Starting a new month with lots of good news nuggets.
It’s been three years since Canada legalized recreational cannabis under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, and one of the most significant positive benefits has been a drastic decrease in opioid prescriptions. A recent study compared prescriptions before and after legalization and found that average doses of opioids per person have fallen to less than 20 percent of their former levels.
Humpback whales have been removed from Australia's threatened species list after a significant increase in numbers in the 60 years since they were first protected. The Australian environment minister, Sussan Ley, said removing the humpback whale from the threatened species list was “a recognition of the success of the outstanding conservation efforts that are in place”. The number of humpback whales in Australian waters has grown from just 1,500 at the height of the commercial whaling industry to an estimated 40,000, Ley said.
It's a Wrap
Ditching plastic packaging for fruit and veg provides a triple win for the environment, according to new research. It found that selling items loose and without best before dates could save 100,000 tonnes of food waste, 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste and 130,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually in the UK alone. WRAP, the waste charity behind the study, said ditching plastic packaging means people are able to buy only the quantity of items they need. Many UK supermarkets sell fruit and vegetables in cellophane multipacks. In France, retailers don’t have a choice. The French government banned plastic packaging for fruit and vegetables at the start of the year. Spain is set to introduce similar legislation.
It's Good to Laugh
With so much gloom in the world courtesy of Russia's heavily botoxed dictator, it's more important than ever to get what good news you can (you're in the right place for that!), but it's also important to have a good laugh. This 20 second video of a farting dog making a cat angry is hysterical!
Hope that's cheered you up!
Amsterdam-based Seawind Ocean Technology and London firm Petrofac are collaborating to deploy new two-bladed floating wind turbines in European waters by 2024. The unique turbines can be installed in cyclone-prone areas and rough deep water thanks to their concrete floating structures. They feature a patented teetering hinge technology that separates the shaft from the rotor, protecting the turbine from potentially harmful conditions. The turbines will have a 50-year lifespan, and they can be placed in these adverse conditions with little maintenance requirements.
Ecologists report that the Mississippi River is the cleanest it’s been in more than a century, with pollution down to 1 percent of what it was in the 1980s, whilst a recent survey of the Thames found that the river, once declared biologically dead, is now “home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, China has passed a landmark environmental law protecting the Yangtze (pictured), one of the country’s two ‘mother rivers,’ banning all industrial projects, sand mining and all fishing, including in tributaries and the estuary.
A Bit More Dignity
Since the Vagrancy Act was passed in 1824, rough sleeping has been illegal in the UK, inflicting further hardship on homeless people. Now, the UK government has finally committed to repealing the legislation. Matt Downie, chief executive of the homeless charity Crisis, said: “For almost two hundred years, the criminalisation of homelessness has shamed our society. But now, at long last, the Vagrancy Act’s days are numbered. This offensive law does nothing to tackle rough sleeping, only entrenching it further in our society by driving people further from support. We know there are better, more effective ways to help people overcome their homelessness.”
Quote of the Day
"When I was growing up I always wanted to be someone. Now I realize I should have been more specific." Lily Tomlin
On this Day
1 March 1872: Yellowstone National Park, situated in the western United States and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, was established by the U.S. Congress as the country's - and the world's - first national park.
Dive in Deeper
Hippos are the architects of Botswana's Okavango Delta.