Climate Joy Week #3: Celebrating Positive Climate News this Earth Day

Climate Joy Week #3: Celebrating Positive Climate News this Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, so… Happy Earth Day! Would you like to hear something strange? 

When I set out on this Climate Joy series, I honestly thought I wouldn’t have enough content for even the second piece. It was a scary idea from the start and I was so worried and with no clue on how to push it through, but then that’s the thing about taking leaps of faith right? Because here we are today, on our third piece in the series and increasingly reassured by all the joyful news there are about our fight to save our world.

Here we are; still stoking the embers of hope for Earth and still collecting happy stories because regardless of all the negative information there is, we really only lose in this struggle for a better planet when we quit. This week’s Climate Joy series is dedicated to Earth Day.

1. The Pope Gives His Blessings to Greta Thunberg’s Climate Fight

It’s also Easter Monday so, Happy Easter! The Easter season is celebrated worldwide by Christians as a commemoration of new life and so it seems fitting that during this Easter, we recognise Pope Francis and his strong support of actions undertaken for the good of our planet. 

Last week, the Pope met with Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish climate activist during the papal audience in Rome where the Pope urged her, and us all, to carry on with the fight for our planet. While this may not solve all of our environmental problems, it is very reassuring and bolstering because the approval of the climate change movement by Catholicism’s human Holy Father is no small feat.

2. A Rise in Renewable Energy Jobs

In Australia, jobs in large-scale solar farms tripled last financial year, overtaking the hydro sector for the first time ever, and helping to drive an overall expansion of employment in the renewable energy sector.

Data from the government’s Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of full-time equivalent jobs in the industry rose 28 percent in 2017-18 from a year earlier. The total of 17,740 jobs was up about 60 percent from its recent low in 2015-16. 

One of the biggest challenges in scaling back fossil fuel production has always been the number of jobs it provides. Coal plants provide more jobs generally than the building and maintenance of solar farms which is why government officials, looking to score easy political points with the masses, will often focus on projects that focus on job creation than on protecting the environment, no matter how dirty the industry. But with this growth rate in the solar job industry, governments may begin to develop the same love for solar that they once had for fossil fuels. 

3. Jason Momoa Shaves Off Signature Beard to Create Awareness About Plastic Pollution

Yep. You read that right. Jason Momoa has shaved off his signature beard! 

The Aquaman and Game of Thrones star shaved his beard for the first time in seven years to bring increased awareness to the plastic crises and the need for more aluminum recycling. If you are wondering why this is a big deal, its because his beard has been an integral part of his overall persona as well the character roles he plays in movies. By shaving it off, Momoa hopes to create a platform for the sustenance of a global discussion on the plastic pollution epidemic that has plagued our world. 

This news is most welcome (maybe not so much for GoT fans but they’ll cope) because in addition to creating increased awareness about the plastic issue, it also indicates the growing participation of celebrities in climate and environmental advocacy. People have naturally been freaking out at the news but we hope they get past that, to the seriousness of the conversation on plastic and be inspired to do their bit to reduce plastic consumption and consume more sustainable materials.

4. New York City Sets Ambitious Climate Rules for Biggest Emitters

New York has put in place a law to cap the biggest carbon emitters of the state – its buildings. The package sets emissions caps for individual buildings and provides a number of ways to meet them. It also includes bills that will increase the number of green roofs, encourage renewable energy, and order a study to look at replacing the 24 large fossil fuel power plants within the city with renewable energy generation.

Naturally, government buildings would be the first to have to meet these emission caps. From 2024, buildings that go beyond their caps will be required to pay fines or purchase renewable energy units. A number of types of buildings, including houses of worship and any building with a rent-regulated apartment, do not have to meet the emissions caps, but will instead be required to implement low-cost measures such as insulating pipes and windows and installing controls on radiators.

To better appreciate this positive development, it is necessary for you to know that buildings in New York City are responsible for 34.6 million of the city’s 52 million metric tons of carbon emissions. Thus, this decision by its local government is a huge win for the atmosphere. 

And that’s all for this week’s instalment of Climate Joy. Enjoy your week!

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Title image of Jason Momoa via screen capture of his YouTube video.

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