Happy February! We don’t know about you, but here at Ocean Bottle we’re just about ready to throw ourselves into a new season. While it may have just been snowing outside in London (not quite enough for a snowman, sadly), we’re excited by the sense of hopefulness that comes with February - that sense that spring is just around the corner. February 2021 is imbued with a positivity and hopefulness that is fuelled by the pockets of good news that punctuate the bad - like the vaccination drives around the world that are finally shifting the dial on our fight against Covid. Of course, with the uncertainty of the crisis, these possibilities are quite literally endless, but in the spirit of optimism, and the hopefulness that comes with increasingly lighter mornings, we want to focus our attention this month on celebrating the good news thats out there, highlighting the stories bringing a renewed sense of hope and drive to climate action.
So here we go, some of February’s best climate news, in planet-saving, bite-size chunks!
We’ll kick things off with some exciting news from one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, Ford. The century-old automotive company announced yesterday that all its cars produced in Europe would be electric by 2030, a huge step for a company that sells nearly a million cars a year in Europe alone. Ford is following in the footsteps of Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley, who have both committed to a fully electric fleet by 2030. Not a bad start to our February good news reel! And with BoJo announcing last year that all petrol and diesel vehicle sales would be banned in the UK by 2030, it appears the electric vehicle race is under starters orders, and it’s a race we’re watching here at OB with a buzz of excitement. Let’s hope the aviation industry is taking notes.
Great news hey! Well, buckle in, because there’s more where that came from. As of this week, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has appointed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the trade body’s first ever female and first ever African leader. Fittingly announced during Black History Month, this is a huge moment for women, for people of colour, for African communities and for Ngozi herself, who calls herself a ‘fighter,’ fighting mainly for the protection of poorer nations via trade liberalisation. She has placed climate issues at the top of her agenda, alongside her more immediate aim to tackle ‘vaccine nationalism,’ ensuring that poorer countries and their citizens don’t miss out when it comes to protection against Covid. And you thought the news was bad at the moment!
To continue on the theme of Black History Month, we wanted to celebrate some of the other POC making waves in the world and bringing us good news this February! In 2021, Black History Month has a layer of significance like never before, after 2020 saw the BLM movement pick up global traction, revealing to the world the multitude of injustices faced by every person of colour, every day. BLM made systemic issues impossible for world leaders to continue to ignore. From a climate change point of view, it was tough to choose someone to celebrate in this seminal month, but we settled on Outdoor Afro, an non-profit started in 2009 by Rue Mapp. Outdoor Afro’s tagline is ‘Where Nature and Black People Meet,’ and it is a company that aims not only to connect Black people with the natural world, but to inspire new leaders in the field of conservation, to generate a community of people energised to protect the natural world, and drive an inclusive attitude to nature that gets people out and truly experiencing the beauty of our natural world. If you want to check out more, have a look at some of Rue’s and her teams’ amazing work here.
Not enough good news? Want some more? Well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve got electric cars, we’ve got our first ever black, female leader of an international trade body, we’ve got an amazing black female leader inspiring conservation efforts in the US, but what else?
Well, I bet you didn’t know that February is known to some (particularly in environmentalist circles) as Fishing Cat February. Last year, researchers and conservationists from around the world came together to form the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance, coming together to ensure this incredibly elusive, little known cat is protected against extinction. The Fishing Cat is native to Asia, particularly prevalent in Bengal and Odisha, in the Wetlands and winding Mangroves that create the breathtaking landscape there. The fishing cat is about twice the size of a domestic cat, but has evolved to be one of the cat world’s finest swimmers. A sort of whiskered, feline Michael Phelps (with webbed feet and what the Fishing Cat lovers call a ‘rudder-like’ tail). Like many of our planet's most beautiful animals, the Fishing Cat’s natural habitat is under threat. With the newly launching Fishing Cat February, and the new conservation alliance, this species should be around for a lot longer than initially feared.
If a cat-and-conservation-based naming convention for the month of February wasn’t enough, well there’s a bonus section to this tail (sorry, couldn’t help it!). The Fishing Cat’s appetite for goats has left it vulnerable to retaliation attacks from farmers in the region. To combat this threat, the Fishing Cat Project team have come up with an initiative called ‘The Goat Bank,’ which is probably our favourite initiative ever, which aims to reduce attacks on Fishing Cats by giving families and farmers who lose a goat to a cat, a new goat via the Goat Bank. You can learn more about these amazing felines here and help propel them even further into the mainstream!
To round up our Good News Download, and to continue to give goats the spotlight they deserve, we wanted to share an ‘and finally,’ one of those news stories so ridiculous it almost defies belief. Because it’s what we all need. Well, let me introduce you to opportunistic farmer Dot McCarthy, who spotted an unlikely gap in the market, offering up her herd of goats as fun additions to your next work zoom call! At £5, it feels like a bargain, but Dot has made over £50k so far. Not even kidding! (Sorry).
Well, that’s enough good news for one day isn’t it. Next month we’ll be celebrating World Recycling Day, interviewing the sustainability champion of one of the coolest new companies on the block, as well as looking at International Women’s Day, and some of the exceptional women making things happen for our world.