Good News In Case The IPCC Report Got You Depressed

Image Credit: Charlie Marshall, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

Image Credit: Charlie Marshall, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped

I’ve spent the last few days churning through the IPCC report and by jove, it is BLEAK. I’ll have a summary up soon in some format for those of you who find even the 42 page summary a bit daunting, but don’t look forward to it… But because it’s important to share hope and stories of real progress, I thought I’d churn through the news cycles and find some cases of things going well in the natural world.

NB: I should also point out that I don’t do this to make people think everything’s actually fine and dandy, rather to give anyone feeling down a bit of hope and inspiration, which we could all use from time to time.

In Southern Spain, the reintroduction of local plant species and artificial shelters for local animals throughout olive groves has resulted in a massive biodiversity boost. It has also led to increased water retention and profits for the farmers, and the practice is spreading to Spain’s wine industry.

After many populations were wiped out due to the fur trade, sea otter numbers have been picking up in spots all along North America’s west coast. Many of the populations that have returned have been helped in part by translocation programs from last century that were initially thought to have failed.

Speaking of the weasel family, pine martens have started popping up again in New Forest National Park, Southern England. Camera traps have been picking up the martens recently, which were almost extinct at the start of the 20th century, again due to the fur trade. Read more on British mammals and camera traps here.

We hear a lot of awful news about the thawing of permafrost, which puts enormous amounts of CO2 back into the atmosphere. However a recent study has shown that in some areas (in this case the Tibetan plateau), it is possible for plant CO2 uptake to compensate for the carbon lost into the atmosphere through permafrost thawing.

While overfishing continues to be a huge problem for much of the planet, Bristol Bay in Canada have shown that sustainable management of key fish species for humans is possible. This year over 63 million sockeye salmon entered the bay, and records were broken in many nearby waterways as well.

Lastly, here’s a heartwarming story from my former colleague Mari Aas Fjelldal on how much help she’s had from local households in her efforts to monitor Norway’s bat populations. It’s a testament to just how valuable community science can be.


If you’re looking for more good news stories, follow @OceanOptimism or @ConservationOptimism on Twitter. The Australian Climate Council also posts good news stories on a regular basis.

If you have any more good news stories from recent times, feel free to send me the on Twitter or via the blog’s contact page and I’ll gladly add them. Lastly, if you’re curious about the value of optimism in conservation, check out this interview with Professor Nancy Knowlton from a few years back.

Read More: Nancy Knowlton: The Importance of Earth Optimism


Dr. Sam Perrin is a freshwater ecologist who completed his PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and wants to reassure you that the planet’s not past the point of no return yet, so it’s not too late to act. You can read more about his research and the rest of the Ecology for the Masses writers here, see more of his work at Ecology for the Masses here, or follow him on Twitter here.

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