Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website 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.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

The Power of Touch
2013-03-11, Psychology Today
Posted: 2014-02-24 11:28:34
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201302/the-power-touch

Probing our ability to communicate nonverbally is hardly a new psychological tack; researchers have long documented the complex emotions and desires that our posture, motions, and expressions reveal. Yet until recently, the idea that people can impart and interpret emotional content via another nonverbal modality—touch—seemed iffy, even to researchers, such as DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, who study it. In 2009, he demonstrated that we have an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone. In a series of studies, Hertenstein had volunteers attempt to communicate a list of emotions to a blindfolded stranger solely through touch. The results suggest that for all our caution about touching, we come equipped with an ability to send and receive emotional signals solely by doing so. Participants communicated eight distinct emotions—anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, sympathy, happiness, and sadness—with accuracy rates as high as 78 percent. "I was surprised," Hertenstein admits. "I thought the accuracy would be at chance level," about 25 percent. "Everywhere we've studied this, people seem able to do it," he says. Indeed, we appear to be wired to interpret the touch of our fellow humans. If touch is a language, it seems we instinctively know how to use it. But apparently it's a skill we take for granted. When asked about it, the subjects in Hertenstein's studies consistently underestimated their ability to communicate via touch—even while their actions suggested that touch may in fact be more versatile than voice, facial expression, and other modalities for expressing emotion. His research shows that touch can communicate multiple positive emotions: joy, love, gratitude, and sympathy.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Young boy comes to the aid of cash-strapped family
2013-01-16, Fox News (Atlanta affiliate)
Posted: 2014-02-24 11:26:54
http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/20605651/young-boy-raises-60k-for-charities

Aidan Hornaday may only be 12, but he's got his sights set on big things. The Woodstock boy is trying to rally kids all over the country to make a difference. The youngster has created Aidan Cares. He wants to prove to kids and grownups that everybody has something they can use to help other people. He found his something when he picked up his big brother's harmonica four years ago. The next night, waiting for his mom at C & S Seafood Oyster Bar in Vinings, Aidan took off his cap and started playing. "[I] was blowing harmonica, one note, then looking at it, then blowing another. And then, out of nowhere, I got $80. And I thought, 'Wow, 80 bucks for taking my hat off,'" said Hornaday. A 7-year-old philanthropist was born. "That night I came home and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to donate this $80 to African orphans to help fight intestinal parasites,'" said Hornaday. Soon people were asking him to play at their events and inviting him to speak to them. And the more he played, the more donations rolled in. In four years, he's raised more than $60,000.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Mindful Revolution
2014-02-03, Time Magazine
Posted: 2014-02-16 15:57:17
http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2163560,00.html

We're in the midst of a popular obsession with mindfulness as the secret to health and happiness. And a growing body of evidence suggests it has clear benefits. A curriculum called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-educated scientist. The techniques ... are intended to help practitioners quiet a busy mind, becoming more aware of the present moment and less caught up in what happened earlier or what's to come. Many cognitive therapists commend it to patients as a way to help cope with anxiety and depression. Its strength lies in its universality. It is gaining acceptance with ... Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, FORTUNE 500 titans, Pentagon chiefs and more. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said his meditation practice was directly responsible for his ability to concentrate and ignore distractions. Though meditation is considered an essential means to achieving mindfulness, the ultimate goal is simply to give your attention fully to what you're doing. One can work mindfully, parent mindfully and learn mindfully. Think of your attention as a muscle. As with any muscle, it makes sense to exercise it ... and like any muscle, it will strengthen from that exercise. There are hundreds of mindfulness and meditation apps available from iTunes. Scientists have been able to prove that meditation and rigorous mindfulness training can lower cortisol levels and blood pressure, increase immune response and possibly even affect gene expression. Scientific study is also showing that meditation can have an impact on the structure of the brain itself.

Note: If the above link to the full article fails, click here. For another great article on mindfulness, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Peanut allergy treatment 'a success'
2014-01-29, BBC News
Posted: 2014-02-16 15:54:37
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25917272

Doctors say a potential treatment for peanut allergy has transformed the lives of children taking part in a large clinical trial. The 85 children had to eat peanut protein every day - initially in small doses, but ramped up during the study. The findings, published in the Lancet, suggest 84% of allergic children could eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day after six months. Peanuts are the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to food. There is no treatment so the only option for patients is to avoid them completely, leading to a lifetime of checking every food label before a meal. The trial, at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, tried to train the children's immune systems to tolerate peanut protein. Every day they were given a peanut protein powder - starting off on a dose equivalent to one 70th of a peanut. The theory was that patients started at the extremely low dose, well below the threshold for an allergic response. Once a fortnight the dose was increased while the children were in hospital, in case there was any reaction, and then they continued taking the higher dose at home. The majority of patients learned to tolerate the peanut. Lena Barden, 11, from Histon in Cambridgeshire, said: "It meant a trip to the hospital every two weeks. A year later I could eat five whole peanuts with no reaction at all." One of the researchers, Dr Andrew Clark, told the BBC: "It really transformed their lives dramatically; this really comes across during the trial. Experts have warned that the therapy is not yet ready for widespread use.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




S.F. General foundation honors man who fled life of crime
2014-02-14, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-16 15:49:25
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-General-foundation-honors-man-who-f...

Five gunshot wounds. A stabbing that left a long gash down his left arm. An estranged family, no home, no high school diploma and a rap sheet for theft, carrying a gun and using drugs. That's what Joe Drake Jr., now 24, was coping with when he arrived in an ambulance at San Francisco General Hospital almost six years ago after being caught in a gun and knife battle in Bayview-Hunters Point. After three surgeries and a month in the hospital, doctors repaired his body. A team of hospital social workers, however, had a much harder time repairing his spirit. But now, Drake sports an easy smile, is studying social welfare and theater at City College of San Francisco, has made amends with his family, holds down two jobs, and volunteers at San Francisco General telling teenage survivors of violent crime to avoid the tumultuous journey he took. On Thursday, Drake will be honored by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation at its annual Heroes and Hearts award luncheon. Asked how it feels to win the award, the outgoing Drake turned shy and looked down at his lap. "It's amazing," he said after a long pause. "I want to be an asset. Hopefully, people can see I'm very capable." Asked to recount what he tells youths caught up in the juvenile justice system or who arrive at the hospital as victims of violence, Drake was much more animated. "Feed yourself what you need and not what you want," he said. "Don't be afraid of discipline, or somebody will discipline you. And pray - that's a big thing."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Grandparents step up, save families
2013-07-25, CNN
Posted: 2014-02-16 15:47:46
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/25/living/cnnheroes-de-toledo-grandparents/ind...

It's often the grandparents who step up when a parent dies or is unable to take care of a child for other reasons, such as incarceration, abuse or mental illness. In 2011, there were at least 2.7 million grandparents raising a grandchild in the United States. But the sudden shift in responsibility can be incredibly stressful. Grandparents may be living on fixed incomes, and the additional dependents can cause costs to soar. There's also an emotional adjustment when an empty nest is no longer empty. "When that call comes ... your whole life changes," Sylvie de Toledo said. De Toledo started noticing more of her work clients -- children and grandparents -- dealing with similar challenges. "The most common thread was that they all felt alone and isolated," she said. Determined to bring some of these families together, de Toledo began holding a support group for about 10 of them. When attendance began to skyrocket, she started her own nonprofit, Grandparents as Parents, to help more people cope with the process. Today, more than a quarter-century later, there are 20 support groups across Los Angeles, and the nonprofit works with more than 3,000 families a year, providing them with financial assistance, legal advice and emotional support. More than 90% of the caregivers are grandparents, but the nonprofit also assists aunts, uncles, siblings and close friends who have stepped up to care for children when their biological parents can't. In addition to weekly support groups, there are monthly picnics for families and friends as well as opportunities for the families to attend events together, such as the theater, amusement parks and sporting events.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The miracle of profit-sharing: Year 65 and still no layoffs
2013-12-15, PBS
Posted: 2014-02-11 08:41:18
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/the-miracle-of-profit-sharing-year-65-and...

When Canadian journalist ... Frank Koller published his book Spark: How Old-Fashioned Values Drive a Twenty-First-Century Corporation: Lessons from Lincoln Electric's U, about the profit-sharing model pioneered at Cleveland’s Lincoln Electric, it encouraged Making Sense to return to the manufacturer after first reporting on them back in 1992. Two years later, Koller now updates us on yet another profitable year for Lincoln. Frank Koller: Here are the latest numbers for the Ohio-based multinational welding manufacturer, now 118 years old. 80: uninterrupted years of paying an employee bonus (i.e. profitable every year since 1934). $33,029: average 2013 bonus per U.S. employee (roughly 3,000 employees). $81,366: average 2013 total earnings per U.S. employee (wages or salary + bonus). $100.7 million: total pre-tax profit shared with employees, Lincoln’s largest bonus pool ever. 0: number of layoffs in 2013 (that makes 65 years without any layoffs) #1: Lincoln Electric remains number one in the global marketplace in its industry. These figures once again provide convincing and reassuring evidence that with an unwavering commitment to respecting employees by offering the opportunity to significantly share in the profits of the firm, while demanding their very best, it is possible to run a very profitable, very large, technologically superior multinational business based in North America while also honoring a firm’s obligations to its customers, investors and society at large.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




19-year-old Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat devises plan to rid the world’s oceans of 7.25 million tons of plastic
2013-03-26, New York Daily News
Posted: 2014-02-11 08:39:45
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/plan-aims-rid-oceans-7-25m-tons-plastic...

A 19-year-old Dutch aerospace engineering student has come up with what he believes is a way to remove millions of pounds of plastic trash from the world’s oceans. Dubbed the Ocean Cleanup Array, Boyan Slat’s concept involves anchoring 24 sifters to the ocean floor and letting the sea’s own currents direct the plastic bits into miles of booms, or connected chains of timbers used to catch floating objects. “It will be very hard to convince everyone in the world to handle their plastics responsibly, but what we humans are very good in, is inventing technical solutions to our problems,” Slat said on his website. Powered by the sun and ocean currents, the Ocean Cleanup Array network aims to have as little impact on sea life as possible while sifting out some 7.25 million tons of plastic over the course of just five years. The bulk of the ray-shaped sifters and booms would be set up at the edges of the five swirling ocean gyres to trap the most plastic particles possible. Able to function in high seas and rough weather, the booms would trap floating plastic bits, then suck them into a trash sifter. Once the plastic is retrieved, Slat envisions, it will be brought ashore and sold. “We estimate that by selling the plastic retrieved from the 5 gyres, we would make in fact more money than the plan would cost to execute. In other words; it's profitable,” Slat’s website states. [Slat] founded The Ocean Cleanup Foundation earlier this year and is looking to partner with plankton biologists, engineers, and, of course, philanthropists to turn his dream into a reality.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Learning is something we do together
2013-11-01, The Intelligent Optimist Magazine
Posted: 2014-02-11 08:36:32
http://theoptimist.com/learning-we-do-together

Guest teacher Toshiro Kanamori captivates the students at the Amstelveen College high school in the Netherlands. Though he is almost a head shorter than most of the students, he holds their attention as he speaks passionately with the help of a translator. But that's almost unnecessary; as someone says later, with his hand gestures, you could almost understand him without the translator. Kanamori speaks with his face, his hands, his whole body. Kanamori is no ordinary teacher. In his vision of education, school is not so much a preparation for life; he believes children should be participating in life. Life itself forms the foundation for learning. Thanks to the heartwarming documentary "Children Full of Life", Kanamori, 67, is known all over Japan and the world. The documentary follows Kanamori and an elementary school class for a year as he teaches his students how to talk about feelings, be compassionate and be happy. That last lesson, according to Kanamori, should be the reason kids go to school. Kanamori teaches elementary school children at the Hokuriku Gaikun University in the Japanese city of Kanazawa, and in the 38 years he's been -- as he puts it -- in, not in front of, the class, he's brought the outside world into the curriculum. For instance, for a sex education lesson, he invited a pregnant woman to class and let the kids ask any questions they might have. He also brought in a terminal cancer patient to talk about her feelings about dying and death. Lessons about death? According to Kanamori, death is not too heavy a subject for kids around ages 9 and 10.

Note: For a profoundly moving video of Mr. Kanamori working his magic with a group of Japanese children, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Report: US Abortion Rate at Lowest Since 1973
2014-02-02, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-02-11 08:35:08
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/report-us-abortion-rate-lowest-1973-22...

The U.S. abortion rate declined to its lowest level since 1973, and the number of abortions fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the latest national survey of abortion providers conducted by a prominent research institute. The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion, said in a report issued [on February 3] that there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011 — down from about 1.2 million in 2008. Guttmacher's figures are of interest on both sides of the abortion debate because they are more up-to-date and in some ways more comprehensive than abortion statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the report, the abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973. Guttmacher and other groups supporting abortion rights have been apprehensive about the recent wave of laws restricting abortion access that have been passed in Republican-controlled legislatures. However, the report's authors said the period that they studied — 2008 to 2011 — predates the major surge of such laws starting with the 2011 legislative session. The lead author, Rachel Jones, also said there appeared to be no link to a decline in the number of abortion providers. According to Jones, the drop in abortions was likely linked to a steep national decline in overall pregnancy and birth rates. "Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods," she said.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Vivienne Harr's lemonade stand story a movie
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:24:05
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Vivienne-Harr-s-lemonade-stand-st...

When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool. Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand ... and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320. Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she'd seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery. When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, "Whatever's in your heart." She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn't finished. During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year. Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange - a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service. In a new documentary, "#Standwithme," Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:22:42
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-industry-job-growth-jumped-20-in...

Job growth in 2013 stayed sluggish for much of the American economy. But for solar companies, it was a banner year. Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698. The number of solar jobs across the country has grown 53 percent since 2010. Last year, the industry added 56 U.S. jobs per day, on average. "That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. Her research and advocacy group has issued its National Solar Jobs Census every year since 2010. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment. Installation employed 69,658 people across the country last year, up from 57,177 in 2012. Solar manufacturing, in contrast, employed 29,851 people in the United States, a slight increase from 29,742 the previous year. In 2012, California had 43,700 solar jobs, 37 percent of the nationwide total. The Golden State is the nation's largest solar market, and many of the country's biggest solar companies - including SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun - call it home. The survey found that the average installer earned about $20 per hour in 2013.

Note: For more on exciting energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




School ditches rules and loses bullies
2014-01-26, TVNZ (New Zealand's national broadcasting company)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:21:19
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school. Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don't cause bedlam, the principal says. The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing. Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment. "We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over." Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said. "When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult's perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don't." Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time. When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results. Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol. "The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Elders of Organic Farming
2014-01-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:20:09
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/business/the-elders-of-organic-farming.html

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties [at California's Esalen Institute]. During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire. [Conference organizer Michael] Ableman, the author of Fields of Plenty, is writing a book about the gathering. Deborah Garcia, the widow of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and a filmmaker whose previous films include “The Future of Food” and “The Symphony of the Soil,” is making a documentary. The grandfathers and grandmothers of organic farming should be joyous, but they are not. Some of today’s organic farmers have thousands of acres of single crops, which are flown to supermarket shelves, where they are sold at lower prices than many small organic farmers can afford to sell their produce. Generally, the farmers at Esalen have less acreage and sell dozens or hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, to upscale restaurants and through so-called community-supported agriculture. C.S.A.’s, as these arrangements are known, consist of consumers who pay before the harvest for weekly deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The sustainable agriculture these farmers practice goes beyond farming without synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. They adhere to a broader political and ecological ethos that includes attention to wildlife, soil, education and community. For most of them, the bottom line has never been their bottom line.

Note: Don't miss the eye-opening documentary "Future of Food" at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
2013-08-01, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:00:54
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/researchers-developing-communication-app-for-chil...

University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate. Other researchers have developed apps to test vocabulary and math skills of autistic children. They are finding that the apps reveal a greater level of intelligence than previously expected in many of the children. Lead researcher Kathy Thiemann-Bourque says many young children with autism have complex communication needs but do not develop functional speech. In previous research, she has examined both peer training and direct teaching strategies to increase social communication between children with autism and their classmates without disabilities.

Note: For an amazing eight-minute clip showing how a non-verbal autistic woman uses her computer to eloquently invite people into her world, click here. The amazing writing starts at 3:15. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




New species of river dolphin identified in Brazilian Amazon
2014-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:59:05
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/25/new-species-of-river-dolphin-ide...

Scientists have made the first discovery in 100 years of a new river dolphin species in the waters of the Araguaia river in Brazil's vast Amazon rainforest. The discovery of the Inia araguaiaensis was officially announced earlier this week in a study posted online by the Plos One scientific journal. The study's lead author, biologist Tomas Hrbek, of the Federal University of Amazonas in the city of Manaus, said the new species is the third ever found in the Amazon region. "It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region's biodiversity," Hrbek said by telephone. "River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting." He said: "people always saw them in the river but no one ever took a close up look at them." Hrbek added that scientists concluded the large dolphin was a new species by analysing and comparing DNA samples of several types of dolphins from the Amazon and Araguaia river basins. There [are] about 1,000 Inia araguaiaensis dolphins living in the 2,627km-long (1,630 miles) river.

Note: For more on the amazing world of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Explosive growth for state's surviving solar firms
2014-01-19, San Francisco Chronicle SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:57:48
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Explosive-growth-for-state-s-surviving-sol...

Many California and Bay Area [solar] companies are in a period of explosive growth. Companies such as SolarCity, Sungevity, SunPower and Sunrun are installing panels at a heady pace, and adding jobs along the way. Their expansion has been fueled by ... a worldwide plunge in the price of solar cells. Companies that design and install solar systems for homes, businesses or utilities have seen their sales rise. "They're not just survivors - they're strong survivors," said Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of SolarCity in San Mateo. "And it's not just us. It's the industry. ... The notion that it's a failure is so outrageous." The number of solar installations - both large and small-scale - is booming. In 2013, the United States added enough new photovoltaic panels to generate a maximum of 4.2 gigawatts of electricity, roughly the output of four nuclear reactors. Over the past five years, the number of residential installations has grown at an average annual rate of 70 percent, according to the NPD Solarbuzz market information firm. "The demand today is coming from the fact that someone can put solar on their house and save money," said Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase Energy, a Petaluma company that makes microinverters for solar arrays. "It is true that they may also be saving the planet. But that's not their main consideration." The drop in prices isn't their only reason for growth. Companies including SolarCity, SunEdison and Sunrun began offering solar leases or power purchase agreements to homeowners and businesses. Rather than buy the panels, customers could just buy the energy. That financial innovation revolutionized the industry.

Note: For more on exciting new developments in alternative energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




'Solar suitcase' saving moms, babies during childbirth
2013-10-13, CNN
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:55:51
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/28/health/cnnheroes-stachel-solar-power/index.html

Dr. Laura Stachel watched as physicians performed an emergency cesarean section. What happened next stunned her. "The lights went out," Stachel recalled, "and I said, 'How are they going to finish?' " Fortunately, Stachel had a flashlight with her, and the doctors were able to use it to complete the surgery. But during that two-week trip in 2008, she witnessed countless other times when the lives of mothers and babies were at risk simply because of a lack of reliable electricity. With the help of Hal Aronson, her husband and a solar energy educator, Stachel worked to find a solution. He drew up designs for a solar electric system to provide a free source of power to the state hospital in northern Nigeria where Stachel had conducted her research. Each time Stachel would return to Africa, she came with one or two new "solar suitcases" assembled by her husband. Today, the solar suitcase includes two solar panels that are mounted on a clinic's roof and connected to high-quality LED lights. Once fully charged, it can provide light for up to 20 hours. The kit also contains headlamps, a fetal Doppler to monitor a baby's heart rate and a cell phone charging unit. "We got to something that was really rugged, simple to use, portable and that we knew would really work in harsh environments," Stachel said. It also spread to other countries after Stachel and Aronson started a nonprofit, We Care Solar. Since 2009, the kits have been helping health-care workers save lives not only in Nigeria but in facilities throughout Africa, Asia and Central America.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Doctor's street medicine helps cure homelessness
2011-10-21, CBS News
Posted: 2014-01-20 10:19:44
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-street-medicine-helps-cure-homelessness/

Dr. Jim Withers has been caring exclusively for [Pittsburgh, PA's] homeless since 1992. Night after night, he and his team make their rounds at homeless camps. They treat everything, head to toe -- from mental illness to frostbitten feet. What little money Withers makes comes mostly from grants and teaching at a medical school. But he doesn't think about money. In fact, he doesn't think at all like a typical doctor. "The essence of healthcare is going to where people are. Either physically or even more importantly spiritually, emotionally," he said. "When they're shown that they matter," Withers said, ... "then hope grows. And amazing things happen. That's why we've been able to house well over 700 people. You know, if I could I'd write a prescription for a house for all the street people because it is immensely important for health." Jim Ellis, 49, was on the streets for eight years until he met Withers, who first treated his back pain and then helped cure his homelessness. Through a non-profit Withers started called Operation Safety Net, he and his staff have been remarkably successful at finding apartments for people like Jim. Over the years, Operation Safety Net has been able to help so many that today homelessness in Pittsburgh is literally half the problem it used to be - half as many people on the streets. About a dozen cites in America are now trying to copy the program, in firm belief that this doctor definitely knows best.

Note: For a great video on this man and his inspiring work, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Zach Sobiech, 17, Inspires Millions in Cancer Fight With Farewell Song
2013-03-07, People Magazine
Posted: 2014-01-20 10:17:51
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20679770,00.html

After doctors told cancer patient Zach Sobiech, 17, he only had a year to live, the Minnesota high school senior turned to music – and inspired millions. His emotional farewell song, "Clouds" was posted on YouTube ... and went viral with over [nine] million views and climbing, [and] created interest from music industry insiders. "I didn't make 'Clouds' to get famous," says Zach, who now has a songwriting contract from BMI, performed two concerts and just completed a new album titled Fix Me Up with his duo group A Firm Handshake, with singer and best friend Sammy Brown. "It's pretty crazy now … but it's worth it." Back in 2009, then-14-year-old Zach, the third of four children, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a kind of bone cancer. Despite countless surgeries and rounds of radiation, the cancer continued to spread. Last May, doctors gave a grim prognosis: Zach had up to a year to live. "We're approaching that year mark," says Zach, whose high school class graduates in June. "It's scary to think about, but the key is to not feel bad for yourself." Zach is using his remaining time and newfound fame to raise awareness and money for kids suffering from his rare form of cancer, teaming with the Children's Cancer Research Fund to launch the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund. He's already raised almost $80,000 to help fund research into a cure. "My [type of] cancer hardly gets any funding," says Zach. "Our goal is to give other kids with osteosarcoma a chance." Though Zach has good days and bad, his mother says he's doing his best to live each day to its fullest.

Note: For a most beautiful and touching 22 minute video showing how Zach Sobiech faced his impending death by living life to its absolute fullest, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.





Note: For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page.


Kindly donate here to support this inspiring work of love.

Subscribe to one of our free email lists of inspiration and education.


The Web of Love is a PEERS empowerment website

"Dedicated to the greatest good of all who share our beautiful world"