Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these 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.
The Antarctic ozone layer, which shields the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, shows encouraging signs that it's beginning to heal, according to research published in the journal Science. Scientists credit the healing to an international policy set nearly three decades ago that cut the production of ozone-destroying chemicals. That agreement - the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - called for the phase-out of substances including chlorofluorocarbons and halons, once present in refrigerators, aerosol cans and dry cleaning chemicals. "The ozone layer is expected to recover in response, albeit very slowly," wrote the researchers in the study. The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects animal and plant life on Earth from powerful UV rays. When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through and affect humans, making them prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases. There also may be consequences for plant life, including lower crop yields and disruptions in the ocean's food chain. The ozone hole was discovered in 1985, which led to the Montreal Protocol two years later. Researchers ... found that the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk by 1.5 million square miles, based on their measurements every September since 2000 to 2015. This area is equivalent to 4 million square kilometers, which is bigger than India. Since the Montreal Protocol went into effect, the amount of harmful chemicals has also decreased.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In a country where billions of pounds of food get wasted every year, one app is connecting the dots between those who have excess food and those who need it. Copia, a food recovery app, collects surplus food from companies and distributes it to organizations that serve people in need. Companies can use the app to order a food pickup after an event, for instance, and Copia will come retrieve the fare and drop it off at a local pantry, shelter or soup kitchen. “Hunger is the world’s dumbest problem, especially in the world’s wealthiest country,” Komal Ahmad, the app’s founder, said. “It’s a distribution problem. We get food from those who have it to those who need it.” Food waste is a huge issue in the United States: 31 percent of the available food supply, or 133 billion pounds, went uneaten in 2010. This is in a country in which almost 50 million Americans ... live in food insecure households. “Hunger is pervasive,” said Margarette Purvis, President of Food Bank of NYC. “It’s a horrible thing that is hidden in every city.” So far Copia has collected more than eight hundred thousand pounds of food, connecting it to seven hundred thousand people. Ahmad is hoping ... to potentially use the technology to distribute other much-needed items like medicine. “Next, we want to use the platform to redistribute food to Syrian migrants in our country,” Ahmad said. If you want to help, you can get businesses you work with to use the app. But Purvis suggested something more: go volunteer at a local food pantry.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Jessica McClard, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, had always been intrigued by the recent trend of Little Free Libraries, which she’d notice popping up quite frequently in her neighborhood. But then she thought about how she could expand the idea into something more. That’s how The Little Free Pantry was born. She built what she believes to be is the first Little Free Pantry, stocked with canned goods, toiletries and paper goods. Her idea has taken off with huge success. “I check on it about once every day because it’s at the church,” McClard told ABC News of the small structure located in front of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. The items that fly off the shelves the fastest are simple goods that can make a world of difference to someone in need. “Personal hygiene items for sure,” she explained. “Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper goods are great too, paper towels and toilet paper. I get asked about high temperatures and whether food could really spoil, but the turnover rate is so high it’s never been a problem.” The Little Free Pantry isn’t just used for the normal, everyday items. She’s noticed people stocking it with school supplies for children, and even was delighted to find it decorated for Memorial Day. “I feel like there’s some community ownership over it, and that’s exciting.” More than anything, McClard hopes that her Little Free Pantry “helps someone who may be in a tight spot and to let them know they’re not alone.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Five months before Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba's went public in September 2014, cofounders Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai created charitable trusts and seeded them with a combined 50 million in share options. Today those trusts are worth nearly $3.5 billion. It's one sign of a new age of large-scale philanthropy in China. Three decades after economic reforms paved the way for 400 billionaires to emerge ... extremely wealthy Chinese have started giving their money away in large sums ... according to research on China's top 100 philanthropists released Wednesday by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. "It's important to look at the trends in how rich people are giving back to society. We wanted to create healthy competition among donors and shift the national debate from wealth creation to philanthropy," said Peiran Wei, who led the research. Among the 100 philanthropists, the average donation was around $8 million. They gave most often to education. "If you're a businessman in China, it's probably easier for you to make money than to give it away. It's not a free market for philanthropy," Wei said. More than half of the philanthropists gave to charities affiliated with the government. Wei speculates this is ... because these are some of the few entities today that can handle giving at a large scale. However, 19 donors on the list have created private foundations, which Wei says signals a shift toward more professionalized philanthropy.
You are undoubtedly familiar with so-called “sharing economy” titans such as Uber and Airbnb. Both companies are wreaking havoc on existing business models. But there is a problem. These are not truly “sharing economy” companies. For the record, I’m with Harvard Business Review authors Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi who made a strong case against using the term “sharing economy” when it comes to firms like Uber and Airbnb. The authors suggested these sorts of businesses - where products and services are traded on the basis of access rather than ownership, when trade is done temporarily and not permanently - ought to be referred to as the “access economy.” While there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with companies like Uber or Airbnb ... they are not examples of organizations who are truly “sharing”. [Each company] extracts money from its “partners” and reinvests the profit in itself, not those who are its laborers. Which brings me to ... the business model of a “Platform Cooperative.” In its simplest form, a Platform Cooperative is defined as “worker–owned cooperatives designing their own apps-based platforms, fostering truly peer-to-peer ways of providing services and things”. Put differently, those doing the work are owners and are both compensated for such effort and regarded as members of the greater team. A Platform Cooperative is not in it to extract money from its labourers through the rental of talent, service or even capital. Its business model is not about renting access.
Note: Read a great article describing 11 "platform cooperatives" which create a real sharing economy.
Solar energy is now cheaper than traditional fossil fuels. Solar and wind is now either the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The influential foundation has described the change as a "tipping point" that could make fighting climate change into a profitable form of business for energy companies. But investors and energy firms are still failing to put money into such green solutions despite the fact that they are cheaper than more traditional forms of electricity generation. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point – it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming,” said Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum. Just ten years ago, generating electricity through solar cost about $600 per MWh, and it cost only $100 to generate the same amount of power through coal and natural gas. But ... today it only costs around $100 the generate the same amount of electricity through solar and $50 through wind. The cheap price of solar and wind energy is already encouraging companies to build more plants to harvest it. The US is adding about 125 solar panels every minute ... and investment in renewables in 2015 rose to $286 billion, up 5 per cent from the year before. Even despite that cheap price ... the worldwide investment is only 25 per cent of the $1 trillion goal set in the landmark Paris climate change accord.
Note: Why are most of the media in the US hardly reporting this inspiring news at all? Read more on this great news in this informative essay.
The worst drought in three decades has left almost 20 million Ethiopians - one-fifth of the population - desperately short of food. And yet the country’s mortality rate isn’t expected to increase: In other words, Ethiopians aren’t starving to death. I’ve studied famine and humanitarian relief for more than 30 years, and I wasn’t prepared for what I saw during a visit to Ethiopia last month. I saw imported wheat being brought to the smallest and most remote villages. Water was delivered to places where wells had run dry. Malnourished children were being treated in properly staffed clinics. Compare that to the aftermath of the 1984 drought, which killed at least 600,000 people, [and] caused the economy to shrink by nearly 14 percent. How did Ethiopia go from being the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation? Peace, greater transparency and prudent planning. Ethiopia’s success in averting another disaster is confirmation that famine is elective because, at its core, it is an artifact and a tool of political repression. After countries have passed a certain threshold of prosperity and development, peace, political liberalization and greater government accountability are the best safeguards against famine. So is the era of great famines finally over? Let’s just say it could be. Famine isn’t caused by overpopulation, and as Ethiopia’s experience shows, it’s not a necessary consequence of drought. Politics creates famine, and politics can stop it.
New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialisation in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet and are published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology. By drilling ice cores down through the kilometre-thick ice sheet, the researchers can analyse every single annual layer, which can tell us about ... pollutants in the atmosphere. Acid in the atmosphere can come from large volcanic eruptions and human-made emissions from industry. For many years, there has been a quest to solve the problem of measuring acidity in the porous annual layers of the ice and now scientists from the Niels Bohr Institute have succeeded [by employing] a Continuous Flow Analyses or CFA method. The CFA system can ... distinguish whether the emissions come from volcanic eruptions, large forest fires or industry. The researchers can therefore filter out both volcanic eruptions and forest fires in the assessment of industrial pollution and the new results are revolutionary. "We can see that the acid pollution in the atmosphere from industry has fallen dramatically since humanmade acid pollution took off in the 1930s and peaked in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1970s, both Europe and the United States adopted the 'The clean air act amendments', which required filters in factories, thus reducing acid emissions," explains [researcher] Helle Astrid Kjćr.
The teenage birth rate in the United States has hit an all-time low, according to a report this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says during the last 25 years, the teen birth rate has fallen from 62 births for every 1,000 teenage women to 24 per 1,000. The drop is steepest among minorities in the past decade, with pregnancies down 44 percent for black teens and down 51 percent among Hispanics. Dr. Wanda Barfield, the CDC’s director of the Division of Reproductive Health [explains this dramatic] decrease: "What we’re seeing is that community-based interventions appear to be effective in preventing teen births. We’re seeing declines in sexual activity among teens, as well as increases in the use of the most effective contraceptive methods available. Sexual health education plays an important role in the prevention of teen pregnancy. Even states that may have low rates of teen pregnancy may have areas where we’re seeing high rates of teen pregnancy within specific communities. So, as a result, it’s really important that we look locally, that we engage communities in teen pregnancy prevention."
The closure of five prisons in as many years against the background of a falling crime rate, is the kind of news many governments would give their eye teeth for. The impact could have been even more dramatic if the government had adopted the recommendations of a prison service report published in July, which concluded that eight jails and three youth detention centres will be surplus to requirements by the year 2021. The official figures indicate that recorded crime has been falling for around a decade. Between 2014 and 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available, recorded crime was down by nearly 5%, according to national statistics office CBS. In total, recorded crime has shrunk by 25% over the past eight years. Crime figures [have] been falling in nearly all western nations this century, but the decline in the Dutch prison population has been spectacular. In 2006 the Netherlands had the second highest number of inmates in Europe with 125 prisoners per 100,000 population. Only the UK, with 145, had a larger share. But by last year the Dutch were down to Scandinavian levels, with 69 out of every 100,000 citizens behind bars. The government says prison closures are inevitable because it costs too much to keep empty cells open. Official forecasts predict that the downward trend in crime will continue, though how far the fall reflects an actual drop in criminal behaviour remains a hotly contested issue.
A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. This has happened in isolated projects in the past. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects. While solar was bound to fall below wind eventually, given its steeper price declines, few predicted it would happen this soon. “Solar investment has gone from nothing ... five years ago to quite a lot,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. “A huge part of this story is China, which has been rapidly deploying solar” and helping other countries finance their own projects. The world recently passed a turning point and is adding more capacity for clean energy each year than for coal and natural gas combined. Peak fossil-fuel use for electricity may be reached within the next decade. Thursday’s BNEF report, called Climatescope, ranks and profiles emerging markets for their ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy projects. The top-scoring markets were China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India. For populations still relying on expensive kerosene generators, or who have no electricity at all, and for those living in the dangerous smog of thickly populated cities, the shift to renewables and increasingly to solar can’t come soon enough.
In its simplest form, the story of “Not in Our Town” is of a city that stood up for its Jewish residents against the bullying tactics of white supremacists. Hate group activity in Billings, [Montana] was brewing in the fall of 1992. Then in January 1993, the Montana Association of Churches held an ecumenical service ... to boost interfaith unity and celebrate the work of Martin Luther King Jr., said Margie MacDonald, now a Montana legislator who was then MAC’s executive director. When people returned to their cars, they found on their windshields fliers targeting minorities, homosexuals ... and human rights organizations. MacDonald remembered eating cookies and drinking coffee inside First United Methodist Church when people came back in, shaking, holding the fliers in their hands. “This is what kind of opened our eyes to the magnitude of it,” she said. The ad hoc group, which called itself Community Coalition to Oppose Hate Groups, continued holding community conversations and circulated a resolution to counter bigotry. “Our philosophy and our effort was to create an opportunity for the community to stand beside those people being targeted and make it clear that we would not sit back and let it happen,” MacDonald said. Word of the town’s actions started to spread. Patrice O’Neill, CEO ... of the nonprofit media company The Working Group, read about what happened. She ... came to Billings, interviewed key players and produced [the film “Not in Our Town,” which] was aired on PBS in 1995.
Note: Watch a beautiful, five-minute video presenting this and other shining examples of what the citizens of Billings have done to curb hate in their town.
Since the tender age of 7, Will has been focused on feeding the hungry. It all started when he saw a man on a street corner begging for food, and he decided he wanted to do something about it. With the help of his parents – Julie, a teacher, and Bill, a financial adviser – he established the charity Friends Reaching Our Goals, or FROGs. He named the organization himself ... and designed FROGs with a dual purpose: to inspire youths to carry out service work in their communities and to feed those at risk of going hungry. That was October 2010. Since then, he has helped provide more than 500,000 meals to those in need. He raises funds, he plans, he ropes in friends, and more. Tonight he is serving Asian-themed dishes as part of the monthly FROGs Dinner Club, a central event. Each time, Will and his fellow volunteers aim to serve a free, fresh meal with the twist that the recipients be introduced to new foods and healthier options. This go-round, honey-seared chicken is dished up with brown or white rice alongside Vietnamese chicken salad rolls. And edamame. “When I was 7, I was riding home from a Little League baseball game when I saw a man on a street corner who held a sign that said, ‘Need Meal,’ ” Will elaborates. “And it made me sad to realize that there are people in my community who didn’t have enough food to eat. So I started FROGs. Our motto is to have fun while helping others.” Will’s efforts have helped amass $852,000 worth of food items for hunger-fighting charities.
Most pop culture depictions of the future, from “The Hunger Games” to the zombie apocalypse, feature dystopia. Singularity University wants to help people — particularly corporate chiefs, global entrepreneurs, government officials, academics, creative types and nonprofit leaders — envision and create more upbeat prospects. “I have a sense of urgency about the need to tell positive stories about a future of abundance, so we have an alternative,” said CEO Rob Nail. “We’re creating a new lens of how to look at the world and create a long-term future we want to live in.” Singularity isn’t a university in the traditional sense. It combines a think tank, business incubator, worldwide conferences and short-duration on-site education programs. Founded in 2009, Singularity changed from a nonprofit to a benefit corporation, a form of for-profit business, four years ago. As such, it can consider its vision of solving big problems alongside ordinary corporate goals of profit-making. Singularity aims big. Its pitch to applicants to its accelerator and students at its intensive 40-day summer program called Global Solutions is this: Come up with an idea to positively impact the lives of a billion people. Think clean water, renewable energy, health, hunger, poverty. “We get thousands of applicants, and look for people ... who have the mind-set and talent to be a game changer and are dedicated to applying technology to address the world’s biggest problems,” said Brad Templeton ... chairman of computing at Singularity.
A nine-year old girl from Bremerton, Wash. is making a difference in her local community. In a report with KING 5 News, Hailey Ford is shown using a power tool to drive nails into the roof what looks like a miniature house. The structure is the first of 11 planned shelters she [is] building for the homeless in her area. She tells the reporter that her friend Edward is homeless and needs a dry place to sleep at night. When she realized that she could do something about it, she began piecing together a plan to build "mobile sleeping" shelters, as she calls them. The shelters come complete with insulation, tar paper, and windows, barriers that will keep out the elements and lock in the warmth. Hailey isn't the only kid acting with compassion. Five-year old Josiah Duncan had a similar reaction when he saw a hungry-looking homeless man outside of a Waffle House in Prattville, Ala., last month. The little boy began asking his mother about the man's appearance, clearly troubled. She explained that the man was homeless and Josiah requested that they buy him a meal. His mother obliged. Before the man could eat, Josiah insisted on saying a blessing. "The man cried. I cried. Everybody cried," his mother told WFSA. Other children have taken Hailey and Josiah's kindness a few steps further. Hannah Taylor, a Canadian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, founded the Ladybug Foundation when she was only eight years old. In her mission statement Hannah says, "I believe that if people know about homelessness – that there are people living without a home – they will want to help.”
The history of science is, like so much else, a human history. But history tends to get simplified; a map becomes a single road leading from point to point. It's not surprising that some scientists who contributed invaluably to the field have been kept out of the dominant narrative because they were women. But in the last days of the 19th century and the early days of the 20th, Henrietta Swan Leavitt - one of the many woman "computers" at the Harvard Observatory - used the measurements of variable stars to determine fixed distances across space. And fifty years later, Katherine Johnson - a black woman working at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia when the state was still deeply segregated - would map John Glenn's space flight, and America's trip to the moon. Women are indelible contributors to the field, and two of this year's best histories - Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures, and Dava Sobel's The Glass Universe - are out to prove it. There's deep value to these stories in the here and now. Women fought prejudice (twice over, in the case of Hidden Figures) and did crucial work that shaped our understanding and exploration of the universe. From a glass-plate storage room in the Observatory, Williamina Fleming could look at a far-off star and map it in a sea of numbers; in a segregated Virginia, Katherine Johnson could look at a sea of numbers and map out a path to the Moon. Taken together, these books make a case not just for acknowledging women's contributions to the field, but for the value of science itself.
In a few days, the water-bound wind turbines off of Rhode Island’s Block Island are expected to generate electricity commercially for the first time, and New Englanders are set to become the first in U.S. history to use electric power generated from an offshore wind turbine. The Block Island Wind Project is the first commercial offshore wind farm ever built in the U.S., and the start of its operation marks the the beginning of a brand new clean energy industry in the United States. Offshore wind is one of America’s largest untapped energy sources. As part of its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), the Obama administration unveiled a plan in September to build wind farms off of nearly every U.S. coastline by 2050 - enough turbines to generate zero-carbon electricity for more than 23 million homes. In 2009, the Obama administration began ... leasing large swaths of the East Coast’s continental shelf to offshore wind developers. Since then, federal government lease sales have been held for areas off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. New York is next in line for a lease sale this month. Once it is operational, the success of the Block Island Wind Project will prove that offshore wind power can be done in the U.S., said Steve Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a publicly funded state agency that conducts offshore wind technology research.
Native Americans conducted a forgiveness ceremony with U.S. veterans at the Standing Rock casino, giving the veterans an opportunity to atone for military actions conducted against Natives throughout history. In celebration of Standing Rock protesters’ victory [towards] halting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, Leonard Crow Dog formally forgave Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO, Wesley Clark Sr.. Salon published Clark’s apology to the Natives, which read as follows: "Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness." This was a historically symbolic gesture forgiving centuries of oppression against Natives and honoring their partnership in defending the land from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Chief Leonard Crow Dog offered forgiveness and urged for world peace, responding that “we do not own the land, the land owns us.”
Note: A beautiful, two-minute video shows these U.S. veterans apologizing to Native Americans for stealing and pillaging their land demonstrates how our times are changing. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Johan Eliasch is finding himself in the news a lot these days. Just over a week ago it emerged that this Swedish-born tycoon ... had bought 400,000 acres of the Amazonian rainforest, an area the size of Greater London. He bought it, he said, to save it, to preserve its plants and wildlife - and, by preserving old-growth forest, to do his bit towards counteracting rising CO2 levels. Eliasch's response to the issue of global warming and the devastation of habitats is unusual, but it is not isolated. Paul van Klissingen, owner of Calor gas, has spent Ł15m on land in Africa. Kris McDivitt, former head of Patagonia clothing, and her husband Doug Tompkins, co-founder of the North Face, own 2m acres in Chile and Argentina. George Soros and Luciano Benetton own 1m and 2m acres of South America respectively. The idea is to step in where local governments, for whatever reason, have failed, or have more pressing issues to deal with, to buy up the land and lock it down by banning logging, sometimes establishing wildlife parks. Eliasch has been thinking about environmental issues for a long time, he says. When he was growing up in Stockholm he used to be able to walk out of his front door and ski from late October until April. "Today in Stockholm, you can't ski at all." I ask what [it feels] like to own so much rainforest? A slight laugh. "It's something very precious. It's a responsibility, at the same time." A pause. "It's not really a personal possession."
A man who was paralyzed from the neck down can now operate his wheelchair and hug his family. Kristopher Boesen, who became paralyzed after a car crash, has become the first person in California to receive an experimental treatment made from stem cells. It has allowed him to use his arms and hands once again. The treatment is an injection that consists of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells, which are derived from embryonic stem cells. AST-OPC1 helps support the healthy functioning of nerve cells. In early April, a team at Keck Medical Center injected the treatment into Boesen’s damaged cervical spine. Three months later, he was able to do tasks like write his name. “I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t feed myself. I couldn’t text or, pretty much, do anything. I was basically just existing ... I wasn’t really living my life” Boesen [said]. “And now, after the stem cell surgery, I’m able to live my life.” Boesen’s success stems from strength. Just before his twenty-first birthday, Boesen lost control of his car [and] hit a tree ... leaving him with severe injuries to his spine. His parents were told he’d be paralyzed from the neck down, but they were also told that he qualified for a clinical study that could help. To participate, Boesen had to give voice confirmation that he wanted to be part of the study. The problem was that at the time, Boesen was using a ventilator to breath, and was unable to speak. Through sheer desire ... Boesen weaned himself off the ventilator in five days - a process that usually takes patients three weeks to complete.