By Cassady SharpGreenpeace

From solar-powered emails to recycled cities, there are plenty of reasons to feel hopeful for our planet this Earth Day. Although protecting our forests, oceans, and air is an endless job, we can also step back and appreciate all the really cool stuff going on all over the world thanks to people coming together and finding a better way. Big or small, these reasons all point to progress that is actually working.

7.  San Francisco is on track to be the first zero-waste town by 2020.

Because of a citywide ordinance to separate all organic materials, the city’s composting program has contributed to a reduction of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions to nearly 12 percent below 1990 levels.

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6.  The U.S. solar industry employs more people than the coal industry.

California also has more solar industry employees than actors and more Texans work in solar than ranching.  The industry boom in not just in sunny states. It employs people in every single U.S. state.

5. Wind energy is now the fastest growing source of electricity in the country.

According to a recent report, wind energy is responsible for 42 percent of new electricity generation and is increasingly inexpensive.

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4. One person can turn a city’s restaurant industry green.

local resident in Gainesville, Florida, pedals to pick up the scraps from local restaurants and turns it into a citywide gardening project.

3.  There’s a solar plane flying right now.

In the spirit of innovation from the historic first days in flight, engineers have come together to create the first solar-powered airplane, and it could be above your head right now.

2. Google plans to power the Internet with renewable energy.

Thanks to some pressure from Google, the largest utility company in the U.S., Duke Energy, now plans to offer renewable energy to its major customers.  This will allow Google, who also announced plans today to double the size of one if its largest data centers, an option to power its cloud with clean energy.

1. On a cold winter day, 40,000 came together to move forward on climate change.

On February 17, diverse representatives from all over across the environmental movement gathered in our nation’s capital to tell our nation’s leaders it’s time for action on climate change.

 This article was written by Cassady Sharp and published in Greenpeace Blogs on April 22, 2013. Photo by BMitchener/Flickr.

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