Women, Airplanes, & Sleep Trailers - Good News This Week: March 11th 2023

A photo collage of Daniela Arroyo González, Jason Christiansen next to a trailer, a woman and girl dancing, a hydrogen-powered commuter airplane, and the Rainbow Flag

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 trans woman activist is making history by competing in the Puerto Rico Miss Universe pageant this year

Transgender activist Daniela Arroyo González has been selected as the first trans woman to compete in the Puerto Rico Miss Universe pageant this year. She will compete among other women representing the island’s 78 municipalities, and the winner will compete in the global pageant.

After winning a federal lawsuit against the Puerto Rican government, González is best known for her fight to allow Puerto Ricans to change their gender markers on their birth certificates.

She is also a co-founder of the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition, an advocacy group that provides a safe support group for trans youth in the U.S. territory.

Why is this good news? The Miss Universe pageant has allowed transgender participation since 2012, and the first trans woman competed in the global event in 2018 — it’s the first time a trans woman has been among Puerto Rico’s local competitors.

It shows promising resistance, as basic human rights for trans folks are threatened by lawmakers around the country.

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Forest cover in Scotland is almost back to where it was 1,000 years ago

One-thousand years ago, 20% of Scotland’s land was covered by forest, but by the mid-18th century, that number dropped to just 4%.

About that time, the trend reversed, as the country moved from deforestation to reforestation efforts, and forests began to grow back. After growing for two centuries, forest cover is almost back to where it was 1,000 years ago.

While countries who have seen similar dips in deforestation as Scotland haven’t made such an incredible recovery, they follow a similar trend — with forest cover dipping before starting to recover, likely thanks to regulations, reforestation, and conservation efforts to bring tree cover back to a healthy level.

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A viral TikTok sleep trailer is providing safe transitional shelter and helping end homelessness

Looking to help those experiencing homelessness, Jason Christiansen “wanted to do more than give somebody a meal for one day.” Instead, he looked to “give them a space that could be a real foundation and be a launch pad to help them break the cycle of homelessness.”

So, he founded Sleep Trailer, a company that aims to provide safety, security, and dignity to those in need.

Inspired by capsule hotels in Japan (except on wheels), the Sleep Trailer is a compact, portable option for transitional housing that allows folks to have a safe, dignified space to sleep and house their belongings. Each 7.8-foot long pod within the trailer comes equipped with amenities like climate control, four vents for airflow, and more.

Why is this good news? While large, systemic shifts in housing affordability, accessibility, and equality are necessary to truly solve the homelessness crisis, innovations like Christensen’s Sleep Trailers are vital to providing transitional support.

The portable nature of the Sleep Trailers allows them to meet people where they need support, providing a space for folks to truly rest while they access other necessary resources on their path to long-term stability.

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Women-owned businesses now make up 50% of a Philadelphia business district

The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) is a major business and culture hub in South Philly — and it has just reached the milestone of becoming 50% women-owned and operated — an increase of roughly 5% from last year.

EPABID is home to over 160 independently-owned businesses across a mile-long walkable corridor, including over 50 diverse eateries.

While the equal mix of women-owned businesses is certainly a plus on its own — they’re also great for the community. Newcomer to the area, the Sawubona Creativity Project is a nonprofit theater with programs that combine social-emotional learning and character education with theater arts for kids and adults alike.

Why is this good news? While women-owned businesses are on the rise, women (and Black women in particular) still lack access to necessary education, networking, and capital — making it that much harder to thrive.

Seeing East Passyunk proud to uplift its women-owned businesses sends a message that diverse, creative entrepreneurship is not only good for gender equality and empowerment — it’s good for the local economy, too.

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A hydrogen-powered commuter airplane just made a historic, record-setting flight

Last week in Washington state, a 40-person airplane powered by hydrogen fuel successfully made a historic flight. The plane had a traditional jet engine on its left side and an electric motor completely powered by hydrogen on its right.

After takeoff, the Universal Hydrogen airplane essentially turned off the gas engine and relied almost entirely on the hydrogen-powered engine. It flew for 15 minutes and became the largest plane ever “to cruise principally on hydrogen.”

It’s just one carbon-free travel innovation scientists are working on to help the aviation industry reach its emission-reduction goals. Whereas traditional jet fuel releases emissions and particulate pollution, this plane’s hydrogen system gives off only water vapor and heat.

What’s the nuance? Some critics say hydrogen fuel won’t be a magic solution (there rarely are!) to getting the aviation industry to lower its emissions enough to make a difference in fighting climate change. Additionally, it requires a lot of storage space on board the plane, which would significantly reduce the number of seats on the plane, especially for longer flights.

Still, transitioning away from fossil fuels is non-negotiable, so we’re glad to see some progress and innovation being made in the airline industry.

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The Michigan House just passed a bill to expand civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ people

Earlier this week, with 64 votes in favor, the Michigan House voted to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for LGBTQ+ people. The bill now heads to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law.

The civil rights act was expanded to explicitly include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Specifically, it stops someone from firing, evicting, or discriminating against an individual because they are LGBTQ+.

While activists and advocates wish it happened long ago and saved so many people from heartbreaking discrimination, they’re celebrating that it will now be enshrined into state law. The fact that the bill came to a vote at all is thanks to years of grassroots activism.

Why is this good news? Right now, it’s difficult to go even a day without seeing a new attack on the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. (and globally) — from book bans to restricting basic health care. This barrage of bad news can feel intensely discouraging, especially for those who belong to the groups coming under targeted attack.

While it may feel like we’re taking five steps back for every one we move forward — those steps forward matter and are so important to see, recognize, and celebrate. We’re celebrating this step of progress with all Michiganders and the LGBTQ+ community.

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More good news of the week —

After 15 years of talks, more than 100 countries agreed on a global treaty to protect marine life on the high seas. Environmental groups say it will help reverse marine biodiversity losses and ensure sustainable development.

Pay-what-you-can farmstands are helping keep communities fed with healthy, nutritious foods. These farms are playing a critical role as COVID and inflation have made fresh fruit and vegetables harder for many to access.

Washington state introduced a new program to charge companies for their CO2 emissions. With the Climate Commitment Act, the state joins 14 others that have implemented some kind of program with declining caps on emissions.

The U.S. is restoring more bison herds on tribal lands utilizing Indigenous knowledge. The Interior Department announced funding to build new herds, transfer more bison to tribal lands, and forge new bison management agreements with tribes.

Clean energy hit a record in the U.S. in 2022, with more than 40% of electricity coming from carbon-free sources. In addition to nuclear plants and hydroelectric dams, the majority of the increase has come from the rapid build-out of solar and wind power.

Scotland just became the first country to ban an environmentally harmful anesthetic. Desflurane has a global warming potential 2,500 times greater than carbon dioxide and banning it will cut emissions equal to powering 1,700 homes a year.

With the belief that reading ‘shouldn’t be a privilege,’ a writer and cultural historian has given away 6,000 books for free. Sofia Akel’s started the Free Books Campaign in 2020 to get books by authors of color to those who can't afford them.

A teen shamed online for her “luxury” handbag is now a model in the brand’s International Women’s Day campaign. After Zoe Gabriel responded to the comments sharing that she didn’t grow up with a lot, Charles & Keith invited her to their headquarters and made her one of the faces of their IWD campaign.

Minnesota’s House passed a measure to create the first-ever Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women. It would be the first office of its kind in the country, created as Black women in Minnesota are three times more likely to be murdered than white women, and their cases are less likely to be solved.

Two women in Atlanta started a nonprofit to help formerly incarcerated people navigate life after their release. Barred Business provides funding, housing, and training while advocating for legal protections for people who have faced unemployment and homelessness after incarceration.

Thailand will ban imports of plastic waste from other countries at the end of 2024. Sending our waste around the world to be disposed of is environmental injustice at its worst, and we’re glad Thailand is taking action (we’re just sorry we weren’t the ones to do it).

A solar panel manufacturer in Switzerland announced it’s shifting away from using any plastic in its panels. Meyer Burger says the shift to 100% glass panels will lead to faster scalability and it’s just better technology.

Spain announced a new law to promote gender equality in both politics and business. The law will require more equal representation of women and men in politics, business, and other spheres of public life.

Scientists found a new way to remove CO2 from the air that’s up to three times more effective than current technology. The method transforms the gas, stores it safely and cheaply in seawater, and could help speed up the deployment of carbon removal technology.

An Afghan broadcaster aired a rare all-woman panel to discuss women’s rights in honor of International Women’s Day. The broadcast was a rare occurrence since the Taliban took over and many female journalists left the profession or started working off-air.

Article Details

March 11, 2023 5:00 AM
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