Wednesday's collection of upbeat news nuggets.
The world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge just opened in Portugal at UNESCO's Arouca World Geopark, near Porto. The bridge measures 516m (1,692 feet) long and is suspended 175m (574 feet) above a river. The bridge hangs on steel cables strung between V-shaped concrete towers and connects the banks of the Paiva River. The record-breaking bridge took several years to build and cost about $2.8m (2.3m euros) and it's hoped that it will boost tourism to the area.
Ten years ago, a butterfly called the Duke of Burgundy was listed as Britain’s rarest, with the species hurtling towards extinction. Thanks to wildlife-friendly farms, however, the population of the small butterfly has now bounced back, with the number surging by 25 percent over the last decade.
In more good climate related news from America, the Biden administration has just approved a major solar energy project in the California desert that will be capable of powering nearly 90,000 homes.
Laws protecting the rights of nature are growing throughout the world, from Ecuador to Uganda, to India, Costa Rica and Bangladesh. But did you know that a 'Rights of Nature' initiative was recently (and overwhelmingly) approved by voters in Orange County Florida? It's a US first. The Orange County law secures the rights of its waterways to exist, to flow, to be protected against pollution and to maintain a healthy ecosystem. It also recognizes the authority of citizens to file enforcement actions on their behalf.
The Gambia has eliminated trachoma, an excruciating eye disease that is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. The disease spreads through contact (personal and via flies) so sanitation and education were the main focuses, as well as providing medicine and surgery for existing cases. The bacterial infection had been a major health problem in the country for nearly five decades, and The Gambia is only the third country in Africa to succeed in eliminating it, so this is a really meaningful achievement.
A 10-kilo solid gold coin has been made by The Royal Mint as part of the “Queen’s Beasts” commemorative collection (the 10 animals etched on its surface mirror the statues at the entrance to Westminster Abbey at the Queen’s coronation). The coin took over 400 hours to make, including four days of polishing, and is one of the largest and most expensive coins ever produced in Britain. While it is worth over £400,000 in gold alone, the coin is thought to have sold for far more.
Dive in Deeper
Rome plays host to one of the world's most amazing displays of aerial acrobatics performed by 10 million starlings.