44 Positive Environmental Success Stories - April 2024

44 Positive Environmental Success Stories - April 2024
Photo by Kyle Glenn / Unsplash

The media has an important role to play in combatting climate doom. Therefore, this monthly news roundup of positive environmental and climate change news, is designed to spark joy and show that progress is being made. We select two positive news headlines a day from renewable energy and biodiversity to eco-innovation and more. We organise all the articles by the date of publication and provide some environmental and wildlife dates for your diary.

Under each day is a few positive news articles posted on the same day. Sadly we have excluded weekends as media outlets report less on these days.

Environmental and Animal Awareness Days In The Next Month

Be Kind to Animals Month (1st - 31st May) acts as a helpful reminder to express kindness and empathy to our furry, feathered, scaled, and finned friends.

World Bee Day (20th May) raises awareness around the vital role of bees and other pollinators in keeping people and the planet healthy. The day also seeks to raise awareness around the many challenges bees face today. 

World Otter Day (28th May) recognises the vital role otters play in freshwater ecosystems. Otters face challenges, such as habitat degradation and pollution however the day shines a light on conservation efforts to safeguard their habitats and promote clean waterways.

Meat-Free May (1st - 31st May) is a month-long challenge to eliminate meat from your diet for all 31 days in May.

No Mow May (1st - 31st May) is an annual event run by the environmental charity Plantlife which encourages people across the UK – and beyond – to lock up their lawnmowers on 1st May. By leaving your lawnmower in the shed and letting your lawn grow long, just for the month of May means smaller plants like clover, daisies, dandelions, selfheal and clover will get a chance to flower and give pollinating insects a head-start.

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Positive News Roundup - Monday, 1st April

photo of empty park during daytime
Photo by Mike Benna / Unsplash

The Guardian reported on a survey by the National Trust which found that more than three-quarters of children want to spend more time in nature. The conservation charity is encouraging ministers to ensure youngsters are no more than a 15-minute walk from green spaces.

AP News wrote that federal researchers indicate the gray whale population along the West Coast are showing signs of recovery five years after hundreds washed up dead on beaches from Alaska to Mexico. The agency estimated that the total number of eastern north Pacific Gray whales to be between 17,400 to 21,300, an increase from an estimated 13,200 to 15,960 whales last year.

Positive News Roundup - Tuesday, 2nd April

blue solar panel
Photo by Chelsea / Unsplash

Canary Media reported on California's new ruling which allows solar and batteries to help out the grid. Canary Media said that utilities tend to treat solar and batteries as threats to their power grids. However, California’s policy will now tap their flexible power to benefit the grid instead.

EuroNews reported on Deutsche Bahn who has stopped using domestic flights to send letters due to climate change. After 63 years, the last planes carrying letters between northern and southern Germany, flew overnight on 28th March. Letters between those destinations will now be transported by road, allowing the company to reduce transport-related carbon dioxide emissions on the routes by over 80 per cent.

Positive News Roundup - Wednesday, 3rd April

white electic windmill
Photo by Nicholas Doherty / Unsplash

New Atlas reported on a study where the Andean condor’s drag-reducing aerodynamic wings have inspired the creation of a winglet, which, when added to a wind turbine blade, boosted energy production by an average of 10%, according to a new study.

PV Magazine wrote that official figures from Sweden’s energy association says more solar was added than estimates suggested during a record year for PV deployment in 2023, with the country’s cumulative capacity now standing at around 4 GW.

Positive News Roundup - Thursday, 4th April

brown and white concrete house
Photo by Giorgio Trovato / Unsplash

iNews wrote an exclusive article about a decision the Conservative ministers currently undertaking. Ministers are choosing between two options, of which one is to install rooftop solar panels equal to 40 per cent of the property’s ground-floor area.

Canary Media reported that California is trading an old gas plant for a giant grid battery. Canary wrote when it comes online this summer, developer Calpine’s Nova power bank will store more electricity than all but one battery plant currently operating in the U.S.

Positive News Roundup - Friday, 5th April

blue city bike parked on brown concrete pavement near body of water during daytime
Photo by Augusto Lopes / Unsplash

EuroNews wrote despite no legal force, cycling advocates have greeted an undertaking by governments and MEPs to make Europe a more bike friendly place. EU governments have committed to build more cycle lanes and secure parking places, improve safety for riders, and promote schemes to encourage a switch from four wheels to two.

Time wrote about a newly developed cargo plane created to facilitate the shipping of gigantic wind blades to challenging locations. The planes volume is ten times greater than that of a 747 and a cargo hold capable of carrying a nearly 350-ft blade. Because wind farms are typically built in remote locations, the plane will also be capable of landing on short, unpaved airstrips.

Positive News Roundup - Monday, 8th April

assorted-color disposable cup lot
Photo by Jas Min / Unsplash

Daily Climate cited PBS saying that one third of U.S. adults reported a lower consumption of plastic products.

PV Magazine said that there were 189,826 solar installations deployed under the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) last year. This marks a 37.5% year-on-year increase on 2022, when there were 138,020 installations, the researchers said.

Positive News Roundup - Tuesday, 9th April

white wind turbines on green grass field during daytime
Photo by Made From The Sky / Unsplash

The Guardian reported on  research by Exeter University, commissioned by Friends of the Earth. Their research suggested England could produce 13 times more renewable energy than it does now, while using less than 3% of its land. Furthermore onshore wind and solar projects could provide enough electricity to power all the households in England two and a half times over.

The Guardian reported the Biden administration announced that more than 200 of the nation’s hazardous chemical plants will be mandated to reduce toxic emissions linked to cancer.

Positive News Roundup - Wednesday, 10th April

three people riding horses on brown field during daytime
Photo by Joseph Daniel / Unsplash

AP News wrote about Serbia’s only horse sanctuary which has cared for dozens of tortured, old and neglected animals. The 43 year old Serbian set up the country’s only horse sanctuary in 2015 on a small piece of land in Central Serbia. So far around 80 horses have since passed through Staro Brdo, or Old Hill, sanctuary.

PV Magazine reported that Texas was the top US state for solar deployment in 2023. The headline said solar generation increased 35% year over year in the state, and 16 GW of solar was added in 2023 alone. Developers are expected to add another 24 GW in 2024 and 2025, while wind power is expected to increase by 3 GW of capacity.

Positive News Roundup - Thursday, 11th April

school of fish in body of water
Photo by Hiroko Yoshii / Unsplash

AP News reported on a technique being used in South Florida to protect developing coral which were grown in a lab. The technique involves biodegradable straws which act as a physical barrier against predatory fish.

AP News also reported on a California based startup tackling the concrete industry. Currently concrete responsible for roughly 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions however the new company (Fortera) intercepts carbon dioxide exhaust from the kilns where cement is made and routes it back in to make additional cement.

Positive News Roundup - Friday, 12th April

flag of USA on grass field
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Canary Media has produced an interactive chart showing which American states are generating the most solar and wind energy.

The Guardian wrote about the published data from the RPSB Big Garden Birdwatch 2024 which involved over 600,000 participants. The house sparrow has taken the top ranking once again for the 21st year in a row.

Positive News Roundup - Monday, 15th April

bird singing on tree
Photo by Jan Meeus / Unsplash

New Atlas reported that researchers have tracked muscle contractions in a bird's vocal tract, and reconstructed the song it was silently singing in its sleep. This allows the team to figure out what the bird's dream was about.

Edie wrote 18 months ago there were 1,000 registered UK B Corporations, which has now risen to 2,000.

Positive News Roundup - Tuesday, 16th April

white and blue solar panels
Photo by Anders J / Unsplash

PV Magazine wrote France's Regional Highways Division (DIR) plans to launch a series of tenders to deploy 240 MW of solar capacity along the country's highway network this month (April).

The Guardian wrote that Greece has become the first European country to announce a ban on bottom trawling in all of its national marine parks and protected areas. The Greek prime minister said “We will ban bottom trawling in our national parks by 2026 and in all marine protected areas by 2030.” Greece plans to spend €780m (£666m) to protect its “diverse and unique marine ecosystems”.

Positive News Roundup - Wednesday, 17th April

person sprinkling salt in fries
Photo by Emmy Smith / Unsplash

The Guardian wrote about making ready-to-eat meals healthier by imposing minimum health and sustainability standards on the companies who sell most of them. A report found that such standards could cut EU emissions by 48m tonnes annually. Furthermore they found that ready-to-eat meals would need to contain about half as many refined grains and two-thirds less meat, on average, as well as “significantly” more legumes.

The Guardian reported that scientists have revealed queens of the common eastern bumblebee, a species widespread in eastern North America, can withstand submersion for up to a week when hibernating.

Positive News Roundup - Thursday, 18th April

green maple leaf in close up photography
Photo by Azimbek Assarov / Unsplash

Mongabay reported that oak trees are vital for climate regulation and carbon sequestration; however the trees are being threatened by fungal diseases and climate change. To combat this drone cameras have supported scientists to distinguish between drought stress & fungus in oaks. This allowed a predictive model to identify symptoms and detect sick oaks 12 days before visual symptoms appear.

The Guardian wrote that a study has identified where wind is most reliable for generating power. The article says that roughly 6.5% of the world’s electricity is generated by wind, which could rise to more than a third by 2050.

Positive News Roundup - Friday, 19th April

brown tree branch on water
Photo by Timothy K / Unsplash

Mongabay reported that Brazil’s Pará state has protected almost all of its Amazonian coastline after establishing two new conservation units that make up the world’s largest and most conserved belt of mangroves

Positive News wrote about the shortlisted startups hoping to win €25,000 (£21,460). One of the shortlisted companies developed a chipless, carbon-based paper RFID tags that is metal-free, cheaper and compatible with existing recycling.

Positive News Roundup - Monday, 22nd April

photo of wind turbines on green grass
Photo by Arteum.ro / Unsplash

Techxplore wrote that The Danish Energy Agency has launched its biggest tender for the construction of offshore wind farms, aimed at producing six gigawatts by 2030—more than double Denmark's current capacity.

Sky News reported that the UK is soon to pass a new law will make it illegal to sell wet wipes containing plastic in England, before being rolled out to cover the rest of the UK in autumn. The government is planning to introduce the legislation before parliament's summer recess begins in July.

Positive News Roundup - Tuesday, 23rd April

low angle photo of city high rise buildings during daytime
Photo by Sean Pollock / Unsplash

Reuters reported that Britain's financial regulator confirmed that its bespoke rule to combat investment firms from inflating the green credentials of their products to retail customers will come into force from 31st May.

PV Magazine wrote that the latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report showed the amount of renewable energy put into Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) grew to 39% in the first quarter of 2024, up from 37.4% in the same period last year.

Positive News Roundup - Wednesday, 24th April

white smoke coming out from building
Photo by Marcin Jozwiak / Unsplash

Carbon Brief analysed coal and gas consumption in the UK, and found it fell to to a record-low 2.4% earlier this month. The record was reached at lunchtime on Monday 15 April and lasted for one hour. Carbon Brief said there have been 75 half hour periods in 2024 when fossil fuels met less than 5% of demand, which is higher than 16 (2023) and 5 (2022).

Sky News wrote that the World's biggest 3D printer which has been built at the University of Maine. The university said the printer offers "new opportunities for eco-friendly and cost-effective" manufacturing and will be able to produce objects as large as 96-foot long and 32-foot wide.

Positive News Roundup - Thursday, 25th April

white windmills on green grass field under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Karsten Würth / Unsplash

Happy Eco News wrote Oregon has approved offshore wind turbines helping the state to hit its clean energy goals.

PV Magazine reported on a clean-tech startup from India who has developed a gravity energy storage mechanism that uses locally available materials such as sand and industrial waste as its payload.

Positive News Roundup - Friday, 26th April

an underwater view of corals and sponges in the ocean
Photo by Oleksandr Sushko / Unsplash

AP News wrote this week divers gently nestled self-bred corals from the World Coral Conservatory project among their cousins in Europe’s largest coral reef at the Burgers’ Zoo in the Netherlands.

PV Magazine reported that the German parliament approved “Solarpaket 1,” a policy package that includes higher feed-in tariffs for commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects and new measures related to the size of eligible installations in large-scale solar auctions.

Positive News Roundup - Monday, 29th April

tilt-shift photography of green computer motherboard
Photo by Chris Ried / Unsplash

New Atlas wrote that most printed circuit boards are hard to recycle however, a new experimental circuit board has been created by scientists from the University of Washington. Their new circuit boards replaces fibre glass with vitrimer which can be immersed in an organic solvent, causing vitrimer to swell and become gelatinous.

Mongabay reported that less than a year after the Australian government classified the eastern pink cockatoo as an endangered subspecies, scientists have deployed technology to help study and protect the birds. Through research scientists hope to understand where the birds live and how they react to changes in rainfall and temperature.

Positive News Roundup - Tuesday, 30th April

aerial view of trees during daytime
Photo by Michael Olsen / Unsplash

Mongabay reported that using high-resolution satellite images scientists have created a map of global canopy heights, and to also develop an AI model that can predict canopy heights. Meta collaborated with the nonprofit organisation World Resources Institute to develop the open-source map and model.

Canary Media reported that a new startup from New York who has spent the last 3 years developing an EV charger that operates from streetlights, keeps pedestrians safe and reduces vandalism. For times when damage does occur the system has been designed for easy repair.