Greetings to all you Gnusies, Gnubies, occasional drop-ins, silent regulars, and first-timers! Come sit with us to find and share messages of hope and to celebrate all the ways good people are solving problems and triumphing over evil-doers. The task we have set ourselves here in Gnuville is to search out hope no matter how difficult the situation might be. We learned during TFG’s four years of terror that hope can be found even in the darkest times. And with the Biden era off to a roaring start, there’s so much good news and so much hope that it’s gotten hard to pare Good News Roundups to a reasonable length!
Don’t forget that the Good News Roundup is a collaborative effort. We warmly encourage you to add your own good news finds in our comment section, The Best Comment Section on the Internet™, where sanity reigns, Gloomy Guses and Debbie Downers are encouraged to see the light, and pie fights are forbidden.
Settle in with your favorite morning beverage and get your day going with some good news, some vintage music, and some food for thought.
I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘70s funk and jazz-funk lately, and this great Crusaders tune is one of my all-time favorites. I hope it gets your morning off to a good start!
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I don’t have any over-arching theme for today’s GNR. What I’m noticing as I look over the items I chose is that they all show small incremental steps in the right (i.e., left 😉) direction, on the part of many people and occurring in many different arenas. Politically, we have a good decision by the Biden administration on asylum and several excellent Congressional actions and initiatives. Around the nation we have good people tackling injustices and showing generosity. And around the world we find enterprising, ingenious people beginning to solve seemingly insoluble environmental problems and working tirelessly to preserve our planet’s precious biodiversity. So much good news! And so much inspiration for all of us to get going on whatever actions are within our power to do.
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Good news in politics
US ends strict Trump-era asylum rules for violence victims
From the American Independent:
The U.S. government on [June 16th] ended two Trump administration policies that made it harder for immigrants fleeing violence to qualify for asylum, especially Central Americans.
Attorney General Merrick Garland issued new instructions to immigration judges to stop following the Trump-era rules that made it tough for immigrants who faced domestic or gang violence to win asylum in the United States. He also undid a policy that made it difficult for immigrants to obtain asylum based on threats to a family member.
The moves could make it easier for immigrants to win their cases for humanitarian protection and were widely celebrated by immigrant advocates.
"The significance of this cannot be overstated," said Kate Melloy Goettel, legal director of litigation at the American Immigration Council. "This was one of the worst anti-asylum decisions under the Trump era, and this is a really important first step in undoing that."
The House Voted to Finally Overturn the 2002 Iraq War Authorization
From Mother Jones:
Congress gave George W. Bush approval to invade Iraq in 2002 and, for the better part of two decades, lawmakers have shown little interest in repealing it, even as presidents from both parties widen the scope of that approval far beyond Iraq’s borders. Presidents now regularly initiate conflict without congressional approval and legislation like the 2002 AUMF—or “authorization for use of military force”—is a major reason why.
But Democrats in Congress hope to put the genie back in the bottle. The House voted Thursday 268-161 to repeal the 2002 declaration, sending the matter to the Senate, where it faces its best chance of success in years. All but one Democrat supported the measure, and 49 Republicans voted in favor.
“Congress has for so long failed to do its most basic functions of oversight and responsibility in exercising its war powers,” says Stephen Miles, executive director of Win Without War, an advocacy group that supports the repeal effort. “Anytime it’s doing something in that vein, it should be commended.” ✂️
This year, [Rep. Barbara] Lee [(D-Calif.)] and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) spearheaded a parallel effort to finally put the 2002 AUMF to bed. Its chances of passing the 50-50 Senate are not extraordinary, but House Democrats are confident enough in its success that, for the first time, they are unveiling the declaration as a standalone bill, instead of an amendment to the annual defense policy bill.
“In Washington, the 2002 AUMF has become somewhat of a zombie—an authorization that has long outlived its purpose yet still lurks among U.S. laws and poses a danger to the country’s interests,” Lee and Kaine wrote in a joint op-ed for Foreign Policy. “We owe it to U.S. troops to ensure military action is in the national interest before Congress continues to send them into harm’s way using outdated justification.”
A Simple Solution to Long Voting Lines: 30 Minutes or Less
We frequently sing the praises of Marc Elias, whose blog “Democracy Docket” recounts his efforts to make voting more equitable and universal. In February, he published this article:
When it comes to voting rights, Republicans claim to be misunderstood. They insist they are not trying to suppress the vote; they just want to make voting more secure. For Republicans that means promoting in-person voting.
Even though I vehemently disagree with Republicans’ undermining of vote by mail, I am all for expanding access to in-person voting. So, in the spirit of bipartisanship, I want to propose a legislative reform that meets Republicans’ stated objective of encouraging in-person voting. States should pass laws prohibiting long lines at the polls. Specifically, states should prescribe by law that no voter should have to wait more than half an hour in order to cast a ballot.
Here is how it would work. The new law would entitle voters to a wait time of 30 minutes or less when voting in person. If the state or a locality fails to meet this time limit, it must pay the affected voter for the time the voter spent waiting in line in excess of 30 minutes.
Then on June 17, he published this update, an op-ed written by one of my great Dem senators, Ron Wyden:
After heroic efforts by voters, activists and local election officials to make the 2020 election a success during a global pandemic, the forces of voter suppression are striking back hard. ✂️
As a result, American voters are poised to face unreasonably longlines just to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Not surprisingly, the impact of these vote-suppressing laws falls disproportionately on voters of color, working people and seniors who depend on accessible polling hours and locations. It’s a disgrace. ✂️
No democratic country should stand for a status quo where voters have to stand in line for hours.
That’s why I’m introducing People Over Long Lines (POLL) Act to require state governments to ensure every voter has the opportunity to vote within 30 minutes, a time that a bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration decided should be the maximum amount of time any voter should have to wait. My legislation requires states to file public plans detailing how they will ensure voters can cast ballots with waiting times of less than 30 minutes, and it institutes audits by the Election Assistance Commission to determine how many voters face longer waits. To ensure governments can meet those new rules, the bill provides $500 million to help states reduce wait times.
In addition, the POLL Act does not leave enforcement of its requirements up to political judgment at the U.S. Justice Department. The POLL Act gives American voters the power to fight long lines by allowing them to file a lawsuit if they wait in unreasonably long lines. If their suit is successful, they are entitled to receive $50 for waiting longer than 30 minutes and an additional $50 for every hour after that. Penalties would increase if a court determines long lines were the result of intentional voter suppression or reckless disregard for election plans, and court costs are covered.
It’s of course questionable whether this legislation will pass, but it’s a vital and substantial counterpunch to the GQP voter suppression efforts and will help us in 2022 whether or not it passes. I know that if I were a politician, I’d much rather run on a platform of voter assistance than voter suppression.
Dem Congressman Proposes Radical Legislation Allowing People To Fix Stuff They Own
Wonkette’s take on an excellent commonsense legislative proposal.
Most of us operate under the assumption that if we buy things, they belong to us and we should be able to do what we want with them, that if they break, we should be able to fix them ourselves or take them anywhere we want to get them fixed. …It would be super weird (and inconvenient!) if I had to take it back to the store where I bought it to get it fixed.
Alas, that is the case with electronics and products made with them. Certain phones, cars, tractors, wheelchairs, and increasingly anything with a computer-related component can only be fixed by the manufacturer. An Apple product only be fixed by Apple technicians — they won't sell the parts or give you the schematics needed to fix it, even if you are totally qualified to do it yourself.
On Thursday, Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) proposed legislation that would change that. While there are right-to-repair laws floating around the legislatures of at least half of the states, the Fair Repair Act would establish a nationalized law, which would certainly make more sense. If people in one state are able to see schematics, it would be difficult to keep that information from reaching other states. ✂️
Companies like Apple claim that they do this not to inconvenience consumers but to protect "trade secrets." ✂️
The fact is, this is about planned obsolescence. It is important to these companies that at some point, any phone or other product they make becomes impossible to keep over a certain number of years, so people have to keep buying new ones. If people can fix their phones or have them fixed, they're going to keep them a lot longer, which is inconvenient for manufacturers. Of course, it's a hell of a lot better for the environment.
The future of Trump's legal problems could worsen after Tuesday -- here's why
From Raw Story:
With New York City voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to pick a new mayor, CNN reports that Donald Trump will likely be keeping an eye on another race on the ballot that could hold a key to how bad his legal problems could grow.
Current Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is already working in concert with New York Attorney General Leticia James investigating the former president and his Trump Org company, and Vance's successor is on the ballot.
According to a CNN opinion piece by Arick Wierson and Bradley Honan, whoever takes over for Vance will be given free rein to either ramp up the investigation or keep it running at its current pace. ...”The investigation seems to have reached a fever pitch, but Vance, who became the Manhattan DA in 2010, announced earlier this year that he would not be seeking re-election. Many experts now believe he will venture into uncharted legal terrain and bring charges against either the former president or his organization (or both) before he leaves office," the authors added, "The stakes of Tuesday's primary couldn't be higher. In a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6-to-1, it is all but ensured the winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary election will go on to win the general election this fall."
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Good news from the Pacific NW
U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley Push Gov. Kate Brown for a Cover Over I-5 in the Rose Quarter [Portland’s historically Black neighborhood]
Construction of the I-5 freeway in 1962 cut through the heart of the Albina neighborhood in Portland, longtime home to most of Portland’s Black residents. This, of course, happened all over the country to Black neighborhoods. The good news is that Oregon’s Congressional delegation is determined to seize the opportunity to right this injustice.
From Willamette Week:
[Oregon’s two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley] joined U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) in a pointed letter to the governor [on June 17], noting that the Democrats in Congress and the White House are “committed to addressing racial equity and economic justice” in infrastructure legislation. They argue that to meet such a threshold, the Rose Quarter project needs to include the covers over the highway that could support redevelopment of a historically Black neighborhood.
“In its current iteration, the plan for the Rose Quarter Improvement Project from the Oregon Department of Transportation does not take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect a community divided by a freeway to help ensure economic opportunities and a more equitable future,” the senators write.
“Based on conversations with members of the community, it has become clear that the Albina neighborhood and the entire Portland region would benefit from buildable caps over I-5 that would reconnect the historic Albina neighborhood and provide opportunities to heal the social, economic and environmental damage done to the community in the 50 years since the highway corridor’s creation,” the congressmen continue, pledging to work to “fight to secure additional funding” for such a project.
WW reported this week that consultants have been advising the agency since April that a more narrow project would make such a plan more economically feasible. But the Oregon Transportation Commission, which guides state transportation policy, voted in May to keep the project at its current width. (It’s unclear if commissioners had been advised of the consultants’ recommendation.)
"Go for Broke" Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Postage Stamp
This is a national story, but the Oregon Historical Society e-digest has an especially good write-up on it, by director Kerry Tymchuk, so I’m putting it in the Pacific NW category.
From an email:
This past Monday, the Oregon Historical Society was very proud to host a ceremony celebrating the issuance of a new postage stamp honoring the service and sacrifice of the American men and women of Japanese heritage who served during World War II. These Japanese Americans — who are commonly referred to as the "Go for Broke" soldiers — patriotically served in the U.S. military during the war, despite our nation’s mass incarceration of their families, friends, and communities in detention centers or internment camps on American soil. Many of them enlisted from behind the barbed wire of the camps, seeking to contribute to the war effort and prove their loyalty through their service. They served amidst intense war hysteria and prejudice directed at them, and at the whole Japanese American community. You can read more about the "Go for Broke" stamp, and watch a video of the Oregon ceremony, at www.niseistamp.org.
In 2011, the Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to these soldiers, who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service. OHS was proud to be one of only six venues in the United States to exhibit the Medal during its nationwide tour in 2013. OHS also created and exhibited "What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?," a poignant display that examines the prejudice that Japanese American veterans from Hood River, Oregon, experienced upon their return home from the war. You can read more about this history and the exhibit in a 2013 Oregon Historical Quarterly article written by Linda Tamura and Marsha Takayanagi Matthews that is available for free on our website.
To learn more about this period in Oregon history, you can also turn to The Oregon Encyclopedia to read entries on Japanese American Wartime Incarceration in Oregon, Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland, and the Oregon Plan. There are also entries on courageous Oregonians like father and son physicians Benjamin Tanaka and Augustus Tanaka; Frank Hachiya, who paid the ultimate price in serving his country; and Minoru Yasui, the only Oregonian ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Portland Police Officer Indicted for Alleged Assault During Protest Last August
This indictment is an historic first in Portland. Of course, it’s awful that it took such an egregiously violent police attack to prompt this.
From Willamette Week:
For the first time in Portland history, a Multnomah County grand jury has indicted a police officer for alleged excessive use of force during a protest.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced the indictment of Portland Police Officer Corey Budworth on one count of fourth-degree assault for “unlawfully caus[ing] physical injury to another person” during an Aug. 18, 2020, protest.
At the time of the incident..., Budworth was assigned to the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team, according to the DA’s office. ✂️
The lawsuit alleges Jacobs was attending that evening’s protest in her capacity as a professional journalist and that she was wearing her press pass. Following police orders, the complaint says, Jacobs was dispersing with the crowd when she tried to pull her friend—who had been pushed down—off of the street and onto the sidewalk. ...As Jacobs attempted to move to the sidewalk, according to the complaint, Officer 37 chased her across the street. With her back to the officer and her hands in the air, the complaint says, the officer hit her with his baton in the back, neck and back of the head until she fell on the pavement, landing on her hands and knees. ...When Ms. Jacobs looked up to see if another blow would come, Officer 37 bashed Ms. Jacobs in the face with his truncheon.”
District Attorney Mike Schmidt said his office issued the assault charge, which is a class A misdemeanor under Oregon law, because “no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth’s deployment of force, and…the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances.” ✂️
The Portland Police Association decried Tuesday’s indictment, which it described as a “politically driven charging decision.” The union also described Budworth as a six-year veteran of the Police Bureau, four of which he’s spent as a member of the RRT.
And that story led to this next one. I wasn’t going to report on it, since it’s hardly good news that the police team tasked with responding to violent demonstrations in Portland has quit en masse. (We do need protection — not from the mythical Antifa, but from the Proud Boys and their ilk, as well from self-styled anarchists who want to prove their opposition to capitalism by vandalizing businesses large and small.) But then I saw Beau of the Fifth Column’s take on the story, and I knew I had to share it with you. It’s precisely how I feel, expressed better than I ever could.
The last word on the Portland Police Rapid Response Team’s resignations
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Good news from around the nation
COVID Cases, Deaths, and Hospitalizations Are Plummeting Toward Zero in Most of the US
From Good News Network:
After 15 months of watching the pandemic spread, there is much good news on the U.S. COVID front in June 2021.
Inside most states, the government is reporting the death rate for known COVID-19 cases is 0.1%, or less. ✂️
As of June 17, the 7-day moving average of reported cases was down this year by 94% from the peak in January—tumbling from more than a quarter million new cases per day to now just 14,000 cases (down 6% from the previous week).
The 7-day average of COVID-related hospitalizations continues to plummet, too. It was down 13% this week compared to the previous 7 days—and has decreased every day since April 19th. ✂️
Daily reported cases nationwide this week fell 23.7%, while daily deaths fell 31.6% and hospitalizations dropped 8.8%.
Supreme Court Sides With NCAA Athletes in Pay Dispute
It’s not as good as paying them, but it’s a start. And I must say that Kavanaugh’s witty concurring opinion is a pleasant surprise (although he’s still an asshole).
From Daily Beast:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously affirmed that college athletes may receive education-related payments—but not salaries—in a ruling that will steer more money to the players earning billions for others but not themselves. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the court’s opinion, writing, “From the start, American colleges and universities have had a complicated relationship with sports and money,” pointing out that, “Those who run this enterprise profit in a different way than the student-athletes whose activities they oversee.” In one example cited by Gorsuch, he notes that annual salaries for top Division I college football coaches can reach $11 million while their charges receive nothing. Right now, schools are allowed to underwrite a student-athlete’s “cost of attendance,” which includes things such as tuition, fees, and room and board. Now, student-athletes will be permitted to receive payments to cover the cost of computers, musical instruments, study abroad, and the like.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote, “Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.”
Charitable Giving in the U.S. Rose 5.1% Last Year to a Record High of $471 Billion in 2020
From Good News Network:
Americans responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in extraordinary ways, helping to relieve the suffering of neighbors by donating a record amount to charities in 2020.
Total charitable giving grew 5.1% over 2019, as individuals, bequests, foundations, and corporations funneled an estimated $471.44 billion to U.S. charities, according to the Annual Report on Philanthropy, released this week by Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report on the sources and uses of charitable giving in America.
“Unprecedented developments in 2020 created widespread need and significantly increased the demand upon nonprofit organizations,” said Laura MacDonald, CFRE, chair of Giving USA Foundation. “Remarkably, generous giving coupled with the stock market turnaround in the final months of the year boosted contributions. As a result, 2020 is the highest year of charitable giving on record.” ✂️
• Giving to human services increased by an estimated 9.7% in 2020, totaling $65.14 billion.
• Giving to foundations is estimated to have increased by 2.0% to $58.17 billion. Adjusted for inflation, giving to foundations was flat at 0.8% growth.
• Giving to public-society benefit organizations increased an estimated 15.7% to $48.00 billion. Adjusted for inflation, giving to public-society benefit organizations grew 14.3%. This category includes a wide range of charitable organizations, including national donor-advised funds, United Ways and civil rights organizations.
• Giving to environmental and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 11.6% to $16.14 billion. Adjusted for inflation, donations to the environment/animals subsector increased 10.3%.
• Giving to individuals is estimated to have grown 12.8% (11.5% in inflation-adjusted dollars) between 2019 and 2020, to $16.22 billion. The bulk of these donations are in-kind gifts of medications to patients in need, made through the patient assistance programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations.
How a Retired Louisiana Teacher Bagged the “Green Nobel Prize”
This story could have gone in the environment section, but I think it should be celebrated as a victory for Black activists in the U.S.
From Mother Jones:
A retired special education teacher from Louisiana who led a successful grassroots campaign to stop construction of a toxic plastics plant in America’s Cancer Alley has won the 2021 Goldman prize for environmental defenders.
Sharon Lavigne, 68, organized marches, petitions, town hall meetings and media campaigns after elected officials gave the green light to the construction of another polluting factory in St James parish—a majority-Black community already blighted by heavy industry and exorbitant cancer rates [leading to the area becoming known as “Cancer Alley”].
The proposed $1.25 billion Chinese-owned plastics plant would have generated a million pounds of liquid hazardous waste every year, including hundreds of tonnes of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, a carcinogenic chemical that affects respiratory function, as well as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and benzene. ✂️
A spokesperson for the Goldman Prize said: “Lavigne’s grassroots campaign successfully defended her community from the construction of yet another toxic plant in its midst. Her activism prevented the generation of a million pounds of liquid hazardous waste each year … for her unwavering commitment and dedication to her community, Sharon Lavigne will receive the Goldman Environmental Prize.”
A teen buys repossessed storage units at auction, then gives the contents back to the original owners
From the Washington Post [behind a paywall, so I’m giving you the gist below].
Shane Jones was looking to earn a little extra cash last summer when he stumbled upon YouTube videos explaining how to make money in a way he didn’t know existed: buying the contents of repossessed storage units.
When renters stop paying the monthly fee, everything inside a storage unit can be put up for auction. ✂️
“It seemed like something fun to do. I had some money I’d saved from working in a used bookstore,” said Shane, 16, who lives in Wakefield, R.I., and often goes to yard sales in search of bottles and coins to collect, as well as hidden items of value to sell.
He found an auction in nearby Providence in August and put in a bid of $100 on the contents of a storage unit. Shane was surprised when he won, he said, but when he went to his newly acquired unit, he realized right away that he shouldn’t keep the items [which were personal possessions, often profoundly meaningful to their owners]. ✂️
[After he bought and returned the contents of three storage units to their owners, Shane’s good work was recognized by his high school principal]. “We’re delighted to see one of our students doing such a wonderful thing,” said South Kingstown Principal Chip McGair.
Shane’s mom said the attention has been a little overwhelming for her son.
“But he also realizes that kindness inspires kindness,” said Markey, 40. “Buying the contents of a storage unit and giving them back is a creative way to pay it forward. Shane hopes that somebody else will get the idea to do the same thing in their own town.”
This is just hilarious:
Tens of thousands sign petition urging Jeff Bezos to stay in space
From the American Independent:
On July 20, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will cross the final frontier with an 11-minute rocket trip into space. Tens of thousands of petitioners are asking that he stay there.
Bezos will travel to space with his brother Mark and another private citizen who bid $28 million in an auction conducted by Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Bezos in 2000 that is sending the New Shepard spacecraft on its suborbital flight, for the ticket.
A petition launched on the platform change.org, titled "Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth," has received more than 47,000 signatures supporting the statement "Billionaire's [sic] should not exist...on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there.”
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This isn’t a feel-good song, but after hearing it on our jazz station a few days ago, I was reminded how timelessly true it is. It could have been written yesterday. In fact, it’s 50 years old this year. And Marvin Gaye’s gorgeous voice is thrilling no matter how many times you hear it.
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Good news from around the world
'Miraculous' mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%
This is a very ingenious method of preventing the spread of a mosquito-borne disease.
From the BBC:
Dengue fever cases have been cut by 77% in a "groundbreaking" trial that manipulates the mosquitoes that spread it, say scientists.
They used mosquitoes infected with "miraculous" bacteria that reduce the insect's ability to spread dengue.
The trial took place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, and is being expanded in the hope of eradicating the virus.
Few people had heard of dengue 50 years ago, but it has been a relentless slow-burning pandemic and cases have increased dramatically.
In 1970, only nine countries had faced severe dengue outbreaks, now there are up to 400 million infections a year. ✂️
The trial used mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria. ...Wolbachia doesn't harm the mosquito, but it camps out in the same parts of its body that the dengue virus needs to get into. The bacteria compete for resources and make it much harder for dengue virus to replicate, so the mosquito is less likely to cause an infection when it bites again.
The folks at Future Crunch who reported on this story added some interesting commentary:
Not only was the science behind this world class, it's also one of the best examples we've ever seen of community engagement. They had to convince 90% of the community before releasing the mosquitoes, requiring years of meetings, letting people in to see the labs, using Whatsapp for engagement, and employing over 10,000 local volunteers to place the mosquito eggs in people’s backyards. Development specialists take note: this is how to help, not through patronage, but through partnership.
Amen to helping through partnership, not patronage!
Invasive Rats Were Finally Eradicated on 2 Galapagos Islands Thanks to Drone Partnership
From Good News Network:
Two years after a rodent eradication program began on two Galapagos Islands, conservations are excited to finally declare the lands rat-free—and drones, for the first time, contributed to the big success.
The actions carried out over the last two years on Seymour Norte and Mosquera islands will now ensure that native biodiversity on the island ecosystems can return to normal.
Seymour Norte, for instance, hosts one of the largest populations of magnificent frigatebirds (pictured), whose eggs and babies became constant prey to the two rat species that had run amok since arriving with ships in the 1800s and early 1900s.
In January 2019, Galapagos National Park officials together with the nonprofit group Island Conservation worked with drone pilots from Envicto Technologies in a groundbreaking effort to eliminate the black rat and the Norwegian rat from both islands.
The drone was equipped with a dispersal bucket and followed GPS-guided transects to distribute a “conservation bait” manufactured by Bell Laboratories all across the island. Following initial implementation, bait was placed in stations along the coastline, ensuring no rodents re-invaded the island.
Bangladesh Offers a Model for Climate Migration
This seems like a difficult solution to implement, but if it achieves some success, it would indeed make a huge difference in densely populated countries suffering from the effects of climate change.
Bangladesh faces a worsening climate migration crisis as intensifying floods send waves of displaced residents from low lying coastal zones to Dhaka each year.
"We cannot absorb a potential 10 million climate refugees or climates that might occur over the next 10 to 20 years," Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, said recently in a recorded video.
To ease pressure on the already overcrowded capital, Huq and his colleagues argue for the creation of “migrant-friendly” towns outside of major cities — a strategy that can be implemented in other densely populated countries. Each of these satellite locations would need its “own development and adaptation plans to address climate risks and economic opportunities” in order to attract migrants, they wrote in a paper published Thursday in the journal Science. A second, equally important solution is selective relocation abroad, they said. ✂️
Migrant-friendly towns should be climate-resilient and have basic infrastructure in place, like low-cost housing and employment opportunities, the researchers wrote in Science. They should also foster cultural ethics and values of incoming migrants, who experts say prefer not to move far from where they were displaced.
The strategy is currently being implemented in at least five cities in Bangladesh.
Women Will Race In Their Own Tour De France Next Summer
Elite female cyclists will be part of the world's most famous bike race next summer, when the Tour de France will hold a women's stage race for the first time since the 1980s.
Women have been riding the men's route in recent years, urging race officials to include them in cycling's crown jewel. Now they'll get a shot at their own yellow jersey.
"This is a huge moment for professional women's cycling," said pro rider Anna van der Breggen, in a statement about the plans. Noting the Tour's status as a marquee event, she added, "It's long been a dream for many of us to compete in a women's Tour de France."
The Tour de France Femmes will follow the men's race, with riders embarking from the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24, 2022. Unlike the La Course by Le Tour de France — a one-day race that the Tour's organizers have put on for women since 2014 — the new event will be a multi-stage race lasting roughly one week. ✂️
The new women's race is the result of a partnership between the Tour's organizers, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), and Zwift — a gaming and interactives company that helped put on a virtual version of the race after it was canceled last summer due to the pandemic.
"I've long been a fan of the attacking style of women's racing," said Eric Min, Zwift CEO. "I really believe the women's peloton puts on some of the most exciting bike racing to watch and it deserves a much bigger platform to exhibit these talents and skills.”
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Good news in science and the environment
This Self-Healing Cement Automatically Fills Any Cracks That Form, To Save Energy and Money
From Good News Network:
...thanks to some very clever folks in England, concrete could be made self-regenerating by the addition of a simple enzyme found in our blood—repairing cracks in the sidewalk, roads, or buildings—saving tons of CO2, as well as millions in dollars, labor hours, and traffic slowdowns.
Recent estimates put the global concrete supply chain at 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than three times that generated from the airline industry. ✂️
Worcester Polytechnic Institute led a project into looking at concrete that repairs itself, which has been hypothesized as possible since the mid-’90s, and which was recently confirmed as possible with bacteria in 2015. Like earlier researchers, the team at Worcester, led by Nima Rahbar, used an enzyme found in red blood cells called “carbonic anhydrase,” at the suggestion of a biochemist collaborator of theirs.
The anhydrase is responsible for moving CO2 from our cells to our blood vessels...and when added to concrete powder, it actually uses CO2 from the air to create calcium carbonate crystals. A millimeter crack can be filled in after just several hours, preventing larger cracks from forming. ✂️
Another method is adding carbonic anhydrase to water and calcium together in a spray and applying it to a concrete crack. If CO2 is then blown over the crack, ...it will seal itself in just minutes, while if it simply uses the CO2 in the air it will take longer.
Astute readers will recognize that this technology also sucks some CO2 out of the environment, which along with extending the lifespan of the concrete four-fold, allows it to become a carbon jailer as well.
Eco-Warrior Makes Toys, Mosquito Repellent, and More With Recycled Cigarette Butts – The Most Littered Item
From Good News Network:
An eco-warrior has made an impressive amount of money by making toys, keyrings, mosquito repellents, and organic compost from old cigarette butts.
26-year-old Naman Gupta was inspired when he saw a huge pile of cigarettes left after a party, and wondered how many were dumped across the world on a daily basis.
So now he runs a company which installs bins in cities to collect butts, which are then recycled and made into anything from cushions to key rings.
...he says his company has made over one million dollars since 2016, and he has recycled 300,000,000 cigarette butts—the equivalent of 100,000 kg.
Naman, from Uttar Pradesh in India, said: “There was a misconception that it must be made out of cotton, so not everybody notices the problem that it is actually plastic. There were no laws or companies who were recycling or managing this kind of waste, it was a completely new concept in India.” ✂️
...cigarettes are the most littered object in the world, and the plastic in the filter takes up to 12 years to degrade. It also forms microplastics in the process, which can inhibit plant growth in soil, and are highly toxic to aquatic life.
Ecuadoran water fund transforms consumers into conservationists
This is a long and complex article, so click the link to read more. I’m giving you just the summary that opens the article.
- The Regional Water Fund of Southern Ecuador (FORAGUA) operates in 14 municipalities, serving 500,000 residents, and has restored 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of land and put an additional 337,000 hectares (833,000 acres) under conservation.
- By 2030, the fund aims to work in 39 municipalities, serving 1 million people and conserving 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres) of land.
- A pilot project to incentivize landowners to rewild their properties and take up alternative livelihoods shows that...landowners could earn 50 times more per hectare cultivating guanabana, a local fruit, than raising cattle.
- Municipal residents pay on average $1 per month to FORAGUA for their water consumption, with 90% of funds raised going to conservation projects.
Here’s one for you, tlj!
This hybrid hydro-solar power venture could shape the future of Thailand
From the World Economic Forum:
About 144,417 solar panels are being installed on a reservoir in the northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani, where workers are completing the last of seven solar farms covering 300 acres (121 hectares) of water.
The state-run Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is touting the pilot project as one of the world's largest hybrid hydro-solar power ventures and aims to replicate it at eight more dams over the next 16 years.
"When all the projects are completed in every dam, we will have total capacity to generate 2,725 megawatts," project head Chanin Saleechan said.
Thailand has long relied on coal for power, but plans for new coal-fired projects have been met with opposition over health and environmental risks, and two proposed southern coal plants were shelved in 2018. ✂️
An Energy Management System will be used to switch between solar and hydropower, depending on which can generate more electricity, a hybrid system Chanin said allows continuous power generation.
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Good news about animals
Brought to today you by Rosy, Nora, and Rascal.
The Return of the Polish Wolf
Rosy chose this good news story about her wolf relatives. She’s happy that humans are finally learning to stop killing predator species.
By the mid-1970s, Canis lupus was one step away from extinction in the Polish forests. Twenty years earlier, in 1955, the government issued a resolution on the extermination of the wolf, treating the country’s largest predator as a pest. Hunters were paid a bounty of 500 zlotys – nearly half the average industrial monthly wage at the time – for each wolf killed during collective hunts. Wolves were legally shot, poisoned, and trapped… .
Mass hunting ended only in 1975, when the estimated wolf population was a mere 200. Wolves were recategorized as a game animal and hunting allowed only in spring and summer in most regions.
Today, wolves in Poland are fully protected. According to some studies, 3,000 wolves live here. Along with Spain and Romania, Poland has one of the largest wolf populations in Europe. ✂️
Conservationists finally achieved their goal when wolves were removed from the category of game animals in 1998.
That decision would not have been possible without the work of scientists from the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences … . The institute’s research resulted in more accurate estimates of the wolf population and demonstrated the essential role large predators play in ecosystems.
Some sad news: R.I.P. Champ, a “sweet, good boy”
Rosy wants to send a tail wag to Champ on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and some condolence kisses to Major and to Joe and Jill and the family. He was truly a good boy.
A Rare Look at a Bobcat Family
Nora recommended this story, partly because she believes she’s actually a bobcat. Do click the link for some terrific photos and the touching story of a surprising bond between bobcat and human.
From National Geographic:
[Wildlife photographer Karine] Aigner [after a friendly encounter with a female bobcat who lived under a ranch house where Aigner was staying] rearranged her schedule so that she could spend the rest of the summer with [the mother bobcat whom she named] Momcat and her three kittens. She spent her days silently watching as they went about their daily routine—sleeping together under the house until the heat subsided, then venturing out together to drink, play, and groom.
“Without warning, Momcat would foray out past the fence,” Aigner says, “And as if by some unspoken command, three little bobtails would line up on the deck and watch her leave. When I thought about it, it almost seemed as if she was leaving them in my care. Bobcats will move their dens at any sign of danger. Momcat never did. “ ✂️
“Momcat let me into her universe,” Aigner says. “She allowed me to see what it is to be bobcat; and what it takes to be a single mom of three. We both took refuge in each other’s worlds. I had no intention other than being present, and she seemed to know that.”
Bulgaria’s Griffon Vultures Have Made a Remarkable Resurgence
Rascal insisted on two stories about birds.
...nearly half a century since the animal was presumed gone, a team of conservationists have confirmed [that Griffon vultures] have a stable breeding population of around 80 birds in [Bulgaria].
The team’s summation of the last decade of conservation efforts was reported in the open access Biodiversity Data Journal. The project was established and run by three NGOs in Bulgaria: the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, Green Balkans,and the Birds of Prey Protection Society. The conservationists who reported the recent successes noted about 25 pairs of breeding birds, though the number of fledging vultures per pair is still low at around one fledging for every two pairs.
Though Griffon vultures face no immediate extinction threat, they were presumed out of Bulgaria by the 1970s until a few individuals were found along the country’s border with Greece. Vultures often have a bad rep, especially when put up against more charismatic birds of prey like eagles and ospreys. But that hasn’t stopped the Griffon vulture from reclaiming its range.
Eagles returned to Loch Lomond after 100 years
From Positive News:
...white-tailed eagles were spotted at Loch Lomond for the first time in over a century. A pair of the raptors were seen ‘nest prospecting’, suggesting they intend to stay.
Persecution and habitat changes pushed the birds to extinction in the UK in the early 20th century. However, subsequent reintroductions have seen them recolonise Scotland where there are now believed to be more than 150 breeding pairs.
Paul Roberts, operations manager of NatureScot, Scotland’s nature agency, said: “This is the latest chapter in the continuing success story of sea eagle conservation.”
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Seen in the neighborhood
I like this sign!
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www.washingtonpost.com/… Nobel winner’s evolution from ‘dark realist’ to just plain realist on climate change. “I definitely see myself as a realist. Maybe not so dark. If you look around the rest of the world, countries are doing many things about climate change. Some policies are quite effective and some are quite powerful.”
www.theatlantic.com/… How the U.S. Made Progress on Climate Change Without Ever Passing a Bill. A fascinating long read about what the author calls “the green vortex” — “policy, technology, business, and politics [working] together, lowering the cost of zero-carbon energy, building pro-climate coalitions, and speeding up humanity’s ability to decarbonize.”
insideclimatenews.org/...Is the Controlled Shrinking of Economies a Better Bet to Slow Climate Change Than Unproven Technologies? An unusual, intriguing argument that “degrowth” — “downscaling production and consumption in wealthy countries, while improving their ecological conditions and maintaining people’s quality of life” — could meet the Paris agreement goals better than new technologies.
www.wweek.com/… He’s Been a Black Activist in Portland for 45 Years. Here’s His Advice. An interesting perspective on the past year’s events.
www.newyorker.com/… How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory. I was wondering where the hell that came from, and here’s the answer.
www.washingtonpost.com/… A monumental journey through New Mexico. A paean to some fascinating, little-known national monuments in one of my favorite parts of the world.
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Wherever is herd…
A tip of the hat to 2thanks for creating this handy info sheet for all Gnusies new and old!
Morning Good News Roundups at 7 x 7: These Gnusies lead the herd at 7 a.m. ET, 7 days a week:
- The Monday GNR Newsroom (Jessiestaf, Killer300, and Bhu). With their five, we survive and thrive.
- Alternating Tuesdays: NotNowNotEver and arhpdx.
- Wednesdays: niftywriter.
- Thursdays: pucklady the 1st Thursday, Mokurai the 2nd, oldhippiedude the 3rd, MCUBernieFan the 4th, and Mokurai the 5th (when there is one).
- Fridays: chloris creator. Regular links to the White House Briefing Room.
- Saturdays: GoodNewsRoundup. Heart-stirring and soul-healing introduction and sometimes memes to succumb to.
- Sundays: 2thanks. A brief roundup of Roundups, a retrospective, a smorgasbord, a bulletin board, an oasis, a watering hole, a thunder of hooves, a wellness, a place for beginners to learn the rules of the veldt.
hpg posts Evening Shade diaries at 7:30 p.m. ET every day! After a long day, Gnusies meet in the evening shade and continue sharing Good News, good community, and good actions. In the words of NotNowNotEver: “hpg ably continues the tradition of Evening Shade.” Find Evening Shades here.
oldhippiedude posts Tweets of the Week on Sundays at 6:00 p.m. Central Time — New time! Our second evening Gnusie hangout zone! In search of a TOTW diary? Look here or here.
For more information about the Good News group, please see our detailed Welcoming comment, one of the first comments in our morning diaries.
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New Orleans funk is the best there is, and here to prove my point are the Neville Brothers doing a song that could get me up off my death bed. It was the first song I ever heard them play, at a midnight concert on a steamboat in New Orleans in the ‘80s. BTW, the title “Hey Pocky Way” is apparently a corruption of a Mardi Gras Indian chant recorded by Jelly Roll Morton as “Two Way Pak E Way” meaning roughly “get out of my way.” The vocal is by Art Neville, the oldest of the Neville brothers, whose nickname was “Papa Funk.”
❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
Thanks to all of you for your smarts, your hearts, and
your faithful attendance at our daily Gathering of the Herd.
❤️💙 RESIST, PERSIST, REBUILD, REJOICE! 💙❤️