Welcome to the Positivity Corner

Every week we will showcase new inspiring stories locally and globally

  • Combat Eco-anxiety

    We know how hard it can be to think positively about our planet's future. It can seem overwhelming when we hear many negative and scary news stories about the future of the planet. Let's focus on the positives and see the real change happening and celebrate that!

  • Inspiring stories

    As well as global stories, we want to hear from you too! Has your school been making positive changes for the environment? Perhaps you have been promoting cycling to school or have established a wildlife garden! We would love to celebrate your school's successes in our Positivity Corner. Let us know via contact@the-eco-hub.org

  • Building Empathy and Resilience

    Our positive stories provide a special place to come and see that our actions make a big difference! Stories of people working together, problem solving and selflessness create a new understanding of the world that children want to be part of.

A new plastic to replace... plastic!

Scientists in New York and China have been working on a remarkable new plastic which will hopefully see the end to non-biodegradable plastic waste which pollutes habitats and enters food chains.

Nature has come up with the answer and it has been discovered that we can make plastic from DNA – the material found inside all living cells!

Presently, plastics are usually made from oil and petrochemicals, damaging our environment as the litter finds its way into oceans and other important habitats! These tiny particles of plastic do not break down and are devastating food chains and ecosystems globally. Did you know that small particles of micro-plastics have been found in the snow in The Arctic?

The new plastic will be renewable, easy to break down and is easier to make than traditional plastic. The scientists have calculated that they will need hundreds of millions of metric tonnes of DNA to keep up with the demand for plastic and have put forward the ingenious idea of using waste products from industry to help them. For example, yeast from fermentation can be used, the juice from food processing waste, or the waste from creating antibiotics can all be used to create the plastic that we need in our modern lives.

Once thrown away, it can be recycled but if it was to carelessly end up in the environment, it will completely biodegrade (which means that it will completely break down and not harm the local ecosystem).

This does sound almost too good to be true and it is unclear if there are any plans to widely start to use this method soon, but it definitely provides hope that a solution to the plastic waste crisis is just around the corner. In the meantime, the best thing that we can do is to reduce the amount of plastic products and packaging that we use in the first place.

Talking point: Did you know that the era that we are living at the moment is called The Anthropocene? It is used in geology* to describe that the Earth is currently dominated by human activity. It is thought that in thousands of years from now, when geologists look at fossil and rock records from today, they will find a layer of plastic going through the soil. What else do you think they might find that will have been preserved in the geological records?

*Geology - a science that deals with the history of the earth and its life especially as recorded in rocks

COP26 - Wins for the Planet

The COP26 was a two week event where the world came together to find common ground and solutions to the climate crisis. Did they succeed?

There were some momentous and surprising announcements during COP26 that we should all be extremely hopeful about.

The first was the announcement by the over 130 countries that they would stop deforestation by 2030. These countries included Brazil which holds most of the Amazon Rainforest; an area of forest, which if completely lost, would be catastrophic for the future and increase the rate of climate change. This announcement is a big relief after years of campaigning and despair as we have watched forests being logged, burnt and destroyed. Let’s hope that this promise is kept!

The second important part of the final pact which was agreed was the agreement to “phase down” and in many countries, “phase out” fossil fuels. This means that we will no longer need coal, oil and gas to provide our electricity and we will rely on renewable energy such as solar, wind and water power. This will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere which cause global heating. Some countries, like India, felt that they couldn’t promise to not use coal at all as they are a poorer country with a huge population of well over a billion people. Hopefully, they will be able to transition away from these at a faster rate in the future.

In particular, we can all be excited by the number of young people that have been present and demanding a change for all of our futures. It is the numbers of people marching and getting their voices and ideas heard which put pressure on the politicians and envoys to make promises and change the way that the world does business so that the world works for everyone, not just a few.

By the end of the COP26, there was a general feeling that progress has been made to tackle to the climate crisis on a global scale, but more needs to be done. They are going to meet again next year in Egypt and again in 2023 to ensure that countries are keeping their promises and going further in their commitments in the future.

Talking point: Does this make you feel more hopeful for the future or do you think that more needs to be done? What would you say to the leaders of the world if you had 5 minutes?
COP26 logo with a globe and the words Together for our planet

Leaders from around the world work together to combat climate change

We already have the knowledge and know-how to combat climate change – we must just learn to listen!

Around the world, indigenous* people have lived on their land and been connected to it for thousands of years. They have always lived there happily by not taking too much and respecting their environment.

Unfortunately, in the past, their land has been taken away from them by westerners and they haven’t been able to look after it in the way that they wanted. Often, it has been used for farming, mining and building towns and cities which has destroyed the habitats and natural ecosystems that were once there.

Many people say that the main reason that climate change is happening, and other man-made disasters such as pollution and disease, is because we have forgotten that we are all connected to the Earth and that the most important thing we need to do to be happy and thrive is to respect and cherish our natural environment.

Now, indigenous people around the world are taking a stand and explaining what the connection is and helping us to restore the planet to the way it should be.

Last week, at the Leader’s Summit on Climate, Indigenous people’s leaders such as Archana Soreng from India and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim from Chad in Africa stood up for their people’s rights, beliefs and traditional way of life and explained they needed their original homelands to be recognised and handed back to them so that they can continue to take care of it properly and lead the way to restoring our connection with nature.

Let’s hope that the world’s leaders agreed with them and will work hard to include them in future discussions to learn the best way to tackle the big problem of climate change.

This news is a wonderful way to celebrate diversity and understand that we must listen to everyone to find a better way of life in the future; one where we all connect with and look after our planet.

Talking point: Can you think of examples of indigenous tribes from around the world? What do you know about them and how do they differ? How are they the same?

*indigenous = people who have always occupied the land before westerners came and claimed it for themselves

BRITAIN RECORDS GREENEST DAY EVER OVER EASTER

On Easter Monday, the UK’s electricity came from nearly 80% renewable energy.

This is the highest on record so far. It is important because the UK has pledged that all our energy will be produced this way by 2030.

The weather was windy and sunny and so 60% came from wind energy and solar energy and 20% came from nuclear power.

When electricity is made this way, it reduces the amount of pollution from burning carbon heavy fuels such as coal and oil. This keeps our planet healthier and safer for us all to live on.

This record should be broken more and more often as we use more lower polluting electricity in the future.

Talking point: What other ways are there to reduce air pollution?