Good News This Week: April 27, 2024 - Birds, Trains, & Mosquito Nets

A photo collage of mangroves, the American Climate Corps logo, a street sign about penguins crossing, a mother holding her baby on her lap, and a Brightline train

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 —

A team of biologists found more than 700 species of animals on a recent mangrove expedition in Cambodia

Recently, a team of biologists ventured into the heart of a Cambodian mangrove forest to survey the wildlife that lived within the thickets of tree roots and branches — and it was a resounding success.

The team found 700 different animal species — and suspect they didn’t even scratch the surface: “If we could look at the area in even greater depth, we would find 10 times more, I am sure.”

Of the 700 animals found, researchers recorded 74 species of fish and 150 species of birds, 15 of which can be found on the red list of threatened and endangered species.

Why is this good news? While mangroves are often (rightly!) hailed for their ability to provide coastal protection and locking in carbon, “the value of mangroves for biodiversity conservation a​​s well as the services that animals provide to mangrove forest health — is often overlooked.” Not anymore.

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Applications for the American Climate Corps are now open — with 2,000 positions to fill across the country

To celebrate Earth Day, President Joe Biden just delivered a very exciting announcement: Job applications for the American Climate Corps are now open.

To start, the program is recruiting over 2,000 positions in 36 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. Eventually, the program will train and employ more than 20,000 people in climate-related jobs like installing solar panels, fighting wildfires, rebuilding wetlands, and more.

Additionally, through a new partnership with the North American Building Trade Union, members will also be eligible for a streamlined path to federal climate-related jobs upon completion of their service in the corps.

Why is this good news? The creation of the Climate Corps has been a key demand from activists and environmental groups. It’s modeled after a similar program that provided jobs for millions during the Great Depression, and importantly: all program participants will be paid, and most jobs don’t require previous experience.

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Once a ‘biodiversity basket case,’ rare and endangered native bird species are now thriving in New Zealand’s capital

By the 1990s, many native bird species in Wellington, New Zealand were nearing local extinction due to human activity, habitat loss, and the introduction of pests.

Thanks to decades of conservation efforts, the city’s native birds are back and they’ve brought their birdsong with them. Since 2011, the average number of native bird species in the city’s parks and reserves has risen by 41% — with some species increasing by as much as 260%.

It’s also resulted in a positive feedback loop: the more residents encounter native birds day-to-day, the more inspired they are to protect them.

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More good news happening in cities around the world:

Drivers and first responders helped save a person from a burning vehicle on the side of a major highway

Sam Orobovich’s car burst into flames after hitting a light pole and guardrail on the side of I-94 in St. Paul, Minnesota. With the driver’s side door tight against the guard rail, he was trapped inside — until people started pulling over to help him get out.

Dashcam videos show at least five people pulling on both the driver and rear doors and using roadside items to try and break the window to help Orobovich get out.

A Minnesota Highway Helper pulled up, successfully broke the window, and the group pulled Orobovich out of the window to safety away from the vehicle.

He issued a statement thanking the helpers, “I am alive today because several Good Samaritans and professional first responders saved my life. Fred Rogers used to say that whenever someone sees something scary, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

He went on to commend their uniquely heroic actions, choosing to risk their own lives by running towards a fiery car crash “that could explode at any moment” to help a stranger.

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New mosquito nets have helped prevent 13 million malaria cases and thousands of deaths

This World Malaria Day comes with some incredibly good news: new, state-of the-art mosquito nets have prevented an estimated 13 million malaria cases and 24,600 deaths.

The New Nets Project distributed 56 million dual-insecticide nets from 2019 to 2022 in 17 countries where malaria is endemic to address insecticide resistance in some mosquitoes. The new nets were found to improve malaria control by 20 to 50 percent compared to standard nets.

While we’ve seen significant progress, in 2019 alone, 386,000 people in Africa still died from malaria, of which 274,000 were children under five. Annually, there are an estimated 200 million new cases in malaria-endemic countries.

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More good news to celebrate on World Malaria Day:

The U.S. just broke ground on its first-ever high-speed rail line — it will connect Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Builders just officially broke ground on the first “high-speed” rail line in the U.S. Connecting travelers between Las Vegas and Los Angeles in under two hours, it could be completed by the end of the decade.

In addition to cutting down commute times and reducing greenhouse gases, it’s also believed that the new rail will open the door for the construction of an entire high-speed rail network across the U.S.

The train will travel at 186 miles per hour and attract an estimated 11 million passengers annually. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates it could cut 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually and create 35,000 new jobs.

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More train-related good news:

Over the past 50 years, global immunization efforts have saved at least 154 million lives

A landmark study just found that global immunization efforts have saved an estimated 154 million lives over the past 50 years — the vast majority of which (101 million) have been infants. That’s the equivalent of around 6 lives saved every minute for the past 50 years.

Led by the World Health Organization, the study shows that immunization is “the single greatest contribution of any health intervention” to ensure babies enjoy long, healthy lives.

With the most significant impact on reducing infant mortality, the measles vaccination accounted for 60% of the lives saved. Notably, the polio vaccine has resulted in over 20 million people being able to walk today — instead of being paralyzed.

Vaccination against 14 diseases in total has “directly contributed” to reducing infant deaths by 40% globally over the past 50 years.

The study also found that for each life saved by vaccines, an average of 66 years of full health were gained — and 10.2 billion years total were gained over the full 50-year time frame.

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More good news of the week —

Mother Earth will now receive royalties when you listen to nature sounds on major streaming platforms. Classic sounds like ocean waves, wind, rainstorms, birdsong, and more will now be recognized under an official artist — NATURE — on all major streaming platforms.

New York City just launched its “Open Streets” season with the largest-ever car-free Earth Day celebration. Across all five boroughs, 53 streets and plazas throughout the city were filled with public art and community programming instead of car traffic.

Netflix is celebrating Earth Day with release of a new docu-series called ‘Our Living World’ — narrated by Cate Blanchett. The four-part series is now streaming and takes viewers through the magnificent untold stories of the connections between species across the globe.

Seven countries are now generating 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. Another 40 countries generated 50% of their electricity from renewables, in what experts are calling an “irreversible tipping point” moment.

After years of being ravaged by disease, a nonprofit just successfully planted 40,000 coral substrates in the Caribbean. FUNDEMAR has been crucial to restoring coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, cultivating eight different species, including the notoriously hard-to-breed Pillar coral.

Helping restore waterways to their natural state, a record number of river barriers were removed across Europe in 2023. Connecting rivers helps wildlife travel and migratory fish reach breeding grounds, and removing dams allows water levels to vary, helping increase the diversity of plants and animals.

Providing clean energy via existing infrastructure, Germany has installed over 400,000 plug-in “solar balconies.” Different from rooftop solar, the balconies are a much smaller system containing one or two panels plugged right into an outlet.

An ultrasound clinic is using AI to detect types of breast cancer faster. The AI scan uses software that compares the images taken against roughly 200 million other breast scans, helping more quickly and accurately identify breast cancer, which is most curable when it’s detected early.

Revolutionizing conservation efforts, scientists just pinpointed a fungal virus harming frogs and toads. A new study identified a novel virus that has been impacting over 500 amphibian species for decades.

Reaching another clean energy milestone, California just went 9.25 hours using only renewable energy sources. Nearly every day for the past six weeks California’s electric grid has run on solar, wind, and other clean energy sources for hours at a time.

Farmers in Vietnam are reducing methane emissions by changing the way they grow rice. They’re using less water and a drone to fertilize the crops, which is both uniquely vulnerable to climate change and a contributor to it.

There are growing efforts in medicine among physicians to take women’s pain more seriously, especially in reproductive care. Recently surfaced stories, adjusting pain measurement approaches, investment in research, and more are helping drive the much-needed shift.

California just announced the creation of the first new state park in a decade. The 1,600-acre Dos Rios tract in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley is set to open on June 12 and become California’s 281st state park.

Drinking glasses of wine along the 26.2-mile route, a London marathoner raised $22,000 for a local hospice center. Tom Gilbey is a wine connoisseur and did a blind wine taste test for every mile he ran on the course to help raise funds.

The FTC just voted to ban noncompete agreements, freeing workers to pursue new jobs and start businesses. Noncompete clauses have restricted workers from freely changing jobs and the new rule will help promote career mobility, innovation, and competition.

The “most significant” environment deal since 2015, U.N. delegates are now negotiating the terms of the new global plastics treaty. It’s a critical opportunity to stop the fossil fuel industry’s pivot from transportation and electricity generation to plastic production.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is opening a 'firefly lottery' for lucky winners to see a rare firefly light show. Synchronous fireflies illuminate summer nights in national parks across the U.S., prompting conservation efforts to protect the beloved insects.

The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing $36.9 million to clean up “legacy pollution” in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri. The funding will be used to plug orphaned oil and gas wells to address environmental and safety hazards in the state.

Article Details

April 27, 2024 5:30 AM
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