After another tumultuous week, OGN wraps it up with a positive bundle of good news nuggets to put a spring back in your step.
Rio de Janeiro is revving up for a serious party weekend - perhaps doubly so after last year's cancelled event. Normally staged in February, this year's Rio Carnival - what Brazilians call the greatest show on earth - gets properly into gear tonight and Saturday night with its famously flamboyant floats, costumes and revelry at Sambódromo, a purpose-built parade venue in downtown Rio.
Common Sense Restored
President Joe Biden’s White House has finally reversed the Trump’s industry-friendly overhaul of one of America’s bedrock environmental laws. The new rules restore key provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, requiring federal agencies to once again evaluate climate impacts when reviewing pipelines, power plants, airports and other infrastructure projects - and to include the public in the environmental review process. In further good news, word is bubbling out of Congress that Build Back Better is being resuscitated.
NASA is taking a step in a distinctly Star Trek direction with a new communication method it tested on the International Space Station. It’s called ‘holoporting’ and, as you’d expect, is a mix between a hologram and teleportation. It resulted in NASA flight surgeon Dr. Josef Schmid appearing on the space station as a hologram and able to talk to the astronauts in real time. ‘This is completely new manner of human communication across vast distances,’ Schmid said.
Life-sized (and often much bigger) sculptures of colorful marine life are traveling in exhibitions across America to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the ocean.The message is uniquely and powerfully communicated, as the sculptures are made entirely from ocean-born plastic, picked up by volunteers, and formed by artists into powerful installations. The Washed Ashore Project is trying to communicate the message of ocean conservation through art - saving beauty by creating beauty. “It’s an ugly problem with a beautiful solution,” says Brad Parks, director at Washed Ashore.
A decade ago it was twice as expensive to build a new solar farm than a new coal plant. Now, it's flipped. Based on data gathered by Our World In Data, electricity from a new coal plant is now twice as expensive than electricity from new solar panels. Much of the decline in cost is due to more affordable technology. In "learning by doing", it created a cycle of progress that lead to the decline in price: solar tech was installed, leading to more research and development, leading to more/better tech and more installations, and so on. Another benefit of added solar capacity: it gets even cheaper the more capacity there is! This data is really good news for the future.
California EV Plan
Echoing similar time lines in Europe, California has unveiled its plan to completely phase out gas-powered cars by 2035, and will require 35 percent of new cars sold in California to be battery or hydrogen-powered powered by 2026. California is the fifth-largest economy in the world and the largest in the US, and its decision could influence the car market around the country. Other states such as New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and at least 15 other states have mirrored California’s clean car regulations in the past, and we might see the same from this new initiative.
Quote of the Day
“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
On this Day
22 April 1970: First celebrated on this day in the U.S., Earth Day - founded by American politician and conservationist Gaylord Anton Nelson - helped spark the environmental movement and quickly grew into an international event.
Dive in Deeper
Musical Mood Booster
More than 250 people participated in a 'feelgood' flash-mob stunt at the Central Station in Antwerp, Belgium. Grease is definitely still the word!