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Just Good News Friday

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Wrapping up the first week of the year with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.

US Congress building illuminated at night
Women in Congress

There is now a record number of women serving in U.S. Congress. Though still far below the share of the population, a total of 149 women now serve in the U.S. House and Senate, a 59% increase from the 96 women who served a decade ago.

No ifs or Butts

Spain’s new environmental regulations have ruled that tobacco companies will have to foot the bills for removing discarded cigarettes from the country’s streets. The measure comes into force today. Cigarette manufacturers are also obliged to remind consumers not to throw away butts in public areas. Spain has not yet said how the clean up will be carried out and what it will cost tobacco companies. A Catalan study by ‘zero waste society’ Rezero estimated the cost to be between €12 - €21 per citizen per year - a total of up to €1 billion. Cigarette companies are likely to transfer the cost to the consumer by increasing product prices, which could also work out as another incentive to quit.

Irish Referendum?

Ireland could hold a referendum on giving nature the same rights as people. Ireland’s citizens’ assembly on biodiversity loss has called on the government to hold a referendum on protecting biodiversity. If it goes ahead it could enshrine the protection of biodiversity in the Irish constitution. This would mean granting nature rights comparable to people.

Rapid Renewables Rise

In its 2022 annual report on renewable energy capacity, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that renewables are on track to double by 2027 - 30 percent higher than the growth forecasted one year ago. The growth will be driven primarily by solar energy. Renewables are expected to account for 90 percent of global electricity expansion and overtake coal as the largest supplier of energy even sooner - by 2025.

Man on a Mission

After working in Europe for a few years, Adama Diémé returned home to Senegal. When he noticed how few trees where left in the villages where there had been hundreds in his youth, he was shocked. Many of the trees have been cut down to build houses or to make charcoal, but no one plants new trees. Adama has now made it his mission to plant 5 million new trees over 5 years. He has started raising money and has been working hard to engage communities across the region. He has taught women in the communities skills to become small-scale farmers. They learned how to plant seeds and how to grow the crops, and are now selling their produce at local markets. Up to 12 kinds of trees are being planted - the varieties depend on the needs of the community and the terrain. "The trees, they are our hope for life."

Range Anxiety?

It's already happening in Detroit, and now Germany's first-ever public wireless road project is underway. The initiative will start by charging an electric bus that travels through the city, but it’s hoped it will progress far beyond that. The technology, which is from Electreon, charges EVs dynamically (while they're moving) and statically (while they’re still) to reduce battery capacity needs, eliminate range anxiety, lower total ownership costs, and charge EVs quickly and safely.


"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."

Benjamin Franklin

On this Day

6 January 1907: Maria Montessori opens her first Montessori school, in Rome


Mood Booster

Adult polar bears 'flirting' with each other.


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