With everything happening in the news, it can be challenging to maintain the motivation needed to keep our eyes set on a future that’s clean and green. While there’s still a lot to be done, the reality is that strides have been made to preserve our mother earth. Here are five of the most uplifting conservation stories from 2018:
- Record-breaking Canadian conservation investment
The Canadian government announced that $1.3 billion of federal funding over the next five years will be dedicated to protecting both Canada’s land and sea ecosystems. It’s the most significant financial conservation investment in the nation’s history and will protect an estimated 17% of land and 10% of oceans by 2020. The funding will also partner with conservation efforts for protection of at-risk species and the lands of Indigenous Peoples.
- Growing tiger population in Nepal
Thanks to increased protections (like additional anti-poaching rangers) Nepal is currently on track to become the first country to double its wild tiger population since 2010.
- Belize’s barrier reef removed from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger Belize’s Barrier Reef System is part of the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, the Mesoamerican Reef System. It is an incredibly diverse ecosystem and serves as a home to nearly 1,400 species, many of which (like the hawksbill turtle) are endangered. In 2009, the site was added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger as a result of coastal construction and oil exploration threatening the delicate habitat there. As of 2018, conservation efforts have proved successful, and the reef has been removed from the list.
- The Save Our Seas Act was passed
Scientists estimate that over 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Thousands of activists from 49 states urged their member of Congress to support a bipartisan bill, known as The Save Our Seas Act, to extend the NOAA Marine Debris Program for five additional years and encourage further research for cleaning efforts. The legislation was passed on October 11th.
- Colombia introduced the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park
Colombia’s Serranía de Chiribiquete was expanded an additional 3.7 million acres, bringing it to a whopping total of 10.6 million acres and securing its title as the world’s largest protected tropical rainforest national park. The park was also officially declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site.