These Are the Best Good News Stories You Missed This Week: November 3, 2023

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The reality is, there's a lot of bad news in the world. The last several weeks have felt especially heartbreaking.

But, as experts in positive news, we feel inclined to offer the reminder that there is always more good news happening in the world than bad news.

We're inspired by the words of Mister Rogers when he said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Every day, when bad things happen, countless Helpers step up and look for ways to make a difference.

And every day the Good Good Good’s team of journalists works hard to collect the best good news in the world — the stories of Helpers showing up to do good — and then we share it with our community. Here are the highlights for this week!

If you want to get good news in your inbox every day, join the Goodnewsletter — the free daily newsletter designed to leave you feeling hopeful. These stories are all sourced from this week's emails.

The Best Positive News We’re Celebrating This Week —

A teen started an ambitious coral reef restoration project that’s planted more than 50,000 corals in French Polynesia and Fiji

Titouan Bernicot, CEO and founder of Coral Gardeners, is revolutionizing coral reef restoration and conservation.

After witnessing coral bleaching and realizing the importance of coral reefs while growing up on a pearl farm in French Polynesia, he decided to take action. Instead of following the traditional path of becoming a marine biologist, at the age of 18 he founded a coral reef restoration and conservation project called Coral Gardeners.

The organization finds and cultivates heat-resilient corals, plants and transplants thousands of corals, and is dedicated to increasing biodiversity. To date, they’ve planted more than 52,000 corals. By the end of this year, they will have planted 100,000, and their goal is to plant one million corals by the end of 2025.

Using advanced technology — including AI and underwater robots — the group can monitor coral reefs in real time. They have also launched an ecotourism program, the Coral Gardeners Experience, where travelers can participate in planting corals.

Why is this good news? Given the challenges posed by climate change, continued efforts to protect the world's coral reefs are needed more than ever. Bernicot has built an impressive team of 50 full-time employees, including six marine biologists, who work to restore coral populations — and biodiversity.

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The world has made substantial progress in increasing basic levels of education

Education gives people the opportunity to lead more fulfilling lives, and, at a societal level, it equips humanity to address its pressing challenges.

In recent centuries, the world has shifted from limited access to basic education for a few to widespread education for most. This transformation is evident not only in enrollment and attendance but also in improved literacy rates.

In the early 1800s, fewer than 1 in 5 adults had basic education, and it was a luxury available only to a small elite. However, this has changed significantly over time.

Today, 4 in 5 adults have received some type of formal education, reflecting a dramatic increase in the share of the adult population with access to education.

This progress is also evident in literacy data, as two centuries ago, very few people could read and write, but now the majority of adults have basic literacy skills.

What’s the nuance? Merely enrolling children in school is insufficient — the quality of education and what students learn is crucial. And while many children worldwide get the opportunity to go to school, hundreds of millions still don’t.

Disparities in educational outcomes continue to be substantial, particularly in low-income countries, where most children cannot read by the end of primary school. These educational inequalities exacerbate poverty and reinforce existing global income disparities. More work can be done to improve the quality of education around the world and ensure that children have access to it.

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Debt activists bought $10 million of student debt for $125,000 — and canceled it all

A debtors' union called the Debt Collective, in collaboration with its sister organization, Rolling Jubilee Fund, purchased nearly $10 million of debt from Morehouse College for just $125,000 — and canceled it.

Morehouse College is a historically Black men's liberal arts college in Atlanta, whose alumni includes notable figures like Martin Luther King Jr. The debt elimination covers 2,777 accounts from the fall 2022 term and earlier.

This is one of the largest debt cancellations undertaken by the Debt Collective and Rolling Jubilee Fund and aims to help Black graduates save for retirement, buy homes, or start businesses.

The Debt Collective has also launched a tool to help borrowers get their debt canceled through authority established by the Higher Education Act. According to the group, more than 30,000 borrowers have used the tool in the two months of its existence so far.

Why is this good news? Morehouse’s president, David A. Thomas, said student debt and the cost of higher education is often a major deterrent for students. This cancellation allows borrowers to access their transcripts and receive their diplomas without thousands of dollars of debt looming over them — enabling students to move forward with their lives without the burden of existing student loans.

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Daniel Radcliffe produced a documentary about his ‘Harry Potter’ stunt double, who was paralyzed while filming the franchise

Daniel Radcliffe will serve as an executive producer in a new documentary, "The Boy Who Lived," about his Harry Potter stunt double, David Holmes, who became paralyzed while filming the franchise.

The documentary, which took four years to create, will be released on HBO and features interviews with both Radcliffe and Holmes, as well as footage from David's stunts.

Holmes, a former teenage gymnast from Essex, was selected to be Radcliffe's double in the first film when Radcliffe was 11. In 2009, a stunt rehearsal accident left Holmes with a spinal injury that paralyzed him from the chest down.

The documentary tells the story of his achievements and the challenges he faces every day, featuring personal footage, behind-the-scenes material, and interviews with Holmes, Radcliffe, and others. It also showcases the enduring collaborative relationship between Radcliffe and Holmes, who co-launched the "Cunning Stunts" podcast in 2020.

The documentary will be available to stream in November.

Why is this good news? The documentary raises awareness about the risks stunt performers face — sparking discussions and action for a safer, more inclusive industry with better safety measures. It also promotes empathy by showcasing David's journey, challenges stereotypes about disabilities, and underscores the need for support networks for injured stunt performers.

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A 17-year-old invented a cost-effective ‘smart spoon’ that helps Parkinson’s patients during meal times

After witnessing his uncle struggle to eat due to tremors caused by Parkinson's disease, a 17-year-old inventor from Bengaluru, India was inspired to create a smart spoon for people with the condition.

The smart spoon, which is equipped with microcontrollers, sensors, and motors, stabilizes itself by detecting tremors and counteracting the shaking, allowing individuals with Parkinson's to eat more easily. Inventor Aarrav Anil, who has a passion for robotics, has refined the design to make it waterproof, detachable for cleaning, and added a deeper spoon that holds more food.

The smart spoon is currently undergoing trials at the RV College of Physiotherapy in Bengaluru, with plans to publish the results in a medical journal.

Anil hopes to make it affordable for those who need it and has initial plans to manufacture it for hospitals. The cost of his smart spoon is expected to be around $80, making it more accessible than similar products from the U.S.

Why is this good news? Anil's invention aims to improve the quality of life for the estimated 7 million people with Parkinson's in India by helping them to feed themselves without relying on caregivers. Without the frustration of spilling food or needing assistance, meal times can become much simpler and can help people with Parkinson’s regain a degree of independence — boosting self-esteem and improving emotional well-being.

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An innovative brain implant has helped a paralyzed woman speak again

Researchers at UCSF and UC Berkeley have made groundbreaking progress in developing an implantable AI-powered device that translates brain signals into speech and facial expressions. This innovation has enabled a woman — who lost the ability to speak due to a stroke — to communicate using a talking digital avatar that conveys emotion.

The ability to convey emotions and facial expressions through a digital avatar enhances the richness of communication, allowing users to express not only words but also the subtleties of their feelings, which makes interactions more meaningful.

The device uses machine learning to map brain signals and synthesize them into speech and facial expressions. The breakthrough builds upon previous work to decode full words from brain activity and advance toward more natural speech and communication methods. Researchers aim to create a standalone, portable device for long-term use.

Why is this good news? For individuals who have lost their ability to speak due to conditions such as strokes, paralysis, or diseases, this implantable device offers a means to regain their voice and communicate with others — leading to increased quality of life, deeper social connections, and greater independence. The milestone shows the power of collaboration in combining engineering and medical expertise, along with AI.

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More good news of the week —

Scientists say they may have made the biggest breakthrough in treating cervical cancer in 20 years. The new treatment involves a course of existing, accessible chemotherapy drugs along with the typical treatment of radiotherapy and chemoradiation.

A fracking site is now taking on a "second life" as a source of clean geothermal energy. The underground well was drilled but never fracked following protests, and now it’s “perfect for testing geothermal energy.”

Walmart — the nation’s largest private employer — is expanding its nationwide health care coverage for employees who want doulas during pregnancy. Walmart said the program is meant to address racial inequities in health care and improve the health of its workers and their babies, especially in areas where access to care may be limited.

Renewable energy broke records in Australia this fall. At one point in September, nearly all of eastern Australia’s demand could have been met by renewables — the closest to reaching 100% clean power in the grid’s history.

‘Recovery doulas’ are helping moms in rural Montana navigate addiction and motherhood. As part of the health program, doulas, non-medical support workers, and peer support specialists connect pregnant patients to mental health care and substance use resources.

A student in Rwanda created a ChatGPT-driven Swahili chatbot that serves smallholder farmers by detecting crop diseases and providing agricultural advice. Farmers can ask questions about topics including farm preparation, maize disease management, and post-harvest procedures.

Old diesel-powered recycling trucks are being upcycled into electric vehicles. Upcycling old trucks can be a more carbon-friendly process compared to purchasing new EVs.

A new study shows that greenspaces could reduce gun violence. In the study, researchers saw a 12% decrease in gun violence within a half-mile radius of community greenspaces.

Legislators in the EU just voted to limit pesticide use. The environment committee voted to set binding targets that cut pesticide use in half by 2030.

The FDA is one step closer to approving an innovative sickle cell cure. If approved, the treatment could be a game-changer for the 100,000 people in the U.S. who live with the inherited blood disorder, most of whom are Black.

Seven countries in Europe committed to combating loneliness and isolation through a multi-pronged initiative. The European I2I project involves collaboration between universities, municipalities, companies, and associations to improve people's quality of life by promoting inclusion.

Engineers have developed a new process for making fuel from carbon dioxide. Most conversion processes have problems with low carbon efficiency, but researchers at MIT and Harvard University have developed an efficient process that could provide emissions-free heat and power for homes.

Dementia rates in developed countries have dropped 13% per decade over the last 25 years. Better cardiovascular health, education, and cognitive reserve have all contributed to reducing dementia risk.

A new analysis found that the Inflation Reduction Act will create about 400,000 jobs in the construction of electric vehicle and battery factories, as well as wind and solar projects. The economic impact includes a boost of $156 billion to the U.S. GDP and over $32 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments over a five-year period.

The Michigan legislature has passed a gun violence prevention bill aimed at prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing firearms. The move intends to protect survivors from abusers armed with guns, as access to firearms increases the risk of fatal violence against domestic abuse victims.

Article Details

November 3, 2023 3:20 PM
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