Born out of frustration that mainstream news only promotes the negative, we're bringing you a regular fix of the good news buried underneath the bad. Happy Friday!
Sometimes it feels like human beings are determined to screw up the planet and everyone on it. Yet, all around the world, amazing people – just like you – are coming up with new ways of living, loving and doing business to create a better future for us all. So we’ve decided to dedicate a regular blog to shout out some of the good news we’ve seen each week. Here’s this week’s round up...
When Ewan Drum told his mum he wanted to be a superhero teenager and help homeless people, his mum said, why wait? So now every month Ewan puts on his cape and distributes essential supplies to those struggling in Metro Detroit. He’s now set up his own non-profit – Super Ewan, Inc – and he’s expanding the support to a neighbouring country. Ewan’s brilliant strapline is, ‘We can all be a superhero to someone’… Who will you be a superhero to today?
Young people in the US are demanding that their future be protected from climate change by going to court. They’re relying on something called the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’, which states that “the government is a trustee of the resources that support our welfare and survival”. Although an application to the US Supreme Court was denied, there are cases pending in six states. Kelsey Juliana, who is one of the young people involved in the legal effort in Oregon said, “As a youth, and therefore someone on the frontlines of climate change chaos, I have everything to gain from taking action and everything to lose from not.”
As religious tensions and anti-Semitism rise around the world, Muslims in Oslo have set an inspiring example. More than 1,000 Muslims and people of other faiths formed a “ring of peace” around Oslo’s synagogue this week to show solidarity with Jews and promote humanity and tolerance. “Humanity is one, and we are here to demonstrate that,” said Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organisers.
In recent years, UK dairy farmers have been struggling to cope and huge numbers have been going out of business. The problem is the unfairly low milk prices paid by supermarkets and processors – often less than the cost of production. So it’s good to see Virgin Trains take a stand by announcing that they will source fresh milk for all of their trains from local farmers along their routes. Over a year, this means more than half a million pints of milk, and the average distance between farm and train depot will be just 16 miles. The move means Virgin Trains will pay 8% more for milk than previously, but it represents a fair price for a quality product. Good on Virgin Trains for supporting our hard working farmers!
When none of the 16 children invited to Glenn Buratti’s birthday party showed up, his mum was justifiably upset and angry. But after venting her feelings on a local forum, the community had an incredible response. Within a few hours, 15 children and 25 adults had dropped by to join the party, the local police flew their helicopter overhead, the officers pooled money to buy gifts, and the fire department dropped by to let Glenn explore their fire truck.
In other (brilliant) news...
- In Brazil, Zeze biscuits are getting people talking again by assigning seats on public buses for people who want to get to know their fellow traveller. It’s marked as ‘reserved seating for new friends’ and there are even conversation starters on post-it notes to help you get going. Put your smartphones away and make some new friends!
- In the US, there’s a new app to help us stop shopping like zombies and spend our cash according to our values. Glia asks you a series of questions about what matters to you and shows you how much nearby businesses match up with your beliefs. Vote with your wallet and send a strong message to businesses that don’t shape up!
- They’ve already banned plastic bags and plastic foam containers, but now San Francisco has become the first US city to ban plastic bottles. Over the next four years, the ban will phase plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less. Good news for the environment and particularly our ocean.
- Bristol has become the first city to roll out the One Tree Per Child initiative. All 36,000 primary school children twill plant a tree and experts will also go into schools and talk to young people about the environment. The initiative was launched by actor and pop star Olivia Newton-John.
- Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie (who recently got into trouble off Necker island and helped by island staff!) has been awarded a sustainability certification across his sailing business. The goal is to manage operations with a light environmental footprint, zero waste and minimal energy consumption, plus create positive change through community engagement. The team’s news headquarters is currently being built and will be 100% powered by solar.
- The Eiffel tower is going green. Two wind turbines have been installed, which are expected to power all the commercial areas on the tower’s first floor. They’re said to be virtually silent and painted to match the rest of the tower. It’s part of a wider piece of work and they’re also installing energy efficient LED lights, a solar thermal array, heat pumps and a rainwater recovery system.
- The Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge has a new member – the Bahamas! The Commonwealth of the Bahamas has committed to developing a solar project, an energy efficiency project for a local high school and a streetlight retrofit, among other projects.
- In the Kruger National Park they know that working with the local community is key to reducing poaching. So a private nature reserve within the park has created the Black Mambas – a group of unarmed young women from local communities who patrol the park and help communicate the value of nature to local communities. As the head warden of the park said, “This war will never be won with bullets.”