The earth that we live in is blessed with an evergreen environment that is filled with scenic spots, touristy destinations, wondrous creations, and bountiful attractions that are absolutely good for the eyes.
Human individuals greatly benefit from the gifts that the environment brings from its smallest sprouts up to the largest bliss that it offers without fade and fail.
Nowadays, the picture is truly different as it rotated into a 360-degree motion because of the horrendous actions and detrimental motives that human beings have done to Mother Earth. From problems that are highly regarded as a nightmare up to pressing issues and concerns that wary the minds and intuition of environmentally-concerned leaders, activists, and leaders, the need to reconstruct, redefine, rebuild and recalibrate the environment is of utmost urgency.
Moreover, the world that we live in and the environment that we have is still greatly high in exuberance and vibrance for the reason that some countries all over the globe are performing and exerting initiatives and efforts that are attuned to improving its situation in their respective country, even amidst the pandemic.
In this article, we will be witnessing the four different environmental efforts that four countries across the globe have made possible amidst the pandemic, in partnership with the 100 all around the world good stories that were featured in the Reader’s Digest magazine and website.
Let us begin.
The European Continent’s Reduction of Surplus Food Waste
The first is the unified environmental effort of European countries in terms of reducing the wastage of surplus food.
Believe it or not, large amounts of surplus food are wasted all around the globe, most specifically in supermarkets as they perform their offload procedure of surplus food products that have already reached or passed its expiration date.
This situation is greatly similar in bakeries, cafes, and restaurants as both uneaten, non-purchased meals and food no longer suitable for human consumption, are disposed of and thrown away.
But on the other side of the coin, this specific situation is greatly avoided in European countries through the creation of an application that solves the problem of food waste. It’s called “Too Good to Go.”
This app was initially devised in Copenhagen and it offers its full-pledged users from the 14 European countries to easily access safe-to-eat, consumable and unsold food produce from actively participating suppliers all over the continent.
One major benefit is that food sold through the application is heavily discounted, where the buyer only pays for about a third of its regular price.
The Too Good to Go app was launched in 2016 and because of its impact, the app became an in-demand downloadable app by 22 million people that lived in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Portugal, France, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, and Spain.
Moreover, the app users are given the opportunity to take a quick check on the outlets around their neighborhood with regards to the daily availability of surplus food and as a benefit; they can pick their ordered food produce at its closing time.
The app has contributed significantly from households with restricted budgets to the reduction of wastes produced.
Mette Lykke, the CEO of Too Good to Go stated, “Food waste contributes to eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together we can fight food waste and ensure quality surplus produce doesn’t end up in the bin. Our mission is a world where food produced is food consumed.”
Reconstructing Asphalt Roads to Scenic Green Settings in Arnhem City
The second is the environmental effort of Arnhem, a Dutch city that is both situated and located in the Netherlands.
The Dutch city of Arnhem is impacting changes in terms of its layout as a city by creating protection from the extremities brought about by climate change, such as heatwaves and floodings.
In the guise of a 10-year plan, the city’s 10% asphalt is replaced little by little with grass and greenery sprouts which is greatly beneficial to the city’s initiatives and efforts in improving rainfall absorption, as well as in dissipating heat.
In relation to what has been said, the Dutch city of Arnhem aims to absorb 90% rainwater into its soil, to address the concern of eventual flood or water overflow rather than shedding it off into the sewers.
The city is geographically situated 13 meters above the sea level, and as a result, has a history of suffering serious flooding, as well as droughts.
Moreover, as a means of prevention and preparation for these two natural disasters that are highly regarded as nightmares in the Dutch city of Arnhem, the initiative of tree planting that is centered around ponds, squares, and shopping centers is greatly encouraged and practiced.
This environmental initiative by the city serves direct response to covering roads and sheltering cool down areas from the heat of the sun
According to Cathelijne Boukwamp, who is the city’s alderman, “We must adapt to the climate change that is taking place now.”
The Finnish Town’s Child-Centered Environmental Initiative for Zero Waste
The third is the children-centered zero-waste environmental initiative of a Finnish town.
The Finnish town which is named “Ii” is happily paving its way in becoming the first-ever town in the world that is proudly “zero-waste, through the help of its young, vibrant and enthusiastic children.
The environmental efforts of Ii as a town in Finland, originated in 2012, through its investment in wind, solar and geothermal energy projects that resulted in the halving of CO2 emissions from 2007 to 2015.
The 10,000 residents of Ii town switched to the use of electric cars and smart meters to show the young ones in their town the good aftereffects of these initiatives.
Moreover, in the schools that are found all over the town, Finnish teachers teach and educate young children to monitor the consumption of heat, electricity, and water, as well as the present classroom temperature and electrical devices that are found in the classroom.
It is through these practices that school children would feel the urgency of learning its essence and purpose, and at the same time, easily understand how these actions can greatly contribute to the betterment of the whole town.
At this present time in the Finnish town of Ii, the presence of an energy surplus is vivid, which maximally produces up to 10 times more than the expected consumption that it performs.
As an effect, the taxes of the town residents reduced significantly to $2.5 million which beneficially aided the residents to save from the annual budget of the town.
The Finnish town mayor, Ari Alatossava, stated, “It’s the end for fossil fuels and if we can do it in a small town with few resources and benefit so much from it, no one has an excuse anymore.”
Northern Paris Environmental Clean-Up Project
The fourth is the unified environmental effort of a youth charity that hails from the town of Garges-lès-Gonesse, which is located in the northern part of Paris.
The youth charity members who live in the suburban portion of Northern Paris join forces in inspiring their neighborhood by turning their backs from gang violence and diverting their attention by cleaning the entire neighborhood as inspired by a national clean-up campaign.
According to the founder of the arts charity Espoir et Création in Garges-lès-Gonesse, Hind Ayadi, she was able to gather 40 young people and was able to motivate them by picking both litter and trash around the neighborhood. Ayadi intently performed this initiative for the reason that it will entice and raise awareness on pressing issues that concern the environment, and in the long run, will encourage all of them to be proud in the neighborhood that they live in.
Ayadi emphasized by saying, “Teenagers don’t always feel preoccupied with environmental issues but this time they wanted to get involved.”
Furthermore, the unified volunteers of the environmental neighborhood campaign made great utilization of the social media platform by challenging Marseille, located in Southern Paris, to exert a similar initiative.
As a direct effect, it was absolutely a great surprise that the city of Marseille gladly accepted the challenge and in hopes to continue the good action chain, challenged the city of Montpellier.
Lastly, the challenge turned out to be a domino effect as it became a widespread challenge relay in Northern and Southern Paris, on a city to town basis which included the cities of Perpignan and Nice and in the long run, was extended to the other 25 towns, as well.
In conclusion, in revisiting Garges-lès-Gonesse once again, Adil Nazir, who is a 16-year old volunteer, said, “It’s rewarding to see we’ve reached so many people. Now, we’re fully committed to keeping our city clean daily.” –
With these four environmental efforts that were performed amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the writer hoped that the readers are motivated and inspired to push through and make a difference to save Mother Nature and our planet.