Heartwarming: Earth-Friendly News Stories from the Holidays
Our planet is the greatest gift we have.
While the climate change news cycle may seem daunting, that’s only one side of the story. Earth-friendly measures have led to remarkable changes, like projections that the hole in our ozone layer will heal itself within our lifetime.
On the heels of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) last October, global leaders in business and politics have strengthened their commitments to creating a greener future. Renewed efforts at sustainability are set to usher in a green revolution — in 2022 and beyond. Keep reading for a round-up of earth-friendly news stories inspiring our team right now.
ESG Standards in Business
In 2021, six global banks came together with the goal of decarbonizing the steel industry. Historic efforts like these signal major shifts in financial, business and societal attitudes toward sustainability.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards refer to three key factors that help measure sustainability practices in business. ESG criteria help inform socially conscious investors and consumers when deciding which businesses they want to support.
Throughout 2021, enforcing high ESG standards became crucial to business. With socially minded generations — notably millennials and Gen-Z — making up roughly 50% of the US workforce and taking up crucial space in consumer markets, sustainable business practices are no longer optional.
The push for better ESG standards in both business and politics has led to major advances, like Germany’s historic decision to include more Green Party members in government. On the final day of 2021, the country shut down three of its six nuclear power plants still in operation, with a commitment to shut down the remaining three by the end of 2022, ending a long-standing reliance on nuclear power.
The fashion industry has received much criticism for its contributions to the climate crisis. From creating harmful waste to enforcing highly unethical working conditions, fashion faces a reckoning.
In October 2021, the Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act was introduced in New York. If passed, the bill would make NY the first state to pass legislation with the goal of holding major fashion brands accountable for their role in climate change.
While the law catches up, forward-thinking fashion brands have already made changes. A partnership between Levi’s and Stony Creek Colors aims to test a new denim dyeing system with eco-friendly food waste-sourced dyes to put more sustainable jeans in production by early 2023.
In November, Skechers announced a partnership with environmental non-profit The Nature Conservancy. The brand also launched its Our Planet Matters campaign — a collection of sustainable fashion products made from recycled materials.
Sustainable Travel: Cruises
The pandemic brought the cruise ship industry to a halt, but as operations gear up for a return to business, cruise lines look to a more sustainable future. Columbia Cruise Services announced it is dry-docking the majority of two of their fleets to refurbish them while taking on new projects that revolve around energy efficiency and sustainability.
To reduce environmental impact, cruise lines are looking to bring wind and solar energy initiatives aboard their cruise ships.
Eco-Friendly Lifestyle: Pet Food
Many of us understand that simple dietary changes can help reduce our carbon footprint, but what about our four-legged friends?
Sustainable pet food can help offset the environmental costs of pet ownership. In 2021, pet owners aged 20 to 32 placed significant importance on the environmental impact of their actions and purchasing habits.
The pet industry responded in kind, with pet food brands like Canidae investing in a climate-resilient future. Aside from the company’s existing regenerative farming co-op, a brand overhaul centered around sustainability will take center stage in 2022. Initiatives include reducing reliance on single-use plastics and making capital investments in highly efficient production methods.
Going Green on Campus
With millennials and Gen-Z leading the charge on sustainability, college campuses and universities are making great strides toward eco-friendly operations. Here are just a few of the colleges and universities going green (or greener!) in the new year:
University of Toronto
U of T recently made a commitment to divest from investments in fossil fuel companies by 2030. The university also created an Institutional Strategic Initiative centered around clean-energy research while launching “sustainability pathways” for students to explore academically.
Virginia Tech has made a commitment to increase plant-based food options on campus. The initiative aims to support students by encouraging healthy eating habits while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the meat industry.
University of California, Davis
UC Davis is considered the most sustainable university in the US, and the campus consistently ranks as one of the greenest in the world. Moving into the new year, university leadership has deepened its commitment to environmental stewardship. By the end of 2022, UC Davis aims to develop a plan to end all operational fossil fuel use.
Following a proposition by a faculty member, Marshall University has invested $53,000 into switching from gas-powered landscaping equipment to battery-powered. The university also received a $57,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection to invest into other types of eco-friendly equipment on campus. Going into the new year, university leadership has also started researching electric cars for use at its South Charleston campus.
Healing the Great Barrier Reef
The effects of climate change and ongoing pollution have devastated the Great Barrier Reef and the health of its corals. Located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the world’s largest coral reef system has lost more than half of its corals in bleaching events since 1995.
Coral bleaching occurs when corals turn white due to stressors like warmer water temperatures, intense storms, pollution, changes in light and a lack of nutrients. While bleached corals remain alive, they are extremely vulnerable to threats like disease and become highly susceptible to starvation.
The rate at which the Great Barrier Reef is losing its breeding corals necessitates human intervention. After a lifetime of work, Professor Peter Harrison, a researcher at Australia’s Southern Cross University, developed a process likened to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for the coral reef.
News of Professor Harrison’s research made a big splash over the holidays when coral babies born during the first coral IVF trial in 2016 came to mature and started spawning. The milestone event provides hope that the process can help seed a new generation of breeding coral, helping save the world’s coral reefs.
Eco-Friendly Towels for Our Oceans
FiveADRIFT was founded with a deep commitment to the environment. Our mission is to help save our planet’s oceans, all while providing high-quality, sustainable towels for environmentally minded individuals like you.
We’re incredibly proud of the fact that 100% of our profits go toward removing plastic from our oceans. Our expertly woven beach and bath towels are plastic-free, highly absorbent and anti-microbial. That’s because we believe sustainability and satisfaction go hand-in-hand.
As we head into the new year, FiveADRIFT is launching four towels with the goal of removing 1 million pounds of plastic from the ocean in 2022.
Join the revolution and SHOP SUSTAINABLE TOWELS today. Together, we can turn the tide on plastic pollution.Don’t miss a thing! Follow FiveADRIFT on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or reach out to our team with questions any time.