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7 highlights from 2021 (and what we’re looking forward to in 2022)

It’s been another unpredictable year, but despite the challenges, there are also many highlights to be grateful for. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of the things that brought us joy and inspiration in 2021, from global milestones to those a little closer to home. And in the name of forward thinking, we’ve also listed our top three innovations for 2022 in the realms of science and space. The future certainly looks bright.

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1. New and exciting materials science

2021 was a big year for creating and developing new materials science innovations, designed to help reduce negative environmental impact. We made denim from two naturally regenerative plants (Hemp and Himalayan nettle), repurposed food waste, turned banana leaf fiber, pineapple leaf fiber and bamboo into our FRUTFIBER™ fabric blend, and so much more. Watch this space for 2022.

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2. Rediscovering the beauty and power of nature

Forest bathing and cold-water swimming became huge wellness trends this year—and with good reason. Time spent in nature not only has tenfold benefits for our mental health, but it’s also a constant source of inspiration for new PANGAIA innovations and colors. For our team, the simplicity of sitting in a local park with grass beneath our feet was enough to feel grateful for the little things in life.

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3. 77 countries ban plastic bags

Did you know that, according to the World Economic Forum, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute? This terrifying statistic has to be taken seriously given the damaging effect of single-use plastic in our oceans. Thankfully this year, 77 governments across the world announced a full or partial ban on plastic bags and promoted sustainable alternatives instead. (Source)

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4. Giving back

At PANGAIA, we’re firm believers in giving back – and there are many causes that are close to our heart. Forest rehabilitation is one of them and with your help, we were able to plant, protect and restore over 500,000 trees this year. We also supported Choose Love in 2021 through our International Women’s Day capsule, providing smartphones, Wi-Fi and training to refugee women and helping reduce digital poverty. Plus, in honor of Pride, we supported True Colors United and also hosted an internal talk on how to be an ally in the workplace. If you’d like to pledge to make a difference in 2022, you can set goals with us here.

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5. Kamala Harris entering the White House

When Kamala Harris was appointed the Vice President of the United States in January 2021, she was not only the first woman, but also the first Black and South Asian person to hold this position. Her victory was a huge milestone for representation and a turning point in American history. We hope that it continues to spark a domino effect and becomes a real driver for change for young women and people of color. As Kamala said in her inspiring speech, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” (Source)

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6. Embracing the finer things, closer to home

From our local parks and coffee shops to the neighbours we may never have spoken to before, it’s been a year of discovering connections closer to home. And for those of us who did get to travel, we found new appreciation for exploring our own countries – a bonus for local tourism and the environment, too. Less carbon footprint, and more chances to be inspired on our doorsteps.

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7. Appreciation for our school teachers

The reality of homeschooling, while also juggling working from home – and for some of us, looking for new jobs – added a new level of stress to the daily grind. Members of team PANGAIA have expressed their utmost appreciation and gratitude for teachers and the incredible work that they do, which is something we likely took for granted before.

2022: a future filled with innovation
From China’s first space station to NASA’s hunt for water on the moon, the worlds of science and space are about to make history in 2022. Here’s how:

- NASA hunts for water on the moon: NASA is sending a VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) to the surface of the moon in December 2022. Designed like a golf cart, its total operation time is around 100 earth days. The goal? To extract water from the lunar south pole to aid human space missions, turning it into rocket fuel and oxygen for breathing.

- Germany takes out nuclear energy: After the Fukishima disaster in Japan, Germany (amongst other countries) pledged to abandon nuclear energy by 2036 to avoid the risk of large areas of the country eventually becoming uninhabitable (as nuclear energy produces toxic waste). 14 years ahead of schedule, the remaining plants will be shut down in 2022—edging one step closer to a more responsible economy.

- China's first space station will be complete: What began with three 'Tiangong' modules as part of a space laboratory phase in 2011, will become a fully-fledged station next year that’s ready to support three astronauts for long-term stays. The aim is to offer a playground for scientists to experiment across numerous fields, including dark matter and cosmic rays, ultraviolet emissions and the growth of cancer. Watch this space. (Source)

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