Climate change is a grim reality and at times, it can feel like there’s no hope for the future of the planet. But this interactive mapping tool may give you some much-needed hope, as it shows places all around the world where people are working to restore or conserve ecosystems.
The map is called Restor and was developed by Thomas Crowther, an ecologist at ETH Zurich. Crowther wanted to show people that while it’s completely fair to be outraged by the slow response to climate change, “without optimism, that outrage goes nowhere.”
So Restor shines line on the ecological wins that show what changes can be made by people committed to making a difference, like a nonprofit planting trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest to restore an ecosystem that is now the home of 170 bird species and prairies in Illinois returning after nearing being wiped out in the late 20th Century.
As an open platform that was surfaced by Vox, Restor allows anyone to upload examples of ecological projects, so long as it involves conserving land in some way. So far, there have been more than 76,000 conservation uploads on Restor, showing how people everywhere are working tirelessly to preserve nature.
To use the interactive map, just go to the website. From there, you can click on the pins all over the world that provide information about the landscapes and nature that people are working to save — and you can see Restor’s future predictions for the planet based on the restoration projects they’re currently tracking. It’s a whole lot of fun to explore the platform, see what’s going on all over the planet, and remind yourself when you’re feeling down, that there’s plenty happening in regards to the climate that you can actually feel pretty excited about. And, for what it’s worth, it’s a massively useful data tool for keeping up with global conservation efforts.
“We’ve never known where all the conservation and restoration is happening on our planet,” Crowther said. “It’s the first time we can begin to visualize a global restoration movement.”
It’s no secret that we are reaching a potential breaking point with climate change and while it certainly does not do any good to pretend like these problems don’t exist, Restor is a reminder that it also doesn’t help to just give up because things feel hopeless. Doing whatever small part you can to help protect the planet can make a difference and if enough people help out, it could end up making all the difference.