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Apr 20, 2020

7 Reasons to Be Hopeful About Planet Earth

We’re in the mood for some good news - especially about the environment. This year’s 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is a little different, but eco-awareness is just as important as ever. For Comvita, Earth Day is, of course, every day, as it’s been our mission for 46 years to connect people with the goodness of nature. So we thought that this Earth Day, we would spotlight some of the good people and good companies making creative, regenerative and sustainable choices that are truly making the world better. Thank you to all who treat the Earth and all of its living creatures with the kindness and reverence they deserve! Now onto the 7 positive environmental stories that make us feel hopeful about the future of the planet:

1.Renewables Are Rapidly Outgrowing Fossil Fuels in the US

Renewables Are Rapidly Outgrowing Fossil Fuels in the US

According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a US federal agency, by June 2022, the pace of growth for renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric, is going to surpass fossil fuel growth by a significantly greater margin than previously anticipated (Source). Global renewable energy has quadrupled over the last decade, helping the planet avoid billions of tons of c02 emissions every year (Source). In the US, renewables are expected make up nearly half of energy sources by 2050 (Source), and at Comvita HQ in New Zealand, 944 solar panels power 270 Kilowatts, about the same consumption as 53 homes.

2. 1 Million Gardeners United to Plant Bee-Friendly Gardens

1 Million Gardeners United to Plant Bee-Friendly Gardens

We depend on bees to pollinate around ⅓ of our global food supply. Simply put, without bees, life as we know it would cease to exist. But awareness and action for honeybees has grown, with over 1 Million gardeners (mostly in the US) registering to create a global network of pollinator-friendly spaces. Mostly private or community gardens, the spaces span over 5 Million acres of actively maintained pollinator habitat. You can create a bee-friendly garden of your own by planting native species that bloom at different times of year. At Comvita HQ, we’ve planted 40,000 native species to help biodiversity and regenerate the soil. We’re also continuously investing in scientific research to improve the health of bees and their natural habitats, while our queen bee rearing facility promotes genetic diversity that keeps hives thriving for generations.

3. A 23-Year-Old Could Reduce the Pacific Garbage Patch 50% by 2025

A 23-Year-Old Could Reduce the Pacific Garbage Patch 50% by 2025 Image via The Ocean Cleanup

 

In 2013, an 18-year-old Dutch teen named Boyan Slat invented a prototype for the world’s first ocean plastic cleanup system. Today, the machine called System 001 is in operation and on its way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling gyre of ocean plastic about twice the size of Texas. The machine is an unmanned, modular system that moves with the tides, built to gravitate to areas with the highest plastic concentration. Because the system is net-free, sea life will not be disturbed. The plan is to release 60 total modules, reducing the size of the pacific gyre by half by 2025 (Source). It will be the world’s largest ocean cleanup. Here’s to a new generation of innovative activists!

4. The Antarctic Ozone Layer is Recovering

The Antarctic Ozone Layer is Recovering

In the 1970s, scientists discovered the ozone layer, particularly over the Antarctic region, had depleted, exposing humans and other beings to stronger solar rays which increase the likelihood of cancer. But in 1987, the Montreal Protocol banned ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and today the ozone layer has recovered to the point that it’s helping fight climate change in other ways. With the return of the ozone layer, the jet stream has moved further up in the atmosphere, bringing cooler weather circulation up north, likely even causing Australia to get more rainfall. (Source).

5. Mountain Gorilla Populations Are On the Rise

Mountain Gorilla Populations Are On the Rise

One of the world’s most endangered species has had a 6% increase in its population in recent years. In Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mountain gorilla populations have seen 59 new births in two key protected parks since 2011, bringing the global population to 1,063 (Source). The turnaround comes from engaging local communities in conservation, and even tourism. Mountain gorillas have gone from “critically endangered” to “endangered” - that’s a trajectory we want to see more of. <br>

6. Dolphins Are Living in Washington DC’s Waterways

Dolphins Are Living in Washington DC’s Waterways

Thinking globally and acting locally really does work. For the first time in 140 years, bottlenose dolphins have returned to the Potomac River. 50 years since the start of concerted efforts to control pollution, clean and restore the famous river, researchers have now catalogued well over 1,000 bottlenose dolphins living, mating and birthing their young in the lower branches of the river. In fact, one of DC’s dolphin births was only the third time scientists had ever seen a wild birth. Due to pollution and sewage, people have been warned for generations not to swim in the Potomac, but things have improved so much that D.C. may have swimming platforms in the river by 2025. (Source).

7. 62% of People Want Companies to Take a Stand on the Environment

62% of People Want Companies to Take a Stand on the Environment

In the past decade, there has been an awakening in environmental consciousness. 77% of people around the world are concerned about the impact humans have had on the environment (Source). According to a 2019 study by Accenture, 62% of global consumers want companies to take a stand on the environment. This is about actions, not words. It goes beyond straws and strikes - of which an estimated 7.5 Million people participated in the 2019 climate strike. This is a sea change touching every part of our global society. So we wanted to make Comvita’s stance very clear:<br> <br> We are One Hive. Every living is connected, and it’s our duty to protect and heal the natural environment we all live in. Manuka Honey is a single ingredient from nature. It comes from the rarest circumstances in the most delicate ecosystems, which means to honor this resource, we have to protect it. That’s why we thought we’d share some of Comvita’s eco-actions. Comvita has:

  • Planted 6.4 Million Manuka tree seedlings over the last 4 years, which have helped remove almost 4 tons of carbon from our environment to date.
  • Started a Manuka planting program that restores marginal land, protecting it from soil erosion, cleans up waterways and provides work for communities
  • Initiated a queen bee rearing facility to breed healthy, genetically diverse colonies that can sustain and thrive for generations.
  • Non-GMO certification from Non-GMO Project Verified.
  • Planted over 30,000 ative, bee-friendly seedings per year as part of the Trees for Bees program.
  • Developed remote technology to enable our beekeepers to monitor the health and productivity of our bees and hives 24/7, without disrupting their physical environment.
  • Powered our New Zealand facility (in part) with 944 solar panels, producing 270 Kilowatts of power (enough for 53 average homes).
  • Built an onsite water-treatment plant at Comvita HQ that treats over 10,000L (or 2,641 gallons) of waste water every day and uses this water to irrigate the entire wildscape. Our wastewater system consists of a wetland floating on material made from 100% recycled soft drink bottles. The plants in this wetland, along with 5.5 tons of scallop shells and fishery waste, help filter and balance the acidity of the wastewater.

So in honor of Earth Day, we invite you to take a stand, focus on the good, and help positive action grow throughout the world.