Trees, Representation, & Whales - Good News This Week: July 23rd 2022

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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 —

The number of independent bookstores is at its highest in years — and their owners are more diverse than ever before

The American Booksellers Association (ABA), the trade group for independent bookstore owners, says it now has 2,010 members at 2,547 locations — 300 more than it had in Spring 2021, and the most members it has had in years.

That’s doubly significant because in 2020 the ABA also tightened its rules to only allow stores which “primarily sell books” (over 50 percent of inventory), as opposed to any stores offering books.

While the ABA credits the spike in members to owners that delayed their memberships during the pandemic, over 100 of them are stores that opened in the last year — dozens of them by non-white owners.

The ABA has historically been predominantly white, and one of its board members acknowledged in June 2020 that it had not done enough to “break down barriers to membership and service for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

→ Read more & explore the best non-Amazon online bookstores

Germany now has its first Black female cabinet minister, a child of refugees from Mali

Aminata Touré’s parents arrived in Germany from war-torn Mali in 1992. As The Guardian reports, Touré grew up in Germany’s refugee housing, and just officially took her post as minister for social affairs.

She said she’s committed to tackling racism and social inequality in the country. In one of her first interviews since becoming a minister, she said, “As a black woman in this society, it is basically the case that you are often underestimated and treated as a stereotype — that was the case before I took up this post, and as well now that I’m in it.”

In her role, she’ll work on issues covering social, youth, family, senior citizens, integration, and equality, which she’s “200% passionate about.” The life experience she brings to the role will undoubtedly bring a much-needed perspective to Germany’s policies.

→ Read more

As many as 150 fin whales were just spotted feeding off the coast of Antarctica

After commercial whaling grew exponentially in the 20th century, fin whale populations were reduced to one to two percent of their original size, according to University of Hamburg marine mammal ecologist Dr. Helena Herr. Herr said only “a couple thousand” were left.

Seeing the devastated populations, in 1982, the International Whaling Commission banned the practice. A new study published in Scientific Reports reported the first “scientifically documented observation of fin whales feeding en masse off Antarctica’s Elephant Island.” That’s a really positive sign for a species whose population was driven to such low numbers, especially when they were once abundant in the area.

“[If] you enforce management and conservation, there are chances for species to recover,” Herr told The New York Times.

Add this as another example of whale-related good news in the world.

→ Read more

Google searches for "get a vasectomy" reached an all-time high across the U.S.

Historically, the responsibility of contraception has fallen primarily on those with the capacity to become pregnant — and it has long come with added challenges, from access, affordability, pain, side effects, and more.

In an encouraging change, more sperm-carrying individuals (even if it's their partner doing the Googling!) appear to be sharing the responsibility of managing contraception and taking care of their own reproductive health.

In the days and months following both the leak and the official release of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Google search queries for "get a vasectomy" (and other related searches) peaked and reached their all-time "peak popularity" in June 2022.

→ Read more

Foresters and ecologists are helping save ancient sequoia with ‘good fires’

Climate change increasingly threatens the West Coast’s giant sequoia trees, like those in California’s Yosemite National Park that have aged over 2,000 years to stand tall today. As NPR reports, in the last two years, fire has killed off nearly 20% of all mature giant sequoias.

One way to protect these important members of our planet’s ecosystem is with intentional burning or “prescribed fires,” which occur when expert foresters and ecologists reduce forest “fuel” by allowing a controlled fire to pass through areas that would cause less damage than an uncontrolled fire.

Prescribed and intentional fire management practices have long been cultivated by Native American tribes, and they continue to advocate for their effectiveness today. In fact, in practice with mechanical and other forest thinning practices, intentional fires are vital to prevent disastrous wildfires.

And foresters have been practicing these intentional burns in Yosemite for a half-century, and just this year, it allowed a fire to pass through the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite's biggest and best known old-growth sequoia cluster, leaving the trees unscathed.

→ Read more

More good news of the week —

The U.S. House passed a bill to protect the right to same-sex marriage. Though passage in the Senate is not a guarantee, it’s an important step to celebrate (and one you can ask your Senator to support).

A traveling school bus museum is honoring victims of gun violence. The Yellow Bus Project is made of 52 empty school buses, honoring the 4,368 children whose lives have been lost to gun violence since 2020.

India has now banned 19 types of single-use plastics to help combat pollution. The ban includes straws, cutlery, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, cigarette packets, and more.

A traveling school bus museum is honoring victims of gun violence. The Yellow Bus Project is made of 52 empty school buses, honoring the 4,368 children whose lives have been lost to gun violence since 2020.

This delicious app allows you to access affordable food and reduce food waste in your community. Too Good To Go is currently reducing food waste in 15 countries and 13 U.S. cities.

Reshaping the fashion industry, secondhand clothing is projected to more than triple in the next 10 years. In 2019, secondhand apparel expanded 21 times faster than conventional apparel retail did.

Delaware is giving free solar panels to low-income residents. The state's new pilot program is also covering 70 percent of rooftop solar costs for moderate-income participants.

A new study found that dolphin poop plays a “significant role” in helping coral reefs survive. By excreting waste in shallow lagoons, the dolphins provide vital nutrients to the coral, and reinforce the need to protect the dolphins, too.

This Texas city is now offering free medical and dental services to its residents. All residents got free health screenings, too.

The Dutch parliament just approved legislation to make working from home a legal right. The Netherlands is now one of the first countries in the world to make it a legal right.

Dallas is using COVID relief aid to help get thousands of people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. States and localities received more than $5 billion in federal stimulus money to address homelessness during the pandemic, and they’re using it to develop long-term solutions.

“Green infrastructure” projects are protecting communities and the people and animals living in them from the impacts of climate change. Nature-inspired engineering projects also center the needs of the climate crisis’ frontline communities.

Once nearly extinct, Indigenous communities are leading the effort to bring back bison. The animals are great for biodiversity, and benefit the entire ecosystem they live in.

An international nonprofit is using fan activism, training, and community building to empower fans from across the globe and make the world a better place. Fandom Forward has already had a major impact in countless areas, like LGBTQ+ equality, education and libraries, voting, and climate change.

Jane Goodall is becoming a Barbie as part of Mattel’s “Inspiring Women Series.” The doll designed in her likeness comes with a chimpanzee and is the first in the series to be made with recycled ocean-bound plastic.

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