There’s no denying that the world is filled with a great deal of heartbreak, pain, and injustice. But at Good Good Good, it’s our job to respond to bad news by sharing good news stories about those pushing back to make the world a better place.
Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
We’ve written this article to compile all of the best good news — stories of people creating solutions to problems, finding creative ways to make a difference, and reasons to feel hopeful — from the year 2022.
We’ll continue to update this piece as more positive news comes in, which we know will happen.
Before we jump into the year's good news — we wanted to tell you: We make a monthly print Goodnewspaper!
Every month we mail good news to thousands of incredible subscribers — and we'd love for you to get a monthly dose of good news too.
Good News Worth Celebrating From January
With the turn of the new year, new bipartisan legislation went into effect that protects people from unexpected medical bills.
For years, millions of Americans who experienced a medical emergency could also get a bill from a doctor they did not choose and who did not accept their insurance. The "No Surprises Act" makes those bills illegal.
Bipartisan legislation passed during the Trump administration and fine-tuned by the Biden administration is a major new consumer protection, and covers nearly all emergency medical services and most routine care.
“I think this is so pro-consumer, it’s so pro-patient — and its effect will eventually be felt by literally everybody who interacts with a health care system,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, who was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who wrote the bill. He said he counted the bill as among his top achievements as a lawmaker.
The new law eliminates the risk that an out-of-network doctor or hospital will send an extra, unexpected bill. Currently, those bills add up to billions in costs for consumers each year.
Conversion therapy was officially banned in Canada
Conversion therapy is now officially banned in all of Canada. The new law went into effect Friday, January 7th, and makes it illegal for anyone to provide or promote services intended to change someone's sexual orientation or gender expression.
Conversion therapy, as defined by GLAAD, is "any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."
The practice has long been discredited, and research has uncovered its extremely harmful impacts. A San Francisco State University study found that “compared with LGBTQ young people who were not rejected or were only a little rejected by their parents and caregivers because of their gay or transgender identity, highly rejected LGBTQ young people were:
- 8.4x more likely to report having attempted suicide
- 5.9x more likely report high levels of depression
- 3.4x more likely to use illegal drugs
- 3.4x more likely to be at high risk of HIV and STDs”
“The passing of Bill C-4 and the unanimous support it received from every official in Parliament sends a clear message to LGBTQ2 Canadians: you are valid and deserving of a life free from harm,” said Nicholas Schiavo, founder of No Conversion Canada in a joint statement with U.S.-based advocacy group The Trevor Project.
“Today, as we celebrate this historic moment, we must thank survivors and their tireless advocacy to reach this moment where conversion ‘therapy’ is finally outlawed in our country.”
In 2020, hundreds of religious leaders came together in support of the LGBTQ+ community, to call for a ban on conversion therapy. And in 2022, people in Texas and Florida rallied to support LGBTQ+ youth in response to harmful state policies.
Canada joins more than a dozen other countries that have passed legislation against it, including India, Malta, Ecuador, and Germany.
In honor of what would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday, people joined the #BettyWhiteChallenge, donating to animal shelters and rescues
On what would have been her 100th birthday, people came together to honor the late Betty White — by donating to an animal shelter or rescue in her name.
Called the #BettyWhiteChallenge, the movement calls on animal — and Betty White — lovers to donate $5 (or any amount) to a shelter or rescue before or on her birthday, January 17th — and give White "the movement she deserves."
White, who passed away on December 31st, 2021, was known for her starring roles on The Golden Girls and Mary Tyler Moore Show — and was also celebrated for maintaining a strong sense of humor throughout her life.
She was also a lifelong animal advocate who worked to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets, and advocate for animal rights around the world. She left behind a legacy of good news for animals.
She supported organizations like American Humane and the Best Friends Animal Society, served on the board of trustees at the nonprofit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), and was a volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
Maya Angelou became the first Black woman to be featured on a U.S. quarter
With the first round of coins shipping around the country, Maya Angelou is now officially the first Black woman to appear on a U.S. quarter dollar coin.
Angelou was a celebrated and decorated writer, performer, and social activist. It's also not her first time making history. At the 1992 inauguration of President Clinton, she became the first African American woman to write and recite a poem — “On the Pulse of Morning” — at a presidential inauguration.
(She also paved the way for Amanda Gorman’s iconic 2020 inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb.)
In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
The tails side of the quarter features Angelou with her arms uplifted, in front of a bird in flight with rays of sunlight shining behind her. The images were both “inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived,” the Mint said.
Angelou was perhaps best known for her 1969 memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which was about her childhood in the Jim Crow South. As reported by the New York Times, it was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century Black woman to reach a wide general readership.
Angelou is the first of five women who will appear on U.S. quarters this year as a part of the U.S. Mint's "American Women Quarters" program, a 4-year program in which the Mint will issue five quarters a year to honor women in fields including women’s suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science and the arts.
This year, we'll also see quarters for Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Wilma Mankiller, a Native American activist; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood.
10 countries created a conservation network that will speed up the protection of marine ecosystems critical to fighting climate change
Ten nations in the western Indian Ocean committed to create a network of marine conservation areas — called the 'Great Blue Wall' initiative — to speed up progress toward the goal of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030.
Currently, less than 10% of this region is protected, and a recent assessment highlighted the price of failure: all the coral reefs are at high risk of collapse in the next 50 years.
The focus of the initiative won’t just be coral reefs, but also mangroves and seagrass meadows, which are a lesser-known underwater ecosystem critical for carbon sequestration and oceanic biodiversity.
“Corals, mangroves, and seagrasses are vital organs of the ocean. Like a human body, if you don’t take care of those organs, the rest of the ocean will not survive,” said Thomas Sberna, a regional head for Eastern and Southern Africa at global conservation authority the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
As Mongabay reports, even as overfishing and warming are already taking a massive toll on marine health, threats from oil and gas extraction are intensifying in this corner of the Indian Ocean.
This is really exciting news in the global fight against climate change — because even as countries around the world announce protections and conservation efforts for lands and oceans, it's not happening fast enough.
The Great Blue Wall initiative makes us hopeful that more countries will see the urgency, and come together to make climate action happen as swiftly as it's needed.
The COVAX global vaccination program reached the milestone of delivering its 1 billionth COVID-19 vaccine
The United Nations-backed vaccine-sharing program, COVAX officially delivered over 1 billion doses to poorer nations around the world, according to the World Health Organization. The program reached the milestone after a shipment of 1.1 million vaccine doses was delivered to Rwanda on January 15th.
The COVAX program has delivered vaccines to 144 countries so far, “but the work that has gone into this milestone is only a reminder of the work that remains,” WHO said in a statement.
While this is an incredible milestone to celebrate, we need to further prioritize equipping the COVAX program with the vaccines it needs. The WHO reports that 36 of its 194 member countries have vaccinated less than 10% of their population, 88 had vaccinated less than 40%.
There's some good news to report on that front, too. GAVI, the agency overseeing the COVAX global vaccine distribution program, announced its plans to deliver the next billion in half the time it took to reach the 1-billion-dose milestone.
Once-endangered humpback whales are growing in population globally thanks to conservation efforts
Humpback whales were almost entirely wiped out by commercial whaling in the 19th and early 20th century, according to the Endangered Species Coalition, and were one of the first species to be federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1970.
However, due to amazing global conservation efforts, the current global population of humpback whales has rebounded from a low point of 10,000 back to nearly 80,000, as of 2022.
While a number of humpback populations in areas of the world are still listed as threatened, this upward tick shows incredible promise for ongoing conservation efforts.
523 acres of California redwood forest were returned to a group of Native American tribes
After purchasing the land in July 2020, Save the Redwoods League officially transferred ownership of 523 acres of redwood forest in California to a group of 10 Native tribes.
The Save the Redwoods League donated the land to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a group of 10 Northern California tribal nations focused on environmental and cultural preservation, as reported by NPR.
The forest will be renamed "Tc'ih-Léh-Dûñ" — which means "fish run place" in the Sinkyone language — as "an act of cultural empowerment and a celebration of Indigenous resilience," the league said in a release.
The league's purchase of the land for $3.55 million was fully funded by Pacific Gas & Electric, who has been behind multiple wildfires in the region. PG&E also contributed a $1.13 million endowment to support ongoing stewardship of the area.
Tc'ih-Léh-Dûñ is home to ancient trees, including 200 acres of old-growth redwoods, important bodies of water, and a variety of endangered species.
"We believe the best way to permanently protect and heal this land is through tribal stewardship," said Sam Hodder, resident and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. "In this process, we have an opportunity to restore balance in the ecosystem and in the communities connected to it, while also accelerating the pace and scale of conserving California's iconic redwood forests."
Moderna announced the first doses of its HIV vaccine have been given to trial patients
In huge HIV/AIDS good news — Moderna announced they have officially entered Phase 1 of the clinical trial for their mRNA HIV vaccine — the first doses were administered to about 60 trial participants.
Moderna worked with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) on the groundbreaking vaccine.
"We are tremendously excited to be advancing this new direction in HIV vaccine design with Moderna's mRNA platform," said IAVI CEO Mark Feinberg in a statement announcing the program. "The search for an HIV vaccine has been long and challenging, and having new tools in terms of immunogens and platforms could be the key to making rapid progress toward an urgently needed, effective HIV vaccine."
They will test both an initial and booster dose on HIV-negative individuals, monitoring them for safety, and their immune response to determine effectiveness.
This is incredibly good news for global health, and another exciting moment of progress for the world. According to U.S. government statistics, approximately 1.2 million Americans have the virus. Treatment options and outcomes for HIV patients have improved dramatically in recent decades, but no vaccine had passed early trials — yet!
Hopeful Stories From February
The world's largest floating wind farm was approved to be built off the coast of the United Kingdom
Once completed, the floating wind farm will generate around 1GW of power — enough for around 927,400 homes in the UK. Called “Gwnt Glas” (“blue wind” in Welsh), the project is 20 times the size of the current largest floating wind farm in the world, Kincardine off the coast of Scotland.
Floating wind farms are a new technology, and have a lot of benefits, including providing jobs in coastal communities. Conventional offshore turbines are rooted into the sea bed, so the places they can be installed are limited to depths of 50 meters. Since floating farms are built on platforms anchored underwater, they can be installed in a wider range of locations — which is really good news, because around 80% of the potential offshore wind power capacity is estimated to be in much deeper waters.
Floating wind farms can also better accommodate fishing and shipping lanes, reach stronger winds, cannot be seen from shore, and more.
Doctors in four Canadian provinces were approved to begin prescribing a year-long pass to national parks
To help improve the mental and/or physical health of their patients, doctors in four Canadian provinces can now prescribe a year-long pass to national parks.
Parks Canada announced they are now backing Canada's "national nature prescription program" known as PaRx — or A Prescription for Nature — which looks to get people into nature for a minimum of two hours per week.
With Parks Canada's backing, around 1,000 health care professionals in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba can now prescribe a Parks Canada Discovery Pass — worth over $70 — to a patient.
The pass gives them one year of unlimited admission at over 80 national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas.
As Business in Vancouver reports, more and more studies are finding that a variety of mental health problems — including those triggered by climate change, or eco-anxiety) can be effectively treated by spending time in nature. Studies have also found it can also reduce chronic diseases, improve birth outcomes, and even help children succeed in life.
“We need to reduce barriers to nature,” said Dr. Melissa Lem, a Vancouver-based family physician who launched PaRx in 2020 with the BC Parks Foundation.
PaRx is also working on reducing other barriers that keep people from spending time in nature, like transportation.
And there's another benefit to the program: when people are more connected to nature, they're more likely to protect it.
(If you live in the United States, you can find out how to get free or discounted access to national parks.)
Rihanna committed to giving $15 million to climate justice organizations in the U.S. and the Caribbean
You may have seen Rihanna's baby news (!!!) — but you may have missed this good news too... her foundation committed to giving $15 million to climate justice groups!
The Clara Lionel Foundation, founded by Rihanna, announced it would be giving $15 million in grants to organizations focused on climate justice in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The funding is supported by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's #StartSmall initiative.
"At the Clara Lionel Foundation, much of the work is rooted in the understanding that climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change. This is why CLF prioritizes both climate resilience and climate justice work across the U.S. and Caribbean," Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty said in the foundation's announcement.
The grants will go to 18 grassroots organizations, which are primarily led by women, youth, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities.
The organizations selected for support include:
- The Solutions Project
- Black Feminist Fund
- Black Visions Collective
- Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN)
- Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)
- Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund
- Climate Justice Alliance
- Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (The Center)
- Helen’s Daughters
- HEY Campaign (The Ashley Lashley Foundation)
- Hive Fund for Gender and Climate Justice
- Indigenous Environmental Network
- Integrated Health Outreach
- Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)
- Native Movement
- NDN Collective
- The Caribbean Climate Justice Project
"CLF believes strongly that funders must build partnerships with organizations and acknowledge their deep understanding of what is necessary to achieve climate justice in their own communities," said Justine Lucas, Executive Director of the Clara Lionel Foundation.
These grants are going to bring so much good into the world — and we're celebrating the foundation's commitment to supporting intersectional environmentalism organizations most impacted by the climate crisis. We're looking forward to following their lead as we join in the work of protecting the planet.
Related: Get to know Leah Thomas, founder of Intersectional Environmentalist
The Irwin family celebrated the milestone of saving their 90,000th animal at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
The Irwin family announced they saved their 90,000th animal at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, and many of the animals they’ve saved have been vulnerable species rescued from wildfires, including the 90,000th — “Ollie,” an orphaned platypus.
"'Ollie' the orphaned platypus is receiving round the clock care until he can be released back to the wild," Robert Irwin posted on Instagram, adding, "With pressures from drought to bushfires, wildlife need our help now more than ever."
As ABC News reported, the current wildfires in Australia have burned over 12.35 million acres of land — about twice the size of Vermont. Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate at least 480 million animals lost their lives since the start of Australia’s bushfire season.
We’re celebrating the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital’s milestone, and are grateful for their work in protecting and preserving Australia’s vulnerable wildlife species.
Bengals fans donated nearly 26,000 meals to a Kansas City food bank after beating the Chiefs to go to the Super Bowl
This year, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams competed in Super Bowl 56, and while there are a number of problematic things happening surrounding the NFL and the game itself — it's also true that people are stepping up to create a lot of sports good news.
In the days since the Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs to go to their first Super Bowl since 1989, Bengals fans have been sending in donations to Harvesters, a local food bank in Kansas City.
Sarah Biles, Harvesters’ director of communications told local news station KSHB in Kansas City that so far they've received $8,500 — and counting. And since every dollar can provide three meals, that adds up to nearly 26,000 meals.
It isn't the first time this season that fans have been giving back. Bengals fans were inspired by the Chiefs who, just the week before after defeating the Buffalo Bills, donated over $300,000 to a Buffalo children's hospital.
The fans chose a food bank because of Bengals' quarterback Joe Burrow's advocacy and activism for food insecurity and fighting hunger. After Burrow won the Heisman Trophy two years ago, he spoke about food insecurity in his hometown of Athens, Ohio — and donations started rolling in for the Athens County Food Bank, totaling about $650,000. There's now an entire "Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund" set up.
Related: Read the best motivational quotes about hunger and feeding the poor
The White House announced a 5-year, $5 billion investment in electric vehicle charging stations around the country
The U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation announced a plan to distribute $5 billion over the next five years to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations around the country.
It’s a part of the Biden Administration’s goal to work towards having 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. Currently, the U.S. only has about 100,000 charging stations.
In the first year, $615 million will be available for states to install chargers on interstate highways to form “the spine of the new national EV charging network,” according to the DOT. Part of the DOT’s guidance for the states’ build out of that network is having charging stations no more than 50 miles apart, and at least four “DC fast” charging plugs per location. Those types of plugs can charge an EV in 30 to 45 minutes.
Once that network is in place, states will then be able to apply for additional funds for chargers in other public places like transit stations, schools, and parking lots.
Lack of charging stations is still one of the largest hurdles to a more widespread adoption of electric vehicles, this funding announcement is really good news to get that infrastructure built out quickly.
Up from just 2,000 in 2020, researchers counted nearly 250,000 monarch butterflies in California in 2021
In recent years, the number of monarch butterflies migrating through California have fallen to concerning numbers. In a new report, researchers saw a hopeful trend — they counted nearly 250,000 monarch butterflies in California, the highest in 5 years, and up from just 2,000 in 2020 — which was the lowest in history.
While these numbers are encouraging, it's still less than 5% of how many there were in the 1980s, according to Emma Pelton, senior endangered species biologist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which organizes the annual count and report.
Researchers point to a number of factors that could have led to the sharp increase in population, like good weather (monarchs don't do well in too-hot or too-cold conditions), availability of milkweed (habitat restoration and/or good growing conditions), fewer pesticides in the air as a result of less crops being planted (yet another reason to re-visit our agriculture systems!), interchange between populations and migratory groups, and more.
Pelton said in an online news conference that she was excited about the turnaround, but it doesn't indicate the monarchs are making a full recovery.
“It will take multiple more years to understand if this is the beginning of a trend or just a blip,” she said in an online news conference.
Climate change, habitat destruction and more have led to the critical decline in the number of monarch butterflies, which are critical to ecosystems — and critical pollinators for our food systems! — in the U.S. and globally. We need to pay attention to these trends so we know how to do our part to protect pollinators.
Scientists may have cured HIV in a woman for the first time
A team of researchers in the U.S. announced they've potentially cured HIV in a woman for the first time ever. The woman is now off of HIV medication and remains “asymptomatic and healthy,” the researchers said.
The woman was diagnosed with HIV in 2013 and leukemia in 2017, and joins a group of three men who scientists very likely cured HIV in as well.
Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC News that the accumulation of repeated apparent triumphs in curing HIV “continues to provide hope," and that it's "important that there continues to be success along this line."
The scientists used a cutting-edge stem cell transplant method, which given this successful case study, they now expect to be a viable treatment for "dozens" more people each year. While that's only a handful of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. alone, it's still good, hopeful progress to celebrate!
Because of cheaper renewables, Australia’s announced its largest coal-fired power plant will close 7 years earlier than originally planned
Saying it wasn't able compete with the "influx of renewables" much longer, the operators of Australia's largest coal-fired power planet, Origin Energy announced it would close the plant in 2025 — 7 years earlier than it had originally planned.
This is really good news from a country that still primarily relies on coal to supply its energy needs. As the BBC reports, coal supplies 60% of Australia's electricity, and it's one of the highest carbon-emitting nations per capita.
Renewables, on the other hand, accounted for one-third of energy generation in Australia in 2021, and are predicted to reach 70% by 2030.
This announcement from Origin Energy comes after two other energy companies announced they'd be closing their coal power plants several years ahead of schedule as well.
As more and more countries and companies recognize the benefits — both environmentally and economically — of renewables, we're hopeful we'll see more and more headlines just like this!
In his first starring film role, pop singer Troye Sivan fought stigma, fear, and ignorance around HIV/AIDS
In "Three Months", Troye Sivan playsed 17-year-old Caleb, who is exposed to HIV after a one-night stand on the eve of his high school graduation.
The film details the shame and anxiety Caleb experiences while waiting three months for diagnosis. Current medical guidelines require 12 weeks from exposure to be 100% certain.
Set in 2011, when a positive diagnosis was no longer as heartbreaking as it once was, but fear and ignorance remained rife, the film explores the lingering stigma faced by people living with HIV.
"I think there's a lot of, not necessarily misinformation, but a lot of kind of ignorance (around HIV)," Sivan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a video call from Los Angeles.
"I would love it if this movie plays a part in getting rid of the stigma around HIV."
The U.S. has saved millions of adoptable pets from being euthanized by moving them from states with too many, to states that need more
Good news for dogs: While there isn’t a shortage of adoptable dogs in the U.S., there is a difference in where they are adopted most. States like Mississippi have too many, but Massachusetts needs more.
To compensate for these gaps in supply and demand, sophisticated dog-relocation networks have sprung up over the past decade, bringing adoptable dogs and cats from states with too many to states that need more.
“How do we connect those shelters that have too many animals and are at risk of euthanasia simply because they were born there, to those shelters where these animals are gonna fly off the shelves?” Matt Bershadker, CEO of the ASPCA, the New York–based animal-welfare giant said to TIME.
Over the past five years, the ASPCA has poured resources into its “relocation” program, and March will celebrate moving its 200,000th animal in March. While the ASPCA may be the largest and most organized operation, there are also smaller, local nonprofits and groups moving animals to where they’re needed most.
The “animal relocation” movement isn’t just helping pets find homes, it’s helping euthanasia rates plummet, and helping build capacity to help all kinds of animals.
The world celebrated the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, who spent his life working for justice in global health care
Along with the rest of the global health community, we were devastated to hear about the passing of Dr. Paul Farmer at the beginning of 2022.
Farmer spent his life working for justice in global health care. He brought high-quality health care to people in world who needed it most — and deserved it as much as anyone else.
Beginning with his first clinic in Haiti, Farmer's work went on to become a global network of healthcare facilities through Partners in Health, serving some of the world's poorest communities, from Malawi and Rwanda, to Kazakhstan, and Peru.
He wrote extensively about the relationship between health and human rights, and inequality and the outcomes of infectious diseases — and it's helped shape what we know (and do) about global health initiatives today.
Dr. Farmer life and legacy is an inspiration to all of us looking to make the world a more just, equitable place for all human beings.
Related: Read the most inspiring quotes from Dr. Paul Farmer about justice, health, and equality
The 2022 'Project for Awesome' livestream raised a record $3.2 million for charity in just 48 hours
In just two days, the Project for Awesome raised over $3 million for charity — breaking the record for all of the group's previous fundraising events.
2022 marked Project for Awesome’s 15th-annual livestream, and as the 48 hours came to an end, viewers had raised a total $3,124,662.89 for charity. The total amount raised in the 2022 stream surpassed the previous record, set in 2021, by more than $700,000.
The Project for Awesome splits funds raised into two pools. During the first 24 hours of the stream, money raised was distributed between Partners in Health and Save the Children.
And any money collected during the second half of the livestream is divided among charities submitted by and voted for by members of the community. This year, those charities included World Central Kitchen, The Trevor Project, The Audre Lord Project, Rainbow Railroad, and more.
Positive World News From March
A synagogue in Ukraine turned its basement into a bomb shelter for 'all people' looking for safety from air raids
A synagogue in the small town of Uman, Ukraine converted its basement into a temporary bomb shelter open to anyone and everyone looking for a safe place to hide from Russian troops and air raids.
"We invite all the people, all Ukrainians, all Hasidic people, doesn't matter who," Irina Rybnitskaya, a lawyer for the U.S.-owned foundation that runs the synagogue told CNN. "We prepare this place especially for them, in order to hide [when] there is [an] alarm."
The basement is stocked with mattresses and blankets, and people taking shelter there brought personal belongings in case they have to hide out for days at a time.
Uman was attacked in the earlier days of the invasion, and as a result many residents fled. While they haven't seen attacks more recently, there are still checkpoints around the city run by Ukrainian soldiers — and for those who can't or don't want to leave, the synagogue is offering a place of refuge.
And while Russian President Putin has claimed the Ukrainian government is a "gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis" and the invasion is for the "demilitarization" and "denazification," the Jewish community in Uman say Ukrainians have been nothing but welcoming and supportive.
As CNN reported, Uman's Rosh Hashanah new year celebrations have become the biggest Jewish festival outside of Israel in the last few years, with tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims coming to visit the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.
And now, that same community is offering refuge to anyone who needs a safe hiding place.
World Central Kitchen showed up at the Ukraine-Poland border providing fresh-cooked meals to people arriving from Ukraine
When disaster is happening in the world, Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen are not far behind or far away. One day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Chef Andrés shared a video to Twitter and said, “Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack. We must come together as a force for good!”
That first night, they served “1,700 hot meals of chicken, rice & veggies” to the thousands of people crossing the border. And ever since, they’ve been partnering with local food trucks and restaurants to provide meals to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
One of their partners, pictured above, is the food truck “Oh My Ramen!” The owners are from Ukraine and now live in Poland.
World Central Kitchen tweeted that they would soon be expanding to have feeding centers in Moldova and Ukraine, as well as Romania.
Since June 2020, Denver has been dispatching mental health teams on certain 911 calls – the program is so successful, they’re expanding it again
In June 2020, Denver announced its Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, which dispatches licensed mental health professionals instead of police for certain 911 calls. In its first year, the program was so successful, the city expanded it to include more vans and more response teams.
Now, the Denver City Council has unanimously approved $1.4 million to expand the STAR program again — from 3 vans to hopefully 6 teams and 10 total response teams.
Since it launched, local CBS News affiliate reports the STAR program has responded to over 2,700 calls. The program dispatches a mental health clinician with a paramedic or EMT for each call they respond to.
"It means that we're going to be able to make it to more calls, which is really exciting after running a very small pilot program with one van working predominantly downtown," STAR operations manager Carleigh Sailon said. "So we're now responding citywide, and responding to more calls for service. And our goal is to make it to all the calls for service that are STAR eligible, and ensure that folks in our community who are vulnerable or marginalized or struggling have that support, and have access to that right response."
The funding will also help them set up a network of specific providers around the city, so they can direct people to the right places when they respond to calls.
An online community of over 800,000 ‘Governerds’ has raised over $4.2 million to forgive medical debt, give grants to teachers, support Ukraine, and more
There's one main thing we love here at Good Good Good: the Helpers — the people stepping up and stepping in to make the world a better place. And there's a “beautiful pocket of the internet" that's filled with thousands of them.
Sharon McMahon's community of over 800,000 "Governerds" is filled with thinkers, feelers, and learners not only looking for reliable, truthful information about current events, government, and politics — they've raised millions of dollars to support incredible causes along the way.
Starting with a fundraiser to commemorate Sharon's 50,000th follower on Instagram — they've since raised over $4.2 million total (and counting... they're in the middle of a fundraiser right now!).
That money has gone to support incredible causes like grants for teachers for classroom supplies and forgiving $147 million of medical debt for over 72,000 people through RIP Medical Debt. Right now, they're fundraising to support the efforts of World Central Kitchen and Care in Ukraine, which has already been the Governerds' largest fundraiser yet — with over $620,000 raised so far.
McMahon and her community teach us that we have more in common than we think — that generosity, kindness, compassion, and optimism can be the way forward.
“I am hopeful that we can be the change we wish to see; that every small action has an infinite number of ripples; that, incrementally, and slowly, and through this grassroots effort, we can affect significant change in the world,” McMahon said.
The world surpassed 1 terawatt of installed solar energy capacity
The world passed a major renewable energy milestone: There are now enough solar panels installed throughout the world to generate 1 terawatt (TW) of electricity from the sun, according to the latest estimates.
That's enough to meet the electricity demands of nearly every country in Europe combined:
China, Europe, and the U.S. are the major drivers behind reaching the milestone, and combined account for more than half of solar energy capacity globally.
According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, the world generated 26,823 terawatt hours of electricity in 2020 — so while 1 TW is only a fraction of today’s global electricity demand, it’s still an incredible milestone to celebrate as we work to increase capacity, storage, and distribution.
An estimated $60 billion in medical debt was removed from consumers’ credit reports
Good news for people with medical debt! The 3 major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — announced that, beginning this summer they will implement three changes that will remove roughly 70% of medical collection debt from Americans' credit reports.
First, as of July 1, all paid medical debt will no longer be included on reports — previously, any debt that went to collection would be included for 7 years, even if it had eventually been paid.
Second, people will have 12 months to pay medical bills before any unpaid collection debt appears on reports — it used to be 6 months.
Lastly, beginning early next year, no medical debt under $500 will appear on a report at all. This one is especially good news because, recent data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) showed the majority of medical debt is under $500.
According to the CFPB, as of June 2021, there was $88 billion in medical debt on consumer credit records. And as Axios reports, an analysis of the announcements found the changes are expected to eliminate $60 billion of that.
This is really good news because when medical debt appears on a credit report, it negatively impacts a person's credit score, making it hard to get a mortgage, car loan — which can also make it challenging to get a job.
And according to the CFPB, the issue also disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic people, as well as all young adults and low-income individuals.
Four Bengal tigers and four lions are now living at wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa after being rescued from circuses
Thanks to two separate rescue missions, four Bengal tigers and four lions who had spent most of their lives in train carriages for circuses are now living at wildlife sanctuaries in South Africa.
The four tigers had spent over four years together in a metal train carriage on a farm in Argentina, after being abandoned by the circus, according to Plant Based News. Sandro, Mafalda, Messi and Gustavo, were rescued by Four Paws International and now live at the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa.
“By rescuing these four tigers in Argentina, we provide a better life for them individually and create awareness for all animals globally to be treated with respect, empathy and understanding," Four Paws CEO Josef Pfabigan said.
The four lions had been part of a traveling circus from the time they were cubs until 2018, when they were abandoned by the circus. They were held at a rescue center in France and have now been moved to the Shamwari Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa by the Born Free Foundation.
“We have a large natural bush enclosure with space the size of possibly two rugby fields for them, space that they have never experienced in their life, with natural vegetation, with the sights and sounds and smells of Africa,” Catherine Gillson, Born Free Manager at the Shamwari Reserve, said in a statement.
While we wish these animals had never experienced life in captivity in the first place, we're celebrating the efforts of these rescue organizations to bring them safely to spaces that feel more like the home they were meant to live in!
A national survey found that a large majority of voters and parents trust librarians, and oppose book bans
Lately, headlines have been dominated by states and school districts working to push through book bans. When this happens, it can be easy to think that, since it's dominating the news and policymaking, this must be the way "most people" feel and think.
A new national study from the American Library Association (ALA) confirmed the opposite: 7 in 10 voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries — across party lines, too — and three-quarters of parents of public school children "express a high degree of confidence in school librarians to make good decisions about which books to make available to children."
Here are some findings from the survey:
📚 71% of voters oppose efforts to have books removed from their local public libraries — including 75% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans.
📚 90% of and 92% of parents have a "favorable opinion" of librarians who work in local public libraries and school libraries
📚 75% of voters are confident in local public libraries to make good decisions about what books to include in their collections
📚 74% of parents are confident in public school libraries’ decisions about their collections
More than 330 unique cases of book bans and challenges were reported to American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) between September 1 and November 30, 2021. These statistics don't reflect public sentiment around book bans, though — and that's really good news.
Learn more about how to help stop book bans
Heartwarming News Stories From April
A new report found that if the current pace of wind and solar growth continues, the world will meet its climate targets
A new report from independent climate think tank Ember found that if the current pace of wind and solar power capacity growth continues through 2030, the world is on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
While some impacts are already unavoidable, the 1.5-degree target is what climate experts say warming needs to be limited to avoid many of the worst impacts of climate change globally. So this is really good news.
Currently, Ember’s analysis found that the 10-year average compound growth rate of solar and wind is 20%. The Netherlands, Australia, and Vietnam had the fastest growth rates, switching around 10% of their electricity demand from fossil fuels to wind and solar in the last two years.
"If these trends can be replicated globally, and sustained, the power sector would be on track for 1.5 degree goal," Ember said in their report.
The main thing holding back progress and slowing the growth rate is on-the-ground constraints like permitting. To resolve this, governments need to address anything causing those kinds of slow-downs.
This should also be an encouragement to us, because not only are the efforts we've already been making really working — we also have a large role to play in holding our leaders and elected officials accountable for doing all they can to speed up the transition to clean energy.
Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed and will make history as the first Black woman ever to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court
Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination was confirmed by the Senate, and she will make history when she becomes the first-ever Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her historic confirmation marks a moment of long-overdue progress for representation in the judicial branch of the U.S. government.
One of President Biden’s first judicial nominees, Judge Jackson was confirmed with bipartisan support to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021. Prior to that, she was confirmed with bipartisan support in 2013 to be a district court judge for the U.S. District Court. She also served as Vice Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer, whose place she will take upon his retirement.
Judge Jackson also brings unique experience of being a public defender to the U.S. Supreme Court — she is the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court. This is significant, because the right to a lawyer is a fundamental right detailed in the Constitution. Judge Jackson is now the only and first-ever Justice with the background of representing defendants who did not have the means to pay for a lawyer.
We're celebrating her historic nomination, and a Supreme Court that looks, thinks, and represents America a little better than it did before.
A team of engineers at Stanford developed solar panels that can generate electricity at night, too
Standard solar panels can provide electricity while the sun is up during the day, and while installing a battery can help store electricity for use when the sun is down, panels that can generate electricity at night is even more efficient and sustainable.
As NPR reports, the solar cell uses a thermoelectric generator, which can pull electricity from the small difference in temperature between the air outside and the solar cell itself.
"Our approach can provide nighttime standby lighting and power in off-grid and mini-grid applications, where [solar] cell installations are gaining popularity," the study said.
Mini-grid applications are independent energy networks, which are often installed in smaller communities, or in ones without close access to a power grid. So this is really good news for people without reliable access — or any access at all — to a power grid to provide backup electricity when the panels aren't generating it.
We know that renewable energy sources have limitations (we also know those limitations pale in comparison to the damage done to the health of people and the planet by burning fossil fuels), and we're celebrating this team of researchers for helping solve a big one: how to generate "solar" energy while the sun is down!
The world’s largest wildlife overpass is being built over a California highway
Good news for wildlife in California! The largest wildlife crossing bridge is being built over a 10-lane highway in California. The overpass will create a safe corridor for animals living in the Santa Monica mountains to cross over a busy, 10-lane stretch of highway.
As The Guardian reports, the overpass is nearly a decade in the making, and once completed, will be 210 feet long and 165 feet wide. It will be surrounded by an acre of native plants, as well as sound walls covered with vegetation to help shield nocturnal animals from noise and light from the highway below.
This is really good news, because not only do wildlife deserve safe, relatively unrestricted access to their natural habitat — but this region in particular is a critical habitat for "specially protected" mountain lions. At least 25 of them have been killed on Los Angeles freeways since 2002, the most recent on March 23. The crossing is also important for biodiversity.
“The freeway is a formidable and virtually impenetrable barrier for many wildlife species including mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, and mule deer that inhabit and travel between these two mountain ranges,” the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy said in a press release. “For mountain lions in particular, the consequences of this restriction results in increased inbreeding and territorial fighting, and very low genetic diversity, within the Santa Monica Mountains.”
A Canadian art therapist is using TikTok to help people heal and create – and to help make art therapy more accessible
In addition to offering clinical care through one-on-one client relationships, as well as open studio and group sessions through her private practice, Canadian art therapist Amelia Hutchison — the art psychotherapist behind @art_therapy_irl — uses TikTok and social media to make the power of art therapy more accessible for more people.
“What color is your heart today?” she’ll ask the camera, holding out a bushel of colored pencils, wide-eyed behind her rainbow assortment of glasses.
And the people in the comments answer. In poetic one-liners, questions about their own healing journeys, and stitched videos; more than 85,000 followers respond to Hutchison’s prompts.
A tech company is electrifying the world’s high-polluting scooters through networks of swappable batteries
Taiwan-based tech company Gogoro is helping electrify the hundreds of millions of high-polluting two-wheelers around the world through networks of swappable batteries.
And it's a good thing, too: you might be surprised to learn how many people drive them — and how polluting they are. China, India, and Indonesia alone have more than 500 million two-wheelers, and globally, "over 50% of all commute miles done every day is actually done on two wheels," Gogoro CEO Horace Luke told the Volts podcast.
Two-wheeler motors can emit up to five times the pollutants as a new car in the U.S. Millions of people have died from the air pollution they cause — and those emissions also contribute significantly to climate change.
In the past, Luke said two-wheelers have been challenging to electrify, because most of the people who drive them don't have a lot of extra cash, theft is a concern, and plugging in to recharge in a dense urban environment can be difficult.
Gogoro addresses all of these issues: Customers own the scooters, while Gogoro "owns" the batteries. Drivers don't have to worry about waiting for a charge, they can just swap their dead battery for a fully charged one from a battery "bank" (pictured) located around the city — and the bank recharges it for the next driver.
They also addressed theft by making "smart" batteries that are "keyed to the person using them, so if they or the scooters containing them are stolen, they simply stop working," Roberts said in a tweet.
And while it started successfully in Taiwan, it's already expanding to other densely populated urban areas. There's also hope that the model could be expanded to four-wheel vehicles, too.
Top Good News Stories From May
Google is now letting users limit ads about topics like pregnancy, dating, weight loss, and more
In December 2020, Google allowed users to limit ads related to alcohol and gambling — and now, users can also limit the ads they see about other sensitive topics like parenting, pregnancy, dating, and weight loss.
“We conduct user surveys and try to understand what kinds of categories they are interested in us adding,” Karin Hennessy, Google’s group product manager for ads privacy told The Washington Post.
“What came through at the very top was alcohol and gambling, so we provided that. The very next four categories were parenting, pregnancy, dating, and weight loss. It's all based on what we perceive as sensitive categories, but also very much on what we're hearing from users.”
This is really good news to celebrate as we begin #MentalHealthAwarnessMonth too — as all of these topics can be incredibly difficult for people, especially when you aren't expecting to see content related to them, as is the case with web ads.
And while there are much larger conversations to have around user data and privacy, this is really good news to celebrate, and it will undoubtedly help protect the well-being of so many people!
To opt out of ad categories, go to myaccount.google.com. Select “Data & Privacy” from the menu on the left, then go to “Ad settings” and look for “Sensitive ad categories.”
For the first time ever, renewable sources met 100% of its electricity demand in California
For the first time ever, renewable electricity sources met 100% of California's energy demands. As the Desert Sun reports, on Saturday, April 30 at 2:45 p.m., energy demand statewide hit 18,672 megawatts.
Of that demand, 101% of the power provided came from renewables, according to a continuous tracker provided by California Independent System Operator (CAISO) a nonprofit that oversees the state's bulk electric power system and transmission lines.
Two-thirds of the 18,000 megawatts were provided by solar power, and the rest came from wind, geothermal, and other renewable sources. The renewable electricity lasted almost 15 minutes before decreasing to about 97% renewables.
While it only lasted 15 minutes, it's an incredibly encouraging and exciting milestone as we work to decarbonize our electric grid — and proof of what we already knew: a carbon-free future is a realistic, viable goal.
After incarceration rates hit a 35-year low, Massachusetts is closing one of its two maximum security prisons.
Thanks to falling crime rates and sentencing reform, one of two maximum security prisons in Massachusetts is closing. State officials announced the prison would close over the next two years, saying the facility was too expensive to repair and a statewide effort to phase out solitary confinement.
“Crime rates are decreasing, and prison populations are falling. That is due to years of hard work and an overarching recognition that we cannot jail our way to a safer society,” Anthony Benedetti, chief counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services told The Boston Globe.
“As we move forward, I hope we let existing criminal justice reforms work and continue to follow the evidence: that tough-on-crime policies do nothing but hurt the community and our neighbors," Benedetti continued.
The prison, Cedar Junction was built in 1955, and officials said it currently has a population of 525 inmates, which is about 68% of its capacity.
In a medical breakthrough, scientists identified a blood marker in babies at higher risk of SIDS
Good news! A team of Australian researchers has identified a biochemical marker in the blood that could help doctors identify newborn babies at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the CDC, 1,248 infants died in 2019 due to SIDS. While this number has steadily declined over the past two decades — from 130.27 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 33.3 in 2019 — as preventative measures have been recommended by doctors and implemented by parents, any risk indicators or exact causes of SIDS have been unknown.
The researchers found that babies who died of SIDS had lower levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) shortly after birth. As Reuters reports, BChE plays a major role in the brain's "arousal pathway," and low levels would "reduce a sleeping infant's ability to wake up or respond to its environment."
This discovery is incredibly good news, as it gives doctors the ability to identify and provide better treatments and/or recommendations for infants with this biomedical marker.
"An apparently healthy baby going to sleep and not waking up is every parent's nightmare and until now there was absolutely no way of knowing which infant would succumb," study leader Dr. Carmel Harrington of The Children's Hospital at Westmead said in a statement. "But that's not the case anymore. We have found the first marker to indicate vulnerability prior to death."
The Buffalo community came together to ensure residents have access to fresh, affordable food
Almost immediately after a gunman killed 10 people and injured three more at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, people and organizations in Western New York activated to make sure residents had what Tops gave so many of them: access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.
Tops is one of only a few grocery stores in the neighborhood, and the only one within walking distance. The grocery store is now closed indefinitely, making access to affordable food no longer accessible for many in the community.
But beginning Monday, May 16 and through at least May 27, The Buffalo News reports the Resource Council of WNY and Feedmore WNY are holding daily food distributions of emergency food.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a partnership with Uber and Lyft to provide residents free rides to and from nearby grocery stores.
“We are seeing a tremendous response to the tragedy at the Jefferson Avenue Tops and we will be distributing food to the community, sponsored in part by Tops,” said the Rev. Terry King, CEO of Saving Grace Ministries and board chair of the Resource Council. “We talk about being ‘the City of Good Neighbors,’ and this is that response.”
People donated so overwhelmingly to @buffalocommunityfridge, that the organization is now redistributing funds to other food access partners in the area.
We know the community has a lot of grieving and healing to do, but we're so inspired by these Helpers who jumped into swift action. We hope they also help bring a measure of hope and healing to the people of Buffalo.
In a historic agreement, the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams will now be paid equally
It's a landmark victory for equality! US Soccer and the unions for both the US Soccer MNT and US Soccer WNT announced they reached a new agreement that will achieve "equal pay and set the global standard moving forward in international soccer."
So, in 2019, they filed another lawsuit demanding "at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment." That lawsuit ended in a settlement with players on on the women's team, which was a helpful step forward.
Now, under the new, historic agreement, players on both teams will receive the same pay, including appearance fees and game bonuses, and be provided the same working conditions. While players on the women's team previously had guaranteed salaries, they will now have the same pay-to-play structure as players on the men's team. They will also pool and share any FIFA World Cup prize money.
The agreement runs through 2028, and is incredibly good news to celebrate — as it will not only impact equality in sports in the U.S., but hopefully set a new international standard.
A Texas restaurant owner bought cases of baby formula and gave them away to his community for free
After seeing both the news stories surrounding the national baby formula shortage, and his neighbors struggling to find food for their babies, one restaurant owner in North Texas wanted to find a way to help.
While Our Place Restaurant owner Benji Arslanovski didn't need any for his own children, he looked into purchasing cases of baby formula through his restaurant supplier, so he could help out families that did need it.
He was able to purchases six case of Gerber formula — and then proceeded to hand them out for free to people in the community who needed it.
“There were so many people who needed it, especially new moms who are struggling to produce milk,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “I have three boys so I can imagine what it’s like to be in that situation.”
“I’ll keep doing this as long as people need it and as long as US Foods has formula in stock,” Arslanovski said. “I’m just trying to give back to the community that has been so good to me.”
Students across the U.S. are participating in school walkouts to protest gun violence and demand action
Hundreds of students from Spokane, Washington to Oxford, Michigan (the site of another school shooting late last year), Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin to Charlottesville, Virginia participated in a walkout today, organized by Students Demand Action.
In a tweet, Students Demand said, "We've had ENOUGH. We're sick and tired of lawmakers' inaction. We #Walkout to demand they take ACTION to #EndGunViolence."
We're so inspired by the example of these students, and undoubtedly so many teachers and school administrators standing beside and behind them. Nobody should fear for their life at school.
Harry Styles and Live Nation donated over $1 million to Everytown to support their work to end gun violence
From the thousands of protesters showing up at the National Rifle Association's convention in Texas; to the countless DMs, comments, and posts we've seen of each of you calling your representatives to demand action on life-saving gun safety laws; to this incredible donation to Everytown from Harry Styles and Live Nation — we've seen so many stories of so many Helpers stepping up to take meaningful action and demand change to the reality of gun violence in America.
Shortly after Harry announced that on his North American LoveOn tour would be donating to support the work of Everytown to end gun violence, Live Nation announced they were matching his donation — and together, they donated over $1 million, "and counting," as Live Nation posted.
Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the U.S. They're doing a lot of incredible work to advocate for and educate around data-backed, evidence-based solutions to gun violence — and they're a big reason why we have lots of progress to celebrate.
And remember: Whether you can give $1, $10, $100, or $1 million, or you can have a challenging conversation with a loved one about gun safety, or you can make a daily phone call to your elected officials — your action matters in the fight against gun violence.
Each of our good actions will add up to make a real difference.
Optimistic News from June
To help individuals looking for a fresh start after prison, a St. Louis bakery only hires people with a criminal record
Five years into working at Farmington Correctional Center, chaplain Kalen McAllister began to notice a pattern. A few weeks before they were released, people would visit her office with a familiar refrain: “I don’t even want to get out because I won’t be able to get a job.”
Ms. McAllister would offer support but soon realized counseling from inside the prison walls was only a partial solution. Change was needed outside, too. When she retired, she saw her opening: “On my way out the door, I said, ‘I’m going to do something to solve this.’”
In 2015, McAllister opened Laughing Bear Bakery in St. Louis, a nonprofit business where a criminal record is required to land the job.
A new report found sales of gas-powered cars are in ‘permanent decline’ and likely peaked in 2017
Good progress for the clean energy transition: A report by industry analysts at BloombergNEF found that sales of non-plug-in, internal combustion-powered vehicles peaked in 2017 and are now in "permanent decline."
While the report found that in 2025, traditional gas-powered vehicles will still make up the majority of car sales — that same year, 20.6 million plug-in vehicles will be sold globally. That's about triple the projected 6.6 million that will be sold in 2022.
“Most importantly, the market is shifting from being driven primarily by policy, to one where organic consumer demand is the most important factor,” lead authors Colin McKerracher and Aleksandra O’Donovan wrote in the report.
While we acknowledge that investments in public transportation, electrifying the grid that provides power for these electric vehicles, and other factors are also at play here — it's incredibly good news to see that a world not reliant on purely fossil fuel-powered cars is more and more of a reality.
When we can imagine a better, cleaner, different future — that's how we tap into hope and making it happen.
Home to a bison range, the U.S. government returned 18,000 acres of undeveloped land in Montana to Native tribes
In the 1900s, 18,000 acres of undeveloped land in northwest Montana was taken by the U.S. Government without the consent of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
In 2020, Congress passed a law that would transition management of the land from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service back to the tribes, and in 2021, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed off on the law.
A bison range is located on the acreage, and over the years, the herds have been depleted and the tribes' traditional connection with the animal was lost, Haaland said.
"But in spite of that tragedy and loss, we are still here. You are still here. And that's something to celebrate," Haaland told a crowd celebrating the restoration of the bison range.
Haaland said returning management of the land to the tribes was thanks to a few factors: Native peoples' resilience in having the land returned, conservation guided by Indigenous knowledge, and the Biden administration's commitment to honor treaty obligations.
We're celebrating with these Native tribes, and can't wait to see how this undeveloped land is preserved, restored, and managed for years to come under their expert management.
A collaborative of Virginia businesses, including a family-owned fossil fuel company, are on track to cut 45% of their carbon pollution by 2025
Need a dose of climate optimism? The 16 members of the Green Business Alliance in Charlottesville, Virginia pledged last spring to cut their carbon pollution by 45% by the end of 2025. Just a year in, the alliance is already over halfway there — achieving a 28% reduction.
As Energy News Network reports, calculations reveal that members have stopped spewing the equivalent of 4,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which translates to removing 1,000 cars from roadways for a year.
One of the alliance's favorite success stories is about Tiger Fuel, a family-owned fuel distribution company and local gas station chain that recently acquired a local solar company, grew it to over 300 employees, and have already finished major solar installations.
"Lots of companies in their shoes would look at climate action as a threat to their business and actively resist it," said Coles Jennings, the alliance's director of corporate sustainability. "But instead, they’re asking how they can get ahead of it."
Stopping climate change is going to take all of us, and while some fossil fuel companies engage in massive misinformation, disinformation, and greenwashing campaigns — this smaller fossil fuel company proves it's possible to not only embrace but join in taking meaningful climate action.
A ‘game-changer’ for disaster relief settings, solar microgrids are helping keep Ukraine’s hospitals running
During any conflict, fuel sources and power grids are a critical target for an invading force. In Ukraine, Russian missiles have attacked the country’s only fully-functioning oil refinery and a blockade of Ukrainian seaports means resupplying the country by tanker is not possible.
In April, Russian hackers targeted the Ukrainian power grid, attempting to cause a blackout that would have impacted two million people.
"You have to look at the vulnerability of the grid," Paul Shmotolokha, CEO of New Use Energy told Reasons to be Cheerful. "What we see in Ukraine is the physical damage to transmission infrastructure, to power generation. All those flying missiles that are going after diesel and gas supplies."
Shmotolokha partnered with Will Heegaard, operations manager of Footprint Project, and they have now shipped more than two dozen 2kWh portable solar battery systems to 13 hospitals in cities all over Ukraine.
In a conflict where power sources may be targeted, a solar microgrid has the additional advantage of being less detectable than a diesel generator, both because it's quieter and because it gives off less heat. It also negates the need to store large amounts of highly flammable fuel.
Joining the Carolina Panthers’ TopCats team, Justine Lindsay is now the NFL’s first openly transgender cheerleader
Good sports and Pride Month news! Earlier this year, Justine Simone Lindsay announced she made the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading team, officially becoming the NFL’s first-ever openly transgender cheerleader.
TopCats director Chandalae Lanouette and the Panthers have both said Lindsay's skills are what secured her spot on the team, and in a statement to NPR said, "We wish all the TopCats, including Justine Lindsay, an incredible season."
"I would like to thank the beautiful and talented dancers who supported me along the way... This is a moment I will never forget and I cannot wait to show you all what this girl has to bring. Thank you TopCats a dream come true," Lindsay wrote on Instagram.
While acknowledging it isn't always easy, Lindsay said she plans to continue "paving the way for those under me who are scared and afraid to take that step."
Thousands of people gathered in hundreds of cities across the U.S. to protest against gun violence
On Saturday, June 11 in hundreds of cities all across the U.S. — from Washington, D.C. to Fort Meyers, Florida and Chicago to San Antonio — thousands of people gathered to protest and rally against gun violence in America.
Organized by March For Our Lives, the collection of protests follow the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — and the 41 mass shootings that have happened in communities since then.
According to March For Our Lives, in Washington, D.C. alone there were around 40,000 people gathered to protest.
Whether you made it out to a protest today or not, you can make your voice heard, too. Join in taking action with March For Our Lives at mfol.us/next.
A bipartisan group of 20 senators announced a ‘breakthrough’ agreement on gun violence
In a tweet, Senator Chris Murphy said, "We have a deal," and went on to announce the details of the "breakthrough agreement on gun violence" made by a bipartisan group of 20 senators: 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
The bipartisan proposal includes:
☑️ Funding to help states pass and implement red flag laws
☑️ Billions in funding for mental health and school safety, including a "national build out community mental health clinics"
☑️ Closing the "boyfriend loophole" so nobody convicted of domestic abuse can purchase a gun
☑️ The first-ever federal law against gun trafficking
☑️ Enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21 years old, and only allowing them to purchase the gun once it's completed
☑️ Clarifying laws around licensed gun dealer registration "to make sure all truly commercial sellers are doing background checks"
"Will this bill do everything we need to end our nation's gun violence epidemic? No. But it's real, meaningful progress," Murphy tweeted.
And that's what we're here to celebrate at Good Good Good — real, meaningful progress. Real good news.
Creating thousands of jobs, the U.S. is plugging abandoned oil and gas wells leaking climate-warming methane
According to the U.S. Interior Department, there are tens of thousands of old oil and gas wells on federal lands nationwide, and at least another 130,000 on state and private lands.
And now, as reported by Thomson Reuters Foundation, for the first time, the government is giving the abandoned wells major attention in an effort to curb environmental pollution, reduce climate-heating emissions of methane, and create green jobs.
In November, it allocated $4.7 billion to tackle the problem of the orphan wells nationally. Officials released guidance on how to apply for the money and 26 states — almost every one with documented orphan wells — have indicated they intend to apply for the grants, according to the Interior Department.
The U.S. Interior Department announced it will phase out single-use plastics at all national parks
The U.S. Department of the Interior and Secretary Deb Haaland announced the nation's plans to phase out and eventually eliminate all single-use plastics — like plastic bags and water bottles — at all more than 400 U.S. national parks.
Secretary Haaland issued an order telling the department to "reduce the purchase, sale, and distribution of single-use plastic products and packaging on 480 million acres of federally managed lands," as reported by PBS News Hour. The goal is to completely phase them out by 2032.
According to the department, in 2020 Interior-managed lands generated nearly 80,000 tons of solid waste — a lot of it plastic. And of the more than 300 million tons of plastic produced every year, at least 14 million tons ends up in the ocean every year — plastic makes up 80% of all marine debris.
We're not saying eliminating single-use plastics at U.S. national parks alone will prevent disasters caused by climate change (like the historic flooding that devastated Yellowstone National Park this week), or do enough to stop all plastic from ending up in our oceans. But eliminating single-use plastics (not to mention the oil that would have otherwise been used to produce them) is really good news — especially at our national parks — and it chips away at a larger-scale dependence on them in our everyday lives.
This progress is important to celebrate, but it's important to remember there's more that the U.S. government can do to care for the environment.
A Flint, Michigan pastor built a laundromat at his church to help families experiencing ‘hygiene poverty’
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Flint’s Good Church participated in food distribution events at surrounding apartment complexes, and it was during that time that Lead Pastor Leo Robinson II and his wife Mio Robinson learned of the area’s need for a laundromat.
As Flint Beat reports, Robinson had never considered a nearby, affordable laundry facility could be of greater importance than dinner, but he has since learned about “hygiene poverty” — or the condition of being unable to afford hygiene products — and its effects on the Flint community.
So, he went on a mission to build a laundry facility in the church basement — aptly called Good Laundry — that would be available to the entire community.
Note: As with most good news we share, we wish this solution wasn't even needed. Nobody should be forced to choose between purchasing food or hygiene products, but we're grateful for helpers like Robinson and Good Church who saw their neighbors in Flint confronting that heartbreaking choice and stepped in to help.
President Biden signed the most significant gun safety legislation in decades into law
President Biden officially signed the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 3 decades into law.
Now the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the bill started as a bipartisan framework written by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, then passed both the Senate filibuster and the chamber in a 65-33 vote, and swiftly passed in the House before heading to President Biden’s to sign into law.
As The New York Times reports, the bill enhances background checks for gun buyers between 18 and 21 years old, incentivizes states to implement “red flag” laws that enable firearms to be temporarily confiscated from people deemed dangerous, provides hundreds of millions of dollars for mental health and school safety, extends a federal law that prohibits domestic abusers from purchasing guns to dating partners (instead of just married partners), and more.
Are these measures enough to eliminate the threat of gun violence from all the places it need to be? Absolutely not. And yet, while we certainly wish there was a lot more included — without a doubt, these measures *will* save lives from gun violence. And that’s important progress worth celebrating.
Dylan Mulvaney celebrated her first Pride as trans woman, taking us all along her journey into ‘girlhood’ on TikTok
"This year, Pride looks a little different for me: I’m no longer that boy who would lie about my whereabouts to privately live my queer truth, I’m now a newly realized trans woman living in Los Angeles with a large queer social media following.
Although this year I may still wear tiny short shorts and flail my limbs to Katy Perry’s “Firework” (no promises!), the main difference between then and now is honesty.
Honesty to myself, to my family, to my community."
For the last 100+ days, @dylanmulvaney has been highlighting her transgender journey in a TikTok series titled "Days of Girlhood," which has received over 200 million views. We were beyond honored to have Dylan contribute a guest column in The Pride Edition of the Goodnewspaper about celebrating her first Pride as a trans woman.
And as a special treat on this last day of #PrideMonth — we made Dylan’s piece available for the whole world to read!
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in, making history as the first Black woman ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in, making history as the first Black woman ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Jackson takes the place of Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced his official retirement this week.
“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson said in April at a White House celebration following her confirmation. “But we’ve made it. We’ve made it. All of us.”
Justice Jackson brings the unique experience of being a public defender to the U.S. Supreme Court — she is now the first former federal public defender to serve on the Supreme Court. This is significant, because the right to a lawyer is a fundamental right detailed in the Constitution. Justice Jackson is now the only and first-ever Justice with the background of representing defendants who did not have the means to pay for a lawyer.
We're celebrating her historic nomination, and a Supreme Court that looks, thinks, and represents America a little better than it ever has before.
And in the midst of heartbreaking decisions released by the court — from abortion access to the recent ruling removing authority from the EPA to regulate emissions — we needed a bit of good news to come from this branch of government.
The Best News from July
Stepping up their climate action, retirees and elders are marching on big banks to protest their fossil fuel investments
Third Act is a national climate justice organization and movement Bill McKibben launched last September inspiring elders to fight for a planet that is just, safe, and abundant for future generations.
One of Third Act’s campaigns is Bug the Banks. The idea is to pressure the big four — Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America — to stop lending billions to corporations that build oil and gas pipelines and other fossil fuel-centric projects.
And the elders are joining in the fight. Amidst a multigenerational mix of protesters at a recent march on a Wells Fargo in Richmond, members of Third Act's Virginia chapter could be heard chanting (directed at Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf):
“How does Charlie make his green?He’s a fracking funding fiend.How does Charlie make his moola?Underwriting fossil fuela!”
Google searches for ‘get a vasectomy’ in the U.S. reached an all-time high
In the days and months following both the leak of and the official release of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Google search queries for "get a vasectomy" (and other related searches) peaked and reached an all-time high.
According to data from Google Trends, the search "get a vasectomy" reached its all-time "peak popularity" in June 2022 — almost double the last time the search term peaked, in September 2021.
This Google Trends data is aligned with what urologists and doctors are seeing across the country, too. In Florida, urologist Doug Stein (also known as the "Vasectomy King" for his advocacy of the procedure) told The Washington Post he went from receiving four to five vasectomy requests a day — to 12 to 18 requests per day now.
Stein's colleague John Curington also told The Post that "at least 60 or 70 percent are mentioning the Supreme Court decision" and citing Justice Thomas' opinion on contraception being next, which wasn't something that ever made it into the doctor-patient conversation, "until this week.”
A urologist in Los Angeles reported a “300 to 400 percent” increase in vasectomy consultations, and an Iowa-based urologist who trained under Stein reported seeing a “200 to 250 percent” increase in website traffic specifically for information about vasectomies.
The responsibility of contraception has historically (and still today) fallen on women and people with the capacity to become pregnant, and has long come with its own challenges — from access, affordability, pain, side effects, and more.
We're celebrating the news that more sperm-carrying individuals (even if it's their partner doing the Googling!) are sharing the responsibility of managing contraception and taking care of their own reproductive health — and supporting the reproductive health of others.
Mattel unveiled the Jane Goodall Barbie, the first in its inspiring Women Series made with recycled ocean-bound plastics
Jane Goodall is one of the world's most celebrated primatologists and conservationists. You may know her from her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees and her lifelong commitment to chimpanzee protection and animal conservation as a whole through the Jane Goodall Institute.
And now, she's a Barbie! Mattel, the toy-making company that creates Barbie, unveiled the Jane Goodall Barbie as part of its Inspiring Women Series — and the best part? It’s made of recycled ocean-bound plastics.
In addition, Goodall’s Barbie was introduced alongside Barbie’s “2022 Barbie Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Team,” — a doll set including a conservation scientist, renewable energy engineer, a chief sustainability officer, and an environmental advocate.
The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline ‘988’ officially launched across the U.S.
The national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline "988" is now officially launched in the U.S. Starting today, July 16, anyone experiencing a mental health emergency can call or text the 3-digit number, 24/7, and be connected to a network of 200 local crisis centers and trained counselors.
Previously, those experiencing a mental health crisis had to dial a 1-800 number which could be difficult to remember or track down in the midst of an emergency — or 911, which was not set up to respond to mental health needs.
"Unlike other medical emergencies, mental health crises overwhelmingly result in a law enforcement response," psychologist Benjamin Miller told NPR. "If you look at the data from the police, about 20% of their total staff time is spent responding and transporting individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis."
Just last year, more than "2 million people with serious mental illness were booked in jail," Miller said, and added that almost a quarter of fatal shootings by the police in recent years have involved people with mental illness.
Something needed to change to address this devastating statistic, and lawmakers and mental health advocates are hopeful the new number will be an opportunity to transform the mental health care system and make care more easily accessible. The Biden administration has also invested more than $400 million in crisis centers and other mental health services to support the new lifeline.
While not a perfect solution, having a specific, dedicated phone number that will connect those in need of mental health support with the professionals best trained to respond to them is really good progress to celebrate — especially in the U.S., which so often fails to adequately and appropriately care for mental health.
After nearly going extinct in the region, as many as 150 fin whales were seen feeding off the coast of Antarctica
In more whale good news: A new study published in Scientific Reports details the first scientifically documented observation of a large group of fin whales feeding off Elephant Island in Antarctica.
The incredible success story is credited to a 1982 decision by the International Whaling Commission to ban the practice of commercial whaling that had driven several species to the brink of extinction.
“[If] you enforce management and conservation, there are chances for species to recover,” study lead author and University of Hamburg marine mammal ecologist Dr. Helena Herr told The New York Times.
Fin whales are the second-largest whales on the planet, and as commercial whaling grew exponentially in the 20th century, their populations were devastated. In the southern hemisphere, there were only a couple thousand left, Herr said.
This is incredibly good news, and proof that conservation and protective measures do so much good to restore marine animal populations — and the entire ecosystems they exist in. This good news should encourage us to keep fighting for more of these protections, because they really do work.
Delaware’s new solar equity program is giving free home solar panels to low-income residents – and covering a majority of the cost for others
In an effort to bring the benefits of home solar to more people in the state, a new solar equity program in Delaware gives low-income residents solar panels for free — and covers 70% of the cost of panels for moderate-income residents.
The program is aimed to help those who wouldn't normally be able to afford the upfront cost of installing a home solar panel system because they don't qualify for a conventional loan, pay too little in taxes to benefit from the federal tax incentives on solar panel systems, and more.
As Canary Media reports, low-income households could potentially benefit the most from having home solar panel because they typically spend a higher percent of their income on energy. Their "energy burden" can be up to three times higher than high-income households, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
And in even more good news: Delawareans are taking advantage of the program! The two-year pilot program is open to 50 households per year, and dozens of people have already called to inquire about it.
We love seeing communities and whole states creatively use their budgets and power to make a difference for both people and the planet.
The number of independent bookstores is at its highest in years – with more diverse owners than ever
The American Booksellers Association (ABA), the trade group for independent bookstore owners, says it now has 2,010 members at 2,547 locations — 300 more than it had in Spring 2021, and the most members its had in years. That’s doubly significant because in 2020 the ABA also tightened its rules to only allow stores which “primarily sell books” (over 50 percent of inventory), as opposed to any stores offering books.
While the ABA credits the spike in members to owners that delayed their memberships during the pandemic, over 100 of them are stores that opened in the last year — dozens of them by non-white owners.
The ABA has historically been predominantly white, and one of its board members acknowledged in June 2020 that it had not done enough to “break down barriers to membership and service for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
Sharon McMahon and the ‘Governerds’ raised more than $1.2 million in a single weekend for teachers
In addition to her regular “government for grownups” lessons on social media, Sharon McMahon is known for leading major fundraising efforts with her digital community — over 965,000 ‘Governerds,’ named for their participation in McMahon’s digital social studies classroom.
This time of year, it’s common to see teachers sharing their “Clear the List” classroom wishlists and asking friends, family, and followers to help get their classrooms ready for a new school year. Last year, McMahon opened a teacher grant program and raised over $560,000 with her digital community.
Her goal this year was to reach $1 million in funding to give back to teachers from every corner of the U.S. — allowing them to spend the money however they see fit. In just one weekend, the community met and exceeded that goal — and has now raised over $1.2 million, which will go directly to teachers in the form of grants.
Happy News from August
The Biden Administration announced it will plant 1 billion trees in the western U.S.
Good climate news! 🌳 A large-scale win for reforestation efforts, the Biden Administration announced its plans to plant over 1 billion new trees across millions of acres of burned and dead woodlands in the Western part of the U.S.
Ecologists and foresters are battling the increasing brunt of wildfires and insect infestations, leaving the government overwhelmed by the need to plant new trees, as forests struggle to naturally regenerate.
There’s a backlog of 4.1 million acres in need of replanting, meaning the U.S. Department of Agriculture will need to quadruple the number of tree seedlings produced in nurseries to meet forestation needs. Now, The Forest Service will scale up its replanting efforts from 60,000 acres a year, to about 400,000 acres.
Hawaii got it’s last-ever shipment of coal – its last coal plant is closing in September
This historic milestone is a part of Hawaii's 2014 pledge to get to 100% renewable energy by 2045 — becoming the first state to make a net zero pledge. In 2020, the state Senate banned the use of coal power on the islands, but even before that, the coal plant's owners announced the plant would be closed.
While we celebrate this incredible milestone in the necessary clean energy transition, we also acknowledge a just transition for the plant's worker is also necessary. The two are not mutually exclusive, and we can — and must — imagine and create a future that accounts for both.
Breaking from fast fashion brands, Love Island UK 2022 was sponsored by eBay – all the contestants wore pre-loved clothing
The 2022 season of Love Island UK is sponsored by second-hand giant eBay. It’s a significant deviation from the fast fashion brands Love Island has partnered with to date — one of them dressed islanders in pieces viewers could buy in real-time via the Love Island app.
This year, contestants dressed in pre-loved clothes chosen by celebrity stylist Amy Bannerman, who has worked with stars including Jonathan Van Ness, Lena Dunham, and Rita Ora.
A new Lyme disease vaccine is now in the final phase of its clinical trial
Created by Pfizer and French drugmaker Valneva, a new vaccine for Lyme disease called VLA15 is now officially in its third and final phase of a human clinical study. If it's successful, the companies say they'll seek authorization for use in 2025 — while that's still a few years off, this is incredible progress to celebrate.
Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks (a.k.a. deer ticks), and they’ve found their way into more parts of the world due to climate change, deforestation, and the removal of predators that help control deer and mice populations, which also carry Lyme. It's estimated to impact around 476,000 people in the U.S. and 130,000 people in Europe every year — and the parts of the world where it spreads is growing, making the need for a vaccine even more important.
"We are extremely pleased to reach this important milestone in the development of VLA15. Lyme disease continues to spread, representing a high unmet medical need that impacts the lives of many in the Northern Hemisphere," Valneva's chief medical officer, Juan Carlos Jaramillo, said in a statement.
About 6,000 people in the U.S. and Europe are participating in the study, and are at least 5 years old and live where Lyme disease is “highly endemic.” In earlier trials, the vaccine showed strong immune response in both kids and adults.
Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act – it includes the largest federal investment ever in fighting climate change
Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, officially sending it on its way to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. In addition to important tax and health care changes, the bill includes the largest-ever federal investment in fighting climate change.
It includes: extending incentives and tax credits for building clean energy capacity, providing financial incentives to consumers for purchasing electric vehicles and making efficiency and electrification upgrades at home, investments in environmental justice, and more.
It's the largest-ever investment in fighting climate change in the U.S. — around $370 billion total. And energy experts say the bill will cut emissions by about 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, both getting the Biden administration on track to meet its goal of cutting emissions in half by that year *and* getting the U.S. two-thirds of the way to its Paris Agreement goal.
While the bill contains disappointing compromises, including ones for fossil fuel companies, it truly is better than the alternative — no action at all.
We’re celebrating this historic, significant progress in the fight against climate change — and all the activists, leaders, and lawmakers who worked hard and came together to make it happen.
Pottery Barn just launched its first-ever accessible furniture collection - 150 pieces designed with experts to accommodate a range of disabilities
Good news for accessibility! Pottery Barn just debuted its first-ever accessible furniture collection of 150 pieces designed specifically to accommodate the elderly, the injured, and those with disabilities.
As Fast Company reports, Pottery Barn worked with experts at the Disability Education & Advocacy Network, which is led by people with disabilities, and designers that specialize in designing for disability to recreate some of its most popular products for maximum accessibility.
For example, they redesigned mirrors to tilt so those in wheelchairs can easily see themselves, made desks in dimensions that accommodate wheelchairs and open shelves instead of drawers, and added power lift to popular armchairs to make it easier to get and out.
Pottery Barn's president said it all started when she noticed the bathroom at a Pottery Barn store didn't have their own pieces in it — a store designer told her it was because nothing they carried was ADA-compliant.
Pottery Barn is a major brand in the home furnishings space, and though their prices remain inaccessible to many people, we're celebrating this new collection, and what it could mean for the growth of accessible home furnishings in the future!
It's also important to note that some of Pottery Barn's offerings are Fair Trade Certified, including from this collection.
To encourage fans to vote, the NBA announced it will have no games on Election Day
The NBA released its schedule for the 2022-2023 season — and it intentionally scheduled no games on November 8, midterm Election Day. All 30 NBA teams will play the day before, to encourage fans to vote and share the importance of civic engagement.
Teams are being encouraged by the NBA to share election information, like voter registration deadlines, with fans leading up to election day.
“The scheduling decision came out of the NBA family’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections,” the league said in a tweet.
“Players, coaches, event staff, and fans all deserve to have the time and space to make their voices heard at the ballot box. The league is setting an important precedent that I hope other businesses and leagues will follow," said Andrea Hailey, the CEO of Vote.org, which has partnered with the National Basketball Players Association on various initiatives in recent years.
The Biden Administration canceled $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000/year
The Biden Administration announced its plans to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000/year. The administration estimates this will eliminate the student loan debt of about 20 million borrowers entirely.
Additionally, borrowers who received Pell Grants — loans specifically for those from lower-income backgrounds to pursue higher education — are eligible for an additional $10,000 forgiven, helping ensure the debt relief goes to those who need it most.
According to federal data, 43 million people have federal student debt and owe an average of $37,667. Nearly one-third of them owe less than $10,000, and about half less than $20,000.
The administration's plan will likely face legal challenges, so when exactly the forgiveness will come is TBD, but this is important to celebrate! While more needs to be done to address the rising cost of higher education, inequality in access and opportunity, and more — we're celebrating the Biden Administration's keeping true to this important campaign promise.
In Burundi, former rival combatants are now working to rebuild forests destroyed by civil war
Burundi, one of the smallest countries in Africa, has just 6.6% of its original forests remaining, the legacy of a brutal civil war in which forests weren’t spared the violence inflicted by either side.
Today, as Mongabay reports, the formerly warring factions are working together on a reforestation project launched by the country in 2018. It's been hailed as a fantastic initiative, with over 150 million trees planted already.
California will ban the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2025
A first in the U.S., California's Air Resources Board just voted to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. According to state data, transportation makes up about 50% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
The approved plan will happen in phases, with te number of gas-powered cars decreasing each year — 35% of new passenger vehicles sold would need to be powered by batteries or hydrogen in 2026, 51% by 2028, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. It also outlines a goal to have zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.
After California's announcement, both Washington and Oregon announced they would be implementing similar rules in their states, too.
Scientists just found a new ‘simple’ way to break down some PFAS, or ‘forever chemicals’
Scientists just discovered a new way to break down some types of PFAS, or "forever chemicals" that have been linked to a ton of different health problems, like thyroid disease and some cancers.
PFAS are used in food packaging, nonstick cookware, furniture, cosmetics, and even firefighting foam. But the very thing that makes them "useful" also makes them impossible to get rid of, and they've been found in water, soil, air, and even human blood. One study estimates PFAS are in the blood of 97% of Americans.
And in even more good news, the EPA just designated two PFAS as hazardous substances, making it easier to quickly clean them up.
Good News from September
France became the first country in the world to ban fossil fuel advertisements
First proposed in 2019, France just implemented a ban on all advertisements promoting coal and oil, becoming the first country in the world to do so. Beginning in June 2023, the ban will include advertisements for natural gas, too. Companies who violate the ban will be fined $100,000 for each instance and could pay double for repeated violations.
While some environmentalists say the ban doesn't go far enough — fossil fuel companies will still be allowed to sponsor events, museums, etc. — the fact remains that fossil fuel companies have long gotten away with pervasive and misleading advertisements about their products, so this is really good progress to celebrate.
Similar bans have been implemented in cities like Amsterdam, and others have bans in the works.
Mary Peltola made history as the first woman and Alaska Native elected to represent the state in Congress
For the first time in history, an Alaska Native will represent the state in Congress. In a special election using ranked-choice voting (!!), voters elected Yup’ik Alaska Native Mary Peltola.
As Alaska Public Media reports, Peltola is also the first woman to hold the state's singular seat in Congress. She has served 10 years in the state legislature, and will now complete the remainder of former Congressman Don Young's term, who passed away in March. She also says she's committed to serving "normal" Alaskans, avoiding partisan politics and divisiveness, and bringing people together to "fight for the Alaska values that are crucial to our way of life."
Peltola's history-making election is good news for representation — for women and Native Alaskans. When leaders in decision-making positions reflect the perspectives and experiences of those they represent, it's good news for all of us.
For too long, that's not been the reality of Congress and U.S. politics in general — and we're celebrating Peltola's election getting us a bit closer.
Organizations around the world are rebuilding mangrove forests in coastal areas where they’ve been destroyed
For coastal communities like those in the Bahamas, mangroves mean stability and protection. They’re a safe harbor for hundreds of creatures. And they help protect communities from threats associated with climate change, including worsening storms, rising sea levels, and erosion.
They’re important for those living far from a coastline, too: Mangrove forests are an important tool in combatting climate change. Compared with other forests, the mangrove ecosystem (swipe to see it underwater!) has a superior ability to store carbon, and that can help slow the warming of the planet.
Mangroves have also been devastated by both hurricanes and development of beach houses, condos, and more. But Rotary International clubs are partnering with local organizations to restore them.
The world’s largest offshore wind farm is now fully operational – it will help power 1.4 million U.K. homes
A beautiful sight to see: The Hornsea 2, the largest offshore wind farm in the world is now operating at full capacity. Located off the east coast of England, it’s 165 turbines cover an area equal to more than half the size of New York City, and it help power more than 1.4 million homes in the U.K.
After she was called a ‘lunatic’ on Fox News, country music artist Maren Morris raised over $100,000 for trans youth
After she was insulted on-air by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, country music artist Maren Morris went on to raise more than $100,000 in support of transgender youth.
Morris criticized transphobic comments made by another country artist's wife on social media regarding gender-affirming care for trans children. Then, Carlson called her a "lunatic country music person" during his show.
Morris turned the hateful rhetoric into something good: She created merch with the quote on it, and donated all proceeds from sales to Trans Lifeline and the GLAAD Transgender Media Program.
TV series Abbott Elementary used some of their marketing budget to buy school supplies for teachers
In honor of the Emmy Awards tonight, we're celebrating the good Abbott Elementary is not only bringing to the TV screen — but to real-life classrooms around the country.
To celebrate the premiere of Season 2 (on September 21!), Abbott Elementary teamed up with Lakeshore Learning to use a portion of the show's promotional budget to gift $10,000 worth of school supplies to real-life teachers around the country.
In addition, as reported in The Education Edition of the Goodnewspaper, the show has tackled important topics for teachers like teacher retention, teachers having to crowd-fund for new school supplies, poor classroom conditions for teachers and their students, and more.
In a world that so often looks the other way while teachers are struggling, Abbott Elementary invites us all to sit, watch, listen, and most importantly, learn.
And in even more good news, the show's creator, Quinta Brunson became the first Black woman to earn three Emmy comedy nominations in the same year.
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard just donated the entire $3 billion company to fight climate change
"Earth is now our only shareholder." Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard just announced he would be donating the entire company, worth about $3 billion, to a trust and a nonprofit organization fighting climate change. Any profits that they don’t reinvest in the company will go to fight climate change — which will be about $100 million per year.
“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Mr. Chouinard, 83, said in an interview with The New York Times. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”
We can't stop celebrating this incredible news — Patagonia has long been setting the standard for what it looks like to run an ethical, truly sustainable company. And while many large corporations throw those words around to benefit their bottom line — Patagonia has now solidified, "in perpetuity," as Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson put it, that it will take the action necessary to back up those claims.
We're hopeful that other corporations will look at this latest action from Patagonia and see that we can chart a new path forward — one that does the most good for the planet and for people.
The Martha’s Vineyard community is coming together to provide food, shelter, and support for migrants flown from Texas
When two chartered planes filled with 50 migrants landed unexpectedly in Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday — the community quickly came together to help.
St. Andrews Church provided shelter, the Salvation Army and other organizations brought food and water, local high school Spanish students helped translate, and members of the community showed up with clothes and other necessities.
The planes originated in San Antonio, Texas, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed it "was part of the state's relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations."
With how quickly the community came together with an outpouring of support, you would have never known Martha's Vineyard hadn't actually been expecting the migrants.
The migrants were told they would receive housing and jobs upon arriving, but the chief executive officer of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services said, “We don’t have refugee services, I had no idea about any of this.”
“In a typical Vineyard fashion, it is a community effort,” one community member told the Vineyard Gazette.
Bottom line: This should have never happened. Nobody should be lied to and treated as less-than... ever. We're celebrating the Helpers of Martha's Vineyard for infusing a lot of hope into a heartbreaking situation.
The world’s largest shipping container line is rerouting its fleet to protect endangered blue whales
The largest shipping container company in the world, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) announced it is rerouting its entire fleet to protect endangered blue whales near Sri Lanka.
MSC made the decision after research from International Fund for Animal Welfare and others found that rerouting would reduce the risk of ships hitting the world's largest animals by 95 percent.
“By ensuring these small changes, MSC is making a significant difference for these endangered whales. Whales often die as a result of collisions and this population is at risk. Ship strikes are both a conservation and a welfare problem, and even one whale death is one too many,” Sharon Livermore, Director of Marine Conservation at IFAW said in a statement.
October Positive News
For more than a decade, John and Hank Green’s annual ‘Pizzamas’ fundraiser has helped raise millions for charity
Pizza John is back! It started with a bad mustache, became a piece of viral fan art, and has now been a community tradition for more than a decade. "Pizzamas" is an annual internet holiday celebrated by internet creators and authors Hank Green and John Green.
Created organically with their fanbase, known as Nerdfighters, the two-week event is equal parts fundraiser and celebration of community. Each year, Hank and John partner with independent artists to design and sell a variety of limited-edition merchandise.
Pizzamas 2022 is happening now through October 7, and all of the profits from Pizzamas merchandise are donated to charity. In recent years it’s contributed to the millions of dollars that have been donated to Nerdfighteria’s ongoing project with Partners in Health — a maternal health center in Sierra Leone.
North America’s first utility-scale renewable energy plant combining wind, solar, and storage opened in Oregon
We've seen clean energy with onsite storage before — but we’ve never seen it like this! A small town in Oregon just opened North America's first utility-scale "hybrid" wind-solar-battery renewable energy plant.
It has the capacity to power 100,000 homes and when operating at maximum capacity, can produce over half the power that was generated by Oregon’s last coal plant, which was demolished in August.
Since the facility can store energy onsite, it’s addressing a key challenge in the clean energy transition — not relying on fossil fuels to fill the energy demand when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
The FDA approved a new drug to treat ALS that was funded by money raised in the Ice Bucket Challenge
Back in 2014, your social media feed was likely filled with people doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money to fight ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
17 million people participated in the challenge, including celebrities, athletes, and politicians, and it raised over $115 million. A large portion of that money went to researching treatments for ALS — the first of which was just approved by the FDA.
According to the ALS Association, $2.2 million of funds that were raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge went into funding the development and trial of the new drug, called AMX0035.
"We thank the millions of people who donated, participated, and enabled us to invest in promising therapies like AMX0035 that will immediately help people living with ALS," Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of the ALS Association said in a statement.
While it's not a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease, it does slow down the progression of ALS and extends the life of those living with ALS.
President Biden pardoned thousands of people convicted of marijuana posession
BREAKING GOOD NEWS — President Biden just announced he was pardoning thousands of people with federal marijuana possession convictions. He also urged state leaders to follow his lead and pardon those with similar state-level convictions.
Additionally, Biden said his administration would begin the process to review how marijuana is classified, because it "makes no sense" that it is currently classified at the same level as heroin, and more seriously than fentanyl.
The pardons will clear about 6,500 people who were convicted between 1992 and 2021 and thousands more who were convicted of possession in the District of Columbia.
This is really exciting progress to celebrate, as it truly does make no sense that someone could be in jail or have a conviction on their record for something that is perfectly legal in another part of the country. And as President Biden noted, there are still deep racial disparities to address — and we're hopeful this will be a step in that direction.
The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize was awared to a jailed activist in Belarus and human rights organizations in Russia and Ukraine
The 2022 #NobelPeacePrize was awarded to a human rights activist currently in jail in Belarus, and two human rights organizations, one in Ukraine and one in Russia.
Activist Ales Bialiatski "was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s. He has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country," Nobel Prize wrote on Instagram. Government officials have long tried to silence him, he was jailed from 2011-2014, and has been in jail in Belarus since 2020, yet he "has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus."
The human rights organization Memorial was established in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union to ensure that victims of the communist regime’s oppression would never be forgotten. The organization was founded on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones. Though authorities have tried to force it to shut down, its chairman said "Nobody plans to give up.”
The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in Kyiv in 2007. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population. Along with international partners, it is working to hold the guilty parties accountable for their crimes.
In the midst of horrifying injustices and heartbreaking human rights abuses, Ales, Memorial, and Center for Civil Liberties have been the Helpers — the ones who see that heartbreak and injustice and work to make a difference, no matter the obstacles.
We're celebrating this well-deserved honor with each of them.
Ownership of a California Redwood Forest is being returned to Indigenous guardianship
Donated by Save the Redwoods League, 532 acres along California’s north coast was recently returned to Sinkyone tribes — formerly known as Andersonia West, it has been designated as tribal protected area and renamed Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ.
Nonprofits, businesses, and engineers are coming together to help house internally displaced Ukrainians
In the midst of an enormous global geopolitical event, rife with countless atrocities, Ukraine is now facing another major humanitarian crisis within its own borders — over 8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Many IDPs have chosen to stay in Ukraine for any number of reasons — to join the resistance, to remain with family, or because they cannot leave due to disability or financial limitations. And IDPs don’t receive the same support as refugees who flee to another country.
However, individuals, businesspeople, and nonprofits have come in to fill that support gap. Like Move Ukraine, which is helping refurbish and repurpose existing buildings to provide safe, secure, and dignified housing (and so much more) for as many displaced folks as possible.
The Gates Foundation just pledged $1.2 billion to eradicate polio globally
Good news on World Polio Day! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it would commit $1.2 billion to the fight to eradicate polio globally.
The money will go to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's work specifically in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the last two countries where polio is endemic — through 2026. It will also be used to help stop new outbreaks of the virus.
Pakistan has reported 20 new polio cases this year, and has long struggled with militants targeting polio vaccine workers. That, combined with weather disasters has made vaccination campaigns difficult.
Afghanistan has reported two cases so far this year. Due to ongoing violence, the Taliban wouldn't allow polio vaccination teams into the country, but a few months after taking control of Afghanistan they agreed to let the United Nations start a national campaign.
Incidents of polio have been reduced by 99%, but the virus maintains a stubborn stronghold in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We're celebrating the news that the organizations working hard to eliminate it there will be able to continue their important work.
Uplifting News from November
A San Antionio restaurant honored the 53 migrants tragically found dead in a tractor-trailer with a Dia de los Muertos altar
Today is also Día de los Muertos, a holiday that originated in Mexico to remember and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones. And a popular restaurant in San Antonio is commemorating this year's celebrations with an altar honoring each of the 53 migrants who were tragically found dead in the back of a tractor-trailer near the city.
This past June, authorities discovered the Central American migrants dead in the back of a sweltering hot, abandoned tractor-trailer.
“We highlight, celebrate, and prayerfully embrace the families of every man, woman, and child who lost their lives as they journeyed towards a life of opportunity and justice in the United States. Our hearts are forever marked by the knowledge of their strength, courage, and faith to wander out into the many unknowns, above all consequence, on their quest for the American Dream,” Deborah Cortez, a third-generation member of the Cortez family and the creator of the altar, shared with a local news station.
The altar is on display at Mi Tierra for residents, guests, and customers to visit and pay tribute until November 9.
Harry Styles helped set a new single-day voter registration record with HeadCount
Ahead of the #MidtermElections on November 8, Harry Styles partnered with HeadCount to run a sweepstakes where fans would be entered to win tickets to Harry's annual #Harryween concert in Los Angeles — if they register, or confirm they're already registered to vote.
In the first 24 hours of the sweepstakes, 28,760 new voter registrations were submitted — a new single-day record for HeadCount. In total, the sweepstakes registered over 54,000 new voters.
According to HeadCount, Styles’ partnership now makes up one-third of the total 190,000 voters they’ve registered so far in 2022. In a news release, they called the spike in voter registration an “unprecedented number for a midterm season.”
After two years of deadly conflict, Ethiopia’s civil war agreed to stop fighting
After two years of conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions, and resulted in famine for hundreds of thousands, the Ethiopian government and Tigray regional forces announced this week they've agreed to end hostilities.
Formal peace talks were mediated by the African Union in Pretoria, South Africa, and after a week both sides signed an agreement on a "permanent cessation of hostilities".
"The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament," Olusegun Obasanjo, head of the AU mediation team, said at a ceremony.
While analysts say the road to a comprehensive peace deal will be long, experts are celebrating the announcement for the significant diplomatic breakthrough that it is. And we are too!
John and Hank Green’s Awesome Socks Club is helping build a maternal health hospital in Sierra Leone
Since 2019, Hank and John Green, along with their fanbase, have been committed to raising at least $25,000,000 to support the construction, staffing, and supplying of a new maternal health hospital in the Kono District of Sierra Leone.
They’re reaching this goal through a number of projects, and one of them is a sock subscription service.
Now entering its third year, the Awesome Socks Club has grown to over 40,000 subscribers and has surpassed the million-dollar threshold each year. Just as it was always intended, 100% of this money has gone to charity.
In addition to supporting an incredible cause, each month’s awesome socks feature a new design by an independent artist, which is a secret to subscribers until their monthly sock shipment arrives, and are high quality and created with garment makers and the planet in mind.
Farmers started an ‘open source’ seed initiative to combat monopolies and improve biodiversity
Farmers and agriculture experts founded an “open source” seed initiative to combat global seed monopolies and improve biodiversity
Most farmers don’t own the seeds they sow on their fields — they rent them. A few companies have a monopoly on the global seed trade, and breed “cash crops” like corn and soy — with profits as the priority, not biodiversity, world hunger, or small farmers.
To combat that destructive model, in 2012 a handful of agriculture experts founded the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) as an alternative to the monopolies. The model is similar to open source software — someone develops the seeds, and offers the resource for everybody to share.
About 50 seed breeders have already signed on with OSSI in the US to offer nearly 500 seed varieties, and other open source seed organizations are popping up in Europe, Argentina, India and more.
A new mental health helpline specifically for farmers and ranchers began rolling out across the U.S.
The launch of the AgriStress Helpline for Farmers and Ranchers comes at a time of renewed attention on mental health resources, particularly with the recent launch of the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
While farmers and ranchers in need can always call that lifeline, they might meet providers who don’t understand the unique challenges they face: keeping the ranch in the family, operating on slim financial margins, battling waves of grasshoppers or watching crops wither during drought.
The AgriStress Helpline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by professionals trained to work with members of agricultural communities.
Using transparent solar cells, Swiss scientists developed windows that can generate electricity
Get lots of natural light while generating electricity? Scientists in Switzerland are making it possible with transparent solar cells that can be used to make electricity-generating windows — and they just reached a new efficiency record, too.
The low-cost dye-sensitized solar cells use photosensitized dye on a semiconductor surface that converts visible light into energy. Previous versions of the type of solar cells were dependent primarily on direct sunlight, but a new scientific breakthrough found a way to make them absorb light across the entire spectrum of visible light.
December Good News To Celebrate
Rapper Yung Gravy collected bras thrown onstage by fans and using them to help other women
Yung Gravy, a 26-year-old rapper known for his viral TikToks and satire-filled beats, is collecting the bras thrown on stage by his fans and transforming them into an act of good.
One of his TikToks has circulated widely, depicting a recent concert in Minneapolis, where Yung Gravy collected 159 bras. This rounds out his collection to 678 bras across the U.S.
He's taking the time-honored concert tradition — and using it for good. At the end of his tour, he plans to donate them all to women’s shelters, and he’ll match the value of the donated bras with a donation to a breast cancer charity — and it's all part of Yung Gravy’s “Save The Nip” campaign.
TIME named President Volodymyr Zelensky as the 2022 Person of the Year
Each year, TIME Magazine chooses a "Person of the Year" — someone who had a notable influence on the world for the past year. Their list of finalists usually includes world leaders, billionaires, politicians, philanthropists, activists, advocates, scientists, and more — but we love when they honor a Helper with the title.
This year, that Helper is Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine. In fighting a war they did not ask for, Zelensky and the Ukrainian people have courageously and successfully pushed back on Russia's invasion.
But as Time writes, President Zelensky "seeks much more than battlefield victories. What he wants to achieve during his tenure is to break the cycle of oppression and tragedy in which Ukraine has been trapped for generations."
Zelensky's courage has inspired courage in his fellow Ukrainians, and in millions across Europe and even around the world in the fight for freedom and human rights.
The Women of Iran are TIME’s 2022 Heroes of the Year
Heroes in every sense of the word, TIME has honored the Women of Iran as the 2022 Heroes of the Year. Sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran's morality police for not wearing her hijab and died in police custody on September 16, women in Iran have been at the frontlines of, as TIME writes, the "most sustained uprising" in the Islamic Republic's 43-year history.
Protesting much more than the government's mandatory hijab law, the women are leading the fight for life, women's rights, and freedom.
At Good Good Good, we share the best “real good” news (not just “feel good” news) — and will continue to update this article with the best positive news stories from 2022.