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A GiftTerrible environmental news comes to my inbox every day. In honour of the week of Earth Day, let’s have a little good news instead.
On the future of our desperately imperilled oceans:
1.    In 2010, more than 800 of the world’s single-hulled oil tankers will finally be scrapped, 20 years after the Exxon Valdez catastrophe.  Guess who is still using single hulled tankers the most? Exxon.
2.    Some progress is being made to reduce the human environmental costs of breaking up all those ships, even though most are broken on the beaches in Bangladesh. The International Organization for Standardization has released ISO 30000, a management system for the safe recycling of ships.3.    The Clemenceau, the poster “ghost ship” of the last decade, is finally being broken down at a qualified British shipyard, where its asbestos and other toxic substances will be removed under safe and controlled conditions. This is the French aircraft carrier that launched lawsuits around the world when the French government sent it, laden with toxics, to be broken at Alang, India. The French finally recalled the ship after a storm of international protest, including successful lawsuits by Greenpeace in both France and India. A British lawsuit failed to send the ship away again.
4.    Next month, the International Maritime Organization is expected to adopt an international convention on the recycling of ships.
On transportation, there are many green successes around the world.
1.    In Germany, more than 1.2 million people signed up, in less than two months, for the “retire a clunker” allowance, $2,500.00 Euros ($4,000.00) for anyone who turns in a car more than nine years old. Old cars release the lion’s share of air pollutants from vehicles. The incentive has been far more successful than the government anticipated. Sales of small new cars have jumped.
2.    An almost free municipal bicycle system in Paris is a great success. Bicycles are stored around the city. They are picked up with a credit card but can be used free for 30 minutes. People who leave bikes at the tops of hills get extra free time. Two crews constantly circulate repairing the bikes, which have become immensely popular.
3.    New York City has increased bicycling 35 percent over the last two years by a concentrated campaign to make cycling safer. One of the initiatives is to move parked cars away from the curb, so that cyclists can travel, protected from moving traffic, in the space between the curb and the parked cars.
General public awareness of environmental issues in general, and climate change in particular, has mushroomed. Million Acts of Green has reached 1,450,976, and climbing.
The Calgary Herald has started a green group on Facebook.
Local food has skyrocketed in popularity; and instead of struggling to find buyers, the main challenge at the moment is to find enough farmers to fill the demand.
The U.S. EPA is finally moving towards regulation of greenhouse gases, by releasing its proposed endangerment finding, after the eight lost years of the Bush administration.
Magnolia Magnificence Week, which used to come in May, now starts on my street on Earth Day. In Magnolia Magnificence Week, thousands of beautiful magnolia trees blossom in luxuriance and hope.
So thank you and congratulations to everyone responsible for giving us some good news for a change!

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