Although it can be hard to see the bright side of a dire situation, every step towards a greener more sustainable future is a step in the right direction. 

2021 saw a devastating increase in record-breaking temperatures and climate disasters. This year the UN labelled the climate crisis as “code red for humanity“. Climate devastation can feel inevitable but aggressive and immediate action can combat the growing effects.

Here are some of 2021’s monumental climate action achievements:

Keystone XL

Photo Credit: Inside Climate News

Keystone XL Oil Pipeline was Cancelled 

Developers cancelled the $9 billion pipeline in June after the Biden administration revoked its permit granted by Donald Trump. This followed over a decade of protesting from Native Americans, landowners and environmentalists. 

“After more than 10 years of organizing we have finally defeated an oil giant, Keystone XL is dead!” Indigenous Environmental Network said in a statement. “We stood hand-in-hand to protect the next seven generations of life, the water and our communities from this dirty tar sands pipeline.”

Harvard divest from fossil fuels

Photo Credit: The National

Students Pressured Harvard to Divest From Fossil Fuels

After nine years of student, faculty and alumni protests led by Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, in September, the university announced it will divest its holdings in fossil fuels. Harvard had almost $42 billion invested in a number of private equity funds with holdings in the fossil fuel industry. 

“If divestment can happen for Harvard University with an endowment the size of a small nation, then other universities, state governments, and powerful actors have no excuse,” said Isa Flores-Jones, a Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard alumna.


Photo Credit: Phys Org

Conservation Commitments 

Over the past year, over 100 countries committed to protecting at least 30% of the Earth’s land and ocean by 2030 in an initiative called the Protect Our Planet Challenge or “30×30”. $5 Billion, the most money ever pledged for conservation from a private source, was pledged by nine organizations to aid countries in completing the challenge. 

“A global 30×30 conservation target is not an arbitrary aspiration—it is a scientific and moral necessity,” said Antha Williams, Head of Climate and Environment Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We need increased political leadership and funding to slow the alarming loss of coral reefs, mangroves, and other ecosystems critical to mitigating and adapting to climate change. Bloomberg Philanthropies is pleased to join the Protecting Our Planet Challenge, an important movement to support communities whose food, livelihoods, and health are under threat by the projected worst of climate change and loss of biodiversity.”