Bite sized chunks of good news from around the world to help brighten the day.
Make It 16
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said the New Zealand government will draft legislation to change the voting age to 16, after a landmark supreme court ruling that the existing age of 18 was discriminatory and breached the human rights of young people. Ardern said she personally supported changing the age to 16, but would take the question to parliament. “It is our view that this is an issue best placed to parliament for everyone to have their say,” she said. Her statement followed a supreme court ruling that marked the conclusion of a two-year case brought by a group of young campaigners, Make It 16, who argued that younger people should be able to vote on issues such as the climate crisis, which will disproportionately affect them and their futures.
Corals grown in an offshore “coral nursery” at Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef have spawned for the first time, four years after being planted. A team at the Reef Restoration Foundation has observed Acropora corals, each about 1 metre in diameter, spawning at the island’s Welcome Bay nursery site. Azri Saparwan, a marine biologist at RRF, described the spawning as “a beautiful milestone” that was contributing to the recovery of corals. The Fitzroy Island corals were grown from fragments that had survived a mass bleaching event, with the hope that they would be resilient to marine heatwaves in future.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets under way, one ground-breaking element is that women referees will be officiating the game. For the first time in its 92-year history, six out of this year's 129 referees are female.
A new school transport scheme, the Bicibús, is taking the Spanish city of Barcelona by storm, with a peloton of happy kids cycling to and from school. “The aim is to accompany the children safely to school, while at the same time, they get a chance to have a sense of belonging to a group,” says Helena Vilardell, founder of the organisation behind the initiative. The guardian cyclists - parents, teachers and other volunteers - pick up kids along the route and drop them off, just like a traditional school bus. The initiative already has more than 1,200 kids mass-pedalling to more than 70 schools across 25 cities in the region. The best part? It is highly replicable, organised by family associations and schools, good for the children and great for the environment. Children even report enjoying cycling on rainy days, because it is fun "to ride through puddles".
Since 1949, the Finnish government has given every expectant mother a cardboard box that their baby can sleep in, filled with essential items like clothes, sheets and toys.
A new conservation project is blooming in Devon, aiming to create a network of flower-filled grasslands spanning 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of coastland by 2030. The first 200 acres have already been sown, using 31 seed varieties including yellow rattle and oxeye daisy. The new habitats will attract a wide range of wildlife including voles, bats, birds of prey and butterflies.
Researchers have unearthed the remains of a new species of gigantic marine turtle in northern Spain that's the size of a car. Weighing about two tons and measuring 12 feet long, the prehistoric creature is the largest of its kind ever discovered in Europe. The find was completely accidental: A hiker stumbled across some bone fragments while walking in the Pyrenees mountains. Scientists described the turtle, which they named Leviathanochelys aenigmatica, in a paper published in Scientific Reports. “Leviathan” is a nod to the animal’s large body size, and “chelys” means turtle. “Aenigmatica” translates to enigma - in reference to some of the creature’s strange characteristics, the authors write.
The United States is taking aim at methane emissions with a set of proposed rules announced by President Joe Biden. The new initiatives, suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency, expand on regulations the agency proposed a year ago and could take effect as soon as 2023. The new rules would prevent 36 million tons of methane emissions by the end of the decade - the same impact as turning off all the country’s coal power plants for a year. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. Even though CO2 has a longer-lasting effect, methane sets the pace for warming in the near term. At least 25 percent of today's global warming is driven by methane from human actions.
"Sometimes I am amazed that my wife and I created two human beings from scratch yet struggle to assemble the most basic of IKEA cabinets." John Kinnear
On this Day
24 November 1859: Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published.
Hakuna Matata - who doesn't love this uplifting song from the Lion King?