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Good News This Week: August 19, 2023 - Trails, Groceries, & Doulas

A photo collage of a raccoon drinking milk from a bottle, two young adults holding up a sign, a trail, a woman holding a Rounds tote bag, and two women facing away from the camera while holding each other by the arms

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 viral Eras Tour t-shirt has raised over $17,000 to protect and care for wildlife in Maine

Now a TikTok sensation, the Maine-based Saco River Wildlife Center posted about a fundraiser involving Taylor Swift-themed t-shirts — but with a twist. Playing on Swift’s now-iconic Eras Tour design, the wildlife center swapped the blonde pop star for its famed critters: raccoons, possums, and skunks.

The mastermind behind the design, Director of Development Lauren Kennedy first posted about the shirt on her personal account on July 21, and the video quickly gained popularity. Commenters were thrilled to combine their love of Swift with their love of… nocturnal mammals.

“The impact has been overwhelming,” Kennedy told us. “Not only have we raised over $17,000, we are also increasing awareness of our organization and promoting the work of wildlife rehabilitation.”

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More good animal news:

In a landmark climate change case, a Montana judge just ruled in favor of young people’s right to healthy environment

It was a historic, first-of-its-kind case when a group of young climate activists first sued their home state of Montana for the harm caused by its failure to consider climate change when evaluating new projects.

They just made history again. On Monday, a judge ruled in their favor, writing in her decision, “Plaintiffs have a fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment, which includes climate as part of the environmental life support system."

The judge ruled that two existing state laws that limited the ability of regulators to consider climate effects were unconstitutional.

Why is this good news? While Montana doesn’t necessarily lead the way when it comes to planet-harming carbon emissions, this precedent-setting decision opens up the door for more cases and more decisions like it in other states. And most of all — it solidifies something we all know: people have a right to a clean, healthy environment.

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In the year since the Inflation Reduction Act passed, U.S. solar and storage companies have announced over $100 billion in investments

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed in August 2022 — and one year later, investment in the solar energy supply chain has exploded.

According to a new analysis released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association, 51 solar factories have been announced or expanded in the U.S. — which alone is a nearly $20 billion investment into communities around the U.S.

Those factories will also employ more than 20,000 people and lead to 155 gigawatts of new production capacity.

The analysis found that by 2026, the U.S. will have more than 17 times its current manufacturing capacity — enough to meet the demand for the majority of solar projects expected to be built.

And that’s just for solar capacity — there have also been 14 new or expanded storage facilities and more than 3 gigawatts of new large-scale energy storage projects have already been launched in the past year.

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Started by a group of businesses and city leaders, a 50-mile loop of hike and bike trails around Dallas is almost complete

In 2014, a small group of businesses and leaders in the city of Dallas came together in a private-public partnership to start a massive undertaking: connecting the entire city of Dallas with walking and biking trails.

Their plans for The Loop Dallas involved adding 11 miles of new trails to 39 miles of existing trails to create a continuous 50-mile pathway. The first of five planned connectors opened back in May — and the rest is expected to be completed within three years.

Beyond the recreational opportunities, those supporting the project are hopeful about what it will mean for access to the southern part of the city for residents— two-thirds of the investments in new trails are there.

Why is this good news? Cities invest a lot in road infrastructure, but cars or public transportation are often still inaccessible to many people. Beyond investing in a future that gives folks more car-free options for recreation, Dallas is giving its residents more car-free options for ways to simply (and more accessibly) move around the city, too.

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A new grocery service is delivering zero-waste groceries to doorsteps in 4 major cities

Recognizing the significant barriers of cost and accessibility when it comes to grocery delivery service, two entrepreneurs set out to confront them — and give folks the best of both worlds, sustainable living, and convenient grocery shopping.

Alexander Torrey and Byungwoo Ko founded The Rounds, which works just like any other grocery delivery service: Members pay a fee, select their essentials from a wide array of household basics and pantry samples, and then have them delivered weekly by a courier.

But Rounds products are distributed in refillable and reusable containers (brought to you in a reusable canvas tote bag), so when your delivery person comes to drop off your next installment of goods, they can pick up any empty containers to refill for the next time.

Why is this good news? Higher costs and less accessibility keep many of us from investing in sustainable swaps, leading us to (understandably) reach for the convenience of corporate giants like Amazon. While we totally understand the need for accessible essentials, the logistics and distribution behind these major companies play a huge role in our destruction of the environment.

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Disability doulas are helping support newly disabled people as they navigate an ableist world

Becoming disabled can significantly change a person’s life. Many of those shifts aren’t discussed in a doctor’s office, and there’s no how-to guide to follow. Disability doulas are helping fill those gaps.

The support of a disability doula can involve practical work like sharing diagnosis journeys and personal experiences with doctors or medication. It can also look like a friend helping another apply for Medicaid or file complicated insurance claims.

Sami Schalk, professor and author of “Black Disability Politics” has also served as a disability doula and says that working with a disability doula can reduce some of the feelings of shame, grief, and loneliness newly disabled people face.

Why is this good news? Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for this type of support has increased, particularly with instances of long COVID. The symptoms of long COVID vary but can include ongoing respiratory, cardiac, and neurological issues for years after a COVID infection — making it difficult for people to work and live in the same way before the illness.

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A Massachusetts family donated 200 anti-choking devices to local schools after it saved one of their lives

Maggie O’Rourke is an ICU nurse and mother of a toddler, and gifted her parents a LifeVac anti-choking device for Christmas last year. As she expected, they teased her for it — but that quickly turned to gratitude.

The next day, while eating turkey leftovers, her dad began to exhibit signs of choking, collapsed, and was unconscious. Her mother tried abdominal thrusts, the Heimlich maneuver, called 911, and started CPR — and then remembered their new gift under the tree.

In two tries with the device, the lodged food came out and her dad began breathing within seconds.

Now the family is paying it forward and has donated more than 200 devices to Lowell Public Schools and emergency responders. Every school now has two LifeVac devices and O’Rourke is working with a state representative on a bill that would allow them to be available in schools across the state.

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More good news of the week —

Making history, the VMAs nominated all women in the Artist of the Year category for the first time ever. The nominees span multiple genres and include Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Doja Cat, Shakira, Karol G, and Nicki Minaj.

Boston’s mayor just banned the use use of fossil fuels in new construction and renovated municipal buildings. The city owns over 16 million square feet of property, so the order makes a big stride toward its goals of decarbonization and electrification.

A California school district just rolled out 30 new electric school buses for the new school year. The change will save the Modesto School District over $250,000 dollars in fuel costs annually, lower carbon emissions, and result in cleaner air.

In hopes of forging peace, Colombia formally began a six-month cease-fire with its last remaining rebel group. The insurgency dates back to the 1960s, and the cease-fire can be extended in January if peace talks progress.

President Biden established a new national monument near the Grand Canyon that will protect it from uranium mining. The monument came at the urging of Indigenous communities, spans nearly 1 million acres, and is called Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.

The first study to use human blood to compare period product absorption found that discs may be best for those with heavy periods. The findings could also help doctors better assess whether heavy menstrual bleeding could be a sign of other underlying health problems.

The Supreme Court temporarily reinstated the Biden Administration’s regulations on ghost guns. As part of a larger effort to reduce gun violence, administration officials said the weapons had been soaring in popularity, particularly among criminals barred from buying ordinary guns.

Scientists invented a new kind of paint that gives extra insulation and saves on energy, costs, and carbon emissions. Their research found the paints reduced the energy used for heating by about 36% in cold environments and for cooling by almost 21% in warm conditions.

A new “food prescription” program is paying for fruits and vegetables in parts of California. People with diabetes, for example, get a free box full of fruits, vegetables, chicken breast, quinoa, and other nutritious food delivered to their homes every two weeks.

There were no deaths from COVID-19 in Nova Scotia in the month of July. The Canadian province’s monthly pandemic report showed that hospitalizations and positive test results had decreased in July compared to June, too.

Households in the U.K. have now installed more heat pumps and solar panels than ever before. With more than 120,000 solar panels installed since the start of the year, as well as over 3,000 heat pumps each month on average, nearly 250,000 households could have renewable energy installed by the end of the year.

According to new research, there may be less plastic in the oceans than previously estimated. While still a destructive amount, Dutch researchers calculated there are around 3.2 million tons of plastic in the ocean, rather than the 50 to 300 million tons previously assumed.

Scientists in the U.S. have produced a second nuclear fusion reaction that produced an even higher energy yield than the first. The repeated experiment is another step toward an unlimited source of cheap and clean power.

An increase in solar power capacity in Europe has helped avert energy shortages during record-setting heatwaves. In Spain, for example, olar provided almost 24% of the country’s electricity in July this year, up from 16% in July 2022.

A new charge for using plastic bags at supermarkets has led to a 98% reduction in use in England. Annual distribution of plastic bags by seven leading grocery chains plummeted from 7.6bn in 2014 to 133m last year.

Article Details

August 19, 2023 5:00 AM
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