OGN Wednesday

It's the middle of the week and there are plenty of good news snippets to enjoy.

  • Wildlife officials in Florida have reported an “encouraging” number of sightings of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales off the south-eastern US, including at least 14 new calves, three born to first-time mothers. The total count of winter sightings of the species has reached 65. The numbers represent what conservationists say is the “most encouraging calving season in years”.

  • Tiny as it is, the Netherlands is the largest exporter of vegetables in the world, which is extraordinary when you consider it's about 20 percent of the size of the UK. Now it's had another clever idea to boost yields.

  • Anonymous donor gifts $40 million for 50 future civil rights lawyers. With that whopping gift from a single anonymous donor, the fund plans to put 50 students through law schools around the country. In return, they must commit to eight years of racial justice work in the South, starting with a two-year post-graduate fellowship in a civil rights organization.

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will convert all their diesel school buses to all-electric models by the end of 2021. This change has great environmental and public health benefits, but it wouldn’t have happened without the help of Holly Thorpe, a local middle school student. Thorpe created a science fair project on the benefit of electric vehicles and presented it to the school district board with a proposition to convert the local school buses to electric models. Among her research was the fact that carbon dioxide fumes inside the buses were 10 times more than the levels recommended by the EPA.

  • Raphael's cartoons never looked better: The V&A's new-look gallery - plus fresh digital insights available online now - will transform how we see the tapestries he designed for the Sistine Chapel in the early 16th century.

  • Birdwatching in Britain, the perfect family-friendly activity, soared during lockdown. Next weekend's Big Garden Birdwatch will see 500,000 people count their garden birds - one of the world's largest citizen science projects. “Garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy,” says Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s chief executive. “Lockdown brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people. By taking part in the Birdwatch, you are helping to build an annual snapshot of how our birdlife is doing across the UK.”

  • Sweden starts building road crossings for wildlife, the latest in global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads - for the benefit of both animals and humans.

  • Hats off to a Paris-based tech company that has seen off competition from the world’s best-known green businesses to be named the most sustainable corporation on the planet. Schneider Electric has climbed the annual Global 100 index, from a ranking of 29 last year, offering the technology and energy solutions needed by the likes of retailer Walmart, hotel group Marriott and steel business ArcelorMittal to meet their climate targets. The annual green company league table, compiled by researcher Corporate Knight, ranked over 8,000 publicly listed companies which generate annual revenues of over $1bn to find the most sustainable businesses.

  • It's never too late! Great-grandmother earns college degree at 90 years old from Georgian Court University after putting her education on hold to care for her husband.

  • Anti-Vaxxers: conspiracy theory websites around the world lit up yesterday following the first confirmed death linked to the Pfizer vaccine - before being forced to figure out ways to work around the fact that the deceased person was in fact hit by a Pfizer delivery truck. Warning: Dark Humour / Fake News!

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook says: "Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it's just a job, and life is too short for that."

  • A small lake outside Stockholm, Sweden, emits otherworldly sounds as Mårten Ajne skates over its precariously thin, black ice. “Wild ice skating,” or “Nordic skating,” is both an art and a science. A skater seeks out the thinnest, most pristine black ice possible - both for its smoothness, and for its high-pitched, laser-like sounds.

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