Good News This Week: April 6, 2024 - Legos, Trees, & Renewables

A photo collage of a Transgender flag, the Lego logo, a man carrying a large bin, sheets of paper with a forest of trees in the background, and a flatlay image of the Goodnewspaper

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 —

In a unanimous vote, Sacramento just declared itself a ‘sanctuary city’ for transgender people

Ahead of yesterday’s Transgender Day of Visibility, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously on a resolution to declare the city a “sanctuary city for transgender people.”

Effective immediately, no city resources will be used to criminalize trans folks who are looking for transition-related care or to cooperate with other jurisdictions enforcing laws in places where the care is criminalized.

The resolution goes a step beyond state law, sending “a powerful signal to everyone in our community that we are a safe place for everyone.” Major medical associations in the U.S. support this kind of transition-related care, deeming it medically necessary.

Why is this good news? As lawmakers across the country are increasingly working to limit gender-affirming care, effectively denying trans folks the right to exist, Sacramento paving the way for people to get the life-changing (and even life-saving) health care they need without fear is important progress.

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LEGO just announced new accessibility standards at its stores to make them more inclusive for all

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and LEGO just announced it’s celebrating by partnering with KultureCity, a nonprofit focused on sensory inclusion and accessibility, to make its stores more accessible for all LEGO lovers.

In addition to all-new comprehensive staff training, every LEGO store will offer “sensory bags” created by a team of research professionals and neurodivergent developers. They include noise-reducing headphones, a visual cue card, and more.

A store manager said they’ve already seen how the training and inclusion initiative has reshaped shopping experiences for customers — and their neurodivergent customers echo those sentiments.

What’s even better: Already this year, the LEGO Foundation’s Play For All Accelerator program has disbursed over $11 million in grants to five organizations that center on the development of innovative toys, products, and services for neurodivergent children around the world. LEGO also recently started mass-producing Braille bricks.

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More people care about climate change around the world than you might think

Data shows that globally, a significant majority of people in countries around the world both worry about climate change and support policies to address it. At the same time, this level of concern is also consistently underestimated by most people.

In recently published research, 59,000 people across 63 countries were surveyed and 86% said they believed in climate change — that action was needed, humans caused it, it was a serious threat to humanity, and/or a global emergency.

Even in the country with the lowest agreement, 73% still agreed it was a serious threat.

More research surveyed nearly 130,000 people across 125 countries, and 89% wanted to see more political action for climate change, and 69% said they’d contribute at least 1% of their income to support efforts to address climate change.

Not only is it encouraging to know that the majority of your friends, family, and neighbors (all over the world!) agree that climate change is a major issue — but this knowledge can also help governments, companies, and even individuals take meaningful climate action.

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Phoenix just passed a historic ordinance to protect outdoor workers from extreme heat

The Phoenix City Council just unanimously passed an ordinance that requires employers to give outdoor workers easy access to rest, water, and shade, to receive training to recognize signs of heat stress, and more to protect them from extreme heat.

The ordinance will impact thousands of workers in the country’s hottest city, which saw a record 31 consecutive days of over-110-degree heat last year. With climate change intensifying these extreme temperatures, these requirements are more critical than ever.

The new extreme heat protections are thanks to the advocacy work of unions and local workers and will impact workers in engineering, construction and airport projects, and other city services.

Why is this good news? Intersecting with racial justice, data shows the risk of death from heat stress for Latine workers is over three times higher than their peers. And while representing about 32% of the population, 40% of outdoor workers are Hispanic or Black.

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By making a small change to its book design, a major publisher has saved thousands of trees

HarperCollins is one of the four major book publishers in the world, and its designers recently set out on a mission to reduce the carbon footprint of each book they publish by reducing paper.

The publisher’s designers set out to maximize both page space and readability, and so far their tweaks have made a massive difference: the company has saved 245.6 million pages — equivalent to 5,618 trees.

The new, more intentional, planet-friendlier design was an intensive process of testing fonts, spacing, and more to develop the new design standard. Ultimately, they landed on fonts that also use less ink, which is better for the planet, too.

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More good news about trees:

After a decade of explosive growth, nearly one-quarter of U.S. electricity now comes from renewables

While it can be hard to see when you don’t live right next to a solar or wind farm, renewables have actually grown at a staggering rate since 2014 — and now account for 22 percent of electricity in the U.S.

In the past decade, solar went from generating less than half a percent of the nation’s electricity to producing nearly 4 percent. In that same period, wind grew from 4 percent to roughly 10.

Once hydropower, geothermal, and biomass are accounted for, nearly a quarter of the nation’s grid was powered by renewable electricity in 2023, with the share only expected to rise thanks to the continued surge in solar.

What’s even better: The Inflation Reduction Act is poised to kick the growth curve even higher with expanded tax credits for manufacturing and installing photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, so the most optimistic projections suggest that the country is getting ever closer to achieving its 2030 and 2035 clean energy goals.

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Despite transphobic trolls, a TikTok creator raised millions for gender-affirming care in honor of Trans Day of Visibility

Now in its third year, TikTok creator Mercury Stardust’s annual livestream — co-hosted by Jory — raises money for Point of Pride, which provides financial aid and direct support to trans folks in need of health and wellness care.

After raising $2 million last year, this year they set out to reach $4 million over the course of a 3-day livestream in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility. But trolls had other plans.

Although Jory and Stardust took to TikTok with great enthusiasm — and with the support of friends — like Dylan Mulvaney and Under the Desk News — they were repeatedly banned from TikTok Live, following organized reporting and hate campaigns from “trolls.”

Despite the transphobic attacks, they were flexible and continued streaming on various platforms. And while they were banned over a dozen times from a myriad of accounts — they still raised $1.6 million to help trans folks in need.

And they’re not stopping: Stardust promised to keep the fundraiser going until they reach their new goal.

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More good news of the week —

India’s government is replacing “minimum wage” with “living wage” by 2025. Often higher than minimum wages, living wages are defined as the income needed to meet basic needs like housing, food, healthcare, education, and clothing.

A Los Angeles-based artist is helping folks get up close and personal with the immigrant experience. Uncomfortable and infuriating, hopeful and liberating, noé olivias’ new “Gilded Dreams” exhibition goes beyond the surface-level facts about immigration in the United States.

Researchers in the UK figured out how to diagnose bowel cancer without biopsies. The medical breakthrough would eliminate the need for a risky, invasive procedure that can result in infection and limits to what it can capture.

A building in Detroit was transformed into permanent housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. Four organizations in the city and a national partner are using data to reduce homelessness toward “functional zero.”

Thousands of farmers in Africa have reforested a combined area about seven times the size of Manhattan in less than 10 years. The TREES program helps farmers swap monoculture crops for biodiverse forest gardens, which provide food, protect the soil, and improve tree cover.

Every new mom in Flint, Michigan is getting cash aid for an entire year. The city has one of the country's highest rates of child poverty, and is rolling out the new benefits to wipe out deep poverty during a crucial time for child development.

volunteering with hard-to-adopt shelter dogs. Many of the dogs he cares for have been returned to the shelter for having too much energy, poor behavior, or even running away.

To fight a severe outbreak of the fever, Brazil is releasing millions of anti-dengue mosquitos. The country has recorded 1.6 million probable cases since January – the same number reported for all of last year – and 491 confirmed deaths.

Five years after hundreds washed up dead onshore, the West Coast’s grey whale population has recovered. The total number is now between 17,400 and 21,300, an increase from an estimated 13,200 to 15,960 whales last year.

An Oregon-based startup is making it easier for people to be informed citizens and thoughtfully engage with politics. The Citizenly platform provides a “complete, accurate, and continuously updated database of every politician in the country.”

When budget cuts threatened their local library, the Salem community came together to give it overwhelming support. The effort brought teens, librarians, and other community members out to support continued funding for the Salem Public Library.

The Interior Department is investing $25 million to protect and maintain two wetland areas in the Southwestern U.S. The Yuma East Wetlands and Topock Marsh in Arizona are both important for resilience and drought mitigation.

As part of the country’s major health care reform, women in Canada will get free contraception. The Canadian government will cover the cost of the most widely used contraceptive methods for nine million Canadian women of reproductive age.

A network of newsrooms and community organizations gets people to attend under-reported public meetings and publish the results. Their efforts help make sure everyday citizens aren’t left in the dark when local elected officials are making big decisions.

Scientists discovered solar-powered technology that converts salt water into drinking water with zero emissions. By maximizing available solar power for water production, scientists produced drinking water cheaper than ever before in lower-income countries.

Article Details

April 6, 2024 5:00 AM
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