Thursday's smorgasbord of good news nuggets to help perk up the day.
Aurora of the Sea
On New Zealand’s north island, shores have been lit up by the glowing “aurora of the sea”: blooms of plankton that glow blue-green after nightfall. Bioluminescence is an elusive, rare, magical occurrence. The light is activated by movement: cresting waves begin to glow, splashes sparkle, footprints glimmer blue in the wet sand, and swimming fish can leave sparkling trails. “Every time a wave comes in, you can see this beautiful phenomenon. It’s amazing – a lot of people were there, a lot of people with families, some of them were swimming,” says Sajith Muraleedharan, a photographer. “It is indeed a great thing to witness.”
A huge triumph for conservation has been delivered in an adorable, furry little package. An extremely rare Sumatran rhino was born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia, marking a new hope for the critically endangered animal. Sumatran rhinos are the world's smallest rhino species, and only about 80 remain in pockets of South Asia. The International Rhino Foundation says without breeding programs like one at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, the animal would already be extinct. Instead, their numbers are holding steady, and every time a new one is born, like this baby girl here, the species gets one step closer to thriving in the wild once again.
Act of Kindness
Marilyn Attebery from Washington tells this story: "Driving home in a blizzard, I noticed a vehicle trailing close behind me. Suddenly, my tire blew! I pulled off the road, and so did the other car. A man jumped out from behind the wheel and without hesitation changed the flat. “I was going to get off two miles back,” he said. “But I didn’t think that tire looked good.”
Vodka From Cheese
Last year, more than 21 million metric tons of cheese were produced globally. That’s a lot of cheese, but it’s even more whey - the byproduct that’s left after milk is curdled and strained. Every pound of hard cheese produces about nine pounds of whey, and while some large manufacturers can use the whey for things like animal feed, much of it gets discarded. Now, a California distillery called Wheyward Spirit (fantastic) is using the byproduct to make alcohol! Truly, humans are tireless innovators when it comes to food and drink. Liquid whey is 95 percent water, but contains enough lactose sugar to ferment into alcohol. It takes a more complex process, but it ends up saving water in the end, and using up that whey waste. And no, the vodka doesn’t taste like cheese.
It was a big day for Bigg's whales. A record number of the transient killer whales have just been counted off the coast of British Columbia and Washington state. According to the Pacific Whale Watch Association, whale watchers counted 10 distinct groups of the animal for a new single-day high of more than 70 whales. Mark Malleson, researcher for the Center for Whale Research confirmed the number as a new Salish Sea record. According to Malleson, there have been days in the past decade where 50, maybe 60, Bigg's were spotted, but he said in a statement that this new tally was "astounding."
Better Than Fences
To help the climate and reduce pollution, the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK urges gardeners and homeowners to take down their fences and plant hedges instead. The charity partnered with scientists to explore what types of green infrastructure could be implemented, especially in urban areas. According to their research, switching out fences for hedges to mark property boundaries and gardens is a relatively easy way to reduce pollution, improve air quality, slow the flow of rainwater to help with flood management, provide shelter for wildlife, support pollinators, and help regulate temperature. Of course, you don't need to live in the UK to follow this advice...
Quote of the Day
“We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.” Dalai Lama
On this Day
7 April 1948: The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the UN, was formally established.
Dive in Deeper
Whilst many people don't understand cryptocurrencies, most people know that 'mining' them is bad news for the planet because of the carbon emissions they generate. Happily, a solution to reduce these by 99 percent has been found. Read on...
Barak Obama Fronts Wildlife Series
Is the former President positioning himself to take over the mantle from Sir David Attenborough? Probably not. But he is presenting a new five part Netflix series on the world's greatest national parks. It premiers on 13 April. Here's the official trailer...