Fish Doorbells, Narcan, & Bookstores - Good News This Week: April 1st 2023

A photo collage of a basketball stadium, people in a field, Ann Patchett and her dog, Sparky, a Narcan nasal spray, and a screenshot of the vis deurbel livestream

Every day the Good Good Good team collects the best good news in the world and shares it with our community. Here are the highlights for this week!

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The Best Positive News We’re Celebrating This Week —

The women’s March Madness tournament is breaking viewership and attendance records

Women’s athletics programs have long been underfunded and undervalued — and that’s not just a hot take. A 2021 gender equity review of the NCAA showed damning evidence of those inequities.

The findings made way for equal treatment at the 2022 March Madness college basketball tournaments. And viewership soared: nearly five million viewers tuned into the final, making it the most-watched college women’s basketball game since 2004.

This year, those records have already been broken. On top of the 11% higher viewership during the regular season, viewers of the first two rounds of the women's tournament saw a 28% increase over last year. They set a new in-person fan attendance record, too.

Why is this good news? Aside from the moral implications of investing in equitable treatment of athletes of all genders, these record-breaking turnouts for women’s basketball bust the myth that no one cares about women’s sports.

It means they’re getting sponsors, too. ESPN sold its full advertising inventory for women’s games this year, beating last year’s record with 15 sponsors and nearly 100 advertisers for this season’s championship (which is happening this week!).

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A new, first-of-its-kind survey found a large majority of trans adults say transitioning made them more satisfied with their lives

Building upon a limited, but growing body of research, a new poll from the Washington Post and KFF is the largest nongovernmental survey of U.S. transgender adults to use random sampling methods. More than 500 people who identify as trans shared their perspective and experiences post-transition in the survey.

The poll found that a majority of trans adults have changed their physical appearance in some way to reflect their gender identity: 77% changed the types of clothes they wear, 31% have used hormone treatments, and 16% have undergone gender-affirming surgery or other surgeries.

When asked about their childhoods, 53% of trans adults surveyed said they had a happy one — that went up to 67% when they had a trusted adult in their lives, and dropped to 44% when they did not. (All still far lower than the 81% of all Americans who report having a happy childhood.)

And importantly, the poll also found that among those who idendify as trans, 78% reported that transitioning made them more satisfied with their lives — over 40% say they are “a lot” more satisfied.

Why is this good progress? Trans people, and especially trans youth, are regularly (these days, daily) attacked and vilified — both in real life and in legislation. Surveys like this help all of us (especially those of us who do not identify as trans) better understand the trans experience — and when we know more, as Maya Angelou says, we can do better.

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An innovative school in rural Uganda is combining indigenous and financial education

The Tat Sat Community Academy (TaSKA) in rural Kasasa, Uganda, is taking an incredibly innovative approach to giving both students and the larger community a shot at education relevant to their goals, meeting needs beyond school, and preserving their culture.

Through the project’s Institute of Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts, students and community members to keep traditional knowledge alive through music, dance, and other art forms.

And through its community-owned Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization, students and their families can get economic education and access to the larger banking system.

Another innovative strategy it takes is that every time a student pays tuition, a majority of the funds goes into a fund that will be used to help students pursue their dreams and goals post-graduation, like starting a business or continuing their education.

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An independent bookstore in Nashville is offering solace and a safe space for their grieving community

On Monday, March 27, a shooter entered The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee armed with two assault-style firearms and a pistol — six people were killed, including three nine-year-old students.

Immediately following the tragedy, Parnassus Books opened its doors to the community, offering a space to come together and share in their grief. Parnassus is an independent bookstore owned by award-winning author Ann Patchett — and it’s located just down the street from the school where the shooting happened.

Patchett — alongside shop dog Sparky — went on to welcome anyone who “didn’t know what to do today” to come to the bookstore, hold a dog, and just “be with us.”

Why is this good news? Ending school shootings (and gun violence in general) will take all of us coming together and helping create (and demand) the change we desperately need to end the gun violence epidemic in America.

Patchett and Sparky opening the doors of their bookstore to anyone and everyone who needs somewhere to be together in our grief helps us be those people.

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The FDA just approved Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, for over-the-counter sales

Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter sales of naloxone, also known as Narcan. Narcan is a nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, and once it hits shelves this summer, will be the first opioid treatment drug to be sold over the counter.

While you could previously get Narcan without a prescription, it was only available at pharmacies — and many didn’t even carry it. Law enforcement officers and community organizations also sometimes have it available.

Advocates and activists have long sought over-the-country approval for the drug, arguing it would improve accessibility for those in urgent need, reduces stigma — and ultimately save lives.

Why is this good news? Overdoses have been linked to more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. every year — and a majority of those deaths are tied to opioids, especially dangerous synthetic versions like fentanyl (which can take multiple doses of naloxone to reverse).

Making naloxone available more widely, especially to those most likely to be around overdoses, including people who use drugs and their relatives, will help so many people and save so many lives.

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A Dutch “fish doorbell” and volunteers from around the world are saving thousands of fish during migration season

Perhaps unexpectedly, fish migration season has brought a unique opportunity for people around the world to make a real difference.

The vis deurbel — “fish doorbell” in Dutch — is a website featuring a livestream camera on a year-round dam that keeps migrating fish in the rivers and canals in Utrecht from being captured by predators.

Volunteer viewers can watch the fish doorbell livestream from anywhere in the world, and when they spot a fish (or two, or three!), ring the doorbell to send a dam lock keeper a signal that fish are waiting to swim through, helping to guide them on their journey.

Last year, thanks to volunteers, over 10,000 fish were let through the dam.

Why is this good news? During migration season, a number of fish species — like pike, perch, bindweed, rudd, alver, and eels — use waterways in the Netherlands to swim upstream. It's important they're able to migrate, because they help the entire ecosystem in the process by eating aquatic insects and helping maintain good water quality.

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More good news of the week —

The hero who saved hundreds from genocide and inspired “Hotel Rwanda” was just released from prison. The U.S. and Qatar helped arrange for Paul Rusesabagina’s release, who was convicted of terrorism offenses in a widely criticized trial.

To help combat racial disparities in infant mortality, Philadelphia is giving pregnant residents $1,000 per month. Participants in the pilot program will also be offered voluntary support such as benefits and financial counseling, home visiting, lactation support, and doulas.

A group of over 120 lawyers in England pledged to not prosecute peaceful climate protesters. They signed a “Declaration of Conscience” and will also refuse to represent those participating in new fossil fuel projects.

A group of Afghan women launched a school on a military base to help bring education to refugees. The school serves about 200 children.

A mobile school is bringing both tutoring and hope to students experiencing homelessness. The School on Wheels was started by a retired school teacher.

A New Orleans teacher started a special school to meet the unique needs of unaccompanied migrant children. Las Sierras Academy helps prepare students for success in high school.

The biggest corporate backer of deep sea mining just exited the industry. Companies want to mine the seas for materials to make batteries, but activists have been pushing back to ensure due diligence is done to consider the impacts on the planet.

An Ohio contractor built a wheelchair ramp for free to help a family in need. Jerry Tonjes has a month-long waitlist for construction projects, but he made an exception when a local family had an emergency.

A Nebraska lawmaker has promised to block every bill until trans rights are protected. For the last three weeks, Machaela Cavanaugh has filibustered every piece of legislation that has come to the floor over a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors.

Maryland lawmakers just passed a bill making it easier for residents to access gender-affirming care. The Trans Health Equity Act passed swiftly and easily in both the House and Senate and the governor has pledged to sign it into law.

Unions for service workers at Disney World reached a deal to raise the minimum wage to $18 per hour. When finalized, the contract will benefit more than half of Disney’s 70,000-plus workforce, including costumed performers, theatrical workers, and more.

Hungary is testing using A.I. to detect breast cancer that doctors may miss. Advancements in the technology are beginning to deliver breakthroughs in breast cancer screening by detecting the signs that doctors miss.

Ukrainian refugees in Minnesota are traveling to Mississippi to help with tornado relief efforts. At least 26 people died late last week after tornadoes swept through northern Mississippi and left many others without homes.

A modern-day Robin Hood is helping tenants in The Netherlands take on greedy landlords. Rent Buster NL alerts tenants who are moving into new apartments that their landlords may be overcharging them  —it’s sent hundreds of letters to tenants over the last few months.

A new outreach project is working to bring education to 10 million girls in India. Operating in over 20,000 villages, Educate Girls volunteers identify girls who have dropped out of school and bring them support for exams in “learning camps” set up right in their villages.

After their TikTok went viral, nearly every cat in a Kansas City animal shelter was adopted. Shelter workers shared their favorite things about the cats, with the goal of getting the shelter cats some attention — needless to say, it worked.

Madonna just added a Nashville tour date to protest Tennessee’s anti-drag and anti-trans laws. In her words, “These so-called laws to protect our children are unfounded and pathetic.”

Brazil has removed nearly all illegal gold miners from the Yanomami territory, its largest indigenous reservation. The country is planning to remove miners from six more indigenous reservations this year.

March Madness is still breaking off-court records, especially with TV viewership. The Elite Eight matchup between Iowa and Louisville drew almost 2.5 million pairs of eyes — more than any NBA game on ESPN all season.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark just made history with the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA tournament history. Clark is now also the first player in Division I basketball history — men's or women's — with 900 points and 300 assists in a single season.

Commercial partners are more interested than ever in women’s soccer. And the National Women’s Soccer League’s marketing strategy is to elevate the platform of all players — not just a select few.

Saudia Arabia’s national women’s football team was included in the FIFA world rankings for the first time in history. They’re officially ranked 171st in the world and earned their first-ever international trophy in January.

NASCAR driver Erik Jones donated a book vending machine to his hometown elementary school. Jones also started a #READwithErik program during the pandemic shutdown and has read children’s books to young readers at NASCAR races and on Facebook.

Article Details

April 1, 2023 5:00 AM
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