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.
Several major media articles have sung the praises of microcredit, also known as microfinance and microlending: New York Times: Tiny Loans Make a Big Difference in Lives of Poor; Wall Street Journal: A new way to do well by doing good; BusinessWeek: Microfinance funds lift poor entrepreneurs—and benefit investors; The Economist: Microcredit in India, High finance benefits the poor; Excellent general article in Time magazine titled "The End of Poverty" CNN/Associated Press: Bankers for poor win peace Nobel. Without donating a penny, you can help to break the cycle poverty in a very real way. Microcredit investments are not donations or charity. Like other investments, the money is always yours. You even earn a small amount of interest. Yet for every $1,000 you invest, several entire families in the developing world can be pulled out of poverty every year. That is part of the reason why the United Nations declared 2005 to be the International Year of Microcredit and why the individual and group who originated the microcredit concept were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. To download a free 24-page guide to microcredit and community investing, click here. And note that these investments are not influenced at all by market fluctuations.
Note: For more detailed information on this incredibly inspiring means of decimating poverty, click here.
Leonard Campanello ... posts frequent “Gloucester Police Chief Updates” to the police department’s Facebook page. “Since January of this year, we have responded to dozens of opiate-related overdoses and, unfortunately, the City has seen 4 deaths in this time that are heroin related,” he wrote [on March 6], adding: “4 deaths is 4 too many.” He continued: “If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.” The post collected 1,226 “likes” and more page views than there were people in the city. The community, he said, was hungry for different ideas. “The war on drugs is over,” Campanello said in an interview. “And we lost. There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. We’ve been trying that for 50 years. The only thing that has happened is heroin has become cheaper and more people are dying.” He now wanted to turn Gloucester’s police station into an oasis of amnesty in the drug addict’s perilous world. No heroin addict who entered the police seeking help — unless they had outstanding warrants — would face charges or arrest. Even if they toted their drugs and paraphernalia. Instead, they would get help. In another Facebook post in early May, he laid it out. Things then happened fast. The force opened a non-profit called the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. So far, Campanello said, 109 addicts have sought help at the police station.
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Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday joined an initiative that will require its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farmworker pay and protect workers from forced labor and sexual assault, among other things. The nation's largest retailer became the most influential corporation to join the initiative promoted by ... the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. "Through this collaboration, not only will thousands of hard-working farmworkers see concrete improvements to their lives, but millions of consumers will learn about the Fair Food Program and of a better way to buy fruits and vegetables grown and harvested here in the U.S," said Cruz Salacio, a spokesman for the Coalition. Florida tomato suppliers in the Fair Food Program pass on to their buyers a penny-per-pound of tomatoes pay increase for farmworkers. They also must have zero tolerance for forced labor and sexual assault and put in place a mechanism for resolving labor disputes between growers and farmworkers. The program also requires growers to allow farmworkers to form health and safety committees on each farm. Growers in compliance earn a "Participating Grower" designation, and if they lose the designation through violations, they won't be able to sell their tomatoes to the participating buyers, such as Wal-Mart. "This signifies a tremendous change," Lucas Benitez, a coalition leader, said of Wal-Mart's participation.
Note: Read more on this inspiring initiative.
GiveDirectly has a straightforward approach to helping the world's poorest people: just give them cash, no strings attached. The New York-based nonprofit has distributed about $1,000 — roughly a year's income — to thousands of ultra-poor households in Kenya and Uganda. Recipients don't need to pay back the money, and they can spend it however they wish. This might seem like a radical idea, but it's not. Cash transfers have quietly become one of the most widely researched and consistently effective anti-poverty strategies in the developing world. Now GiveDirectly's work is receiving a major boost from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, who on Monday announced a $25 million donation through their foundation Good Ventures. The gift is greater than GiveDirectly's entire 2014 budget. "Governments and donors spend tens of billions of dollars a year on reducing poverty," Tuna said in a statement, "but the people who are meant to benefit from that money rarely get a say in how it’s spent. GiveDirectly is changing that." Moskovitz and Tuna, both in their early 30s, are among the youngest billionaires to pledge the bulk of their fortune to charity. Their goal isn't just to do good, but to do the most good possible. That goal led them to support exhaustive research to determine which organizations working in poor countries are most effective and cost-efficient. That research, in turn, led them to GiveDirectly - the only nonprofit focused exclusively on cash transfers.
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Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works. Teachers and administrators still rely overwhelmingly on outdated systems of reward and punishment, rooted in B.F. Skinner's mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished. Far from resolving children's behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them. Psychologist Ross Greene, who has taught at Harvard and Virginia Tech, has developed a ... model [that] was honed in children's psychiatric clinics and battle-tested in state juvenile facilities. In 2006 it formally made its way into a smattering of public and private schools. The results thus far have been dramatic, with schools reporting drops as great as 80 percent in disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and incidents of peer aggression. Under Greene's philosophy, you'd no more punish a child for yelling out in class or jumping out of his seat repeatedly than you would if he bombed a spelling test. You'd talk with the kid to figure out the reasons for the outburst, then brainstorm alternative strategies for the next time he felt that way. The goal is to get to the root of the problem, not to discipline a kid for the way his brain is wired. The implications of this new wave of science for teachers are profound: Children can actually reshape their brains when they learn and practice skills. When students are told this is so, both their motivation and achievement levels leap forward.
Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds. Dan Barber, co-owner and chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan ... for three weeks this spring turned his prominent eatery into a pop-up he called Waste-ED featuring dishes such as charred pineapple core and “dumpster dive” salad. Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a statistic that has been widely circulated since the Natural Resource Defense Fund issued a report on the subject in 2012. Many nonprofits and government agencies link that excess to a sobering shortage: the one in six Americans who lack a reliable supply of nutritious food. Taken together, they’re arguably our food system’s worst dichotomy. “We think a for-profit business is the way to solve” food waste, said Evan Lutz, the 22-year-old chief executive and co-founder of Hungry Harvest, a ... program that delivers ugly and excess produce throughout the Baltimore-Washington region. The business spun off last year from a “recovered food CSA” run by the Food Recovery Network, a national nonprofit launched ... to divert food waste from college campuses to feed the hungry. As a for-profit business, Hungry Harvest still works on the hunger side of the equation by donating a pound of produce to food banks and shelters for every pound sold to customers.
Note: Check out the food waste movie.
In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain – boosting levels of attention – and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests. And Monday, yet another addition. It's a cognitive neuroscience study, meaning not only that benefits from a nature experience were captured in an experiment, but also that their apparent neural signature was observed through brain scans. 38 individuals who lived in urban areas, and who had "no history of mental disorder," were divided into two groups – and asked to take a walk. Half walked for 90 minutes through a natural area. The other half walked along a very busy road. Before and also after the walk, the participants answered a questionnaire designed to measure their tendency toward "rumination," a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression. Finally, both before and after the walk, the participants had their brains scanned. The result was that individuals who took the 90-minute nature walk showed a decrease in rumination. And their brain activity also showed a change consistent with this result. Spending time outdoors, in nature, is good for you.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Kyle Schwartz teaches third grade at Doull Elementary in Denver. In a bid to build trust between her and her students, Schwartz thought up a lesson plan called "I Wish My Teacher Knew." For the activity, Schwartz's third graders jot down a thought for their teacher, sharing something they'd like her to know about them. "I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously," she says. "I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know. "Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, 'I wish my teacher knew I don't have pencils at home to do my homework.' I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don't want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty." Blown away by her class' honesty, Schwartz shared some of the notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, encouraging fellow teachers to employ the same lesson with their own students. "After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back.' The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other." Schwartz says she also hopes her lesson can help her connect students and their families with the proper resources they need to live comfortably.
Note: Read another inspiring article on this great idea.
An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation's nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, an appeals court ruled Friday. At issue was whether Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed injured national security when they cut through several fences to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July 2012. A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that they did not. Once there, the trio had hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: "They will beat their swords into ploughshares." "If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons ... the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation's ability to attack or defend," the opinion says. "But vague platitudes about a facility's 'crucial role in the national defense' are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage." Rice wrote in a letter to The Associated Press in March that "the important message of the appeal is the illegality of nuclear weapons, which are sabotaging the planet."
Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, in Armley, Leeds, feeds his punters on goods that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets, independent grocers and food banks. The 29-year-old trained chef cooks up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted food, charging [based on] a “pay as you feel” policy - allowing punters to pay what they feel they can, and if that is nothing, they can help with the washing up. In just 10 months he has fed 10,000 people on 20 tonnes of unwanted food, raising over Ł30,000. The cafe ... has inspired 47 other "pay as you feel" cafes to spring in the past few months. But Mr Smith says The Real Junk Food Project ... is about more than simply feeding those who might otherwise go hungry. "It is bringing people from different demographics together [in a way] that doesn't involve money. People are opening Junk Food Projects because they have had enough of what is going on in society and care about what is happening to other human beings," he said. The publication of an all-party report into Hunger in Britain last week revealed 4m people in the UK were at risk of going hungry, while 3.5m adults could not afford to feed themselves properly. Britain experienced the highest rate of food inflation in the world the report said, rising 47% since 2003, compared with 30.4% in the United States, 22.1% in Germany and 16.7% in France.
On 20 May 1916, Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean reached Stromness, a whaling station on the north coast of South Georgia. They had been walking for 36 hours, in life-threatening conditions. They did not talk about it at the time, but weeks later all three men reported an uncanny experience during their trek: a feeling that "often there were four, not three" men on their journey. The "fourth" that accompanied them had the silent presence of a real person, someone walking with them by their side. Encounters such as these are common in extreme survival situations: guardian angels, guides, or even Christ-like figures have often been reported. We know them now as "third man" experiences, following a line in TS Eliot's poem, The Wasteland: "Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together. But when I look ahead up the white road, there is always another one walking beside you." In his book The Third Man Factor, John Geiger collects together a wide range of third man stories, including accounts from mountaineers, sailors, and survivors of terrorist attacks. They all involve a strong impression of a felt presence ... which will often feel as if it has a spiritual or guiding purpose.
John Emerson Moss is an unheralded giant in the capital of California. Moss [represented] Sacramento in Congress for 25 years – a career marked by one of the most noteworthy legislative records of the second half of the 20th century. Moss was the author and champion of the federal Freedom of Information Act, which gave any American the right to access federal records once routinely sealed by the most powerful forces in the American government. Because of Moss, there is the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He played a major role in enacting the Toy Safety Act, the Poison Package Control Act, the Federal Privacy Act. He was chief sponsor of the Clean Air Act. Moss was one of the first voices in government to come out against the Vietnam War, a position that put him squarely at odds with President Lyndon Johnson – one of the most politically powerful and vindictive men to occupy the Oval Office. A Democrat like Johnson, Moss’ opposition to Vietnam and his dogged pursuit of FOIA cost him what many politicians crave most – power. President Johnson was against the idea of opening federal records to the public and he fought Moss behind closed doors. Moss prevailed when Johnson bowed to pressure from newspaper editors and a growing mistrust of government. He signed FOIA into law the week of July 4, 1966. It was a momentous event. But there is no film of Moss standing behind Johnson as he signed FOIA into law because a grudging Johnson refused to have a public signing ceremony to mark the event.
Note: Moss’ 100th birthday falls on April 13, 2015. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
America is a nation of pavement. According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most cities’ surfaces are 35 to 50 percent composed of the stuff. And 40 percent of that pavement is parking lots. That has a large effect: Asphalt and concrete absorb the sun’s energy, retaining heat — and contributing to the “urban heat island effect,” in which cities are hotter than the surrounding areas. So what if there were a way to cut down on that heat, cool down the cars that park in these lots, power up those parked cars that are electric vehicles, and generate a lot of energy to boot? There is actually a technology that does all of this — solar carports. It’s just what it sounds like — covering up a parking lot with solar panels, which are elevated above the ground so that cars park in the shade beneath a canopy of photovoltaics. Depending of course on the size of the array, you can generate a lot of power. For instance, one vast solar carport installation at Rutgers University is 28 acres in size and produces 8 megawatts of power, or about enough energy to power 1,000 homes. So what’s the downside here? And why aren’t solar parking lots to be found pretty much everywhere you turn? In a word, the problem is cost. They are mainly springing up in Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York and most of all California. That’s because these states offer an array of state financial incentives to support their development.
In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. Nebraska ... has embraced the complete socialization of energy distribution. The Nebraska Power Association proudly proclaims, “Our electric prices do not include a profit. That means Nebraska’s utilities can focus exclusively on keeping electric rates low and customer service high. Our customers, not big investors in New York and Chicago, own Nebraska’s utilities.” Nebraska has a long history of publicly owned power systems. However, in the post-World War I era, large corporate electric holding companies backed by Wall Street banks entered the market and began taking over. Tired of abusive corporate practices, in 1930 residents and advocates of publicly owned utilities took a revenue bond financing proposal straight to the voters, bypassing the corporate-influenced legislature which had previously failed to pass similar legislation. It was approved overwhelmingly. By 1949, Nebraska had solidified its status as the first and only all-public power state. Nebraska’s nearly 100-year-old experience with a completely public and community-owned electricity system demonstrates that ... the principles of subsidiarity and local control can, in fact, be preserved through a networked mix of publicly owned institutions at various scales without sacrificing efficiency or service quality.
By Tanzanian standards, Nosim Noah is not poor. A tall, handsome woman with the angular features of her fellow Masai tribe members, Ms. Noah makes a good living selling women’s and children’s clothes. But despite their relative prosperity, up until late 2013, the family had no electricity. Now, however, [they have power because] a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa – and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn’t to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable installments and not rely on government help. The concept is called pay-as-you-go solar. When [Noah] and her late husband moved into their house in 2004, they paid about a $200 connection fee to TANESCO, the Tanzanian national utility, to extend a power line to their home. After a six-month wait, workers finally erected a utility pole outside their home. But the power never came. “I have no idea why it didn’t work,” Noah says. “All I know is that the lights never came on.” They have power now, though, with the help of the sun.
Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as "remarkable". Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection. Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems. It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases. The researchers say fasting "flips a regenerative switch" which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system. Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy. "While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy," said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital. "More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”
Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world's top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms. The move by districts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County is intended to protect children's health amid concerns about the rise of so-called "superbugs," bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines. The change may raise costs for schools. The six districts ... hope to limit costs by combining their purchasing power. Under the new standards, all chicken products served in the districts must come from birds that were never fed antibiotics. School officials are demanding the change after meeting with industry experts and "really understanding how this affects the human body overall and our future with antibiotic resistance," said Leslie Fowler, executive director of nutrition support services for the Chicago Public Schools. The switch is expected to take several years. Companies like Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp have said they will not be able to change production systems quickly. A Reuters investigation in September found that major U.S. poultry firms were administering antibiotics to their flocks far more pervasively than regulators realized.
Some of the highest employment rates in the advanced world are in places with the highest taxes and most generous welfare systems, namely Scandinavian countries. The United States and many other nations with relatively low taxes and a smaller social safety net actually have substantially lower rates of employment. In Scandinavian countries, working parents have the option of heavily subsidized child care. Leave policies make it easy for parents to take off work. Heavily subsidized public transportation may make it easier for a person in a low-wage job to get to and from work. And free or inexpensive education may make it easier to get the training to move from the unemployment rolls to a job. Wages for entry-level work are much higher in the Nordic countries than in the United States, reflecting a higher minimum wage, stronger labor unions and cultural norms that lead to higher pay. Perhaps more Americans would enter the labor force if even basic jobs paid [adequate wages], regardless of whether the United States provided better child care and other services. There is a lesson from Scandinavia useful in its simplicity: If you make it easier for people to work, it may be the case that more will.
Kailash Satyarthi has ... just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi is a hero to many people. [He] has driven the global movement to end child labor. Because of his work, we now know there are 168 million child laborers worldwide. They used to be invisible. Kailash started risking his life for these children more than 30 years ago, when he broke into Indian factories to emancipate them. Early footage of him doing this “raid and rescue” work showed the world that child slavery exists. Along with his wife, Sumedha, he helped those he rescued to recover and find their place in the world, and he put their stories on the global stage, shaming lawmakers and companies into acknowledging the systemic exploitation of children for economic gain. GoodWeave [is] an organization that he created in 1994. At that time there were over 1 million children weaving carpets in South Asia alone. In exchange for proving that there were no children in their supply chains, carpet sellers could put the GoodWeave label on their products. Since 1995, more than 11 million carpets bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, reducing child labor in the carpet industry by an estimated 75 percent. GoodWeave aims to emancipate the last 250,000 children working the carpet looms by 2020.
Tucked behind the women’s residence halls in a back corner of Huston-Tillotson University’s campus in Austin, Texas, sits a green dumpster. Were it not for the sliding pitched roof and weather station perched on top, a reasonable person might dismiss the box as “just another dumpster”—providing this person did not encounter the dean of the University College Jeff Wilson living inside. Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally. Not long ago, Wilson was nesting in a 2,500 square foot house. Now he says almost everything he owns is in his 36-square-foot dumpster, which is sanctioned and supported by the university as part of an ongoing sustainability-focused experiment called The Dumpster Project. “We could end up with a house under $10,000 that could be placed anywhere in the world,” Wilson said at the launch, “[fueled by] sunlight and surface water, and people could have a pretty good life.” Wilson, known around town as Professor Dumpster, recounted in another recent interview that he now owns four pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of shoes, three hats, and “eight or nine” bow ties. He keeps all of this in cubbies under a recently installed false floor.
Note: The article above includes many amazing photos of Wilson's unconventional home. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.