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Global Good News Round Up

Synopsis of last week's important good news from around the world.


Happy woman smiling after hearing good news
Only Good News Sunday!

Guaranteed Freedom: This week, France became the world’s first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution, the culmination of an effort that began in direct response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Suddenly Hugely Profitable: A new method for recovering gold from discarded electronics is paying back $50 for every dollar spent, according to researchers - who found their gold-filtering substance in cheesemaking, of all places. That should help keep millions of tons of e-waste out of landfills!


Edit-a-thon: Less than 20 percent of English-language biographies on Wikipedia are about women, but the Smithsonian wants to help correct that. On 27 March, the museum is hosting a “Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” over Zoom that is open to the public and free of charge. The event is to encourage attendees to edit and create Wikipedia articles about American women that are “hidden” historical figures.


wild female orange-bellied parrot
Credit: ray_turnbull / iNaturalist / CC-BY-ND

Conservation Success: In 2016, only three wild female orange-bellied parrots returned to their breeding ground in Tasmania after migrating to Australia. This year, 80 of the critically endangered parrots have returned.


Underground Culture: In Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv, just 30 miles from the Russian border, Kharkiv Opera and Ballet is about to reopen underground, amid much excitement.


Restoration of Nature: The European Parliament has adopted a law to restore land and sea. Under the law, countries must restore at least 30% of habitats in poor condition by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 90% by 2050. Member states will also have to restore at least 25,000 km of rivers to be free-flowing rivers and ensure there is no net loss in the total national area of urban green space and of urban tree canopy cover.


Star Dune: The age of one of our planet's largest and most complex types of sand dune has been calculated for the first time. It's 13,000 years old and the dating has been achieved by the clever science of luminescence.


Statue Imbalance: Denmark has pledged to put up more statues of women, with the country’s culture minister saying the capital has “more statues of mythical beasts and horses”. Of the 101 named statues in Copenhagen, only five are of women, while there are 26 dedicated to animals and 70 to men. The culture minister has pledged to spend up to 50m Danish kroner ($7.3m) on correcting the imbalance.


MethaneSat: Look out methane polluters! They now have nowhere to hide after an independent monitoring satellite launched to pinpoint companies belching out the potent greenhouse gas. Hopefully naming and shaming polluters will help rapidly clean up the problem.


Around The World: Irish explorer Johnny Ward has just completed the ultimate tour of the globe. Ward can now claim the Ultimate Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves reaching the highest peak on every continent and visiting both the North and South Poles. Oh, he also became the first known Irish person to visit every country back in 2017.


Incredibly Rare: An eleventh century Islamic astrolabe has been discovered, bearing both Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions. It's one of the oldest examples ever discovered and one of only a handful known in the world. It's also thought to be the world's first portable computer.


EVs: According to the International Energy Agency, 1 in 5 new car sales globally were electric vehicles in 2023.


Common Sense: Following France's lead, ​Spain is banning some short-haul domestic flights where there is a train route available. As part of the country’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, flights where there’s a rail alternative that takes less than two and a half hours will no longer be allowed.


New Biofuel: They could take a big bite out of the world’s transportation emissions, especially aviation, but they are currently expensive and, to make matters even less attractive, are made from certain food crops, creating a food vs. fuel dilemma. But the good news is that scientists have come up with a new non-food fuel refinery system to produce economical, sustainable biofuels from woody plant matter such as agricultural and forestry waste.


Peak Bloom: National Park Service has announced its best guess as to when Washington DC's cherry trees will blossom to peak effect: 23 - 26 March. If you can't make it to see the blooms in person, you can always take a peek on the Bloom Cam.


A gray whale south of Nantucket
A gray whale south of Nantucket | New England Aquarium

Incredibly Rare Event: A gray whale extinct from the Atlantic for more than 200 years has been spotted off New England in an “incredibly rare event,” the New England Aquarium said. The whale was spotted 30 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. They are usually found in the North Pacific Ocean. The species had disappeared from the Atlantic Ocean by the 18th century, in part because of whaling, the aquarium said.


UK's Green Economy: According to a report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit and the Confederation of British Industry, while the UK economy grew by just 0.1 percent in 2023, its burgeoning ‘net zero economy’ grew by 9 percent. The analysis found that companies operating in the low-carbon sector - including renewables, battery storage and green finance - added £74bn to the UK economy. What’s more, green jobs were found to be better paid, with the average salary coming in at £44,600, compared to the UK average of £35,400 (approx. $44,880).


Super-Fast Charging: Google-backed Gravity Mobility has opened the fastest EV charging solution in the United States to the public in Midtown Manhattan, where the devices can charge at a rate of 200 miles in five minutes. The company has the capacity to manufacture and deploy thousands of chargers a year and more sites are already in development.


Best School Bus: Electric school buses performed better during extreme cold winter school months than diesel buses. In one of the coldest towns in the U.S., Kremmling, Colorado, electric school buses have been proving they’ve got more than what it takes to get students to school in even extremely cold temperatures. Just like gas and diesel vehicles, electric vehicles see shorter ranges in extreme weather conditions - but sometimes, a diesel vehicle won’t start at all. The electric buses can hold their charge and start up even in the coldest weather.


EcoButt: Around Bratislava in Slovakia, containers specially designed for cigarette butts have been set up by the local council. Once full, their contents are being upcycled into asphalt roads, preventing tons of chemicals and plastic waste from entering the natural environment.


 
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