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Today's Positive News

Updated: Jan 1

Today's eclectic global collection of positive news nuggets to perk up the day.


Meet the Bopeas

It's well known that modern British aristocrats like to forage for mushrooms, make their own cheese, bake their own bread, keep bees, swim in rivers and rewild their estates, all in pursuit of a more Romantic rural life. Now, Tatler magazine, the so-called 'society bible', has suggested a term for this green-fingered elite, whose poster boy is King Charles: they are bohemian peasants, or Bopeas. According to anthropologist Louis Elton, Bopeas "cultivate meaning and status in ways that expand the ideals of success beyond conventional material accumulation. It's all about the niche, the hyper-local and the mythic."


Well Done Brenda!

Brenda Lee, 78, dances merrily to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart with her holiday classic Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. The song rewrites multiple records as it tops the chart for the first time - 65 years after its release. Brenda, meanwhile, adds her third No. 1 - and her first since 1960. Want to see her in her new music video? Click here.


Woman walking her dog
Pets For Brain Health

Owning a dog or cat appears to slow cognitive decline in older people, a study has found. Almost 650 people aged 50 and over, and in good health at the start, were given cognitive tests at intervals over 13 years; around a third of them owned a pet. All experienced some degree of mental decline, but the deterioration was generally slower in those who had pets. The researchers, from the University of Maryland, noted that pet ownership has already been associated with lower levels of stress, heart disease and (in the case of dogs) increased physical activity; it may also combat social isolation and loneliness, which have both been linked to cognitive decline.


Exterior of a We Rock the Spectrum gym
Credit: We Rock the Spectrum
Rock The Spectrum

Tiera Turner created a play space in her backyard with a trampoline, rock climbing wall and water activities for her two sons, who were diagnosed with autism, and now is turning a property in Detroit into a sensory gym and activity space as part of the national We Rock the Spectrum franchise. After Dina Kimmel opened the first We Rock the Spectrum gym in LA in 2010, her son, Gabriel, had fewer meltdowns, better sleep, better eating habits. It also became a place of joy for her non-autistic daughter. “My husband’s a musician,” she says. “And so we’re like, if we’re gonna have a kiddo on the spectrum, we’re gonna rock it.” Today, there are 140 We Rock the Spectrum gym locations across eight different countries.


Climate Victory

In a powerful victory for climate campaigners, the Brussels court of appeal ordered Belgium to cut its planet-heating pollution by at least 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, says The Guardian. By 2021, Belgium had cut its emissions by just 24 percent. The court rejected arguments that Belgium’s impact on the climate crisis was limited by its small size.


Colonial Hangover Fix

It’s been an extraordinary few weeks for nature and people protection in British Columbia, with a slew of unprecedented funding and legislative initiatives. The progress has marked a historic turning point in how the province prioritises Indigenous-led conservation, reports The Narwhal. There's a new $300 million conservation-financing fund for old-growth forest protection, to be administered by First Nations, alongside a $700 million ‘Nature Agreement’ between federal and provincial governments and the First Nations Leadership Council. Plus a draft of a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health Framework to enforce the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem health over corporate profits. "The changes are so vast that 'nature protection' fails to capture the magnitude of events. What’s happening before our eyes is a whole-of-society restructuring. Think of it as a personal makeover for a region twice the size of France, trying to recover from the hangover of 150 years of colonial plunder."


Autonomous weeding machine called the Ekobot
Credit: Ekobot AB
Ekobot

Anybody who has pulled weeds in a garden knows that it's a tedious task. Scale it up to farm-sized jobs, and it becomes a nightmare. The most efficient industrial alternative, herbicides, have potentially devastating side effects for people, animals, and the environment. So a Swedish company named Ekobot has introduced an electric wheeled robot that, using the power of AI, can autonomously recognize and pluck weeds from the ground rapidly using metal fingers. It can cover about 10 hectares (about 24.7 acres) in a day. Ekobot claims its weed-plucking robot allows farmers to grow onions with 70 percent fewer herbicides. It would be extra good news if such AI helped pave the way for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming system.

 

"Of all the months of the year there is not a month one half so welcome to the young, or so full of happy associations, as the last month of the year." Charles Dickens

 
On This Day

6 December 1917: Finland declared itself independent of Russia, following the Bolshevik Revolution.

 





 
Mood Booster

The slow-mo baby goat video you didn’t know you needed. But do!



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