butterfly

Our top 5 good news stories of 2021

It's not all doom and gloom.

As we reflect on the past year, let's remember the good — the people, communities, ideas, and science that are creating a more healthy and sustainable planet.


The environment can be a depressing beat. But here are the top five good news stories from our newsroom over the past year that remind us there is hope.

1. The pesticide ban movement gains momentum

pesticide ban

Cities and counties are increasingly banning toxic pesticides—and some are taking aim at fertilizers.

2. A Listen Into Landscape

good news podcast

A series of audio postcards spotlighting peace, place, and connection to landscape from the perspective of those working in nature.

3. How artificial intelligence can help save us from air pollution

artificial intelligence

Researchers find AI may outperform traditional models, which could give more advance warning of bad air days, and reduce harmful exposures and hospital visits.

4. From butterfly wings to shrimp claws: Mimicking nature on the nanoscale

green chemistry

Innovators look to biomimicry to address sustainability challenges.

5. Planting a million trees in the semi-arid desert to combat climate change

planting trees

Tucson's ambitious tree planting goal aims to improve the health of residents, wildlife, and the watershed.

Have a good news story tip? We want to hear about it, write us at feedback@ehn.org.

Banner photo: Metalmark Butterfly. (Credit: Andreas Kay/flickr)

plastic composting

Bioplastics create a composting conundrum

Biodegradable food packaging is a step in the right direction, experts say, but when composted carries risks of microplastic and chemical contamination.

GROTON, Mass. — Steam billows inside Black Earth Compost’s processing facility as Syed Dong, regional operations manager, opens the building’s delivery door and lets in the chilly March air.

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Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
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public land oil & gas
Credit: WildEarth Guardians/Flickr

New Interior Department policy to increase costs for oil drilling on public land

A long-awaited Interior Department policy will raise financial assurance and royalty rates, aiming to ensure cleaner operations and better returns for the public.

Nick Bowlin reports for High Country News.

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Justice Department supports Wisconsin tribe in pipeline dispute

In a recent legal development, the Justice Department has sided with a Wisconsin tribe's claim against a Canadian energy company over land rights, sparking controversy.

Izzy Ross reports for Grist.

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Changes anticipated in EPA's power plant emissions regulations as deadline approaches

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nears finalization of its emissions standards for power plants, potential modifications aim to tighten controls on gas-fired facilities.

Jean Chemnick reports for E&E News.

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Climate change challenges Brazil's beef industry

Brazil's beef industry faces a potential 25% reduction in production by 2050 if it fails to adapt to stringent climate policies and forest conservation efforts.

Maxwell Radwin reports for Mongabay.

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Opinion: Reevaluating our methods in pursuit of environmental sustainability

We need to rethink the effectiveness of focusing solely on decarbonization to achieve true sustainability.

Peter Sutoris writes for Undark.

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From our Newsroom
plastic treaty

Groups push Biden administration to take leadership role at upcoming plastic treaty talks

The US has taken a “middle of the road position” so far, environmental groups say.

chemical recycling Youngstown

Listen: Why communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are fighting chemical recycling plants

EHN reporter Kristina Marusic discusses her new three-part series on the controversies surrounding chemical recycling.

chemical recycling

Latest chemical recycling plant closing spurs concern over the industry’s viability

Oregon’s Regenyx plant announced its closing in late February, with those involved calling it a success, despite never reaching planned capacity and millions of dollars lost.

plastic treaty

Everything you need to know for the fourth round of global plastic pollution treaty talks

Countries will meet this month in Ottawa to move forward on the historic treaty — but obstacles remain.

zero waste business

Zero- and low-waste businesses band together against plastic pollution

As part of a national coalition, sustainable businesses are pooling resources to fight plastic pollution.

chemical recycling

Residents fear Pennsylvania, West Virginia chemical recycling proposals will deepen fossil fuel ties and pollution problems

"We’d like to be talking about positive things, focusing on our renewable energy future.”

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