Good News This Week: October 14, 2023 - Healthcare, Football, & Circular Fashion

A photo collage of an aerial view of a solar farm, a crowd of people at Philadelphia's National Coming Out Parade, two people sewing, a PFAS destruction unit named 'Eleanor', and a medical professional holding their phone

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 leader of the world's top energy agency just said the recent ‘staggering’ growth of investments in clean energy gives real hope for limiting global heating

To avoid the worst, most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis, it’s long been established that the world needs to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. For years, the world was not on track to meet that, but thanks to a recent boost in investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and more — it’s more possible than ever.

That’s according to Fatih Birol, energy economist and the executive director of the International Energy Agency, who said he feels “more optimistic than I felt two years ago” about limiting warming to 1.5C despite the challenges that remain.

According to Birol, clean energy investments have seen a “staggering” 40% increase in the last two years, and are “perfectly in line” with where they should be to reach net zero by 2050, a key target in limiting warming.

What’s the nuance? The IEA’s latest report also found that almost all countries need to move up their target net zero dates — for most, it’s 2050, and for some key countries like India and China, it’s 2070. The energy industry still emits far too much carbon dioxide, and recent extreme weather events put a spotlight on how the climate is already changing rapidly.

Still, this hopeful shift ought to be a reminder that change is possible — and limiting warming is entirely achievable.

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New research shows there is far more support for women’s rights around the world than people think

New research from the NHH Norwegian School of Economics and other universities looked at survey responses from more than 60,000 people representing 60 different counties — and found that in 41 countries, 90% of people around support basic rights for women.

This includes supporting the right for women to work outside of the home, and be hired for leadership positions. While the share of women who support their basic rights was higher than men — a majority of men reported being in support of basic rights in every country.

Some countries that are typically considered less gender-equal still reported lower support for women’s rights, others had surprising results. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the “vast majority” of men both supported women working outside the home privately and underestimated the number of people who did, too.

The research found there was a “universal underestimation” of support for women’s basic rights, especially among men. In Tanzania and Turkey, for example, more than 80% of male respondents supported women’s right to work outside the home, but believed it to be a “minority view” among men.

These misperceptions must be brought to light so we can make even more progress in the fight to achieve gender equality globally.

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Philadelphia just made history by hosting the first-ever National Coming Out Pride parade and festival in the country

Over the weekend, the City of Brotherly Love hosted the only parade and festival in the country dedicated to and inspired by National Coming Out Day, which is celebrated annually on October 11.

Called “OURFest: National Coming Out Parade and Festival,” the three-day celebration was all about supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The festival came on the heels of Philadelphia already breaking records for the city’s largest Pride march and festival in history.

In addition to a record-breaking 200-foot rainbow flag, the parade featured community organizations, bands, live performances, and more — all putting a spotlight on the thriving LGBTQ+ community in the region.

Why is this good news? At a time when anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and sentiment is persistent on the news and among those in positions of power, celebrations like these are incredibly important for communities to come together, and provide a safe, supportive, celebratory place for folks to be their truest, most vibrant selves.

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A New York City-based clothing business and mending club is helping prevent textile waste from ending up in a landfill

Reclypt is a New York City-based business founded in 2021 that strives to educate consumers on circular fashion, diminish waste through upcycling, and bring fashion lovers and activists together at clothing swaps.

While it got its start as an upcycled fashion marketplace by selling upcycled clothing from other small businesses, over time, Reclypt’s founder Rachel Ceruti began joining forces with friends and community partners to teach mending basics like sewing, embroidering, embellishing, and repairing clothes.

With that, Reclypt’s Mending Club was born. The club gathers all over New York City at pop-up happy hours and skill-sharing spaces — and because of its accessibility and community partnerships, its already seen incredible growth and success.  

Why is this good news? The EPA measured the amount of discarded clothing and textile materials generated annually lept drastically from 1.7 million tons in 1960 to 11.3 million tons in 2018 — and it’s only kept growing.

Reclypt’s work helps champion a circular fashion, which is designed to last longer, utilize sustainable material sourcing, and be repaired, resold, or exchanged at its end of life — not sent to a landfill.

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A startup in Washington has created a device that destroys ‘forever chemicals’

For decades, companies have added PFAS (an acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to firefighting foams, food packaging, carpets and fabrics, water-repellent clothing, and non-stick pans.

While the chemicals are great at deflecting water, stains, and grease, they often escape from products and contaminate drinking water, and they’re also notoriously difficult to break down. If left untreated, PFAS-contaminated water could remain hazardous for thousands of years.

But a startup called Aquagga has successfully deployed a PFAS destruction unit nicknamed “Eleanor.” Aquagga’s solution solves a lot of common issues with eliminating PFAS: It’s more compact than other systems, requires a lower temperature, can run continuously, and can destroy some of the more stubborn PFAS.

Why is this good news? PFAS are still in use (although it’s been banned in some states), and researchers and regulators are increasingly concerned by their serious health impacts. Through this innovative technology, companies like Aquagga can slash the lifespan of “forever chemicals” like PFAS, removing toxic substances from water — making it safe for consumption again.

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A values-based healthcare company is transforming the healthcare experience of Medicare and Medicaid recipients

When Bill Frist and Brad Smith co-founded CareBridge in 2019, their goal was to focus on caring for Medicaid patients who receive home and community-based services, particularly those with physical, intellectual, or developmental challenges.

By focusing on this specific healthcare industry, they’ve accepted lower profit margins — but also provided a critical solution to the complexity and inefficiency of the healthcare industry and Medicaid system. They do this by using two-way tablets to monitor health signals and provide 24/7 access to services, allowing immediate access to care and proactive monitoring of patient well-being.

It’s helped lower healthcare costs and reduced hospitalizations and nursing home days for patients. CareBridge also promotes social care to encourage patient independence and offers job training for disabled individuals who wish to work.

Why is this good news? The healthcare industry (often deservedly) comes under fire for putting profits over patients, and CareBridge’s alternative, values-based approach has already addressed and overcome challenges in the industry. And their model is catching on — some of the largest Medicaid plans have now invested in the company, bringing their values-based care model to more than 30 states.

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Three former Duke football players took their skills from the locker room to the lab to improve player safety

When Kevin Gehsmann, Tim Skapek, and Clark Bulleit were engineering students and student-athletes at Duke, they got quarterback Daniel Jones back on the field after he broke his clavicle.

Now their company, Protect3D (pronounced “protected”), uses personalized scanning and 3D printing to make customized athletic pads to help prevent injury and speed up the rehab process.

The athletic trainer on staff uses the company’s iPhone app to take a 30-second 3D scan of the patient’s anatomy — whatever body part is injured or needs protection. From there, the scan is uploaded, and the company uses medical-grade 3D printing materials to create custom athletic protective pads for players of all types of sports.

Designs are lightweight, low-profile, and, amazingly, they can be printed and delivered within 48 hours.

When the co-founders decided to make a customized 3D-printed collarbone brace, they were just trying to help out an injured fellow football player (who went on to play in the NFL for the New York Giants).

Now, more than 60 professional and collegiate athletic programs use Protect3D to prevent injury and help players heal faster.

→ ​​Learn more

More good news of the week —

A Canadian judge ruled that the province of British Colombia has a constitutional mandate to consult with First Nations on mining rights. The Gitxaala Nation filed a petition to challenge a rule that automatically granted mineral rights to the province on its territory without consultation.

In Ireland, wind power generation temporarily exceeded the total demand for electricity for the first time ever. In total, Irish wind farms provided 32% of the country’s power over the first eight months of 2023.

Scientists in Brazil just rediscovered a tree that was thought to be extinct for nearly 200 years. The Pernambuco holly, a species of small holly tree, is one of conservation group Re:wild’s “top 25 most wanted lost species” and the ninth to be rediscovered since it started looking for them in 2017.

Maryland gave lower-income folks free healthcare regardless of immigration status, and it’s already improving maternal health. The new Healthy Babies Equity Act has helped doctors provide prenatal care, and provide pregnant folks with education around labor, nutrition, postpartum depression, and more.

Ecologists are looking to abandoned farmland as a way to restore biodiversity and capture carbon. Globally, around one billion acres of farmland (about half the size of Australia) have recently been abandoned, and it’s ripe for restoration.

Despite delays to the UK’s ban on new gas-powered vehicles, Nissan announced it’s accelerating its plans to go all-electric by 2030. The manufacturer also says it will introduce new battery technology that will reduce both the charging time and the cost of electric vehicles.

The Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to a Harvard professor who studies the impact of women in the workforce. The third woman to ever win the prize, Claudia Goldin’s research uncovered the reasons for gender gaps in labor force participation and earnings.

A new Swedish report found that feeding cows seaweed can cut methane emissions by up to 45 percent. More research is needed, but the discovery is significant — it works by preventing microorganisms in the cow’s first stomach from producing methane.

Formerly incarcerated people are finding refuge in the food industry — and becoming hugely successful. Chef Keith Corbin is a two-time James Beard award nominee, and taps into soul food’s “intent to nourish, sustain, and feed the soul of each other.”

An experiment with a universal income in Denver resulted in reduced homelessness, higher full-time employment, and more. In a recent study, around 800 Denver residents experiencing homelessness were given monthly payments ranging from $50 to $1,000.

Massachusetts just approved changes to its sex and health education curriculum for the first time in 24 years. The changes will be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and teach about bodily autonomy, mental and emotional health, dating safety, sexually transmitted infections, consent, and more.

Cities all over the country are beginning to transition their school bus fleets to electric — a win for both the climate and students’ health. In addition to reducing air pollution, advocates believe the quieter electric buses help children’s mental and physical well-being as they journey to and from school.

Ava DuVernay just launched an initiative to help every 16-year-old in the U.S. see her new film, ‘Origin’ for free. The film is based on a nonfiction book about a powerful caste system in the U.S., and DuVernay said the film is especially important for young people working out where they “fit in” in the world.

The Biden-Harris administration just announced $206 million in grants to build and expand youth mental health services. The grants will go to expand mental health services in schools, bolster the behavioral health workforce, and improve access to mental health services in communities.

California is simplifying the complex process of overturning wrongful convictions. A new bill will eliminate obstructive technical requirements to ensure that courts can fairly and fully examine newly discovered evidence and give an exonerated person the ability to have continuous counsel if tried again.

Article Details

October 14, 2023 5:00 AM
A photo collage of two scientists crouched over a river, school buses lined up in a parking lot, men in a field, a tarpaulin poster that says 'Let's Fix Climate Finance', and a couple holding up a sign that says 'Welcome to the family #CAAdoptAPetDay'

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