Good News This Week: June 22, 2024 - Buses, Fishes, & Juneteenth

A photo collage of two scientists crouched over a river, school buses lined up in a parking lot, men in a field, a tarpaulin poster that says 'Let's Fix Climate Finance', and a couple holding up a sign that says 'Welcome to the family #CAAdoptAPetDay'

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!

If you want to get good news in your inbox every day, join the Goodnewsletter — the free daily newsletter designed to leave you feeling hopeful.

The Best Positive News We’re Celebrating This Week —

A critically endangered desert fish hit a 25-year population high in one of Earth’s harshest environments

In a glimmer of hope for one of the world’s rarest fish, scientists have counted 191 Devils Hole pupfish this spring in their tiny desert habitat — the highest spring count for the critically endangered species in more than two decades.

The fish is found only in the upper reaches of a single deep limestone cave in the Mojave Desert in the western U.S. state of Nevada — the smallest known range of any vertebrate species on the planet.

Scientists are cautiously optimistic about this latest count, especially since they counted just 35 pupfish in 2013, leading to fears that the species could wink out of existence.

Why is this good news? While their numbers continue to fluctuate, successful ongoing conservation of the species has helped set a precedent for using environmental science to guide policy and legal decisions surrounding endangered species.

→ ​​Read more

Thanks to global cooperation, the ozone layer is recovering faster than expected

In 1987, 198 nations around the world came together to ratify the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, which phased out pollutants that deplete the ozone layer.

The ozone layer is essential to sustain life on Earth. Despite protests from businesses that profited from the manufacturing and use of chlorofluorocarbons — we prioritized preserving the atmosphere (and by extension, the survival of humanity).

And a recent study found these efforts are already hugely paying off even faster than scientists expected ​— atmospheric levels of ozone-depleting chemicals have officially dropped for the first time ever.

Perhaps even more encouragingly, another damaging chemical replaced CFCs — hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are still in the process of being phased out. The study found that both CFCs and HCFCs levels are down.

Scientists are celebrating the news, as it also indicates that humans are fully capable of bringing the planet back to pre-pollution norms — something we’re doing for climate change, too.

​→ ​Read more

A breakthrough union contract for electric school bus workers is bringing better working conditions and cleaner air

For nearly a century, a substantial portion of America’s iconic yellow school buses have been manufactured at a factory in a 9,000-person Georgia town.

That factory, Blue Bird recently made history when its 1,400 employees voted to unionize with the United Steelworkers — a challenging feat in the Deep South — and because it was set to receive up to $1 billion over five years from the federal government in contracts to build more electric school buses.

Not only will factory employees be given guaranteed raises, new retirement benefits, and a profit-sharing with the company — they’ll be working to bring cleaner transportation and healthier air to communities across the country.

Why is this good news? The grants to build electric school buses — funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — included a “union neutrality” provision prohibiting grant recipients from using the funding to sway workers against joining a union.

It’s yet another example of how building a clean energy-powered future is good for the planet and for people.

Read more

With roots in the first Juneteenth, a Black Texas family has long been fighting for ​​an accurate account of history to be taught in schools — with lessons for today’s lawmakers

Samuel Walker Houston was the son of Joshua Houston, an enslaved servant of Gen. Sam Houston — the most well-known military and political leader in Texas — ​​who was freed on Juneteenth.

Samuel founded one of the “leading schools” in East Texas and believed that young Texans of all races needed to learn an account of history that differed from the white supremacist narrative that dominated Southern history. He joined forces with two white professors to fight against racism and racist representation of Black people in the state’s schools.

They faced plenty of pushback — with the same justification provided still today by Texas lawmakers, as many try to restrict the teaching of systemic racism in public schools.

Still, the Houston family’s inspiring story and tireless fight for an accurate portrayal of history persisted — and it’s a fight we can all join in taking up today, too.

Read more

From a historian: Juneteenth offers new ways to teach about slavery, Black perseverance, and American history

Early childhood experts say children in the U.S. will probably hear about slavery by age 5. At that age, lessons should celebrate and teach stories of Black culture, leadership, inventions, beauty, and accomplishments to better equip children to later hear about, understand, and emotionally process the terrible truths about slavery.

And while Juneteenth celebrations do not only commemorate the end of slavery, they also honor the generations of Black men and women who have fought to end slavery and for racial justice.

Even today, the holiday offers an abundance of opportunities to learn about what it means to fight for freedom and maintain a sense of self-determination in the face of oppression.

Read more

Nearly doubling their goal, a new holiday in California helped over 3,600 animals get adopted in a single day

On June 1, local, state, and national animal welfare organizations teamed up to host the first-ever California Adopt-a-Pet Day. The state’s senate even passed a resolution proclaiming the day an official holiday across the state.

The event included more than 170 participating animal shelters across the state and was a resounding success, sending a total of 3,609 pets — nearly doubling their original goal of 2,024 adoptions — to their forever homes.

The ASPCA covered the cost of adoptions, making it easier for community members to welcome a pet into their lives, while still financially supporting the animal rescue organizations in the area.

Why is this good news? California shelters have faced a large influx of animals in recent years due to ongoing economic hardships, like finding pet-friendly housing and affordable veterinary care.

For many of the new pet parents, this was the first time they visited their local shelter and adopted a shelter pet — and for at least one shelter the holiday set a new single-day adoption record.

Read more

Wealthy nations finally delivered $100 billion in climate aid they promised to developing countries

In the wake of collapsed negotiations at the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009, wealthy nations, led by the United States, pledged to provide developing countries with $100 billion in climate-related aid annually by 2020.

The money was meant in part to ease tensions between the rich countries that had historically contributed the most to climate change and the poorer nations that disproportionately suffer the effects of a warming planet.

While they fell short of reaching that target in both 2020 and 2021, a new report just confirmed that wealthy nations finally surpassed the goal in 2022 — contributing nearly $116 billion.

What’s the nuance? While it’s welcomed news that wealthy nations have finally paid up, it’s only a very small piece of the massive estimated need. United Nations-backed research projects that developing countries will need $2.4 trillion per year by 2030 to transition away from fossil fuels and adapt to climate change.

Read more

To protect Scotland’s endangered salmon, a group of anglers purchased the river they’ve fished for 100 years

Formed in 1924, the Blairgowrie, Rattray and District Angling Association has become one of Scotland’s oldest angling clubs, encouraging nature stewardship and the responsible fishing of salmon, sea trout, brown trout, and other fish.

On the organization’s centennial, they have purchased the salmon fishing rights of a four-mile stretch of River Ericht to help conserve and protect wild Atlantic salmon, which was officially classified as an endangered species in Scotland last year.

The anglers confirm that they’ve seen a change in the landscape, pointing to a history of water extraction for industrial purposes, with salmon stocks falling as a result of low water levels.

And while there are hundreds of rivers in Scotland “preventing the easy passage of migratory fish” that need the same care and attention, the BRDAA is hopeful its efforts will help usher in more widespread action from the Scottish government.

Read more

More good news of the week —

Thought to be extinct in 1979, a new litter of endangered black-footed ferrets was just born in DC. Conservation efforts have included captive breeding, wildlife reintroductions, habitat restoration, and more — resulting in the cutest success story yet.

Three endangered horses traveled 3,000 miles to their new home — and it could mean survival for their species. The Kazakh Steppe is home to Saiga antelope, Siberian deer, foxes, badgers, Mongolian gerbils, Russian steppe tortoises — and a growing herd of wild Przewalski’s horses.

A critically endangered “walking pinecone” was just spotted in a West African country for the first time in 24 years. Due to habitat loss, deforestation, and poaching, all eight species of pangolins have been struggling for survival across Asia and Africa.

Villagers in Malawi helped arrest suspected elephant poachers in Kasungu National Park. Residents of villages just outside the park informed police about two men selling elephant meat, who were subsequently found in possession of 16.6 kilograms of ivory.

The U.S. is installing enough solar to power 70,000 homes on sites formerly used in the nuclear weapons program. It’s the first in the DOE’s Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative to repurpose federal land previously used in nuclear weapons programs for clean energy.

New research found a common type of ocean algae plays a significant role in helping cool the Earth’s climate. Scientists identified the bloom-forming Pelagophyceae algae as potentially abundant and important producers of a compound “that’s a major source of climate-cooling gases.”

An all-electric rideshare in New York City just celebrated surpassing its two-millionth ride. Offsetting over 9,000,0000 pounds of carbon emissions, it took Revel two years to get to one million rides and a quarter of that to reach two million.

Carmakers are making ​and selling more hybrid electric vehicles than ever before, reaching as much as 50% of total sales. In 2023, for example, 29% of Toyota's sales were hybrid vehicles and it’s expected to reach closer to 45% by the end of this year.

Saying it’s “good for the planet, good for our business,” PepsiCo just announced plans to triple its electric vehicle fleet. The company says it’s adding 50 Class 8 Tesla Semis and 75 Ford E-Transit electric vans.

Cranberry farmers in Massachusetts are transforming their old bogs into thriving, carbon-storing swamps. The Eel River Preserve, the first cranberry bog officially restored in Massachusetts, has now grown into a lush ecosystem of native wetland plants.

An international team of scientists discovered a plastic-eating fungus in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch is a massive accumulation of floating plastic debris in the North Pacific Ocean, and often the target of ocean cleanup efforts.

Portland is providing thousands of free air conditioners to residents in need this summer. The Cooling Portland initiative aims to protect low-income residents during dangerous heat waves more accessible to those in need.

Upending the LGBTQ+ vs. faith narrative, more than 120 faith groups are protecting Pride events this month. Providing protection and faith-based support for LGBTQ+ folks at 50 events throughout June, the groups will work to de-escalate extremist anti-LGBTQ+ protests from hate groups.

Officials reported more than 150 rare, endangered whale sightings off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. In addition to North Atlantic right whales, humpbacks, minke, fin, orcas, and sperm whales, NOAA officials spotted 93 sei whales, one of the highest concentrations of the rare whale observed during a single flight.

To address the disproportionate impact of the state’s policies on people of color, Maryland’s governor pardoned over 175,000 low-level marijuana convictions. The state voted to legalize adult use of marijuana in 2022 and the governor said, “We cannot address the benefits of legalization if we do not address the consequences of criminalization.”

After one year, a Denver basic income program found significant improvements in housing outcomes. At least 45% of participants were able to have their own home or apartment by the end of the research period thanks to the basic income program.

The White House just swore in the first class of the American Climate Corps. The American Climate Corps is a brand new climate jobs training program tailored to helping young people find jobs in the green economy.

The world’s only coal-to-nuclear plant just broke ground in Wyoming. The plant is being constructed next to a retiring coal plant, will hire former coal workers, and “will be much safer and produce far less waste than conventional reactors.”

Article Details

June 22, 2024 5:30 AM
A photo collage of a bird perched on top of a branch, a baby playing with a toy, a building, a Pampers play room, and a frog

Good News This Week: July 13, 2024 - Birds, Frogs, & Nurseries

Your weekly roundup of the best good news worth celebrating...
A photo collage of a bar chart regarding deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, a solar wind farm, a drone show, and a Pampas cat

Good News This Week: July 6, 2024 - Drones, Butterflies, & Pampas Cats

Your weekly roundup of the best good news worth celebrating...
No items found.

Want to stay up-to-date on positive news?

The best email in your inbox.
Filled with the day’s best good news.