Good News This Week: May 4, 2024 - Tattoos, Whales, & Sustainable Cement

A photo collage of a small block of sustainable, low-carbon cement, 2 men wearing safety vests with their backs to the camera, a turtle swimming underwater, whales along the shoreline, and a snorkeler underwater

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 —

Production of a more sustainable, cost-effective, low-carbon cement is on the rise — it could help reduce construction carbon emissions

Aside from water, concrete is the most-used material in the world, with about 14 billion cubic meters being used every year. But concrete production releases carbon dioxide (CO₂), one of the greenhouse gases that drives climate change.

Thankfully, production of a more sustainable and cost-effective low-carbon cement, often nicknamed “green” cement, is scaling up. A new plant next to an existing cement plant in Redding, California, will produce about 15,000 tons of low-carbon cement every year.

While this represents only a small percentage of the concrete produced annually — it’s part of a larger movement to make the process of concrete production more sustainable.

Read more

More good “green” construction news:

The U.S. now has one fast electric vehicle charging station for every 15 gas stations

In just the first quarter of 2023, the number of public fast-charging stations for electric cars across the U.S. increased by 7.6%. There are now nearly 8,200 total stations — one for every 15 gas stations.

Thanks to funding from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, $5 billion was allocated to help fill gaps in the electric vehicle charging networks.

Aside from the help from that funding, there’s another thing driving the growth: more people are driving electric vehicles. As electric vehicles continue to take up more space on the roads (cleaning up our air in the process!), companies running charging networks are busier than ever — helping their profitability, and furthering expansion plans for even more stations.

While one EV station for every 15 gas stations might not sound like a lot (it’s true, we need to have many more to meet growing demand!) — it’s incredible progress from where we were even just a few years ago. And another example of a good climate “tipping point.”

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Ahead of shows in Omaha, country music star Zach Bryan took a detour to help Nebraskans impacted by devastating tornadoes

The recent tornadoes in Nebraska were a lot more devastating than Midwesterners are used to — in suburban Omaha and nearby Eklhorn, at least 150 homes were damaged or destroyed. One of the dozens of reported tornadoes registered as one of the most severe in the area’s history.

And while there were miraculously no fatalities, the damage across the region left hundreds of residents without homes.

Instantly, the Nebraska community rallied, with volunteers jumping in to help with cleanup — among them was country singer Zach Bryan, a Nebraska native who was coincidentally in the area for his “Quittin Time Tour.”

​​Read more

More celebrities doing good:

A new, first-of-its-kind study found that global conservation efforts are helping slow biodiversity loss

A group of scientists from dozens of research institutes spent 10 years looking at 665 conservation initiatives — some from as long ago as 1890 — across different countries, oceans, and species. They just published their findings — and they’re incredibly encouraging.

In two out of every three cases, the conservation initiative had a positive impact on reducing biodiversity loss. The authors said the findings were a “ray of light” for conservationists looking to protect endangered and threatened animals and ecosystems.

Even more encouragingly, when a conservation initiative did not help the intended species — which happened in one out of five cases — others still benefited from the effort.

Why is this good news? Currently, one out of every three species being monitored is endangered due to human activity. While we need to stop that harmful activity in the first place, it’s really good news to find that human intervention in the form of conservation efforts can also help slow and reverse the damage we’ve already done.

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Locals and wildlife officials worked together to save 130 beached whales in Western Australia

Recently, more than 150 pilot whales were beached in the town of Dunsborough in Western Australia. Together with rescue teams and veterinarians, locals quickly rushed to help save them.

They worked together to hold the whales upright and keep their blowholes clear until they could be returned to the water. While tragically some of the whales died — they were able to save a significant majority of them, 130 in total.

According to one expert, typically with a mass beach stranding like this, only a few whales survive. Pilot whales are highly sociable, and stick together even when an injured member of the pod gets too close to shore.

Read more

More good news for marine animals:

Satellite imagery and AI just helped researchers uncover an extra 64,000 square kilometers of coral reefs

Using satellite images, machine learning, and on-ground knowledge from a global network of people living and working on coral reefs researchers uncovered an extra 64,000 square kilometers of coral reefs — an area the size of Ireland.

That means the world’s coral reefs are close to 25% larger than previously thought, and brings the size of the planet’s total coral reef ecosystems (critical for protecting marine life and coastlines from the impacts of climate change) to 348,000 square kilometers — the size of Germany.

Previous methods made it harder to determine the extent of coral reefs — but thanks to high-resolution satellite data covering the entire world, researchers can see reefs as deep as 30 meters down and get much more accurate measurements.

Read more

More good news for coral reefs:

More than 100 tattoo artists are participating in a fundraiser to raise money for people in Gaza

Over the past few months, Palestinian American activists Randa Jarrar and Ariana Bazlamit have been organizing in Los Angeles, brainstorming ways to help their people as violence, starvation, and displacement wage on — when Jarrar came up with the idea for a tattoo fundraiser.

They started reaching out to their tattoo artist friends, and the Hibr project was born. Now, over 170 tattoo artists across the globe will be offering tattoos in support of Palestinians this weekend.

Profits from the artists’ designs will be sent back to Jarrar and Bazlamit, who will redistribute funds to folks on the ground in Gaza.

The response to the event has been so popular — they’ve already added two more dates, and opened the project to more tattoo artists looking to participate.

Read more

More good news of the week —

The EPA just passed a regulation that would force coal plants to nearly eliminate pollution or shut down entirely. Coal plants will now have until 2039 to reduce 90 percent of their greenhouse pollution.

A rainforest “cacao project” is providing a wildlife refuge while generating income for cacao farmers in Sierra Leone. The region is a biodiversity hotspot, home to more than 400 species of wildlife, including endemic and threatened species, and more than 100 forest-dependent communities.

A “significant milestone” for LGBTQ+ rights in the Caribbean, the Dominica High Court overturned a ban on same-sex relations. A gay man living in Dominica brought the case, saying the law violated his constitutional rights — and the court agreed.

Bloomberg is funding youth-led climate action in more than 100 cities around the world. Each city will receive an initial disbursement of $50,000 — with an incentive to receive an additional $100,000 to further support youth-led efforts.

And that’s good news because… Youth councils are playing a huge role in saving cities from climate change.

Hundreds of faith leaders urged Congress to support $1.65 billion in funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The leaders sent a letter to the appropriations committee asking them to fund the work of the Global Fund, which has saved 59 million lives since 2002, through 2025.

A new barbershop in Denver is staffed with formerly incarcerated people. R&R Head Labs exclusively employs formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted individuals, helping address the financial, logistical, and emotional inequities associated with reentry into society.

A transgender man fled Russia, where being trans is illegal, to find safety in the “trans refuge” state of Minnesota. Erik Beda and his husband fled to Minnesota — which just celebrated one year as a “trans refuge” state — after Russia added the LGBTQ+ community to its extremist list.

The EU just voted to ban the destruction of unsold clothes under new “ecodesign” legislation. Helping address overproduction in the textile industry, the legislation also requires a “digital passport” for product information on dishwashers, televisions, and more.

A new, non-invasive urine test is “changing the game” for prostate cancer screening. Affecting nearly 13% of American men, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in men aside from skin cancer.

Scientists developed a new mRNA vaccine that can deliver treatments more effectively in children with brain cancer. Because many chemotherapies are unable to penetrate the protective barrier around the brain, brain cancers remain among the most challenging tumors to treat — especially in children.

Cities across the U.S. are raising taxes to help improve and provide access to child care for families. In New Orleans, for example, the money both helps cover the cost of children to attend — and toward improving child care center quality.

More than $6 billion in loans for 317,000 Art Institutes students was just forgiven. President Biden announced the relief for attendees of the now-closed art schools, saying they “falsified data,

Under new federal rules, LGBTQ+ employees can’t be misgendered or denied bathrooms at work. The new guidance strengthens protections for trans and nonbinary employees for the first time in 25 years.

A biomedical engineer designed a groundbreaking stroke screening for sickle cell patients in Africa. The affordable screening will help reduce the likelihood that children born with sickle cell disease — an estimated 300,000 babies per year — will die from stroke, one of the disease’s most common complications.

In similar good news... another innovative diagnostic approach is helping tackle one of the world’s deadliest diseases in children.

Activists are installing “guerilla benches” at bus stops in California cities, inspiring local officials to add official seating for transit passengers. One of them tweeted a photo of his 64-year-old neighbor sitting on the curb at a bus stop to draw attention to the lack of seating for bus riders.

Article Details

May 4, 2024 5:00 AM
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