Inspiring News Articles
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Articles in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles from the major media. Links are provided to the original inspiring news articles on their media websites. If any link fails, read this webpage. The most inspiring news articles are listed first. You can also explore the news articles listed by order of the date posted. For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page. May these inspiring news articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.
Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilisers. But rather than accept that this will mean farmers of the small Himalayan kingdom of around 1.2m people ... will be able to grow less food, the government expects them to be able to grow more – and to export increasing amounts of high quality niche foods to neighbouring India, China and other countries. The decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical, said [Pema Gyamtsho, Bhutan's minister of agriculture and forests]. "Ours is a mountainous terrain. When we use chemicals they don't stay where we use them, they impact the water and plants. We say that we need to consider all the environment. Most of our farm practices are traditional farming, so we are largely organic anyway. But we are Buddhists, too, and we believe in living in harmony with nature. Animals have the right to live, we like to to see plants happy and insects happy," he said. Gyamtsho, like most members of the cabinet, is a farmer himself, coming from Bumthang in central Bhutan but studying western farming methods in New Zealand and Switzerland. "Going organic will take time," he said. "We have set no deadline. We cannot do it tomorrow. Instead we will achieve it region by region and crop by crop." Gyamtsho [says] Bhutan's future depends largely on how it responds to interlinked development challenges like climate change, and food and energy security.
Note: Bhutan is also the country which has pioneered Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a more appropriate measure of economic growth than GNP. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
The European Parliament has voted for sweeping reforms of the controversial EU Common Fisheries Policy [CFP]. The package includes measures to protect endangered stocks and end discards - the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish into the sea. Wasteful discards are reckoned to account for a quarter of total catches under the current quota system. With an estimated 75% of Europe’s stocks overfished, there has been enormous public and media pressure over this latest attempt to shake up the CFP. The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin says the vote is something of a victory for citizen power, following organised lobbying of MEPs by ordinary people, as well as by high-profile celebrity chefs and environmentalists. The reform package was presented to the full parliament in Strasbourg by the German Social Democrat MEP Ulrike Rodust. She said the reforms “will bring an end to the December ritual of fisheries ministers negotiating until 4am, neglecting scientific advice and setting too high fishing quotas. “As of 2015, the principle of maximum sustainable yield shall apply, which means that each year we do not harvest more fish than a stock can reproduce. Our objective is that depleted fish stocks recover by 2020. Not only nature will benefit, but also fishermen: bigger stocks produce higher yields.” MEPs have made some tough choices. For instance, they had an option to vote for maximum sustainable yield - that is taking as much fish as the sea can reproduce annually. They demanded instead that fisheries should be allowed to grow, rather than to stay at their current depleted level.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Jim Yong Kim [is] the first man from outside the discipline of economics to take the helm at the World Bank. Having just celebrated his first year in charge, the Korean-American medical expert has refocused the world’s premier development bank on ending extreme poverty. The World Bank leader prefers to dwell on the positives. Global poverty, defined by the bank as living on $1.25 or less per day, was halved five years ahead of schedule. The next phase is to lift the remaining 20 per cent of the world’s population out of extreme poverty by 2030. “The efforts to end poverty have been really significant,” says Mr Kim. “They said poverty would always be with us. Well, maybe not.” A proportion of people – he estimates three per cent – will remain below the poverty line due to natural disasters and their related aftermaths, but otherwise “extreme poverty will be gone from the earth”. His appointment to the World Bank last year was not universally welcomed. Many observers resented his imposition by the United States over popular candidates from Africa and Latin America, while others worried that he was not an economist. They pointed to his presence at protests against the World Bank in 1993. Mr Kim now says that it was the lender’s “one size fits all” approach to economies that he objected to. As well as aiming to end poverty, the bank has set itself the task of tracking the progress of the bottom 40 per cent in every country as a means of measuring social mobility and equality.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
As part of its "Food With Integrity" program, Chipotle this week posted information on its website identifying which items on its menu contain genetically modified ingredients. The chain posted a chart noting that 12 out of 25 ingredients, including its rice, barbacoa, chips, chicken, vegetable fajitas, steak and flour tortillas (except in certain restaurants) use either genetically modified corn or soybean oil, the vast majority of which is derived from GM soybeans. The chain said that those ingredients are "currently unavoidable" but that it is "working hard" to eliminate them. This move comes on the heels of Ben & Jerry's announcement that all of its flavors will be GM ingredient free by the end of the year and Whole Foods pledge to phase out all foods with GM ingredients by 2018. Although GM crops ... are considered safe by federal authorities and are legal to plant and sell, some independent studies have linked them to health and environmental problems. The announcements happen amid a flurry of state bills to require mandatory labeling of food with GM ingredients. In more GM news, this afternoon the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to require labeling of GM salmon as part of a 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Overseas, where the labeling question is largely over, the GM debate rages over expanding GM crop planting approvals in the European Union. Asked [whether UK Prime Minister David] Cameron would eat GM foods or allow his children to eat them, the spokesman steadfastly declined to answer.
Note: Much of Europe labels their food for GMOs, which are even banned in many areas. Read an MSN article on the banning of GM foods from all restaurants and food in the UK's parliament at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
A simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study of 150,000 women in the slums of India, where the disease is the top cancer killer of women. Experts called the outcome "amazing" and said this quick, cheap test could save tens of thousands of lives each year in developing countries by spotting early signs of cancer, allowing treatment before it's too late. Usha Devi, one of the women in the study, says it saved her life. "Many women refused to get screened. Some of them died of cancer later," Devi said. "Now I feel everyone should get tested. I got my life back because of these tests." Pap smears and tests for HPV, a virus that causes most cervical cancers, have slashed cases and deaths in the United States. But poor countries can't afford those screening tools. This study tried a test that costs very little and can be done by local people with just two weeks of training and no fancy lab equipment. They swab the cervix with diluted vinegar, which can make abnormal cells briefly change color. This low-tech visual exam cut the cervical cancer death rate by 31 percent, the study found. It could prevent 22,000 deaths in India and 72,600 worldwide each year, researchers estimate. "That's amazing. That's remarkable. It's a very exciting result," said Dr. Ted Trimble of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., the main sponsor of the study. India has nearly one-third of the world's cases of cervical cancer — more than 140,000 each year.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Can food be free, fresh and easily accessible? That’s the bold question that the city of Seattle is hoping to answer with a new experimental farm not far from the city’s downtown that will have fruits and vegetables for anyone to harvest this fall. On Beacon Hill, just south of central Seattle, landscape developers and a few affordable-food advocates are building an edible food forest. Everything grown in the area, from the tree canopies to the roots, will be edible. And it’ll be open around the clock to anyone who wants to come and pick some fresh blueberries or pears. In its first phase, the farm will be 1.5 acres. But if it’s successful, the public land it’ll sit on—currently owned by Seattle Public Utilities—will be able to accommodate 5.5 more acres of growth. One thing that’s striking about the idea (other than the idea in itself to have essentially a public farm that anyone can use—or abuse) is how the [crop] selection came together. Many are expected: apples, berries, row vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes. But others are pretty far out. A large Asian community in the area suggested things like Asian pears and honeyberries. A European influence led to the planting of medlar trees. The concept is modeled on permaculture, a design system and school of thought aimed at returning some land to its own devices. Offering people free, fresh food is one motivation, but making the land useful and ecologically enriched is the larger goal.
Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, reached the top of Mount Everest [on May 23], becoming the oldest man to scale the world's highest mountain. The climb marks the third time Miura has summited Everest, a successful feat in itself, but even more remarkable considering his age and his medical history. Discussing the hurdles of climbing at such an old age, the octogenarian said, it was to challenge his "ultimate limit." "It is to honor the great Mother Nature," he said on a statement posted on his website. "Hoping to raise even an inch of human possibility." Miura didn't attempt his first climb to the top of Everest until 2003, when he was 70 years old. He made that trek with his son, a former Olympian, and set a world record as the oldest climber to successfully scale the mountain. Five years later, he returned again -- at 75 years old -- to set another record. Yuichiro Miura has spent a lifetime defying the odds. In his younger years, he skied down Mount Everest's South Col, an adventure that was documented in the 1975 Academy Award winning documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." Not satisfied, Miura summited and skied down all seven summits of the world, by his 50s. Miura has already discussed his next venture -- skiing down the Himalayan mountain of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. He hopes to take on that challenge five years from now when he is 85 years old.
International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The earliest recorded incidence of conscientious objection was in 296AD, when a Roman refused to serve as a soldier because of his religious beliefs; he was killed, but subsequently canonised as Saint Maximilian. The term 'conscientious objector', however, only gained currency during the First World War, following the implementation of conscription in 1916. In Britain, over 16,000 men refused to fight. While it is well known that many with strong religious beliefs objected, interestingly some war-resisters refused on socialist grounds: they would not fight brother workers, feeling that the average soldier was but a pawn of the ruling classes. Few were given total exemption. Many were forced to join the army or the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), to serve in a supporting role to the armed forces. Many 'conchies' refused either option, and were sent to prison as a result. The abuses they suffered for their stance make for extremely grim reading, [as] told by David Boulton, in his book Objection Overruled. But word got out about such experiences – and public feeling did move towards respect. It became recognised that to stand up and be counted as someone who would not fight required its own, very high, degree of courage.
Do you know where your money really goes? A new app aims to help consumers avoid companies and products they don't even realize they're investing in. People can create campaigns or join existing boycotts. For example, a campaign identified in the app asks consumers to avoid Koch Industries. More than 8,000 people have pledged to boycott the company, which is owned by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. Buycott helps consumers do this by untangling a long trail of associations and relationships among companies. For example, sales of Brawny paper towels accrue to Koch Industries because Koch's subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, produces the towels. Consumers may not be aware of those connections while casually browsing supermarket shelves. The Buycott app scans barcodes and then traces products to their parent companies. The app checks that the product doesn't already run afoul of boycott campaigns the user has joined. If someone joins the Local & Sustainable Food Initiative through Buycott, for example, they can scan barcodes at the supermarket to make sure their food really is coming from a local source. The app can even tell you if a certain food product contains GMOs. One campaign pushes buyers to boycott companies, including Monsanto, that fought against putting GMO labels on food. The app isn't perfect though. As Buycott admits, "Corporate ownership structure is always changing and can sometimes be complex." The app allows users to add their own knowledge of products not yet part of the database, making Buycott more accurate as more people download and contribute to it.
[Solar Impulse HB-SIA, a] solar-powered aircraft making a landmark cross-country flight [piloted by Bertrand Piccard], successfully completed its first leg [on May 4], and will rest about a week in [Phoenix] Arizona before taking to the skies again. "It's a little bit like being in a dream," Piccard told the Associated Press. The aircraft, running off solar cells and electric batteries rather than fossil fuels, ... travels at a leisurely 43 mph and cruises at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet. Spokeswoman Alenka Zibetto [said] that the exact length of the stay would depend on weather. It is proving to be a popular attraction. Online registration for the Sunday slots -- with space for 150 people per hour -- filled up within a day, Zibetto said. The solar company SunPower [manufactured] the solar cells lining the 208-foot wingspan of Solar Impulse.
Citi has just named solar photovoltaics, which convert solar radiation into electric currents via semiconductors, to its list of 10 world-disrupting technologies. In a note this week in advance of the disruption report, Citi's Jason Channell said that in many cases, renewables are already at cost parity with established forms of electricity sources. The biggest surprise in recent years has been the speed at which the price of solar panels has reduced, resulting in cost parity being achieved in certain areas much more quickly than was ever expected; these fast ‘learning rates’ are likely to continue, meaning that the technology just keeps getting cheaper. At peak solar exposure, parts of the southwest U.S. are now already capable of meeting their electricity needs via solar panels. The rapidly expanding parity provides enormous scope for growth in the solar industry, driven by standalone economics as opposed to subsidies, which are becoming ever scarcer in an austerity-driven world. Gas isn't going away, but renewables are coming on strong.
Note: It's rather strange that most mainstream media have hardly reported on this most awesome news at all. For another article showing that solar energy cost is already near parity with other energy sources, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles on exciting new energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Jessica Cox was born without arms as a result of a rare birth defect. That has not stopped her from living her life to the fullest. In fact, Ms Cox has experienced and achieved more than most people do in a lifetime. She can drive a car, fly a plane and play piano - all with her feet. In 2012 she married Patrick, her former Taekwondo instructor (she has two black belts). They live in Tucson, Arizona. Ms Cox, 30, travels around the world as a motivational speaker, using her own life as an example of what one can achieve if one wants it enough. This month she visits Ethiopia to help promote disability rights.
Note: Don't miss the inspiring video on the BBC webpage. And for another incredibly inspiring man born without arms or feet, learn about Nick Vujicic at this link.
I live in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did. I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when ... I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets. Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. We live in a world of surfeit stuff. There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true. In a study published last year titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” researchers at U.C.L.A. observed 32 middle-class Los Angeles families and found that all of the mothers’ stress hormones spiked during the time they spent dealing with their belongings. Our fondness for stuff affects almost every aspect of our lives. Housing size, for example, has ballooned in the last 60 years. The average size of a new American home in 1950 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet. And those figures don’t provide a full picture. In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people. This means that we take up more than three times the amount of space per capita than we did 60 years ago. Intuitively, we know that the best stuff in life isn’t stuff at all, and that relationships, experiences and meaningful work are the staples of a happy life.
The Earth is humming. Singing. Its song is ethereal and mystifying and very, very weird – a rather astonishing, newly discovered phenomen[on] that's not easily analyzed, but which, if you really let it sink into your consciousness, can change the way you look at everything. Scientists now say the planet itself is generating a constant, deep thrum of noise. No mere cacophony, but actually a kind of music – huge, swirling loops of sound, a song so ... low it can't be heard by human ears, [roars] churning from the very water and wind and rock themselves, countless notes of varying vibration creating all sorts of curious tonal phrases that bounce around the mountains and spin over the oceans and penetrate the tectonic plates and gurgle in the magma and careen off the clouds and smack into trees and bounce off your ribcage and spin over the surface of the planet in strange circular loops. It all makes for a very quiet, otherworldly symphony so odd and mysterious, scientists still can't figure out exactly what's causing it or why [it's] happening. Sure, sensitive instruments are getting better at picking up what's been dubbed "Earth's hum," but no one's any closer to understanding what ... it all might mean. Mystics and poets and theorists have pondered the "music of the spheres" (or musica universalis) for eons; it is the stuff of cosmic philosophy, linking sacred geometry, mathematics, cosmology, harmonics, astrology and music into one big cosmological poetry slam.
Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day. The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims. By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993. According to the U.S. State Department, some 10,000 to 15,000 women and girls from Nepal are trafficked to India and then sexually exploited each year. The group has facilities throughout Nepal and India, but most of the rehabilitation work takes place at its main campus in Kathmandu, Nepal. Koirala said girls from the brothels arrive empty-handed, sick, in many cases pregnant or with small children, and "psychologically broken." "When the girl first comes to Maiti Nepal, we never, never ask them a question. We just let them [be] for as long as they need. We let them play, dance, walk, talk to a friend," Koirala said. "They are afraid at first, but eventually they will talk to us on their own." The group also takes in rape and domestic violence survivors, as well as abandoned children. "I cannot say no to anybody," Koirala said. "Everybody comes to Maiti Nepal."
Note: For lots more on the work of this brave and caring woman to stop sex slavery and support the victims, click here.
Sumant Kumar was overjoyed when he harvested his rice last year. Every stalk he cut on his paddy field near the bank of the Sakri river seemed to weigh heavier than usual, every grain of rice was bigger and when his crop was weighed on the old village scales, even Kumar was shocked. A shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India's poorest state Bihar, [Kumar] had – using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides – grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare of land. This was a world record and with rice the staple food of more than half the world's population of seven billion, big news. It beat not just the 19.4 tonnes achieved by the "father of rice", the Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, but the World Bank-funded scientists at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and anything achieved by the biggest European and American seed and GM companies. And it was not just Sumant Kumar. Krishna, Nitish, Sanjay and Bijay, his friends and rivals in Darveshpura, all recorded over 17 tonnes, and many others in the villages around claimed to have more than doubled their usual yields. But the Bihar state agricultural universities didn't believe them at first, while India's leading rice scientists muttered about freak results. The Nalanda farmers were accused of cheating. Only when the state's head of agriculture, a rice farmer himself, came to the village with his own men and personally verified Sumant's crop, was the record confirmed.
One of the world’s top physicians, Dr. Eric Topol, has a prescription that could improve your family’s health and make medical care cheaper – the smartphone. Topol has long been one of the world’s foremost cardiologists. He has now become the foremost expert in the exploding field of wireless medicine, and this explosion, he says, is about to make our health care better and cheaper. He shows how simply his modified iphone produces a cardiogram for a patient. The device was approved by the FDA in December and is now sold to physicians for $199. Topol tells his patient he just saved a $100 technician’s fee. [Topol:] These days i’m actually prescribing a lot more apps than I am medications. You can take the phone and make it a lab on a chip -- you can do blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, all kinds of things. Actually I think it helps make the whole interaction much more intimate, because now I’m sharing the results in realtime. There’s so much technology now that we could — by using digital [infra]structure that exists today -- make the office visit an enjoyable thing. [Topol] had a reputation for brashness. He questioned the safety of the hugely profitable pain killer Vioxx and eventually forced it off the market.
Note: To see the full text of this inspiring video, click here.
Organizers say [there are] thousands of events taking place in 205 countries [on Valentine's Day] as part of One Billion Rising, an international call led by Eve Ensler's V-Day organization to end violence against women and girls. Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, announced the campaign last year, urging women and men around the world to walk out of work or school on Feb. 14, 2013, and dance to raise awareness of the troubling U.N. statistic that one in three women worldwide will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. "It's happening, and what we're seeing is really huge uprisings," Ensler said ... in a telephone interview from Congo. "It's amazing because it goes from huge events like in Collins Square in London to six girls in a living room in Iran. That's what's so beautiful about it, like the whole world's doing it in the way they can do it." "The UN has officially endorsed it, and I think unprecedentedly they, at 12:30 today, stopped their work and had a rising at the UN," Ensler said. "The pressure of One Billion Rising is forcing these people to have to say they're going to do something about it," she said. Scheduled stateside events included flash mobs in San Francisco, a Zumba dance party with Jane Fonda in Los Angeles, a special program at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom featuring Rosario Dawson and Glenn Close, and a rally led by Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice A. King on the sunny streets of Atlanta. The outpouring of participation surpassed even Ensler's hopeful dreams.
On Valentine’s Day in Delhi, the pink band was ubiquitous, tied around arms, on wrists and foreheads, around necks and backpacks. Printed on it were the words “Enough! No More Violence Against Women.” 'On Thursday evening, as many set out for the customary Valentine’s Day dinner in the nation’s capital, several hundred men, women and children gathered at Parliament Street for an unorthodox celebration: a movement using music and dance to oppose violence against women. “We don’t want violence; we want love,” said Kamla Bhasin, the movement’s South Asia coordinator, to a cheering crowd of about 500 people. “We want a just love, a love based on equality.” In nearly 200 countries around the world, people took to the streets Thursday with a carnival spirit as part of One Billion Rising, a campaign initiated by Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, to highlight violence against women. In India, the message mirrored widespread public sentiment that has swelled after the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in Delhi in December, bringing women’s rights and safety to the center stage of civic and political discourse. The campaign Thursday was a continuation of that fight. In recent months, young Indians have poured out in angry protests, condemning a police force that often exists for the preservation of power rather than the protection of people, and a political class that has routinely displayed apathy.
Peer-to-peer lending most immediately brings to mind the largely feel-good act of extending small-time money to small businesses and individuals with quirky projects—a curiosity at best and no threat to the lending hegemony of big banks. What’s less appreciated is how successful peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Prosper and Lending Club have been in connecting wholesale numbers of individual lenders and borrowers. Renaud Laplanche is the founder and chief executive officer of Lending Club, which has been at least doubling its loan originations every year since it started in June 2007 at the onset of the financial crisis. He says he came up with the idea when he realized he was paying 18 percent on his credit-card debt while the issuing bank was paying out 2 percent to depositors. Lending Club mitigates risk—its default rate has remained in the low single digits throughout the financial crisis—by serving prime and superprime borrowers and turning down 90 percent of loan applications. Prosper, perhaps Lending Club’s main rival, has similarly posted nice risk-adjusted returns across its loan portfolio. Its management and board are studded with venture capitalists and Wall Street names. The value proposition to borrowers, obviously, is access not just to capital that the banks aren’t willing to lend them, but capital at a lower cost should they make the grade.