Every one of these stories has been
published since the beginning of 2017

(they're all curated from our fortnightly newsletter)


27th OCTOBEr - 9th NOVEMBER

 

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.


13th OCTOBEr - 26th OCTOBER

 

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


29th September - 12th OCTOBER

 

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


1st September - 28th September

 

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


18th August - 31st August

 

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


4th AUGUST - 17th August

 

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


14th July - 3RD August

 

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


30th June - 13th july

 

“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


16th June - 29th June

 

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


2nd June - 15th June

 

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


18th May - 1st June

 

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


5th May - 17th May

 

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


21st April - 4th May

 

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 isGates 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


6th April - 20th April

 

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


23rd March - 5th April

 

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. Mining.com


3rd March - 21st March

 

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


17th February - 2nd March

 

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


2nd February - 16th February

 

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


19th January - 1st February

 

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. Mining.com


1st January - 18th January

 

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