Housing, Black Santa, & Flight-Free Travel - Good News This Week: December 10th 2022

A photo collage of a vertical farm, a group of people posing together, innovative housing, a windmill farm, and Chris Kennedy dressed up as Santa Claus

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 —

After he was harassed for having a Black Santa on his lawn, an Arkansas man became a professional Santa Claus

Two years ago, Chris Kennedy received a racist note from a neighbor asking him to remove the inflatable Black Santa in his front yard. Instead of removing it, Kennedy added another one — and so did a bunch of his other neighbors.

Inspired by the show of support, Kennedy wanted to do even more to help improve representation around the holidays. First, he started by dressing up as Santa for his own 4-year-old daughter — and it started catching on with more family and friends.

Hearing his story, “Santa Camp” organizers from the New England Santa Society reached out to Kennedy to participate in their Santa Claus training. Kennedy said they’d been receiving a growing number of requests for Black Santas, and “really wanted to push things forward and be more inclusive.”

Kennedy is also the first known professional Black Santa in Arkansas, and part of a growing movement of inclusivity in the Santa Claus ranks.

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Taiwan is turning underground, unused metro stations into organic vertical farms

Vertical farms are popping up in more and more locations around the world, and the latest may come as a surprise. Taiwan is installing them in unused Metro stations.

These vertical hydroponic farms are highly efficient, and grow lettuce under LED lighting to eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides. And the 40-square-meter one located at Nanjing-Fushing Station in Taipei has a full market where passersby on an upper level can shop for fresh produce and other items.

Taiwan is also using the farms as a way to bring more young people, who are reluctant to go into the traditional farming industry, into the field

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A milestone in the transition away from fossil fuels, the world’s first hydrogen-powered jet engine test was a success

Britain’s Rolls-Royce ran the world’s first test of a jet engine powered by hydrogen — and it was a success. It’s a significant milestone toward proving the gas has the ability to decarbonize air travel.

The company said the hydrogen was created by wind and tidal power, and is partnering with easyJet to prove the gas is a viable alternative to traditional jet fuel.

We will always celebrate good progress in fighting the climate crisis — and air travel is a major contributor that needs swift action. Though it can seem like action isn’t happening fast enough, we’re constantly reminded of all the ways good, meaningful progress is being made.

From wind and solar power installations outpacing fossil fuels, triggering positive climate “tipping points,” new recycling technologies for those clean energy sources, electrifying motorbikes, promoting alternate forms of transportation, and more.

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A long-distance partnership with the Philippines is helping bring composting to Detroit

For decades, Detroit was home to one of the country’s largest waste incinerators. Its existence also discouraged investment in alternative waste management systems. In 2014, Detroit became the last major U.S. city to implement citywide curbside recycling.

Local organizers banded together and successfully shut down the incinerator in 2019 and are now working with the city to develop a composting system. The only problem: they don’t have much experience with community-wide composting.

In developing the program, they turned to an organization more than 8,000 miles away: Mother Earth Foundation in The Philippines, which has spent the last 20 years training low-income communities, government agencies, civic organizations, and businesses in zero-waste practices.

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A number of innovative housing projects are helping increase affordability in communities around the world

Globally, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing conditions, and at last count, more than 100 million people have no housing at all. Housing affordability is a major problem that we’re witnessing right now in the U.S. — and it impacts communities all over the world.

The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) is one of the first international organizations to focus its efforts on homelessness as a global phenomenon. It utilizes an innovative mix of programs, local systems, and policies that can be scaled, connected, and accelerated internationally to reduce and end homelessness on the world stage.

Singapore, for example, is known as one of the world’s best when it comes to social housing. Over 80% of the population currently lives in publicly governed and developed housing.

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The International Energy Agency announced global renewable energy capacity will double by 2027

In its latest annual report on renewable energy capacity, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that renewables are on track to double by 2027 — 30 percent higher than the growth forecasted one year ago. The growth will be driven primarily by solar energy.

Renewables are expected to account for 90% of global electricity expansion and overtake coal as the largest supplier of energy even sooner — by 2025.

It’s yet another reminder of the real, meaningful, rapid change being implemented to save humanity from some of the worst impacts of climate change. Positive climate tipping points, like the affordability and growth of renewable energy sources, are within our reach.

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A U.K.-based travel editor gave up flying for the climate and rediscovered the world

Amidst growing conversations and attention around the climate crisis — from Greta Thunberg’s school strikes, David Attenborough’s less-than-soothing threats, and the flygskam (“flight-shame”) movement in Sweden — travel editor Helen Coffey felt inspired to take action herself.

And she did. In 2019, Coffey took a flight-free travel pledge. In addition to discovering and dispelling some myths around alternatives to flying — they’re not more expensive than cheap flights, and individual actions really do matter in this regard — she found one mainly “selfish reason” for continuing the pledge still today: “slow travel is just plain wonderful.”

“Every trip I’ve taken since swapping planes for trains, ships, buses, bikes, and legs has been gilded with a giddy sense of adventure, bringing with it a real connection to place as I’ve passed through landscapes, not over them. Going flight-free has introduced me to the appreciation that comes with arriving into a destination, buoyed up by a childlike sense of wonder, after a proper journey by land and sea,” Coffey writes.

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More good news of the week —

A new Washington D.C. city council proposal would provide free Metrobus service in the city and expand major routes. If the measure passes, it would become the largest city in the country to offer free transit.

K-pop fans around the world are working together to demand climate action. Korean pop fans have a strong history of using their voice for good, from standing up to authoritarian regimes, to demanding social and racial justice.

An aquarium in Boston is treating “cold-stunned” sea turtles found stranded on U.S. beaches. The New England Aquarium saved and is treating 150 turtles suffering from dehydration and pneumonia, which are symptoms of cold-stunning.

Germany is turning 62 former Cold War military bases into wildlife sanctuaries. An area equivalent to 4,000 soccer fields will soon be a protected home for rare wildlife like eagles, woodpeckers, bats, insects, and more.

The FDA is planning to open blood donation to more gay and bisexual men. The current policy hasn’t changed since the 1980s, and public health experts and advocates said the changes will both help battle stigma and address future blood shortages.

Lower-income families in Tennessee just received an additional $500 to help them this holiday season. The money will support around 24,000 children in families enrolled in the state’s Families First/TANF program.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban new oil and gas drilling. It also voted to phase out all of its more than 5,000 existing wells which disproportionately impact communities of color.

911 operators in Montreal are being trained to detect racial bias in callers. The training will help them prevent racial bias and stereotypes from filtering into police responses.

A new Washington state law requires employers to post job salary ranges. The state joins a growing movement of salary transparency, which experts say makes job-hunting easier and helps reduce gender and racial pay inequities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was named Time Magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year. Zelensky was honored for his courage that came to define all Ukrainians, as were TIME’s 2022 Heroes of the Year, Women of Iran.

Reddit users are turning Kanye West’s page into a Holocaust awareness forum in response to his ongoing antisemitism. r/Kanye has 700,000 members and has been flooded with posts about the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and denouncing antisemitism.

In a breakthrough, scientists created a way to turn unrecyclable PVC into usable products. Polyvinyl chloride is among the most common types of plastics, and none of it is currently recycled.

New data shows the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster provides even better protection from current strains of the virus. The new booster replenishes waning levels of antibodies from any previous vaccination and provides better protection than the original vaccines.

WNBA player Brittney Griner was released from Russian prison in a prisoner exchange. Griner had been sentenced to nine years in prison in August after authorities found less than one gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act, protecting same-sex marriage at the federal level. President Biden is expected to sign it into law, and advocates say it’s an unprecedented show of bipartisan support for queer rights.

Article Details

December 10, 2022 5:00 AM
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