Soccer, Forests, & Airbag Jeans - Good News This Week: March 4th 2023

A photo collage of trash piled up, an aerial view of a forest and a road, AFC Wimbledon players in a group hug, a guy on a motorcycle, and a dog in front of a house

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 —

To help reduce trash, some states are charging the companies that produce it

The number of active landfills in the United States has decreased steadily in recent decades, and the ones that are left are not being expanded. But as existing landfills begin to reach their capacity, communities will need a new place to put their trash.

An increasing number of states see an answer in an innovative regulation that tackles trash on the front end: incentivizing manufacturers to make their product packaging more easily recyclable or else pay to recycle it themselves. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws could be a partial solution to the problem of diminishing landfill capacity.

And their main target is plastic pollution, since the U.S. recycled a mere 5-6% of its plastic waste in 2021, down from a “high” of 9.5% in 2014.

What’s the nuance? While many environmental groups praise the laws for putting the responsibility of paying for our trash problem where it should be — the corporations making all of it — others aren’t so sure. They argue that putting the responsibility squarely in the hands of the ones who created the problem won’t bring the solutions we desperately need.

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For the first time in history, Australia blocked the creation of a coal mine under environmental protection laws

Earlier month, the Australian government rejected a proposal for the construction of a new coal mine in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The reef has already been weakened by four mass bleachings in the last six years ​— due to rising sea temperatures caused by climate change.

Federal authorities in Australia said the coal mine would put the reef at an “unacceptable risk.” While state authorities have rejected proposals like this before, it’s the first time the country’s Environmental Minister used their power to do so.

The proposal was also opened up for public consideration, and more than 9,000 submissions were sent in just 10 days, the majority of which called for the project to be stopped.

The Great Barrier Reef is a critically important part of the local ecosystem, overall ocean health, biodiversity, and so much more – and climate change is putting it at extreme risk. Taking the action necessary to stop and reverse climate change is going to take authorities and governments making critical decisions just like this ​​— not bending to the will and desire of corporations.

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Thanks to community activism, 44 acres of wild forest is now a nature preserve instead of a subdivision

When 44 acres of wild forest in Dunedin, Florida on the verge of being bulldozed and developed into a subdivision, citizens and local government came together to protect it — by raising $10 million to purchase the land and ensure it would stay wild forever.

The first phase of the Gladys E. Douglas Preserve opened recently, giving residents access to the very land they helped save. The 44 acres are filled with trails and 143 native plant species — 11 of which are endangered, threatened, or exploited.

The second phase is expected to open in 2025, expanding the preserve to 124 acres including a nearby lake, fishing pier, canoe and kayak launch, wildlife observation platform, and more. While a good bit of the preserve will be open to the public, half will stay closed for conservation purposes.

Why is this good news? While we fully understand the need to provide housing for folks who need it, that development needs to be sustainable and not come at the cost of excessive environmental harm. It’s also an inspiring example of both private citizens and government coming together to take action on a popular idea — and we love that it was to preserve the environment.

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John Green and Partners in Health are now sponsoring the AFC Wimbledon Women’s soccer team

On top of the millions of dollars John Green and his brother, Hank Green raised recently for Partners in Health during the Project for Awesome — John and producing partner and British writer Rosianna Halse Rojas are also now supporting the organization’s incredible, important work in a whole new way.

The two announced that they would be sponsoring the AFC Wimbledon Women’s soccer (ahem, football) team and that the Partners in Health logo would now be displayed on the back of their shirts. (The team has since gone undefeated… coincidence? We think not.)

Working in 12 countries, Partners In Health operates within the belief that injustices lead to poverty and sickness, and that health is a human right — and no human is less deserving of that right than another. They do lifesaving work for women's and girls’ health around the world and are currently building a maternal health hospital in Sierra Leone.

Why is this good news? Historically and globally, women’s sports go underfunded — and so does women’s health. John and Rosianna investing in the women athletes of AFC Wimbledon and using the opportunity to highlight and support another incredible organization uplifting women is incredibly exciting news — and the very definition of using your power (and money) for good.

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A clothing designer created airbag jeans to help protect motorcyclists

Driving a motorcycle is dangerous, and safety concerns among drivers themselves are real — especially when there are no standard safety features that a car or other vehicle would include.

To help make driving a little safer, people like Moses Shahrivar (who's an award-winning clothing designer and motorcyclist) are getting creative. Shahrivar has been designing motorcycle jeans for nearly two decades, and his most recent design could transform motorcycle riding.

The innovative Mo’cycle Airbag Jeans and Shahrivar’s entire airbag collection (including a vest that protects vital organs!) were funded by the European Union and investors in an effort to develop the safest riding clothes in history. They even protected Shahrivar in a recent accent.

Why is this good news? In the United States, motorcycles comprise only 3% of all registered vehicles, though motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities. Any innovative safety enhancements that can reduce those fatalities are incredible and worth celebrating.

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A self-governed village in Portland is giving unhoused people autonomy, agency — and dignity

Hostility toward encampments has ramped up since the beginning of the pandemic, as housing insecurity and social dislocation have led to an uptick in the number of people sleeping outdoors.

And it’s a familiar scenario for Portland’s Dignity Village, whose founding 20 years ago came about after unhoused activists, sick of being scapegoated and harassed, made a stand for their own autonomy.

Dignity Village is the first sanctioned, self-run village for unhoused residents in the country ​​— and remains one of very few communities of its kind in North America. Residents in Dignity Village pay $75 a month to live there and put in 10 hours a week of work on village business, including cleaning, maintenance, and paperwork.

But most of all, the people who live there have agency.

Why does this matter? Recently, Portland’s city council approved a citywide camping ban as well as a plan to herd many of the city’s unsheltered residents into six city-run encampments of 250 people each.

A researcher that studied Dignity and other similar villages said they’re so successful because of their autonomy from the city (not run by the city) — and the ideal number of people for community cohesion is around 25 (not 250). While Portland’s current plan has been tried, and it hasn’t worked — but Dignity Village offers a viable alternative model to follow.

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​​Baking helped a woman in New York recover from addiction — and now she’s using it to help others, too

A few years ago, Janie Deegan was experiencing homelessness and recovering from addiction. She found baking to be a “meditative, very controlled, artistic outlet” and a friend asked her to bake a cake for a large event she was hosting.

It gave her the courage to start selling her baked goods, and eventually open her first bakery, called Janie's Life-Changing Baked Goods (it’s now in two locations, with a third in the works). The bakery’s pie crust cookies aren’t the only unique, special thing about it though.

Drawing on the difficulties she faced in the past, Deegan has an “open door policy” when it comes to hiring, which means she’ll hire anyone “ready, willing, able and enthusiastic about coming to work,” no matter what their past — or even present situation looks like.

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More good news of the week —

A24 is auctioning off props from “Everything Everywhere All At Once” to support trans, AAPI, and mental health charities. The proceeds will benefit the Transgender Law Center, the Asian Mental Health Project, and Laundry Workers Center (including the $90,000 Raccacoonie is going for right now).

Thanks to conservation efforts, Australia just removed 26 animal species from the “threatened” list. Additionally, three species that were already delisted were confirmed to have made continuing recoveries, including two frogs and the humpback whale.

Employers can no longer silence laid-off employees in exchange for severance pay. The National Labor Relations Board says two specific policies are unlawful and violate employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Over 120 faith leaders across five religious faiths came together in support of reproductive freedom in Nebraska. Nebraska is one of many states trying to pass bills outlawing most abortions in the state, which would be life-threatening, increase the number of pregnancy-related deaths, and more.

REI announced they were going to stop selling clothes, cookware, and more that contain “forever chemicals.” Often found in waterproof clothing and camping cookware, PFAS are especially harmful chemicals because they don’t break down over time.

A high-speed rail project in California is creating a “miraculous” more than 10,000 jobs. The project is also creating significant economic benefits for residents living in poverty in the area, as well as a sustainable, car-free transportation alternative.

Dave Grohl barbecued for hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles during last week’s winter storm. Grohl didn’t tell anyone, brought his own smoker, stayed up all night to prepare it, and paid for all the food and supplies.

Rooftop solar is on track to become Australia's number one power source. More than 3.4 million Australians have a rooftop solar installation, and around 300,000 new ones are being installed annually.

An animated film based on humanity, empathy, and kindness just won a BAFTA. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse won the BAFTA for best animated short and is also nominated for an Oscar.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly announced it's dropping the price of insulin products by 70% and capping out-of-pocket costs at $35/month. This incredibly good news comes thanks to years of public pressure — including a parody Twitter account's tweet that caused the drugmaker's stock to tumble.

Australia is holding a referendum to secure the permanent representation of Indigenous communities in parliament. Australians will vote on whether to enshrine an advisory group on issues related to Indigenous people into the constitution.

A first-of-its-kind cruelty-free circus replaced live animals with 3D holograms. The Circus-Theater Roncalli in Germany’s custom-built holographic figures uses 3D animations, photography, virtual rendering, and 11 digital laser projectors.

Wildlife advocates are helping farmers take advantage of birds as natural pest control. The groups have historically been at odds, but are working together to address the biodiversity crisis and help farms benefit from more wildlife.

A group of MMA fighters volunteered to provide security for a local drag brunch in West Virginia. They made the offer after the brunch was canceled “due to the amount of threats” the event organizers received.

To access federal funds, the Biden administration is requiring all electric vehicle chargers to work with all electric vehicles. Tesla, for example, installs chargers that only work with its own vehicles.

Article Details

March 4, 2023 5:00 AM
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