Corals, Butterflies, & 15-Minute Cities - Good News This Week: January 28th 2023

A photo collage of a woman holding a HAPTA lipstick device, a person walking at the Brooklyn Bridge, a Fender's blue butterfly, a YouTube page, and a person posing in front of an urban farm

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 Were Celebrating This Week —

Beauty company L’Oréal is launching a (world-first!) lipstick tool designed for people with limited mobility

An estimated 50 million people around the world live with limited fine motor skills, making daily tasks like applying lipstick challenging. L’Oréal is helping change that with their new HAPTA device.

It’s the world’s first handheld, super-precise, computerized make-up applicator designed specifically for people with limited hand and arm mobility. Brilliantly, the scientists and engineers applied the same technology used to make utensil stabilizers.

Why does this matter? The beauty industry has made a lot of progress when it comes to diversity (like products for a wider range of skin tones) and inclusivity (creating and marketing products for and to anyone/everyone who wants to wear or use them), but disabled people have continued to be left out of that progress.

And that matters, because an estimated 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability — but only 4% of beauty and personal care brands create products specifically for people with disabilities.

→ Read more

A derogatory name for Indigenous women has been removed from five U.S. locations

When she was first named Secretary of the Interior Department, Deb Haaland (the first Native American cabinet secretary in history) promised to remove all derogatory names from public lands — and the department just made good progress on that goal.

Five total locations in California, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas were just renamed to remove an “offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.”

This is on top of the nearly 650 locations the Interior Department identified and renamed back in September 2022. It also proposed new names, welcomed community feedback, and consulted with tribal nations.

Many of the new names feature Indigenous terms, like the newly named Loybas Hill in California, which translates to “Young Lady.”

Why is this progress important to celebrate? Because words matter, especially when it comes to public places and spaces, which have a duty to be both accessible and welcoming to everyone.

Historically, they haven’t always been — not for Indigenous people (in how they’re named and in acknowledging colonial history), for disabled individuals, for the LGBTQ+ community, for people who can’t afford entry fees, and more.

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Urban areas are prioritizing walkability over driveability

You might think of New York City as one of the most walkable, pedestrian-friendly cities out there — but the pandemic still forced it to realize (and change) the ways it was prioritizing driveability over walkability.

Thanks to those changes, New York is on its way to meeting 15-Minute City standards (more on that below!), passing a measure to make pandemic-induced outdoor dining permanent.

The city also adopted an Open Streets concept during the pandemic, allowing streets to be closed to car traffic, giving bikers and pedestrians enough space to travel while maintaining social distance. It’s since made that permanent, too.

The move exemplifies the shifting sentiment away from cars that has had a hold on every American city since the mid-20th century.

What is a “15-Minute City”? The 15-Minute City concept advocates for dense walkability, stating that all people should have access to all the goods and services they would need within 15 minutes of their home. Whether that be on foot, by bike, or by car depends — but it’s still a great concept that puts people at the center of urban transformation.

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A rare butterfly found only in Oregon has moved off the endangered species list

The Fender’s blue butterfly has made such a good recovery its status has been changed from endangered to threatened. The butterfly is found only in Willamette Valley in Oregon and was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1989.

The species’ recovery is thanks to the Endangered Species Act, and the thousands of Kincaid’s lupine plants, which the butterflies depend on, planted in the region to help increase their habitat. were planted to increase their habitat. The plant is also a threatened species.

In 2016, there were an estimated 29,000 Fender’s blues — up from just 4,000 in 2000, when they were first listed as endangered.

→ Read more

What other endangered species have seen recoveries recently?

John and Hank Green want to give you college credit for watching YouTube

There’s a chance that in high school, Hank and John Green taught you vital curriculum through Crash Course, their platform dedicated to providing free, high-quality educational content.

Now they want to give you college credit for all those views. Complexly (the company that owns/produces Crash Course), Google, and Arizona State University teamed up to create Study Hall: a platform that provides a path from YouTube to real, transferable college credit.

Study Hall first launched in early, and now you can take your fundamental courses right on the platform — and get real college credit for them.

Why is this such good news? Study Hall will help address some major barriers to entry in the education system: the preventatively high cost, the confusing bureaucracy, and the meat of it — that learning can be hard! And higher education should be accessible for everyone — no matter how they learn.

→ Read more

Urban farmers in Chicago are replacing toxic pollution with fresh, local food

At one point in history, the steel mills in Southeast Chicago allowed its workers to afford to put food on the table — but decades later, the community is paying the cost in the form of high rates of asthma, polluted land and air, and more.

Urban farmers in the area are turning things around with community gardens and green spaces that not only help feed residents — but also serve as a meeting place for people to come together.

The South Chicago Farm, for example, offers farm-fresh food, teaches farm skills, and engages the community. It’s located in a 14-acre public park across the street from a former U.S. Steel Complex.

→ Read more

What’s the nuance? These people and communities should have never been exposed to this level of pollution in the first place. Polluting industries like steel and coal (not to mention a lack of investment in green spaces) disproportionately impact low-income communities and people of color — and reinforce a cycle of poverty and injustice. That’s why it’s so important for our environmental activism to be intersectional.

We’re celebrating these incredible urban farmers ending these cycles (and these tree-planters doing the same!), and let it inspire our work to change the systems that lead to environmental racism.

For decades, a 61-year-old “coral gardener” worked solo to restore reefs — now people are coming to him from around the world for help

Anuar Abdullah is a 61-year-old diving instructor in Malaysia, but when he isn’t teaching diving classes — he’s back out in the water studying, observing, caring for, and reviving coral reefs.

He’s observed coral health and worked to revive them for nearly four decades, the majority of which have been solo. Now, as climate change becomes an ever-apparent threat, governments, corporations, resorts, and others are coming to him for help.

Abdullah has no degree in marine biology or formal training — just a lot of years learning what conditions corals thrive in. And that’s expertise people are flocking to. In just the past decade, thousands have traveled to him to learn how to grow corals, he now has around 700 active volunteers and has already revived around 125 acres of coral reefs.  

→ Read more

More good news of the week —

Scientists have developed oils made out of yeast to replace palm oils. You likely don’t go a day without touching palm oil, and its popularity has led to significant, unsustainable deforestation in places like Malaysia and Indonesia.

The FDA now no longer requires all drugs be tested on animals before human trials. While it isn’t banning animal testing altogether, animal activists are still celebrating the news along with some in the pharmaceutical industry who say animal testing can be ineffective and expensive.

After waiting four years, a Dallas community celebrated the demolition of a toxic waste site. A state and federal agency found evidence in 2016 that the company had contaminated the land upon which it sits with arsenic, lead, and other toxic byproducts.

The U.K. has already set both annual and instantaneous wind energy generation records this month. Wind generation has consistently accounted for more than 50% of British electricity, and gas is barely getting out of single digits.

To help conserve its marine biodiversity, France is mapping the genes of underwater species. The country has the world’s second-largest maritime territory and will study 4,500 plant and animal species over the next eight years.

A San Francisco reparations committee proposed a one-time $5 million payment to each Black resident. Eliminating the wealth gap between Black and white Americans is one of the largest challenges we all still face as a nation, and reparations are a key piece of righting that historic wrong.

Already far cheaper than expert predictions, the price of solar panels is set to plunge even more. We’re cautiously optimistic about this news, as we still need to ensure panels are sourced, produced, and recycled sustainably.

Aubrey Plaza’s new thriller movie has no guns in it. “Emily the Criminal” is no less thrilling, either and she told Jimmy Fallon, “I was kind of proud of that, because I don’t think you need guns.” We could not agree more.

Wisconsin now has its first openly LGBTQ+ cabinet secretary. James Bond is a disabled veteran who served in the Marines from 1983 to 1988 and will now head up the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pennsylvania’s governor removed the four-year college degree requirement for a majority of state jobs. While Hank and John make college more accessible for those who need (or want) it, Josh Shapiro is making jobs that don’t need a degree requirement more accessible, too! Wins all around.  

In a strong statement of support for LGBTQ+ rights, Pope Francis called on the world to decriminalize homosexuality. It’s an enormous step forward, particularly in an era that has seen a heartbreaking backlash against LGBTQ advancement in recent years, all over the world.

Two supportive housing projects in New York City are making a way for even more to come. There’s still some figuring out to do (as expected!), but we’re glad to see the effort both being made — and making a difference.

Denmark’s largest bank announced it would end all fossil fuel financing. The bank determined that 99.9% of its own carbon footprint came from financing fossil fuel projects — so it’s not doing it anymore.

The Football Association of Wales just announced it reached an equal pay agreement for its men's and women's teams. Women have historically been underpaid for the same work as the men in football (the soccer kind) — thankfully, that’s changing.

Sierra Leone just enacted a new law to reserve 30% of all leadership posts for women. The law is intended to increase the number of women in decision-making roles in both private and public sectors, five months before presidential elections.

Article Details

January 28, 2023 5:00 AM
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