Three planet-positive news stories to get you over hump day

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A world-leading Environment Act has become law in the UK.

It might have been 26 years in the making, but late last week the UK passed legislation that will improve air and water quality, tackle waste, increase recycling, halt the decline of species, and improve the natural environment.

Originally drafted three years ago, the Environmental Act is the first environmental bill to be passed in more than two decades in England and includes legislation that “will protect and enhance our environment for future generations.”

According to the UK government, the legislation will assist the transition to a more circular economy, incentivise recycling and make it easier for households to do, encourage businesses to create sustainable packaging, and stop the export of polluting plastic waste to developing countries.

The legislation will be driven by new legally binding environmental targets, and enforced by a new, independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) which will hold government and public bodies to account on their environmental obligations.

The UK’s Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “The Environment Act will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth. It will halt the decline of species by 2030, clean up our air and protect the health of our rivers, reform the way in which we deal with waste and tackle deforestation overseas. We are setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

Sources: Gov.uk, The Guardian.

Sharks, seahorses, eels and seals… oh my! New signs of life found in the previously “biologically dead” River Thames.

Shark species and more than 100 species of fish are among the wildlife that now call the River Thames home, according to a new study led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The State of the Thames Report highlights the changes in the river, since it was declared “biologically dead” in 1957. Since the 1990s, the 215-mile long stretch of water has seen an increase in its range of birds, marine mammals and natural habitats, although the number of fish species found in tidal areas have shown a slight decline.

Conservation scientists say further research was needed to determine the cause of the decline, although the study identified increasing temperatures of London’s waterway, due to climate change, as a possible factor.  Short-term trends, however, reveal that water quality has improved, with dissolved oxygen concentrations showing an increase from 2007 to 2020.

Source: BBC.

Ecuador will expand its marine protection areas around the Galápagos Islands by nearly 15 million acres

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso announced the expansion at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The expansion, which will create 15 million acres of protected marine life, will include a protected swimway from Galápagos all the way to Costa Rica for a variety of endangered migratory animals such as scalloped hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, rays, sea turtles, and tuna.

The new protection has galvanised members of the Galápagos Conservancy, a nonprofit which is the premiere protector of the endemic giant land tortoises they study and breed, but which also is active in marine conservation.

The Galápagos Conservancy said of the expansion: “[We] will continue to fund the Galápagos National Park’s patrol boats to keep industrial fishing out of these precious waters. What’s more, we have groundbreaking new marine projects well underway for 2022, including more grants focused on marine conservation than ever before.”

Source: Good News Network.

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Charli Ferrand Higgins

After a decade working for global and boutique PR and Marketing agencies in Sydney, with clients that included some of the biggest consumer brands in the world, Charli returned to her homeland of the UK in 2017 and decided the time had come to use her professional skills and experience for good. She has since split her time between supporting passionate, purpose-driven small and medium-sized businesses to grow through conscious content marketing, managing and editing the planet-positive content hub Earth Collective (weareearthcollective.com), and hosting the podcast Easy Being Green? Lessons in sustainable business for SMEs.

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