An eclectic bundle of good news nuggets to perk up the day.
Massive new marine parks in a region often described as Australia’s Galapagos Islands will now protect and preserve the Australian oceans surrounding Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands - home to life found nowhere else on earth. These two parks in the Indian Ocean will protect over 287,000 square miles of spectacular seascapes (744k square km), an area greater in size than Texas, and twice as large as the Great Barrier Reef. 60 marine parks around Australia are now protecting 45 percent of the island country’s territorial waters. Click here to see the beautiful video celebrating the new marine parks.
Not Extinct Afterall
Last year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the ivory-billed woodpecker extinct. That, however, proved to be a premature move - bringing a new glimmer of hope for the bird’s existential status after later discovering the woodpecker alive and pecking in the forests of Louisiana. The elusive bird had its last widely accepted sighting in 1944. The new series of pictures and observations from a research team shows that the evasive species is still hanging in there. Whether or not this rediscovery means the species is bouncing back, and able to reproduce in significant numbers, is unclear, but for now, sighting the woodpecker for the first time in so long is very encouraging.
4 Day Week
A trial run of a four-day workweek is going to start in June for about 3,000 employees in the U.K. It will be the largest ever such study. This trial run is organized by 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College. They hope to learn how the impact of reduced work hours has on employees’ well-being, productivity, burnout, and even the environment and gender equality. A similar study was conducted in Reyjavik, Iceland in 2015-2016 and had overwhelmingly positive results, with no evidence showing that fewer hours lowered productivity. Since then, many people in Iceland have shifted towards this four-day week. Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are now starting up similar pilot tests. More about The Benefits of a 4 Day Week
Barcelona's innovative 'superblocks' strategy could make modern cities more sustainable and resilient - and safer and healthier for residents. Car traffic is mostly banned inside the groups of 3×3 city blocks, and spaces for parks, pedestrians, and cyclists are expanded. Surrounding streets are open to car traffic but have speed limits of just 10 to 20 km per hour. Superblocks let residents walk to shops, schools and restaurants, without dodging traffic or queueing at corner crosswalks. Over the long term, Barcelona plans to introduce superblocks across the entire city. To help other cities see if it would work for them, a Swiss analyst has developed an automated system to evaluate the potential for such transformations in different cities.
Mercedes-Benz has taken its new Vision EQXX electric car more than 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge. The test drive from Germany through Switzerland to the Côte d'Azur in France used the electric power equivalent of just nine litres of petrol at a cost of about £14 ($18). Electric cars have been driven further, but they have often used non-standard power packs, special tyres or slow speeds to maximise mileage. Mercedes took the car over mountainous terrain and spent a spell cruising above 85mph on the German autobahn to show off the car’s real-world credentials. It arrived at the seaside with 15 percent charge to spare.
Major tech companies have joined hands to help tackle climate change. In a project called Frontier, Alphabet, McKinsey, Meta, Shopify, and Stripe have put forward a $925 million advance market commitment to encourage and speed the development of technologies that can pull carbon dioxide from the air. It's hoped that this sends a signal to researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors that there is a growing market for these technologies. More importantly, Frontier stresses that the aim is to help create a net new carbon removal supply rather than competing over current strategies.
Quote of the Day
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”
On this Day
19 April 1770: British explorer Captain James Cook first sights Australia.
Dive in Deeper
Researchers are building a 'software mind' to unite international facilities into the world’s largest radio telescope. It's expected to offer astrophysicists and astronomers detail and data like never before. Read on...
Nature Mood Booster
Beautiful three minute time-lapse film of Passion Flowers growing and blooming.