Inspiring collection of positive news nuggets to help perk up the day.
Belize is doubling its marine protected areas as part of a 'blue bonds' agreement that swaps national debt for conservation, reports The Nature Conservancy. The trailblazing approach has proven successful in Seychelles and similar negotiations are underway in the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. It’s like a bank agreeing to refinance a home if the owner promises to put the savings toward improvements - just on a country-sized scale.
Denizens of the Deep
Almost 200 nations have voted to regulate the global trade in shark fins in what has been hailed a conservation milestone. The vote adds 60 threatened shark species to the list of creatures protected under CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. “This is a historic decision for the health of the oceans”, said World Wildlife Fund shark expert Heike Zidowitz. “Sharks are an irreplaceable keystone species.”
More good news for sharks: A new gadget designed by marine scientists has been shown to almost eradicate shark bycatch in commercial fishing. Clipped to fishing lines, the ‘SharkGuard’ emits electrical pulses, which deter sharks by stimulating the delicate sensors around their nose and mouth. The device, trialled by a French longline tuna fishery, reduced accidental catch of blue sharks by 91 percent and of stingrays by 71 percent.
Calvin and Hobbes
From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, newspaper readers around the world followed the antics, and surprisingly poignant musings, of 6-year-old Calvin and his anthropomorphic tiger best friend, Hobbes, in Bill Watterson’s beloved daily comic strip. The final strip of Calvin and Hobbes ran in 1995. Now, one lucky fan can revisit the comic strip’s magic again and again: An unnamed buyer purchased a hand-colored Calvin and Hobbes strip that ran in May 1987 for $480,000 during Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Signature sale.
Mexico has pledged to double its renewable capacity by 2030, investing some $48 billion, says its Foreign Minister. The new goals will also see Mexico, a major car manufacturing hub, sell 50 percent zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. As a result, Mexico is about to raise its emissions reduction target for the first time since 2016.
Otters “hold hands” while sleeping, so they don’t float away from each other. And it’s super-cute.
Mega Wind Farm
China is to build a vast offshore wind farm, with construction getting underway before 2025. The location was chosen because it is so windy there that the turbines should be able to produce electricity roughly 50 percent of the time. Once complete, it will generate 43.3 gigawatts which, according to Euronews, is enough to power 13 million homes. The new wind farm brings China one step closer to reaching its goal of being climate neutral by 2060. It's a decade later than, for example, the EU, but at least it is moving in the right direction.
World Cup Buds
Qatar’s last-minute decision to ban alcohol at World Cup stadiums has left Budweiser with loads of beer left on its hands. The company has an innovative solution to offload it. Budweiser will ship the unsold Buds to the country that wins the tournament, the company said in a tweet. The company confirmed the plans in a statement to CNN Business, writing that it “wants to bring this celebration from the FIFA World Cup stadiums to the winning country’s fans.” Adding: “We will host the ultimate championship celebration for the winning country. Because, for the winning fans, they’ve taken the world. More details will be shared when we get closer to the finals.”
After years of campaigning, tribes and environmental organizations have achieved a major victory now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a plan to remove four hydroelectric dams from the Lower Klamath River and restore critical salmon habitat in California and Oregon. The agency’s unanimous vote was the last major hurdle toward returning the Klamath River to its free-flowing state. Tribes wanted to remove the dams to make it easier for Chinook and coho salmon to reach their upstream spawning grounds and to restore the overall health of a river that is culturally important to Native peoples in the area. “The Klamath salmon are coming home,” says Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok Tribe. It's thanks in part to $2.4 billion for dam removal, retrofit, and rehabilitation included in the bipartisan infrastructure law that President Joe Biden signed in the summer.
“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far I’ve finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” Dave Barry
On this Day
29 November 1972: Co-founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game, in Andy Capp's Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.
Six hilarious clips from the BBC's Funny Talking Animals.