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Just Good News Thursday

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Today's tasty bite-sized chunks of good news to put a spring in your step.

Sigourney Weaver, actress
First High Seas Treaty

Nearly 70 countries (including the US, EU, and China) at the United Nations have signed the first-ever treaty on protecting the international high seas, raising hopes that it will come into force soon and protect threatened ecosystems vital to the planet. "It's an amazing moment to be here and see such multilateral cooperation and so much hope," actor Sigourney Weaver said in New York. The treaty marks a change in "the way we view the ocean, from a big garbage dump and a place where we can take stuff, to a place that we take care of, that we steward, we respect," she told AFP. Mads Christensen of Greenpeace International voiced hope that the treaty would come into force in 2025 when the next UN oceans conference takes place in France.

$10,000 Tip

A group of 20 diners at Monarca, a Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, stunned staff by leaving a whopping $10,000 tip. The owner posted on the restaurant's Facebook page: "At Monarca we wanted to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude for the incredibly generous gesture to our staff. A $10,000 tip left us all in awe and filled our hearts with immense joy. An act of kindness goes far beyond what words can express. Gracias from the bottom of our hearts. Your extraordinary act of generosity will forever be etched in our memories. We are truly blessed to have people like you in our community. Con todo el Corazón. Las Familias de Monarca."

Fall Migrations

Migration is the best time to be a birdwatcher, says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Hugh Powell. As days get shorter and weather slowly shifts, birders in the USA are preparing for the spectacular fall migration. If you want to know what's flying over your head, take a look at the Audubon Society's online tracker showing bird migrations across the Americas.


A US school district in Pennsylvania has announced the arrival of the 'Twin-dergarten' school year, with 17 sets of twins starting kindergarten in the 2023-24 school year. "I have been a kindergarten teacher for 20 years," a gobsmacked local teacher told WPVI-TV. "Usually, there's maybe a couple sets of twins, if that."

Wildflower meadow in Vermont
Credit: Natalie Gilliard
Had Enough of Mowing?

As more and more people realise that a neatly mown lawn does absolutely no favours for wildlife (and takes an inordinate amount of time at the weekend), Jonathan Yacko and Natalie Gilliard decided to turn an acre of their property in Vermont into a wildflower meadow, says the Washington Post. After the first colors appeared in spring 2021, neighbors and random strangers began dropping by. “The meadow became this wonderful way to develop new friendships and feel like we belonged to something and were part of a community,” Gilliard said. “Now we’re helping the bees, we’re adding beauty to the landscape and we’re making the community happy,” Yacko said. “It’s nice to be able to give that back to everyone."


Coffee in Concrete

Engineers in Australia have found a way of making stronger concrete by adding waste coffee grounds, giving the roast a “double shot” at life and reducing waste going to landfills. The RMIT University team developed the technique that makes concrete 30 percent stronger by adding waste coffee grounds after it's turned into biochar. Globally, 11 million tons of spent coffee is generated annually. Disposing of this organic waste poses an environmental challenge because it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, concrete used in construction projects around the world requires 50 billion tons of natural sand mined every year. Coffee biochar can replace a portion of that sand. So, it's a win win. The innovation detailed in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Beating The Heat

Medellín, sometimes referred to as the 'City of Eternal Spring', Colombia's second largest city's temperate climate has long attracted tourists all year round, but increasing urbanization had also exposed it to the urban heat island effect, where buildings and roads absorb and retain heat. Its green corridors programme that started in 2016, however, has proven remarkably effective in reversing this impact, with a 2C temperature reduction across the city, according to local government data seen by BBC Future Planet.


"I was going to write a joke about French counting but I’m un deux prepared." Kyle Evans

On this Day

28 September 1542: Explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, known as the “discoverer” of California, landed near what is now San Diego and became the first European to set foot on the west coast of what would become the United States.


Mood Booster

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata soothes an old, rescued elephant.

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