7 min read

no. 107: Halfway through 2024

This week's good news comes at the halfway point of 2024 and serves as a reminder that we can make the second half of the year even better.
A paper calendar
Photo by Eric Rothermel / Unsplash

Hey friend,

We're halfway through 2024.

Ok technically, the halfway point is July 2, but that's next Tuesday so I won't talk to you again until after.

It's cliché to say, but time really does fly. It seems like the year just started, but when looking back on all that's happened, it also feels like it's been such a long year already.

It doesn't really make sense, but here we are.

Whether the first half of the year happened the way you wanted it to or not, here's a little reminder that we have the power to shape the full second half for the better :)

This week's stories include progress on plastic waste reduction, legal wins, innovative fabrics, and much more. Enjoy!

Enjoy these good stories? I (Jacob) research, fact-check, write, record, and post everything by myself. Consider subscribing as a supporter and/or sharing this newsletter to help Climativity continue to exist! Thank you in advance for helping the world be a little more positive, I couldn't do it without you 🌎🌏🌍💚.

Progress from Friday, June 21

brown sea turtle in water
Photo by Mariano Carpentier / Unsplash

Vanuatu reduced their plastic waste to just 2% thanks to a Facebook petition and here’s how:

This small nation of 80 islands near Australia used to be drowning in single-use plastics. But in March of 2017, Christelle Theiffry, a french immigrant, was so fed up with the bag-filled skies and seas that she started a Facebook page and petition called “No Plastic Bag, Please”.

Which rapidly gained 2,000 signatures, quite a lot for the nation of just 290,000 people, and ended up on the foreign minister’s desk who addressed it in a nationwide speech, and implemented a ban with a hefty 20,000 Vatu or $160 fine.

Which extended to banning single-use cutlery, plates, and fake flowers in 2020.

A few exceptions were made and global plastic still washes up on their shores so the fight isn’t over, but many plastics have been replaced with local organic material like native pandanus leaves or coconuts which has reduced the nation's total plastic waste from 35% down to 2.

And the path to get there started with a single action, so maybe we CAN continue this trend around the world...

Progress from Monday, June 24

landscape photography of green trees
Photo by Lightscape / Unsplash

Amazon rainforest deforestation in Brazil has dropped 40% since last year and reached the lowest level since 2018, even during a rise in forest fires, trending closer to president Lula’s pledge of zero deforestation by 2030. (Mongabay)

The world’s largest survey on climate by the UN and Oxford found 4 out of 5 people want their country to take more climate action, 72% want to move away from fossil fuels, and 86% said countries should put differences aside and work together to solve this. (UNDP)

The first class of the American Climate Corps has officially been sworn in, which is a federal program to get 20,000 young folks into good jobs this year like restoring landscapes, installing solar, and farming sustainably. (Grist)

13 young people just won a legal case against Hawaii which will force zero-emission transportation by 2045 in an unprecedented victory proving the state’s pro-fossil fuel policies violated citizen’s constitutional rights. (The Guardian)

Progress from Tuesday, June 25

white and black floral textile
Photo by Milad Fakurian / Unsplash

A new wearable fabric developed by University of Chicago researchers stays cooler than silk by 8.9 degrees Celsius or 16 degrees Fahrenheit by passively reflecting the sun’s light in a diffuse pattern potentially helping survive extreme heat (UChicago)

The top 7 Chinese solar providers now have the capacity to generate more energy than Big Oil which represents the start of a major and unprecedented geopolitical shift in power away from oil and into renewables. (Bloomberg)

After 20 years of conservation efforts, the Iberian Lynx has officially been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable, marking a rebound from just 62 up to over 2,000 in the greatest-ever cat species recovery so far (Ecowatch)

Princeton researchers are developing stunning and innovative ways to transform parks into even better cooling centers during heat waves based on kirigami structures that control wind flow, water misters, cold tubes, sun shades, and reflective panels (Bloomberg)

Progress from Wednesday, June 26

woman in red coat standing on snow covered ground during daytime
Photo by Vin Jack / Unsplash

Decided to report on some real life superheroes today:

Fernando Trujillo dedicated his life to protecting river dolphins in the Amazon, earning the Colombian marine biologist the name ‘‘omacha’ which means a dolphin that transforms into a man in Tikuna culture. (Natgeo)

Susan Solomon is a scientist who established the ozone layer was being depleted and helped save it with the 1989 Montreal Protocol, the only UN agreement signed by every country, and now says regarding climate, “For goodness sake, let’s not give up now, we’re right on the cusp of success” (The Guardian)

Lilian Hill and Jacobo Marcus started a nonprofit to address food insecurity on the Hopi reservation in Arizona that creates food hubs to provide fresh, healthy foods for native populations (The Guardian)

Wolf Ruck is fighting the Canadian government to let him rewild his home garden and let his native plants grow tall and despite officials forcibly cutting his lawn against his will twice and billing him for the work, he’s determined to continue the rewilding movement. (The Guardian)

Progress from Thursday, June 27

brown yak on brown grass field during day
Photo by Bryce olsen / Unsplash

European Bison have been introduced to Portugal for the first time. The bison will help lower the risk of wildfires by eating flammable vegetation, as well as help store carbon and boost biodiversity. (Rewilding Europe)

In just the first year of Colorado’s 10-cent fee on single-use plastic bags, 1.5 billion fewer bags were used and an additional $5 million in revenue was generated for free distribution of reusable bags and community education showing a dramatic culture shift. (GNN)

Beavers are no longer considered predators in Oregon. Nicknamed ‘the beaver bill’ - a new piece of legislature means beavers will now be protected under state law. (Salem Reporter)

Indigenous women from 29 communities in Peru won a 4-year battle to classify the Marañón River as a living being with inherent rights to protect not only the environment but also the livelihoods of these Amazonian communities. (Common Dreams)

Bonus stories

Restoring Indigenous aquaculture heals both ecosystems and communities in Hawai‘i
For generations, native Hawaiians have understood that their aquaculture systems, fishponds known as loko i‘a, serve as nurseries that seed fish populations in surrounding waters. For the first time, a team of scientists from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) have modeled this feat of Indigenous science in a study. “We are using science […]
Keeping Stormwater at Bay: a Brooklyn Green Roof Offers a Look at a Climate Resilient Future - Inside Climate News
Green infrastructure mitigates the impacts of stormwater on New York City’s sewer systems, limiting the flow of sewage to local waterways.
More than 800 coal plants could potentially make a profitable switch to solar
17 June 2024 (IEEFA) | More than 800 coal power stations in emerging economies show potential to be profitably replaced by renewable energy, providing significant returns for investors and slashing emissions.
New projects aim to break US barriers to digitizing the grid
U.S. utilities are just starting to deploy grid-boosting tech like Smart Wires’ SmartValve systems. A carbon-free grid will need a lot more of it to succeed.
Kelp help? How Scotland’s seaweed growers are aiming to revolutionise what we buy
Farmed kelp could produce plastic substitutes, beauty products and food supplements. Just steer clear of seaweed chocolate

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