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Good News This Week: September 16, 2023 - Dogs, Puffins, & Renewable Energy

A photo collage of a man wearing a shirt that says 'The world is not better without you', a puffin, a tuberculosis test machine, the front of a train, and a New York University flag

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 —

A new suicide prevention campaign is raising funds to give 4,000 hours of free counseling sessions to people in need of mental healthcare

In accordance with Suicide Prevention Month and Suicide Prevention Week this week, mental health nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) announced its 12th annual campaign: #NotBetterWithoutYou.

In addition to reminding as many people as possible that they are not a burden, the campaign is aiming to raise $300,000 by September 16th (the end of National Suicide Prevention Week) which will provide over 4,000 hours of free counseling and group therapy sessions for folks in need of mental health support.

From its start in 2006, TWLOHA has donated over $3.5 million directly into treatment and recovery so folks can access mental healthcare when they need it most.

Why is this good news? TWLOHA reports a 72% increase in the number of people applying for financial support to help them receive mental health care, which as led to a waitlist. Mental health struggles and crises can’t wait: by raising these funds, not only will they clear their waitlist, they’ll provide long-term support as folks need it in the future.

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Renewable energy sources have been cheaper than fossil fuels for years — and a new report shows they're going to keep getting cheaper

Good news for people and the planet: Renewable energy sources have already been cheaper than fossil fuels for many years — and reports confirm that cost gap is going to keep widening.

For years, the high costs of renewable energy have understandably prevented many — from individuals to energy companies, corporations, and governments — from switching over. Nowadays, it’s a bad investment to not make the switch.

According to a new report from clean energy think tank RMI, by 2030, improvements in technology could cut today’s prices even further — by a quarter for wind, and in half for solar.

These lowering costs have also led to renewables beating fossil fuels on new investment, with 62% of global energy investment projected to be in clean energy technology this year.

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Puffin colonies in Maine had their second consecutive successful recovery year — even in the face of climate change

The Audubon Society has spent the past 50 years working to restore Maine’s puffin bird population, and has helped it recover from just a few dozen pairs to as many as 3,000 now.

As climate change continues to raise water temperatures and damage ecosystems, experts worried the puffins’ food supply would be impacted, too. One fish, though, remained abundant, and Maine’s puffins had their second successful recovery year.

Conservation scientists are celebrating the news, and say its a reminder that we still have a lot to learn about how climate change impacts and will continue to impact ecosystems.

Why is this good news? In 2021, due to a lack of food, Maine’s puffins had one of their worst years for reproduction in decades, with only about a quarter of the birds able to raise chicks.

It’s very good news that the birds didn’t have another setback — and that scientists have more information to better prepare for the oncoming impacts of climate change on fragile ecosystems.

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Grassroots activists just launched a new pressure campaign to get Danaher to lower the price of life-saving tuberculosis tests

Tuberculosis is the world’s deadliest disease (around 1.6 million people die from TB each year) — and it is entirely curable. That fact alone enrages many around the world, especially author and philanthropist John Green.⁣

“I don’t want to accept a world where we know how to cure Tuberculosis but deny millions of people access to that cure,” Green told us.

To reach the WHO and United Nations’ goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030, more pharmaceutical companies need to do their part to make healthcare more accessible, especially in countries with a high TB burden.

And now, Green and his online community, Nerdfighteria, just launched a new campaign to back up longtime TB activists and put pressure on a multinational corporation that holds a key to reaching this goal: Danaher.

Why is this good news? Danaher and Cepheid (which is owned by Danaher) created the most helpful diagnostic machine in the world for TB. The machine is fairly affordable, but testing cartridges are less so: about $10 for a regular TB testing cartridge, and about $15 for a multidrug-resistant TB testing cartridge (though both cost the same to manufacture).

With this campaign, Nerdfighteria plans to put the multi-platform pressure on until Danaher agrees to lower that cost to $5 per cartridge — making life-saving TB testing accessible to the people who need it most.

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The DOT just announced it will no longer allow the transportation of liquified natural gas by train

For decades, the precedent for transporting liquified natural gas (LNG) by train in the U.S. was that companies had to obtain a special permit to do so. Under the Trump administration, that rule was amended to allow for LNG to be transported by train with no permit, putting communities near rail lines in danger.

Under new DOT regulations, that rule is now reversed: temporarily suspending all transportation of LNG by train while the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration evaluate safety parameters.

Recent events like the Ohio train derailment have put rail safety at the forefront of communities’ concerns, and government officials and agencies are taking steps to evaluate the transportation of other harmful chemicals by rail, including LNG.

Why is this good news? According to Earthjustice, just 22 train cars filled with LNG have the same explosive capacity as the Hiroshima atomic bomb. In addition to the climate impacts of continuing to transport fossil fuels, communities near rail lines deserve protection from deadly explosions and harmful gases.

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A Spain-based team of emergency response workers and their rescue dogs are helping save lives after Morocco’s earthquake

Last week, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck Morocco, killing over 2,600 people and injuring more than 2,500. Those numbers are, heartbreakingly, expected to rise as rescue workers continue their work.

Thousands of people are going without essentials like shelter, food, water, or healthcare. The United Nations estimates that approximately 300,000 people have been affected by the earthquake.

Despite the overwhelming heartbreak of the situation, the Helpers have quickly jumped into action: humanitarian aid groups have mobilized to provide relief to those most impacted.

One of those groups is SAMU, a Spain-based emergency response organization that, with the support of Project HOPE, drove through the night to get a team of 19 people and two search and rescue dogs on the ground in Morocco to look for survivors in those first critical few days.

​​Read more

After years of student protests, New York University announced it will divest from fossil fuels

For years, students at one of the largest private universities in the U.S. have been pressuring the school to divest from fossil fuels — and they just got the response they’d been hoping for.

New York University just formally announced its commitment to “avoid any direct investments” in companies that explore or extract fossil fuels — divesting the school’s $5 billion endowment from coal, oil, and natural gas for good.

The announcement comes after a meeting earlier in the year between NYU’s board of trustees investments committee and the university’s chapter of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate organization. Calls for divestment from students have been occurring since at least 2004.

Why is this good news? For those of us who care about climate action, this ought to be an encouraging reminder that your persistent activism and advocacy does matter and does make a difference. It may not happen as fast as we want (or need!) it to, but it will happen.

Plus, with a larger university making this investment shift, it could lead to even more (larger and smaller) ones following suit.

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More good news of the week —

A startup is creating a platform to match neurodivergent adults with jobs that are ideal for their skillset. Some research shows that neurodivergent people can make teams up to 30% more productive when placed in the right environments.

Chicago will take significant steps to prevent and reverse decades of discriminatory land use and development practices. The practices placed the burden of pollution on already underresourced communities, and the city has been ordered to address those impacts and make structural changes.

California just became the first state to declare an official Transgender History Month. California has a long history has an epicenter of trans activism, and starting in August 2024, that will be officially recongized.

The FDA just approved new COVID-19 vaccines to better protect people against the latest virus strains. The new vaccine targets a single omicron variant named XBB.1.5 — replacing those that targeted the original coronavirus strain alongside an older version of omicron.

Two years earlier than expected, an oil giant in China says it’s expecting gasoline demand in China to peak this year. The announcement is significant since it’s made by the industry itself rather than analysts — and it’s largely due to a surge in electric vehicles on the road.

Oregon is turning wastewater into an endless supply of clean energy. By turning human waste into power, wastewater treatment facilities have the potential to become energy generators instead of consumers, while creating clean water that goes back to the local ecosystem.

New research shows heat pumps are twice as effective as fossil fuel heating systems in cold weather conditions. The research dispels misinformation about how more environmentally consious heat pumps perform in below-zero temperatures.

Two women astronomers are finally being recognized for their contributions with asteroids named after them. For decades, 19th-century trailblazers Annie Maunder and Alice Everett’s work went largely unattributed in the industry.

Australia's most populous state just announced a logging ban to protect koalas from being wiped out. The New South Wales government stopped all logging operations in 21,000 acres of forest that are home to 106 “koala hubs.”

After its top two parties both nominated women candidates, Mexico will likely elect its first woman president. Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum will face opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez in the June 2024 presidential election.

High schools across the U.S. are including sustainability and climate jobs in their curriculum. Schools in Missouri, Illinois, Maine, and California are using the career-technical education model to prepare young people for the green jobs of the future before they get out of high school.

The number of people missing after the Maui wildfires dropped to 66 from 385 people. While even one person missing is still too many, the news was celebrated by local authorities, who feared hundreds would never be accounted for.

The world’s largest wind turbine just broke the record for most energy produced in a single day. The Goldwind GWH252-16MW off the coast of China produced 384.1 megawatt hours, enough to power roughly 170,000 homes, 38 million LEDs, or 2.2 million kilometers driven in an electric car.

The IRS will pursue millionaires and large businesses that owe hundreds of millions of dollars in past-due taxes. Thanks to new federal funding and AI research tools, the IRS will address the concerns of those frustrated by “wealthy filers” who don’t pay their taxes on time.

A study in India found that better nutrition can cut the risk of tuberculosis deaths by 60%. This news comes as activists work to improve access to testing and treatment for tuberculosis, a curable disease that still kills 1.6 million people every year.

Article Details

September 16, 2023 5:00 AM
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