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Global Good News Round Up

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


Woman celebrating good news
Celebrating the good news!

US Conservation Priority: The Washington Post reports that the Department of the Interior has introduced a rule prioritizing conservation, recreation, and renewable energy over traditional resource extraction on public lands, representing a seismic shift in the management of roughly 245 million acres of public property, one-tenth of the nation's land mass.


Democracy Wins: This news from Senegal might be the best in world politics of 2024 so far. Despite attempted delays and imprisonments by the former president, Senegal pulled off a free and fair election and a peaceful transfer of power to Bassirou Diomaye Faye, reports Vox. The victory was secured by young voters, indicating the rise of a new political class that will play a key role in democratic trends.



Dam Fine Progress: It’s been another fine year for dismantling river barriers in Europe, with almost 500 removed in 15 countries across the continent. The latest figures come from Dam Removal Europe, reporting that 487 dams, culverts, sluices and weirs were ripped down in 2023 - up nearly 50 percent on the previous year. France led the way with 156 barriers removed. The UK came in fifth with 36. Overall, the initiatives reconnected 4,300km (2,672 miles) of waterways, and improved safety as well as habitats.



EU Abortion Rights: The EU parliament has approved a proposal to include access to abortion in its Charter of Fundamental Rights, with 336 votes in favour and 163 against. While the resolution is a significant first step, it requires the green light from all 27 member states in order to take effect.


Waters and islands of Haida Gwaii
Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

Rightful Restitution: For centuries, the Haida people of British Columbia have known that the impenetrable forests and bountiful waters of Haida Gwaii - “the islands at the boundary of the world” - were both a life-giving force and their rightful home. Now, after decades of negotiation, the province of British Columbia has come to the same conclusion: the title over more than 200 islands off Canada’s west coast, totalling over one million acres, should rightfully be held by the Haida Nation.



Metropolitan Birds: In Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, decades of conservation efforts means that residents are hearing birdsong from native birds, transforming the city’s morning chorus. A new report shows that over the last decade, the average number of native bird species in the city’s parks and reserves had risen by an impressive 41 percent. “We’re in the middle of a big city and there are these amazing birds,” Sue Hope, a volunteer, says. “It makes you appreciate you are not the only thing here."


B Corps Boom: UK companies are punching above their weight in putting people and the planet before profit, with a record 2,000 firms now B Corp certified. The figure has doubled in just 18 months and represents a quarter of the world’s total B Corps. To put that into perspective, there are 1,800 spread across wider Europe, while the whole of the US and Canada combined have 2,400. The certification is seen as the gold standard for sustainability.

 

By The Numbers


  • 1 in 5: The number of cars sold this year worldwide that will be electric.

  • 1 in 15: The number of fast-charging EV stations for every gas station in the US.

  • 10: The percentage of global GDP growth attributed to clean energy in 2023

 

Bio-cultural Corridor: Peru has announced its largest ever conservation concession. The new Cotuhé Conservation concession will protect 198,743 hectares (770 square miles) of Amazon rainforest, securing a bio-cultural corridor that benefits local communities. The concession also safeguards the buffer zone of Yaguas National Park, home to the largest number of normal and black jaguars in the country and some of the last populations of Amazonian manatees.


Brain Waves: Colorado is the first state to pass a law that ensures your biological and neural data receive the same protections as your fingerprint or biometric data, joining similar laws in countries like Spain and Mexico. With firms like Apple, Meta, and Neuralink already working on tech that could collect such data, Colorado’s law could be the blueprint for federal legislation.



Wind Power Surge: Installations of wind energy infrastructure were up 50 percent last year compared to 2022, making it a record year for the industry globally - according to analysis by the Global Wind Energy Council. Gathering momentum in offshore wind and promising outlooks in developing countries mean the organisation has revised its 2024-2030 growth forecast upwards by around 10 percent.


NYC Power: Beginning in 2026, electricity will speed along 339 miles of underground cable to provide a million New York City homes with hydropower generated in Canada. The $6 billion Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line is under construction to help New York state meet its clean-energy goals. CHPE (pronounced "chippy") is part of the state's program aimed at sourcing 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.


Lighting Up Rwanda: Over the past 15 years, Rwanda has significantly increased its electricity access from 6 percent in 2009 to 75 percent as of March 2024. It’s one of the fastest expansions in the world and is thanks in part to investment in renewables and off-grid solutions like solar home systems, says World Bank. The country has also connected 100 percent of healthcare centres and 84 percent of schools and small businesses.


Solar For All: President Joe Biden unveiled a $7 billion grant scheme this week to help low-income families install solar panels on their roofs. Speaking at an event timed for Earth Day, Biden said the Solar for All programme would result in 900,000 households having solar for the first time, while creating 200,000 jobs.


Now that you're up to speed with all the serious stuff, is it time for a chuckle with a look at last week's Random Collection of Funny Signs And Circumstances?

 
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