Sideview of the no longer endangered species the Iberian Lynx walking in the jungle which is a topic discussed discussed in this week's Eco Friendly News.
Jun 24, 2024
weekly eco news

From Iberian Lynx Recovery to Youth-Led Environmental Victory in Hawaii - 31st Issue

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Iberian Lynx Rebound from Near Extinction

The Iberian Lynx with its gaze fixed on and walking towards something in the forest.

The Iberian lynx has been recategorized from Endangered to Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) Red List. The population has grown from 648 in 2022 to over 2,000 today, occupying an area of 1,281 square miles, up from just 173 square miles in 2005. 

This comeback is a result of a two-decade-long conservation effort, described as the "greatest recovery of a cat species ever achieved through conservation." Key strategies included restoring the population of European rabbits, the lynx's main prey, which had also become endangered due to disease outbreaks.

This recovery demonstrates that even critically endangered species can be saved with dedicated, science-based conservation efforts. It serves as a model for future conservation initiatives.

Vermont Enacts Landmark Law to Protect Pollinators

A close-up of a pollinator known as the Bumblebee as it pollinates a yellow flower.

Vermont has become the second U.S. state to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. These types of pesticides are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. The legislature revoked Governor Phil Scott's veto to pass H.706.

Vermont's approach, modeled after New York's legislation, requires farmers to obtain a "prescription" from an agronomist. This approach has been highly effective in Canada by reducing neonic seed coating use without causing crop losses.

This law will ensure their application only when necessary to address specific pest problems. The legislation marks a significant step in addressing the ongoing pollinator crisis that threatens food security and ecosystem health.

Hawaii Settles Climate Lawsuit with Young Plaintiffs

Woman overlooking the seashore in kualoa regional park on oahu, hawaii.

Hawaii's government has settled a lawsuit brought by young plaintiffs against the state's Department of Transportation over its fossil fuel use. The case, organized by Our Children's Trust and Earthjustice, alleged that the department's reliance on polluting fuels violated Hawaii's constitutional right to a clean environment.

The settlement, announced just before the trial, requires Hawaii to implement significant changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Key commitments include:

  • Developing a plan to fully decarbonize the state's transportation system within 20 years
  • Expanding bicycle lanes
  • Investing at least $40 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure by 2030.

Governor Josh Green praised the young activists' passion and commitment to a sustainable future. The agreement also recognizes the constitutional rights of young people to a clean and healthy environment. The case highlights the growing trend of climate litigation to address climate change concerns.

Historic EU Nature Restoration Law Adopted

Beautiful forest with rays of the sun shining through representing the European ecosystem.

On June 17th, the EU Environmental Council officially adopted the Nature Restoration Law (NRL). This NRL adoption has marked a significant victory for Europe's environment, climate action, and citizens. The law was passed with support from 20 countries, representing 66.07% of the EU population, thanks to a last-minute change of stance by Austria.

The #RestoreNature coalition, comprising BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, EEB, and WWF EU, hailed the vote as a historic turning point for nature and society. They emphasized the need for swift implementation by Member States in collaboration with all stakeholders.

The law's success followed massive public mobilization, including over a million signatures from citizens, support from scientists, businesses, youth organizations, and various civil society sectors. This outcome reaffirms the importance of biodiversity in the EU's agenda.

Amazon Shifts from Plastic to Paper Packaging

A plastic pillow used in packaging shown against white background.

Amazon has announced that it would replace plastic air pillows with recycled paper fillers in North America. This move will eliminate nearly 15 billion plastic air pillows annually, marking Amazon's most significant plastic packaging reduction effort. 

Environmental groups have welcomed this decision, as plastic film is a major pollutant, particularly harmful to marine life. However, they continue to push for further reductions in single-use packaging. Amazon has already phased out plastic pillows in Australia and most single-use plastic packaging in India and Europe.

While paper packaging is generally considered more environmentally friendly due to its recyclability and biodegradability, its climate impact can vary depending on production methods. Amazon assures that paper fillers are as effective as plastic in protecting products during transit.

This shift is part of Amazon's broader effort to remove all plastic delivery packaging from its North American shipment centers. It also aligns with growing global initiatives to reduce plastic waste in e-commerce, including legislative efforts in several U.S. states and countries worldwide.