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What Went Right Last Week

Synopsis of last week's most important good news highlights.


Two girls jumping for joy

Young V&A: A wonderful new museum for children has opened in London. 22,000 kids helped decide what this museum should be like and what it should contain.


Earless Dragon: A tiny earless lizard thought to be extinct in the wild has been spotted for the first time in more than 50 years in grasslands in Australia.


Tribrid Trains: Nicknamed 'Blues', Europe’s first trains to use batteries as a main source of power are now running on lines across Italy.


NZ Takes Lead: Having already outlawed single-use plastics, it has now become the first country to ban plastic bags used for loose fruit and vegetables in stores - a move that will reduce waste by a further 150 million plastic bags per year.


Accidental Discovery: The history of science is marked by accidental discoveries and now we can add another to that illustrious list as researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst revealed news about the development of a device that can extract electricity from humid air. A student forgot to plug in an experiment, but it continued to produce a small amount of power regardless. After this 'wow' moment, the team are endeavouring to scale up their potentially world changing discovery.


TB Vaccine: The Gates Foundation just announced $550 million for trials of a new TB vaccine covering 26,000 people in Africa and SE Asia. This is a big deal as tuberculosis is the deadliest infectious disease on the planet, and a new vaccine would instantly become one of the most important medicines in existence.


Swiss Neutrality: In a landmark decision, Swiss citizens have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a new climate law aimed at achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Anchoring the goal of net zero emissions in law will provide the necessary certainty for future planning and pave the way for a fossil fuel-free future.


Life-Changing: The Indian state of Karnataka has made bus travel free for all women. The response has been a tidal wave of smiling women laying siege to buses. In the first nine days of the scheme, more than 40 million women climbed aboard.


Joshua Trees: The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act has passed in California. The act is the first legislation in the state to protect a species from climate change. These outlandish “trees” are actually monocotyledons, or monocots, a type of grass-like, flowering plant.


Is The Sky The Limit? Pioneering the way for inclusivity in space exploration, former Paralympian and surgeon John McFall has embarked on his training as the world's first astronaut with a disability. Over the next two years, he will participate in a groundbreaking feasibility study conducted by ESA and NASA, examining the prerequisites for disabled individuals to journey into space.


Dark Matter Hunt: The £1.2 billion ($1.5bn) Euclid telescope - named after the Greek father of geometry - has blasted off aboard a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral to start hunting for invisible dark energy and dark matter which make up 95 percent of the universe.


Helping Save Our Oceans: Illegal fishing threatens marine ecosystems, increases food insecurity and regional economic instability, and is linked to huge human rights violations. And Global Fishing Watch knows that something must be done. So, it has launched an innovative interactive map to help save our oceans.


Shipping Forecast: As the chair of this week’s International Maritime Organisation talks asked negotiators to rise in applause, they signed off on targets to cut emissions 20% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and 100% “by or around, i.e. close to 2050”. Not great, but a start. Before today there were no 2030 and 2040 targets and a goal to just halve emissions by 2050. No doubt the pressure will continue to pile on the industry until, at last, a concrete, legally binding deal is reached.

 
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