There has been a popular sentiment rolling around that pretty much goes: 2016 was just the worst. And yes, there has been a lot of crappy stuff going on and the internet can make the echo chamber of bad news deafeningly loud.
Sometimes I use a good puppy video to keep me sane (read: distracted) and other times I just try to focus on the headlines that gave me hope this year and inspired me to believe in better.
Here were some of my favourite headlines in my newsfeed this year:
France Bans Plastic Cups and Plates
Of course this headline did not make everyone happy but for us it marks the rise of plastic alternatives and the move away from single-use plastic items that are not sustainable and destroying our marine life.
The law will require disposable tableware to be made from 50% biobased materials by 2020 to 60% biobased by 2025.
Adidas Makes Shoes from Ocean Plastic
If you've been following the Pela story, you know that the spark to making a sustainable phone case out of a biobased plastic alternative comes from seeing plastic wash up on the shores of Hawaii.
Needless to say, plastic in our oceans is a big deal to us. That's why it was so cool to see this headline from a major shoe company.
Finding ways to keep the plastic that exists out of our landfills and oceans and turning that potential waste product into a beautiful shoe is pretty darn cool.
Patagonia Donates 100% to the Planet
Photo from Patagonia.com
Black Friday has become synonymous with rampant consumerism. But this year, a huge number of consumers voted with their wallet for the planet with Patagonia selling $10 million dollars worth of goods and pledging all of it to grassroots environmental organizations.
This is the kind of headline that helps eco-friendly and sustainable companies push forward knowing that the market is ripe for businesses and entrepreneurs who put the planet first.
Bikes Now Outnumber Cars in Copenhagen
Pedal power! This might not be possible for all cities in the world but what a great way to lead by example. Copenhagen's bicycle traffic has risen by 68% in the last 20 years. Copenhagen's political leaders genuine interest in cycling has helped nurture the mass adoption of bikes.
The switch to cycling not only impacts our environment by reducing the amount of air pollution produced by cars, it's also an amazing workout and can get your endorphins pumping for the day.
Also, a bike is like a two-wheel convertible if you think about it ;)
Company Creates Edible Cutlery
Well it doesn't get more biobased than this, does it?
Bakey's tackles the staggering amount of disposable plastic cutlery being used in India by creating flavoured grain-based spoons that have a shelf life of 3 years, won't breakdown in your food but will decompose in about a week and are apparently super tasty!
That's less plastic ending up in marine life diets and more grains ending up in ours—I consider that a win win.
Two Young Girls Managed to Ban Plastic On Their Island
This story came to my attention via a video by RYOT on Facebook. Melati and Isabel Wijsen are incredible examples of perseverance and taking pride and ownership in where they live.
Through petitions, beach clean ups and rallying other young activists together, these sisters were able to convince their governor to commit to a plastic bag-free Bali by 2018.
"Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too young or you won't understand. We're not telling you it's going to be easy. We're telling you it's going to be worth it."
Two Years of Trash in A Mason Jar
While this is not a new story (headlines began in 2015) it was this year that I saw it appear over and over again in my newsfeed. It's the kind of headline that sticks with you because of how simple it is —would your waste in one month fit in a mason jar? I know mine wouldn't (but I'm trying!)
Man Wears Garbage around NYC for 30 Days
Now on the opposite end of the spectrum, instead of showing people how little garbage one can produce, Rob Greenfield wanted to bring awareness to just how much trash the average American produces per day...by wearing it.
Rob made plenty of headlines and turned lots of heads with his awareness campaign. His message: what if the things we threw out was not out of sight and out of mind—would we be more thoughtful of the waste we were creating?
I love the creativity of this project, the actionable tips and the powerful visual Rob has created.
Much like Morgan Spurlock's famous Super Size Me, Trash Me shows us the impact of our daily choices and the small things we can do to make a big change.
What were the headlines or stories in your newsfeed that gave you the most hope for the future of the planet?