Global round up of good news nuggets to help get the day off to a positive start.
Ecuador’s highest court has made a landmark ruling in favour of the protected cloud forest in the northwest of the country, Los Cedros. Enami EP, Ecuador’s national mining company, held rights for mining concessions that involved areas in two-thirds of the reserve, however, the constitutional court decided that these mining permits would gravely impact the biodiversity of the forest, which includes endangered frogs, several rare orchid species, spectacled bears (pictured), and one of the world’s rarest primates, the brown-headed spider monkey. The ruling advocates for the rights of nature, which apply to the entire country, not just protected areas, and were formally included in the country’s rewritten constitution in 2008. “This is a historic victory for nature,” declared Natalia Greene of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.
A record number of visitors queued outside London's National Gallery in January 1922, despite the drizzly conditions, to see a single painting: Thomas Gainsborough's Blue Boy (c 1770). The artwork was bought by a US collector in 1921 and its imminent departure drew 90,000 people to get a last glimpse of what the press had dubbed "the world's most beautiful painting". An article in the London Times claimed that the Blue Boy exemplified the "courtly grace and serene carriage of a people who knew themselves a great people and were not ashamed to own it." To the general population, Gainsborough's Blue Boy was the epitome of high culture and the noble British character. From today, Blue Boy is making a centenary comeback and will once again be displayed in the National Gallery, for a five-month run (25 January to 15 May).
Food for thought: An article from Healthline reveals that up to 31 percent of the total fiber can be found in the exteriors of vegetables. Therefore, to keep you fuller for longer and your gut happier, forget peeling your fruit and veg - a good wash is sufficient to clean them for eating. Generally speaking, unpeeled produce contains higher amounts of minerals, vitamins, and more. Take a potato, for example, a boiled unpeeled potato contains up to 175 percent more vitamin C, 115 percent more potassium, 111 percent more folate, and 110 percent more magnesium and phosphorus than its peeled counterpart. Eating your fruits and vegetables unpeeled can truly increase your nutrient intake - and think of the time you'll save!
The bare-faced curassow had been absent from Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands for at least four decades. However, conservationists have just revealed that three bare-faced curassow chicks were released in the reserve at the beginning of January, following two other reintroductions last year. The species was driven out of the wetlands by hunting and habitat loss. Now ecologists are attempting to turn the clock back by returning missing species. Last year, jaguars were reintroduced after an absence of 70 years. Biologists described the return of the bare-faced curassow as “a very important step in the recovery of an ecosystem”.
Proponents of a shorter working week have long argued that it would improve life satisfaction without impacting productivity. The UK is about to become the latest country to be swayed by the idea, giving more time to hit the beach. From June, it will trial a four-day working week, as part of a six month experiment. Staff will get the same pay for fewer hours, and their productivity will be monitored. Canon is one of around 30 firms taking part in the trial, run by researchers at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Academics want other companies to take part.
Six new solar plants on former Virginia coal mines are among the first such projects in the United States - and could help previously fossil-fuel communities shift to a greener economy, reports Reuters. In 2022, almost half of the planned utility-scale electric generating capacity coming online will be solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Quote of the Day
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill
On this Day
25 January 1977: The world's first solar power plant is opened. The solar furnace in Odeillo, France was the first power plant providing alternative energy.
Dive in Deeper
Robert Burns Quotes and Poetry Excerpts: Burns Night is a staple celebration in the Scots calendar, and for good reason. The annual festivities are a welcome excuse for a feast, music, dancing, and boasting about Scotland’s cultural contribution to the world. And tonight's the night! Read on...
A Quick Visit to Petra
Hidden in Jordan's desert is the remains of one of the most spectacular civilisations in all of human history. This 4 minute guided tour is a bit of a treat...