Good News This Week: June 26, 2023 - Reefs, Haircuts, & Weddings

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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 —

A nonprofit digital tool is helping connect teens with mental health support right on social media

While we might not be so quick to admit it, it’s not uncommon to turn to the endless expanse of life online as a way to get help for our mental health. There’s just one problem: social media apps and tech giants aren’t built for that. In fact, according to Rob Morris, they often end up making things worse.

It’s why Morris founded Koko, a nonprofit digital tool that helps internet platforms, like social networks and telehealth services, better support the mental health of their users.

This support happens through two key integrations: detecting high-risk content that could be detrimental to mental health and providing actually supportive resources to users who are at risk. In other words, Koko meets young internet users at the crossroads between risk and harm reduction.

Why is this good news? Right now, 95% of American teenagers have access to a smartphone and 13% of young people have reported attempting suicide, this tether between mental health and internet content must be severed — or, at least, reimagined.

Koko is doing exactly that — and it’s really working.

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A Texas salon provides free gender-affirming haircuts to help make hair care more inclusive

When Charli Bonham opened Acute Salon — Fort Worth, Texas’s first gender-neutral hair salon — they did so as both an activist and a hairstylist. And it’s a breath of fresh air in Texas, a state that amplified its anti-trans sentiments and policies in the state legislature this year.

And since 2018, Acute has developed multiple opportunities for guests to get free or discounted haircuts through partnerships with partners with LGBTQ Saves, a local affirming youth center, and Finn’s Place, a local community center for trans and gender-diverse people.

Acute also offers sliding-scale appointments, and other opportunities to get a free cut through new stylists’ apprenticeship programs (many of whom are also in the LGBTQ+ community themselves).

Why is this good news? We’ll pass the mic to Bonham, who told us, “We have found that even outside of the queer community, folks struggle to find a safer space when dealing with issues like alopecia, trichotillomania, or sensory issues. We strive to do what we can to help facilitate a safer space, create community, and simply provide quality services that everyone needs.”

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A nonprofit is turning standard wedding celebrations into an opportunity to end child marriage globally

While happily engaged couples in the U.S. likely have the privilege of making endless exciting decisions about their special day, millions of young girls across the world don’t even have a say in whether they are married at all.

Child marriage is still a pervasive and hugely concerning issue globally — ​​one that VOW for Girls is working hard to end for good. VOW is a nonprofit that works with couples, vendors, and industry professionals to help transform standard wedding celebrations into an opportunity to improve the lives of girls whose futures are at risk.

They do it through a number of initiatives, like making it easy for couples to accept donations to VOW in lieu of gifts, or partnering with industry professionals and bridal brands to create veils, rings, and other accessories that fund their work. And so far, more than 8,000 couples have aligned with VOW’s mission, along with more than 30 major wedding brands.

Why is this good news? According to UNICEF, 720 million women alive today were married as children. And for every girl who graduates high school in America, six girls under the age of 18 are married around the world.

This impacts nearly every facet of life for young women: from their education and careers, to their health, personal safety, and legal rights.

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After flooding in Ukraine caused 16,000 people to lose their homes, a nonprofit stepped in to provide immediate relief

From the very beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, millions of Ukrainians have lost access to clean drinking water — especially those living near the front lines of the conflict. To make matters worse, when a dam and hydroelectric power planet were destroyed earlier this month, a life-threatening flood endangered thousands of lives.

Floods caused 16,000 people to lose their homes, 80 settlements were impacted, and for those who have remained in the area, water contamination and scarcity put residents at risk of further impacts to both human health and the environment.

While they’ve had teams on the front lines of the conflict since the invasion, Project HOPE organizers put even more energy into their efforts following this attack. Their teams distributed necessities like water, hygiene products, power sources, and blankets — including 20,160 liters of much-needed drinking water to communities in the heart of the destruction.

Why is this good news? Even before this recent flooding Ukrainians were in dire need of clean water due to attacks on water supply and sanitation facilities, power outages that led to water cuts, and more. Project HOPE immediately recognized this need, and continues to work swiftly to meet it.

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A group of scientists is working to save Florida’s endangered coral reefs from extinction

Since the 1980s, the Florida Keys have lost around 97% of its coral cover due to warming oceans, disease, and over-use by humans. And while some folks would consider that a lost cause, for a group of scientists — it’s room for a whole lot of restoration.

The scientists at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Summerland Key are breeding new coral on shore, and then grafting tiny pieces to the struggling reef underwater. Because the reef is so degraded, it can’t reproduce on its own — so the scientists are helping it along.

Their ultimate goal is to introduce half a million new coral “babies” to reefs all along the Florida Keys over the next two decades. And the implications are much further-reaching than just a beautiful thriving reef — humanity’s survival depends on their efforts.

Read more

More good news of the week —

The Netherlands is providing free sunscreen this summer to help tackle record skin cancer levels. The country will have dispensers available at schools and universities, festivals, parks, sports venues, and open public spaces.

The LGBTQ+ community in Sri Lanka's held a Pride march and demanded an end to discrimination in the country. Hundreds of marchers carried rainbow flags and signs calling for a ban on conversion therapies, an end to police harassment of the LGBTQ+ community, and equal treatment.

The United Kingdom announced it will wipe the records of women convicted of same-sex activity. Now, anyone can apply for a pardon if they have been convicted or cautioned for offenses that have since been repealed or abolished.

A federal judge struck down an Arkansas law banning gender transition care for young people. The judge cited evidence that showed gender-affirming care “improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing.”

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India serves over 100,000 free meals a day to people in need. The temple is the most significant shrine of the Sikh religion, known for its seva tradition of serving others without expectation for reciprocity.

After 17 years, white rhinos have been reintroduced to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A testament to the DRC’s commitment to conservation and biodiversity, sixteen southern white rhinoceroses were just reintroduced to Garamba National Park.

The UN will now require fossil fuel lobbyists to identify themselves when registering for the COP28 climate summit. Campaigners are hopeful the move will increase transparency and accountability for the heavily polluting industry at the annual talks.

New York City's mayor signed an executive order protecting healthcare access for transgender individuals. The order both protects access to gender-affirming care and prohibits those who seek it from being prosecuted.

The European Union will require all smartphones to have batteries that can be replaced by the user by 2027. It’s a major step for the “right to repair” movement, and the new rules also include strict targets for collecting waste and recovering materials from old batteries.

A federal judge struck down Florida’s ban on Medicaid coverage for gender dysphoria treatments. The judge said the ban violated federal laws on Medicaid, equal protection, and the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of sex discrimination.

Officially certified by the WHO, Belize just became the latest country to eradicate malaria. Thanks to a national public health initiative, the country has officially been malaria-free for 3 years, after cases dropped from 10,000 in 1994 to zero in 2019.

Endangered Pacific blue whales are thriving in California again, recouping 97% of their pre-whaling population. Decades ago, blue whales were nearly hunted to extinction, and marine biologists and researchers are celebrating this huge win for conservation.

Article Details

June 26, 2023 7:19 AM
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