Only Good News Friday

Updated: Oct 28

Concluding the week with a smorgasbord of bite sized chunks of good news.

  • This gorgeous image is the overall winner of the 2021 Drone Photography Awards - a flock of thousands of pink-footed geese hovering over snow-covered ground, a moment frozen in time by Norwegian photographer Terje Kolaas. This photo came out on top among the thousands of submissions from 104 countries, according to the festival curators.

  • Though overfishing remains a global problem, a science-driven approach has led to surprisingly sustainable practices in some countries. This includes the U.S. where the effort to fight overfishing has been extremely successful. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 43 fish stocks have been rebuilt since the year 2000. Now, 84 percent of stocks are no longer overfished. And this good news often has a knock-on effect: a solution in one country or region can often be replicated in another. Step by step. Success breeds success.

  • Last year, Norway made huge progress in its transition away from fossil fuels, as more than 54 percent of all car sales were electric. That number skyrocketed in September, when 9 in 10 cars sold in the Scandinavian country were either electric or rechargeable hybrids, according to the Norwegian Information Council for Road Traffic. The Norwegian Automobile Federation now forecasts that the last internal combustion car will be sold in April next year.

  • The World Health Organisation advises a daily intake of 45mg of vitamin C a day based on a study conducted in 1944 by The Sorby Research Institute. The NHS advises a similar dose of 40mg. The good news is that scientists at the University of Washington have now revisited this 70 year old research and say that the current guidelines for vitamin C intake are not based on maximising overall health, but staving off scurvy! Hardly surprising, therefore, that the new recommendation is to double the original suggestion.

  • Diamonds are not the planet’s best friend. Their mining requires a tremendous amount of resources, energy, land and pollution. But a diamond is essentially just crystalline carbon. This year, two companies have begun producing diamonds made from carbon captured from the air: Aether in the U.S., and Sky Diamond in the U.K. “Everything we need to create a sky diamond comes from the sky,” says Dale Vince of Sky Diamond. “The carbon is taken from the atmosphere, wind and sun provide all our energy, and the water we use is captured rain. The only thing we put back into the world is cleaner air than we took out.”

  • Happy has been the “client” of the Nonhuman Rights Project since 2018. This July, its founder, Steven Wise, filed a 14,000-word brief with New York’s highest court “demanding the right to bodily liberty of an elephant named Happy held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo.” The New York Court of Appeals agreed to consider the arguments. Calling it a “landmark elephant rights case,” the Nonhuman Rights Project says it is “the first time that the highest court of an English-speaking jurisdiction will hear a case that demands that a nonhuman animal be given a legal right.” OGN will keep you posted...

  • By 2025, builders in the UK will be banned from fitting conventional gas boilers in new-build homes, and ministers are reportedly considering outlawing the sale of the devices completely by the mid-2030s.

  • The road to making rail transportation more intelligent is being paved with slow and steady steps. Siemens and German rail operator Deutsche Bahn have revealed the world's first driverless, fully automated train in the city of Hamburg, billed as more punctual and energy-efficient than traditional trains. Without having laid a single kilometer of new track, the train will be able to carry up to 30 percent more passengers, saving more than 30 percent on energy. Note: though several airports around the world have driverless monorail terminal shuttles and Paris has driverless metro trains, this new train is the first fully automated train that can safely run on existing rail infrastructure alongside regular human-driven trains.

  • Cement makers around the world have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by up to a quarter this decade and reach net zero by 2050, in a move they said would make a major difference to the prospects for the Cop26 climate summit. The industry is responsible for about 7-8 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of more than any individual country except China and the US.

  • Between the United States and Russia are the Diomede Islands. The two countries divide the islands, with Bio Diomede located in Russia and Little Diomede in America, separated by the International Border and Date Line. Because of this, although the islands are just 2.4 miles apart, there's a 20-hour time difference between them. This unique trait is why Big Diomede is called Tomorrow Island and Little Diomede is called Yesterday Island.

Dive in Deeper

Hummingbirds - live!

The West Texas Feeder Cam is nestled in the mountains outside Fort Davis at an elevation of over 5500 feet. This site hosts a total of 30 hummingbird feeders, and during peak migration can attract hundreds of hummingbirds from a dozen species that are migrating through the arid mountains.