The Upside Volume 3: More Good News About The Environment

If you are someone who cares about the future of the environment, the news can be a tough thing to read some days. And while it’s important to stay educated and up to date on what’s happening around the world, sometimes it’s also good to try to see the positive side of things. That’s what we’re hoping to bring with our ongoing series, The Upside.

Do you have a positive environmental story you’d like us to check out? Send an email to for a chance to be included in the next issue of the Upside!

African mountain forests store more carbon than thought
Africa’s mountain forests may store up to two-thirds more carbon than previously thought, according to research that highlights the role the threatened ecosystems can play in tackling climate change.

Researchers at MIT have found a way to ‘cool pavements’ in bid to battle climate change
Pavements are notorious for heating up cities, by re-emitting solar radiation from the sun. In some cities, they have been found to increase air temperature as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit, contributing to health and environmental risks. Researchers at MIT have found a way to reduce this threat, by creating ‘cool pavements’ that reflect more solar radiation and emit less heat than conventional paving surfaces.

Renewables made up 92% of new generating capacity in the U.S. in the first half of 2021
According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data recently released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) dominated new U.S. electrical generating capacity additions and increased their contribution to the nation’s electrical production in the first half of 2021.

How Zurich Blazed a Trail for Recycled Concrete
The Swiss city requires recycled concrete to be used in the construction of public buildings. Now other cities are following its lead.

Jane Goodall launches effort in support of planting 1 trillion trees by 2030
Primatologist and conservation icon Jane Goodall has formally joined a global effort to counter climate change and the extinction crisis by planting a trillion trees over the next decade. Trees for Jane is partnering with the Trillion Tree Campaign, an initiative led by the German NGO Plant-for-the-Planet, and, a World Economic Forum project, to reach the trillion trees goal by 2030. If these combined efforts realize this aim, it would increase Earth’s tree cover by about one-third relative to today. Currently we’re losing about 15 billion trees a year, mostly due to deforestation.

World’s longest under-sea electricity cable begins operations
A 450-mile subsea cable which connects the U.K. and Norway, enabling them to share renewable energy, has started operations. In a statement at the end of last week, Britain’s National Grid dubbed the 1.6 billion euro ($1.86 billion) North Sea Link “the world’s longest subsea electricity interconnector.” The North Sea Link is a joint venture with Norway’s Statnett, the owner and operator of the country’s power transmission network.

Precious metals from electronic waste in seconds
In what should be a win-win-win for the environment, a process developed at Rice University to extract valuable metals from electronic waste would also use up to 500 times less energy than current lab methods and produce a byproduct clean enough for agricultural land.

Trams, Cable Cars, Electric Ferries: How Cities Are Rethinking Transit
Urban transportation is central to the effort to slow climate change. It can’t be done by just switching to electric cars. Several cities are starting to electrify mass transit.

All UK’s electricity will come from clean sources by 2035, says PM
Boris Johnson has said all of the UK’s electricity is going to come from clean energy sources by 2035. Speaking from Manchester, the prime minister said the target could be achieved through advances in wind power and other renewable sources. The shift towards renewable energy is part of government efforts to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

Children to plant 17,000 oak trees to create Glasgow woodland ahead of Cop26 climate summit
The Glasgow Children’s Woodland project will see 17,000 oak trees planted by children from 151 schools on a 13-hectare site in the Scottish city to inspire world leaders to take action on the climate.

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