Many of us are fearful about the changes in the climate or worry about the future of life on Earth. We fret about our children’s well-being or how our lives will be affected in future. That distress makes us apathetic and stops us acting.

I would like to suggest, not that we should stop thinking about pollution or loss of biodiversity or any of the other crises that are facing us, but that we should stop tormenting ourselves to a standstill. Of course there are many concerning issues. Certainly humanity is not moving fast enough to deal with the problems we face. For sure some of our politicians are making some very daft decisions.  And we do not yet have enough support from the global population.

HOWEVER, it seems to me that the boulder rolling down the slope of change is gathering speed. It is not going fast enough but the transformation that shift is bringing to our lives is breathtaking. 2023 may have been the hottest year on record. It may have been a year of environmental troubles. But it was also a year of amazing accomplishments, human ingenuity, and courage in the fight against Climate Change.

There is good news for the planet from 2023!

We should take hope from that acceleration of change, rouse ourselves from our fear-induced torpor and get active. We can create better lives for ourselves and our families. Lives that are healthier, less lonely, more just, and increasingly equitable.

I have looked back over 2023 at the changes we have made and at the extraordinary technological advances we have created.

And it brings me hope.

Renewable Energy

A large solar panel array

Here are some of the amazing things I found


The energy sector is the one where we have globally made the most progress towards a cleaner environment.

The IEA in a report in 2022  said that the world energy crisis has led to a huge increase in the production of renewable energy. “The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as in the last 20.”  For example China is on track to meet its renewable targets for 2030 by the end of 2025. Its emissions are set to fall this year. That is an incredible feat.

Prices are coming down drastically.

The COP 28 UN Climate Conference has agreed to triple the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity by 2030. Likewise they have agreed to double the global energy efficiency improvements each year till 2030.

They also decided to “Transition away from the use of fossil fuels.” That may not be the most convincing of statements. Nevertheless it is an indication to the financial markets that the world will move away from using fossil fuels. Investing in them will become less attractive and people will start to put their money into renewable wind and solar power.

Thus with worldwide energy use the good news is uplifting and also saving us money!

According to another IEA report, it is expected that between 2021 and 2023 European electricity consumers will have saved around 100 billion Euros thanks to additional electricity generation from newly installed renewables.

The Global Food System

This is a different sort of problem that humanity is facing. It is complex, multifaceted and cultural.  But solve it we must.  It is responsible for about a third of our carbon emissions and also a huge percentage of our deforestation. It has also been a major cause of biodiversity loss globally.  We have thus been much slower in coming up with solutions. Even so, there is good news.  This article shows that even if activists were a bit disappointed at the results of last year’s COP, over 7 billion dollars was pledged to help climate action on food. Over 150 countries have signed an agreement to put food and agriculture at the centre of their future plans to tackle Climate Change.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation shows that the EU’s Green Deal is aiming for a sustainable food system at the heart of that deal. This is good news – not yet fast enough – but nevertheless welcome.

Increasingly, small farmers worldwide are getting the message that it is important to invest in the health of their soil. Research is showing that with targeted use of pesticides. drip irrigation and increased organic matter in the soil (e.g. green manure from plants) the farms are not only more productive and healthier, but they release less pollution into the atmosphere and save precious water.


Nasty effects of deforestation


We know that rainforests store billions of tons of carbon, helping to safeguard us against Climate Change but if we cut them down, as we are doing in huge numbers, then that carbon is released into the atmosphere and destabilises the planet’s climate. Deforestation also makes a massive contribution to Biodiversity loss and to the destruction of forest-dwellers livelihoods.

We cut down our forests mainly to clear the land for raising cattle – for the meat that so many of us cherish! But also for the palm oil that so many manufactured foods contain.

Some good news from 2023 is that the UK government has finally announced its ban on imports from illegal deforestation and are working on a deforestation finance law to prevent bankers supporting businesses involved in deforestation.

Perhaps even better news for the world was the election of President Lula in Brazil and his Minister for the Environment. This Guardian article shows that in his first 6 months they have achieved a 34% cut in deforestation. This is amazing, although it is yet to be seen if they can continue like that.

For more good news, have a look at this link. I found it very inspiring.

What Can We Do?

We can act!  Talk to our friends and neighbours. Help get the message out that individuals can make a difference.

We can eat less meat!  Even if you don’t become a vegetarian, cutting down makes a difference. Eating chicken instead isn’t great but it would help.

We can check that the furniture we buy is from protected sources of wood.

We can change our heating systems. Solar and wind power is coming down in price enormously.

We can make our own compost for homegrown vegetables. This saves food waste and enriches the soil. It saves water and produces healthier food.

There are so many things we can do. Even if you worry a lot about our world being active is the best thing you can do. So, celebrate the good news from last year and get active.

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(Thanks to Jingda Chen, American Public Power Association and Roya Ann Miller for their photos on Unsplash}