Good News Roundup – April2013

Climate Change and overall scientific knowledge learning took a leap in US Education System by the introduction of new science education guidelines. Although the states are not, by law, required to adopt these standards, 26 states are  seriously committed to considering them. This not only underlines the seriousness and undeniability of climate change, but also emphasizes science-proven facts that allow for broader mindsets, such as the evolutionary theory.

From The Guardian:

“Climate change is not a political issue and climate change is not a debate. It is science. It is strongly supported heavily research science, and our hope is that teachers will not see this as a political issue or a political debate,” [Mario Molina, deputy director at the Alliance for Climate Education] said.

(read complete article here)

Approaching the importance of transparency and sustainability in the food industry, a national, student led organization called The Real Food Challenge, dedicated to building a just and sustainable food system won a major victory this month by signing an agreement with Sodexo, the second largest food service company in the world making sure that all the chain of vendors and food producers, stakeholders to the company, are socially responsible. Since its founding in 2008, the Real Food Challenge managed to reallocate 20%, about 1 billion dollars US, of college and university food purchases to local, sustainable, humane and fair trade sources by the year of 2020, which means a big part of the industry invoicing coming from clean sources.  As Sodexo spokesperson Stephen Cox states:

“Transparency and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Increasing transparency is something we want to model for this generation of interested consumers and for our industry. Working with the Real Food Challenge is great way to do just that”

(read complete article here)

On the persistent issue of Arctic Drilling, Greenland’s first female Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond seems determined to make a difference by standing against the drilling of her country’s grounds for oil, after a failed injunction by British company Cairn Energy on the protests by Greenpeace. From The Guardian:

“Until now, the people of Greenland have been kept in the dark about the enormous risks taken by the politicians and companies in the search for Arctic oil. Now it seems that the new government will start taking these risks seriously. The logical conclusion must be a total ban on offshore oil drilling in Greenland.” Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace in Denmark, Jon Burgwald.

Greenland is the world’s largest island, with a total area of around 2.2 million square kilometres, four times the size of France (read complete article here).

Other news worthy of note this month are the rebuilding of the reef in Mobile Bay, Alabama, by Katherine Sather from The Nature Conservancy and 500 other volunteers (see the video here), so important for the ecosystem of the region, singing to the Lynyrd Skynyrd while making sure that the future of the Gulf is a bright one; the saving of the world’s largest humpback whale nursery from natural gas company Woodside Petroleum, preventing the construction of one of the largest complexes in the planet that would drill and dredge 6 kilometers out into the sea jeopardizing a world of rare abundance and beauty for sea and sky inhabitant alike; and the on growing success of the “Ring the Bell” campaign launched by actor Patrick Stewart to prevent and tackle violence against women worldwide in a powerful and impassioned speech to the U.N. (more information about the campaign here and watch the video message by Sir Richard Branson here).


Good News Roundup II

A roundup of the most recent good news to spark a smile unto your day.

In this upbeat article by Judy Molland, we read about the story of Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man who accidentally got hold of a Sarah Darling’s engagement ring when she emptied her change purse into his begging cup. Good Mr. Harris held to the ring until she came back for it, earning the friendship of Ms. Darling’s husband which, touched by Mr. Harris honesty, started a fund for him which is now on $167.000 dollars. On the same tone, Pat Wesner was walking along the street when a Brinks truck dropped $11.000 dollars on the middle of the street and continued his journey, utterly unaware. Ms. Wesner immediately called 911 and with the help of a state trooper scooped the money to their cars and delivered it safely to Brinks. Concluding the article, in what seems a Hollywood tale, a woman was absentmindedly walking her dog when she spotted another dog carrying the following message attached to his collar: “Help. Send help. No joke, cannot walk. Medicine not working. Need doctor.” Uncertain where to look she delivered the message to the police which then found a homeless man stranded in a remote area. Quoting from Yahoo News:

“Detective Jen Kolb told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, “He was absolutely immobile. He was in his camp and couldn’t move from his location. He didn’t have a phone to call anybody. No way to reach out to anybody for help, and he was afraid he was going to die.”

Attaching a note to his trusty friend? A last-ditch effort to contact the outside world. And it worked.

The homeless, but not friendless, man was treated and released from the hospital, and has been reunited with Buddy.”

(read other stories and the full article here)

In an article concerning the environment it’s announced that Shell decided to cancel the drilling of the Alaska Arctic for 2013, a major news for the native animals and environment in general. It’s always nice to know that profit doesn’t always beat common sense these days.

“Shell has announced that it will not conduct offshore drilling operations in the Alaska Arctic this year. The announcement is a victory for millions who called, wrote letters and signed petitions pointing out the extreme risk of a major oil spill, and the scientific data that showed neither Shell nor the government was prepared to respond adequately to such a catastrophe.

Despite much controversy and public outcry, in 2011 the Obama administration gave Royal Dutch Shell the green light to begin drilling for oil in the frigid waters of Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Since then, the petroleum giant has faced unending opposition from the scientific and environmental communities.

Although it’s not a permanent decision, it is a step ahead to prevent incidents such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster on the Gulf of Mexico. The fact of the issue is that we should’t even be using fossil fuel no more, but that’s a whole other story.

(read the full article here)

On United States politics, a bill was approved on The House of Representatives to pass the Violence Against Women Act, preventing future numberless cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse and hopefully saving lives.

“The Violence Against Women Act originally authorized a National Domestic Violence Hotline and federal funding to assist women’s shelters.

Almost two decades on, the version passed on Thursday goes further to authorize funding for victim assistance programs. It will also aid in the prosecution of people accused of domestic violence and sexual assault. The legislation also, for the first time, has provisions to deal with stalking, including the use of spyware and video surveillance equipment.”

(read the full article here)

On another upbeat article that did spark a smile on me: it was found that bird-watching (including observing, feeding and photographing) is now more popular than hunting. Undoubtedly good news for our flying feathered friends everywhere that apparently, nowadays, have to worry less about food and more about their good side for the cameras.

“According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), over 90 million U.S. residents 16-years-old and up participated in some form of recreation related to wildlife. During that year, 33.1 million people fished, 13.7 million hunted and 71.8 million participated in at least one type of wildlife-watching activity including observing, feeding or photographing fish and other wildlife in the United States.”

(read the full article here)

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” – Mother Teresa