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.
When Tamara Houston’s daughter developed a painful eye condition – on a Sunday, during a high school rodeo competition – the Yuba City mom ... picked up her cellphone and called her family’s primary care doctor, who met them two hours later at his Rocklin office. The cost of the weekend emergency visit? Zero, because it was already included in her family’s monthly $200 fee. Houston’s family of four is taking advantage of concierge medicine, a small but growing trend. Under a concierge-style practice, patients pay a monthly or annual fee ... in exchange for longer appointment times, same-day visits and round-the-clock access to their doctor by cellphone, text or email. Some concierge doctors even make house calls. “I would never go back to a regular practice,” said Houston. “This takes all of the bureaucracy out of the equation. I don’t have to deal with co-pays or insurance. And we get to see a doctor who knows us.” Concierge medicine ... has gained more traction in recent years among both physicians and patients. “Mainstream medicine doesn’t allow you to practice good medicine,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, [the Houston family’s primary care doctor]. In his old practice, the constant churn of patients “felt like assembly-line medicine.” Dr. Marcy Zwelling, an internal medicine doctor in Los Alamitos, switched her practice nearly 15 years ago. “We’ve arranged for good, cash prices so patients can get their care and understand the value of what they’re buying,” she said. "It’s huge. And it’s absolutely cheaper.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Elephant Sanctuary south of Nashville is more than 2,000 acres of freedom for elephants. But for a resident named Tarra, there's not enough room in Tennessee to escape the bad news she got last week. For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they'd become and remained, right to the end. Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella's body. By all indications she'd been attacked by coyotes. Where they found Bella is not where she was attacked. "When I looked around ... there was no signs of an attack here," said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. "And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood - as if she picked up the body." Steve's theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home. [The sanctuary's CEO Rob] Atkinson said the elephants are ... spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice - making gestures like giving her a portion of their food. Of course, anyone who's lost a dog knows you can't eat your way out of the grief - as much we might try - but still nice to know at least Tarra's not alone in this. It's also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.
Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of this sad event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Arno Michaelis was once a thriving member of the Neo-Nazi movement. He participated in white supremacist rallies, was a fervent supporter of what he called a Racial Holy War, and was the lead singer in a hate metal band called Centurion. Michaelis says that "single parenthood, love for my daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people I once hated," changed him and guided him toward a life of tolerance, acceptance and peace. Michaelis' story was featured [among our] inspirational stories of people overcoming differences in sexuality, religion, race and nationality to do the right thing. Michaelis was kind of enough to comment on the piece personally, where he revealed that he was actually inspired by another story in the article, about Keshia Thomas, a black teenager who during a 1996 KKK rally saved the life of a white supremacist in danger of being killed by a mob of counter-demonstrators. "It's such an honor to be included among these amazing examples of humanity. Each is an inspiration, but I'm especially moved by Keshia's amazing exhibit of courage. I was on the white supremacist side of an Ann Arbor rally in 1988, and the hate the protesters reflected and amplified back at us was instrumental in justifying the white supremacist dogma that I ran with for the next 7 years. Aggression is fuel to neo-nazis. Keshia struck the most devastating blow to hate possible and I strive to follow her lead." Keshia and Arno's stories prove that a culture of tolerance can have a powerful domino effect.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes. “It’s setting records every quarter,” says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research and lead author of the [report's] residential segment. The report comes just weeks after President Obama traveled to Las Vegas — a particularly fast-paced solar market — to sing the industry’s praises and cast solar, and particularly “distributed” solar on rooftops, as an icon of progress and technological innovation. Out of all new electricity installations in the U.S. in the first six months of this year, 40 percent were solar. U.S. solar photovoltaic is at 20 gigawatts of installed capacity now, and may add another 18 gigawatts by the end of next year. The new report also looks towards a tiny market at present that nonetheless contains great potential — solar-plus-storage, in which solar installations are combined directly with batteries in order to preserve energy culled from the sun for use at times of convenience or greater demand. It finds that while only 4 megawatts of solar-plus-storage were deployed last year, by this year that could increase five fold — and by 2020 it could reach 769 megawatts.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Judy Fridono tells of how her dog Ricochet failed out of traditional service-dog training only to reveal a hidden talent: surfing with children with special needs. Fridono reveals the first time Ricochet hopped on a surfboard with Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic teenager who surfed on his own with the help of a team of humans. Fridono had planned to make a video of Ricochet and Patrick surfing side-by-side, each on their own boards, to help raise money for Patrick’s treatment, but Ricochet had another idea. She wanted to surf tandem with Patrick. “Patrick, she wants to surf with you,” I said, not knowing where the words came from. “That’d be cool!” Patrick grinned. Here was a boy with a disability and I was asking him and his mother and their assembled team to put their trust in a dog. “All I can do is trust Ricochet to know what she’s doing,” I told them. “Can you trust my dog?” I asked 14-year-old Patrick. “Sure! Let’s do it!” he answered without hesitation. Patrick’s team lifted Patrick onto the board first. Then, we let Ricochet hop on the board, and she positioned herself. The team pushed Ricochet and Patrick out on the board together. Then, in one incredible moment, Ricochet and Patrick were surfing together on the same board, riding a wave of hope that changed their lives forever. Thanks to Ricochet’s fundraising, Patrick was able to get physical therapy at an innovative rehabilitation center for spinal cord injuries. In 2012, he walked across the stage at his high school graduation.
Note: Judy Fridono's book about this surfing dog is titled “Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions”.
What is termed Corbynomics is Jeremy Corbyn's proposal that: "The Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative Easing for people instead of banks." The money to fund these projects will be created electronically by the Bank of England. Only 3% of the money in circulation is in the form of coins and notes; the remaining, 97%, is created electronically by private banks every time they make a loan and by the bank of England under its Quantitative Easing programme. The recovery in the British economy thus far has been mainly based on inflating property and financial assets prices. The Bank of England has created Ł375bn, following the 2008 economic crash, that went into banks and financial markets through the buying of existing government bonds (Quantitative Easing for banks). Positive Money calculates that only 8% of that money went into the real economy, with the rest trapped in financial markets, inflating financial assets and property prices, and benefiting the top 5%. This has been money creation that creates bubbles in the economy, and when they burst, the fall out can devastate the lives of millions. Quantitative easing for people (PQE), in contrast, will bypass the financial markets and private banks with the money channelled through a National Investment Bank into the areas that Britain needs. This seems ... less risky to the economy than conventional Quantitative Easing.
A school garden is a holistic investment in a child’s future. By raising awareness of healthy eating, gardens can combat ... hunger and micronutrient deficiencies. A school meal provides strong incentive to send a child to school. Once in school, a well-fed child is both less likely to drop out and more likely to focus on lessons. Children who learn creative agricultural techniques can handle situations that might have caused community-wide food shortages in the past. A number of flourishing programs provide excellent examples: Belize’s GATE program, organized by Plenty Belize, has a long-term program to help schools develop organic school gardens. Some of its schools ... are now processing food with solar dryers and canning equipment. South Africa’s EduPlant program supports schools with new gardens for two years until they can manage on their own. EduPlant also organizes workshops for educators, produces education materials, and runs an annual competition for learners’ projects. Uganda’s garden-based education, a large part of the country’s school curricula, is already producing tangible benefits such as practical agricultural skills, reduced school tuition, and improved health. Kenya’s School Garden Initiative has established 11 school gardens. While working in the gardens, children learn fine arts, math, science, history, language, and nutrition. School gardens ... instill strength and confidence by demonstrating the possibility of immediate self-reliance, empowering children in the way all schools should.
Sarah Chayes ... was a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and was assigned in 2001 to cover post-Taliban Afghanistan. But she soon decided to put aside her reporting career [to] become a key player in the attempt to bring about a sea change in US foreign policy by showing how what some see as an innocuous crime – corruption – is actually a serious threat to international security. She has seen it at work not only in Afghanistan but in other places with violent insurgencies, such as Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq. In Afghanistan, the government “was really a criminal organization masquerading as a government,” she says. “Its objective was amassing personal wealth, and it was doing this very well.” The United States had aligned itself ... with a corrupt system by working through corrupt proxies and providing them with funds and other assets, she says. This made the US no longer a neutral player in the eyes of those being harmed by corrupt practices. In 2007 Chayes wrote a book, “The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban,” that showed how the corruption and “warlordism” in Afghanistan was supported by the US. It was read by academics and by those at high levels of the US military. In his final testimony to the US Senate, [former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael] Mullen pointed to systemic corruption as the No. 1 challenge undermining US efforts in the region: Chayes’s issue had finally entered the conversation of high-level US decisionmakers.
The incredible reactions of people intentionally sharing a silent moment of eye contact with strangers has been filmed as part of a social experiment in Australia. In the video ... the public is asked where the human connection has gone, and invites people to share eye contact with strangers for one minute to find out. As people share a very personal moment with each other, they can be seen unexpectedly tearing up, sharing a smile or a hug. The public experiment was created by the Liberators International, an organisation which according to their personal webpage work to 'inspire humanity to share acts of freedom, love and kindness with one other.' The organisation was founded by Peter Sharp, an artist with the mission to create social art which engages communities in playful acts and in sharing acts of love and kindness with one another. Curious onlookers look baffled as the watch the voluntary participants get emotional and shed a tear before hugging each other. On their Facebook page, Liberators International wrote ‘In this experiment we discover what happens when we intentionally share eye contact with strangers… We had no idea how quickly things would escalate!’ Through the unique experiment, strangers can be seen sharing a smile and a laugh with one other, breaking the ice that ordinarily exist between strangers today.
The seven core assumptions are [a] set of beliefs [from the inspiring book] "Heart Of Hope." The first assumption is that the true self in everyone is good, wise and powerful. [The] second assumption is that the world is profoundly interconnected. You CANNOT disconnect. The third one is this idea that ... every one of us is born with a fundamental inclination to be in good relationship with others. No matter what happens to you or what you do, that's still there. That's a part of human nature. The fourth is, all humans have gifts. Everyone is needed for what they bring. Fifth, everything we need to make positive change is already here. We can find ways to access that together. Sixth, Human beings are holistic. You just cannot work [just] with the mind, or just with the body. Human beings have these other aspects, the emotional side, the spiritual side. When we are not paying attention to those, they always impact us sideways and we don't really understand what's going on. The seventh is this idea that in order to live from this core self that represents the best in us, we have to practice. All of these things build on each other and can become habits of how you show up in the world. But only if you practice.
Note: Listen to the complete 84 minute audio interview with prominent social justice advocate Kay Pranis at the link above.
Something changed in America between the time of Julius Rosenwald’s death in 1932 and the current presidential election cycle, in which a billionaire leads one party’s polls by spreading what his detractors see as a message of greed, xenophobia, and entitlement. Owner of the retailing giant Sears, Roebuck & Co., Rosenwald was the son of an immigrant who started out as a door-to-door peddler and, through hard work and opportunities, opened his own store ... and became very rich. Why has nobody heard of him? He wasn’t a big self-promoter and he didn’t think wealth marked him as exceptional. In an archival film snippet in Aviva Kempner’s artless but essential documentary, “Rosenwald,” he is heard to say, “Don’t be fooled by believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.” Now imagine those words uttered by certain billionaires today. Rosenwald was not just humble and wise. Despite his canny capitalism, he was what might today be called a socialist. He believed in spreading the wealth - or at least his own. He believed in social justice and racial equality. He quietly spent millions building more than 5,000 schools (monickered affectionately “Rosenwald schools”) for African-American children in the South. He befriended Booker T. Washington and generously endowed the great black educator’s Tuskegee Institute. For decades his Rosenwald Fellowships benefited gifted people such as Marian Anderson, Ralph Bunche, and James Baldwin.
We are witnessing the end of an era. Coal is fast becoming the telegraph to renewable energy’s Internet. The fossil-fuel divestment movement, which began just three years ago, is having an impact. Institutional investors representing nearly $1 trillion of portfolio value, including Stanford University, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, have committed to divest from coal. In California, legislation passed Wednesday that would require several of the state’s largest pension funds to divest from coal as well. Coal’s contribution to global warming has led Pope Francis, Prince Charles and the Dalai Lama to call for a transition to clean energy. While coal remains America’s largest source of electricity generation, over the past six years coal-fired generation has declined from 52 to 34 percent of our electricity portfolio. Renewable energy, which made up just 12 percent of California’s generation in 2008, now provides more than 25 percent of the state’s power. California is on track to reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. As a result of this progress, there are now more Californians working in the solar industry than working for the state’s utilities. The United States now has twice as many solar industry employees as coal miners. Exporting our know-how to the world, which needs to get off coal too, will be our next big business. Now is indeed the time to divest our pension funds from coal, cut the cord from this piece of our past and hasten our transition to a clean energy future.
A couple in Turkey ... doled out food to 4,000 Syrian refugees for their wedding reception. The bride wore an elaborate white dress, with a tiara perched on her headdress, and the groom sported a white tuxedo with black trim. They stood behind large food trucks distributing meals to hungry Syrians. The couple had decided that instead of hosting their friends and family for a traditional banquet reception, they would feed the victims of a bloody civil war next door. The idea came from the groom’s father, who volunteers for a Turkish relief organization called Kimse Yok Mu (KYM). For the past few years, KYM has distributed daily meals to the thousands of impoverished Syrians who’ve flooded across the nearby border. He approached a representative of the organization and proposed that the family would cover part of the costs of feeding refugees for the day. His son ... was surprised by the prospect, but [was] soon won over. “When he told that to the bride she was really shocked because, you can imagine, as a bride you wouldn’t think about this — it’s all about you and your groom,” says Hatice Avci, the international communications manager for KYM. “In southeastern Turkey there is a real culture of sharing with people in need. They love to share their food, their table, everything they have. That’s why the bride also accepted. And afterwards she was quite amazed about it.” So, they arrived at KYM’s distribution center on Thursday to spend the day serving food and taking photographs with their grateful recipients.
When Paola Gonzalez received a phone call from RIP Medical Debt, she was certain what she heard was a mistake. A prank, maybe. The caller said a $950 hospital bill had been paid for in full. She wouldn’t have to worry about it again. “They wanted to pay a bill for me,” she said. “I was just speechless.” The 24-year-old student ... has lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. “I can’t always work,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll be fine today and sick tomorrow. It’s really amazing that people would help out like this.” Gonzalez is one of many people who have had a debt paid by RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit founded by two former debt collectors, Jerry Ashton and Craig Antico, that buys debt on the open market and then abolishes it, no strings attached. In [its first] year, the group has abolished just under $400,000. On July 4, it launched a year-long campaign to ... abolish $17.6 million of other people’s debt. It works like this: typical collection agencies will buy debts from private practices, hospitals, and other collection agencies. The buyers often [purchase] a debt for pennies on the dollar while charging the debtor the full amount, plus additional fees. Antico and Ashton are plugged into the same marketplace. They buy the debt for around one percent of the amount it's worth. Then, they forgive it. Ashton worked in the debt collections business for more than 30 years. The industry treated debts as “commodities” and sold them for a profit while the debtor struggled to pay off the full amount. “That I find to be unconscionable,” says Ashton.
Note: Ashton was inspired to rethink debt by Rolling Jubilee, a program that came out of the Occupy Wall Street movement which similarly abolishes student loan debt.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded their gourmet ice creamery in 1978 ... to make the world’s best ice cream, to run a financially successful company and to “make the world a better place.” When Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate, offered to buy the company in 2000 for a rich 25 percent premium ... they worried that Unilever would abandon the progressive aspects of the business. But as a public corporation, Ben & Jerry’s had a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. It agreed to a deal. Very quickly, some of their worst fears were realized. A production plant and a distribution center were shuttered. Sales representatives at headquarters were fired. But today ... Ben & Jerry’s [remains] as mission-driven as ever. The recipe for this amicable partnership was written into the acquisition agreement. Unilever established an “external board” charged with overseeing Ben & Jerry’s culture and social mission [that] does not report to any authority other than itself, nominates its own members, has the right to sue Unilever and will exist in perpetuity. Even with the external board in place, a question remained: How many of Ben & Jerry’s ambitious initiatives could a multinational like Unilever reasonably be expected to support? The answer, it turned out, was most of them. The company now offers its lowest-paid workers more than twice the national minimum wage. It uses only cage-free eggs. And recently, Ben & Jerry’s became a B Corporation, [to certify its] high social and environmental standards.
Green rooftops will soon be sprouting up across France, thanks to a new law passed in March. New buildings in the country’s commercial zones - think shops, offices, and restaurants - must now have either solar panels or green roofs, meaning a growing medium such as soil and a covering of vegetation. The new rooftop vegetation will provide habitat for birds, absorb airborne pollutants, [retain] rainwater, and reduce the urban heat island effect whereby high concentrations of concrete buildings and asphalt increase air temperature. Green roofs could even improve worker productivity, with a recent study by the University of Melbourne finding that participants who took a 40-second break to look at a green roof were more focused and accurate when they got back to work compared to those who viewed a concrete roof. Similar green-roof bylaws exist in various cities around the world, including Tokyo, Toronto, Copenhagen, and Zurich. In Toronto ... all commercial and large residential buildings built since 2009 have been required to have at least 20 percent green-roof coverage. In Copenhagen and Zurich all new flat roofs, both private and public, must be vegetated. And since 2001, all new buildings in Tokyo larger than about 11,000 square feet are required to have at least 20 percent usable green-roof space. However, France is the first to introduce such legislation country-wide. The new law means that France’s urban and industrial skylines might look more like New York City’s booming rooftop farms and less like a concrete jungle.
Note: Don't miss the inspiring photos of innovative green roofs at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
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.
Alice Herz-Sommer is known for her grace and wisdom. The 109-year-old, who is the oldest living pianist and Holocaust survivor, is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational people in the world. Now, a documentary called "The Lady In Number 6" is telling her incredible story from beginning to end - but just the 11-minute preview in itself is amazing enough. "Every day in life is beautiful," Herz-Sommer says in the video above. The 38-minute-long documentary is directed by Malcolm Clarke and produced by Nicholas Reed and has already been shortlisted for the Academy Awards' documentary short subject category, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Kids all over the world grow up on superheroes," Reed writes on the documentary's website. "What we, their parents, must remind them, is documentaries tell stories about ‘real superheroes.' Superheroes are based on great people, real people, like Alice Herz Sommer.” Despite everything she's been through, Herz-Sommer insists that she's never hated the Nazis and never will. "I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times - including my husband, my mother and my beloved son," she says on the documentary's website. "Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.”
When George Denny hired a 24-year-old nanny to care for his three children in 1996, the successful private equity investor ... wasn’t expecting to gain a future business partner. But Barbara Mattaliano was certain that a wild rice farm Denny owned in California had big commercial potential. We can create a niche brand of wild rice, she told him, and it will sell. Slowly, he came around. In 2009 they started Goose Valley Natural Foods to sell the rice grown on Denny’s 6,700-acre farm in Shasta County. Today, Goose Valley claims to be the world’s largest producer of organic and natural wild rice, harvesting between 5 million and 6 million pounds annually. As founding partner, Mattaliano earns a six-figure salary and owns a piece of the company. Just over a decade ago, she was cobbling together an income of about $17,000 working as a nanny and rotating through several part-time jobs. She [had] cut short her college education after being severely injured. For years, Denny had been content to sell his rice to SunWest Foods, a California company that buys and processes the rice from over 300 farmers. But Mattaliano had a different idea. She saw an opportunity to cash in on the growing popularity of natural and organic foods ... and kept pushing her idea to Denny. “I told him that in all this time at the ranch in the summers I learned the agriculture end of the business,” she said. The turning point came [once Denny admitted], “This is not just Barbara pestering me — this could be a nice business opportunity.”