Solar Windows, LANDBACK, & Dolphins - Good News This Week: November 19th 2022

A photo collage of a solar window, a small island, a group of kids, a pedestrian walkway, and a woman holding binoculars

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 —

Scientists in Switzerland developed efficient, transparent solar panels that can double as windows

Getting lots of natural light and generating electricity at the same time? Scientists in Switzerland are making it possible with transparent solar cells that can be used to make electricity-generating windows — and they just reached a new efficiency record, too.

The low-cost dye-sensitized solar cells use photosensitized dye on a semiconductor surface that converts visible light into energy. Previous versions of the type of solar cells were dependent primarily on direct sunlight, but a new scientific breakthrough found a way to make them absorb light across the entire spectrum of visible light.

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A wind turbine in Denmark broke the record for the most electricity generated in 24 hours

Breaking the previous record set by a turbine in Germany, Siemens Gamesa's 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine prototype, situated at a test center in Denmark, generated 359 megawatt-hours (MWh) worth of electricity in 24 hours.

For context, every resident of New York City uses 13,452 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the span of a year — so the prototype turbine generated enough energy for one NYC resident to have electricity for 27 years.

The company achieved this milestone in large part by making the turbine blades larger — the prototypes are larger than the Statue of Liberty. According to Siemens, each turbine can provide enough energy to power about 18,000 households annually.

This new record is a significant point of progress in the transition to clean energy.

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The LANDBACK movement is returning stolen land, bringing healing, and addressing climate change

The LANDBACK movement is growing in reach as non-Native individuals, conservation organizations, and government entities reckon with what it means to live on lands taken from tribal nations.

Native leaders and LANDBACK organizers say that the theft of Native lands, stolen to create the U.S. and generate private wealth for white people, is the root of systemic injustices propelled by extraction and capitalism, like climate change.

LANDBACK can bring a kind of justice to a historical and ongoing harm, as well as address the crisis of climate change.

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Once rare on school lunch trays, more states are making fresh, local food more available in school cafeterias

Farm-to-school programs aim to improve the quality of school lunches and educate students about nutrition and where their food comes from. Programs also provide new markets for growers, which can strengthen local economies.

Nearly all states have a farm-to-school program, but at least 10 states enacted laws this year or last boosting theirs, though some measures faced opposition over increased food costs.

And when restaurants closed during the pandemic, small farmers, ranchers, and fishermen found farm-to-school programs a lifeline.

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Thanks to measures prioritizing pedestrians, the number of trips made by car in Paris has been cut in half

Passenger cars emit huge amounts of pollution and are an inefficient use of finite public space. They are Europe’s second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and the leading killer of children.

But over recent years, Paris has implemented an array of measures to prioritize pedestrians, cyclists, and transit while bringing car use screeching to a halt.

In addition to pedestrianizing former streets, the French capital has banned heavily polluting diesel cars through the creation of a low-emission zone (which gets progressively more stringent from now until 2030), reduced drivers’ access to major streets, expanded green areas, and promoted other ways getting around the city.

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Combating racism and white supremacy along the way, Detroit is building a thriving Black birding community

According to a 2019 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service report, just 6% of birders are Black. April Campbell, who adopted birding as a hobby after completing medical school, realized that birding events held by her local Audubon chapter were not accessible to Black and low-income folks.

And around the U.S., the birding community is undergoing a racial reckoning as it decides how to deal with the names of birds that honor proponents of slavery and white supremacy.

In an effort to diversify the birding community and create safe spaces in traditionally hostile environments, Campbell created her own local group for Black birders — the BIPOC Birders of Michigan.

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Dozens of people in Nova Scotia worked together to rescue a pod of 16 dolphins stranded by low tide

A Digby, Nova Scotia resident noticed a pod of dolphins stuck in the mud as the tide went out, and put in a call for the region’s marine animal response team. When they couldn’t make it in time, she enlisted the help of local first responders — and made a post on social media.

The first people who arrived to help were three teenage boys, and dozens more followed. In total, about 40 people helped get the dolphins onto tarps and sleds to pull them into deeper water. Within a couple of hours, the dolphins were all safely returned to sea

"Seeing how everybody came together yesterday, it was truly amazing for these beautiful creatures who… if it wasn't for everybody, it may not have ended so well for them," one resident said.

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More good news of the week —

California just awarded 96 million in climate grants for 10 communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Climate mitigation is an important part of addressing climate change, and some communities are disproportionately impacted.

Icelandair announced they will offer carbon-free domestic flights by 2030. The airline is partnering with two startups working on emission-free planes, and flights could start as soon as 2026.

France just passed legislation requiring all parking lots with spaces for at least 80 cars to be covered with solar panels. The legislation goes into effect for both new and existing parking lots starting in July 2023 — next summer!

Pursuing “food sovereignty,” Indigenous farmers are reclaiming their time-honored farming techniques. Food sovereignty is the right to access culturally appropriate meals produced locally using sustainable methods and agricultural practices.

A Massachusetts museum just returned about 150 sacred artifacts to the Lakota Sioux peoples. It’s important progress, but just a fraction of the estimated 870,000 artifacts possessed by colleges, museums, and even the federal government.

Thanks to Indigenous opposition, a second oil company canceled its oil and gas drilling lease in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. When the Biden administration didn’t add protections for the area, the Gwich’in people of northern Alaska took matters into their own hands.

Voters in Colorado passed a universal free school lunch ballot measure in the midterm elections. Following a now-expired federal pandemic free lunch program, this new measure will provide free meals for all public school students.

Students at a Pennsylvania elementary school are growing produce for a neighboring community without those food options. Thanks to a grant, the students are building a whole farmstand.

A resident complained about a Pride flag at a New Zealand high school, so the community put up 300 of them. Hobsonville Point Secondary School flew the Pride flag for their second annual “Little Gay Out” event for about 200 LGBTQ+ students.

The U.S. and UAE reached an agreement to spend $100 billion to add 100 gigawatts of clean energy capacity globally by 2035. The United Arab Emirates is an OPEC oil producer, so it’s an encouraging announcement for the global clean energy transition.

A remote Indigenous community in Australia is leading a 3D-printed home revolution and changing lives in rural communities. Up to 30% of homes in rural Australia could be 3D-printed by 2030 as a means of tackling the housing crisis.

Rarely in the sport’s spotlight, a photographer is prioritizing visibility for Black women and nonbinary surfers. Gabriella Angotti-Jones’ goal is to challenge surfing’s intense “localism” culture, the idea that waves only exist for locals of that area.

A more sustainable alternative to the carbon-intensive meat industry, feeding pets insects could help lower their carbon “pawprint.” Pet owners’ trend toward premium, “human-grade” diets is putting even further stress on the livestock industry.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act is celebrating 50 years of protecting both marine animals and overall ecosystem health. The act was passed in 1972 and protects animals like whales, dolphins, manatees, and sea lions.

Philanthropists acquired nearly 10,000 acres of koala habitat in Australia for conservation. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy will manage the land alongside ecologists to restore the crucial habitat for koalas and other species.

Article Details

November 19, 2022 5:00 AM
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