With all the heavy news articles about the state of our planet, it’s a struggle to not get swept away by fear. We want to lift your spirits with remarkable events and stories about sustainability. There’s reason to be hopeful for the future of our shared home. These stories are coming from all around the world, and they are powerful catalysts for positive change.
Saving Food, Money, and Waste in Denmark
For example, WeFood in Denmark is an all-volunteer force that tackles two problems at once: the high cost of food and the large amount of food waste we generate. One-third of the food produced globally is not used, which adds up to over 1.3 million tons of waste. We have 795 million undernourished people in the world, so this food must be used! This supermarket takes food that is past its expiration date, or has slightly damaged packaging, and translates that into a 30-50% price cut. This results in dramatically lowered prices and waste. The store donates its profits to charities that are working in developing countries.
A Massive Cleanup in India
Another volunteer group in India is also making a dramatic difference to our planet. In just one month, Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, mobilized 40 volunteers to remove 55 tons of waste from the Ganga River. They started on October 5, 2018 on a 1,500 km, 27-day rafting expedition called “Mission Gange.” Premlata Agarwal, the first Indian woman to summit the seven highest peaks in the world, also participated, along with a number of experienced mountaineers. They partnered with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), an organization which also teaches children about the importance of keeping this important waterway clean. Tons of waste continue to clog the river every day, so this is a much-needed ongoing initiative.
Pittsburgh Plants Thousands of Trees
Plant Five for Live is a non-profit based out of Pittsburgh, PA, and is healing the planet with its mission to connect children and families with nature from birth. Their first initiative gives five trees to each child born in Allegheny County. These can be planted by the family or at another site, including the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. To date, in their first year, they have distributed and planted 5,715 trees in the Pittsburgh area, including giving 5,000 trees to 1,000 children at their births.
The group plants native species to grow local forests responsibly. Christine Graziano is the president and founder. She is a mother to a young boy, and she and her colleagues go to local schools to talk about the importance of trees. These children get very excited to plant, and to continue the conversation about healing the planet.
What Can We Do Right Now to Help?
Here are some simple ways to make an immediate, positive impact on our planet!
- Plant a tree (or two).
- Plant bee and other pollinator-friendly plants like butterfly bushes or milkweed
- Organize a community garden to grow more fruits and vegetables.
- Make it a “Meatless Monday” to cut your consumption of meat.
- Swap your zip locks for reusable packaging, such as silicone bags or wax cloths.
- Consider buying toys not made of plastic – or even making your own toys.
- Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room!
- Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter and 78-80 degrees in the summer, per EPA recommendations.
- Educate yourself about other ways to heal the planet.
- Share this good news!