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Keeping up with environmental news can be taxing if all you hear is doom and gloom from scientists. While there is cause for concern, there are also reasons to be optimistic about the future. Worldwide, people are working tirelessly to help the planet.
Here are five pieces of good eco news for 2023.
1. Rainforest Protection
Deforestation has negatively affected Canada’s forests over the years. Between 2000 and 2014, Canada experienced more forest loss than any other country worldwide. Industries like mining and logging often cut down large numbers of trees, thus releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. However, recent measures will protect a significant swath of land in British Columbia.
In January, Premier David Eby announced British Columbia would designate 58,000 hectares in the Incomappleux Valley as a conservancy. The region, just south of Glacier National Park, is home to endangered species like deep-snow caribou. Mining, logging and other practices are no longer permissible here.
2. Freshwater Investment
The Great Lakes are critical bodies of water for Canada and the United States. Four out of five create a border between the countries, providing freshwater sources and opportunities for tourism, manufacturing, farming, energy production and more. Unfortunately, some of the lakes have become polluted due to sewage dumps, but help is on the way from the federal government.
U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Ottawa in late March, where President Justin Trudeau affirmed Canada’s commitment to cleaning up the Great Lakes and other freshwater sources. Trudeau said the Canadian government would allocate $420 million for cleaning the Great Lakes and spend $750 million on freshwater. Other waterways on the list for restoration include the St. Lawrence River, Lake Winnipeg and the Mackenzie River.
3. Biofuel Industry Growth
Biofuel has been around for over a century, but organizations in Canada and worldwide have only started to explore its benefits. Canada’s use of biofuels has increased slightly and will continue as more facilities open for production. In March, the Canada Infrastructure Bank announced plans for a carbon recycling plant in Varennes, Quebec. The plant will create biofuels and renewable chemicals from landfill waste.
Biofuel is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels. Trucks that burn biodiesel emit much less CO2 and nitrogen oxide (NOx). In fact, biodiesel’s carbon output is 60% less than standard diesel. The alternative fuel doesn’t compromise the quality because biodiesel’s efficiency loss is under 5%.
Developing biodiesel is critical for cutting carbon emissions from vehicles. Thousands of semi-trucks hit the road for 10 hours or more each day. Their environmental impact is enormous, but biofuels can trim it and clean up the industry.
4. Solar-Powered Brewery
After a long week, what’s better than hanging out at the bar with your friends? The answer is kicking back at a solar-powered brewery. A couple of business partners paired up to open Arbru in Mallorytown, Ontario, just west of the St. Lawrence River. Arbru pairs the passions of owner Phil Audet. Audet says he loves craft beer and solar energy, so the business allows him to combine them into a dream come true.
Arbru has two solar panels outside, transferring energy to battery banks inside the bar. The photovoltaic cells power the brewery completely. The bar produces electricity for itself and doesn’t connect to municipal power, giving the business an advantage during blackouts. Audet says the bar manages energy carefully in the winter when there isn’t as much sunlight.
5. Ozone Layer Recovery
For decades, scientists have warned about erasing the ozone layer. Humans have damaged this part of the atmosphere by releasing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons. You can find these hydrocarbons in aerosol cans, refrigerants, packaging materials and more. In 1987, numerous countries signed the Montreal Treaty to phase out these damaging chemicals. Now, you can see the hard work paying off.
In January, the United Nations (UN) announced that the ozone layer is recovering and is on pace to repair fully in the next four decades. The ozone layer is crucial to human health because it protects skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. A depleted ozone layer means sunbathing becomes much more dangerous, posing a risk of radiation and skin cancer.
Finding Environmental Positivity in 2023
Global warming is a legitimate cause for concern across Canada. Many cities face higher temperatures, worsened weather events and rising sea levels. It’s worth your time to research the negatives. However, you should see the positives in these five stories.
The good news doesn’t stop in Canada. Switzerland is installing solar panels between train tracks to increase renewable energy production. The Australian government blocked a company from building a coal mine only 10 kilometres from the Great Barrier Reef. These stories motivate those who want to see positive environmental change.
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