Good News This Week: May 27, 2023 - Paw Pics, Bikes, & Vertical Farms

A photo collage of an animal paw, a row of electric bikes, a screenshot displaying LGBTQIA+ information on social media, boxes of diapers, and a vertical farm.

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 —

The Kansas Humane Society raised $8,000 by selling “feet pics” on social media

With platforms like OnlyFans making adult content creation more accessible, memes about “selling feet pics” have become commonplace online — and the Kansas Humane Society took a page from that book.

They created a social media fundraising campaign, playfully named “OnlyPaws,” where they would share “toe bean” photos of dogs, cats, and other cute critters in the shelter to help them reach their fundraising goals.

For every $100 they raised, the human society would post “a collection of our spiciest toe beans” from animals living in the shelter. And it worked — the shelter raked in over $8,000 throughout the campaign, far surpassing their original fundraising goal.

Why is this good news? The OnlyPaws fundraiser brought laughs and support alike, truly providing relief for the shelter pets in a time of overwhelm and overcrowding. Also serving as a call to adopt these especially good-looking pets, the shelter encouraged community members to adopt or foster — or just make sure to take good care of all the animals in their community.

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Thanks to a series of literacy reforms, kids' reading scores have soared in Deep South states

In 2013, Mississippi was ranked the second-worst state for fourth-grade reading — in 2022, they were up to 21st. Louisiana and Alabama were two of just three states to see an improvement in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic.

The success in these states, which have long struggled with compounding issues like poverty, is now serving as a model for others — and their literacy laws are a starting point. These states passed reforms that emphasize phonics and early screenings for kids who may be struggling.

All three states also trained thousands of teachers in the “science of reading,” which include the most proven, research-backed methods of teaching kids how to read. They have literacy coaches to support teachers in implementing training (especially in schools struggling more than others) and work to catch reading deficiencies as early as kindergarten so kids can receive extra support.

And their methods are proving effective. Now, more states are adopting similar policies to help support students. We love to see states investing in young people — it makes a difference!

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From California to North Carolina, new bike share programs are making it easier for folks to adopt green transportation

Around the U.S., biking is gaining popularity as a car-free mode of transportation, and new bike share programs are making it even easier. With a bike share program, a fleet of typically branded bikes is available in a city to be rented for short trips.

Members of a bike share program enjoy the benefits of not having to worry about bike parking at home or work, theft, or repairs. The programs also allow one-way bike trips and can step in as a first- and last-mile extender to help folks get to public transportation.

In the Twin Cities, hundreds of thousands of bike trips have been logged through the Nice Ride Minnesota bike share program. And Charlotte Joy Rides has hundreds of bikes in its fleet and even featured local artists’ work on some newer bikes.

Why is this good news? Bike share programs have so many benefits to both people and the planet. For the planet, they reduce CO2 emissions, car congestion, air pollution, noise pollution, and more.

And for people, as we saw during the pandemic, biking grew in popularity as a way to reduce stress, get outside, and get exercise.

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An international group is connecting members of the LGBTQ+ community with allies for emotional support

In a recent TikTok, Alex Jiggs asked with tears in her eyes: “Can you rent a parent? Like, is there a program where you can pay, to just like, have a parent for a bit?”

Her post reached real-life, stand-in parent Dan Blevins — and he comes with experience in this arena. Blevins first went viral in January 2021 when he put out a bat signal to LGBTQ+ folks who needed a stand-in parent at their weddings.

And that initial call has now turned in to a thousands-strong, global network called Stand In Pride. The group connects members of the LGBTQ+ community to other members and allies for emotional support, “or to physically stand in at live events like weddings or graduations.”

Why is this good news? Everyone on earth deserves a loving, caring support system — some of us may find it in our biological families, but others do not.

Stand In Pride exists to help those in need of a “chosen family,” and in a time where the LGBTQ+ community continues to face political attacks, accepting adults (and folks of all ages) are more vital than ever to the safety and well-being of queer youth.

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The Texas House just passed a bill to repeal the state’s ‘tampon tax’ on menstrual products and diapers

Lawmakers in Texas are celebrating Period Poverty Awareness Week by taking a step toward making diapers, maternity clothes, and diapers tax-free. Democratic lawmakers have been pushing this legislation for years, as have groups of teen advocates.

On Tuesday, the House voted 129-14 to pass a bill repealing the “tampon tax” Tuesday, and it’s already passed in the Senate. Governor Greg Abbott has expressed his support for the bill, too.

If the bill becomes law, Texas will join the slim majority of states that have nixed the sales tax on menstrual products, as well as diapers for adults and children, baby wipes, breast milk pumping products, baby bottles and maternity clothes.

Why is this good news? Nationally, 2 in 5 women have said they’ve struggled to buy period products, and 1 in 4 teenage girls have missed class as a result. Lawmakers have also had the opportunity to bring much-needed attention to the unaffordability of child care, health care, transportation, and housing for parents.

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A new indoor, vertical farm is bringing fresh food and more jobs to the city of Compton

Indoor vertical farm company Plenty just held a grand opening celebration for its newest location in Compton, California. Hailed as “the world's most technologically advanced indoor vertical farm,” it’s expected to grow up to 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens every year — in the space of a city block.

The farm can produce so much because of its unique architecture that results in up to 350 times the yield per acre of a traditional farm. In addition to requiring less land, building the farm indoors allows it to use less water and grow produce without pesticides.

And it’s not just a win for the planet — it’s good news for people, too. Everyone who works at the indoor vertical farm live in the surrounding community. Their fresh, locally-grown produce is already for sale in local grocery stores.

Why is this good news? Aside from making local, fresh food accessible to more people, conventional farming and agricultural practices have taken a toll on the production capacity of our soil. By 2050, it’s estimated that demand for food will increase by 50%, but 90% of all soil will be eroded and degraded. Vertical farming alternatives allow time for that soil to rest, heal, and restore.

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Teens in Texas led the charge in taking on the state’s ‘tampon tax’ — and they just won big

Texas is one of 26 states that charges sales tax on menstrual products, something now-20-year-old Sahar Punjwani and her organization, the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition, have been fighting for years to change.

And it’s an important effort, as period poverty is widespread in the United States: 1 in 5 teens cannot afford menstrual products, and many miss class due to insufficient menstrual supplies. There are also negative physical and mental health impacts of not being able to afford proper sanitary supplies.

The coalition started working with state legislators, including Rep. Donna Howard, who has filed a bill to make menstrual supplies tax-exempt every session since 2017. They’d been unsuccessful — until this week, when the Texas House passed their bill repealing the “tampon tax” on menstrual supplies, diapers, and other essentials.

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More good news of the week —

The Rhode Island Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to make lunch free for all students all public schools. If passed in the House, the bill would eliminate the burden of collecting lunch debt, and end the stigma associated with getting a free lunch.

Worried about their grandkids’ future, more seniors in Canada are taking climate action. Groups like Seniors for Climate Action Now! and Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet are protesting and focusing their action on fossil fuel funders.

Australia’s iconic platypus has been reintroduced to the country’s oldest national park. The milestone is part of a landmark conservation project after the mammal disappeared from the area around 50 years ago.

Brazil’s environment agency blocked an offshore oil drilling project planned near the mouth of the Amazon River. Environmentalists had warned of the project’s impact on the area, which is home to swaths of mangroves and a coral reef.

After posting record profits, Singapore Airlines paid its staff a bonus of about eight months’ salary. The bonus is thanks to “a long-standing annual profit-sharing bonus formula that has been agreed with our staff unions.”

Needle-free COVID vaccination trials are currently taking place in Cambridge. The technology, which uses a jet of air to administer the vaccine, would be a booster aimed at both the current and related coronaviruses that could threaten a future pandemic.

New Zealand prioritized free prescriptions, childcare, public transportation, and more in its latest budget. The new budget is intended to help address the rising cost of living many people in the country are facing.

The United Nations just released a report on the impacts of plastic pollution — and a road map to take emergency action. From production cuts and more reuse of plastic products — it aims to reduce the trillion pounds of plastic pollution by 80% by 2040.

An Indigenous community in Brazil has recovered nine species of native bees that died out in the region. Native bees are sacred to the Guarani, and some Brazilian plants can only be pollinated by them specifically.

Thanks to brain and spine implants, a paralyzed man can now walk naturally again. Researchers say the implants provide a “digital bridge” between his brain and his spinal cord, bypassing injured sections and enabling him to walk.

A new bill in Colombia that recognizes migrants displaced by climate disasters is being hailed as a “life-saver.” If passed, it would be the first law of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean, where up to 17 million people could become climate migrants by 2050.

Closing a loophole, imports of ivory from hippos, orcas, and walruses will be banned in the United Kingdom. The new legislation closes a loophole in the 2018 Ivory Act and will protect the endangered species from poaching.

For the first time, investment in solar power will overtake oil production this year. According to the IEA, for every dollar invested in fossil fuels this year, 1.7 will go into clean energy — just five years ago, the ratio was one-to-one.

Bangladesh has eliminated lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantitis. Bangladesh has been working since 2001 to address the infection, which usually occurs in childhood and results in painful and disfiguring physical manifestations appearing later in life.

A school district in Canada rejected a call to remove certain books on sexuality and gender identity from the library. Citing the “errors and untruths” in the request to set up a library book review and removal committee, the district voted 6-1 to reject the request.

Article Details

May 27, 2023 5:00 AM
A photo collage of a fisherman, vegetables, a Feel Good Fridge from Whirlpool, a chart about blood types, and solar panels

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