Despite the seemingly world-wide disappointment that 2016 had to offer, I am in fact feeling optimistic. Let me tell you how great 2016 actually was…Below I have briefly listed some of the many incredible victories that the environment won last year. Comment below if you know of any more!
The Establishment of Youth4WIldlife Conservation (W4WC)
Y4WC is a global network of early-career conservationists (between the age 18 and 25) that are pioneers, innovators, and instigators that drive positive environmental change. Our work (I’m proudly a co-founder of this initiative) covers a wide-range of geographies and utilizes a range of approaches to solve the problems we face.
Y4WC has already started creating a powerful network of passionate entrepreneurs which was started in Johannesberg, South Africa, by the successful applicants of IFAW‘s Youth Forum for People and Wildlife. Adding to the long list of victories, watch IFAW’s biggest acomplishments of 2016 video.
Increasing Wild Tiger Populations
Reference: © naturepl.com / Lynn M. Stone / WWF-Canon
“After a century of constant decline, the number of wild tigers is on the rise! According to the most recent data, around 3,890 tigers now exist in the wild—up from an estimated 3,200 in 2010.” WWF
However, we must not forget that tigers are still in peril. We must not become complacent! Judith Mills, a Tiger expert, elaborates on this. “The overarching problem is that very powerful forces continue to stimulate demand for tiger products, particularly in China, where an estimated 6,000 tigers live on farms.”
Pangolins Awarded Highest Level of Protection
Reference: Adrian Steirn/ Barcroft Images
During the CITES CoP17 in South Africa all 8 species of pangolin, which are the world’s most trafficked mammal, were uplisted to CITES Appendix 1.
“This decision will help give pangolins a fighting chance. The world is standing up for the little guy with this pivotal decision for greater protection of the pangolin. These species need extra protection, and under CITES Appendix I, they will get it.” – Susan Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society VP of International Policy
The Paris Agreement: Ahead of Schedule.
In December 2015 at the Paris climate conference (COP21) 195 countries adopted the first-ever, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement details a global action plan to limit global warming to well below 2°C this century. The central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“After more than two decades of trying, enough nations finally signed 2015’s Paris accord that a global climate pact actually entered into force in November.” – Craig Welch, National Geographic
Excitingly, by October 5th, more than half of the biggest polluting nations involved in the talks had signed the Agreement. Ultimately this meant that “all of the promises outlined in the COP21 talks went into effect — and four years ahead of schedule.” – Care2
Obama Creates Largest Marine Reserve on Earth
Photo reference: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Just west of Hawaii, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument has been expanded to six times its original size. It now spans almost 788 579 square km of U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean. The Obama Administration removed these oceans from consideration for future offshore oil and gas exploration which now provides better protection to the deep coral reefs, seamounts, and marine ecosystems which are incredibly vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change.
Renewable Energy Investment: All-Time High
“For the first time, installation of new renewable electric-generating capacity outpaced growth in fossil-fuel generating capacity. In other words, of all the new sources of electricity installed around the world in 2015, more gigawatts of power were produced from wind, solar, and other clean energy sources than from coal or oil. Certainly, energy from fossil fuels still accounts for the bulk of global generation…And although this milestone technically was achieved in 2015, it wasn’t reported until 2016.” – Craig Welch, National Geographic“The growth of clean, renewable energy to more than 50 percent of all new energy installations worldwide is part of a trend rather than an anomaly, and the growth is expected to increase,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, a Stanford University clean-energy expert. “Ultimately, I expect that within five to 10 years, between 80 percent and 100 percent of all new annual electric power generation worldwide will be from wind, water, and solar.”
China Announces Ban on Ivory Trade
“Beijing says ivory trading and processing, other than the auctions of “legitimately” sourced antiques, will be outlawed by the end of March 2017…Over the past decade, an estimated 100,000 elephants were lost to poaching, and Africa’s elephant population has dropped by an estimated 111,000 down to 415,000.” – Peter Walker, Independent
This ban aims to see a drastic decrease by consumers followed by an even greater decrese in poaching.
Reference: Siegfried Modola/Reuters