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10 Times People Were Good Doctors for Our Planet

In 2020, CO2 emissions reached record levels. The past decade was also the hottest one ever. Every year, we’re producing more and more plastic waste, which reached 386 million tons in 2019! We’re the main reason our planet, its environment, and the lives of its people and animals, have been put into harm’s way. But it’s never too late to make amends and bring about positive change.

We at Bright Side are happy to see that it’s possible to help our planet heal, sometimes even at an impressive rate. So here’re some things we can be proud of!

1. Billion Tree Tsunami

The Billion Tree Tsunami project was launched in 2014 by the government of one of the Pakistani provinces. The goal was to combat the effects of global warming by restoring 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land. The project was completed in 2017, and we can clearly see how this initiative has managed to transform the landscape.

But they haven’t stopped there. In 2018, another campaign, called Plant for Pakistan, was launched. They’re planning on planting 10 billion trees before 2023. To fight pollution, the prime minister of Pakistan has also launched an urban forestry program that uses a specific technique that allows trees to grow 10 times faster and 30 times denser than normal. Only a year has passed, but the results are already impressive.

2. Animals United

Animals United is an organization that helps protect animals. They have a wide variety of projects that advocate for animal rights, whether it be trying to stop animal testing or trying to eliminate the use of animals in circus shows. For example, in 2016, they managed to free the last circus bear in Germany. They also have projects that help shelter dogs find new homes.

3. Clean River Project

Around 400 million tons of plastic are produced every year worldwide. And only a small part of it gets recycled. More than 75% of it ends up in the ocean, starting off in rivers and seas. Because of that, up to 135,000 marine mammals die every year.

The Clean River Project organizes “scavenger hunts” where boaters can clean plastic waste and other trash out of the Merrimack River and its banks. During the first annual clean-up, they removed 300 tires, 2 30-yard dumpsters full of trash, furniture, car parts, and appliances from the river.

4. Cleaning up oil spills

Just in 2020, around 1,000 metric tons of oil were lost to the environment from tanker spills. This can have fatal effects for animals. And it gravely affects people too. Oil spills can contaminate food sources and water supplies, as well as directly affect people’s health because of toxic chemicals. Fortunately, there are people who help clean up contaminated water and the animals who’ve been affected by these environmental disasters.

5. Restoring coral reefs

Coral reefs are an extremely important part of nature. About 25% of all marine species live there, and they can even protect animals and people from storms and hurricanes. Oil spills, and other forms of pollution, as well as climate change, injure coral, and sometimes they aren’t able to recover by themselves. That’s where people come in and help restore them.

6. Protecting mangrove forests

Mangroves are home to many birds, fish, and other animals. They are also important for people, because they provide us with pure water, food, and fuel. What’s also impressive is that they absorb 10 times as much carbon dioxide as other trees. However, a lot of mangrove forests have been destroyed because of pollution, climate change, and deforestation. Luckily, there are organizations that help protect and restore mangroves. For example, EcoViva’s work in El Salvador speaks for itself.

7. Restoring peatlands

Peatlands store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests. On the one hand, it helps stabilize the planet’s atmosphere. On the other hand, they often get drained or burned for agriculture, and in the process, produce harmful emissions. Drained peatlands can be a fire hazard, and the soil there becomes unproductive. That’s why there are organizations that help restore moisture to peatlands.

8. Cleaning beaches

A lot of the waste that ends up in the ocean washes ashore on beaches. This is dangerous for the animals that live nearby and for the environment. What was once a pleasant place to spend time with your family and friends, has now become a landfill. Organizing clean-ups and collecting trash can bring back that hidden beauty and help protect animals, for example, from being entangled in plastic or from swallowing it.

9. Restoring rivers

Dams may be necessary, but they can also harm the environment. For example, they can lead to the loss of riverbanks and prevent fish from moving to their natural breeding grounds or migrating. They can even cause some species to become endangered or extinct, and they contribute to global warming.

In 2012, the Elwha Dam, located in the US, was removed, and restoration projects have helped the river start returning to its natural state. When the Elwha River was dammed, it led to the erosion of the shoreline of its delta. When the dam was removed, a lot of sand and silt was released, which can bring a positive change to the river’s ecosystems.

10. Animal conservation

Unfortunately, a lot of species are on the brink of extinction because of the effects of pollution, hunting, habitat destruction, and exotic species that prey on them. For example, Amur leopards, orangutans, black rhinos, and many other animals are considered critically endangered right now.

The good news is, there are animal conservation organizations that protect endangered species. And the results of their efforts are really impressive! In 2014, they removed the American wood stork off the Endangered Species List. Then, in 2017, Yellowstone’s grizzly bears were also removed from the list, as were the lesser long-nosed bats in 2018.

What do you think is the most impressive thing people have done for our planet recently? What else needs to be changed or improved?

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