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Good News Worth Celebrating

Last week was a big week for good news about medicine, health, conservation, wildlife and clean energy.

Man punching the air after achieving success
Celebrating success!
Medicine / Health

Amazing Cancer Drug: An immunotherapy drug could spare bowel cancer patients the need for surgery and chemotherapy after results showed it was effective in 100 percent of cases. Jemperli from British pharmaceutical company GSK showed “unprecedented results”, with no evidence of disease in all patients treated.

Parkinson's Disease Breakthrough: An AI-enhanced finger-prick test for Parkinson’s could predict the disease seven years before the onset of symptoms - opening up the possibility of using early treatments to slow the onset of Parkinson’s or even stop it in its tracks.

Major Achievement: UNICEF records a 72 percent drop in child mortality rate in South Asia. It must surely be one of the greatest-ever achievements in international development. A new report says that thanks to numerous initiatives deaths dropped from 5 million a year in 1990 to 1.3 million a year in 2022.

First Sleep Apnea Drug: An existing drug has shown that it can greatly improve the quality of sleep for those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It also boosts weight loss and heart health.

Global Poll: The world is feeling good again, says Gallup. Last week, the analytics firm Gallup released their latest annual report on global emotions. It’s a mammoth undertaking, with 146,000 people surveyed across 142 countries.

Conservation / Wildlife

Greatest Ever Recovery: In what one conservationist called “the greatest recovery of a cat species ever achieved through conservation,” the Iberian lynx has been brought back from the brink of extinction.

Tiger Conservation: In the last 15 years, Nepal has tripled its tiger population to 355 thanks to a zero-poaching policy and conservation measures that have increased forest cover by 45 percent. According to World Bank, the success is benefitting local communities, and with now generating 4,000 full-time tourism jobs.

Historic Ruling in Peru: This is one of the most powerful conservation stories of the year. A group of Indigenous women in Peru have won a historic ruling recognising the legal rights of the Marañón River, the main source of the great Amazon. What makes this story ‘nearly transcendent’ is that after decades of patriarchy, it was a female judge of Indigenous descent who listened to the testimony of the women and ruled in favour of the river’s inherent right to life.

Caribou Habitat: Nearly 200,000 hectares of habitat in Canada's northeast British Columbia has been permanently protected in the newly expanded Klin-se-Za/Twin Sisters Park, making it the largest provincial park created in the province in a decade, and is expected to greatly help the endangered caribou.

New EU Restoration Law: After months of controversy, the EU’s nature restoration law has finally passed. Last week, a knife-edge vote by member states gave the green light to a first-of-its-kind law to protect and revive Europe’s beleaguered forests, coastline, grasslands and wildlife. Member states are now tasked with restoring 20 percent of the bloc’s land and sea by the end of the decade, focusing on natural ecosystems that will store the most carbon, and halting the decline of Europe’s biodiversity.

Clean Energy

Solar's Longest Day: According to analysis by Ember, a climate think tank, close to 20 percent of the world’s electricity came from solar during the mid-day peak, an all-time record. That’s up from 16 percent in 2023. In other words, global solar power generation has grown by approximately 25 percent in the last 12 months - as recorded on the annual summer solstice.

Welcome Wind: Offshore wind hits major global milestone according to an encouraging new report. It finds global offshore wind capacity has risen more than 20 percent in the past year. Wind technician is still the fastest-growing job in America - providing a rural jobs bonanza.

Hats Off to Alberta: In a feat once thought impossible, the Canadian province of Alberta went from 80 percent coal power to zero - years ahead of schedule. Back in 2001, coal accounted for as much as four fifths of the electricity on the province's grid. "I think there was a general view that phasing out by 2030 would actually be very challenging, and yet here we are."

UK Fossil Fuels: Following similar rulings elsewhere in the world, the climate impact of burning coal, oil and gas must be taken into account when deciding whether to approve projects, the Supreme Court in London has ruled. Campaigners hailed the ruling as a “huge win in the fight for a liveable climate.”

Recycling Solar Panels: Venetian startup 9Tech has found a highly efficient, eco-friendly approach to recycling solar panels where up to a whopping 99 percent of components can be recovered.

Big Oil vs Big Solar: Who makes more energy: the seven largest oil companies or the seven largest Chinese solar panel manufacturers? If you guessed the oil giants, you’re wrong. When you break down how many joules of energy each one provides - and factor in resource efficiency - solar comes out on top, says Bloomberg, especially considering future investments and equipment longevity.

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