Good News This Week: November 18, 2023 - Barbies, Socks, & AR Filters

A photo collage of a man wearing a "I Carry Narcan" shirt, a box of Hank Green's 'Cancer Socks', a screenshot from Jourdan Johnson's TikTok Live, a Wilma Mankiller Barbie doll, and a flatlay of the Goodnewspaper

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 —

These communities in Ohio are success stories of opioid addiction treatment and recovery

Communities affected by the U.S. opioid epidemic are starting to receive funds from legal settlements with drugmakers, wholesalers, and pharmacies — totaling $50 billion — aimed at addressing the overdose crisis and preventing further deaths.

Findlay, Ohio has built a comprehensive system for both treatment and recovery including housing, a needle exchange program, outreach workers, and a community center. The town’s success is built on creating recovery-oriented communities that support individuals in their journey to overcome addiction.

Hancock County, Ohio has secured over $19 million in grants over the past decade, primarily from federal sources, to support their efforts in addressing the opioid crisis. The county has implemented harm reduction measures, including a needle exchange, distributing naloxone to reverse overdoses, and offering support services like housing and community centers.

Why is this good news? Stories like the ones in Findlay and Hancock County demonstrate that with the right support and resources, people can recover from opioid addiction and rebuild their lives. The effective models in these communities, which combine harm reduction, peer support, and community-centered recovery efforts, offer hope for individuals struggling with addiction and provide a blueprint for other communities.

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Gun regulations led to progress in gun violence in America since 1991

A new study from Princeton reveals that stricter gun laws implemented by 40 U.S. states between 1991 and 2016 resulted in a reduction of nearly 4,300 gun deaths in 2016, accounting for around 10% of the total national figure.

The study highlights that state-level gun regulations — even seemingly limited ones, like safety-training requirements and age restrictions — can add up to reduce gun deaths.

What’s the nuance? The U.S. has significantly higher rates of civilian gun ownership and gun violence compared to other developed nations, and the progress made up until 2016 has been reversed as many states have since loosened their gun laws.

But this study shows that efforts to implement stricter gun laws at the state level have been effective in reducing gun deaths — meaning progress is possible. This study offers hope that further action at both the state and federal levels can lead to continued improvements in reducing gun violence. While challenges remain, this study provides evidence that change is attainable, and public policy can make a positive difference in addressing the issue of gun violence.

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Hank Green debuted new socks that raise funds for cancer treatment

Hank Green, known for his educational content on both YouTube and TikTok, novels, and charity work, recently embraced his sock-designing skills during his cancer treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Hank, who has shared updates during his treatment since he received his diagnosis about five months ago, revealed his "final chemo secret" of designing socks during treatment.

“One of the only things that kept my brain on the rails was that I could (for some reason) design socks,” he tweeted.

Hank, along with his brother, John Green, has been involved in fundraising for public health initiatives, including the Maternal Center of Excellence in Sierra Leone.

The "Cancer Socks," designed during his treatment, are available for purchase through their Good Store, with profits supporting Partners in Health's efforts to improve global access to cancer treatments.

Why is this good news? Hank's positive outcomes highlight the importance of accessible treatment, contrasting with the challenges faced by other individuals around the world. The funds Hank aims to raise will help increase access to cancer treatment globally and improve survival rates.

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An influencer created a viral TikTok filter that donates to nonprofits: 'It's a skill I can use for good'

Jourdan Johnson, a top TikTok effect creator, utilized her platform to create an AR filter, generating funds for essential aid in Gaza amid the humanitarian crisis.

The filter, which she calls “FILTER FOR GOOD,” features a watermelon icon symbolizing solidarity for Palestinians and allows users to contribute by posting videos. Johnson, who is part of TikTok's Effect Creator Rewards program, has garnered over $7,000 in just a week, with funds directed to Doctors Without Borders and eSIM cards for Palestinians.

“I believe that an effective way to make an impact is by utilizing what you know. … I’ve been an AR creator for over two years now. That is something that I know; it’s a skill I can contribute, and something I can use to do something good,” she said in a recent video.

Johnson plans to extend support to other causes such as support for folks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have been displaced in the wake of violent conflict.

Why is this good news? Johnson's use of her AR filter creation skills on TikTok demonstrates a creative and innovative approach to activism, as she has found a way to leverage her talents for a meaningful cause. The positive engagement of TikTok users — with over 5 million videos shared in just a week, resulting in substantial funds — also showcases the potential for social media platforms to be powerful tools for community-driven initiatives.

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A new Barbie doll honors the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation

Barbie is commemorating Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, with her own Barbie doll as part of the "Inspiring Women" series.

This recognition is a testament to Mankiller's remarkable contributions, which included revitalizing the Cherokee Nation's tribal government and advocating tirelessly for improved healthcare and housing services.

During her leadership, infant mortality rates decreased, access to safe water supplies grew, and the Cherokee Nation's population doubled from 68,000 to 170,000. For her dedication, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. This Barbie doll serves as a tribute to her trailblazing spirit.

Barbie's "Inspiring Women" series celebrates extraordinary heroines who made a significant impact during their time, such as Ida B. Wells, Jane Goodall, Madam C.J. Walker, Maya Angelou, and many more. Barbie is also donating $25,000 to The American Indian Resources Center to support initiatives empowering Indigenous women and girls.

Why is this good news? This recognition not only celebrates a key figure in Cherokee Nation history but also highlights the importance of honoring inspiring women whose contributions have left a lasting impact. The release of the Wilma Mankiller Barbie doll brings attention to her life and work, creating an opportunity for more people to learn about her and leading to a broader understanding of Indigenous history and the contributions of Indigenous leaders.

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Electric planes are becoming a reality

Aerospace company Beta Technologies has developed the CX300 electric plane — which can fly on batteries. The company aims to mass-produce these planes, with the first model designed for cargo transport and passenger versions planned for the future.

Electric aviation has gained significant support from investors and the U.S. government. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aims to support electric aircraft operations at scale by 2028, and the Air Force is testing electric planes, including Beta's CX300.

While electric planes are still in the early stages of development, they are expected to compete with helicopters, cars, and trucks for short-distance travel. They’re quiet and efficient, making them suitable for various applications, including cargo transport and rural connectivity.

Why is this good news? These electric planes are designed to produce no emissions, be simple to operate and maintain, and have the potential to open up new transportation opportunities. The development of electric planes represents a significant step toward reducing the aviation industry's greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major contributor to climate change.

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A startup in Los Angeles is revolutionizing polyester recycling

A Los Angeles-based startup, Ambercycle, is working to address the environmental impact of clothing waste by recycling polyester from used clothes.

The synthetic fiber is challenging to recycle, leading to significant waste. But co-founders Shay Sethi and Moby Ahmed developed chemical processes to extract polyester from clothing items, turning it into white polyester pellets. This innovative solution enables garment manufacturers to use these pellets in the creation of new clothing — fostering a circular economy and mitigating the environmental impact of fashion waste.

Their company aims to provide an alternative to traditional recycling methods, such as extreme heat, which can compromise material quality and can only be repeated a few times.

The company is focused on scaling up its operations with the goal of replacing the fashion industry's reliance on oil. Their efforts signify a step toward sustainable fashion practices, promoting awareness and inspiring optimism for a more environmentally conscious future in the industry.

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More good news of the week —

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is providing free health care for pregnant women and their babies in an effort to reduce the country's high maternal and neonatal death rates. The initiative was launched in September in the capital, Kinshasa, and is now being rolled out to more of the country.

An expert-led initiative is encouraging parks and organizations to create inclusive outdoor experiences through guidelines for accessibility. The initiative includes guidance for creating wheelchair-friendly trails, installing accessible signage, removing barriers, and providing information about accessible amenities.

Kenya's government has declared today a national holiday for a nationwide tree planting day as part of the country's ambitious plan to plant 15 billion trees by 2032. The initiative aims to address climate change and increase the country's forest cover from around 7% to more than 10%.

An Indigenous Nation is actively working to restore a fishery ecosystem in Vancouver, combining scientific research with traditional knowledge to address contemporary challenges. Initiatives include planting eelgrass, removing toxic pilings, and collaborating with the province to adjust water-quality standards for safe shellfish consumption.

City parks departments and nonprofits across the U.S. are providing training for volunteers to plant, prune, and care for street trees. Thousands of volunteers are working to make a significant contribution to urban tree maintenance and report it as a labor of love.

Walmart is introducing daily "sensory-friendly hours" in its stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. These hours will feature lower lighting, no background music, and static images on TV walls, making shopping more comfortable for individuals with sensory processing issues, including those with autism, ADHD, and PTSD.

Atmospheric researchers have studied the role of trees in cloud formation to better understand the climate before the Industrial Revolution. Their research on clouds’ crucial role in regulating temperature and weather patterns will improve climate models and predictions.

Internet educator and philanthropist Hank Green has invested in the new word game Gubbins and will donate 10% of its revenue to the charity Partners in Health. The partnership allows the small team at Studio Folly to continue creating games in a challenging industry.

“Big bubble curtains” are protecting porpoises and other marine life from the underwater noise generated during offshore wind farm construction. Countries in northern Europe are adopting this technology as part of their efforts to increase offshore wind capacity while safeguarding marine life and curbing CO2 emissions.

U.S. solar generation has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade, generating 12 times more electricity in 2022 than in 2013. In 2022, the country produced enough solar energy to power 19 million homes.

High school students in the United States have reported a decrease in tobacco and e-cigarette usage. The decline in e-cigarette usage was the primary factor behind the drop in tobacco usage among high school students.

A city in Finland is making significant progress toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, which would make it one of the most environmentally sustainable cities in the world. The city has already reduced emissions by 64% below 1990 levels and aims for an 80% reduction, with the rest being offset through programs like reforestation.

A critically endangered mammal species went viral after being rediscovered in Indonesia's Cyclops Mountains. A 25-person team of researchers captured footage of the creature during a month-long expedition, marking the first sighting since 1961.

A breast cancer drug has now been licensed as a preventative option for post-menopausal women at moderate or high risk of the disease. Trials have shown the drug can reduce the incidence of breast cancer by nearly 50% in this group.

The largest ferry system in the United States is making strides to decarbonize its fleet, with plans to shift to a zero-emissions fleet by 2050. Washington State Ferries plans to electrify eight of its ten ferry routes over the next 14 years, with the first fully electric ferry expected to be operational in 2027.

Article Details

November 18, 2023 5:00 AM
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