The Top Five Positive Environmental Impacts of 2021

The Top Five Positive Environmental Impacts of 2021

Chloe Hurd, Writer

Oftentimes, society tends to focus on the negatives surrounding climate change.  While it is important to understand and acknowledge the changes we need to make, many environmental breakthroughs go ignored by the majority. These changes are important because in order to understand how far along we are with combating global warming; we need to comprehend our current solutions and technology that could be useful. These breakthroughs, using our surrounding ecosystem, can even be a benefit to humans causing further advances in our medical world. This article is dedicated to the top five best environmental and humane breakthroughs of 2021.



KillFish Toxins 

Over the course of his career, Rich Di Giulio has been dedicating his time to researching the DNA-related toxins that reside in a multitude of species, more specifically the Killifish.  “Di Giulio’s studies, which often involve the use of a DNA-based probe he co-developed, show when certain genes are blocked, PAHs exert a greater toxic effect on the fish and may increase their risks of liver cancer and heart deformities, and may lead to reduced resistance to other environmental stresses. When different genes are blocked, the effect is lessened.” (Duke 1).  Using this information, Rich Di Giulio has devised future plans to explore reducing the effects of poison in other species, and eventually humans.



Costs of Climate Change

Recently, Drew Shindell, a professor of earth science, published a paper outlining the 153 million premature deaths resulting from fossil fuel emissions. These deaths could be avoided if the cities outlined lowered their fuel emissions sooner than projected. This horrifying fact kickstarted the environmental place that needed to be held in local politics all over the world. “Shindell helped reframe global warming as a local health, sustainability, and environmental justice issue, and helped drive home for policymakers and citizens alike the benefits of acting sooner rather than later to reduce carbon emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”(30 breakthroughs; Climate 1). This paper could be the key to posing environmental issues as a bigger issue to those who ignore them, politicians, and help activists stand on firmer ground to influence global leaders.  



Reduction of plastic use

This December, the National Academies of Science urged the U.S (The biggest plastic producer) to include a natural cap on virgin plastic production. And looking back at the past year, we seem to be moving in the right direction. More companies have been utilizing recyclable plastics and our state governments are starting to ban single-use and unnecessary plastics. Even the federal government has started to take a part in the reduction of plastics, “following the introduction of the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act; among other things, the proposal by two U.S. lawmakers would ban some single-use plastic products and pause permits of new plastics manufacturing plants. In November, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the U.S. would back a global treaty to tackle plastic pollution” (National Geographic 1). These new efforts in plastic reduction will have a great impact on our ability to get environmental issues in check.



A renewed interest in the preservations of forests

After the most recent UN Climate conference, a huge proposition was announced and approved. The goal; is to end deforestation by 2030. This includes a collective 12 billion in funding. Despite the failed attempt in 2014, actions and funding seem to be proving a more stable condition for change. This seems to be a new start as many world leaders have begun to make laws combating major deforestation. For example, “The government of the Indonesian province of West Papua revoked permits for 12 palm oil contracts covering more than 660,000 acres (an area twice the size of Los Angeles), three-fifths of which remains forested […] President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo called for an audit of its vast forest concessions and the suspension of all “questionable contracts” until the audit is done. A few weeks later, the government retreated from a plan to lift a 19-year-old moratorium on the granting of new logging licenses in the Congo Basin Forest. “We don’t want any more contracts with partners who came to savagely cut our forests; we will retire these types of contracts,”(National Geographic 1). These new actions stand as a sign of hope for our world leaders to continue preserving national land to combat global warming and general deforestation. 



The worldwide reduction of fossil fuels

Circling back to the UN Climate Change meeting; major politicians have begun to finally brainstorm around the major reductions of fossil fuels. After four years of climate change inactivity, the U.S was invited back and, surprisingly, decided to join forces with China to work on the Paris Agreement. Many countries have agreed to lower fuel use in turn for more environmentally conscious forms of energy. On top of that, Biden canceled the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and has mandated that half of all cars sold in 2030 will be electric. Globally, we are open to the change. “ renewable energy use in 2021 is expected to increase by 8 percent, the fastest year-on-year growth since the 1970s, while in the U.S., a new report found that it had nearly quadrupled over the last decade. In the Netherlands, a court-ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent relative to 2019 levels by 2030” (National Geographic 1).  With these new projections, 2030 seems pretty ideal so far.