By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Happy New Year! And while it might not seem quite so happy at this moment — with renewed fighting in Gaza, rising U.S. unemployment and global economic pain — we always are seeking signs of hope on the green front. Trawling for good news over the holidays, we found these encouraging items:

  • The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports that the coral reefs in Indonesia are recovering rapidly following the tsunami that hit four years ago. “Baby corals” are springing up to replace those lost in the Dec. 26, 2004 disaster, which means that the ecosystems needed to support fishing, as well as tourism, in the area are mending nicely. “This is a great story of ecosystem resilience and recovery,” said Dr. Stuart Campbell, coordinator of the WCS’s Indonesia Marine Program in a news release. In assessing the coral lost in the area, Campbell’s team of researchers discovered that destructive fishing practices (using dynamite and chemicals), in addition to the tsunami, had killed much of the coral. But increasingly, local communities are managing these undersea resources more responsibly, and also are successfully transplanting coral in damaged areas.
  • A new wildlife preserve in South America has been established to help protect some 500,000 penguins, fur seals and several species of seabirds. This inaugural protected area in Argentina is expected to save breeding grounds and also offshore habitat for these imperiled animals. Several groups collaborated to create the park, including the Wildlife Conservation Society (the Bronx Zoo-based group’s mission is to restore wildlife around the globe); the National Parks Service of Argentina; the government of Chubut; Fundacion Patagonia Natural and the United Nations Development Programme.

So here’s to Mother Nature, who will find a way, if we provide a path instead of a roadblock.

Now if we could just get the WCS working on that world economy problem…

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