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Global Good News Round Up

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


Man celebrating hearing some good news
Celebrating good news!

Great Progress: New figures released by the UN reveal the global under-five mortality rate has declined by 51 percent since 2000, reaching an all-time low. Some countries such as Cambodia, Malawi, Mongolia, and Rwanda have successfully reduced under-five mortality rate by over 75 percent over the time period.


Free Happiness Vacation: Once again, Finland has been crowned the happiest country in the world by the United Nations World Happiness Report 2024. Would you like to discover their secrets first hand? Apply now for the chance to win a free all expenses paid trip.


Indigenous Celebrations: For nine years, the Gomeroi people of New South Wales in Australia have been campaigning to put a stop to Santos' A$3.6 billion fossil gas project on their traditional lands - and they have just won an appeal to halt work. "It's time for change after the decision, which says these fossil fuel companies are impacting on climate change."


A Good Read: In good news for both independent stores and the well-known book store chains, a new reports shows that bookstores around the world are flourishing. During lock-downs, people started reading (lots of) books again, and booming book sales that sparked into life during the pandemic have, happily, carried on into the post-pandemic world.


Philanthropy: MacKenzie Scott (ex-wife of Jeff Bezos) donated $640 million to 361 nonprofit groups, she announced last week. The latest round of donations, which varied from gifts of $1 million to $2 million, were very good news for nonprofit groups across America. Thus far Scott has given away over $16 billion to good causes.


Fossil Funding: In a UK first, the University of Cambridge has stopped accepting donations from fossil fuel groups, amid concern about big oil’s influence on academic research.


Stop Ecocide: The global movement to enshrine the crime of Ecocide within international law has the wind in its sails after a series of recent positive developments.


Paws and Relax: A new study shows that it only takes three minutes of playing with a dog to see an increase in a person's alpha brainwaves, indicating a state of relaxation.


Winged Cargo Ship: An age of greener, more efficient shipping may be in the offing as a specially modified 43,000-tonne bulk freighter completes a six-month sea trial using a combination of diesel engines and a set of high-tech automatic sails to catch the wind - saving an average of three tonnes of fuel per day.


Ultra-Efficient Propeller: Even though Sharrow's extraordinary toroidal propellers were already some 30 percent more efficient than traditional designs - the company has now put two of them together into a coaxial, contra-rotating propeller that promises to be even more energy-efficient.


New York's High Line

Greening NYC: Following the success of the High Line and years of community advocacy, New York is poised for a unprecedented year of urban greening, with the opening of around 40 miles (60km) of citywide greenways.

 

Conservation Successes...


Cheetah Cubs: India’s cheetah reintroduction programme just celebrated the birth of five cubs in Kuno National Park. This takes the tally of Indian born cubs to 13. This is the fourth cheetah litter on Indian soil since the beginning of the programme, and the first litter by a South African cheetah in India. This is a really big milestone, especially after the programme's difficult start.


Rhino Relocation: Conservationists in Kenya are celebrating as rhinos were returned to a grassy plateau that hasn’t seen them in decades. The successful move of 21 eastern black rhinos to a new home will give them space to breed and could help increase the population of the critically endangered animals. It was Kenya’s biggest rhino relocation ever.


Asiatic Lions: The Times of India reports a conservation milestone for the Indian state of Gujurat, home to the only population of Asiatic lions in the world. The IUCN just recategorized the species from endangered to vulnerable, and there may be even more good news coming, with the state forest department proposing a new 11,600 square mile (30,000 km2) sanctuary for the apex predator.

 

Making a Difference: An innovative African project is persuading farmers to plant biodiverse forest gardens that feed the family, protect the soil and expand tree cover. Could Trees for the Future be a rare example of a mass reforestation campaign that actually works? The UN Environment Programme certainly thinks so and last month awarded it the status of World Restoration Flagship. Since it was founded in 2015, the programme has planted tens of millions of trees each year in nine countries from Senegal and Mali to Tanzania and Kenya. In less than 10 years, it has reportedly restored a combined area of more than 41,000 hectares (158 square miles).


Southern Ocean: The UK government just announced full protection for an additional 65,000 square miles (166,000 km2) surrounding South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic, home to one of the largest and most varied aggregations of wildlife on the planet. Full protections within the Marine Protection Area now encompass approximately 17,375 square miles (450,000 km2).


School Feeding: The World Food Programme says school feeding policies are now in place in 48 out of 54 countries in Africa, supporting 15 percent of all students in low-income countries and more than half of students in upper-middle-income countries.


AmeriCorps: The White House has announced that the long-awaited jobs board for the American Climate Corps, will open next month. “The American Climate Corps is a story of hope and possibilities,” said Maggie Thomas, a special assistant to the president for climate change. “There’s an incredible demand signal from young people who we see as being put on a pathway to good-paying careers.”


UK / US Cancer Success: Cancer deaths in middle-aged adults have fallen by a third in the UK since 1993, despite cases of cancer rising. That’s according to a Cancer Research UK study, which showed that mortality rates had dropped by 37 percent in men and by 33 percent in women in the UK. The decline recorded in the UK mirrors that of the US, where cancer death rates have also fallen by a third since 1991.


Big Win: A Protected Areas Act, 14 years in the making, has finally been approved by the Government in Papua New Guinea. Stretching 73 million hectares (281,854 square miles), the New Guinea Rainforest is the third largest rainforest area in the world and incredibly biodiverse. The bill could see real benefits for Indigenous peoples and biodiversity on the island in the years to come. Keeping rainforest intact can provide up to 23 percent of climate mitigation urgently needed to cool our planet. If rainforests stay intact, we all have a better chance of being able to fight the climate crisis.


Clean Cooking: A new report from the Clean Cooking Alliance says that more than 1.5 billion people have gained access to clean cooking (i.e. not using biomass, kerosene, or coal) since 2010, and that last year saw significant accomplishments, with new commitments from national governments and record levels of investment. That's good news for the health of the people involved and the health of our planet.


Common Sense: Spain is proposing a short-haul flight ban for routes where a train journey is possible under 2.5 hours. It's a similar proposal to the one that France has enshrined in law. As many EU countries try to reach ambitious 2050 climate targets, many are making similar moves to discourage flying and encourage train travel.


 
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