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Good News This Week: May 13th 2023: Beaches, Plastic-Free Cups, & Basketball Courts

A photo collage of a basketball court, The Good Cup - a foldable cup, a beach, a group of volunteers from The Outdoorist Oath, and a Polynesian tree snail

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 new ad campaign from Budweiser is helping save public basketball courts in Brazil from demolition

Right now, public street basketball courts all over Brazil are under threat of being displaced by development. In an effort to protect these important public spaces for communities, Budweiser partnered with Brazilian rap star Rincon Sapiência on a clever new ad campaign.

The "Unbreakable Courts" ad campaign features a new Sapiência song, which begins with the rapper reflecting on his time growing up playing basketball and lamenting about the courts’ destruction. Then the lyrics take a legal turn, as he calls out the country’s cultural heritage laws as a tool people can use to protect them.

This campaign educates people about the laws and how any site with cultural significance has some protection from demolition. The campaign’s website then connects communities with artists to paint a mural on the court of their choice — which gives it that protection.

Why is this good news? While we understand that the needs of a community change and evolve over time, this campaign gives folks the opportunity to save an important part of their community — and it does so in a beautiful, creative way. We love some creativity for good!

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A foldable cup is revolutionizing the disposable plastic takeout industry

Single-use plastics are finally starting to disappear from the market, as everywhere from local communities, to states, and entire countries implement single-use plastic bans and regulations. But often, we find ourselves looking to grab a quick coffee to-go, only to discover we forgot our reusable container.

That’s where The Good Cup comes in. The Good Cup is a foldable vessel that's like a mini takeout container for hot and cold drinks.

And the best part? The Good Cup is fully recyclable and repulpable, made with compostable paper and recyclable bio-based coating. It can be composted at home or sent to recycling facilities — where the paper can be recycled up to seven times before heading back to the Earth.

Why is this good news? We’ve all experienced the sensory nightmare of drinking from a disintegrating plastic straw, and strawless “compostable” plastic and paper cups are often still made with materials and chemicals that harm the planet.

The Good Cup offers a viable alternative, and if one million 12-ounce Good Cups are used, nearly 10,000 pounds of plastic would be saved.

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A Texas House committee just advanced a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles

Amidst the daily occurrence of gun violence in the U.S., it can be difficult to celebrate anything related to guns right now — much less something seemingly small like a bill making it out of committee. And that’s fair, we feel it and understand the hesitancy.

But this news coming out of a state that has done nothing but loosen its gun regulations gives us hope because we know a fundamental truth: the most meaningful positive change happens incrementally, step by seemingly small step.

A gun safety bill making it out of committee for a full vote by the legislature is one of those small, incremental steps that add up to really significant change.

And while Texas House Bill 2744, which would raise the minimum age to purchase certain semi-automatic firearms to 21, faces an admittedly tough battle to becoming law — the fact that it’s facing the battle means there’s hope left. And it’s thanks to months of advocacy from activists, survivors, and specifically families and relatives of the Uvalde school shooting victims.

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Greece is making nearly 200 beaches more accessible for beachgoers with limited mobility

Vacationers and residents with limited mobility can now enjoy the sea and beaches of Greece thanks to the installation of water-access ramps. More than 200 Seatrac ramps will be installed throughout Greece, as well as neighboring countries like Italy and Cyprus.

The ramps allow folks with limited mobility to independently bypass the sand, “drive” themselves down to the water, and enjoy a swim in the Mediterranean. They’re also completely solar-powered.

The installation of the ramps begins this month and the company who created them expects them to be up and running for “high beach season” through October.

Why is this good news? So much of the world is designed with one type of person in mind: those without any kind of mobility issues. But that’s not the reality for so many folks — and everyone deserves the independence and dignity of navigating streets, buildings, beaches, parks, and more on their own! Spaces should be designed with people of all abilities in mind.

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Hydro Flask just donated $25,000 to The Outdoorist Oath to support their efforts to make the outdoors more inclusive

The Outdoorist Oath is a year-old organization created in collaboration with environmental justice leaders Pattie Gonia, Teresa Baker, and José González with a simple mission: “A commitment to Planet, Inclusion, and Adventure.”

The Oath is essentially a workshop where people can better understand and be agents of change in protecting the planet and making the outdoors a diverse and inclusive place — over 2,200 folks have taken it so far. And they’ve been so successful, participants have sought out more, continued learning, connection, and programming.

Since The Outdoorist Oath provides its events for free — it needs support. And thanks to Hydro Flask, a stainless steel water bottle brand — it just got a big boost. Alongside its new “Let’s Go Together” line of beverage containers, Hydro Flask is also making a $25,000 donation to The Outdoorist Oath.

Why is this good news? By bringing a large, corporate platform together with a grassroots movement, the collaborative efforts of inclusive environmental advocacy expand even further. Or as González told us, “The statement ‘Let’s Go Together’ is a very tangible way to practice inclusion and spaces of welcoming and belonging.”

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Scientists just reintroduced 5,000 critically endangered snails to the French Polynesian Islands

In what’s believed to be the largest-ever release of any species that is extinct in the wild, scientists just reintroduced critically endangered Polynesian tree snails to the French Polynesian Islands.

The snails were nearly wiped out in the 1960s after French authorities brought two invasive snail species to the islands — one as a food source, which escaped captivity and multiplied, destroying the local ecosystem.

For the past three decades, scientists and conservationists have been working at zoos in the United Kingdom and the U.S. to keep them from disappearing. They’ve been slowly reintroducing them over the past nine years, but the most recent reintroduction of more than 5,000 was a significant milestone in conservation.

Why is this good news? The snails are less than an inch in size, and while they're small and maybe not the cutest creatures to look at — they have a huge impact on the local ecosystem. By eating fungi and decaying plants, they help keep the forest healthy.

It's also an encouraging reminder to protect, nurture, and care for endangered species — because hope is never lost.

→ ​​Read more

A man in Finland has restored around 80 areas of ecologically critical peatlands in his home country

About a century ago, nearly a third of Finland was covered in peatlands, which are wetland ecosystems that are one of the planet’s largest and most important carbon sinks. These pristine areas were strip-mined for fuel or drained.

On a mission to restore these critical ecosystems, Tero Mustonen started in his own backyard and worked to restore a peat mine in his village that was polluting nearby waterways and killing fish. Since that first project, he’s restored about 80 peatland areas across Finland. It's a massive success story in ecological restoration.

Importantly, Mustonen’s organization, the Snowchange Cooperative, also partners with Sámi Indigenous and Finnish rural communities on an “approach that supports traditional knowledge and Sámi rights.” The cooperative has expanded its restoration globally, now working in places like Alaska, northern Russia, Polynesia, and New Zealand.

Read more

More good news of the week —

New York will require the state’s public power provider to generate all of its electricity from clean energy by 2030. The new legislation is a major step toward making utilities publicly owned and will scale up the state’s renewable energy production.

Researchers developed a new tool for optimizing irrigation on farms to help farmers use less water. The smart agriculture tool leverages data and modern technologies to boost crop yields while conserving natural resources.

More than 100 businesses in Omaha shared their opposition to a law banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. Their letter is similar to a Greater Omaha Chamber statement urging lawmakers to focus on economic and workforce development instead of debating divisive policies.

A new foster care program in England is helping match LGBTQ+ kids with supportive queer families. They’ve already placed more than 60 young people with caring families, and also offer training and encouragement for more queer families to adopt.

A transgender youth soccer coach started a youth soccer program to give local kids an inexpensive chance to play — and they gave him a place to belong. Kaig Lightner founded the Portland Community Football Club to teach soccer to mostly first- and second-generation immigrant youth.

California just became the first state to adopt emissions regulations for trains. The new rules would increase the use of zero-emissions technology and reduce chemicals that contribute to smog, which could improve air quality near railyards and ports.

A Seattle program is building energy-efficient tiny homes in residents’ backyards for folks experiencing homelessness. The Block Project works with homeowners to build the 230-square-foot homes, which are constructed by volunteers.

A family in Mexico gave up fishing to monitor and protect sea turtles instead. The Kino Bay Turtle Group keeps an eye on sea turtles in the La Cruz Lagoon, rescues any that become entangled, and educates the public about their importance.

A Massachusetts senator introduced a bipartisan bill to improve climate-related mental health services. The legislation would fund a $36 million pilot program for mental health care specifically for communities on the frontlines of climate change.

For the first time ever, British wind farms generated more electricity than gas in the first quarter of 2023. Almost a third of Britain’s electricity, 32.4% came from wind farms compared with 31.7% from gas-fired power plants.

Germany is relaxing its regulations for solar power installations after the country already set a new installation record this year. The country added 2.7 gigawatts of solar power capacity in the first three months of the year, putting it on track to beat its 9-gigawatt target for the year.

Prioritizing the will of the voters over his party, one Republican senator in Nebraska voted to protect reproductive rights. While Senator Merv Reipe’s colleagues may not agree with his decision, voters are making their support loud and clear.

Moms are ‘leading the charge’ and asking for gun reform legislation for Mother’s Day. The viral social media campaign #PhoneCallsNotFlowers is helping moms and their loved ones call their reps and push for gun background checks.

The FDA just officially ended its ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. Long seen as discriminatory, the eased restrictions could also help ease blood shortages by opening up blood donation to more people.

Airbnb is helping some of its hosts pay to install heat pumps at their properties. The $2,500 cash rebates will initially help hosts in Massachusetts (especially those with older homes) electrify and improve efficiency in their spaces.

Article Details

May 13, 2023 5:00 AM
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