10 Sustainability Milestones That Have Changed The World

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / Jun 2 2019 / 16:37 PM

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, take a look at what you thought were the most noteworthy steps forward for sustainability from 1919 to the present day...

10 Sustainability Milestones That Have Changed The World
Hilton Hotels

In the last century, we've begun to prioritise sustainability. Although we've still got a long way to go before we can meet our current needs without jeopardising our future ones, sometimes a retrospective look can remind us of the progress we've made and allow us to marvel at human achievement. To celebrate 100 years in business, the Hilton conducted a poll amongst 7000 members of public to find out which moments they considered the most consequential in terms of looking after our planet. Here are what you thought were the most important steps forward for sustainability in the last century...

1. 1937: Identification of the 'greenhouse effect', gaining 23.10% of votes

The term was first coined by Glen Thomas Trewartha, an American geographer, who described the atmosphere as "a pane of glass in a greenhouse... thus maintaining surface temperatures considerably higher than they otherwise would be."

2. 1954: Invention of the first solar panels, gaining 36.30% of votes

3. 1970: First-ever Earth Day, gaining 26.10% of votes

The first Earth Day saw an estimated 20 million people participate in peaceful demonstrations across the US. Celebrations were held in two thousand colleges and universities, ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the nation. Now, 192 countries mark the occasion annually.

4. 1972: First designation of UNESCO World Heritage sites, gaining 23.30% of votes

The debut World Heritage List comprised just 12 sites, including national parks in the US, Canada and Ethiopia, islands in Ecuador and Senegal, a cathedral in Germany and salt mines in Poland. Today, the list includes over 1,000 places.

5. 1976: First low energy lightbulb, gaining 33.10% of votes

6. 1985: Antarctic Ozone hole is discovered by British and American scientists, gaining 20.20% of votes

7. 1992: First Earth Summit held, gaining 22.60% of votes

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, or the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, was held in the Brazilian city, saw 172 countries participate, and was the first UN conference of its kind.

8. 1998: First Bag for Life invented, gaining 20.90% of votes

The first Bag for Life was launched in the UK by British supermarket Waitrose.

9. 2002: Bangladesh is the first country to ban plastic bags, gaining 31.70% of votes

In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country in the world to implement a ban on disposable plastic bags, after they were found to be blocking the country's drainage systems during catastrophic floods. 

10. 2006: Construction started on the first zero carbon, zero waste city, gaining 30.80% of votes

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi is the world's first-ever zero-carbon footprint community, with the aim of becoming the world's most sustainable eco-city. 

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Repost from @amazingabudhabi . . . The Future of clean living... @masdar City in our @amazingabudhabi _ Masdar City combines state-of-the-art technologies with the planning principles of traditional Arab settlements to create a desert community that aims to be carbon neutral and zero waste. The 640-hectare project is a key component of the Masdar Initiative, established by the government of Abu Dhabi to advance the development of renewable energy and clean-technology solutions for a life beyond oil. The city will become a centre for the advancement of new ideas for energy production, with the ambition of attracting the highest levels of expertise. Knowledge gained here has already aided the development of Abu Dhabi’s ‘Estidama’ rating system for sustainable building. _ @waddah_al_hawat _ #masdar #masdarcity #simplyabudhabi #simplydubai #amazingabudhabi #abudhabi

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