Surfing, EVs, & Free Books - Good News This Week: February 11th 2023

Photo collage of TikTok screenshot, young person on a surfboard, map with earthquake indicator dots, stacks of Black history books, and a palette of hempcrete blocks

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 —

‘De-influencing’ is trending on TikTok — and it’s really good news for fighting overconsumption

Overconsumption happens when our demand for more is met with the ability to produce at a rapid pace, and the endless cycle harms the planet. And while it’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while (and to value material possessions), our cycle of overconsumption is not sustainable.

A new trend on TikTok called “de-influencing” is taking on overconsumption — and winning. Creators are racking up millions of views denouncing products they were influenced to buy… but never actually used.

It’s essentially the opposite of influencer marketing, with users swaying audiences away from making a purchase that they don’t need. The goal is to prevent overconsumption and remind one another that we don’t need certain products to be valuable or worthy of belonging — that buying something is never going to make you a better, more sustainable, or more well-rounded person.

Why is this good news? Overconsumption is particularly a problem in America, where the lifestyle of the average person takes 9.5 hectares of energy (the worldwide average is 2.7), and the consumption of goods and services has increased by 28% in the last decade.

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A new study found the adoption of more electric vehicles resulted in less air pollution and improved health in local communities

In the first-ever study of real-world data looking at the relationship between electric vehicles, air pollution, and human health, researchers found that as electric vehicle adoption increased within a given zip code, local air pollution levels and emergency room visits dropped.

In other words: More electric vehicles leads to cleaner air and healthier people.

We largely think about climate change and the health of the planet on a global scale, but the researchers rightly pointed out that “the idea that changes being made at the local level can improve the health of your own community could be a powerful message to the public and to policymakers.”

They also noted that electric vehicle adoption is slower in under-resourced communities — an important factor to remember as we keep environmental justice at the forefront of climate action.

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A surfing program in Australia is helping kids with chronic health conditions get a break from the hospital

Children with chronic health conditions can spend the majority of their days inside a hospital, but a new program at the Perth Children’s Hospital in Australia is helping them get time outside — and improve both their physical and mental health.

Patients at the children’s hospital with type 1 diabetes, cystic fibrosis, burn injuries, arthritis, and post-sarcoma injuries can now learn how to surf.

The program was made permanent after a trial with children with cystic fibrosis found engaging with the sport had positive health outcomes.

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More stories about sports doing good:

The international community is using satellites to help earthquake rescue efforts in Syria and Turkey

In the face of disasters like the earthquake and aftershock that just struck Syria and Turkey, satellite imaging data enables humanitarian aid to better respond by mapping the condition of roads, bridges, and buildings, and identifying populations trying to escape potential aftershocks by gathering in stadiums or other open spaces.

And it’s something the international community is coming together to provide. The United Nations activated the international charter on “Space and Major Disasters” to turn the eyes of satellites toward the affected areas — which includes 17 member space agencies providing free satellite imagery as quickly as possible over the disaster area.

Additionally, 11 space agencies got ready to operate the most appropriate optical and radar satellites.

Why is this good news? In these crisis situations, when the ground is damaged or flooded and roads are impassable, land-based resources are not always able to analyze the extent of the disaster and organize relief and humanitarian aid in the best possible way. By capturing the situation from space, with very high resolution, satellites provide crucial information quickly — potentially saving lives in the process.

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A Chicago-based book publisher is giving out free Black history e-books — especially in Florida

Haymarket Books announced it would make several Black history-based e-books available for free for students (and anyone) to download.

The Chicago-based bookseller made the announcement in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education’s recent blocking of African American history courses developed by the College Board.

The three free e-books would otherwise be banned in Florida public schools, and Haymarket also said it is “connecting with folks in Florida directly to distribute radical books for free to young people.”

Why does this matter? Reading is a powerful act of resistance — and many are scared of that power. Instead of facing that fear by leaning into uncomfortable truths and history — they try to ensure nobody can learn it.

In the 2021–2022 school year, 1,586 books were banned in schools across the United States — 22% of them directly addressed issues of race and racism. Book bans erase essential history and represent the effort to silence those most underrepresented in literature.

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A fire- and mold-resistant building material that consumes CO2 has finally come to the U.S.

For years, industrial hemp was illegal in the U.S. due to its association with drug use, despite the fact that it does not contain more than 0.3% THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that makes users high.

Recently though, hemp was distinguished from cannabis, clearing it for wider use in the U.S. — including in the form of hempcrete. And despite the simplicity of its natural ingredients, hempcrete has a huge array of benefits: it's fire resistant, provides soundproofing, insulates or stores heat (depending on external temperatures), repels mold and pests, and is malleable enough to allow for various aesthetic styles.

Hemp is also a sustainable crop that needs few pesticides, is ideal for rotation, and has quick-growing roots that prevent soil erosion.

Why is this such good news? Consumers, businesses, and governments around the world are growing to view hemp as a sustainable building block of the future — quite literally. In the fight to slow and stop climate change, decarbonizing construction can have a huge impact.

The construction industry is responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions, and concrete is one of the worst offenders. If the industry behind cement — an ingredient of concrete — were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter. Hempcrete is an incredibly useful, sustainable, and effective alternative.

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Frontline health workers in Liberia are saving lives in their communities and all around the world from emerging (and re-emerging) infectious diseases

Heartbreakingly, many rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa can be highly susceptible to emerging infectious diseases that could become epidemics or pandemics. And as a result of both inadequate funding and infrastructure, these areas don’t have access to traditional healthcare systems to help address outbreaks.

In an effort to protect both their immediate communities and ultimately the entire world, Liberia is taking an innovative approach to identifying and stopping infectious diseases from spreading. It’s recruiting members of rural communities to be the first line of defense in spotting them before they can spread further.

Thousands of these workers are constantly on the lookout for emerging and re-emerging threats, from Covid-19 to Ebola. They’re paid, trained, and familiar with and trusted by their patients, which makes their work especially critical in the face of issues like vaccine hesitancy.

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More good news of the week —

Part of a new plan to restore nature, everyone in England will live within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water. Under the government’s new plan, wildlife habitats will be expanded and there will be 25 new or enlarged national nature reserves.

A new immunotherapy kills pancreatic cancer cells with minimal side effects. Researchers developed a new T cell-based immunotherapy that selectively targets cancer cells.

Finland passed new transgender rights laws on gender recognition with overwhelming support. The new legislation makes it easier for transgender individuals to change their legal gender through self-declaration rather than a prohibitive medical and psychiatric process.

Slovenia is now officially the first country in Eastern Europe to recognize same-sex marriage. The just went into effect after being passed in October following a decision by the country’s top court that banning same-sex marriage and adoption violated the country’s constitution.

Researchers at MIT invented a paper-thin solar cell that can turn any surface into a power source. They’re flexible, durable, and only one-hundredth the weight of conventional cells — while producing about 18 times more power-per-kilogram.

A new study found that e-bike users ride further and more often than “regular” bikers. The study also found that e-bikes are replacing cars more than traditional bicycles.

A mother experiencing homelessness was heartbroken to surrender her dog at a shelter — then the shelter reunited them. Lilo the dog came with a note saying her mom was homeless with two kids, and “She tried her best but can't get help.”

A group of grandmothers in Zimbabwe are transforming how the country (and world) approaches mental health care. It started when one of the country’s just 15 psychiatrists was looking for a way to care for more people — he turned to these experienced, empathetic, respected caregivers.

A Georgia community came together to support an outed school administrator. Dawn Clements was the target of a hateful note that outed her and lead her to resign — until her community rallied around to support her staying in the role.

Rescue teams continue to work around the clock shoveling snow and moving rubble to save people. As the death toll passed 12,000 people, these heroes are covering hundreds of miles in Turkey and Syria.

A federal appeals court rejected permits for oil and gas drilling and fracking in northwest New Mexico. The ruling is being hailed a victory for Tribal and environmental groups who have worked for years to defend the culturally significant landscape.

Coastal communities in Oregon just got a grant to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The funding came from Travel Oregon with the goal of helping travelers in particular feel welcome and included in the communities.

A study found that forests returned to Indigenous guardianship in Brazil saw significant recovery. The study found less deforestation and more reforestation in the 77 areas where Indigenous communities had land tenure.

Sheep living in pastures with solar panels benefit from shade in hot weather and more nutritious grass. It’s yet another benefit of agrivoltaic farms, which had already been found to provide more efficient, cost-effective, clean electricity and reduce wildfire risk.

Oregon’s graduation rate went up last year — especially for students with historically lower graduation rates. Targeted support efforts had been implemented to improve graduation for students who are Black, Native American, experiencing homelessness, or part of a migrant education program.

Article Details

February 11, 2023 3:18 PM
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