10 Conservation Wins So Far In 2021
2021 seems to be just as hectic and ever-changing as 2020 was, so here is a little dose of hope for you to hold on to as we move forward into the year! It can be hard to believe it, but not all is wrong in the world, and the past two years have seen quite a few conservation efforts and "wins."
If you have a story of hope or optimism in the climate movement to share, please send it with us through our About page! It is so important to celebrate the victories when we can, and use it as fuel to continue pushing for change and justice.
1. The Wildlife Trusts are releasing a record number of beavers in 2021 – twenty years after bringing the first ever beavers back to Britain.
So why are we so happy about beavers? Besides being adorable, beavers create a wide range of wetland habitats that provide homes for other wildlife, their dams hold back water and release it slowly to prevent flooding, and their activities and dams filter water that flows past them in their channels.
2. The Northern Territory in Australia is permanently banning seabed mining!
The Northern Territory has some of the last healthy tropical coasts in the world. Seabed mining is like bulldozing the seafloor, and it decimates marine life, pollutes the ocean, and destroys places of cultural significance. We love seeing the government actually take strong actions like placing permanent bans on harmful practices!
3. Barcelona is creating 78 ha of green open space, greened streets, and wildlife structures around the city.
How amazing is this? On top of creating the green spaces, they are building 200 nesting towers for birds and bats, 40 beehives and around 80 plantings as insect “hotels”. This honestly is how I envision all urban spaces looking like in the future, and I am so happy that Barcelona is leading the way with such a large project.
4. Iran has expanded their protected areas by 635,000 ha!
Iran has expanded its protected area network by 635,000 ha to include their full range of ecosystems in the country, including forests, prairies, wetlands, and mountains. This is a great first step towards increasing the amount of protected land for conservation!
5. New Zealand's second largest city closed one of its busiest roads for weeks to protect a sea lion mother and pup.
This sea lion family had made a local course their new home, and were regularly crossing the main road to get to the beach. There are only about 12,000 New Zealand sea lions left, which is why protection of these amazing animals is so important!
6. Northern Mexico just established their second native buffalo herd!
“After almost 100 years of absence of the American bison on the plains of Coahuila, in 2020 the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas [Conanp] achieved the establishment of a second herd of these beautiful animals.” - Environment Minister María Luisa Albores.
7. Manta rays and whale sharks are now protected in Mozambique.
After 20 years of research and lobbying efforts by the Marine Megafauna Foundation, Mozambique has enacted protections for whale sharks, manta rays, and all mobula species! On top of these added protections, there is also a ban on destructive fishing practices on coral, seagrass, or mangroves and on the harvesting of live coral. Also, the use of turtle excluder devices are also now compulsory on industrial and semi-industrial nets. This is a huge win for all of these these threatened species!
8. Quebec meets UN Convention’s Terrestrial Protected Area Target of 17%
Quebec is expanding their conservation areas to protect 17% of all its land territory before the end of the year, and they are conserving areas all over the territory! It is so exciting to see how many projects that they have planned, and how many they hope to have in the future.
9. The UK’s renewable electricity outpaced its fossil fuel generation for the first time in 2020!
This is such great news to hear, and it just solidifies that we CAN move towards a global energy systems that are powered with mostly renewables! Solar and wind power made up 42% of these renewables, with things like hydro and bio-fuels making up the rest. What a great source of hope!
10. The Naso Tjër Di people of Panama now have a protected territory of their own.
After decades of trying to secure their right back to their land, the Naso Tjër Di people of Panama finally have a 620 square-mile area of land that is protected by them. This is a crucial win for them as the land is critical to their well-being as a people. Indigenous people all over the world are fighting tirelessly to gain the rights back to what is rightfully theirs to protect, so the fight is not over until more justice like this is served!
Hopefully this article has brought you a little bit of optimism and hope to carry you through this next month!