5 Pieces Of News That Show The Planet May Not Be Totally Doomed

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Eco-Anxiety: 5 Stories That Will Make You More Hopeful About The Future of Our World

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As a sustainability editor, I'm often asked how I stay hopeful while reading climate news for a living. The easy answer is that overwhelm doesn't get things done, and for every setback, there's also a step forward. I wholeheartedly believe in the smart and dedicated people out there pushing us toward solutions. As we enter a new decade with ice caps melting at record speeds in some parts of the world and massive fires raging in others, it feels especially hard to stay hopeful. But here are five bright spots that have helped ease my eco-anxiety this week, at least a little bit. I hope they do the same for you.

1. Climate change was a theme at the 2020 ball drop.

Every year, someone new is invited to kick-start the ball drop at New York's Time Square New Year's Eve celebration. These special guests usually speak to the cultural moments that defined the past year. (Last year, it was journalists calling for a free press, and the year before it was leaders of the #MeToo movement.) To wrap up 2019, a historic year for climate change, two NYC science teachers and their students were the ones to take on the honor.

"On New Year's Eve, we look back and reflect on the dominant themes of the past year and seek hope and inspiration as we look forward. You'd have to have your head buried in the Saudi Arabian sand to not be alarmed by all of the environmental catastrophes of 2019, and you'd also have to have a soul of Styrofoam not to be moved by the passion of young people demanding that we do better," Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a news release on the news. The next decade could largely determine our future in a warming world, so here's hoping this is the first of many moments that climate change will be at the forefront of our cultural celebrations.

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2. Italian Vogue's next issue will be photography-free.

The publication opted to swap its signature glitzy photos for illustrations in its upcoming January 7 issue. The magazine's editor-in-chief Emanuele Farneti says that the decision is meant to show that Vogue is experimenting with new ways of storytelling that are less environmentally damaging. (Flying models and photographers out to exotic destinations for shoots leads to some hefty emissions, after all.) The money that the magazine saves by going the illustration route will be donated to a local cultural center in Venice that was recently damaged in a flood, according to the New York Times. TBD if this new medium will stick after this month's issue, but hopefully it furthers the conversation about how high fashion needs to adapt to changing times.

3. Soon, England will break ground on the "world's greenest football stadium."

Architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects just got permission to build the world's first wooden football stadium in Gloucestershire, England. Wood is reemerging as a climate-friendly construction material since it's naturally occurring and leads to far fewer carbon emissions than concrete. "Our new stadium will have the lowest carbon content of any stadium in the world," said a green industry expert behind the project, which will also run on renewable energy sources. It's fitting that the stadium will be home to the Forest Green Rovers team, the world's first (and probably only?) vegan soccer team.

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4. NYC's public school lunches are getting a sustainable and plastic-free makeover.

Last year, two public schools in New York City started to provide lunches made entirely from scratch. Beyond being healthier for students, freshly prepared meals tend to have a lower environmental footprint than highly processed ones. Not to mention, they lead to less packaging waste. This pilot program proved that it was possible for schools to serve fresh meals with time and budget constraints, and it was just announced that 1,800 more schools across the city will now attempt to do something similar.

5. The Golden Globes are going greener.

During this weekend's ceremony, guests will eat a vegan menu, drink water out of glass instead of plastic, and walk down last year's repurposed red carpet. These event firsts are an attempt to "send a signal and draw attention to the issue about climate change," according to the Hollywood Foreign Press. I'm just over here wondering what celebs will rock secondhand looks on the red carpet.

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