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5 wins for the environment in 2019 – words Alexa Wang
2019 is the year we take a new approach to climate change: the naysayers are dwindling, the conversation is growing louder, and more and more people are taking action. Even entire cities are taking positive steps. While there is no denying that the glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, temperatures are increasing, and animals – from microbes to moose – are beginning to move, this year is the year we start to make a difference.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the past four years were the warmest on record. As the WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas eloquently put it: “We are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it”. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel. In terms of environmental action, 2019 has gotten off to a good start with politicians and world leaders finally turning their heads and the increase of impactful and well-run civil society campaigns. We highlight some of the top wins for the environment below in the hopes of encouraging many, many more.
1. Greta Thunberg at UN Climate Change Conference
At the close of 2018, Greta Thunberg, age 15, addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland and implored world leaders to quit standing idly by and to take action. Such honest and to-the-point words from a young Swedish woman, were a huge hit on social media.
2. The German VerpackG packaging act
As of January 1st 2019, the VerpackG packaging act states that any commercial distributors will have to register before distributing goods within Germany. This aims to enforce a more equitable distribution of packaging recycling costs and assign more responsibility to distributors of the goods in order to ensure that their products have as little environmental impact as possible. Read more about the new German packaging act here.
3. Keep it in the Ground
The excessive burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas in the past is what has led us to this critical point. With that in mind, the global Keep it in the Ground movement aims to encourage people to keep the remaining fossil fuels in the ground and move towards renewable energy instead.
4. The no-plastic lifestyle
Although difficult, the no-plastic lifestyle is gaining a lot of attention and more and more people are turning towards this environmentally-friendly way of living. Avoiding plastic in some areas of your life can be easier in orders. Plastic bags, cups, cling film are easily avoided with tote bags, multi-use cups and lunchboxes, but for things like shampoo and toothpaste containers and face wash, it can prove difficult. With more and more plastic-free supermarkets in 2019 and many retailers taking a no-plastic approach, you’ll find that by slowly incorporating a no-plastic attitude into your life is possible and more importantly, impactful.
5. Eating habits
Eating habits like vegetarianism, veganism, pescetarianism and flexitarianism hope to strip the animal-based industries of their power and monopoly and encourage a more environmentally friendly way of life. With a more heightened awareness, broader food menus and a better supermarket selection, a more alternative diet is on the cards for many in 2019.