Summary of last week's most important good news from around the world.
Aerial Police: A new emissions tracking satellite has launched to detect emissions from industrial facilities, where ever they are in the world. It will help stop these facilities under-reporting their emissions and holding them to account if they do.
Nurturing Nature: With a $1 billion pledge, the Canadian federal government has signed a major nature agreement with the province of British Columbia and First Nations to jointly support the goal of protecting 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.
Lucky Escape: In news that seems "almost too Australian to be true", said The New York Times, Colin Deveraux escaped from the jaws of death by kicking and then biting a 10ft saltwater crocodile that was trying to drag him into a river near Darwin. Deveraux told ABC that as the croc shook him "like a rag doll", his own teeth caught on the animal's eyelid in a "half-accidental" move. "I managed to have a bite," said Deveraux. "I jerked back on his eyelid and he let go." The rancher fled in his car, and is now recovering in hospital.
Affordable Tesla: Reuters reports that Tesla plans to build a €25,000 ($27,000) car at its factory near Berlin. It could be even cheaper from its factories in China and Mexico. It's anticipated that the Model 2 could be available in 18 months.
Britain's Vineyards: A new study shows that there are now nearly 1,000 vineyards in Grape Britannia. Perhaps even more remarkably, viticulture is now the fastest growing agricultural sector in the UK.
European Ski Resorts: In good news for both skiers and resorts, ski season has started early in some places as resorts across Europe have welcomed bumper snowfall, says EuroNews.
Now and Then: The Beatles have no. 1 songs both Now (2023) and Then (1963). Sixty years after The Beatles earned their first no.1 hit, From Me To You, the Fab Four have earned their 17th hit in the U.K. with Now and Then, breaking the record for the longest duration between first and last no. 1.
On Track: The US government is investing $16.4 billion into rail infrastructure between Boston and Washington, the largest rebuilding investment since the tracks were laid in the mid-19th century.
Shaping Up: Speaking in London this week, the Princess of Wales said children’s social and emotional skills are just as valuable as reading, writing and maths. Her long-term public awareness drive is thought to be the first of its kind to be launched by a member of the Royal family.
JazaMiti: Kenya celebrated its first national tree planting holiday this week as part of a government initiative to plant 15 billion trees by 2032. The project includes an app called JazaMiti (Swahili for 'fill with trees'), which people can use to document their planting activity and find which tree species are best suited to their location.
Algae Powers Computer: Researchers have used a common and widespread species of blue-green non-toxic algae to power a microprocessor continuously for a year - and counting - using nothing but ambient light and water. Their system has potential as a reliable and renewable way to power devices.
Kindness Superpower: Despite his disabilities, a man who believes kindness is his superpower has been honoured with a statue at Tower Bridge in London, after he carried out an act of kindness every day for three years.
EU Landmark Deal: EU lawmakers and member states have struck a deal on a landmark law to protect nature. The nature restoration law requires EU countries to restore at least 20 percent of the bloc’s land and seas by the end of the decade. It also contains binding targets to restore at least 30 percent of degraded habitats by then, rising to 60 percent by 2040 and 90 percent by 2050.
New Definition: The traditional definition of hallucinate is to "to seem to see, hear, feel, or smell something that does not exist". It now includes "when an artificial intelligence (AI) hallucinates, it produces false information". The additional definition was added by the Cambridge Dictionary after a surge in interest in generative AI tools like ChatGPT, which is capable of generating plausible prose, but often does so using false, misleading or made up 'facts'.
First US DAC Goes Live: For the first time in the United States, a commercial plant (in Tracy, California) is capturing carbon dioxide directly from the sky and locking away the planet-warming gas. The DAC facility “is the closest thing on Earth that we have to a time machine, because it can turn back the clock on climate change,” says Shashank Samala, CEO of Heirloom.
SA Parental Leave: South Africa is the first African country to decide that both mothers and fathers are entitled to parental leave. It will be up to parents how to divide the four months they are given in total.
Hats Off to Portugal: The country just produced more than enough renewable power to serve all its customers. For nearly a week, the nation of 10 million ran on nothing but wind, solar and hydropower. Not bad for a country that became coal-free in 2021.
Monoculture Reversal: Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, will return close to half a million acres of these monoculture plantations to forest. The initiative, reports ESG News, is part of the government’s efforts to address climate change and better govern an industry that has illegally developed land in conservation areas within this biodiversity hotspot.
That's it, you're up to date. Have a great day!