Turtles, Tigers, & Books - Good News This Week: September 24th 2022

A photo collage of community members dancing, a farmer, the Wilson Leeper Community Center welcome sign, turtles at the beach, and a tiger

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 —

In response to increasing gun violence, a Portland neighborhood created a vibrant community plaza

An intersection in Southeast Portland’s Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood used to be filled with driveby gun violence, car accidents, and more. Instead of increasing police presence in the area, the neighborhood took a more positive approach: they built a public plaza, filled it with trees, colorful paint, and more.

Spearheaded by residents, the project analyzed what was causing the accidents, violence, and more and implement changes like more lighting and changing the flow of traffic lanes where cars would speed, drive recklessly, or utilize as a getaway after shooting.

Portland already has plans to bring it to more neighborhoods, and it’s another great example of ways to combat gun violence and public safety issues without increasing police presence.

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The U.S. just performed its 1 millionth organ transplant

Last week, the U.S. recorded its 1 millionth organ transplant, which is a historic milestone to celebrate for a procedure that has saved thousands of lives since the first successful transplant was performed in 1954.

Then, doctors at a hospital in Boston transplanted a kidney to Richard Herrick, who was suffering from chronic kidney failure, from his identical twin brother. At the time, Dr. Joseph Murray, the lead surgeon received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

We’re celebrating this good progress, even as organ transplants are relatively common today — because they are no less life-changing. In 2021 alone there were more than 41,000 transplants — the most ever recorded and twice as many as there were 25 years ago.

Organ transplants are truly one of the most innovative, life-saving medical advancements in our lifetime.  

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Conservationists, farmers, and cattle ranchers in Mexico are restoring 3.5 million acres of land — while boosting crop yields

Mexico’s second-most biodiverse state, Chiapas provides 30% of the entire country’s freshwater but has lost 55% of its forests for farmland and livestock pasture.

Now, an unlikely alliance of conservationists, farmers, and cattle ranchers is working to incorporate 6.2 million acres of land into sustainable management schemes, focusing on soil health and aiming to restore and reforest 3.5 million acres.

The initiative will help restore soil health while storing carbon, freeing up more land for conservation, and maintaining jobs in rural areas.

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In response to proposed book bans, a Colorado town approved a measure to prevent any restrictions on resources offered at its public library

About a month ago, a group of residents in Wellington, Colorado sought to restrict 19 books from the shelves of the town’s public library — some even wanted them banned entirely. In response, the town’s board of trustees approved a measure that essentially bans any book bans at the Wellington Public Library.

While the library does have some restrictions around who can get a library card with or without a parent/guardian, the measure will prevent the board from restricting what the library can or cannot place on its shelves, and who is allowed to access it.

This is good news to celebrate, especially during Banned Books Week! As Ibram X. Kendi puts it, “To fight off the book bans is to fight for basic human freedoms.”

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Southwest Florida has had its best turtle nesting season ever recorded

This year, Bonita Beach, Vanderbilt Beach, Naples, Marco Island, and Keewaydin Island in South Florida had record-setting turtle nesting seasons.

Bonita Beach had 282 nests, shattering its previous record of 238 nests in 2019. Collier County has 1,945 nests total, breaking the 2016 record of 1,927. Keewaydin Island had 609 nests, Marco Island broke its record with its 101 nests — and maybe even more as part of the island is only accessible by kayak.

In the early 2000s, there were so few nests that turtle experts were worried about the survival of the species. The area has implemented various turtle programs to find and protect nests.

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Initially looking to double its tiger population, Nepal tripled it instead

In 2010, Nepal was one of 13 tiger range countries that pledged to double its population by 2022. In the 12 years since that pledge, Nepal tripled its tiger population, becoming the only one of the countries to not only meet but exceed its goal.

Nepal now has 355 tiger total, blowing past the 250 that the country was expected to achieve as part of global conservation efforts to double the wild tiger population. Conservationists also say it puts the number of the big cats close to the maximum that the country can hold.

→ Read more

A Canadian couple has helped nearly 200 Ukrainian refugees fly to safety

Michael Garnett played hockey in Russia for 10 years, and his wife Rebecca Rider is a pilot for a Calgary-based airline. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Garnett told CBC News he “couldn’t believe that this country that I love — Russia — could just start attacking full on.” Rider saw how it impacted him, and encouraged him to take action and help.

Initially, they spent an entire month in Poland helping drive refugees from the border to aid centers. When they returned to Canada, they took over a “buddy pass” program from one of Rider’s pilot colleagues, who had collected 50 passes from airline employees.

Rider and Garnett started an official charity called Help From Canada, have received buddy pass donations from around 100 employees, and have helped nearly 200 Ukrainian refugees fly to safety in Canada.

→ Read more

More good news of the week —

A nonprofit has eliminated $6.7 million in medical debt, and they’re now expanding their eligibility pool. RIP Medical Debt has already eliminated medical debt for 3.6 million people in the U.S.

Rocky Mountain National Park just got 40 acres larger thanks to an astronaut’s donation. Former astronaut Vance Brand’s family said they hope the donation “will keep the land in its natural state for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations of Americans.”

California is providing free, 24/7, live online tutoring to all its residents in all K-12 subjects. Governor Newsom also announced a $245 million investment to improve libraries across the state.

A court revoked a permit for a new plastic manufacturing plant in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” The plant would have doubled toxic emissions in St James parish, which already has some of the worst air quality in the country.

A Montana judge ended a ban on transgender women competing in college sports. The judge said the legislature overstepped and violated the state’s constitution.

Denver is trialing a basic income program for people experiencing homelessness. The Denver Basic Income Program will give 140 people up to $1,000 in cash per month for up to a year.

Scientists predict the ozone layer will completely heal within the next 50 years. The concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals has declined by just over 50 percent compared to the 1980s, which the NOAA says is a “significant milestone.”

California’s new set of climate laws will create 4 million jobs, reduce the state’s oil use by 91%, and cut air pollution by 60%. The California Climate Commitment will also protect communities from oil drilling, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy.

As of July, 385,000 Ukrainian refugees have found jobs in Poland. The country has also given more than 1.2 million Ukrainians social security numbers, which gives them access to health care, education, and other social benefits.

Dozens of the largest corporations in the U.S. have pledged to hire thousands of refugees. Companies like Marriott, Pfizer, and more have taken the Tent Partnership for Refugees’ pledge to hire more than 22,000 refugees.

Solar power is helping some people in Puerto Rico avoid losing power. Though millions are still without power on the island, local nonprofits have led the way in helping people adopt solar power and prepare for climate disasters like Hurricane Fiona.

TikTok gave 10 Latinx creators $50,000 grants to invest in their “dream projects.” TikTok partnered with two media companies to award the grants in honor of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month.

The U.S. has ratified a treaty to phase out the use of HFCs, which trap 1,000 times more heat than carbon dioxide. Some of the most potent greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons were initially adopted as a replacement for CFCs, which damage the ozone layer.

Europe’s largest river restoration project is benefiting both wildlife and people. The rewilding project on the Meuse River in the southern Netherlands aims to undo 500 years of damage.

Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny used his latest music video to raise awareness about inequities and ongoing issues in the country. Residents of the U.S. territory don’t have representation in Congress and are unable to vote on a federal level.

Article Details

September 24, 2022 3:40 PM
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