Good News This Week: May 25, 2024 - Turtles, Ferrets, & Clean Energy

A photo collage of a group of islands, a turtle, a truck full of coal, a ferret, and a container ship in the ocean

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 —

Olive ridley turtles just broke a 4-year record thanks to conservation efforts in Bangladesh

Already this year, Bangladesh has seen its highest number of olive ridley turtle eggs, thanks to extensive conservation actions, including building awareness among local people and the vigilance of local conservation groups to ensure favorable conditions for the species.

And their conservation efforts were highly effective. The Nature Conservation Management found 12,425 eggs in five turtle hatcheries through April 17 this year on the country’s coastlines.

That’s an almost 53% increase compared with the previous year, which only saaw 8,096 eggs. And both of those tallies represent a significant jump from the 4,713 eggs recorded in 2020-2021 and 5,763 in 2022-23.

Read more

More good news for turtles around the world:

In line with a larger global trend, crime plummeted by close to 90% over 30 years in England and Wales

As of 2024, violence, burglary and car crime have been declining for 30 years by close to 90%, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales — the best indicator of true crime levels.

The drop in violence includes domestic violence and other violence against women. While increased fraud and computer misuse now make up half of all crime, it’s primarily a reflection of how far the rates of other crimes have fallen.

All high-income countries have experienced similar trends to England and Wales, and there is scientific consensus that the decline in crime is a real phenomenon.

Still, there’s a perception gap: 78% of people in England and Wales think that crime has gone up in the last few years — but the data on actual crime shows the exact opposite.

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The Biden administration just ended all new coal leasing in the largest-producing area of the U.S.

Effectively signaling and end to the coal industry, the Bureau of Land Management just announced it would and all new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.

While the decision is expected to face protests from the industry, environmental groups have long been fighting for an end to issuing new leases in the region. The federal agency’s latest study found that new leases would have “significant impacts on human health and the climate.”

While coal companies can still develop on already-issued leases, environmentalists celebrated the decision, saying it would result in six billion tons of “highly polluting coal” staying in the ground.

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More good clean energy news:

A woman in Edinburgh repairs others’ clothes for free — and has built an army of ‘street stitchers’ across the city

Mary Morton hasn’t purchased any new clothes for five years — a decision she made after learning more about the impact of textiles on the environment.

Beyond making the personal decision to reduce her consumption by wearing and repairing what was already in her coset, Morton decided to make an even bigger impact. She goes out into the parks and streets of Edinburgh to offer free clothing repairs for people passing by.

And her impact is going even further: she’s recruited a team of 49 other “street stitchers” to offer repairs, and each have their own particular mending skills. Morton also teaches others how to sew and mend their own clothes.

[Related: There’s a whole “mending club” movement combatting fast fashion by teaching people the basics of sewing!]

Morton was inspired by another helper, Suzi Warren, who started London’s street stitching movement by sitting outside major retailers and educating folks about repairing, rather than continuing to buy environmentally damaging fast fashion.

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Thought to be extinct in 1979, a new litter of endangered black-footed ferrets was just born in DC

Black-footed ferrets are North America’s only native ferret species and were thought to be extinct in 1979. Miraculously rediscovered in 1981 in Wyoming, they quickly became the center of dedicated conservation efforts. (Ferrets were also recently the center of a filibuster in the UK.)

Between captive breeding, wildlife reintroductions, habitat restoration, and even genetic cloning, one of the continent's most endangered mammals is now seeing a comeback.

Perhaps the cutest manifestation of this conservation work is a new litter, born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute earlier this month. (But don’t take our word for it: see for yourself via their live webcam.)

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More good endangered animal news:

A new study found one simple change can cut carbon emissions from cargo ships by 17%

Cargo ships are vital to the transportation of essential goods around the globe, but they release an average of 140 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually (rivaling the aviation industry).

In recent years, scientists have been working to engineer solutions to cut down on that massive carbon footprint. Many of the solutions come at a price, so companies are reluctant to implement them at the scale needed to make an impact.

One new solution is cost-effective and incredibly simple: ships coordinate with each other and travel more slowly, reducing both idle time at their destination and hydrodynamic drag — both of which lead to less fuel burnt on open waters.

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More good decarbonization news:

An international court just delivered a “historic legal victory” for small island nations — ruling carbon emissions are a marine pollutant

A UN court on maritime law found that greenhouse gas emissions can be considered a marine pollutant and that countries have a legal obligation to mitigate their impact on oceans.

The ruling came at the request of a group of nine small island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean that face disproportionate threats from climate change and rising sea levels.

The court’s ruling was called a “historic legal victory” for these nations, who will now be able to hold the countries most responsible for sea level rise due to climate change accountable.

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More good news for coastal communities:

Thanks to federal regulations and oversight, cancer-causing pollution from oil refineries is falling

Benzene is a particularly “nasty” chemical that can cause leukemia and other blood cancers. For years, oil refineries across the country polluted dangerous levels of it into the air.

Then, in 2015, the EPA implemented a new rule for oil refineries: they had to continually monitor benzene emissions along the boundaries of their facilities and stay under the “action level” of 9 micrograms per cubic meter annually on average.

These regulations and successful oversight have led to significant progress. In 2023, six of the 115 refineries across the country exceeded the “action level” — down from 9 in 2022, 11 in 2021, and 12 in 2020.

This good progress means more communities surrounding these refineries are protected from harmful levels of pollution. And that’s also an environmental justice win since refineries are also often located in underresourced communities.

And while it’s true that we need to phase out refineries overall to stop burning fossil fuels — it’s really good news that more people (and the air we breathe) won’t be exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals while we continue to work toward that goal.

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More good news of the week —

A new hand-crank washing machine is helping women around the world reclaim over 15 hours every week. An estimated 60% of the global population relies on hand washing, and 70% of those households place the burden of water collection and household chores on women and young girls.

A Canadian-based organization is helping LGBTQ+ people flee persecution. In 70 countries, it’s illegal to be LGBTQ+, meaning people have zero basic human rights protections, and being outed means you can lose employment or housing.

Solar power output in Germany has jumped to record highs, producing over 60% of electricity for several hours a day. Recently, its solar farms produced 17,531 megawatt hours of electricity, 40% more than the week before and nearly 50% more than the long-term average for that particular week.

Namibia just became the first high-burden country in the world to reach a significant milestone in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and hepatitis B. Access to treatment across the country has led to a 70% reduction in transmission in the last 20 years.

Indigenous groups unveiled plans to protect 80% of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru. The plan centers Indigenous-led forest management to protect endemic species and prevent approximately 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Fossil fuels generated less than one-quarter of the EU’s electricity in April. The drop in fossil fuel generation was driven by wind and solar growth as well as the recovery of hydropower.

Scientists are researching extremophiles in Antarctica, helping us understand more about life on Earth. Their work is also helping us better understand what’s happening with climate change — and all we have to protect.

Achieving an important milestone, 10,000 women were certified to fight malaria in Rwanda. The Certified Care program allows the women to build a career doing the work they’ve spent their lives doing, all while contributing to the efforts to eradicate malaria.

One of the world’s most critical areas for protecting marine biodiversity just received new protections. The creation of the Mar Tropical de Grau National Reserve in Peru is a significant step towards marine conservation.

An upcycling startup in Kenya and Ethiopia is using plastic waste to create building construction materials. By turning hard-to-recycle plastics into affordable and low-carbon building materials, Kubik removes about 45,000 kilograms of plastic waste from landfills every day.

A new first-in-the-world project recycles polyester into yarn for new clothes. Helping cut down on textile waste and reducing the production of new material, Project Re:claim is taking the technology used for recycling plastic bottles and adapting it to polyester textiles.

A study identified blood proteins that could provide an early cancer warning by up to seven years. Scientists identified 618 proteins linked to 19 types of cancer, including colon, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and liver.

Ten student newsrooms at HBCUs will receive nearly $200,000 for technology, operations, audience engagement, and reporting. The money will also allow the newsrooms to pay stipends for student journalists, who often can’t volunteer because they need to work jobs that pay.

Colorado’s prison system must now provide the same gender-affirming health care covered by state Medicaid. The result of a class action lawsuit, trans women must now also have the option to be housed with other women.

After introducing free public transportation, a French city saw a more than 20% increase in journeys. In Montpellier, there was a notable difference “during traditionally off-peak hours” which could show that people are diversifying what they use public transit for.

[More good public transit news: Solidifying her sustainable-pop-star status, Billie Eilish covered an entire day of LA public transit costs to help fans get to her album listening party.]

Tennessee will become the first state to provide families with baby diapers. New changes to the state’s Medicaid program will start covering 100 diapers a month for newborns, infants, and 1-year-olds.

Mattel just released nine one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls that represent trailblazing women athletes. The release comes ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, which is the first-ever Olympic Games to achieve gender parity.

Colorado just became the first U.S. state to pass sweeping artificial intelligence regulations. The new law will take effect in 2026 and sets guardrails for companies that develop and use AI in an attempt to mitigate consumer harm and discrimination.

Researchers developed a new type of “green concrete” that uses half of the amount of cement. The concrete uses coal ash and lasts even longer than traditional Portland cement concrete, which is notoriously carbon-intensive.

Renewable energy has now passed 30% of the world’s electricity supply. A report found that thanks to the rapid rise in wind and solar, the world may be on the brink of driving down fossil fuel generation, even as overall electricity demand continues to rise.

An ER nurse just became the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the upper chamber of the Texas legislature. Molly Cook came out as bisexual in 2021 and supports abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights, and boosting public school funding.

TikTok has now started labeling videos and images shared on the app that are made with artificial intelligence. The move comes after experts have warned about a rise in deepfakes and AI-generated misinformation ahead of the 2024 election.

[Good resource: We’ve got an entire guide to help you avoid spreading misinformation online.]

Article Details

May 25, 2024 5:00 AM
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