OGN Saturday Nuggets

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Eclectic bundle of good news nuggets to get the day off to a bright start.

  • A highly transmissible disease spreading rampantly through a sprawling nation - for decades, that was China, with hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths each year. Now? China is malaria-free, an astounding achievement in public health that just might hold lessons for the rest of the world.

  • A pregnant Afghan woman who boarded a U.S. evacuation aircraft gave birth in the plane - and the baby girl was named ‘Reach’ after the C-17 that flew the family, and hundreds of other people, to safety.

  • No more speeding past the Eiffel Tower! The speed limit on nearly all the streets of Paris is now just 30 kph (18 mph), down from 50 kph (31 mph). It’s the latest move by the French capital to improve its climate credentials and transform people’s relationship to their vehicles. City officials say it’s also aimed at reducing accidents and making Paris more pedestrian-friendly. Next year Paris will also ban through traffic.

  • Bamboo, algae, merino wool, sugarcane, and pineapple husk - these are some of the main ingredients behind a new eco-friendly shoe collection from New Zealand. Made by YY Nation, the new shoes aim to take sustainability in the footwear industry to a whole new level - a much-needed change for an industry where manufacturers produce billions of pairs of shoes annually, most of which end up in landfills.

  • There are many ways to say, ‘Happy Birthday!’ but the sweetest of all may be a special chocolate message that was served up by an amazingly thoughtful restaurant staff. Creating a birthday cake was nothing new at London’s Luciano by Gino D’Acampo restaurant, but for birthday girl Natalie Te Paa, who is totally blind, the best wishes were spelled out in Braille. Even more impressively, there was no advance planning involved. When the team learned the dinner Te Paa was sharing with a friend was a birthday celebration, they took it upon themselves to find and recreate the Braille translation that summed up their best wishes in well-chilled chocolate.

  • With no oil or gas and not much coal, sunshine is Spain’s greatest energy resource, and yet it remains underexploited, providing just 6 percent of the country's energy needs. However, Spain's growing energy cooperative movement has received an important boost after the government announced that some of the latest allocation of renewable energy will be in small lots, rather than large tranches that only big energy companies can afford. The move signals a change of attitude after successive governments have given in to the demands of the power giants. Friends of the Earth welcomed the government’s change of heart as “a favourable measure".

  • In Berlin, a company called Dance has just unveiled its e-bike subscription service. As the upfront cost of buying a high quality e-bike is pretty significant, Dance's concept strips away that purchasing hurdle and charges a subscrition of 79 euros ($93) a month. Through the accompanying app, members can schedule repairs and maintenance with no charge, which will be addressed within 24 hours, and get their e-bike replaced if it’s stolen (if it was locked properly, there will be a 100 euro ($118) fee for that replacement).

  • In 2016, Felix Böck, a doctoral student in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, estimated that 100,000 pairs of chopsticks were being sent to landfills every day in Vancouver alone. Now in its fourth year, ChopValue has exploded into success. Böck employs 40 people, and using his special methods of steam and press machines, he has recycled 32 million pairs of chopsticks. The furniture and other items he creates like shelves, cutting boards, coasters, and hexagonal decorative blocks often contain thousands of chopsticks per item, a good thing, since billions of chopsticks are used every year. Böck hopes to scale up his business model by spreading factories for recycling local wood like chopsticks worldwide without relying on distribution chains, something he calls the Microfactory, and which he has already set up in 10 countries.

  • Fun Fact: The British royal family may be the most famous royal family on the planet, but there are still plenty of other nobles out there. In total, there are 28 royal families who rule over a total of 43 countries around the world, including Japan, Spain, Swaziland, Bhutan, Thailand, Monaco, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Liechtenstein.

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