Clean Energy, Firefighters, & Creativity - Good News This Week: December 17th 2022

A photo collage of Odilia Romero, a research facility, Kate Brown, two men posing for the camera, and solar panels

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 mother-daughter team is providing holistic support to over 30 Indigenous groups in Los Angeles

When she was 10 years old, Odilia Romero immigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico to California. That personal experience as an Indigenous migrant has shaped her steadfast commitment to serving others who, as she did, struggle to find their place.  

Years later, and alongside her daughter, she co-founded CIELO, which translates to “Heaven.” CIELO is an LA-based organization providing holistic support to over 30 Indigenous groups in the area.

Founded in 2016, the organization is at the forefront of creating tangible solutions to the challenges that Indigenous communities confront daily. Not only do they provide translation services, connecting migrants to translators for border documentation, but they address social, economic, and cultural needs.

And much like its important to things like farming, environmental protection, climate action, wildlife conservation, and more, an Indigenous-led perspective on these issues is critical.

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Bangladesh has reduced its infant mortality rate by 85% since 1971

In 1971, when Bangladesh first became independent, its infant mortality rate was 141 deaths per 1,000 live births — in the last 50 years, that number has declined by 85% to 21.

Health experts say this is the only area where Bangladesh has made significant improvements, but rather has achieved “unprecedented success” in every health index, including child mortality for children under age five.

After securing its independence, Bangladesh put in a number of goals to reduce infant, child, and maternal mortality rates through its Health and Family Welfare Ministry, and among countries with the highest rates of each, Bangladesh has made the most progress.

Progress like this — the kind that takes shape over years and decades can often be hard to see or recognize is happening. But it is. All over the world, people and children are lifted out of poverty, basic needs are met, human rights are recognized, and so much more. The progress may be slow and steady — but often, that’s the very best, most important news to celebrate.

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U.S. scientists just made a breakthrough in nuclear fusion that could result in “near-limitless, clean, safe” energy

Following decades of work in fusion energy, researchers in the U.S. just had a major breakthrough. For the first time ever, scientists successfully produced a nuclear fusion reaction that released more energy than they put in.

Nuclear fusion involves smashing together lighter elements like hydrogen to form heavier elements, which results in a huge burst of energy. The process holds the promise of being a “near-limitless, safe, clean, source of carbon-free” energy.

Research began in the 1950s, but so far, researchers haven’t been able to produce a positive energy gain from the process — until now.

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On her way out of office, Oregon’s governor is using her final days to effectively end the death penalty in the state

With just a few weeks left in office, Oregon Governor Kate Brown just commuted the sentences of the 17 people left on death row and ordered that the state’s execution chamber be dismantled. Both of these actions effectively end the death penalty in the state.

Brown said the death penalty was a waste of taxpayer dollars that does nothing to make communities safe, and she’s opposed to it “because it’s both dysfunctional and immoral.”

Brown reduced their penalties to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She also said the death penalty was a waste of taxpayer dollars that does nothing to make communities safer. In her time as Governor, Brown also used the power of clemency more than any other Oregon governor.

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Two formerly incarcerated firefighters are helping others become professional firefighters, too

For a decade, Royal Ramey was among the thousands of incarcerated Californians trained by the correctional system and paid well below minimum wage to help contain the state’s increasingly deadly blazes.

Now, Ramey helps people use the skills they gained in prison to build full-time — and fully paid — wildland firefighting careers. In 2015, Ramey co-founded the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program, which provides training and job connections for people who worked in California prison fire camps.

So far, the nonprofit has helped more than 170 formerly incarcerated people join the ranks of professional firefighters in the National Fire Service. In addition to combatting the more frequent wildfires due to the climate crisis, the program just as crucially helps formerly incarcerated people re-enter the workforce.

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A Connecticut community installed 5,200 solar panels on top of schools — it will save them $100,000 a year

The community of Manchester, Connecticut recently installed around 5,200 solar panels on top of six elementary school buildings and the water and sewer building, and officials say it will result in $100,000 of annual energy savings.

The town installed the panels through the Connecticut Green Bank's solar municipal assistance program, which allows the town to purchase energy produced by the solar panels — and it’s significantly less than how they were purchasing it before.

More and more communities around the country are recognizing the benefits of embracing renewable energy — and not just in the short-term in cost savings and a healthier environment for residents. It’s also the long-term benefits of securing a safe, habitable planet for generations to come.

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An artist and author is helping grownups tap in to their inner child to solve problems and do good in the world

With a passion for helping foster creativity and compassion in young people, Brad Montague is constantly creating new and unique ways to make the world a better and more childlike place. And to do that, he has an important, poignant challenge for grownups: “Be who you needed when you were younger.”

Montague is an artist, director, New York Times bestselling author, creator of the hit web series Kid President, and sharer of art and stories that inspire kids and grownups alike.

And through his work with Montague Workshop, he’s helping grown ups solve some of the world’s most challenging problems by thinking more like kids — remembering to play, looking at things from another perspective, and more.

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More good news of the week —

100 years after becoming locally extinct, Australia’s golden bandicoots are thriving in New South Wales. The animals are “breeding rapidly” after being relocated from Western Australia to a national park as part of the Wild Deserts project.

Los Angeles voters approved a tax on homes sold at over $5 million to support affordable housing programs. The “mansion tax” is estimated to bring in $1 billion for homelessness prevention, tenant assistance, housing development, and more.

New Mexico is the first state to offer free childcare to a majority of its population. In the midterms, 70% of voters also approved a constitutional amendment to fund early childhood care, effectively making it a universal right.  

The Los Angeles city council unanimously approved a ban on styrofoam products. It also closed loopholes in the city’s single-use plastic bag ban and requires city departments to go zero-waste at facilities and events.

Therapy dogs are comforting children traumatized by war in Ukraine. The dogs visit state-operated community centers where people can get help coping with traumatic experiences.

The City of Montreal is building 200 kilometers (372 miles) of bike paths over the next five years. The city wants to make the island safer and cycling more accessible in boroughs located further from the downtown area.

Faith leaders in Colorado Springs are affirming LGBTQ+ people and turning toward inclusiveness. They recently published a letter in the local paper denouncing the Club Q attack and supporting people of all sexual identities and gender orientation.

The International Energy Agency just made its “largest ever upward revision” for renewable energy growth. Its forecast was just revised to show renewables growing by 76% in the next two years.

Permanent supportive housing and other creative affordable housing solutions are helping address the housing crisis. These solutions are much-needed, as home prices have soared a whopping 118% since 1965, despite income only increasing by 15%.

Nearly 300 Moms Demand Action volunteers ran for office in 2022 — more than half of them were elected. The newly elected officials will bring a much-needed voice for gun control to decision- and policymaking.

Combined with immunotherapy, a new skin cancer vaccine reduced the risk of death or the cancer returning by 44%. The vaccine was modeled after the same mRNA technology used to develop the COVID-19 vaccines.

A new virtual reality game is helping teach kids how to safely drive power wheelchairs. In the game, the kids have to navigate through fun challenges designed to teach them the skills to use their own wheelchairs.

The European Union just struck a deal to impose a carbon emissions tax on imports of polluting goods like steel and cement. It’s the first deal of its kind in the world, and is intended to support European industries as they decarbonize.

The U.S. Postal Service is making a stamp to honor civil rights icon Representative John Lewis. Lewis spent nearly 60 years in public service, including over three decades representing the Atlanta area.

One of the world’s biggest banks announced it will stop financing fossil fuel projects. HSBC made the announcement as part of its efforts to become “net zero.”

Article Details

December 17, 2022 5:00 AM
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