forests are the lungs of our Earth. They provide benefits for both people and wildlife, which is why they need to be protected… and that’s exactly what will be happening in Bhutan!
Bhutan For Life - a WWF-led initiative has secured a $43 million fund that will go towards proper management of the country’s five million acre network of protected areas. Not only will this ensure that Bhutan remains carbon neutral, it also means a thriving natural habitat for an array of endangered wildlife including Bengal tigers, snow leopards and Asian elephants. Plus, people will have clean drinking water, because Bhutan’s rivers are part of a network of rivers in the region that provides water for one-fifth of the world’s population.
3. The population of wild tigers has doubled in Royal Manas National Park
It’s been a big few years for wild tigers… and another win for Bhutan.
The population of these endangered cats has doubled in Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park in just six years, as recorded by the latest official study of tigers in the area. From 10 tigers in 2010, the number has now risen to 22 - a great step in achieving the global mission of doubling wild tigers by 2022.
This, along with the announcement from the Laos Government of shutting down commercial tiger farms, shines an optimistic light on wild tigers for the future.
2. World’s biggest lithium battery completed by Tesla in South Australia
It’s been a massive year for renewable energy!
The challenge of energy security was thrown onto Australia’s national agenda in 2016 after a series of power blackouts in South Australia.
Entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, took this as an easy challenge – so easy that he put a $50 million bet on it.
In less than 100 days, Tesla completed the construction of the world’s biggest lithium ion battery, located near Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia. This 100-megawatt battery will produce enough energy to power around 30,000 homes, as well as providing stable services to the energy grid.
1. Australia moves towards a plastic bag-free country
Fortunately, plastic bags will no longer be drifting through the wind and choking our oceans in seven of the eight states and territories in Australia!
This year, Western Australia and Queensland have both vowed to put a plastic bag ban in place by mid 2018. They’ll be joining South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, which have already banned plastic bags!
It’s been a good year… Now let’s work together in achieving more for our environment in 2018!