Reefs, Charity Soap, & Beds - Good News This Week: April 29th 2023

A photo collage of a coral reef, people on bikes, a TikTok screenshot of two people singing to 'If I Were A Fish', a pile of Sun Basin soaps, and a coal plant

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 —

Scientists discovered pristine deep-sea coral reefs ‘teeming with life' in the Galápagos marine preserve

In a previously unexplored part of a marine preserve in the Galápagos, scientists descended to 1,970-foot depths and discovered a coral reef in pristine condition. The reef was “teeming with life” and full of octopus, lobster, and fish.

The scientists said the discovery is raising hopes that reefs can still thrive, even as reefs around the world are threatened by record sea temperatures and ocean acidification. It’s also proof, they say, that conservation and reef management strategies are effective.

Currently, Ecuador (which owns the Galápagos) is working to establish more marine protected areas. It’s even collaborating with neighboring countries Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia on a regional marine corridor initiative to protect and responsibly manage the ocean.

Why is this good news? While this good news certainly doesn’t negate the bleaching and dying coral reefs around the world due to climate change, it does offer some hope for preserving and even restoring threatened reefs. The scientists plan to study how the reef has survived rising temperatures, acidification, and even extreme weather events throughout history.

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Norway just opened the world’s longest tunnel built specifically for pedestrians

The city of Bergen in Norway just opened 1.8-mile-long tunnel specifically for cycling and pedestrians constructed through the base of Løvstakken mountain. The team that made it say it’s the longest purpose-built tunnel of its kind in the world.

Following four years of construction, Fyllingsdalstunnelen, as it’s called, officially opened on April 15 with a family day of activities. The tunnel features two lanes so both bikers and runners or walkers can enjoy the tunnel side-by-side.

In place of windows, the tunnel has art installations on the walls, including a “sundial” installation to mark the halfway point of the tunnel. There’s technically a longer tunnel in Washington state, but the 2.2-mile-long Snoqualmie Tunnel was a former train tunnel that had been converted for pedestrians.

Why is this good news? Bergen had to build an evacuation tunnel for its new tram line, so they decided to make it something the entire community could enjoy! We love when cities use infrastructure plans to prioritize giving people car-free activities to enjoy — and make a community more pedestrian- and bike-friendly at the same time.

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Washington just became the 23rd state in the U.S. to abolish the death penalty

The state of Washington has had a death penalty moratorium in place since 2014 — and now, it just made it permanent. Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law to end the death penalty, making it the 23rd state to outlaw it.

In 2018, the state’s Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty, ruling that it was inconsistently applied. It found factors like the location of the crime and race often determined whether someone would receive a death penalty or life sentence conviction.

Inslee said before signing the bill about that ruling, “They made clear, and we know this to be true, that the penalty has been applied unequally and in a racially insensitive manner.”

We’re celebrating with everyone in Washington for helping the U.S. get one step closer to ending the death penalty nationwide.

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The viral ‘If I Were A Fish” song is the world’s new mental health anthem — and it’s healing millions

If you’ve been on TikTok for more than a minute in the last couple of weeks, there’s a solid chance you’ve gotten a little melody stuck in your head recently. It goes something like… “If I were a fish and you caught me, you’d say ‘look at that fish’...”.

Indie musicians Corook and their partner Olivia Barton shared a video of them singing the happy, acoustic song in a video on April 11, which has since garnered over 2 million likes and over 13 million views.

And in the caption, Corook shares that they were “having a very emotional day, feeling insecure and out of place” — and then the pair wrote the tune in 10 minutes “to remember the joy in being different.”

The song immediately became a hit, and comments, stitches, and duets came pouring in, from people rejoicing in the song, adding their own musical flair — and even a children’s choir singing the song in school. And Corook and Barton just released a full-length version of it on streaming platforms — with more delightful verses and kazoos.

Why is this good news? Aside from Corook and Barton simply sharing space together to “feel through” their not-so-great day — their vulnerability in sharing the song with the world has led to it providing real connection, hope, joy, and healing — for singers and listeners alike.

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John and Hank Green just launched their newest charity project: soap that supports maternal health in Sierra Leone

Now this is some “Green washing” we can get behind. The duo that brought us socks and coffee that gives back just added another project to their roster of charitable businesses: Sun Basin Soap!​​​​​​​​​

Known for their careers in writing, science, and media, in recent years, brothers Hank and John Green have become huge advocates for advancing healthcare in Sierra Leone by partnering with nonprofit Partners In Health to build the Maternal Center of Excellence.

The center broke ground in April of 2021, and a major contributor to this milestone is the success of the Greens’ charitable businesses, the Awesome Socks Club and Awesome Coffee Club. And now, Sun Basin Soap will support that work too by giving 100% of profits to charity.

And aside from doing good, the soap is really good, too. It’s made by a family-run business in Montana using only natural ingredients, certified organic base oils (and sustainably harvested palm oil!), and more.  

Why is this good news? Sun Basin Soap’s 100% of profits to charity model will support the ongoing construction of the Maternal Center of Excellence in Sierra Leone, a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

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A Fort Worth woman is helping give warm, comfortable beds to young children who don’t have one

Spurred by the desire to make a difference during the pandemic, and grateful for her own comfortable place to get some rest at night, Amy West wanted to do something to help young kids who didn’t have that.

So, she started Cots4Tots, a nonprofit which provides beds for young children. They especially look to help kids in foster care, since the need for care and resources can come up super quickly.

West was also inspired to make a difference this way, ultimately, to reduce infant mortality and injury, since it’s critical for a baby to have a good bed to reduce the risk of sleep-related death from SIDS, or accidental suffocation.

And for toddlers, enough sleep is important for their development — something that may not happen if they don’t have a comfortable, safe place to sleep. And according to another nonprofit that helps provides beds to kids, an estimated 1.5 to 2 million children sleep on the floor every night.

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The Australian Parliament just passed a landmark bill requiring massive industrial emissions reductions by 2030

Australia, still massively reliant on coal for energy production, just took its most significant step in years in addressing the climate crisis. The country’s parliament just passed an emissions reduction bill that would require the highest-emitting industrial facilities to reduce their emissions by around 30% by 2030.

After the bill was passed in the lower house, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said, “After a wasted decade, today is a great day for action on climate change.”

The result of these emissions reductions are estimated to be equivalent to taking two-thirds of all the cars in the country off the road, according to the country’s minister of climate change.

Why is this good news? Coal and climate change have been touchy subjects for decades in Australia, which is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal, and largest of liquefied natural gas. Climate policy had long been weaponized politically, so this legislation marks a major shift for the nation.

And it was driven largely by a shift in public opinion (and by extension, voting patterns), in the aftermath of increasingly frequent and intense natural disasters.

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More good news of the week —

Scientists discovered ancient, million-year-old viruses can help the body fight cancer. Once dormant, these viruses are “woken up” when cancer cells spiral out of control, unintentionally helping the immune system attack the tumor.

A new initiative in Washington state will equitably boost urban tree cover. The Washington Tree Equity Collaborative is a first-of-its-kind initiative to ensure vulnerable communities have clean are and are protected from extreme heat.

Minnesota just passed bills that preserve reproductive freedom, ban conversion therapy, and make the state a “refuge” for trans people. The legislature passed all three bills in a single day, and the governor says he will sign them.

The creator of the ‘Birds Aren’t Real’ conspiracy parody turned it into a movement for compassion. Peter McIndoe’s comedy project gave him a new point of view on conspiracy theories and how we as a society treat those on the fringe.

Taylor Swift is donating to food banks all along her stops on the Eras Tour. From Glendale and Las Vegas, to Tampa and Houston, Swift has made surprise donations to local area food banks.

A drag show fundraiser in New York raised nearly $14,000 to support a local animal rescue. The Rainbow of Hope Animal Rescue helps find foster dogs their forever homes, and has hosted the drag show fundraiser for seven years.

Writers started a campaign to help authors push their publishers toward carbon neutrality. The Tree to Me project helps authors prepare for and have productive conversations regarding the sustainability of their published work.

The world’s first carbon import tax was just approved by European Union lawmakers. The law would impose tariffs based on the amount of emissions generated in production, and could be effective in reducing industrial carbon emissions.

A couple in Oregon spent $48,000 to convert their home to net-zero — and they’re helping others make the switch, too. They took advantage of incentives, rebates, and tax credits, and want to show others that the future is efficient and renewable.

San Antonio just launched its Cool Pavement Pilot Program to help cool off some of the city’s hottest neighborhoods. The city will test different cool pavement products equitably throughout the city to see which are best at reflecting sunlight and absorbing heat.

The World Health Organization certified Azerbaijan and Tajikistan as officially malaria-free. Forty-two countries have now achieved the milestone, the latest two after a century-long sustained, collaborative fight against the deadly parasite.

Pope Francis just gave women the right to vote at a bishop’s meeting for the first time. The unprecedented change reflects his hopes to give women greater decision-making responsibilities, and expand it to even more people who have historically not had a vote.

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby just hosted a conference for conservatives who care about climate action. The more than 100 participants then spoke to two dozen Republican lawmakers following the conference about taking action on climate.

A Black woman-led organization is helping equip frontline communities fighting for environmental and racial justice. The Solutions Project creates opportunities for women of color to both gain access to funding while ensuring their voices are heard where it matters most.

The EPA just proposed improved wastewater treatment standards for coal-fired power plants. The decision was a legal victory decades in the making, thanks to the persistent work of groups like Earthjustice.

Article Details

April 30, 2023 7:30 AM
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