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Good News This Week: June 3, 2023 - Affordable Housing, Flowers, & Pride

A photo collage of Amanda Ahlenius' TikTok video, a person installing solar panels on a rooftop, a screenshot of the Discover Me app, and a close-up shot of York groundsell flowers

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 —

​​By sharing crowd-sourced life hacks from past generations, a TikToker is empowering women and building community

When Amanda Ahlenius became a mother to two girls, she realized just how much she had to learn from the other women in her life. Motherhood became more of a collective, communal journey than she ever expected.

In a now-viral TikTok, Ahlenius asked her audience to share the “random things” the women in their lives taught them — and the comments were filled with helpful tips.

She kept sharing the nuggets of wisdom from her own and other grandmothers on TikTok, chronicling the valuable information to help others embrace the familial knowledge they may not have ever received, and create an ongoing network of maternal laborers who don’t take each other for granted.

Why is this good news? Estimates calculate that if stay-at-home moms were paid for their labor in accordance with real-time market prices of all the jobs they do, they’d be making at least $184,820 per year. And often left without supportive resources, women have relied on centuries of generational wisdom to best care for their families — and Ahlenius is bringing attention to both.

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Over the past 10 years, solar energy has grown by 33% on average every year in the United States

As of 2021, there is enough solar capacity installed in the country to power 23 million American homes. In 2021 alone, the amount of solar home energy increased by 32%.

The continual annual growth in solar energy is thanks to a number of factors, including lower costs for systems, growing environmental consciousness around the environmental implications and impacts of energy development and use, and increased awareness of the cumulative energy savings solar offers.

On the cost-per-system side, solar installation costs have dropped by 60% over the last 10 years, increasing accessibility and demand for panel systems. The average residential solar panel system went from costing around $40,000 in 2010 to $20,000 currently.

And solar isn’t just helping consumers save money or manufacturers sell panels — it’s creating jobs. As of 2021, over 255,000 Americans are employed in the solar market across 10,000 companies spanning every single state.

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Construction students in Michigan just built a home that provides both affordable housing and hands-on experience

Over the past seven months, 26 second-year construction students at Oakland Schools Technical Campus-Northeast have been working hard to build a 1,368-square-foot house.

In building the home, students get hands-on experience and real-life preparation for the workforce ​— and once moved to its final destination, the house will be available to folks applying for affordable housing in the future.

Affordable housing is something that communities around the U.S. are in desperate need of right now, and Michigan is no exception. The state recently announced a plan to boost the affordable housing inventory available in the state.

The school aims to have students complete a new house every year.

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A teenager created an app that helps people safely and discreetly discover their gender identity

A time of self-exploration and discovery, during the pandemic (and quarantine, specifically), some found labels that fit our sexual orientations better, while others began experimenting with new pronouns in safe living environments with loved ones.

During that time, Josh Tint recognized that there was still people questioning their identities who didn’t have an outlet for that natural experimentation. He wanted to create a space where folks could explore their name and pronouns “in a simple, discreet, stress-free environment.”

So, he developed the app Discover Me, and when he was 19 years old, launched it in Apple’s App Store. The interface is simple: it lets users “try on” different names and pronouns, swiping left or right to choose what feels right for them. Since its launch in 2022, the app has been downloaded and used by over 2,000 people.

Why is this good news? Discover Me comes at an especially poignant time, where transgender and gender-nonconforming people are put especially at risk, through oppressive policies and bans on gender-affirming care nationwide. Now more than ever, they need resources to “express their pride,” Tint said.

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A flower that only grows in York was just brought back to life, becoming the first de-extinction in Britain

When it was first discovered in 1979, York groundsell was the first new plant species to evolve in Britain in 50 years. The flowers were dismissed as “weeds,” and after excessive application of a weedkiller, it disappeared from York in 1991.

The three plants that researchers kept in pots at the University of York quickly died, too — but they did produce seeds, which were then stored at Kew’s Millenium Seed Bank. (Queen Charlotte fans, anyone?)

The conservation organization Natural England — which has spent 30 years funding efforts to revive the most threatened native species — got to work on a de-extinction plan. And it worked. Back in February, more seeds were planted around the city, and for the first time in 32 years, they just started blooming their colorful yellow flowers.

Why is this good news? Humanity is meant to live in harmony with nature — not to destroy it. The combined efforts of researchers, conservation organizations, and communities to bring this plant back to life should inspire all of us to protect nature — before it disappears at all!

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Organizations around the world are helping bring gender equality to the music industry

For women and gender non-conforming folks in the music industry, paving the way takes a lot more effort than their cis, male counterparts. In 2022, women made up 12.8% of songwriters, 22.3% of artists, and 2.8% of producers in the music industry.

While there are countless programs, nonprofits, resources, and organizations working to equalize the music industry, we wanted to highlight a few that work hard to make gender equality sound like music to our ears.

🎶 At Suffragette Records in Australia, you won’t have to spend hours sifting through vintage vinyl to find women artists — because every album is by women or gender non-conforming artists.

🎶 Amplify Her Voice is a global community of over 300,000 working to advance women’s music careers through educational, networking, and creative opportunities.

🎶 In 2023, all-male acts make up 64% of music festival lineups, and Book More Women refuses to accept that. The platform removes all-male music acts from festival lineup posters to visually show how few women musicians are on the bill.

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More good news of the week —

The North Face strongly defended and renewed its support for working with drag queen Pattie Gonia. The company faced backlash similar to other recent national brands for its “Summer of Pride” campaign but responded like true LGBTQ+ allies.

The average price of emissions-free electricity in Finland recently slipped into the negatives during the day. The oversupply of electricity was mainly due to spring flooding, which is super-charging hydropower production.

Indigenous-led bison repopulation projects are helping the animal live and thrive again in Alberta. A bison reintroduction project at Banff National Park started in 2017 with 16 animals, and will likely end the calving season with around 100 this year.

Communities are getting creative with affordable housing solutions, helping people experiencing chronic homelessness, elderly individuals, and more.

Community land trusts are making housing more affordable — because the land is owned by the community.

Local governments are partnering with churches to turn their empty, underused real estate into much-needed housing for their communities.

Community- and volunteer-driven pet food banks are popping up around the UK for pet owners in need. An animal welfare organization found that 42% of pet owners are finding it difficult to finance pet care bills due to the country’s economic crisis.

Texas just signed the CROWN Act into law, prohibiting hairstyle discrimination based on race. It passed with bipartisan support including a vote of 143-5 in the House and 29-1 in the Texas Senate and was quickly signed into law by the governor.

A lottery winner in North Carolina is pledging to use his winnings to fund classrooms in his native Mali. Souleymane Sana’s dream is to open a dance school in his home country, but for now, is using his winnings to get more students in school.

A Republican Senator voted against a Louisiana ban on gender-affirming care after learning it’s safe and effective. With that vote, Louisiana became the only Southeastern state and one of only four states with Republican trifectas or legislative supermajorities to defeat such a ban in its legislature.

Making history, Latvia just elected the first openly gay head of state in Europe. Latvia elected Edgars Rinkēvičs as its new president, who came out in a tweet in 2014 and advocated for improving the legal status of same-sex relationships.

After their high school canceled their LGBTQ+ play — students put it on anyway. The teens raised nearly $84,000, booked an outdoor theatre, rehearsed for two and half weeks, and performed “Marian” for about 1,500 people.

A groundbreaking new blood cancer treatment developed at a medical center in Israel has a 90% success rate. The “unprecedented achievement” treats the second-most common type of blood cancer, which has long been considered incurable.

Courageous volunteers in Ukraine have saved hundreds of animals from war zones in the country. This past winter, Kyiv Animal Rescue Group began launching rescue missions in Eastern Ukraine, which has been heavily shelled amid Russia's full-scale war.

Leaders in Somalia agreed to introduce direct universal suffrage in local elections next summer. The country hasn’t held one-person, one-vote elections nationwide since 1969, when dictator Siad Barre seized power.

Article Details

June 3, 2023 7:53 AM
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