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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: a ‘major breakthrough’ for forests, plus more

Posted 9th December 2022 • Written by •

The EU agreed a landmark law to halt deforestation, working less was found to be good for business, and France banned domestic flights, plus more positive news

Rainforests breathed a little easier

In a move hailed a “major breakthrough for forests”, the EU has approved legislation banning goods linked to deforestation. 

Businesses will have to show that their products have not contributed to tree loss if they want to sell them in the bloc. The new law will apply to companies selling soy, beef, palm oil, wood, rubber, cocoa and coffee, plus some derived products like leather, chocolate and furniture. It is expected to be rubber stamped next year. 

“This is a major breakthrough for forests, and for the people who stood up to protect them,” said Greenpeace’s John Hyland. “This law will make some chainsaws fall silent and stop companies profiting from deforestation.” 

However, Greenpeace criticised the EU nations for adding loopholes for their own logging industries, and not doing enough to protect the rights of Indigenous groups, who “pay with their blood to defend nature”. Business groups said the measures could stymie trade. 

Speaking of forests…

Expect to see more of them in the UK, where a ‘mini forest’ revolution is gathering pace. 

Tiny pockets of land across the country are being transformed using a groundbreaking technique that aims to build ecosystems rather than simply plant trees.  

Earthwatch Europe, an environmental charity based in Oxford, has plans to plat 500 mini forests across the UK by 2030. Other countries have similar ambitions. 

Read the full story here.  

The US passed a bill protecting same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage is now protected by US federal law. Congress approved legislation guaranteeing federal recognition of gay and interracial marriages in a vote on Thursday. 

The bill was born out of concern that the supreme court could reverse its support for same-sex marriage as it did with abortion rights. 

The measure will now go to US president Joe Biden to be signed into law. The Respect for Marriage Act, as it is called, won Senate approval last month.

France banned some domestic flights 

The European Commission has given France the nod to ban domestic flights on routes where there’s a train alternative that takes less than 2.5 hours. 

The move is mostly symbolic. The International Council of Clean Transportation told Positive News that it will only affect a small number of flights, equating to around three per cent of the country’s domestic aviation emissions. 

Nonetheless, supporters say the law sets an example for other countries to follow, and could help accelerate innovation in sustainable aviation technology. Before the pandemic, aviation was the world’s fastest growing source of CO2.

The law was proposed by a citizens’ assembly. According to EuroNews, it also includes a crackdown on private jet use. 

Read more

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