These are the best positive news stories you missed this week: June 15 Edition

A photo collage of a fisherman, vegetables, a Feel Good Fridge from Whirlpool, a chart about blood types, and solar panels

The world is filled with good news, but it's not always easy to find. We’re here to help

Every day, Good Good Good’s team of journalists, nonprofit experts, and do-gooders seek out the best good news in the world.

We share these with our community here on our website, in our popular daily newsletter, on social media, and in our monthly print newspaper.

Here are the highlights for this week!

The Best Good News We’re Celebrating This Week —

Helping address food insecurity, a San Francisco neighborhood just opened its first free grocery store

Modeled after a traditional grocery store, the District 10 Community Market is now officially open for shoppers. Rather than footing a major bill at checkout, though — its customers won’t pay anything.

While food banks typically offer pre-packaged kits of food for people, this grocery store offers a more dignified shopping experience by allowing people to choose their food items.

The market serves low-income community members who meet certain criteria, and shoppers must obtain a grocery card from a partnering nonprofit to utilize the market.

Why is this good news? Food insecurity is a major issue in the U.S. (and around the world). In addition to addressing that issue, this kind of shopping experience reduces stigma, results in less food waste (people “buy” what they’ll actually cook and eat, rather than items being chosen for them), and helps donors understand what people most appreciate and need.

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The U.S. installed more solar capacity in the first quarter of 2024 than it did in all of 2018

The U.S. saw the most solar manufacturing growth in the nation’s history in the first quarter of this year, with a total installed capacity of 200 gigawatts.

Making up an incredible 75% of all new electricity-generating capacity added to the grid in Q1, a record 11.8 gigawatts of new solar capacity came online.

A new report found that total manufacturing capacity also increased to 26.6 gigawatts in Q1, a significant jump from 15.6 gigawatts in the previous quarter.

The same report also found that the U.S. added more new solar capacity in 2023 than initially reported: over 40 gigawatts. It projects the U.S. will install another 40 gigawatts total this year.

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For the first time in Brazil’s history, a traditional fishing community is now managing a state park’s services

For the first time in Brazil, a traditional community is managing and operating visitor facilities inside a state conservation unit.

The Caiçaras, a traditional fishing peoples, of Cardoso Island have lived in what is today Ilha do Cardoso State Park since the 19th century. A year ago they won a landmark court decision that found it was unconstitutional to bar them from bidding, given that it was on their territory.

In a public-community partnership with the São Paulo state government, the community mow formally manages accommodation services for visitors, cafeterias, education trails, a crafts shop, and a visitors’ center.

Why is this good news? Between the creation of Ilha do Cardoso State Park in 1962 and the end of Brazil’s military regime in 1984, the 400 families living on the island faced constant intimidation to leave.

In a poetic turn of justice, those families are now more integral to the land than ever before — and history shows us thats good news for the planet and for people.

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Ahead of this year’s record-breaking hurricane season, climate scientists are helping Caribbean families protect their homes

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is officially here and forecasts project high numbers of storms.

To help with preparations, a group of climate scientists formed the Caribbean Climate Adaptation Network to connect scientists with communities and governments in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

With a unique understanding of the coastal-urban environment, they’re on a mission to integrate human-made systems, such as buildings and infrastructure, with natural systems, such as the atmosphere, ecosystems, and oceans — ​​all of which face unique challenges in the face of climate change.

They’ve worked on upgrading outdated electricity infrastructure to more resilient systems like solar power, particularly small-scale rooftop installations that can power individual homes and businesses during grid outages.

[Related: While its neighbors didn’t fare so well after Hurricane Ian in 2022, one Florida community never even lost power.]

They’re also tracking sea and land temperatures to better protect people from extreme heat and more intense hurricanes. The network hopes to expand its efforts throughout the entire Caribbean.

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The world’s largest solar farm is now online in China — now home to the three largest farms in the world

Generating about 6.09 billion kilowatt hours of electricity every year, the world’s largest solar farm is now connected officially to China’s grid.

Located on 33,000 acres in the desert in northwestern Xinjiang, the solar farm’s production capacity could power 2.03 million electric vehicles annually.

China is home to the top three largest solar farms in the world, and this latest is part of the country’s “megabase” plan to install 455 gigawatts of wind and solar. The farms are located in lower populated areas and send energy to major urban centers.

What’s the nuance? Xinjiang is also a hub for producing polysilicon, a critical material used in manufacturing solar panels. There have been growing calls for transparency in the region’s supply chain due to reported mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

→ ​​Read more

A major appliance company has donated hundreds of like-new refrigerators to food banks around the U.S.

Whirlpool’s Feel Good Fridge program takes damaged or returned fridges, refurbishes them, and provides them to food banks and agencies in need of storing perishable goods.

Fridge units in the program are sourced from customers who return a refrigerator to a store, or from warehouses where an appliance may have been damaged in transit or at another point in its early life cycle.

Since the program launched in 2021, it has donated more than 900 refurbished refrigerators and delivered more than 250,000 pounds of food to partner agencies, reaching more than 25,000 food-insecure families. Thanks to a new partnership, it’s expanding to 10 more U.S. cities.

Why is this good news? In recent years, unsettling details about where merchandise goes after it’s returned have surfaced, leading consumers to be more thoughtful with their purchases and companies to make an effort to lessen their wasteful impact.

Returns also have a major impact on the planet — up to 24 million metric tons of carbon emissions are attributed to e-commerce returns each year.

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Scientists uncovered a way to convert blood types — opening the door to universal blood donation

In a newly published study — and a medical breakthrough 40 years in the making — researchers shared the findings of a new technique taking the world one step closer to making blood types universal.

Using enzymes produced by bacteria (that almost all of us have in our guts already!), the scientists were able to strip red blood cells of antigens and sugars that create distinctions between blood types.

The blood types of donors and recipients need to match because the recipient’s immune system might attack and destroy the new blood cells, which could be fatal. Universal blood could also help curb mistakes like ABO-mismatched transfusions.

Why is this good news? This news is especially exciting to celebrate today on World Blood Donor Day, since last year the American Red Cross announced it’s facing severe blood shortages — which means life-saving surgeries, transfusions, and more are put on hold. This news could swiftly solve those shortages and bring life-saving blood to people in need.

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To improve access to health care, nurses are going door-to-door in Baltimore to bring primary care to residents

A new program in Baltimore called Neighborhood Nursing aims to solve a major issue in the city: people missing out on primary preventative health care to catch medical issues before they turn into bigger, more expensive problems.

Aiming to “turn primary care on its head,” Neighborhood Nursing’s team of nurses and community health workers meet people where they’re at with free health checks.

They make weekly visits to lobbies of three apartment buildings in a predominantly Black neighborhood that’s been disadvantaged by decades of discriminatory housing policies.

The idea is modeled after a similar program first tried in Costa Rica, which saw people struggle to access preventive primary health care, especially in poor and rural areas — much like the U.S. is seeing now.

It worked spectacularly in Costa Rica — and they’re hoping to see similar results in Baltimore, too.

Read more

More good news of the week —

Beating their target, Coldplay announced their carbon footprint after two years of touring is 59% lower than their previous tour. The band used creative solutions like kinetic dance floors, recyclable LED wristbands, and traveling by train.

[Related good news: Billie Eilish solidifies her “sustainable pop star” status by paying for fans’ public transportation and solar-powering her Lollapalooza set.]

The Department of the Interior just announced $130 million in funding to revitalize land in coal communities. It’s part of a larger plan to clean up legacy pollution and create good-paying jobs and economic opportunities for coal communities amidst the clean energy transition.

The New York Audubon Society just officially changed its name to sever ties with its namesake’s anti-abolitionist slave owner. Acknowledging John James Audubon's contributions to art and ornithology, the organization’s members voted to change their name to NYC Bird Alliance.

New accordion-style solar panels are designed to endure extreme weather and harsh environments. They can withstand wind speeds up to 166 mph, ideal for hurricane-prone places like Puerto Rico, which is getting a shipment later this year.

Austria is creating the first-ever photovoltaic highway where you can drive at 155 mph and recharge your car. First, they’re working on an innovative solar roof design that not only harnesses the sun’s energy but also ensures optimal protection and functionality.

A city in Spain is turning cemeteries into the country's largest urban solar farm. The project has been dubbed RIP, Requiem in Power, and was launched this month with the first photovoltaic panels installed.

To protect honeybees, Seoul just banned a widely-used pesticide suspected in causing their population decline. At least 7.8 billion honeybees, more than 15% of the total population, prematurely died or disappeared between September and November 2022, and neonicotinoids are a prime suspect.

[Be(e) the good: In addition to cutting out the use of pesticides, here’s a way you can help protect bees where you live!]

Sam Smith just launched a new LGBTQ+ charity to give queer artists a “safe space” to be themselves. Called The Pink House, Smith said it will “be a useful resource for all queer people, to work towards helping secure a happy home for all.”

Ireland just expanded its free contraception program to include women between the ages of 32 and 35. Helping improve access to contraception, the country’s Free Contraception Scheme was first introduced in September 2022, initially for those aged 17 to 25, and expanded to include 26-30-year-olds in 2023.

As part of a rewilding project, three endangered horses traveled 3,000 miles to a nature preserve in their native homeland. Considered the last “truly wild” horse in the world, the Przewalski’s horse population is slowly growing after they disappeared from the wild completely in the 1960s.

Thirty years in the making, construction is now underway on the world’s largest wildlife crossing. Located over a busy highway in California notorious for animal-car collisions, the state just announced the crossing is on track to open in early 2026.

Critically endangered northern hairy-nosed wombats were just relocated to a new forest in Australia. Successful conservation and breeding efforts have led to a 1,000% increase in its numbers, with about 400 total now in the world.

In a historic first for any professional sports league, the Stanley Cup Final games will be broadcast in American Sign Language. The first fully immersive viewing experience for the Deaf community by a professional sports league, “NHL in ASL” is available for every game of the series.

Making history in a number of ways, a trans woman was just crowned Miss Maryland USA. Bailey Anne Kennedy broke almost every barrier that existed in the state’s pageant history, including being the first married, Asian American, and trans woman winner.

Researchers have developed oral insulin drops that could replace injections for people with diabetes. In the works for three years, the drops are placed under the tongue and absorbed into the body, eliminating the need for needles.

The WNBA is seeing record in-person attendance alongside record-breaking TV viewership. Since the start of the season, more than half of all WNBA games have been sellouts — a 156% increase from last year — ​​and WNBA arenas were filled to a 94% capacity — up 17% from last year.

Colorado’s 42 state parks will now offer blind visitors an app to help them safely explore on their own. The Aira app is an accessibility-assist tool, which uses the camera on a smartphone to connect users to a live, professionally-trained agent.

[Related: Several national parks have significantly increased their adaptive excursion offerings this summer.]

A women-led group of forest rangers in Indonesia is leading patrols in the jungle to combat deforestation. Much like the team preventing rhino poaching in South Africa, their efforts are working and they’re now sharing their strategies with other women-led groups striving to protect their forests across the country.

USPS just released a new sea turtle stamp collection to honor the conservation efforts behind six endangered sea turtle species. The book of stamps includes six different designs featuring different species that are dependent on U.S. coastal waters for their habitat and survival.

Despite having less capacity, Amtrak is on track to break ridership records in 2024. Ridership was 20% higher in the first seven months of Amtrak's budget year that began Oct. 1, and ticket revenue was up 10% versus the same period in 2023.

New fast chargers can charge more electric vehicles to 80% in just 15 minutes. While electric vehicles come with a slew of positive benefits, one of the drawbacks for many consumers is how long they take to charge — these new chargers help solve that.

If you want to get good news in your inbox every day, join the Goodnewsletter — the free newsletter read by 50,000 people every day. It’s designed to leave even the most cynical news reader feeling more hopeful about the state of the world.

Article Details

June 15, 2024 5:00 AM
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