Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas, and inspiration from across the world, demonstrating how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. Given spring is on the way and tentative steps being made towards Covid restrictions being lifted, we thought it was a good time to share some good news stories to help lift the spirits.
Before diving into some good news, we thought we’d start this piece by looking into why watching the news can be bad for mental health. It’s not a particularly revolutionary statement, but it made us think about the past year and how our minds have been bombarded every day with heavy and challenging news.
Listening to the news or even having it constantly running in the background can impact our sympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, causes our bodies to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It’s also interesting to consider the way we consume news can be detrimental to our mental health. This is especially true when we read it via social media where we are actively seeking the news rather than passively listening to it on the radio, for example.
Of course, there has to be a balance, and limiting the amount of news you consume is a good start, but we loved the idea of allocating a “worry” time where we set a specific time of day to worry all we like but then that’s it. We suspect this might take some practice, but it’s something positive to aim for!
Sometimes we need the big names to get involved and make commitments that provide a benchmark for other businesses to aspire to. Step forward General Motors, who have committed to being carbon neutral by 2040. They also plan to sell only zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035 as a step towards reaching their goal. Whilst the critics will say this isn’t fast enough, we’re looking at an entire industry that needs to be overhauled, and this is a more ambitious target than their rivals Ford and Volkswagen. If anything, bold statements like this will put pressure on these other vehicle manufacturers to up their game.
The move is linked to the SBTi (Science Based Targets) program, which provides a target-based, clear pathway for companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over 1000 companies, including other big players such as Tesco, Mastercard, Amazon, and Facebook, have also committed to a science-based target. In even better news, 338 companies pledged to reduce emissions by a quarter in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement. These results are now being analysed, and many of the target-setters have exceeded expectations in reducing their emissions.
Reading about the decline of our diverse wildlife is tough, isn’t it? There’s often a sense of helplessness, and the news can be relentless. So it feels like we need to celebrate the good news when it occurs. And there’s nothing quite like hearing about multiple births of right whales, a critically endangered species. Right whales are found in the North Atlantic sea, and it’s believed there are only 300-350 individuals out in the population. So the announcement that three first-time mothers have given birth to at least 14 new calves is wonderful news.
Like we mentioned earlier, the negative news around the decline of endangered species can make us feel helpless, so is there anything constructive we can actually do? Greenpeace suggests that we hold governments responsible for closing loopholes in international agreements.
From a UK perspective, we found policy papers on commercial whaling on the government’s website, which were published in 2007. Perhaps a good place to start would be to review these documents and write to the government to see whether they have an updated policy available or see what they are actively doing to support this policy.
Maersk, the Danish integrated shipping company, has announced it will operate the first carbon-neutral liner vessel by 2023. Obviously, this is good news, but what’s even better is that this is seven years ahead of schedule, which is a great feat. The speed in which this has been accomplished is mainly down to advances in technology and the fact that many customers are now demanding more transparency around supply chains.
Globally, shipping pollution is a huge problem, in fact, over 90 percent of world trade is carried by around 90,000 marine vessels, and their contribution to CO₂ emissions is actually on the rise, so swift action is needed. Maersk has equally ambitious targets to achieve 60% relative CO₂ reduction from shipping by 2030 and achieve net-zero CO₂ emissions by 2050. Like we’ve mentioned previously, these stats are encouraging and continue to put pressure on competitors.
We actually checked out MSC, one of Maersk’s main competitors, and whilst they have a section on sustainability and are making the right noises, there’s not an obvious pledge or goal in mind. Here’s hoping that this will follow in time.
It’s strange how unless the countries with some of the largest economies are involved, a story doesn’t always get the same kind of mainstream coverage, but just a quick search brought us to this amazing positive story. 14 heads of state have reached an International Sustainability Agreement which commits them to managing their oceans 100% more sustainably. The countries involved make up around 40% of the world’s coastlines and include Australia, Fiji, Japan, Kenya, Jamaica, and Canada. The Ocean Panel puts “sustainability at the heart of ocean management” and is focused on five areas of transformation: ocean health, equity, knowledge, finance, and wealth.
The importance of the health of our seas is well documented, but there’s also an economic case for investing in oceans where research from the World Resources Institute shows that “that sustainable ocean-based investments will yield benefits at least five times greater than the costs”. We hope this information will continue to attract the right attention and bring a focus to our blue economy.
Sam produces our regular #TRVSTLOVES where she seeks out inspiration, news, and ideas from across the globe that both highlight and celebrate how actions can make for social and environmental change.
Sam is passionate about seeking out small businesses that are implementing remarkable and exciting projects to tackle the climate crisis; she enjoys exploring how their innovation will help change the future of our world.
A degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton has given Sam the research expertise to share and contextualize stories around innovative projects, legislation, and changemakers.