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Global Good News Round Up

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

Woman leaping for joy
Celebrating the good news!

First US Solo Woman: Cole Brauer, 29, who has becomes the first American woman to race solo around the globe. Of the 16 skippers in the inaugural Global Solo Challenge, Brauer was the only female and the youngest. Brauer covered 27,000 miles in just over four months.

First Ever Nest: Toronto celebrated its first-ever recorded Bald Eagle nest, declaring it "a historic moment for our local ecosystem." The presence of the Bald Eagle nest in the heart of Toronto not only symbolizes the species' recovery but also serves as a tangible indicator of a flourishing environment.

Olympic Record: This year’s Olympics in Paris will be the first in history to achieve numerical gender parity on the field of play - meaning there will be an equal number of female and male athletes participating in the largest sporting event in the world. Out of the 10,500 athletes participating in the Games, there will be 5,250 men and 5,250 women.

Printed Skin: Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have successfully 3D-printed living human skin tissue directly into open wounds for the first time in history. This bioengineering milestone could pave the way for major developments in reconstructive surgery.

Battery-Free: New miniature tech enables devices like remote-controls and keyboards to go battery-free (with numerous ecological benefits) and keep operating even in low-light settings. Just like calculators have done for decades.

1868 one cent postage stamp
Credit: Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries

One of Only Two: A one cent postage stamp is coming up for auction and could fetch up to $5 million. A New York auction house is selling what it calls “America’s Most Valuable Postage Stamp” - a one cent Z-grill stamp from 1868 featuring Benjamin Franklin. It's one of only two of its kind known to exist.

Unintended Benefits: Field data from 15 sites shows that pollinating insects thrived in solar parks, particularly where a variety of plants have been allowed to flourish or been planted underneath and around the panels. Perhaps most surprising from the report was that solar parks set among fields where hedgerows and other habitats had been destroyed by farmers were the most beneficial for insects, such as bees, butterflies and moths - providing an oasis of food and nectar unobtainable elsewhere.

Art Therapy: Doctors in France have started writing "museum prescriptions" as part of care plans for patients with mental health issues and chronic illnesses to help them "find community and feel better." There is "something powerful about the direct confrontation with a piece of art, and that can have benefits on numerous levels."

Who Knew? Giant redwoods - the world's largest trees - are flourishing in the UK and now even outnumber those found in their native range in California. The giants were first brought to the UK about 160 years ago during the Victorian era - and were typically planted on grand estates by the wealthy as a status symbol.

Everglades Protection: The US Department of the Interior just announced the establishment of a new 2,390 square mile (16,187 km2) conservation area in the Everglades in southwest Florida.

Eliminating Cervical Cancer: The global effort to eliminate cervical cancer just got a huge boost after donors pledged nearly $600 million. In a joint statement, the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, and UNICEF said that the funding will go towards expanding access to vaccination, screening, and treatment worldwide. This is particularly good news for low and middle-income countries, where access to preventative vaccines as well as screening and treatment can be very limited.

Numerous Benefits: Bucking the global trend - and thanks to massive mangrove planting and conservation programs - Pakistan's mangrove forests saw a three-fold expansion between 1986 and today, from 483 km2 to 1,439 km2, according to an analysis of satellite data. These semiaquatic trees offer a host of benefits, such as protecting coasts against storms and rising sea levels, providing habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife, and sequestering carbon better than most other ecosystems on Earth, according to the IUCN.

Cycling Incentives: Denver, Colorado, is trying out a new program that aims to encourage community members to ride a bike instead of driving - by paying them to do so. This could equate to up to $200 per month. The program is part of a larger research project to see what motivates locals to ditch their cars.

Oldest in South America: Archaeologists have discovered the earliest dated cave paintings in South America in Argentine Patagonia, dating back 8,200 years. The 895 paintings were found in a 630 square meter (6,781 square foot) rock shelter about 1,100 km (684 miles) southwest of the capital Buenos Aires.

Statue of Ramses II
Ramses II | Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Ramses the Great: Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 12.5 foot-tall section of a statue of the pharaoh Ramses II, depicting him in a seated position, wearing a double crown and a headdress topped with a royal cobra. Researchers say the limestone statue is a match for a lower section discovered in 1930 - making the full height of the statue is approximately 23 feet. Cleaning and preparation work has already begun for viewing what a reunion of the two statues would look like.

Conservation Success: The Australian saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was driven to the edge of extinction in the mid-20th century, with an estimated 3,000 individuals left by the 1970s, says Science Direct. Now, after decades of protection, they have achieved 'full recovery,' with an estimated 100,000 individual crocodiles in Australia today.

Mobile Money: The share of women in sub-Saharan Africa who own a financial account has more than doubled in the last decade, driven almost entirely by the adoption of mobile money accounts, according to new research by the Brookings Institution. That's good news because financial access gives women greater personal safety and less exposure to theft, more say over how household resources are spent, and greater ability to receive money from friends and family in the event of an emergency.

World Central Kitchen: The first in what could become a “maritime highway” bringing continuous aid to people in need in Gaza, a ship filled with 200 tons of food from Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen crossed the Mediterranean Sea from Cyprus. Since Gaza has no functioning port, workers with WCK built a jetty to receive the aid - which arrived on Friday. In further good news, World Central Kitchen has 500 more tons ready to follow.

World's Largest: World’s largest rooftop solar power plant is to be built in Denmark on a new logistics centre. The building is over 300,000 m2, an area that makes it the world’s 5th largest building - of which the majority of the roof surface will be covered by solar panels. Construction has just begun and is expected to be completed within 12 months.

Solar Dethrones Coal: According a new analysis from Wood Mackenzie on the levelized cost of electricity for the Asia Pacific region, the cost of renewables reached a historic low in 2023. Renewable energy costs in Asia last year were 13 percent cheaper than coal and are expected to be 32 percent cheaper by 2030. Utility solar is now the cheapest power source in 11 out of 15 APAC countries. New-build solar project costs are expected to fall by at least another 20 percent by 2030.

Greening China: China's National Greening Commission just announced that it increased its greening efforts last year with 15,443 square miles (39,998 km2) of forest planted, 16,900 square miles (43,790 km2) of degraded grassland restored, and 7,355 square miles (19,050 km2) of sandy and stony land treated. China is notoriously unreliable with big data like this, but even if the numbers are half of that, it's incredibly good news.

Need a Nature Boost? Jackie and Shadow - a pair of Bald Eagles - enjoy a certain level of celebrity status thanks to a live-cam broadcasting 24/7 from their home in Southern California.

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