Patagonia, Whales, & Grief Kits - Good News This Week: December 31st 2022

A photo collage of a doctor, Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, a humpback whale, an ambulance, and Dylan Mulvaney

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 Looking Back On This Week —

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Only 5% of doctors are Black – educators and advocates worked all year long to increase that number by connecting student-athletes and medicine

As of 2018, 13% of the U.S. population, but just 5% of doctors identified as Black or African American (an additional 1% of doctors identified as multiracial).​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​

And while efforts to increase diversity at medical schools have made progress with other demographics, the proportion of Black men enrolling in medical school hasn’t changed much since 1978.​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​The absence of Black male medical professionals ripples across the health system and contributes to widespread health disparities. Black people tend to be diagnosed later than white people with everything from cancer to kidney disease, leading to more advanced diseases and earlier deaths.​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​In 2022, educators and advocates looked to reverse these trends by connecting sports, an area in which Black men are overrepresented, and medicine, where the opposite is true.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​In addition to helping address some of both the health care disparities and education disparities, athletes are often a great fit for jobs in medicine, as they ​​​​​​​​possess many of the skills and attributes medical professionals need.

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Patagonia’s founder donated the company to ensure all of its profits will go to fight climate change

In September, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard announced he would be donating the entire company, worth about $3 billion, to a trust and a nonprofit organization fighting climate change. Any profits, about $100 million per year, that they don’t reinvest in the company will go to fight climate change.

“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Chouinard said in an interview with The New York Times. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

Chouinard’s trailblazing decision created an entirely new model for large-scale donations.

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Making its largest adjustment ever, the International Energy Agency said global renewable energy capacity will double by 2027

In its 2022 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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Once-endangered humpback whales grew substantially in population globally thanks to conservation efforts

Humpback whales were almost entirely wiped out by commercial whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries and were one of the first species to be federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1970.

However, due to amazing global conservation efforts, the current global population has rebounded from a low point of 10,000 back to nearly 80,000, as of 2022.

While a number of humpback populations in areas of the world are still listed as threatened, this upward tick shows incredible promise for ongoing conservation efforts.

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On what would have been her 100th birthday, people did the #BettyWhiteChallenge by making donations to animal shelters and rescues

Betty White, who passed away on December 31st, 2021, was known for her starring roles on The Golden Girls and Mary Tyler Moore Show — and was also a lifelong animal advocate who worked to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets, and advocate for animal rights around the world.

White supported organizations like the Humane Society and the Best Friends Animal Society, served on the board of trustees at the nonprofit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), and was a volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens.

She passed away just shy of her 100th birthday on January 17th, and as one of the first good things to come out of 2022 — her fans organized a challenge to give White “the movement she deserves.” Called the #BettyWhiteChallenge, the movement calls on animal — and Betty White — lovers to donate $5 (or any amount) to a shelter or rescue before or on her birthday.

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Denver started dispatching mental health teams on certain 911 calls in 2020 – the program has been so successful, they expanded it for a second time in 2022

In June 2020, Denver announced its Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, which dispatches licensed mental health professionals instead of police for certain 911 calls. In its first year, the program was so successful, the city expanded it to include more vans and more response teams.​​​​​​​​

In 2022, the Denver City Council unanimously approved $1.4 million to expand the STAR program again — from 3 vans to hopefully 6 teams and 10 total response teams, as well as a network of specific providers around the city, for more accessible assistance.​

​​​​​​​​Since it launched, the STAR program has responded to over 2,700 calls. The program dispatches a mental health clinician with a paramedic or EMT for each call they respond to. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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An eighth grader in Dallas created book-based ‘grief kits’ to help Uvalde students process the trauma they endured

​​​​​​​Eighth-grader Sia Sankaran created a Dallas chapter of Loving Library and partnered with the San Antonio Area Foundation to create "grief kits" to help Uvalde students process the trauma of the school shooting they endured. Sankaran hoped that providing books with stories they could relate to and materials for self-expression will help the kids begin the healing process.​​​​​​​​

Sankaran’s goal is to provide 800 Uvalde Pre-K through eighth-grade students with a bundle of books, which they will receive after attending a Uvalde CISD grief camp.​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​While we wish students didn't have to organize and spend their energy creating fundraisers like this in the first place, we're inspired by Sankaran's example — and will draw on that Helping energy to continue to fight to make schools safer and end gun violence in schools, at home, and in our communities.​​​​​​​​

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Dylan Mulvaney celebrated her first Pride as trans woman, taking us all along her journey into ‘girlhood’ on TikTok

"This year, Pride looks a little different for me: I’m no longer that boy who would lie about my whereabouts to privately live my queer truth, I’m now a newly realized trans woman living in Los Angeles with a large queer social media following.

Although this year I may still wear tiny short shorts and flail my limbs to Katy Perry’s “Firework” (no promises!), the main difference between then and now is honesty. Honesty to myself, to my family, to my community."

In 2022, LGBTQ+ influencer, advocate, and TikTok creator Dylan Mulvaney began highlighting her transgender journey in a TikTok series titled "Days of Girlhood," which has received hundreds of millions of views. She also invited us along as she shared and celebrated her first Pride as a trans woman — giving us all a masterclass in vulnerability and kindness along the way.

​→ Read more

More good news of the week —

A Black woman-led nonprofit is helping equip frontline leaders and organizations fighting for climate and racial justice. The Solutions Project helps women and people of color access funding and have a “seat at the table” of decision-making.

In a near-unanimous vote, the House passed the ‘Emmett Till Antilynching Act’ to make lynching a federal hate crime. The bill was then passed in the Senate and signed into law on March 29 by President Joe Biden.

Ketanji Brown Jackson made history as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Adding to her significant and historical confirmation, Jackson is also the first-ever Justice with experience as a public defender.

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, which included the largest-ever federal investment in fighting climate change. Around $370 million was allocated to building clean energy capacity, consumer incentives for electric vehicles, investments in environmental justice, and so much more.

California became the first state in the U.S. to install solar panel canopies over canals. The panels will serve a dual-purpose: fighting drought and generating clean energy.

A growing number of “green infrastructure” projects are helping protect at-risk coastlines and communities from the impacts of climate change. These climate mitigation projects grow increasingly important as the climate crisis’ threats intensify.

On Earth Day, California started construction on the world’s largest wildlife crossing over a 10-lane highway. The crossing be surrounded by an acre of native plants, sound walls, and is a critical habitat for “specially protected” mountain lions. (Read our guide to celebrating Earth Day)

The world’s largest shipping container line rerouted its entire fleet to protect endangered blue whales. The Mediterranean Shipping Company rerouted after research found it would reduce the risk of ships hitting the animals by 95 percent. ​​​​​​​​

Up from just 2,000 in 2020, researchers counted nearly 250,000 monarch butterflies in California in 2021. We’re hopeful this positive trend will continue as 2022’s count is announced next year!

Over 600 Michigan schools adopted a social-emotional learning curriculum to support students' mental health. The curriculum borrows techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and was developed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2013. ​​​​​​​​

In July, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline ‘988’ officially launched across the U.S. While not a perfect solution, it was a significant point of progress especially in the U.S., which so often fails to adequately and appropriately care for mental health.​​​​​​​​

The suicide rate among U.S. military members dropped by more than 15% from 2020 to 2021. Since 2011, suicide rate had been increasing steadily, so the Department of Defense’s 2022 report findings were incredibly encouraging.

Canada joined more than a dozen other nations in officially banning conversion therapy. The law went into effect on January 7 and made it illegal for anyone to provide or promote services intended to change someone's sexual orientation or gender expression.

Utah’s governor vetoed a bill banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. Amidst a barrage of anti-trans legislation in places like Florida and Texas, Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb supported of trans youth participation in sports.

President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, bringing historic protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. Stopping short of guaranteeing the right to marriage at the federal level, the legislation is a significant, important step on the journey to true equality and justice.

Article Details

December 31, 2022 5:00 AM
A photo collage of a fisherman, vegetables, a Feel Good Fridge from Whirlpool, a chart about blood types, and solar panels

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