Mid week collection of bite-sized chunks of positive news.
The Empire State Building is powered entirely by wind energy; the small city of Burlington, Vermont is run entirely on biomass, wind, solar, and hydropower; and the tech giant Google has been powering its data centres and office buildings with renewables since 2017. President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion “American Jobs Plan” is chock-full of measures to boost clean energy and help the country fight climate change. But tucked away on page 10 (of the 25 page plan), between a measure to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells and a pledge to retrofit 1 million homes, was something a reader could easily miss: a promise to purchase “24/7 clean power for federal buildings.” If implemented, it would result in 24/7 clean power going to more than 300,000 federal buildings scattered across the United States - from Alaska post offices to courthouses in Washington, D.C. Leading by example is always good news!
Stand aside Cannes and Sundance, there’s a new UK cinematic event on the circuit. The Feel Good Film Festival promises to serve up a smorgasbord of short flicks that organisers say are a celebration of positivity and the art of happiness. “From joyful explorations of wacky subcultures to heartfelt tales of triumph over adversity, the Feel Good Film Festival is a dose of joy and inspiration - delivered to your sofa,” said festival director Nell Teasdale. Tickets from £10.
In September last year, California took a commendable step towards a cleaner transport sector by banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. Just a few months later, Massachusetts followed in the footsteps of the Golden State and did the same. Now, the state of Washington is about to take it one step further. Lawmakers in the Evergreen State have passed a measure that would phase out the sale of gas-powered vehicles as early as 2030. Called Clean Cars 2030, the initiative passed as an amendment to a bill that requires state utilities to prepare for a transportation future shaped by electric vehicles. The bill now awaits the Governor's signature.
A former SAS soldier will row the Atlantic solo using only the stars to guide him after being inspired by his escape from kidnapping in Syria. Ian Rivers will attempt the 3,000 nautical mile voyage “the wrong way”, going against prevailing wind and tides, without a GPS for navigation. It will be the first time a solo unsupported rower has ever crossed the Atlantic using the Northern Route. He's raising money for the SAS Regimental Association’s Sentinels programme, a mental health initiative, and St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire. Due to leave New York in mid-May, Mr Rivers expects to arrive in the Isles of Scilly around 90 days later.
More than 50 new female Marines have completed the gruelling Crucible training exercise at a San Diego base for the first time in the service's 100-year history. The three-day challenge is one of the most arduous in the US military and is required of recruits hoping to graduate from the historically all-male Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. The training involves target practice, hand-to-hand combat, assault courses and the notoriously difficult Reaper hike, which caps off the 13-week boot camp. The Reaper hike, the final stage, requires recruits to scale rugged terrain and a steep ridge while carrying gear weighing as much as 75lbs for almost 10 miles.
Dive in Deeper
Unicorn black hole discovered: Scientists find a black hole that breaks two records - it's one of the smallest ever spotted and the closest to Earth - but not so close that we need to worry! [2 minute read] More...
England is re-wilding its sea: The country's largest seagrass restoration project has started. This is really important as seagrass can capture carbon an incredible 35 times faster than rainforests. [2 minute read] More...
Time for something completely different:
Remember the record breaking space jump from 24.2 miles (38.9 km) above the surface of earth by Felix Baumgartner? Not for the faint hearted!