Climate Voices

October 18, 2023
By: Susan Phillips, Executive Director

Good news in a hurting world

Good news in a hurting world - Photo

Well my friends, it is a hard time to sit down and write something – anything really. I have to admit to you all I feel a bit hopeless, a bit helpless, and a whole lot of angry. So I decided to go digging for some good news in the world, some stories of fellow humans coming together to create solutions and adaptations that move us toward the just transition. Here are some I’d like to share:

One of the amazing laws that passed in this 2023 Minnesota Legislative session was the Digital Fair Repair Act. In general, the Digital Fair Repair Act requires manufacturers of certain electronic products to make documentation, parts, and tools for diagnosis, maintenance, or repair available to independent repair providers and product owners on fair and reasonable terms. Fewer electronics will make their way into our trash, striking a blow to planned obsolescence.

Last month Ecuadorians voted to ban oil drilling in the Amazon in a ‘historic’ referendum. The Yasuní National Park spans around 2.5 million acres at the meeting point of the Amazon, the Andes and the Equator. Just one hectare of Yasuní land supposedly contains more animal species than the whole of Europe and more tree species than exist in all of North America.

Augusta Township in Eastern Ontario, is building a 67-home neighborhood that will be walkable, run off community solar battery systems, and will protect nearby forests and wetlands. The neighborhood will also use rainwater collection and storage and modular wastewater treatment on site. The homes will be built in small clusters to help create community, inspired in part by a study that found that groups are most resilient when they’re smaller than 150 people.

Communities in California and Arizona (The Gila River Indian Tribe) are installing solar panels over canals, generating clean electricity and reducing water evaporation and land use. These projects build on a prototype in the Indian state of Gujarat and a collaborative research project led by University of California Merced.

Wind powered shipping is back! A sail-powered freighter is the latest attempt to clean up the shipping sector, largely powered by heavy sulfur fuel oil. WindWings, designed by British marine engineers BAR Technologies, use the same aerodynamic principle that allows aircraft to fly – but instead of lift they provide propulsion. Standing up to 37 meters tall, they are made from the same solid material used to build wind turbines, and fold away on deck while not in use. 

On August 14, a Montana state court ruled in favor of the 16 youth plaintiffs who sued the state for anti-climate policies they argued were unconstitutional. The court’s landmark decision in Held v. Montana has been hailed as the first major climate litigation victory in the United States.

Madat Balochistan is a woman-led initiative in Gandakha, Balochistan, a region of Pakistan that has seen successive destructive floods. Members of the community have designed and built climate change-resilient homes that are quick to build, protect inhabitants from extreme heat and rainfall, and can be easily relocated if the land is flooded or inhabitants are evicted by landowners. So far, more than 250 homes have been built and the initiative has reached more than 1,250 people in this community.

In Ghana, Climate Change Advisors Ghana is bridging the gap between traditional wisdom and modern science by integrating Indigenous knowledge that has been accumulated over generations with contemporary climate science and adaptive practices. Workshops, training sessions, and knowledge-sharing events that bring together farmers, community leaders, and climate change advisors provide community members with practical insights into climate-resilient practices, sustainable resource management, and financial literacy. 

Thousands of ‘fed-up’ Texans who have turned to solar power and battery storage, creating so-called microgrids, as a solution to blackouts. With a venture creating the same little power plants for apartment buildings, Texas has become a national leader in residential solar power installations.

Good news – so hard to find these days, and so important for us to lift up and share. So we can find hope, so we can scale across, so we can be inspired to build the world we envision. Have you heard some good climate news lately? Share it with us!

In solidarity with all people living under occupation and imperialism,

Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips
Executive Director

Header graphic: Ermina Takenova