Today's global round up of good news nuggets.
The Great Barrier Reef has received some much needed support from the Australian government. More than $700 million has been pledged by the nation’s leaders as part of a larger conservation spending plan.
A sweeping new bill with powerful bipartisan support in the US Senate would establish an inquiry into the country’s Covid-19 response similar to the 9/11 Commission, among other provisions aimed at preventing the next pandemic. The new Covid commission would inform the US response to future outbreaks as well as the current impact of the disease. The bill will be co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who plan to mark it up in committee in coming weeks. “The pain of this pandemic is unforgettable, and we have a responsibility to make sure its lessons are unforgettable, too,” Murray said.
Volunteering at 100
Friends Cafe at Ealing Hospital in London has the volunteer of the century. 18 years ago, 100-year-old Beryl Carr started volunteering at the cafe after her husband died. She said, “The friendship and the camaraderie, and I feel I’m helping people who are not as fortunate as myself.” Ann Cousins, the cafe manager said, “It’s like having a bit of royalty because everybody comes and sees Beryl when she’s here. They make a special point of saying hello and making a fuss of her.” “I don’t feel 100. I’m not ready to put my feet up, I’ve got a lot more volunteering to do,” declared Beryl.
Act of Kindness
Maria Iorlando was on her way to school one morning, arms full with school supplies and a box of donuts as a surprise for her students, when she heard a voice. “Excuse me, miss." She pulled out her ear buds. A stranger came up to her and asked if she was a teacher. Yes, said Iorlando. He the asked if the box of donuts was for her students. She nodded. Unexpectedly, the stranger placed a $50 bill on top of the box. He wanted to pay for the treat and thank her. The teacher was at a loss for words. "His random act of kindness will be used to make a bunch of middle school kids in the Bronx very happy," said Iorlando. "Sometimes angels do walk among us."
At first glance, the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center in southern Japan looks almost like an art installation. But look closer, and you'll see the center's ethos at work. The structure is made from about 700 donated windows, and nearly every surface - from the recycled glass terrazzo floors to the bookshelves made of harvest containers from a nearby mushroom farm - contains something old that has been brought back to life. Kamikatzu became the first town in Japan to make a "zero-waste" pledge in 2016, and the center is an important part of that legacy. Here, residents can sort their waste into 45 different categories - a key strategy that the town has used to bring its recycling rate to a staggering 80 percent.
Steve Irwin and his wife Terri opened the Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital in 2004. Two years later, Steve died after being injured by a stingray while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Today, Terri and their children continue to own and operate the 700-acre wildlife hospital that employs over 500 people. The facility rescues, rehabilitates and releases over 7,000 native Australian animals every year. "Wildlife Hospital takes in animals from all over Australia," Bindi Irwin posted on Instagram. "This week, we treated our 90,000th patient." The 90,000th patient is a platypus rescued from a wildfire. "'Ollie' the orphaned platypus is receiving round the clock care until he can be released back to the wild," Robert Irwin posted on Instagram.
Ending Idle Emissions
In a move to support the decarbonization of the maritime industry, shipping group Maersk is launching StillStrom, an offshore vessel charging venture, to eliminate idle emissions. Stillstrom has developed technology that will allow vessels to charge while moored to a buoy connected to land via a transmission line. Maersk plans to eliminate idle emissions by installing hundreds of full-scale offshore charging stations for vessels outside ports so that they can use electricity from charging stations, instead of consuming oil. The container vessels can consume three to five tonnes of fuel when idle per day.
Lightyear is an EV startup based in the Netherlands that specializes in solar electric vehicles (SEVs). From early on, the company has promised a range of 450 miles on a single charge from its ultra-efficient flagship SEV, the Lightyear One. As Lightyear One moves closer to reaching production in the first half of 2022, its prototype testing has seen major milestones met. The automaker has demonstrated that its Lightyear One prototype delivered a 'range anxiety' reducing 441 miles of range on a single charge.
Quote of the Day
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln
On this Day
3 February 1863: Samuel Clemens first uses the pen name Mark Twain in a Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise.
Dive in Deeper
The Gentle Art of Menu Persuasion: Simple changes to messages on restaurants’ menus can double the frequency of customers choosing plant-based options instead of meat, research has found. That's good news for both people and planet. Read on...
Meet a Friendly Arctic Fox
In the frozen landscape of the Canadian Arctic, one Arctic fox got very curious about one human visitor.