Quidditch, Porta-Potties, & Mental Health - Good News This Week: February 4th 2023

A photo collage of Crystalyne Curley, a skateboarder, a porta-potty, an illustration of a broom and sparkles, and an illustration of Gemma Styles

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 —

For the first time in history, a Navajo woman was elected as Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council

Crystalyne Curley, who represents Tachíí/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tsélání/Cottonwood, and Low Mountain, just made history as the first woman to head the Navajo Nation Council.

Curley will be the Council’s 25th Speaker and will serve in the role for two years. Curley’s family, along with other Navajo Nation leaders celebrated her historic election.

“It’s just such an amazing day for the Navajo people,” President Buu Nygren said.

Why does this matter? While not a solution in and of itself, representation matters at all levels of government and leadership — from the federal to the local to the tribal level, and women have historically been underrepresented in these positions.

Curley has promised to lead “with love and compassion and respect for one another” — also something we could use a little more of in our governing bodies these days.

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In Niger, researchers have cut the number of postpartum blood-loss deaths in half

Blood loss is the leading cause of maternal deaths in low-income nations — and Niger is no exception. Now, researchers working with Niger’s health ministry say they’ve successfully reduced the number of blood-loss deaths post-birth (a.k.a. postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH) in half.

They achieved it through a simple three-step process that includes a low-cost drug, and it could help produce similar results in other countries around the world.

Over the six-year research period in Niger, an estimated 1,417 fewer women died from PPH than otherwise would have. Now, PPH accounts for one in 10 maternal deaths in Niger — down from more than three times that when the project first began.

While we’ve come a long way in improving maternal health globally, we still have a ways to go. We’re celebrating this and more efforts around the globe to prioritize maternal health.

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The skateboarding community is coming together to honor the life of Tyre Nichols — and call for justice

On January 7, 2023, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was brutally beaten by five Memphis police offers during a traffic stop. Three days later, on January 10, he died in the hospital from his injuries.

While Nichols’ family’s demands included publicly releasing the body camera footage (which it was on Friday evening) — they also asked the public to come together to honor and remember Tyre’s life.

And a big part of his life was skateboarding. In response, the skateboarding community — from Memphis to his hometown of Sacramento — came (and continues to come) together to do just that.

In addition to a vigil held at a local skate park, the Memphis skate community gathered outside city hall in anticipation of the video release.

Why is this good news? Tyre Nichols is so much more than his brutal murder by police. And though it was heartbreakingly cut far too short, his life deserves to be celebrated. While you don’t have to watch the video of his murder (and absolutely should not, if it will be in any way triggering for you), do pay attention to the things that emphasize our shared humanity.

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A startup invented a porta-potty that converts waste into high-quality fertilizer

While not promising to transform the overall experience of using a port-a-potty, the Vermont-based startup Wasted wants to at least turn the waste involved into something good.

The founders created a port-a-potty that can make usable, high-quality fertilizer out of the waste generated by their portable toilets — it can even be used in agriculture settings. Thinking even bigger, they want to create a “circular sanitation system” that’s adapted to the climate era.

They’re starting with the humble port-a-potty and plan to deploy 200 of their toilets in the next nine months to construction sites, small businesses, and even venues around Burlington, Vermont.

Why is this good news? Currently, human waste goes to… well, waste. And there’s potential for it to replace chemical fertilizers that have devastated agricultural soil.

Additionally, much of our existing sanitation infrastructure is ill-equipped for the climate crisis, so much so that flooding has rendered sewage treatment centers inoperable and released raw sewage into waterways. And as climate migration is expected to pick up as more crises reach our communities — a portable sanitation solution could become even more necessary than a centralized one.

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Niche sports, like quidditch (for real!) are championing social justice causes

According to the United States’ Quidditch Team website, quidditch is a sport “rooted in providing a safe space for people of all backgrounds to come together.”

Giving back is a running (flying?) theme for U.S. Quidditch. When J.K. Rowling began publicly making transphobic tweets in 2020, the U.S. Quidditch league came out in public support of trans and gender-non-conforming people within their community — and worldwide.

And along with other niche sports like roller derby and disc golf, quidditch teams have also advocated for the Black Lives Matter movement and issues pertaining to marginalized communities.

Why are niche sports championing these causes? While we're solidly in the camp that all sports platforms should take a stand in this way, niche sports — and the communities around them — are unique. Since fewer people are aware of them, they aren’t inundated with negativity (like trolling from extreme sports fans) and policing in the same way that large-scale, popular sports such as rugby or football are.

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Gemma Styles is helping people around the world prioritize activism and social justice — and their mental health

Gemma Styles is a writer, podcaster, and mental health advocate who helps her millions-strong platform learn about various social issues — and use that knowledge to do good.

She also offers a unique perspective as someone diagnosed later in life with ADHD, and invites her audience to prioritize their own mental health as she does her own.

On her podcast, Instagram, and other platforms, Styles explores topics like feminism, climate action, housing insecurity, and more; all following a through-line of mental health, activism, and self-care in the digital age.

How does mental health intersect with activism and social media? As Gemma says, “the new niche of social media activists who grow a platform by talking about all these issues we have will talk more about burnout and climate anxiety and, you know, getting really bogged down and overwhelmed by the work that they do.”

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In a hopeful turn of events, a 9-year-old scientist was honored by Yale University for her work to eradicate an invasive insect from her hometown

In a somewhat unprecedented move for the university, Yale honored 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson for her work to eradicate the invasive spotted lanternfly from her New Jersey hometown.

It was also a hopeful, inspiring turn of events for the young scientist, who just a few months ago was reported to the police by a neighbor as a “suspicious” person. Bobbi was reported for spraying a (perfectly safe) homemade repellant to kill the lanternflies feeding on the trees near her home. The incident sparked a (necessary) conversation around racial bias and profiling of Black children.

Yale helped “turn the trajectory” of that day, though, as Bobbi’s dad said. Bobbi and her family were invited to the university to meet other Black woman scientists, attend an event honoring and recognizing her work, and have her personal lanternfly collection cataloged in Yale’s Peabody Museum.

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More good news of the week —

Scientists found the least costly way to efficiently capture carbon to date. Their system converts captured carbon into one of the world’s most widely used chemicals: methanol and could help make carbon capture more affordable and widespread.

A business in Southern California found a way to reuse and recycle water to combat the state’s drought. Their system takes all of the water that goes through the sink drains in the restrooms and reuses it to flush toilets and water the rooftop planters.

Helsinki, Finland’s first trial of giving free period products at schools was a major success. Participants reported that the trial normalized menstruation and encouraged debate around the topic of period poverty.

For the first time, the German government recognized the LGBTQ+ victims of the Nazi regime. The country has historically set the standard for acknowledging and repairing past wrongs, and we’re glad this has finally been acknowledged, too.

Researchers are turning problematic sea algae into an alternative for another problematic material: plastic. Outbreaks of seaweed and microalgae clog up waters and “suffocate” marine environments.

After he passed away, an Alabama town learned a farmer had been secretly paying his neighbors’ pharmacy bills. Hody Childress donated $100 a month to cover the prescription costs for people who couldn’t afford them.

Tribal solar projects are bringing climate solutions, self-determination, and energy independence. The projects are disrupting the “broken” and often exploitative fossil-fuel-based energy system that’s disproportionately impacted tribal communities.

Colombia announced it will no longer approve new oil and gas exploration projects. The country wants to move away from fossil fuels toward a more sustainable economy.

Scientists in the U.K. found a way to reduce the carbon emissions of making steel by 90%. This is incredibly good news since the iron and steel industry accounts for 9% of global emissions.

President Biden restored protections to the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The region will once again be protected from logging and road building.

A family’s tragedy is shining a light on the desperate need for more maternal and postpartum health care. Moms who have struggled with similarly severe postpartum mental health issues are sharing their stories alongside donations to the family.

The five national parks along Lake Superior will be the first in the nation to fully decarbonize. The parks’ “ambitious game plan” will completely decarbonize all buildings and vehicles, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

The public health emergency for mpox ends Tuesday in the U.S. as the number of cases drops dramatically. The average number of daily cases of mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is now in the single digits, after peaking at about 450 cases per day in August.

For the first time ever, wind and solar were the European Union’s top electricity source in 2022. Together, the two provided a record one-fifth of the EU’s electricity in 2022 – more than gas or nuclear.

Researchers developed a solution that prevents synthetic fabrics from shedding microplastics in the washing machine. This is good news, but we also need to address the root issue: the two-thirds of (mostly fast fashion) clothing made with synthetic materials.

Article Details

February 4, 2023 9:26 AM
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