Climate Joy Week #18: Coca-Cola and Pepsi Abandon Plastic Lobby, Ethiopia Breaks Tree Planting Record and more…

Climate Joy Week #18: Coca-Cola and Pepsi Abandon Plastic Lobby, Ethiopia Breaks Tree Planting Record and more…

Welcome to another edition of Climate Joy! We’re now in our 18th week showcasing the efforts governments, businesses and individuals are undertaking in the fight to save our planet – and it has filled us with hope and optimism as we hope it has for you.

From Ethiopia all the way to India, government to corporate action, here are the positive environmental stories we’re celebrating this week:

1. Ethiopia Breaks Tree Planting Record

Trees are the most important components of our ecosystem because they greatly help in balancing the impacts of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, and just last week, Ethiopia set a world record in tree planting! Yes, you read that right. The wonderful people of Ethiopia planted 350 million trees in just 12 hours. This is part of a tree planting project for nationwide reforestation to combat climate change and global warming. 

According to the Ethiopian government, the plan currently in place is for Ethiopia to plant four billion trees before the end of the rainy season in October. More than half of this has already been planted. Now if you weigh this against the background of this one study, out of very many others, you will understand better the mind-blowing potentials of widespread tree planting as a solution to our climate emergency. We can only hope that more nations follow their lead but until they do, bravo Ethiopia!

2. Indian Tiger Population Grows

Last week the Indian government announced that its wild tigers population has risen by about 30%. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the tiger population had risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018. He added that India is “now one of the biggest and most secure habitats of the tiger” because; India is now estimated to be home to around 70% of the world’s tigers.

Now saving a planet of life is crucial to the balance of nature and endangered species alongside other living organisms, are integral components of earth; our communal heritage. This announcement by the Indian government came in the wake of this year’s census, which is carried out in the polity once every four years. This development is a major success in the conservation of the big cats (whose worldwide numbers fell drastically over 50 years) and shows promise for other endangered species if similar intervention is taken.

3. Pepsi and Coca-Cola Abandon Plastic Lobby

The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. announced a few days ago that they were leaving the Plastic Industry Association over philosophical differences.

The association took positions that “were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals,” Coca-Cola relayed through a representative in a statement last week, noting that it withdrew from the group earlier this year. Pepsi similarly distanced itself from the association stating that, “…we do not participate in the policy advocacy work of the association or its subsidiaries, and our membership will conclude at the end of this year?.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has committed to making its products out of at least 50% recycled materials within the next few years and Pepsi has announced it will begin selling Aquafina in cans and is test piloting a new high-tech water cooler. These companies are two of the world’s largest beverage companies so their corporate decisions to reduce their plastic output is cause for celebration.

4. Panama Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

Panama has announced a ban on plastic bags. According to the ban, supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers in Panama must stop using traditional polyethylene plastic bags immediately, while wholesale stores will have until 2020 to conform to the policy (which was approved last year).

Fines can be applied for non-compliance but there are exceptions for the use of plastic bags for sanitary reasons, such as with raw food. The ban makes Panama the first Central American country to ban plastic bags. It joins over 90 other countries that have a partial or total ban on plastic bags.

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5. One of the World’s Largest Hotel Chains to Ban Plastic

If you have ever stayed in a motel or hotel, you will have noticed those infernal small cans of conditioner and soap. They are cute and collectible, except for the fact that they are made of plastic and are thus pose risks to our environment.

So the fact that one of the world’s biggest hotel groups has just announced a ban on mini plastic toiletries in an effort to reduce plastic waste is brilliant news! InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will install bulk-size amenities in the bathrooms of its 843,000 rooms around the world by 2021.The effort will see 200 million plastic bottles removed from circulation. 

This is no small feat as the Group owns hotel brands such as Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza in some of the most exotic locations in the world and let’s face it, what’s good for the environment is also good for their bottom line, right?

And on this note, we wrap up and hope to see you back here next week to celebrate more positive climate news!

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Feature image by John Cameron via Unsplash.

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