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Good News

Stories of progress from around the world. Updated weekly.

All of these stories first appeared in our email newsletter. If you'd like a regular dose of intelligent optimism in your inbox, you can subscribe here.

16TH OCTOBER 2020 - 22ND OCTOBER 2020

The IEA's latest annual report contains a hidden nugget of very, very good news. Last year, the number of people without access to electricity dropped from 860 million to 770 million, a new record low. Africa has made particularly good progress; the number of people gaining access to electricity doubled from 9 million a year between 2000 and 2013, to 20 million between 2014 and 2019. IEA

Global sulfur dioxide pollution levels fell by 6% last year, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data. SO2 emissions fell in all three of the world’s top emitter countries – India, Russia and China, only the second time ever that this has happened. Researchers say it's due to falling coal usage, especially in India. Air Quality News

In the last quarter century, how far have we come in advancing women’s rights? A new analysis from the IRC reveals some dramatic gains, including a 110% increase in women serving in national parliaments, a 49% increase in women in ministerial positions, a 38% decrease in maternal deaths, and an 18% increase in female literacy. Is it enough? Not even close. But it is progress.

Crime has plummeted in the Philippines this year. In the first nine months of 2020 there was a 46% decline in the country's 'focus' crimes of murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, and hijacking. Police are scratching their heads; given the loss of livelihoods and other economic difficulties, they were expecting crime to actually go up. Manila Bulletin

Uganda has launched its ambitious Wildlife Habitat & Corridor Restoration Project, which focuses on restoring habitat for endangered chimpanzees by adding 3 million trees to the Albertine Rift Forests. The area is home to endangered chimpanzees, as well as more than 50% of birds, 39% of mammals, 19% of amphibians and 14% of reptiles and plants of mainland Africa. Monde Stuff

Every signature counts. US federal officials have issued new protections for Gulf of Mexico deep-sea coral hot spots, restricting damaging fishing gear in most of those areas. This comes after 11,000 people signed their names in support during a final round of public comment in late 2019. The protections mark a major milestone in safeguarding coral ecosystems in the Gulf. Pew

Every hand counts too. For the last 20 years, the world’s largest seagrass restoration project has been running off the coast of Virginia, and during that time the ecosystem has gone from near death to full flowering. Over 70 million eelgrass seeds have been planted by volunteers. "Today, as far as I can swim, I see lush meadows, rays, the occasional seahorse. It’s beautiful.” Science News

9TH OCTOBER 2020 - 15TH OCTOBER 2020

The proportion of the world's children under the age of five infected with hepatitis B has dropped to just under 1%, down from 5% in the early 2000s. 85% of kids around the world are now getting all three doses of the HBV vaccine - and Gavi says it is on track to avert a further 1.2 million infection-related deaths between 2021 and 2035. Science, B*t©h3$! WHO

We had to dig for this one, seeing as it did not appear in a single mainstream news publication. The US Justice Department has released its crime data for 2019, showing that violent crime in the United States decreased by 0.5% last year, the third consecutive year of declines, and property crime dropped by 4.1%, the 17th consecutive year of declines. Hellholes, anyone?

Crime is declining in France too. While the idea of 'ensauvagement' — long a dog whistle of the far right — is now being parroted by all sides of French politics, the truth is that nearly all major crimes are lower than they were a decade ago. Since 2006, acts of physical violence outside the home have decreased by 8% and thefts with physical violence or threat have dropped by 61% in the same period. NYT

Electric car sales in Europe have smashed through even the most optimistic forecasts by experts. One in 10 new cars sold in 2020 will be electric or hybrid, triple last year’s sales. New forecasts suggest that it will be one in seven in 2021, as manufacturers scramble to comply with tighter emissions standards. Smart regulation + great technology. It really can be that simple. Ars Technica

Here's an even bigger market signal. The world's largest cement producer, LafargeHolcim, has become the the first global building materials company to commit to reducing its emissions within the next decade, and says it will reach 100% carbon neutrality by 2050. Reminder: the cement industry causes 8% of global carbon emissions. FT

Singapore has created the new 400 ha Sungei Buloh Park in the northern portion of the island, a refueling site for migratory birds and home to oriental hornbills, otters, saltwater crocodiles, and many other species. It's part of a wider initiative to turn disused industrial areas back into natural landscapes, and plant 1 million trees across the city-state by 2030. Mongabay

The recovery of the Iberian lynx is one of the best conservation success stories of modern times. The population increased by 23% in 2019. There are now 894 individuals in the wild, up from just 92 in 2002. The EU has also earmarked €18 million to keep the project running for the next five years, giving conservationists a real shot at restoring a stable, genetically diverse population. La Vanguardia


Myanmar has become the second country in southeast Asia, and the twelfth country in the world to eliminate trachoma. Fifteen years ago, the disease was responsible for 4% of all cases of blindness in the country. By 2018, prevalence had dropped to 0.008%, and a month ago, the WHO confirmed its elimination.

Italy has abolished anti-immigrant decrees installed by former populists, and reinstated humanitarian protection for migrants and refugees. The government has also cut the time needed for citizenship applications from four years to three. "Tonight a wall comes down. Onward towards a country with more humanity." The Local

Same-sex marriages now make up a half a million US households, five years after the Supreme Court made it legal for people to love each other. According to the latest census, there are now 980,000 same-sex households in the country, and half of those are married, an increase of almost 70% since 2014. VOA

During the first term of the most coal-friendly president in American history, 145 coal-burning units at 75 power plants have been shut down, eliminating 15% percent of the country's coal-generated capacity. This is the fastest decline in coal capacity in any single presidential term, far greater than the rate during either of President Barack Obama’s terms. #MAGA. NYT

The number of people suffering from air pollution in London has plunged from 2 million in 2016, to 119,000 in 2019, a fall of 94%. It's thanks to regulations introduced by the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, which have resulted in 44,000 fewer dirty vehicles now driven in central London every day compared with 2017. Guardian

Greyhound racing is dying out in the United States. Thanks to changing attitudes and the efforts of animal rights activists, 39 American dog tracks have closed since 2001. In the country that invented modern commercial greyhound racing, there are now only seven dog tracks remaining in five states, and within the next two years, those will likely close too. Nat Geo

Vietnam has established a new 22,132 ha tropical forest nature reserve called Dong Chau-Khe Nuoc Trong, whose name means “clear water in the ravine." It is home to 40 globally threatened species, including the singing gibbon and the saola, a mysterious antelope-like bovine with a pair of long, straight horns known as the Asian unicorn. World Land Trust


California just became the first US state to say it will ban the sale of new internal combustion engines, starting the clock on a future that would’ve been unthinkable a few years ago. Automakers now have 15 years left until their products become illegal in one of their most important markets. It's a big deal. California consumes about 1% of global oil production. NPR

The announcement came less than a day after China pledged to go carbon neutral by 2060. The move is largely symbolic given the lack of details. It does however, bring the world's third biggest economy into a loose but vitally important consensus with the second largest (EU), fourth largest (Japan), and fifth largest (California). Four of the world’s six largest economies now have end dates for their carbon emissions. Bloomberg

“When a baby arrives in the world, there is no reason it should be just the mother who takes care of it. The presence of the father is much more important than we thought, much earlier than we believed.” France has just doubled paternity leave from 14 to 28 days starting next summer, and fathers will be required to take at least a week off work after their babies are born. NYT

Kazakhstan has joined an international protocol on the abolition of the death penalty. It's the 88th nation to become a signatory to the protocol, which fulfills a fundamental right to life and human dignity. The country's head of state, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, quoted the Kazakh poet and philosopher Abai, stressing the need for “love, compassion, bold actions, deeds and thoughtfulness.” Astana Times

Ecuador’s highest court has ruled that communities have the right to vote on whether to allow large and medium-sized mining projects in their areas. The court’s decision follows a petition by the government of Cuenca, a city in the country’s highlands, to propose a referendum on seeking to ban mining near water sources.

France's environment minister has announced that wild animals will no longer be allowed in travelling circuses, and that starting immediately, France’s three marine parks won’t be able to import or breed dolphins and killer whales. The measures will also bring an end to mink farming within the next five years. "It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these wild animals." ABC


According to notorious latte-sipping, radical greenies, BP, the world has already passed peak oil. The company estimates that, for the first time ever, global energy demand is levelling off and that in the face of stronger climate action, oil demand will fall by at least 10% this decade and by as much as 50% over the next 20 years. Carbon Brief

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has committed to becoming a 'regenerative company'. Since 2017, it's cut 230 million metric tons of carbon from its supply chain, and is now targeting zero emissions by 2040, without offsets. The company is also committing to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. Electrek

China has lifted over 50 million people out of poverty in the last five years. The country's requirements are stricter than the World Bank's; in addition to having sufficient income, China doesn’t consider people to be out of poverty until they have enough food and clothing, guaranteed basic healthcare, access to compulsory education and safe housing. Bloomberg

A new agreement between UNICEF and the Serum Institute of India has dropped the global price of the pneumonia vaccine to $2 per dose. The 43% price drop will expand protection against one of the world’s deadliest diseases, forestalling the deaths of millions of children in developing countries. Borgen

Animal rights activists are celebrating a huge win, as Poland's lower house has voted to ban fur farming. The law, which is expected to pass the upper house easily, also bans ritual slaughter for exports and the use of wild animals in circuses. Poland is the world’s third-largest fur producer after China and Denmark, and the ban will spare the lives of more than five million animals. CIWF


In the first half of 2020, renewables (solar, wind, hydro and biomass) didn’t just beat out coal on the European grid — they beat out all fossil fuels put together. As a result, the continent's power sector CO2 emissions fell by 23%. Coal's game in Europe is well and truly up, and gas isn't too far behind. Ember

Has global inequality in the last two decades gotten worse, or gotten better? The answer will probably surprise you. During the 2000s and 2010s, the global Gini coefficient dropped by 15 points and the earnings share of the world's poorest half doubled. The reason this feels surprising is that most of us hardly ever read journalism written by people from Asia, Africa and South America. Uppsala

In a similar vein, the Social Progress Index measures the social and economic performance of all the world's countries over time. According to the 2020 report, the world has improved on 8 of 12 key measures in the past decade. 95% of countries have improved by one point or more, and only 2% have declined.

A new study in The Lancet has shown that between 2013 and 2017, air pollution in 74 key Chinese cities fell by a third, driven by a 85.4% decline in household air pollution and a 12% decline in PM2.5. As a result, the death rate attributable to air pollution has plummeted by more than 60%, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

The United States Senate has passed a bipartisan agreement to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas that is widely used in air conditioners and refrigeration. Lawmakers were swayed by a combined push from industry and environmentalists (unlike coal, oil and natural gas, HFCs don't have a lobby). WaPo

Conservationists in Australia have eradicated all feral cats and foxes from a vast 9,570-hectare fenced area at Mallee Cliffs National Park, creating the largest feral predator-free safe haven on the mainland and paving the way for the largest re-wilding project ever to be undertaken in the state of New South Wales. AWC

4 SEPTEMBER 2020 - 10 SEPTEMBER 2020

Bangladesh has one of the largest coal pipelines in the world. Or rather, it did. The government is reviewing 90% of planned plants with a view to finding 'less expensive alternatives.' That's 28GW of coal on the chopping block - larger than Australia's entire capacity. Another coal bomb defused, thanks to the efforts of  ̶b̶u̶r̶e̶a̶u̶c̶r̶a̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶t̶i̶c̶i̶a̶n̶s̶  scientists and engineers. China Dialogue

Trachoma is the world's leading infectious cause of blindness. It's also one of the greatest public health successes of all time. According to latest data the number of people at risk from the disease has been reduced by 92% in the last 17 years, from 1.5 billion in 2002 to 137 million in 2020, and 13 countries have eliminated it altogether. WHO

Togo has become the first African country to officially eliminate sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease that's almost always fatal when left untreated. The achievement comes after more than two decades of sustained political commitment, surveillance and screening, and is part of a much bigger global success story - fewer than 1,000 cases were reported globally in 2019. WHO

Sudan’s government has officially ended 30 years of Islamic state rule. Minority languages will be official and Christians and followers of local religions will be allowed to worship in peace in the mainly Muslim nation. “For Sudan to become a democratic country, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion." MEM

Two decades ago, the Burmese roofed turtle was thought to be extinct. Conservationists have since helped the population recover to nearly 1,000 animals, some of which have now been successfully released into the wild in Myanmar. “This is one of the best global turtle conservation successes we have. We came so close to losing them.” NYT

28 AUGUST 2020 - 3 SEPTEMBER 2020

Following staggering losses, Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, PetroChina, has announced a zero emissions target by 2050. This is its first ever emissions target; what makes it so meaningful is that it's the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum. Further proof that a major strategic shift is now underway in global oil and gas markets. Reuters

Global AIDS deaths decreased again last year. According to the latest figures from the UN, the number of people who died from the disease fell by 5.4% between 2018 and 2019, reaching the lowest level since 1993. Also crucially, for the first time ever, more than two thirds of HIV-positive people around the world now have access to anti-retroviral treatments. UNAIDS

In 2015, Germany opened its borders to people fleeing war and persecution: arguably the greatest humanitarian act of the 21st century. The country now has 1.7M refugees, the second highest population in the world, and the gamble has paid off. More than half are employed and paying taxes, and over 80% say they feel a strong sense of belonging (C'mon Straya). Guardian

Belize has added another jewel in its crown as a global leader in ocean conservation. Last month, it increased the size of its Sapodilla Cayes reserve to 1,300 km2 to encompass the Cayman Crown, one of the best preserved reef ecosystems in the region, home to many endangered species of corals, as well as previously undocumented reef types. EDF

It's not just Belize. In the last five years the Seychelles has progressed from protecting 0.04% to 30% of its national waters, covering 410,000 km2 of ocean – an area larger than Germany. 85% of the Seychelles’ coral reefs and 88% of the nation’s shallow waters are now protected from fishing, oil exploration and other marine development. BBC

21 AUGUST 2020 - 27 AUGUST 2020

Africa is officially free from wild polio. 25 years ago it paralysed more than 75,000 children across the continent. Since then, billions of oral vaccines have been provided, preventing 1.8 million cases. It's one of the greatest healthcare success stories of all time. If you get a chance today just pause, and take a little moment to appreciate this extraordinary achievement. BBC

It's election season, so naturally this one didn't make headlines. Since 1965, Gallup has been polling Americans about whether they want immigration levels to decrease, increase, or remain the same. In 2020, for the first time in the poll’s history, more Americans said they wanted to increase immigration than decrease it. Cato

In perhaps one of the most globally consequential yet under-reported stories of the year, China has issued new rules for its distant water fishing fleet. The country's Wildlife Protection Law will now apply at sea, ships will no longer be allowed to 'go dark' or approach marine protected areas, ship captains who break the rules will lose their license for five years and company managers will be banned for three years.

A series of studies in the US, the UK and 26 other countries has shown that loneliness during the pandemic has not only leveled out but, in certain cases, improved. People have found ways to maintain social connection, and there's been a renewed appreciation for the importance of relationships. If these trends continue, the social recession many feared could turn out to be a social revolution. Scientific American

Since the 1970s, more than 90,000 km2 of desert in Niger has been regreened, thanks to a technique known as farmer-managed natural regeneration. These huge forests of thorny trees are now productive farmland, yielding over a million more tons of grain than before. A desolate land, once bereft of life and on its way to desertification, has been utterly transformed. Mongabay

14 AUGUST 2020 - 20 AUGUST 2020

While 2020 has been a terrible year for fossil fuels, it's been an incredible one for renewables. Despite a record drop in power demand, wind and solar's share of global electricity has increased from 8.7% to 10% in the first six months of the year. The biggest winner has been offshore wind, with orders up by 319%, making it the fastest-growing industry in the world right now. Science Alert

According to a new study, mortality rates from the most common form of lung cancer have fallen sharply in the United States. "For the first time, nationwide mortality rates for non-small cell lung cancer are declining faster than its incidence, an advance that correlates with the FDA's approval of several targeted therapies for this cancer in recent years.” NIH

Kenya's Wildlife Service says its elephant population has more than doubled from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,000 today. The number of elephants poached is also down significantly from previous years — just seven this year, compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. Meanwhile, 140 baby elephants have been born in the Amboseli National Park since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. DW

Remember the insect apocalypse? While it was a worrying piece of news, most of the evidence came from Europe. New research has now shown that there has been no equivalent decline in the United States. Populations are down in some areas, but up in others, resulting in net abundance and biodiversity trends that are generally indistinguishable from zero. In other words, American insects are generally doing fine (bet you didn't hear that in the evening news). Nature

At the turn of this century, Staten Island's landfill was the largest garbage dump in the world, three times larger than Central Park, with trash mounds 20 stories high excreting noxious methane and leaking bin juice into the waterways. Today, it's a green oasis, and one of the most unlikely urban ecological restoration success stories of all time. The radical fix? Bury the rubbish, plant some grass and do nothing for 20 years. NYT

8 AUGUST 2020 - 13 AUGUST 2020

How many times have you heard someone say that because we're living longer, we're more likely to experience cognitive decline? Not true. The risk of a person developing dementia in the US and Europe is now 13% lower than it was in 2010 (Alzheimer’s is falling too, by 16% per decade). Researchers think it's down to less smoking, better cardiovascular health, and better education. NYT

Between 1992 and 2019, Senegal cut its rate of stunting prevalence in half, from 34.4% to 18.8%. Improved access to post-natal care, education, water and sanitation now means the country has the lowest stunting burden in French-speaking West Africa. Exemplars

British retailers sold 226 million single-use plastic bags in the 2019/2020 financial year, 322 million fewer than in 2018/19. That's a 59% drop in a single year. The average shopper now buys four bags per year, compared to a whopping 140 in 2014. Guardian

A record 26 US states removed 90 dams in 2019, thanks to a growing movement of environmentalists seeking to restore rivers to their natural state. In total, 1,722 dams have been removed across the country since 1912, and as they disappear, fish are returning in droves: Atlantic salmon, alewives, baby eels, shad and brook trout, to name a few. NYT

Conservationists are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the re-introduction of red kites to the United Kingdom. In the 1980s, these majestic birds of prey were persecuted to near extinction. Following one of the most successful re-wilding programs in history however, there are now an estimated 10,000 birds across the country, including 1,800 breeding pairs. BBC

11 JULY 2020 - 7 AUGUST 2020

The size of the global coal power fleet fell for the first time ever in the first six months of 2020, with more plants shutting than starting operations. Did someone just say, ‘tipping point’? Guardian

The world’s most valuable company has committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, a pledge that covers its entire supply chain and the lifecycle of all its products, including the electricity consumed in their use. Guardian

The UK’s biggest pension fund, with over nine million members, is divesting from fossil fuels, a landmark move for the industry. Guardian

The world is losing its taste for meat. Production fell last year, and will do so again in 2020 (there have never been two consecutive years of decline). Globally, we’re already at peak pasture, and it now looks like we’re approaching peak beef. Bloomberg

Since 2007, the majority of the world’s countries - 113 countries - have reduced their armed forces, 100 have reduced military expenditure and both imports and exports of weapons have reached their lowest levels since 2009. GPI

A major new study in The Lancet has shown that the average number of children a woman gives birth to has fallen from 4.7 in 1950 to 2.4 in 2017, and will drop below 1.7 by 2100. Global population is now on track to peak in the middle of this century. BBC

Indonesian officials are vowing to end the controversial custom of bride kidnapping, after videos of women being abducted sparked a national debate. Jakarta Post

After more than 30 years of Islamist rule, Sudan has outlined wide-reaching human rights reforms including allowing non-Muslims to drink alcohol, abolishing public flogging, and scrapping the death penalty for renouncing Islam. BBC

Huge, huge win for indigenous rights in the United States. The Supreme Court has declared that because of a treaty signed in 1866, up to half of Oklahoma’s land must be returned as the sovereign possession of the Creek Nation. E-Tangata

More than one million people in the UK have given up smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. More people quit smoking in the year to June 2020 than in any year since surveys began in 2007. BBC

Parents in OECD countries now spend twice as much time with their children as they did 50 years ago (except for France because, well, France). Economist

Vietnam has banned all wildlife imports and closed illegal wildlife markets, as part of the global response to the threat of zoonotic diseases. WAN

Researchers have shown that noise levels around the world have fallen by 50% in the last six months, the quietest Planet Earth has been since humans developed the technology to listen. They’re calling it The Anthropause. Vice

Britain’s woodlands now cover as much of the country as they did during the Middle Ages, thanks to 20th-century forestry and rewilding practices (Robin Hood eat your heart out). Times UK

25 years after gray wolves returned to Yellowstone, they’ve transformed the ecosystem and stabilized elk populations. “Elk aren’t starving to death anymore.” NatGeo

27 JUNE 2020 - 10 JULY 2020

The UN Security Council has unanimously agreed to a global ceasefire, adopting a resolution that demands a general and immediate cessation of hostilities around the world, to unite efforts to fight COVID-19 in vulnerable countries. UN

This one got swamped by the coronavirus news, but so important - Congo has declared that the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is over after nearly two years. Channel News Asia

Germany will almost double funding for the WHO this year, contributing more than half a billion euros. "We need a strong, transparent and accountable WHO today more than ever," said the country’s Health Minister Jens Spahn. DW

A new study has shown that between 2013 and 2017, the availability of medical marijuana in states that had passed cannabis laws led to an average reduction of around 20% in opioid prescriptions. JAAOS

A new study from the CDC showed that infant mortality rates across the United States declined from 2000 to 2017, a trend attributed to fewer women giving birth in their teens. ABC

The US Supreme Court has passed a landmark ruling protecting LGBTQIA+ citizens from workplace discrimination. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the decision: “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that person based on sex.” BBC

Meet Hasina Kharbhih, whose NGO, Impulse Network, has, in the past two decades rescued over 72,000 women and children trafficked across India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. Ozy

The US imprisonment rate is at its lowest level in more than two decades, with the greatest decline coming among black Americans, whose imprisonment rate has decreased 34% since 2006. Pew

As rates fall across the US, former prisons, jails, and detention centers are being converted from facilities that confine people into ones that support them, such as mental health clinics, community centres and homes for former convicts. FreeThink

Georgia’s parliament has passed a landmark democratic reform, bringing the distribution of parliamentary seats into line with the national vote results, and ending the excessive consolidation of power by a single political group. Eurasia

Volkswagen, one of the world’s biggest carmakers, just produced its last ever combustion vehicle at Zwickau, one of its biggest factories in Germany. That factory now claims the title of Europe’s largest electric vehicle plant. Next Web

California has approved a groundbreaking policy to wean its trucking sector off diesel, requiring manufacturers to sell a rising number of zero-emission vehicles from 2024, a ‘major step’ toward reducing the state’s emissions. Reuters

Amazon India has eliminated all single-use plastic in its packaging across fulfillment centers in the country, and local rival Flipkart says that it has cut down the usage of plastic packaging in its own supply chain to about 50%. Reuters

Germany has agreed to end the sale of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers from July 2021, bringing it in line with a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of plastic waste. DW

Pakistan has just announced the creation of 15 new national parks, expanding protected areas from 12% to 15% o the country, and creating 5,000 ‘guardians of nature’ jobs for young people within the next three months.  Gulf News

More than 2 million people gathered in northern India last week while practicing social distancing, and planted 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate change. AP

You know those online petitions? Sometimes they do work. Following a campaign  that garnered more than 280,000 e-mails from concerned shoppers, beauty retailer Sephora has banned mink-fur eyelashes. Independent

Following a concerted reintroduction effort two decades ago, Kentucky is now home to the largest population of elk east of the Mississippi. Their home? The hillsides of former coal mines. NYT

COVID-19 is poised to usher in the biggest retreat for global meat eating in decades. Global per-capita consumption in 2020 will fall to the lowest in nine years and the 3% drop from last year represents the biggest decline since at least 2000. Bloomberg

16 MAY 2020 - 26 JUNE 2020

Renewables have toppled coal in energy generation in the United States for the first time since 1885, the year that Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and America’s first skyscraper was erected in Chicago. EIA

Denmark’s government has approved a new climate plan quadrupling total offshore wind energy capacity in the next decade, and including the construction of two titanic offshore ‘wind energy islands.’ KEFM

In the last three weeks, the world’s one-millionth public electric vehicle outlet was installed, Germany made it mandatory for all gas stations to include electric chargers, and the EU committed to one million public chargers by 2025, from fewer than 200,000 today.

New Zealand will provide free sanitary products in schools across the country in an effort to tackle period poverty - where girls and women are unable to afford or access sufficient menstrual hygiene products. CNN

The GAVI vaccines alliance has raised $8.8 billion to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025, exceeded its target of $7.4 billion. This will help immunise 300 million more children against measles, polio and diphtheria. Reuters

More on vaccines - a supply agreement has been approved that lowers the price of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines from $3.50 to $2.00, resulting in millions of dollars in savings for both GAVI and lower income countries’ vaccine budgets. UNICEF

Lawmakers in Gabon have voted to decriminalise homosexuality, reversing a 2019 law. Sylvia Bongo, Gabon's First Lady, said that parliament had “restored a fundamental human right: that of loving, freely, without being condemned.” Thomson Reuters

Just as a brutal killing in America is helping change attitudes towards race, so has one in Iran, challenging traditions that have long devalued the lives and rights of women and children. Following the murder of Romina Ashrafi, lawmakers have approved a measure to criminalise child abuse and neglect, and are considering another criminalising sexual and physical abuse of women. CS Monitor

The Ashaninka people of the Amazon have won a decades long court battle against the forestry industry, setting a precedent that will “define hundreds of thousands of cases on environmental crimes in Brazil.” MPF

In 2005, all the waste from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, went to landfill. Today 68% of its waste is recycled, and its landfill receives almost 80% less rubbish, putting it at the top of Europe’s recycling leaderboard. Guardian

China is increasing environmental funding to $57.22 billion this year, up by almost 10% from 2019. It includes new national green development fund, and major new conservation programs in the Yangtze and Yellow river basins. Reuters

China has also removed dogs from the list of animals that can be treated as livestock. While the regulation didn’t come in time to stop the notorious Yulin dog festival, animal rights groups say it effectively ends the sale of live dogs for food and fur. SMH

The Dutch parliament has voted to permanently close the mink fur farms that were shut down following outbreaks of COVID-19, and will close all other remaining farms by the end of the year. Sentient Media

More than 45 transportation and energy companies, as well as dozens of private landowners, have agreed to create or maintain monarch butterfly habitats along ‘rights-of-way’ corridors across the United States. Mongabay

The European Commission is seeking to halve the use of ‘high-risk’ chemical pesticides by 2030 to halt the decline of pollinators. Reuters

Ethiopia planted four billion tree seedlings in 2019 (84% of them survived). This year, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, more than 20 million people will plant five billion seedlings as part of the country’s Green Legacy Challenge. Quartz

28 APRIL 2020 - 15 MAY 2020

A decade ago over 40% of the UK’s electricity came from coal. This week, it clocked up its first full coal free month since the advent of the power grid in 1882. Gizmodo

Sweden has closed its last coal-fired power station two years ahead of schedule, becoming the third European country to exit coal. Independent

The world’s largest wealth fund has blacklisted Glencore, Anglo American, Sasol, AGL and four Canadian oil firms for excessive emissions. Reuters

Chile has become the 2nd South American country - and the 7th in the world - to update their national Paris Agreement climate action plan. Reuters

The IEA says greenhouse gas emissions will fall by more than 8% this year, the largest annual decrease ever recorded. NPR

Abu Dhabi has announced the lowest price ever for solar - 1.35 US cents per kWh. That’s 45% lower than just three years ago. Forbes

Sudan’s new government has outlawed the practice of female genital mutilation, a major victory for women’s rights campaigners. NYT

Pennsylvania has banned child marriage, the third state to fully outlaw the practice after Delaware and New Jersey. CBS

Germany's parliament has banned so-called "gay conversion therapy" the fifth nation to do so after Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. NBC

Brazil’s Supreme Court has overturned rules that limit gay and bisexual men from donating blood, a victory for LGBTQI+ people in the country. Reuters

An Israeli billionaire is planning to deliver hundreds of generators that can produce drinking water out of thin air to Gaza, “because they are our neighbors and it’s a great pity to look at them suffering from such severe water shortages.” Times of Israel

Canada has introduced an immediate ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. 1,500 models are covered by the new prohibition. NYT

Government data has shown that US traffic deaths fell in 2019 for the third straight year, even as overall road use increased. Reuters

The UK government has announced a £2 billion package to create a ‘new era’ for cycling and walking infrastructure in the wake of the pandemic.

The Welsh government has announced plans for a national forest running the length and breath of the country, "connected ecological network.” BBC

Wildlife experts in Belgium are getting excited to welcome the country's first set of wild wolf cubs in more than 100 years. Brussels Times

Bald eagles have made a huge comeback in Wisconsin in the last 45 years, thanks to the DDT ban, the passage of endangered species laws, river cleanups under the Clean Water Act and public support for nest monitoring. ABC

11 APRIL 2020 - 27 APRIL 2020

Coal continues its collapse in the EU, falling by 25.5% in the first quarter of 2020, and Austria has become the second European country to exit coal altogether, shutting down its last coal-fired power plant last week. Euractiv

The three largest banks in Japan - the #2 financier of new coal overseas - have just announced they will stop financing new coal power projects. Straits Times

South Korea has become the first Asian country to set a 2050 net zero emissions goal, following a landslide win by its Democratic Party. Electrek

German officials have agreed on an ‘eco-scrappage program’ to promote the uptake of electric vehicles in the country’s post-pandemic economy. Electrek

Poland and Denmark are refusing to bail out organisations based in tax havens, saying assistance will only go to companies paying domestic business taxes. BI

Saudi Arabia has abolished the practice of flogging convicts, and a day later, banned the death sentence for minors. DW

Virginia has become the first Southern state to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people for housing, employment and credit applications. The Hill

Virginia’s governor has also signed new gun controls that increase background checks, limit handgun purchases and establish ‘red flag’ laws. USA Today

A five year old ban preventing pregnant teenagers from attending school in Sierra Leone has been reversed by a new administration. Via News

France will require that all new public buildings must be made at least 50% from wood or other sustainable materials from 2022. Archinect

Remember the insect apocalypse? A new study says the picture is more mixed. While land species have declined by 9% per decade, freshwater species have risen by 11%, possibly due to efforts to clean up rivers and lakes. Science

After disappearing in England in the early 20th century, white-tailed eagles are back, thanks to a pioneering rewilding project. Country Living

Thanks to unprecedented conservation efforts, the number of black rhinos in Africa increased from an estimated 4,845 in 2012 to 5,630 in 2018.

21 MARCH 2020 - 10 APRIL 2020

The British government called for a volunteer army to help the NHS. Within four days, 750,000 people had signed up — three times the original target, and the largest volunteer effort since World War II. WaPo

Support for Medicare for All has skyrocketed. 55% of US voters support it, and support for single-payer healthcare has jumped by 9 points. Morning Consult

New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve - they’re squashing it, thanks to a masterclass in leadership from Jacinda Ardern. The Conversation

A family business in Adelaide that makes packaging for fast-food giants has swung into action to pump out a staggering 145 million masks. FiveAA

A group of 150 employees at a Tunisian factory have chosen to self-isolate for a month, and are now churning out 50,000 face masks a day. BBC

Shenzhen has become the first city in China to ban the eating of cats and dogs, due to fears of future viral outbreaks. DNA India

Amidst the economic fallout, fossil fuel companies have suffered a total bloodbath. Exxon and Peabody Coal are down a stunning 70% compared to 30% for the broader market. Financial Times

In Pakistan, people are pausing outside stores to offer zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax, for those in need. BBC

Portugal has given all migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship to ensure they can access public services for the duration of the outbreak. CNN

In South Africa, crime rates have plummeted following bans on sales of alcohol, and the notorious gangs of the Cape Flats have called a truce. BBC

Shipments of PPE from Jack Ma and Alibaba have arrived in Ethiopia, and are now being distributed across the entire African continent. They include six million masks, over a million testing kits and 60,000 protective suits. Daily News

29 FEBRUARY 2020 - 20 MARCH 2020

Global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector fell by 2% last year, the biggest fall since at least 1990. Reuters

Over 60% of global coal plants are now generating electricity at a higher cost than building new wind and solar. By 2030, it’ll be 100%. Money talks…

… so expect to see a lot more of this: “Vietnam is eliminating 15GW of planned coal,” and “South Korea is shutting down 28 coal plants in March.”

Tesla has just produced its one millionth electric car — the first company to achieve this milestone. It is now the world’s largest electric car maker. Electrek

Doctors in the DRC are celebrating as the last Ebola patient was sent home this month, marking the end of the most recent outbreak. CNN

Terrorist incidents in Pakistan decreased by 13% in 2019, and deaths from terrorism fell by 40% compared to 2018. Dawn

A new report by UNESCO shows that since 2000, the world has reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) for primary and secondary education, as well as youth literacy. Only adult literacy now remains.

Malawi has decriminalised cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. Guardian

New Zealand has legalised abortion, treating the practice as a health matter rather than a criminal one. People will now be able to access abortions from a health practitioner in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stuff

In the last few months both Saudi Arabia and Palestine have banned child marriage, making 18 the minimum age for weddings.

In a first for the Arab world, an LGBTQI+ advocacy group has been granted legal protection by Tunisian courts. Al-Monitor

After a decades-long campaign by civil society groups, China has abolished a rule that allowed police to detain sex workers without trial. The Diplomat

Spain is changing its laws to prioritise consent in cases of violence against women. It’s being called the "only yes means yes" law. BBC

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has passed a law declaring that a husband has no right over his wife’s property without her consent. Tribune

In a major victory for press freedom, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has ruled against Ecuador for illegally prosecuting a newspaper. Knight Centre

Peru’s recent crackdown on illegal mining has been a big success, cutting deforestation by 92% since kicking off in February 2019. MAAP

A grassroots effort to restore Appalachia’s mountaintops has seen 187 million trees planted on over 1,000 km² of former mining sites. Seattle Times

Madagascar, one of the planet’s most biodiverse places, has launched a drive to plant 60 million trees to mark 60 years of independence. North Africa Post

In one of the largest reforestation projects in the world, Senegal has planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta in the past decade. BBC

Afghanistan has created its second largest national park, the Bamyan Plateau, home to the ibex, urial and the Persian leopard. Mongabay

15 FEBRUARY 2020 - 28 FEBRUARY 2020

Turkey's renewable energy capacity has increased by 11% every year for the past decade. Clean energy now provides 49% of electricity. Daily Sabah

Following years of pressure from activists, Canadian company Teck Resources is pulling out of planned operations in the oil sands. NYT

Following years of pressure from activists, Norwegian company Equinor is pulling out of planned exploration in the Great Australian Bight. SBS

India says it will stop importing thermal coal in the next four years (no doubt Adani will never bow to years of pressure from activists). Economic Times

Foster care adoptions in the US have reached an all time high. 63,000 kids were adopted in 2018, up by nearly a quarter since 2014. Pew

A landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court means that women will now be granted the same rights as men in all the country’s armed forces. CNN

Colombia says it will allow hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants to legalise their presence in the country through work permits. Reuters

Between 1990 and 2017, the age-adjusted global death rate for cancer fell by 15%, mostly as a result of the worldwide decline in smoking. OWiD

Singapore has announced a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, the first Southeast Asian country to do so. Next Web

China has implemented a complete and permanent ban on the eating, hunting, trading and transportation of all wild animals. SCMP

Blue whale populations are bouncing back. Observers have recorded ‘unprecedented’ numbers in the waters around South Georgia. Independent

1 FEBRUARY 2020 - 14 FEBRUARY 2020

Coal generation in the EU collapsed by 24% in 2019, and is now less than half its level in 2007. This led to a 12% fall in power sector carbon emissions – the biggest fall since 1990. Sandbag

The United Kingdom has brought its ban on petrol and diesel powered cars forward by five years, from 2040 to 2035. BBC

The number of foster care adoptions in the United States has reached a record high, up by almost a quarter since 2014. Pew

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly backed a proposal to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity illegal. BBC

The proportion of 16-18 year old females in England infected by HPV has dropped to zero. In 2008, when vaccinations began, it was 15%.

The prevalence of female genital mutilation in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has fallen by more than 75% in a single generation. UNFPA

Thanks to new regulations on marketing, Chile has cut the purchases of sugary drinks by nearly a quarter in the last two years. NYT

New York has passed the most bird-friendly building policy in the US, which could reduce collision risks by up to 90%. Architectural Digest

Rhino poaching has dropped significantly in South Africa, the 5th consecutive year of declines following major crackdowns on poaching. News24

The world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage, will stop producing the chemical by the end of the year. WaPo

11 JANUARY 2020 - 31 JANUARY 2020

The world’s largest money manager is putting climate at the centre of its $7 trillion strategy (high signal value, less clear on substance). More signals: the world’s most profitable hedge fund manager is forcing companies in its portfolio to reduce emissions and reveal exposure to climate risk.

Solar energy’s share of the power mix in India increased from 7.9% to 9.6% in 2019, and renewables now account for 36% of installed capacity. Mercom

Vietnam went from almost no solar in 2017 to more than Australia by the end of 2019. It’s now ten years ahead of its original clean energy targets. Economist

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level since 1949, and is now below that of England and Wales. Al Jazeera

HIV infections in the UK have plummeted since 2012, especially for gay/bisexual men, falling by 71% due to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). BBC

The Dutch Cancer Registry says that the five year cancer survival rate in the Netherlands has increased from 42% in 1989 to 65% in 2018. NOS

Utah has become the 19th and most conservative state in the United States to ban conversion therapy for minors. NPR

Following improvements in cycling infrastructure, the average number of bicycle trips in Paris has increased by 54% in a single year. T&E

Germany is converting 62 military bases west of the old Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles. Independent

Peru has begun reforesting the area around Machu Picchu, with plans to plant one million trees on the site in the next five years. France24

A huge survey of the world’s fisheries says overfishing has been reversed for half the world’s catch, and where fisheries are being managed, stocks are above target levels or rebuilding. Anthropocene

Bangladesh has announced a ban on single-use plastics in all coastal areas and in all hotels and restaurants by the end of 2020. Reuters

China has unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics. Bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all towns by 2022. BBC

1 DECEMBER 2019 - 10 JANUARY 2020

In 2019, renewables produced 43% of electricity in Germany, wind power alone contributed 47% of electricity in Denmark, carbon emissions from electricity in Spain fell by 33%, zero carbon electricity outstripped fossil fuels in the United Kingdom for the first time ever, and in the United States, overall emissions fell by 2.1%.

The WHO says 11 countries received 18 million doses of its new cholera vaccine in 2018, bringing the number of global cases down by 60%. UN

The Philippines has become the first country with a serious vitamin A deficiencies to approve genetically modified golden rice.  New Scientist

US cancer death rates dropped 29% between 1991 to 2017, and the most recent update saw the largest single-year decline in mortality ever reported. NYT

Pakistan’s security forces are reporting a 31% reduction in terror and counter-terror related deaths in 2019. The Tribune

As of last month, more than half of Colombia’s municipalities are free of landmines, and the country is on track to remove all mines by 2021. Reuters

Indian Railways recorded zero passenger deaths in rail accidents in 2019, making it the national transporter's safest year in history. Economic Times

Child marriage in Bangladesh has dropped by two thirds in the past 20 years, and the country is on track to for zero under-15 marriages by 2021. IFPRI

Tunisia has become the first Arab nation to begin providing sex education for elementary and middle school students. Washington Post

Following a major drive to tackle pollution, water quality in China has improved significantly: since 2003, average chemical oxygen demand is down 63% and ammonium nitrogen levels have dropped by 78%.

China has also banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze – the first ban ever for Asia’s longest river - to restore aquatic life. SCMP

As of the 1st January 2020, single-use plastic plates, cups, and cotton buds are not allowed in France; straws and cutlery will follow in 2021. France24

9 NOVEMBER 2019 - 29 NOVEMBER 2019

The world’s largest multilateral financial institution, The European Investment Bank, has agreed to stop all financing for fossil fuels within the next two years. Guardian

New Zealand has passed a bill to reach zero carbon by 2050, will plant a billion trees in the next decade, and run its grid entirely from clean energy by 2035. Independent

India and Pakistan have opened a peace corridor on their border, allowing Sikhs to visit their second holiest site for the first time in 72 years. Al Jazeera

The number of children dying from pneumonia, "the ultimate disease of poverty," has decreased from 6,410 per day in 1990 to 2,216 per day in 2017. OWiD

Germany has passed a law requiring all children attending school to be immunised, with fines for parents who do not comply. NYT

Cigarette smoking among US adults has reached an all-time low of 13.7% — a decline of approximately two-thirds in the last 50 years. CDC

A new survey across 167 countries has shown that tolerance towards LGBTQIA+ people has risen in almost every region of the world in the last decade. Japan Times

The United States has passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty, punishable with fines and up to seven years imprisonment. WaPo

Thailand will phase out all plastics that degrade into fragments by the end of this year, and will ban plastic bags, styrofoam, cups and straws by 2022. Xinhua

Zambia's government has bowed to pressure and banned any future mining activities in the lower reaches of the Zambezi River. Zambian Eye

19 OCTOBER 2019 - 8 NOVEMBER 2019

The largest private coal company in the United States has filed for bankruptcy, the fourth major fossil fuels company to go under there this year. #MAGA. Bloomberg

The Australian electricity grid reached a new milestone in the first week of November 2019: for a few minutes, solar, wind and hydro met more than 50% of demand. Guardian

According to the World Bank, India has halved its poverty rate in the past 30 years, and zero extreme poverty in the next decade is now within reach.

Type 3 polio has officially become the second species of poliovirus to be eliminated. Only Type 1 now remains - and only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. STAT

In the biggest breakthrough for cystic fibrosis in decades, a new drug that targets the genetic roots of the disease has been approved by the FDA. WaPo

Between 1990 and 2019, cancer mortality rates fell by 18% in Argentina, 26% in Chile, 14% in Colombia, 17% in Mexico and 13% in Venezuela, corresponding to almost 500,000 avoided deaths. Int J Cancer

Northern Ireland has officially legalised the right of women to decide what to do with their own bodies, and the right of people to marry anyone they choose. HRW

The murder rate in India has dropped to its lowest level in 54 years. Traditional theories of criminal justice are at a loss to explain why. Times of India

Toxic air pollution in London has fallen by roughly a third inside a new ultra low emissions zone that was launched 6 months ago. NPR

After an 18 year campaign, environmental campaigners have successfully saved one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans from development. MongaBay

In a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists, fracking has been halted in the United Kingdom with immediate effect. BBC

5 OCTOBER 2019 - 18 OCTOBER 2019

In the third quarter of 2019, wind, solar, biomass and hydro generated more electricity than coal, oil and gas in the United Kingdom. Carbon Brief

Carbon emissions are now falling in 30 of the world's cities, averaging 22% below their peak. Curious to know if you live in one of them? Check it out. CityLab

A new study covering 90% of the world's population shows the international homicide rate has dropped by 20% since 1990. Eureka Alert

Bolivia has been more effective at combating extreme poverty than any other South American country, slashing it from 33% in 2006 to 15% in 2018. WaPo

Nepal has been declared as an open defecation free country. Eight years ago, 9 million people did not have access to clean sanitation facilities. Rising Nepal

30,000 children in Cambodia have been rescued from hard labour in the past five years, and 180,000 prevented from being child workers. Phnom Penh Post

Nigeria, in partnership with the WHO, just immunized over 51 million children in a single month during its annual national immunization campaign. ReliefWeb

Sometimes you have to wonder what it takes to make the headlines. Children must be an easy sell right? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN??!! Apparently not. Save the Children just released their 2019 Global Childhood Report showing that in the last 20 years, children's lives have improved in 173 out of 176 countries. Today there are:

  • 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year
  • 49 million fewer stunted children
  • 130 million more children in school
  • 94 million fewer child laborers
  • 11 million fewer girls forced into marriage or married early
  • 3 million fewer teen births per year
  • 12,000 fewer child homicides per year

Not a peep from media outlets anywhere…

Grown-ups don't get a look in either. Did you hear that stroke rates for US adults over the age of 65 have decreased by 32% each decade for the last 30 years. Reuters

Under the United States' Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 2 million diabetics, many of them poor, have received access to health insurance. US News

Sales of plastic bags in England’s largest supermarkets have fallen by 90% in the four years since the government introduced a 5p levy. ICAEW

The Welsh government just planted the ten millionth tree in the heavily-deforested region of Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda. The Ecologist

Bottlenose dolphins are living and breeding in the Potomac River again for the first time since the 1880s, following 50 years of restoration efforts. Smithsonian

New surveys suggest there are now 25,000 individuals humpback whales in the southwest Atlantic - back to 90% of pre-whaling levels. BBC

For the first time since 1870, herds of bison are roaming the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. 1,200 bison now have 80,000 acres to graze. WWF

21 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 4 OCTOBER 2019

Australia's per capita levels of clean energy are the fastest growing in the world. Between 2018 and 2020, Australia will install 220 watts per person per year - nearly three times more than the next fastest country, Germany. The Conversation

The largest retail company in the world says it will run entirely on renewable energy by 2030 and will be fully carbon neutral by 2040. The Verge

Nine Latin American countries just set a collective target of 70% renewable energy use by 2030, more than double what the European Union is planning. Reuters

Melanoma is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK. Ten years ago, one in twenty people survived. Today the survival rate is more than 50%. BBC

Russian alcohol consumption has decreased by 43% since 2003. As a result average life expectancy in 2018 reached its highest level ever. BBC

Italian officials are saying that after a decades long battle, the Sicilian Mafia has been brought to its knees and is now a ghost of its former self. Guardian

Abortion is now legal in every state in Australia, Oaxaca has become the second state in Mexico to give women autonomy over their own bodies and in the US, abortion rates have reached their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. CNN

In 1990 the global annual death rate for children under the age of five was 82 for every 1,000 live births. In 2018, it was 37 per 1,000 live births. WaPo

The literacy rate for Palestinians over the age of 15 has increased from 86.1% in 1997 to 97.2% in 2018. Palestine Chronicle

China now has equal numbers of girls and boys in primary and high school, and more than half of university students are women, from less than a quarter in 1978. Xinhua

A new report on the social performance of 149 countries in the last five years, using indicators like nutrition, shelter, safety, education, health, rights and inclusiveness, says only four countries have regressed overall since 2014. First Post

China's tree stock rose by 4.56 billion m³ between 2005 and 2018, deserts are shrinking by 2,400 km² a year, and forests now account for 22% of land area. SCMP

7 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 20 SEPTEMBER 2019

Coal shipments to the United States have fallen to their lowest since 1983 - and the dramatic reduction of coal in the country's energy mix has reduced deaths from air pollution and cut the cost of damages by more than $200 billion. Ars Technica

The number of cigarettes being smoked in the UK fell by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2018 - meaning 1.4 billion fewer cigarettes smoked every year. Cancer UK

Saudi Arabia says women may now travel overseas, register births, marriage & divorce, receive family documents and be eligible as guardians to minors. Reuters

Indonesia has lifted the minimum legal age for marriage to 19. Previously, girls of 16 could be married (and there was no minimum age if parents requested it). Reuters

The United States' poverty rate has reached its lowest point since 2001. There were 1.4 million fewer people living in poverty in 2018 than in 2017. US Census

The Canadian government has lifted almost 900,000 people out of poverty since 2016, including 300,000 children. CBC

The Asian Development Bank says that Pakistan's extreme poverty rate fell from 28.6% of total population in 2001 to 3.9% in 2015. APP

California has banned the operation of private prisons - a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration. Guardian

Four years after the WHO declared Delhi the world’s most polluted city, the government has announced that pollution has dropped by 25%. Indian Express

A year ago, Chile began a campaign to ban plastic straws. Since then, 200 million fewer straws have been delivered to shops and restaurants. Emol

11 AUGUST 2019 - 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

Refugees are integrating into Germany's job market far quicker than expected. Around 400,000 people of working age are now employed. The Local

Five months after the 'ghost battalion' overthrew the dictatorship, Sudan's leaders have signed a landmark deal for transition to civilian government. Al Jazeera

Speaking of Sudan, a campaign begun in April 2019 has managed to provide 13 million children with vaccines against measles and polio. ReliefWeb

Dementia is declining in Australia. The hospitalisation rate has dropped by almost a quarter – from 408 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 313 in 2017. AAA

A new cure for tuberculosis (the world's leading infectious cause of death) has been approved by the US FDA, clearing the path for global distribution. NYT

The new Ebola vaccine is working miracles. Over 200,000 people have been innoculated, and the mortality rate has dropped from 70% to as low as 6%. The Brink

Canada's government has partnered with Inuit custodians to create its largest marine reserve ever. The country now protects 14% of its oceans. National Observer

In the first half of 2019, Beijing reported its lowest level of air pollutants since the city first started monitoring air quality 35 years ago. CX Tech

169 countries at the UN have just agreed to significant new protections for elephants, giraffes, sharks and rays and dozens of other species. New Scientist

More than 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared 'biologically dead.' Telegraph

NASA says that the number of fires around the world is decreasing. Between 2003 and 2019, the area of land being burned has fallen by around 25%

20 JULY 2019 - 10 AUGUST 2019

Electricity generation from coal power stations across Europe fell by nearly one fifth in the first half of 2019, the steepest decline ever recorded. New Scientist

In the second quarter of 2019 the Tesla Model 3 was not only the best selling car in its segment in the United States, but outsold all of its petrol and diesel powered equivalents combined. Elektrek

Last year, Japan saw its population decrease by over 444,000 people, the tenth straight year of declines, and the largest annual decrease since the end of World War Two. Mercatornet

Sri Lanka has been declared free of measles, the fourth country in south-east Asia to reach this milestone after Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste. The country reported its last homegrown case of the virus in May 2016. WHO

Americans are becoming more tolerant. A major survey of attitudes towards sexuality, race, skin tone, age, disability and body weight has shown that explicit bias has decreased in all six categories since 2007; ranging from 49% (sexuality) to 15% (body weight). Implicit bias also decreased—33% for sexuality, 17% for race and 15% for skin tone. Scientific American

A decade ago, Scotland adopted a nationwide ban on indoor smoking. Over the next decade there was a 13% reduction in heart attacks for people over the age of 60. Reuters

Panama has become the first Central American nation to ban single-use plastic bags, joining more than 60 other countries that have passed total or partial bans, or introduced taxes to reduce their use. Reuters

Ethiopia has smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted more than 350 million trees in 12 hours on the 29th July. BBC

Since 1990, thanks to better protection and a decline in farming, France’s wooded or forested areas have increased by nearly 7%. Forests now cover 31% of the country. Economist

The population of tigers is recovering in India. The tiger population has risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018, an increase of over one third. This is a major conservation success. BBC

6 JULY 2019 - 19 JULY 2019

In the first six months of 2019, sun, wind, water and biomass produced more electricity in Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, than coal and nuclear combined. DW

In the first six months of 2019, Scottish wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 4.47 million homes - almost double the number of homes in Scotland. CNBC

According to the United Nations, in 2018, global HIV-related deaths fell to 770,000, 33% lower than in 2010 when 1.2 million deaths were recorded. DW

A new report by UNESCO says that between 2006 and 2016, India, Ethiopia and Peru achieved significant improvements in nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, drinking water, schooling, electricity access and housing. India alone lifted 271 million people out of poverty during this period. Understandably there's been wall-to-wall coverage of this story on every major global news channel. The Hindu

New diabetes cases in the US have declined by 35% since 2009, the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago. STAT

Mali has announced it will begin providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Universal healthcare, not just for rich countries. Guardian

Drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5% last year, the first drop since 1990. It's almost entirely due to better control of opioid painkillers. NYT

Last year crime rates in the 30 largest cities in the US declined by 3.5%, violent crime by 4% and murders by 8%. Did someone just say 'hellholes?' Brennan Centre

Ethiopia has kicked off a new campaign to plant four billion trees and will monitor progress with a satellite the country is launching in November.

Since introducing new fuel efficiency rules a decade ago New York has cut nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from taxis by 82% and 49%, respectively. Nature

Costa Rica has just signed a new law banning the importation, commercialisation and delivery of all styrofoam containers and packaging. Costa Rica News

South Africa has nearly doubled its number of marine protected areas, increasing the proportion of conserved territorial waters from 0.4% to 5.4%. Cape Talk

For the first time in 17 years there will be no commercial whaling in Iceland after the sole company certified to hunt whales failed to renew its license in time. Newsweek

15 JUNE 2019 - 5 JULY 2019

Los Angeles has announced the largest, cheapest solar + storage project in the world, at half the cost of a new natural gas plant. Wright's Law FTW. Forbes

Ireland has joined the growing list of countries that say new petrol and diesel powered vehicles will not be allowed on the roads after 2030. BBC

8.8 million Nepalis have gained access to electricity since 2010, and officials say the country is on track for universal access by 2022. Kathmandu Post

Heart disease rates in the UK have declined significantly - it's still the leading cause of mortality, but deaths have decreased by almost half since 2005. Telegraph

Good news from North Korea. According to the WHO, smoking rates have declined by 8.4% since 2012, thanks to a government-led anti-smoking campaign. DailyNK

Rates of HPV in Britain have fallen by 86% among young women aged 15 to 19 since they started being vaccinated in schools in 2008. Times

UNESCO says that 19 African countries have reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) in primary education in the past decade. Brookings

Kenya's High Court has ruled that rape survivors have the right to an abortion, a landmark ruling in a country where abortion is still illegal. Reuters

An estimated 10,000 LGBTQIA+ teens in the US have been protected from conversion therapy in states that have banned the practice since 2012. NBC

Canada has passed its most progressive Fisheries Act in history; for the first time since 1868, there's a legally binding requirement to rebuild fish populations. Oceana

The Scottish government has met its annual tree planting targets for the first time. 11,200 hectares were planted last year, a significant increase on 2017. BBC

Since 2000, the area of land dedicated for livestock pasture around the world has declined by 1.4 million square kilometers — an area the size of Peru. MongaBay

Thanks to rigorous anti-poaching strategies, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves has just gone a year without losing a single elephant. Independent

1 JUNE 2019 - 14 JUNE 2019

Germany produced 47% of its electricity from clean sources in the first five months of 2019, putting it well ahead of its 2025 targets. Renew Economy

The number of people killed in wars around the world has reached it lowest level in seven years, and battle fatalities have fallen by 43% since 2014. PRIO

In a landmark victory for Africa's LGBTQI+ activists, Botswana's High Court has decriminalized homesexuality, overturning a colonial-era law. Independent

The number of malaria cases in India was cut by almost half last year, an indication that the country’s malaria elimination programme is succeeding. HT

In Rwanda, 95% of babies are now receiving vaccinations for rubella, measles and polio, and it's also on track to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer. CNN

Inspired by the EU, Canada has announced it will phase out harmful single use plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws, by 2021. HuffPo

Vietnamese authorities have banned herbicides containing glyphosate after it was discovered that the substance causes cancer. Asia Times

Israel has partnered with seven other, mostly Muslim countries, to collaborate on a research project in the Red Sea. Science diplomacy FTW. Times of Israel

Canada has banned whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. NPR

An area nearly twice the size of England will become a 'blue belt' of protected waters after the government created 41 new marine conservation zones. Guardian

18 MAY 2019 - 31 MAY 2019

The UK's astonishing coal free run continues - 13 days and counting. The National Grid says the country has not switched on its coal plants since 18th of May.

Algeria and Argentina have officially eliminated malaria. That means there are now 38 countries free from one of humanity's most devastating killers. CNN

The AIHW says that more people are surviving cancer in Australia than ever before. Since 1989, the mortality rate has dropped by 32% for men and by 21% for women.

In the last three decades, dementia rates in Europe and North America have declined by an average of 15% per decade (and they're also declining in Australia).

The WHO has officially decided to remove 'gender identity disorder' from its list of mental illnesses. Welcome to the 21st century folks. CBS

A majority in Brazil's Supreme Court has voted in favour of criminalising homophobia and transphobia, making them the equivalent of racism. BBC

In 2018, employment reached its highest ever rate in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, and 22 other OECD countries. Did someone just say robots? Economist

New research says US states that legalised marijuana have experienced a remarkable decline in serious injury from domestic violence. C'mon 'Straya. Green State

Bangladesh has banned all fishing off its coast for 65 days. All vessels will be covered by the ban, and it will be carefully enforced by coast guards. BBC

Staggering numbers of whales are being sighted off the shores of New York. Cleaner waters have caused a 540% increase in numbers in just eight years. Newsweek

4 MAY 2019 - 17 MAY 2019

Last year, more global coal capacity was closed than approved for the first time since the 19th century, and the UK just had its first coal-free week since 1882. BBC

Chile has reached its 2025 clean energy targets six years ahead of schedule, and says it's now on track for 70% electricity from renewables by 2030. BN Americas

The world's largest car supplier, Bosch, says it will be fully carbon neutral by 2020, making it the first major industrial company to take that step. Reuters

Big new dataset here, we've been waiting for this for a while. The proportion of people in extreme poverty has fallen from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018. Absolute numbers are down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 610 million in 2018. ODI

The 2019 election in India is on track for the highest turnout in history, driven by unprecedented numbers of women voters, who may be the majority this year. Quartz

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons has declined again, to 1.48 million people, down from 1.61 million in 2009. Washington Post

New Global Burden of Disease Report says that between 1990 and 2017, deaths of kids and teenagers decreased by 51.7%, from 13.77 million to 6.64 million. CNN

The United Nations says that 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between national borders, in an effort to curb waste. CNN

Tanzania has become the latest country to implement a plastic ban. From the 1st June, no one will be allowed to produce, import, sell or use plastic bags. WWF

California, the United States' most productive agricultural state, has banned a widely used pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies. Associated Press

Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years; half its land surface is now covered with trees, a huge carbon sink and a big draw for tourists. NYT

19 APRIL 2019 - 3 MAY 2019

Renewable energy use in Japan in the last fiscal year increased by 10%, and emissions fell by 1.2% - the fourth straight year of decline. Japan Times

New York just passed a law requiring any new building to have a roof with either plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or a combination of all three. Dwell

The UN says that family planning and more education have caused a 'significant decline' in India’s population growth rate since 2010. The Print

A new Ebola vaccine given to more than 90,000 people in the DRC has been shown to be 97.5% effective. Next challenge? Distribution. STAT

The Philippines has passed a Universal Health Care Act, entitling all of its 107 million citizens to health insurance and access to medical treatment. WHO

Malawi has become the first country to begin immunising children against malaria, and similar programmes are about to start in Kenya and Ghana. Independent

Deaths after surgery in Scotland have dropped by more than a third since 2008, thanks to the use of a safety checklist. Sometimes, the solutions are simple. BBC

China says it's lifting a law that requires animal testing for cosmetic products. From 2020, non-animal tests will be the preferred method. IIVS

The indigenous Waorani community of Ecuador has won a landmark case against oil companies, protecting 180,000 hectares of their land against exploitation. Al Jazeera

Canada has unveiled new standards for its marine protected areas, banning all oil-and-gas activity, as well as mining, dumping and bottom-trawling. Globe & Mail

Chile has formally taken over the management of 407,000 hectares of pristine national parks, thanks to the largest private land donation in history. Reuters

30 MARCH 2019 - 18 APRIL 2019

Malawi has eliminated trachoma, the second African country to do so after Ghana. In 2014 more than 8 million people were at risk. Today, that number is zero.

The introduction of routine HPV vaccinations for young women in Scotland ten years ago has wiped out 90% of cases of cervical pre-cancer. BBC

In an effort to reduce period poverty, British Columbia has become the first Canadian province to provide free tampons and pads to all students. CBC

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.2% in 2018, the first major decrease in Europe’s biggest economy in four years. Associated Press

In Madrid, a ban on vehicles in the city centre has reduced levels of nitrogen oxide by 38%, and Barcelona is now planning a similar ban for next year.

Paris has ordered 800 new electric buses as it begins the process of replacing its old fleet. It's the largest public EV order in European history. Elektrek

Chicago is now the largest city in the United States to commit to getting 100% of its energy from clean sources. PV Magazine

Between 2000 and 2015, houses with adequate sanitation, sufficient living area and reliable construction doubled in sub-Saharan Africa, from 11% to 23%. Nature

The Gambia has become the 22nd country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), meaning it now has enough signatories to go into force. This is a massive boost - the biggest free trade agreement since the WTO. WEF

South Korea used to recycle 2% of its food waste. In 2013, the government introduced compulsory collection. Now they recycle 95%. C'mon Australia. HuffPo

Germany has closed its last fur farm three years ahead of schedule, signalling the end of the fur trade in yet another European country. PETA

Ecologists have confirmed that the Netherlands has its first resident wolf population in 140 years, and that the first Dutch wolf pack could be months away. BBC

Belize has approved a plan to protect 12% of its territorial waters, doubling the size of ocean reserves around the world’s second largest barrier reef. Reuters

15 MARCH 2019 - 29 MARCH 2019

Volkswagen, the largest car manufacturer in the world, responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions, has committed to going fully carbon neutral by 2050. NYT

America has officially entered coal cost crossover. 74% of existing coal plants now cost more to operate than to replace with wind and solar. Utility Dive

Between 10th and 17th March, Germany got 72.6% of its electricity from renewable energy resources. Did someone just say "baseload power?" Renew Economy

In January 2015, at the height of ISIS's power, 7.7 million people were estimated to live under its rule. As of last week, that number is zero. CNN

Between 2010 and 2013, India ran a measles vaccination campaign. A new study estimates that it saved the lives of about 50,000 children. Nature

This year will see almost two billion people in 50 countries vote, the largest number in history. Did someone just say "death of democracy?" Al Jazeera

Indian tech billionaire Azim Premji is giving away $21 billion to philanthropy, the fifth largest endowment in the world and the biggest in Asia. ET Tech

Clever win by animal rights activists. Australia has passed a law that prevents companies using data from animal testing for developing cosmetics. The Age

Deep in the frozen forests of Russia's far east, the Siberian tiger is staging a quiet comeback, thanks to government-led conservation efforts. CBC

23 FEBRUARY 2019 - 14 MARCH 2019

The biggest global story you haven't heard about right now is India's sanitation drive. Since 2014, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open. Economic Times

California, the fifth largest economy in the world, has reached its 33% clean energy target two years ahead of schedule, and petrol sales are officially decreasing.

The UK, the sixth largest economy in the world, has reduced its carbon emissions for the sixth year in a row. The last time emissions were this low was 1888. Carbon Brief

The Finnish parliament has approved a ban on the use of all coal to produce energy by 2029. After that date, coal will only be allowed in an emergency. Reuters

Canada's poverty rate has reached the lowest level ever recorded. The proportion of people below the poverty line is now 9.5%, down from 15.6% in 2006. CBC

Using a new data-based approach, three cities in the United States have ended chronic homelessness, and nine have ended veteran homelessness. FastCo

In a bid to curb obesity, London's public transport authority will no longer allow advertising for unhealthy food anywhere on its network. BBC

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to 80 million people, has imposed a full ban on the usage, manufacture, storage, supply and sale of single use plastic. ICD

New Zealand just expanded the Kahurangi National Park by 64,000 hectares, the largest addition of land to a national park in the country's history. NZ Herald

In the last five years, Kenya's poaching rates have dropped by 85% for rhinos and 78% for elephants. In 2018, elephant poaching alone dropped by 50%.

9 FEBRUARY 2019 -  22 FEBRUARY 2019

Sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles are now officially on the decline in the world’s three largest car markets: China, Europe and the United States. Clean Technica

Remember bird flu, the disease that was going to be the next global pandemic? There hasn't been a single H5N1 human infection since February 2017. STAT

Global health experts at the UN have recommended that marijuana and its key components be formally rescheduled under international drug treaties. Forbes

Pakistan experienced an unprecedented drop in violence last year. Violence-related casualties declined by 45%, and have dropped by 86% since 2013. The News

The rate of victimisation from violent crimes for teenagers in the United States is now one sixth of what it was in the mid 1990s. Child Trends

The US Senate has passed its most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting 1.3 million acres and withdrawing 370,000 acres from mining. LA Times

After watching an animated film about abandoned dogs, the mayor of Seoul has announced the city will shut down all remaining dog butcheries. Korea Times

The number of rhinos killed by poachers fell by 25% last year thanks to South Africa's efforts to save the endangered species, the fifth annual decrease in a row.

Satellite data from NASA says that compared to the early 2000s, the planet now has five million extra square kilometres of green leaf area per year – a 5% increase.

25 JANUARY 2019 -  8 FEBRUARY 2019

Germany, the fourth largest consumer of coal on the planet, has announced it will shut down all 84 power plants in the next 19 years. C'mon Australia. LA Times

India added 17.6 GW of power generation capacity in 2018 (the equivalent of nine Hoover Dams) and 74% of it was clean, mostly solar. Clean Technica

Sweden has announced a ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel engines after 2030, joining Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Ireland and Israel. Electrive

As predicted, global terror attacks fell by 33% last year, and deaths halved. Attacks by Daesh fell by 71%. Naturally this was front page news everywhere. IHS

The WHO says there are now adequate supplies of the new Ebola vaccine to control the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. STAT

Big legal milestone for human rights in Europe. Germans can now choose 'diverse' as an option for gender on their birth certificates and other records. NYT

Angola has become the latest African country to decriminalise same-sex conduct, overturning the penal code it inherited from colonisation. HRW

The largest rewilding project in Australian history, the Great Southern Ark, has just begun on the Yorke Peninsula, providing a safe haven for 20 native species.

Tanzania has created a new protected area, the Magombera Reserve, protecting the endangered Udzungwa red colobus monkey and Verdcourt's Polyalthia tree. PSMag

1 JANUARY 2019 -  24 JANUARY 2019

Nothing like a little east west rivalry to speed up the energy transition. New York just one-upped California, committing to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Utility Dive

In the last four years, the Indian government has provided 100 million families with gas connections, meaning they no longer have to cook over wood stoves. The Print

It's now looking very likely that 2018 was the peak year globally for sales of cars with internal combustion engines. The EV revolution is here folks. The Drive

The Powering Past Coal Alliance has added two more countries to its list, with Senegal and Israel announcing that they will stop all use of coal by 2030. Reuters

The Economist is reporting that democracy had a good year in 2018. Only 42 countries experienced a decline, while 48 improved. Progress isn't a straight line.

The Malaysian government has started providing free healthcare insurance for the country's poorest 40%, providing coverage against 36 critical illnesses. Malay Mail

The number of suicides in Japan dropped by 3.4% last year, the ninth annual decrease in a row, and the lowest rate since records began in 1978. Japan Today

The latest Global Terrorism Index says terrorism deaths dropped by 27% in 2017, the third consecutive year of improvement. 2018 is on track to be even better.

The number of financial institutions that fund banned cluster bombs fell from 166 in 2017, to 88 in 2018, and investments fell from $31 billion to $9 billion. Swiss Info

South Korea's ban on plastic bags has just kicked in and so has a ban on single use plastics in Bali, largely thanks to a five year campaign by two teenage sisters.

Argentina has created two new marine parks in the South Atlantic, covering an area of 96,000 square kilometres, bringing total protected ocean waters to 8%. Nat Geo

1 DECEMBER 2018 - 13 DECEMBER 2018

The world’s largest maritime shipping company is slowly ditching fossil fuels, and has just committed to eliminating all of its carbon emissions by the year 2050. It’s a key moment for maritime shipping. Quartz

Last year, 120 million people gained access to electricity. That means that for the first time in history, the number of people without access is less than one billion. IEA

Germany has announced one of the most ambitious waste management schemes in history. The government plans to recycle 63% of its total waste within the next four years,  up from 36% today. DW

Following a ban by two of its biggest retailers, Australia has cut its plastic bag usage by 80% in the last three months, saving 1.5 billions bags from entering the waste stream. NY Post

Since 2010, global HIV/AIDS infection rates have fallen by 16% in adults and by 35% for children. Most countries are on track to eliminate infections by 2030. Undark

Tunisia has become the first Arab nation to pass a law giving women and men equal inheritance, overturning an old provision of Sharia Islamic law. Dhaka Tribune

25 million doses of a new cholera vaccine have been administered globally, and five countries are preparing to run the largest vaccination drive in history. UNICEF

Jean Paul Gaultier has become the latest fashion designer to ban fur, joining Gucci, Versace, Armani, and just about every major fashion house. Independent

9 NOVEMBER 2018 - 30 NOVEMBER 2018

A little perspective. Global suicide rates have dropped by 38% since 1994, saving 4 million lives, four times the number killed in combat during that time. Economist

Cigarette use among Americans has dropped to its lowest level since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started collecting data in 1965. CNN

In the DRC, doctors are winning the war on sleeping sickness. At the turn of the century there were 30,000 cases. Last year, there were 1,100. Guardian

More ammo for fun conversations with population-obsessed baby boomers. The global fertility rate (average number of children a woman gives birth to) has halved since 1950. Half the world's countries are now below replacement levels. BBC  

Scotland is the first country in the world to include teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights into its state schools curriculum. The Scotsman

Officials in South Korea are bulldozing the country's largest dog slaughterhouse. The reason? Years of campaigning by activists, and shifting tastes in millenials. BBC

The Republic of Congo has created its fifth national park, protecting western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and other threatened wildlife. MongaBay

27 OCTOBER 2018 - 8 NOVEMBER 2018

The United States is on track to set a new record for coal plant closures this year, with 22 plants in 14 states totalling 15.4GW of capacity going dark. #MAGA. Clean Technica

Spain will shut down most of its coalmines by the end of this year, after the government agreed to early retirement for miners, re-skilling and environmental restoration. Guardian

In the last two decades, female genital mutilation has fallen from 57.7% to 14.1% in north Africa, from 73.6% to 25.4% in west Africa, and from 71.4% to 8% in east Africa. Guardian

Nepal has become the 54th country in the world, and the first country in South Asia, to pass a law banning corporal punishment for children. End Corporal Punishment

According to a new report by UNICEF, Bangladesh has reduced its child mortality rate by 78% since 1990, the largest reduction by any country in the world. Kinder-World

The Portuguese parliament has just passed a new law, approved with support of left-wing and right-wing lawmakers, banning the use of wild animals in circuses by 2024.

The United Nations says that the ozone hole will be fully healed over the Arctic and the northern hemisphere by the 2030s, and in the rest of the world by 2060. Gizmodo

The European Parliament has voted for an extensive ban on single-use plastics, estimated to make up over 70% of marine litter. It will come into effect in 2021. Independent

250 of the world's major brands, including Coca Cola, Kellogs and Nestle, have agreed that 100% of their plastic packaging will be reused, recycled or composted by 2025. BBC

$10 billion (the largest amount ever for ocean conservation) has just been committed in Bali for the protection of 14 million square kilometres of the world’s oceans. MongaBay

The Kofan people of Sinangoe, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, have won a landmark legal battle to protect the headwaters of the Aguarico River, nullifying 52 mining concessions and freeing up more than 32, 000 hectares of primary rainforest. Amazon Frontlines

We usually try to keep our heads above the fray, but we can't help ourselves this time around. One of the big winners in the recent US midterms? SCIENCE. Nine new members of Congress have STEM or medical backgrounds and at least six have kept their seats. So good. Bloomberg

12 OCTOBER 2018 - 26 OCTOBER 2018

India installed 4.9GW of solar in the first half of this year, meaning it is now the second largest installer in the world for 2018 (first place is China). #MEGA. The Hindu

New York City, home to 8.6 million people, just went a whole weekend without any shootings for the first time in more than a decade. #MAGA? Time

Thanks to tougher anti gun laws, between 1990 and 2016, the rate of deaths from firearms in Australia went from 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people to 1 per 100,000. JCU

Malaysia has abolished the death penalty for all crimes and has halted all pending executions, a move hailed by human rights groups in Asia as a major victory. SMH

This one goes out to all our Malthusian fans. The United Nations says India’s fertility rate has halved since 1980, thanks to better family planning and fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Abiy Ahmed strikes again. Ethiopia now has the most diverse government in the country's history, with women ministers making up 50% of the new cabinet. Face2FaceAfrica

Marijuana is now legal in Canada. A major crack in the grass ceiling, and a wonderful moment for fans of evidence-based decision making everywhere. BBC

Thanks to stricter catch limits and better monitoring, the population of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna has increased from 300,000 tons in 2005 to 530,000 tons today. NatGeo

27 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 11 OCTOBER 2018

Quietly and unannounced, humanity has just crossed an extraordinary milestone. For the first time in 10,000 years, more than half of the world is middle class. Brookings

The Journal of Peace Research says that global deaths from state based conflicts have declined for the third year in a row, and are now 32% lower than their peak in 2014.

Following 30 years of public health efforts, Malaysia has become the first country in the Western Pacific to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. MalayMail

According to the WHO, teenage drinking has declined across Europe, the continent with the highest rates of drinking in the world. The country with the largest decline? Britain.

It's not just the kids. Suicides among elderly Britons have dropped so much that the country now has one of the lowest rates in the rich world. Economist

Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world in 2012. Murders have decreased by half since then, more than any other nation. Here's how they did it. Ozy

Denmark is the latest country to announce a ban on internal combustion engines. It will stop the sale of petrol or diesel cars in 2030, and hybrids by 2035. Bloomberg

Following China's ban on ivory last year, 90% of Chinese support it, ivory demand has dropped by almost half, and poaching rates are falling in places like Kenya. WWF

14 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 26 SEPTEMBER 2018

Japan's Marbeni, one of the world’s biggest power developers, has just announced it will no longer be building any new coal plants. Just 1,600 more plants to go! Quartz

A new global youth survey says that young people in all countries are more optimistic than adults, though there is widespread dissatisfaction with politicians. Nine in 10 teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China, Nigeria and India report feeling positive about their future. Guardian

According to the UNDP, 271 million people in India moved out of poverty between 2005 and 2016, and the country's poverty rate has been cut nearly in half. Times of India

Youth crime in California has fallen so dramatically that many state detention centres, built in the 1990s in anticipation of a crime wave, are now sitting empty. Voice of San Diego

Theresa Kachindamoto, a female chief in Malawi, has established a new law to prevent child marriage and has annulled 850 child marriages across the country to date. Femalista

Three years after India made it compulsory to use plastic waste in road construction, there are now 100,000 kilometres of plastic roads in the country. Himalayan Times

Deforestation in Indonesia fell by 60% last year, as a result of a ban on clearing peatlands, new educational campaigns and better law enforcement. Ecowatch

The population of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled in the last nine years, thanks to efforts by conservationists and increased funding for protected areas. Independent

31 AUGUST 2018 - 13 SEPTEMBER 2018

California has just unveiled the most ambitious climate target ever, with a commitment to making the world's fifth biggest economy carbon neutral by 2045. Vox

After 20 years, troops have been withdrawn and the Ethiopian and Eritrean border has been reopened at two key crossing points, reuniting hundreds of families. BBC

India’s highest court has just struck down a more than century-old prohibition on gay sex, calling the Victorian-era law “irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary.” Al Jazeera

In a huge step forward for gender equality, Morocco has passed a law that criminalizes violence against women, and imposes harsh penalties on perpetrators. Albawaba

New Zealand has become the latest country to outlaw single-use plastic shopping bags, and will phase them out over the next year. Time

France has become the first country in Europe to ban all five forms of neonicotinoid pesticides that researchers believe are killing off bees. Telegraph

The Malaysian government has announced it will not allow any further expansion of oil palm plantations, and that it intends to maintain forest cover at 50%. Malaymail

2 AUGUST 2018 - 30 AUGUST 2018

In 2000, trachoma threatened 2.8 million people in Ghana (15% of the population) with blindness. It is now the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate the disease. Devex

India is in the middle of the largest sanitation building spree of all time. Almost 80 million household toilets are estimated to have been built since 2014. Arkansas Democrat Gazette

In Germany, 26% of refugees admitted since 2015 are now employed and the share of MPs with migrant backgrounds has risen from 3% to 9% in the last two elections. Economist

Costa Rica's Supreme Court has ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, and has given the government 18 months to change the law. BBC

Scotland has become the first nation in the world to guarantee free sanitary products to all students at schools, colleges, and universities. Quartz

The rate of prison recidivism (people who return to state prison after being released) in the United States has dropped by nearly a quarter over a recent seven-year period. Pew

Brazil cut its carbon emissions from deforestation by 610 million tons last year, reaching its 2020 climate change targets three years ahead of schedule. VOA

New Caledonia has agreed to place 28,000 square kilometres of its ocean waters under protection, including some of the world's most pristine coral reefs. Forbes

In the past three decades, southern Niger has been transformed by 200m new trees, part of the largest positive transformation of the environment in African history. Guardian

20 JULY 2018 - 1 AUGUST 2018

Guess which country had the largest overall reduction in carbon emissions in 2017? If you've been following us for a while you'll probably know the answer. #MAGA. Fortune

Sweden is on course to reach its renewable energy targets 12 years ahead of schedule, with wind turbines making its original 2030 goal achievable in 2018. The Local

South Africa, home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV, has shocked health officials with a 44% decline in the number of new infections since 2012. Telegraph

Following months of campaigning by human rights activists, India's finance ministry has announced it will scrap the 12% GST on all sanitary products. BBC

New Zealand has become the second country in the world (after the Phillipines) to pass legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave. Guardian

In a major milestone for human rights in the Middle East, a Lebanese court has issued a new judgement holding that homosexuality is not a crime. Beirut

The number of homeless people in Japan has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, following additional housing and counselling support from the government. Japan Times

Adidas is expecting to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic this year, and it has committed to using only recycled plastic in its products by 2024. CNN

In California, the world’s smallest fox has been removed from the Endangered Species List, the fastest recovery of any mammal under the Endangered Species Act. Conservaca

7 JULY 2018 - 19 JULY 2018

Six sovereign wealth funds representing more than $3 trillion in assets have committed to only invest in companies that factor climate risks into their strategies. UNFCCC

Meet Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. He's been in office for 100 days, has ended the 20 year war with Eritrea, and released over 7,600 political prisoners. BE

75% of Americans say immigration is good for the nation, the highest share since 2001, and only 29% say it should be decreased, the lowest share since 1965. NYT

Thanks to anti-pollution measures, parking restrictions and new cycle lanes, the number of vehicles on the streets of Paris has fallen by 6.5% since the beginning of 2018.

For the first time since 2005, and for only the second time on record, no one was killed by tornadoes in the United States in either May or June. USA Today

Seattle has become the first US city to ban plastic straws, and New York and Virigina have become the first two states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.

Spain is creating a new marine wildlife reserve for the migrations of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean and will prohibit all future fossil fuels exploration in the area. AP

Following 'visionary' steps by Belize, UNESCO has removed the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world, from its list of endangered World Heritage Sites. BBC

22 JUNE 2018 - 6 JULY 2018

Ireland has become the world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament. Guardian

In 2017, the solar industry in the United States employed 250,000 people on a full time basis. Coal industry jobs are now less than half of that, at 92,000. #MAGA. Clean Technica

Between the 17th and 23rd June, the Qinghai province in China used only hydropower, wind and solar to generate energy for 6 million people. Business Insider

The share of black men in poverty in the US has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today, and the share in the middle class has risen from 38% to 57% in the same time. CNN

India, home to 500 million internet subscribers, has just approved the principles of net neutrality, ensuring online access is unrestricted and non-discriminatory. Times of India

Single use plastic bans work. The use of plastic bags in Holland has dropped by 71% since the government banned shops from giving them out for free in 2016. NL Times

India's second most populous state, Maharashtra, home to 116 million people, has banned all single use plastic (including packaging) as of the 23rd June. Indian Express

Colombia has officially expanded the Serranía de Chiribiquete to 4.3 million hectares, making it the largest protected tropical rainforest national park in the world. WWF

8 JUNE 2018 - 21 JUNE 2018

Scotland's carbon emissions have halved since 1990, and its leaders have announced a new target to reduce levels by 90% by the middle of the century. BBC

Ikea has announced it will phase out all single-use plastic products, including straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, garbage bags, from its shops and restaurants by 2020. CNN

India has registered a 22% decline in maternal deaths since 2013. That means on average, 30 more new mothers are now being saved every day compared to five years ago. The Wire

The World Health Organization has just certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria, the first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973.

In 2017, crime and murder rates declined in the United States' 30 largest cities. The overall crime rate fell by 2.1%, violent crime rate by 1%, and the murder rate by 3.4%. Vox

Crime falls when you take in millions of refugees too. The number of reported crimes  in Germany fell by 10% in 2017, dropping to the lowest level in 30 years. Washington Post

Following the collapse of ISIS, civilian deaths in Iraq have decreased dramatically. 80% fewer Iraqis were killed in the first five months of 2018 compared to last year. Anti-War

Still worried about the kids? Youth crime in New South Wales has plummeted in the last 20 years. Vehicle theft is down by 59%, property theft by 59%, and drink-driving by 49%. ANU

Mexico's population of wild jaguars, the largest feline in the Americas, has grown by 20% in the past eight years, and 14 Latin American countries have just signed an agreement at the UN to implement a regional conservation program for the big cats through 2030.

25 MAY 2018 - 7 JUNE 2018

India's environment minister has announced the country will eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022, the largest, most ambitious anti-plastic pledge of all time. Economic Times

Hawaii has passed a law to become fully carbon neutral by 2045, the most ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy plan of any state in the United States. FastCo

Norway has become the first country where electric vehicle adoption has started to affect the oil industry, with consumption of gasoline and diesel falling in 2017. Elektrek

Ireland has overwhelmingly voted to liberalise abortion. More than two-thirds of voters said yes to overturning a 35 year old law that restricted women's rights. Irish Times

France has seen a sharp fall in daily smokers, with one million fewer lighting up between 2016 and 2017. There has also been a decline in low income and teenage smokers. BBC

After five successful, annual rounds of large-scale, school-based deworming across Kenya, worm-related diseases have fallen from 33.4% in 2012 to 3% in 2017. KEMRI

High school dropout rates among Hispanic students in the United States is at record lows, extending a decades-long decline. College enrollment is also at a record high. Pew

Beijing continues its successful fight on pollution. Levels of particulate have dropped by 20.5% compared to the average level in 2016, and by 35% since 2013. Xinhua

In the forests of central Africa, the population of mountain gorillas, one of the world’s most endangered species, has increased by 25% since 2010, to over 1,000 individuals. Reuters

11 MAY 2018 - 24 MAY 2018

Repsol has become the first major fossil fuels producer to say it will no longer be seeking new growth for oil and gas, and will reduce its reserves to only eight years. Bloomberg

India's coal industry is in big trouble. Thanks to plummeting clean energy prices, 20% of coal plants are stressed assets, and a fourth of those are now unviable. Quartz

Mexico has almost finished building the largest solar farm in Latin America, a "sea of panels turning the desert green." Once switched on, it will power a million homes. SBS

Annual deaths from tuberculosis (TB) the most deadly vaccine-preventable disease, have been reduced from 1.8 million in 1990 to 1.21 million in 2016. OurWorldinData

Following a successful five year pilot in its capital, Estonia is set to become the first country in the world to make public transport free everywhere, for everyone. Popupcity

Canada has signed another conservation deal with its First Nations people, creating the largest protected boreal forest (an area twice the size of Belgium) on the planet. BBC

Evidence of an environmental Kuznet's curve? Between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by 1.31% per year in rich countries and by 0.5% in middle income nations. BBC

Following a decade long drive by scientists and volunteers, South Georgia's birds are safe from rats for the first time in two centuries, the largest eradication effort of all time. NPR

13 APRIL 2018 - 10 MAY 2018

Allianz, the world’s biggest insurance company by assets, will immediately cease insuring coal-fired power plants and coal mines and ban new coal from its investment portfolio.

In the first two months of 2018, 98% of new power generation capacity added to the grid in the United States came from wind and solar projects. #MAGA. ThinkProgress

China is now adding an electric bus fleet the size of London's every five weeks. If they continue at this rate, by 2025 half the world's buses will be battery powered. Bloomberg

The global shipping industry, which has always been excluded from climate change negotiations, has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. BBC

Seventy years after independence, India has finally managed to bring electricity to every village in the country (three years ago, 18,452 villages had no electricity). Moneycontrol

In 1990, 70% of Africa's urbanites and half of Asia and Latin America's, lived in slums. By 2014, those figures had fallen to 56%, 35% and 25%, respectively. HumanProgress

Still worried about the kids? In the last generation, arrests of Californian teenagers have fallen by 80%, murder arrests by 85%, gun killings by 75%, imprisonments by 88%, teen births by 75%, school dropouts by half, and college enrollments are up by 45%. Sacbee

The proportion of people being sent to prison in the United States has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, according to new data from the Department of Justice. Pew Research

Trinidad and Tobago is set to decriminalize homosexuality after its high court ruled that the Caribbean nation’s colonial-era law banning gay sex is unconstitutional. NBC

Pakistan's parliament has passed a landmark law guaranteeing basic rights for trans-gender citizens and outlawing all forms of discrimination by employers. Al Jazeera

Good news for cyclists... since 1999, total traffic in the City of London has fallen by 40% and bicycles are now the dominant vehicle during the rush hour. Guardian

Eight months after enacting the world's toughest plastic bag ban, Kenya's waterways are clearer, the food chain is less contaminated – and there are fewer 'flying toilets.' Guardian

France has passed a new law mandating that by 2020, all plastic cups, cutlery and plates should be compostable, and made of biologically-sourced materials. Independent

Chile has become the latest country to pass a plastic bag ban. A new resolution has been passed which will ban all bags in commerce within the next 12 months. Latercera

In an effort to protect the continent's bees, the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in the European Union within the next six months. ABC

Following decades of efforts from conservationists and scientists, the lesser long-nosed bat has been removed from the endangered list — the first US bat species to do so. NatGeo

Colombia has announced it will protect 80,000 km2 of new land for conservation and will also give indigenous communities autonomy to govern their own territories. Yale360

30 MARCH 2018 - 12 APRIL 2018

Portugal generated enough renewable energy to power the entire country in March, and the government has also just suspended all fossil fuel subsidies. C'mon Australia. Quartz

More bad news for fossil fuels. New Zealand just banned new oil and gas exploration, and only half of the United States' coal plants earned enough to cover their costs last year.

Around the world, the number of people dying due to insufficient calorie or protein intake has fallen from almost half a million in the 1990s to roughly 300,000 today. OurWorldinData

The global media went into a frenzy over Cape Town's water shortages and Day Zero. Strangely, nobody is reporting how the Mother City successfully averted the crisis. apolitical

A cryptocurrency startup just funded all 35,647 open projects on public school crowd-funding platform, reaching more than 16,500 schools in the US. Fast

A new report says that, thanks to shifting tastes amongst millenials, 70% of the world's population is reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether. Forbes

Four years after imposing a 5p levy, the United Kingdom has used 9 billion fewer plastic bags, and the number being found on the seabed has plummeted. Independent

Colombia has been ordered by its courts to protect the Amazon, in Indonesia they're cleaning up the world's dirtiest river, and in Mumbai, turtles are returning to the beaches.

9 MARCH 2018 - 29 MARCH 2018

Big milestone for us here down under. This summer, for the first time ever, renewable energy generated more electricity than brown coal (nice work Australia). AFR

The world's solar market grew by almost 30% in 2017. That brings the planet's total solar power to 405 GW, nine tenths of which was installed in the last 7 years. Yale 360

The number of new coal plants under development around the world fell by an additional 28% in 2017, bringing the total decline to 59% in the last two years. EndCoal

The United Kingdom just struck a major blow for equality, making it compulsory for all companies with more than 250 employees to publicly disclose gender pay gaps by April 2018. apolitical

NPR says South Sudan has stopped transmission of Guinea Worm. Zero cases were reported in 2017 and the country hasn't had a case in 15 months (nice work Jimmy Carter).

Meet Vania Masías, a former ballerina whose non-profit dance school has taught hip hop classes to more than 100,000 underprivileged kids in Peru since 2005. Guardian

Have you heard of the Akshaya Patra Foundation? They run the largest charitable meal scheme in the world. Every day, they feed lunch to 1.6 million students at 13,839 schools across India. LiveMint

Four years ago, China declared a war on pollution. It's working. Cities have, on average, cut concentrations of fine particulates in the air by 32%. New York Times

Adidas, the German sportswear giant, sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic last year. Each pair of those shoes re-uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles. USA Today

Chile has passed a new law protecting the waters along its coastline, creating nine marine reserves and increasing the area of ocean under state protection from 4.3% to 42.4% BBC

Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay have signed a declaration to protect the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland and one of the most biologically rich ecosystems on Earth. WWF

23 FEBRUARY 2018 - 8 MARCH 2018

There are now more than 100 cities around the world that get at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. CDP

Canada has just announced $3.1 billion in new funding for science, “the single largest investment in basic research in Canadian history." Nature

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which sends free books to children from birth until their start of school, has just delivered its 100 millionth book. Mashable

Since 2010, South Africa, the country with the world’s largest concentration of people with HIV/AIDS, has halved the infection rate and decreased deaths by 29 percent. Borgen

Taiwan has announced a ban on single-use plastic items. Straws, cups and bags will be eliminated by 2030 and restaurants will face restrictions from 2019. Channel News Asia

Rome, one of Europe’s most traffic-clogged cities, has announced plans to ban all diesel cars from its center by 2024. That follows similar, recent announcements from Milan and Turin

The Seychelles has created a new 130,000 square kilometre marine reserve in the Indian Ocean, protecting their waters from illegal fishing for generations to come. National Geographic

9 FEBRUARY 2018 - 22 FEBRUARY 2018

Under the current US administration, more 'beautiful' coal plants have been closed in the first two months of 2018, than during Obama's entire first term. MAGA. Greentech Media

After a decade long effort, Herat, Afghanistan’s deadliest province for landmines, has been declared free of explosive devices. Nearly 80% of the country is now mine free. Reuters

Thanks to growing awareness from #metoo, the biggest anti-sexual violence organization in the US has reported the highest ever number of calls to its crisis hotlines. Vice

Rwanda has become the first low income country to provide universal eye care to all 12 million of its citizens, with 3,000 nurses trained in over 500 health clinics. Telesur

In the last ten years Tanzania (a country where nine in ten people live in a malaria zone) has reduced the malaria death rate by 50% in adults and 53% in children. Borgen

Germany is about to start a radical plan to reduce road traffic by making public transport free in five cities, in an effort to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. Guardian

Thanks to tightening restrictions, the United Kingdom has reported a 12% drop in vehicle emissions since 2012, as well as significant overall drop in air pollutants. BBC

26 JANUARY 2018 - 8 FEBRUARY 2018

94% of net new electricity capacity in the United States came from renewables last year, and the country lowered its total emissions by 1%. Electrek

In 2017, for the first time, the EU generated more clean energy than coal (five years ago coal generated twice as much as renewables). Carbon Brief

China brought 12.89 million people out of poverty in 2017, dropping the rate to 3.1%. About 70 million rural people have climbed out of poverty since 2012. Channel News Asia

Despite rising air pollution, respiratory disease death rates in China have fallen by 70% since 1990. The reason? Rising incomes, cleaner cooking fuels, better healthcare. Twitter

India has announced plans to create the world's largest government-funded healthcare programme, covering more than 100 million of the country's poor. BBC

A massive new study on three quarters of all the cancer cases around the world from 2000 to 2014 has shown that survival rates are increasing in most countries. Jamaica Observer

A new report says democracy is more widespread than ever. Six in ten of the world's countries are now democratic - a post war record. Pew Research

13 JANUARY 2018 - 25 JANUARY 2018

Chile has managed to quadruple its clean energy sources since 2013, resulting in a 75% drop in the average cost of electricity. C'mon Australia. IPS News

Russians are drinking and smoking less than at any point since the fall of the Soviet Union, with tobacco use down by a fifth since 2009, and alcohol by 20% since 2012. Straits Times

Following the legalisation of medical marijuana in US states that border Mexico, robberies have declined by 19%, murders by 10%, and drug-related homicides by 41%. Forbes

After a 30 year long fight, the Norwegian Animal Rights Organization (NOAH) has just announced that Norway will implement a total ban on fur farming. Live Kindly

The number of suicides in Japan dropped by 3.5% in 2017, marking the eighth straight year that the overall rate has come down. NHK World

The United Kingdom is creating a forest of 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull, and China will plant 6.66 million hectares of new forests this year, an area the size of Ireland.

Plastic bans go into effect this month in Montreal, Vanuatu & the United Kingdom, Iceland has become the first major supermarket to say it will eliminate plastic within five years, and the European Union says it will make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030.

1 JANUARY 2018 - 12 JANUARY 2018

The United Kingdom smashed almost every record there is for renewable energy in 2017. Wind power alone now generates twice as much electricity as coal. The Conversation

The annual murder rate in the United States declined by more than 5% in 2017, and in New York, crime rates dropped to their lowest level since the 1950s. CS Monitor

In a year when more people flew to more places than ever, 2017 was the safest ever for airlines. There were no passenger jet crashes anywhere in the world. Independent

Ammunition for your next dinner party. In 2017, natural disasters caused fewer deaths than almost any year in human history. Headline news everywhere, obviously.  Buzzfeed

As of the 1st January, the US military has been allowing transgender people to openly sign up to serve in the armed forces, providing they meet certain medical criteria. EuroNews

The Brazilian government says it will no longer build dams in the Amazon, and Belize has permanently suspended oil operations on the largest reef in the Western hemisphere.

After more than ten years of debate, 140 nations have just agreed to begin negotiations on a historic "Paris Agreement for the Ocean," the first-ever international treaty to stop overfishing and protect life in the high seas. National Geographic

10 NOVEMBER 2017 - 23 NOVEMBER 2017

The fossil fuels divestment stories are coming fast and thick now. Norway's sovereign wealth fund is officially out, and the global insurance industry has pulled $20 billion.

A new report from the EU says that between 1990 and 2016 the continent cut its carbon emissions by 23% while the economy grew by 53%. C'mon Australia. CleanTechnica

Thanks to government welfare policies, the child-poverty rate in the United States has reached an all time low, dropping to 15.6 percent in 2016. The Atlantic

According to the World Health Organisation, global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and have reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%.

Two weeks ago, Germany's top court ruled that lawmakers must legally recognize a third gender from birth. This will make it the first European nation to pass this kind of law. CNN

Victoria is poised to become the first Australian state to legalise euthanasia, after historic laws passed the upper house yesterday. The Age

Hot on India's heels, the Italian parliament has voted to ban the use of all animals in circuses and traveling shows. It joins 40 other nations with similar bans in place. Inhabit

Bowing to overwhelming scientific evidence, and pressure from environmental groups, the UK government has agreed to an extended ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. BBC

And finally... we know everyone heard about it, but we're including it anyway. AUSTRALIA VOTED YES TO GAY MARRIAGE (and had a serious party to celebrate it). About bloody time. Welcome to the 21st century everyone!

27 OCTOBER 2017 - 9 NOVEMBER 2017

On Saturday 28th October, a record 24.6% of electricity came from wind power in the 28 countries of the European Union, enough to power 200 million homes. Electrek

In the past year, China has carried out its largest ever crackdown on pollution, reprimanding, fining or jailing officials in 80,000 factories, 40% of the country's total. NPR

A new report says that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years. 500 million of those people live in India. IEA

The United States' official poverty rate in 2016 reached 12.7 percent, the lowest level since the end of the global financial crisis almost a decade ago. US Census Bureau

New research from the CDC estimates that between 2000 and 2016, the measles vaccine has saved 20.4 million lives. Breaking news everywhere right? ACSH

Poland has become the latest country to legalise medical marijuana. Pharmacies will be able to sell cannabis after legislation came into force last Wednesday. Radio Poland

After a year of investigations into animal cruelty, the Indian government has officially banned the use of all wild animals in circus performances. One Green Planet

Brazil has started the largest tropical reforestation project in history. 73 million trees will be planted using improved techniques across the Amazon's “arc of deforestation." Fast Co.

13 OCTOBER 2017 - 26 OCTOBER 2017

One of China's richest women, He Qiaonv, has announced a $2 billion donation for wildlife conservation, the largest environmental philanthropic pledge of all time. Bloomberg

The Dutch government has just confirmed a plan to make all new cars emission-free by 2030, meaning new combustion engines will be banned within the next 13 years. Elektrek

A new report by the ILO says that global child labour has plummeted. In 2016, there were 98 million fewer boys and girls being exploited than in 2000. CS Monitor

India's Supreme Court has outlawed non-consensual marital sex with child brides, and has raised the age of sexual consent for all women to 18. CNN

Global abortion rates have fallen from around 40 procedures per 1,000 women in the early 1990s, to 35 procedures per 1,000 women today. Washington Post

The immigrant population of the US (people born in another country) reached 43.7 million people in 2016, one out of every eight residents, the highest proportion in 106 years. CIS

California has become the first US state to legally recognize nonbinary genders, allowing residents to identify as male, female, or nonbinary on all ID documents. Mary Sue

The Italian fashion brand Gucci will go fur-free next year and auction off all remaining fur items. It follows in the footsteps of Armani, which went fur free in 2016. Harper's Bazaar

Victoria has become the latest Australian state to announce a ban on single-use plastic bags. New South Wales is now the only remaining state without a ban. ABC

29 SEPTEMBER 2017 - 12 OCTOBER 2017

TransCanada has terminated its tar sands pipeline, triggering a $1 billion loss and ending an epic 4 year battle between politicians, big oil, environmentalists and indigenous communities. One of the great climate change victories of our time. Calgary Herald

On the eve of one of their major feast days, 40 Catholic institutions from five continents announced the largest ever religious divestment from fossil fuels. Catholic Reporter

Peru has reduced the prevalence of chronic malnutrition and stunting in children under the age of five from 39% in 1990, to 16% in 2016. Global Goals

Thanks to better use of contraceptives, America’s teen birth rate has fallen from 41.5 births per 1,000 girls in 2007 to 20.3 births per 1,000 girls this year. Vox

Following news that England has achieved a 95% vaccination rate, the World Health Organisation has announced the elimination of measles in the UK for the first time. BBC

New figures from the American Cancer Society have revealed that between 1989 to 2015, deaths from breast cancer dropped by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women. Time

In a major victory for transgender people in Botswana, the country's High Court has ruled that a transgender man can hold official documents that reflect his gender identity. HRW

Eleven countries are planting a wall of trees from east to west across Africa in order to push back the desert - and in Senegal it's already working. BBC World Hacks

1 SEPTEMBER 2017 - 28 SEPTEMBER 2017

The cost of solar plants in the United States has dropped by 30% in one year and in the United Kingdom, the price of offshore wind has dropped by half in less than two years.

France will pass legislation later this year to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production by 2040, becoming the first country to do so. Bloomberg

Women now occupy 23% of parliamentary seats around the world, up from 12% in 1997. The Middle East and North Africa have seen a fourfold increase in that time. World Bank

Heckler & Koch, the world's deadliest arms manufacturer, has announced it will end gun sales to countries falling short of corruption and democracy standards. Deutsche Welle

September has been a great month for the war on plastic. Kenya became the 9th country to ban plastic bags, then Western Australia announced a ban starting in 2018, and now Chile says it will be the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags in coastal cities.

The Minamata Convention, the first global treaty on mercury pollution, was ratified six weeks ago, and 156 countries are meeting this week to discuss further action. Swiss Info

One of the world's largest marine parks has just been created off the coast of Easter Island, and will protect 142 species, including 27 threatened with extinction. Guardian

In more than 60 regions across the globe, more populations of large sea turtles are improving than declining, a big change from a decade or two ago. Nice. Associated Press

18 AUGUST 2017 - 31 AUGUST 2017

In the last decade between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been avoided in the US thanks to better air quality from installations of solar and wind energy. Ars Technica

China has now stopped construction on more than 150GW of coal plants. And in June and July they installed more solar than Australia's entire existing capacity. Clean Technica

They've also invested more than $100 billion into treating and preventing water pollution, and launched nearly 8,000 water clean-up projects in the first half of 2017. Reuters

Zika has all but disappeared. Cases are plummeting in Latin America & the Caribbean, and much of the population is now immune. Headline news everywhere... right? Science Mag

The US Food and Drug Administration has given the go ahead for clinical trials for MDMA for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MAPS

In the last two months, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allow rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Al Jazeera

India’s Supreme Court has issued a historic ruling confirming the right of the country’s LGBTQ people to express their sexuality without discrimination. Independent UK

On the 31st August 2017, Canada became the 9th country to allow a third gender X, rather than male or female, on passports and government documents. NY Times

4 AUGUST 2017 - 17 AUGUST 2017

Following in China's footsteps, India is on track to double its solar installations this year, installing more in the first half of 2017 than in all of 2016. C'mon Australia. Clean Technica

JPMorgan Chase has just announced it will source 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020 and will facilitate $200 billion in clean financing through 2025. PV Tech

Rhode Island has become the fourth state in the United States to make community college free, following similar initiatives in New York, Oregon and Tennessee. CNN

The World Health Organisation has declared Somalia polio free, after confirming there have been no new recorded cases in the last three years. Arab News

Nepal has passed a law criminalising an ancient Hindu practice called chhaupadi that banishes women from the home during menstruation and after childbirth. Al Jazeera

The British government has unveiled new plans to require compulsory CCTV cameras in all slaughterhouses, in order to enforce laws against animal cruelty. Guardian

A province in Pakistan has planted a billion trees in the last two years as part of an effort to restore forests and protect against natural disasters such as floods. Independent

In Germany, the total area of land under organic agriculture increased by 15% in 2016, reaching 3.09 million acres, or 7.5% of all arable land. Deutsche Welle

Inuit groups and the Canadian government just signed a deal to protect the 'Serengeti of the Arctic,' creating by far the largest marine reserve in the country's history. Globe & Mail

14 JULY 2017 - 3 AUGUST 2017

China is set to easily surpass the record they set in 2016 for installations of solar energy, adding 24GW of new generating capacity in the first half of 2017. Bloomberg

In the last 30 days, both the United Kingdom and France have agreed to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

According to UNAIDS, for the first time in history, half of all people on the planet with HIV are now getting treatment, and deaths have dropped by half since 2005. Science Mag

The WHO says Cuba has officially become the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis from mother to child, and the epidemic is 'coming under control' in Swaziland, the country with the world’s highest prevalence of HIV.

Ethiopia just became the 42nd country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus since 2000, another big milestone in the global campaign to end this cruel disease. UNICEF

A new report shows that incidents of bullying and the number of violent attacks in American public schools has decreased significantly since 2010. Associated Press

Kenya has become the latest country to ban plastic bags, and in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu, more than 1,000km of roads has been laid using recycled plastic.

Vietnam has agreed to end bear farming, and will work with Animals Asia to rescue 1,000 remaining caged animals (thanks to one of our subscribers, Kyle Mahaney, for this one).

Chile just set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks in Patagonia, following the largest ever private land donation from a private entity to a country. Smithsonian

30 JUNE 2017 - 13 JULY 2017

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.”Volvo says that starting in 2019 it will only make fully electric or hybrid cars. Atlantic

India has ratified two key global agreements on eradicating child slavery. According to Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, it's 'a paradigm shift.' Reuters

Leprosy is now easily treatable. The number of worldwide cases has dropped by 97% since 1985, and a new plan has set 2020 as a target for the end of the disease. WHO

The French government has announced that in an effort to combat new measles outbreaks, parents will be legally obliged to vaccinate children from 2018. Independent

Gay adoption is now legal in all 50 states in the US, following a ruling by a federal judge that Mississippi's ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional. HuffPost

In a major blow for Monsanto, regulators in California have taken a pivotal step towards requiring weed killer Roundup to come with a warning that it’s known to cause cancer. AP

1.5 million people in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have set a new Guinness record for reforestation by planting more than 67 million trees in a 12 hour period. RT

Scientists have discovered that a new kind of naturally occurring underwater bacteria has eaten a considerable portion of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. CNBC

16 JUNE 2017 - 29 JUNE 2017

Sweden’s largest pension fund has divested all investments from six companies that violate the Paris Agreement, including Exxon, Gazprom and TransCanada. CleanTechnica

France will stop granting all licences for oil and gas exploration in a major transition towards clean energy being driven by the new Macron government. Independent

Since 2010, tobacco use by young people in India has fallen by 33%, and for high school students in the United States it's dropped by almost half since 2011.

Not that you'd know it from the evening news, but the homicide rate in Australia has dropped to one victim per 100,000 people, the lowest ever recorded. Guardian

The gender pay gap in the US has narrowed from 36% in 1980 to 17% in 2015. For young women the gap has narrowed even further, and now stands at 10%. Pew Research

Hot on the heels of Ireland's appointment of its first gay Prime Minister, Serbia has achieved a double first, with the appointment its first female and gay Prime Minister. BBC

Pakistan has started issuing passports with a separate gender category, X, for transgender citizens who don't identify as male or female. Vox

Five remote Pacific islands are once again safe havens for four of the world’s rarest bird species following one of the most ambitious island restoration projects of all time. BirdLife

2 JUNE 2017 - 15 JUNE 2017

A shareholder rebellion just forced ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, to start reporting on the effect of preventing climate change on its bottom line. Washington Post

South Korea announced a major U-turn on energy, shifting one of the world's staunchest supporters of coal and nuclear power toward natural gas and renewables. Reuters

Meet Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin, two eye doctors responsible for helping restore sight to 4 million people in two dozen countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia. CBS

The United Kingdom has seen a 20% fall in the incidence of dementia over the past two decades, meaning 40,000 fewer people are being affected every year. Reuters

Thanks to better access to clean water and sanitation, the number of children dying in the world from diarrhoea fell by a third between 2005 and 2015. That means we are saving the lives of an extra 250,000 children every year. BBC

Since 2005, Afghanistan has built 16,000 schools, the nation-wide literacy rate has increased by 5%, and the youth literacy rate has increased by more than 16%. USAID

17% of newlyweds in the United States now marry someone of a different race or ethnicity, a fivefold increase since 1967, when interracial marriage was legalised. Pew

The price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen by around 50% since the Chinese government announced plans to ban the domestic legal ivory trade six months ago. Guardian

At a recent UN oceans summit, delegates from China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines made major new commitments to keep plastic out of the sea. BBC

18 MAY 2017 - 1 JUNE2017

Taiwan's constitutional court ruled in favour of allowing same-sex marriage. Huge story, hard fought for, and a major milestone for LGBTQI rights in Asia. SCMP

New data shows that young people are officially less racist than old people. The worldwide trend is towards towards less discrimination on the grounds of skin tone or caste. Quartz

In 1991 more than 40% of Bangladesh lived in extreme poverty. The World Bank says that number has now dropped to 14% (equating to 50 million fewer people). Quartz

Premature deaths for the world’s four biggest noncommunicable diseases­ - cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory - have declined by 16% since 2000. World Bank

Rwanda’s universal basic healthcare system has achieved a 75% decline in maternal mortality and over an 80% decline child mortality in the last 15 years. New Times

One year after a nationwide ban on smoking in public took effect in Spain, women are giving birth to significantly fewer premature or underweight babies. Reuters

In an effort to combat misinformation and fearmongering, the Italian government has made vaccinations mandatory for children attending school up to the age of 16. Independent

Germany has banned fur farming. This follows similar decisions by Japan and Croatia within the last year. A victory that’s been two decades in the making. Well done PETA!

The largest community led beach clean up in history is finished. 85 weeks and 5.3 million kilograms of trash later, this is what Versova beach in Mumbai now looks like. Daily Mail

5 MAY 2017 - 17 MAY 2017

The global coal industry is taking a hammering. A 48% drop in pre-construction activity, a 62% drop in construction starts and a 19% drop in ongoing construction. CoalSwarm

China's electricity output from solar PV plants rose 80% in the first quarter of this year. Considering that last year was already a record, this is remarkable. Independent UK

Lots of sound and fury in US politics these days, and yet quietly and unannounced, Congress recently boosted famine relief funding by $990 million. Humanosphere

The Zika emergency in Brazil is over. The number of cases has dropped by 95% compared to a year ago. Wonderful news that featured in every media outlet. Right? Al-Jazeera

"One of the greatest public health success stories of the past 40 years." Thanks to new ARV treatments, young people with HIV now have near normal life expectancy. BBC

Saudi Arabia has just issued an order allowing women to access government services on education and healthcare without the prior consent of a male guardian. The Star

The Ocean Cleanup project has unveiled a new design to deploy its trash-collecting booms in the Pacific Garbage Patch in 2018, four years ahead of schedule. Fast Company

Thanks to new imaging techniques, estimates for global forest cover have been revised upwards by 9%, an area of forest two-thirds the size of Australia. Science

2 APRIL 2017 - 4 MAY 2017

The world's assault on tropical diseases is working. A massive, five year international effort has saved millions of lives, and countries are now signing up for another round. STAT

Rates of violent crime and property crime have dropped by around 50% in the United States since 1990, yet a majority of people believe it's gotten worse. Pew Research

Canada's federal telecom regulator has just ruled to uphold the principle of net neutrality - the idea that all web services should be treated equally by providers. Motherboard

Soft drink sales in the US have dropped for the 12th year in a row, thanks to consumer education and new sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes. Reuters

A new government initiative has given 275 million Indians access to proper sanitation since 2014. Read that again and think about how many people that is. Gates Notes

In a significant public health victory, Mexico has become the first country in the Americas to eliminate trachoma, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. NBC

Last Friday the EU imposed new, stricter limits on pollutants such as nitrogen, sulphur, mercury and particulates that will apply to all 2,900 of Europe's large power plants. Reuters

Great Britain, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, has gone an entire day without using electricity produced from coal for the first time since the 1880s. Verge

6 APRIL 2017 - 20 APRIL 2017

Solar power recently broke through the 50% mark for electricity in California. They used to say it could only ever provide a fraction. Now they say it can never be 100%. Electrek

Canadian coal production has dropped to a 30 year low, and is expected to see further decline as the country moves to phase out coal fired power plants by 2030. Globe & Mail

The number of executions recorded worldwide has fallen by 37% since 2015. The decline was largely driven by fewer deaths recorded in Iran and Pakistan. BBC

A doctor in Virginia has found a cheap, effective cure for sepsis, one of the planet's deadliest diseases and major problem in hospitals around the world. Independent UK

India's Ministry of Sanitation has just issued a nationwide guideline allowing transgender people to use any public toilet of their choice. INDIA 1. NORTH CAROLINA 0. The Wire

Japan has officially recognised a same-sex couple as foster parents, marking a first for the country and signalling a growing recognition of LGBTQ rights in Japan. Mashable

A five month old whistle blowing policy in Nigeria has already helped recover more than $200 million from corrupt businessmen and politicians. Quartz

Taiwan has become the first Asian country to ban the eating of cats and dogs, with new laws imposing fines for consumption and jail time for killing and cruelty. China Post

23 MARCH 2017 - 5 APRIL 2017

Industries that now employ more people than the entire coal sector in the United States: bowling | skiing | travel agencies | used cars | theme parks | carwashes. Washington Post

Paris surrendered its streets to cars in the 60s and 70s. Today, under siege from smog and traffic it's leading some of Europe’s most aggressive efforts to fight back. City Lab

Germany's gamble to take in a million refugees is paying off handsomely. Its economy has strengthened and unemployment has dropped by almost 1% since 2015. Twitter

Between 2010 and 2014 death rates in the US decreased for 11 of the 16 most common cancer types in men and for 13 of the 18 most common cancer types in women. OUP

Israel's Agriculture Ministry is planning on halving food waste by changing packaging and labelling rules, and redistributing unused farm produce to feed families in need. Tablet

Twenty years ago the average malnourished person on planet Earth consumed 155 fewer calories per day than they needed. The World Bank says that number is now down to 88.

The European Commission is preparing to enact a permanent ban on all bee killing insecticides across the continent. Science + Adults in the Room = Good Policy.  Guardian

The European Union has also passed fresh rules that make it more difficult for armed groups to finance their activities through the sale of conflict minerals.

3 MARCH 2017 - 21 MARCH 2017

UK carbon emissions have fallen to the lowest levels since the Victorian era. The last time they were this low was 1894, the year the petrol car was invented. Independent UK

Hot on the heels of International Women's Day comes some good news from India, where parliament has passed a bill giving women 26 weeks maternity leave, and from Iceland, where the government has just made gender pay equality compulsory by law.

After rising dramatically in the 1990s and 2000s, income inequality in China has been falling steadily since 2010. Simon Kuznets is doing fist pumps in his grave... Quartz

China has also just introduced a surprisingly progressive sex education curriculum for kids, promoting sex positivity, gender equality and LGBT rights. Shanghaiist

Meet Josh Browder, the 19 year old inventor of a chatbot that’s overturned 160,000 parking fines and is now helping refugees claim asylum in the US, the UK and Canada. Mic

Meet Felix Finkbeiner, the 19 year old environmentalist who's worked with the United Nations to plant more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations. National Geographic

In a big win for two of the world's most endangered big cats, the Amur leopard and tiger, China has just approved a national park that's 60% larger than Yellowstone. HuffPost

More people are adopting old dogs in the US than ever before. Okay, okay, we know we're cheating a little here but c'mon, it's a great story. Look at that face! Washington Post

17 FEBRUARY 2017 - 2 MARCH 2017

Suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers have decreased by 14% in US high schools, thanks to the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Guardian

Good news for LGBT rights in Europe too. The Finnish government just voted down a revolt against same-sex marriages, ensuring it will become law next month, and in Slovenia, a new law permitting same-sex marriages came into effect last Friday. Reuters

Since 1980, life expectancy in Vietnam has jumped from 67.6 to 75.8 years, average schooling from 4.2 years to 7.5 years, and income has seen five-fold increase. Borgen

After quintupling between 1974 and 2007, the imprisonment rate in the US is now dropping in a majority of states, with an overall drop of 8.4% from 2010 to 2015. New York Times

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter of crude oil, is investing $50 billion into a massive renewable energy push in an effort to wean the country off fossil fuels. Bloomberg

Meanwhile, in Canada two of the world's biggest oil producers have just written off 4.7 billion barrels of oil from their tar sands projects because they're too expensive. OilPrice

Indonesia has pledged $1 billion to clean up its seas from plastic, and Cameroon has committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of forest in the Congo Basin. IUCN

A decrease pollution in the Ganges has brought Gangetic dolphins, one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world, back from the brink of extinction. Hindustan Times

2 FEBRUARY 2017 - 16 FEBRUARY 2017

The world finally has a vaccine that's cheap and effective enough to end one of humanity's greatest scourges, cholera, a disease that's killed tens of millions. New York Times

Between 2000 and 2015, HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in Ethiopia fell by 79%, underlining a remarkable turnaround in the country's fight against the disease. Global Fund

The elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park were supposed to have been wiped out by poachers years ago, yet the population is thriving. Here's why. National Geographic

The US is quietly making historic progress on farm animal welfare, with 10 states and hundreds of brands coming out against the most notorious kinds of factory farming. BI

A group of Israeli charities has successfully pulled off a secret mission to deliver 100 tonnes of winter supplies and clothing to refugees trapped in Syria. Jerusalem Post

As plunging crime closes prisons across the Netherlands, the government is turning them into housing and cultural hubs for ten of thousands of refugees instead. Co.Exist

Solar jobs in America increased at a record setting pace in 2016. Over the last 12 months, solar was responsible for one in every 50 new jobs created in the country. CNBC

Sweden has committed to phasing out all carbon emissions by 2045. Best thing about this story is the picture of the signing ceremony. Remind you of anything? Independent

19 JANUARY 2017 - 1 FEBRUARY 2017

Since 1980 the US has been a beacon of freedom for refugees, taking in 2.5 million people. Not one of them has been responsible for an act of domestic terror. The Age

86% of children now receive the DTP3 vaccine. That means the number of vaccinated humans on the planet has risen from 1 to 6 billion in two decades. Our World in Data

Since 2008, the rate of violent crime in the US has been lower than at any point since 1976. And thanks to better education and contraception techniques, abortion rates have reached their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer goods companies, has committed to making all of its packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Plastics News

Delhi has introduced a city-wide ban on disposable plastic, prohibiting the use of cutlery, bags and other plastic items amid concern over pollution of the sea and air. Independent

Brazil has pledged to rehabilitate 22 million hectares of forests, croplands and pastures, the largest restoration commitment ever made by a single nation. Pacific Standard

Deutsche Bank has $2 trillion in assets and is one of the coal industry's biggest financiers - and it's just announced it will stop financing all new coal projects. Ouch.

1 JANUARY 2017 - 18 JANUARY 2017

India is going to meet its renewables targets for the Paris Agreement 42 months ahead of schedule, meaning it will not need any new coal-fired power stations. Guardian

China has announced it's investing $361 billion into clean energy by 2020. Oh, and they've just suspended the building of an additional 104 coal plants. Energy Desk

New York City recorded its lowest number of shooting incidents in 2016 and narrowly missed setting a record low for homicides since record keeping began. Associated Press

Cancer deaths have dropped 25% in the US since 1991, saving 2.1 million lives. That's 50 times the number of US citizens killed by war and terrorism in that period. Science Daily.

1.3 million households in Kenya gained access to electricity last year. That means that the percentage of connected Kenyans is now at 55%, up from just 27% in 2013. Quartz

Good news for plane passengers. Apparently 2016 was the aviation industry's second safest year of all time, with only one death per 10.7 million travellers. Irish Independent

China has agreed to completely ban domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017. The move is being called a 'gamechanger' for elephant conservation. Washington Post

Mexico has created a new coastal and wetlands conservation area covering more than 5.7 million hectares, a 25% increase over its existing reserves. Pacific Standard