An eclectic bundle of positive news snippets to help brighten up the day.
Nelly Cheboi has been named CNN's 2022 Hero of the Year. The computer science professional quit her software engineering job in Chicago to create computer labs for children in rural Kenya, where she grew up. Her nonprofit, TechLit Africa, uses upcycled computers to build the labs and help young people living in poverty learn computer skills that can give way to a brighter future. "The world is your oyster when you are educated," she told CNN. "By bringing the resources, by bringing these skills, we are opening up the world to them.” The Hero of the Year honor also comes with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Cheboi to continue her important work.
Green is White Hot
The green jobs market is white hot in the UK, according to a report by the consultancy PwC. It found that the number of green jobs advertised in the UK has trebled in the last year, and was growing at four times the rate of the average job market.
First for a Century
"Imagine the privilege of smelling a wonderful perfume that no one else alive on Earth has smelled before,” says the conservation photographer Eladio Fernandez. This year, Fernandez had that pleasure. After a challenging search in the cloud forests of northern Haiti, he located several Magnolia emarginata, a critically endangered tree with white flowers that hadn’t been seen (or smelled) for almost a century.
It's estimated that there are more than 52,000 acres of empty roadside land in the continental United States that could be generating solar power: in the medians, beside the shoulders, in the centers of on- and off-ramps. With solar panels at all these sites, it would generate enough to power 12 million passenger electric vehicles. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s sustainable highway project and mapping company ESRI have developed a free digital tool to help transportation departments plan solar projects. The tool finds the parcels of land where solar would work best, and planners can create a virtual model to make sure the installation would work.
Solar Farm Moves Like a Sun Flower: A new solar power farm floating on the waters of a large lake in the Netherlands is stalking the sun’s movements to make the most out of its energy capabilities - and radically improving conversion efficiency. More...
Two species, cactus finches and geckos, that were previously extinct on the Galapagos Islands have been found again after an invasive predator population was eradicated. Both species are once again thriving on the islands. A bird species not found on the islands before has also been discovered. According to scientists, this shows how impactful restoring and re-wilding ecosystems can be for addressing some of the world's environmental and biodiversity needs.
Conservation Silver Bullet? The rats, goats, dogs, cats and other mammals that spread round the world with humans have driven many native species to extinction. New research indicates that clearing invasive species from islands might be the closest thing to a silver bullet in conservation. Read on...
Could this be the green steel of the 21st century? Bamboo has been used for construction throughout China's history. In Hong Kong you can see bamboo used in scaffolding on buildings as tall as 50 stories. Bamboo scaffolding showcases the material's strengths: bamboo is flexible, strong and cheaper than steel and it is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet. “It has the potential to be the most affordable structural material on the planet,” says David Sands, founder of a company engineering bamboo products. “And the potential it has to cut our emissions is absolutely enormous.” Not just for scaffolding, but for housing too.
"My mother-in-law has come round to our house at Christmas seven years running. This year we’re having a change. We’re going to let her in." Les Dawson
On this Day
20 December 1946: Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, a drama starring Jimmy Stewart, premiered and later became a holiday classic.
How to play Happy Birthday like Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin...