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.

New study of tribal societies reveals conflict is an alien concept
2013-07-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-31 11:33:44
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/is-it-natural-for-humans-to-make-wa...

Is it natural for humans to make war? Is organised violence between rival political groups an inevitable outcome of the human condition? New research suggests not. A study of tribal societies that live by hunting and foraging has found that war is an alien concept and not, as some academics have suggested, an innate feature of so-called “primitive people”. Douglas Fry and Patrik Söderberg of Abo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland, studied 148 violently lethal incidents documented by anthropologists working among 21 mobile bands of hunter-gatherer societies, which some scholars have suggested as a template for studying how humans lived for more than 99.9 per cent of human history, before the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. They found that only a tiny minority of violent deaths come close to being defined as acts of war. Most the violence was perpetrated by one individual against another and usually involved personal grudges involving women or stealing. Only a tiny minority of cases involved more organised killing between rival bands of people, which could fall into the definition of war-like behaviour. Most of these involved only one of the 21 groups included in the study. In short they found that some of the most “primitive” peoples on Earth were actually quite peaceful compared to modern, developed nations. “These findings imply that warfare was probably not very common before the advent of agriculture, when most if not all humans lived as nomadic foragers,” Kirk Endicott, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College told the journal Science, where the study is published.

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




Solar Impulse aims to push innovation on the ground
2013-07-15, CBS News
Posted: 2013-07-31 11:30:53
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-35040_162-57593684/solar-impulse-aims-to-push-inn...

Hangar 19 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport is host to one unique airplane: the Solar Impulse. The sun-powered plane made history by becoming the first aircraft to fly across America day and night without fuel. The Solar Impulse finished its two-month journey from NASA's Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. to JFK airport on July 6, where it is currently parked. The aircraft is powered by 11,628 solar cells, has an average flying speed of about 43 miles (70 kilometers) per hour and its maximum altitude is about 27,900 feet. Although its wingspan rivals a 747, the actual body of the plane is a lot smaller, with a cockpit that can only fit one person. The groundbreaking trip may seem too slow to be practical, but chairman and pilot Bertrand Piccard thinks there is a bigger picture behind the project. "We believe if we can demonstrate this in the air, where it is the most difficult to do, people will understand that they can also use the same technologies for their daily lives," Piccard [said]. Piccard shared piloting the plane with the company's co-founder and CEO Andre Borschberg. The two flew in 24-hour shifts across America, and made stopovers in Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dulles. Some of the key advances used on the Solar Impulse include carbon fiber sheets that weigh 0.8 ounces per 11 square feet, solar cells that are about the thickness of a human hair and batteries with a high energy density. While the technologies are impressive, the creators emphasize that they didn't re-invent the wheel. They believe that pieces of the puzzle already exist, but needs to be put together in a different way.

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




Mothers of Invention: Girltank, A Sisterhood of Changemakers
2012-12-24, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
Posted: 2013-07-31 11:29:11
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/24/mothers-of-invention-girltan...

While still a teen, Bay Area-based activist Sejal Hathi founded the non-profit, Girls Helping Girls. Encouraging social change, the NGO raised money for scholarships, shared curricula across borders, and combated sex trafficking. Tara Roberts authored two critically acclaimed young adult books, What Your Mama Never Told You and Am I the Last Virgin? exploring social issues facing today’s black youth. And as an editor for the likes of Essence and CosmoGirl, one of her job responsibilities was to track down and nominate candidates for an annual magazine award acknowledging the outstanding social accomplishments of teens. Girltank [is] an online model intended to engage young entrepreneurs in various stages of their ventures—from the idea stage to the launch and scaling stages. Girltank has three main components—connect, inspire, and fund. Girltank sets up a forum for girls interested in similar causes to find each other and collaborate, and is supported by a variety of workshops that encourage the exchange of ideas. For the second component, inspire, Tara produced an eclectic database of clips featuring girls and women both in the U.S. and abroad discussing vulnerabilities and issues they face with their respective projects. It’s an inspiring resource for anyone looking to get started. The third and all-important component is its crowd-funding platform poised to funnel financial support from its partners to the most promising ventures. To date, girltank’s community, comprised of women of all ages, represents more than 105 countries and every economic, racial, and religious background.

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




Euro MPs back large-scale fishing reform to save stocks
2013-02-06, BBC News
Posted: 2013-07-23 08:38:18
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21352617

The European Parliament has voted for sweeping reforms of the controversial EU Common Fisheries Policy [CFP]. The package includes measures to protect endangered stocks and end discards - the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish into the sea. Wasteful discards are reckoned to account for a quarter of total catches under the current quota system. With an estimated 75% of Europe’s stocks overfished, there has been enormous public and media pressure over this latest attempt to shake up the CFP. The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin says the vote is something of a victory for citizen power, following organised lobbying of MEPs by ordinary people, as well as by high-profile celebrity chefs and environmentalists. The reform package was presented to the full parliament in Strasbourg by the German Social Democrat MEP Ulrike Rodust. She said the reforms “will bring an end to the December ritual of fisheries ministers negotiating until 4am, neglecting scientific advice and setting too high fishing quotas. “As of 2015, the principle of maximum sustainable yield shall apply, which means that each year we do not harvest more fish than a stock can reproduce. Our objective is that depleted fish stocks recover by 2020. Not only nature will benefit, but also fishermen: bigger stocks produce higher yields.” MEPs have made some tough choices. For instance, they had an option to vote for maximum sustainable yield - that is taking as much fish as the sea can reproduce annually. They demanded instead that fisheries should be allowed to grow, rather than to stay at their current depleted level.

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




Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites For Fundraising
2013-05-08, Forbes
Posted: 2013-07-23 08:36:30
http://www.forbes.com/sites/chancebarnett/2013/05/08/top-10-crowdfunding-site...

Collaboration on the web is an area of exponential growth. Crowdfunding, or collaborative funding via the web, is one of the standouts for growth in this evolving collaborative economy. There are 2 main models or types of crowdfunding. The first is what’s called donation-based funding. The second and more recent model is investment crowdfunding. Business owners are using different crowdfunding sites than musicians. Musicians are using different sites from causes and charities. Below is a list of crowdfunding sites that have different models and focuses. 1. Kickstarter -- is a site where creative projects raise donation-based funding. These projects can range from new creative products, like an art installation ... to pre-selling a music album. It’s not for businesses, causes, charities, or personal financing needs. 2. Indiegogo -- approves donation-based fundraising campaigns for most anything — music, hobbyists, personal finance needs, charities and whatever else you could think of (except investment). 3. Crowdfunder -- is the crowdfunding platform for businesses, with a growing social network of investors, tech startups, small businesses, and social enterprises (financially sustainable/profitable businesses with social impact goals). 4. RocketHub -- powers donation-based funding for a wide variety of creative projects. 5. Crowdrise -- is a place for donation-based funding for Causes and Charity. They’ve attracted a community of do-gooders and and fund all kinds of inspiring causes and needs.

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




When The 'Trust Hormone' Is Out Of Balance
2010-04-22, NPR
Posted: 2013-07-23 08:35:18
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126141922

This is a story about a fickle little hormone that plays a large role in our lives. The name of the hormone is oxytocin, and until recently it was mostly dismissed by scientists. They knew it played a role in inducing labor and facilitating breast-feeding, but otherwise didn't give it much attention. But over the past 10 years, oxytocin has come up in the world, and several researchers have begun making big claims about it. Now dubbed "the trust hormone," oxytocin, researchers say, affects everything [in] our day-to-day life. To understand the role that oxytocin plays in your own life, consider the experience of a small 9-year-old girl named Isabelle. Isabelle has Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder with a number of symptoms. The children are often physically small and often have developmental delays. But also, kids and adults with Williams love people and are pathologically trusting: They literally have no social fear. Researchers theorize that this is probably because of a problem with the area in their brain that regulates the manufacture and release of oxytocin. Paul Zak, a researcher at Claremont Graduate University, ... says that in a normal brain, oxytocin is generated only after some concrete event or action: "When someone does something nice for you — holds a door — your brain releases this chemical, and it down-regulates the appropriate fear we have of interacting with strangers." Suddenly, you are filled with a sense that the person before you is not a threat. And then just as quickly, according to Zak, it disappears. "This is a quick on/off system." Unless, of course, the system gets disregulated, which is what Zak and other scientists say happens with Williams syndrome.

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




Take control of your life
2013-07-10, The Optimist
Posted: 2013-07-16 09:25:37
http://www.theoptimist.com/stories/society/take-control-of-your-life

[Trevor] Blake grew up in very poor circumstances in Wales and literally and actively thought himself from a young boy with very limited opportunities into a financially independent multi-millionaire. Blake claims that his three small steps—also the title of his book—will make everyone effective in creating the reality he or she wants. Protect your mentality. That’s Blake’s Step No. 1 and his critical contribution to the “create your own reality” movement. “I don’t think it is possible to change your thinking at all,” he says. “That’s why positive thinking doesn’t work. It is impossible to control your thoughts because they happen at the speed of light. But I would say that the one thing you do have control over is how you then react to the thought you just had. You can create in your mind a better set of outcomes; you can imagine something more positive. You do control your response to a negative thought. I changed thoughts of expecting to fail to ones anticipating success. I have repeated that behavior so many times that I now know. I changed my own life pattern the very moment I changed my own thought process. That’s why I wanted to write a book for people who feel trapped in the quicksand. That’s how I felt. And I know this helped me get out. Once you get out, you can do almost anything."

Note: For more on this, see the great video at this link. His second step is to take quiet time, while the third step is to set clear intentions. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim: 'They said poverty would always be with us. Well, maybe not'
2013-07-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-16 09:19:08
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/world-bank-chief-jim-yong-k...

Jim Yong Kim [is] the first man from outside the discipline of economics to take the helm at the World Bank. Having just celebrated his first year in charge, the Korean-American medical expert has refocused the world’s premier development bank on ending extreme poverty. The World Bank leader prefers to dwell on the positives. Global poverty, defined by the bank as living on $1.25 or less per day, was halved five years ahead of schedule. The next phase is to lift the remaining 20 per cent of the world’s population out of extreme poverty by 2030. “The efforts to end poverty have been really significant,” says Mr Kim. “They said poverty would always be with us. Well, maybe not.” A proportion of people – he estimates three per cent – will remain below the poverty line due to natural disasters and their related aftermaths, but otherwise “extreme poverty will be gone from the earth”. His appointment to the World Bank last year was not universally welcomed. Many observers resented his imposition by the United States over popular candidates from Africa and Latin America, while others worried that he was not an economist. They pointed to his presence at protests against the World Bank in 1993. Mr Kim now says that it was the lender’s “one size fits all” approach to economies that he objected to. As well as aiming to end poverty, the bank has set itself the task of tracking the progress of the bottom 40 per cent in every country as a means of measuring social mobility and equality.

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




The Morality of Meditation
2013-07-07, New York Times
Posted: 2013-07-16 09:11:48
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/the-morality-of-meditation.html

Meditation is fast becoming a fashionable tool for improving your mind. With mounting scientific evidence that the practice can enhance creativity, memory and scores on standardized intelligence tests, interest in its practical benefits is growing. [But] gaining competitive advantage [and] increasing creativity in business weren’t of the utmost concern to Buddha and other early meditation teachers. As Buddha himself said, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” The heightened control of the mind that meditation offers was supposed to help its practitioners see the world in a new and more compassionate way. But does meditation work as promised? To put the question to the test, my lab, led in this work by the psychologist Paul Condon, joined with the neuroscientist Gaëlle Desbordes and the Buddhist lama Willa Miller to conduct an experiment whose publication is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science. The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators [responded compassionately to the test situation of aiding a distressed person] the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. Nonetheless, the meditation increased the compassionate response threefold.

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




Can we make ourselves happier?
2013-07-01, BBC News
Posted: 2013-07-09 08:16:06
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23097143

Can we make ourselves happier? According to studies from all over the globe collated by the World Happiness Database in Rotterdam, we can. But the path to happiness may not be where we are looking for it. Prof Ruut Veenhoven, Director of the Database and Emeritus professor of social conditions for human happiness at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, says his own study found a slight negative correlation between the number of times people in a study spontaneously mentioned "goals" and their happiness. "Though it is generally assumed that you need goals to lead a happy life, evidence is mixed. The reason seems to be that unhappy people are more aware of their goals, because they seek to change their life for the better." Although there is some positive correlation between seeing meaning in life and being happy, studies suggest this is not a necessary condition for happiness. In fact, studies suggest leading an active life has the strongest correlation with happiness. "In order to lead a happy life, a rewarding life, you need to be active," says Veenhoven. "So involvement is more important to happiness than knowing the why, why we are here. Research has shown that we can make ourselves happier because happiness does change over time and these changes are not just a matter of better circumstances but of better dealing with life. Elderly people tend to be wiser, and for that reason, happier." Studies collated by the database say you tend to be happier if you: *Are in a long-term relationship *Are actively engaged in politics *Are active in work and in your free time *Go out for dinner *Have close friendships.

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




Volunteering May Be Good for the Heart in More Than One Way
2013-06-27, Mercola.com
Posted: 2013-07-09 08:13:46
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/27/volunteering.aspx

Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it’s also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you’ll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health. New research from Carnegie Mellon University, scheduled to be published in the journal Psychology and Aging, followed more than 1,000 adults between the ages of 51 and 91. Those who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not. Research shows volunteering can cut your overall mortality risk by 47 percent, may lower your risk of depression and anxiety, and even boost your psychological well-being. The type of volunteer work appeared to be irrelevant. Rather, it was the amount of time spent doing it that mattered. The benefits are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. Social interaction, and the stress relief it can provide, is likely one major reason why volunteering has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, as it’s a well-known fact that stress elevates blood pressure. Blood pressure aside, volunteering is not only a boon for your heart health. It’s likely that one reason volunteering is so beneficial is simply because it keeps you active and on your feet. Instead of resigning yourself to your couch, choosing to volunteer adds many hours of non-exercise activity to your life – a key to optimal health.

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




'A way out of the landfill': Paraguay kids play Mozart with violins made from trash
2012-12-17, NBC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-07-09 08:12:16
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/17/15965768-a-way-out-of-the-landf...

The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone. A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay's capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty. The youngsters of "The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura" performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honor at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. "We want to provide a way out of the landfill for these kids and their families. So we're doing the impossible so that they can travel outside Paraguay, to become renowned and admired," said Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher who started the orchestra. Paraguayan documentary filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla Nash ... and film producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have followed the orchestra for years, joining Chavez in his social work while making their film "Landfill Harmonic" on a shoestring budget. The documentary is far from complete. But last month, the filmmakers created a Facebook page and posted a short trailer on YouTube and Vimeo that has gone viral, quickly getting more than a million views altogether.

Note: For an inspiring 12-minute video of the amazing landfill harmonic orchestra, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mystery Behind the Damanhur Temples
2008-01-21, ABC News
Posted: 2013-07-01 12:45:16
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=4216350

Hidden away in a country renowned for its architectural beauty lies a massive hand-built place of worship many tourists never see. An entrance that looks like a mineshaft opens up to a maze carved inside the mountain holding the Damanhur Temples of Humankind in the Valchiusella Valley, about 30 miles north of Turin, [Italy]. Damanhur narrates the history of human potential through art. With at least nine rooms — some with 25-foot high ceilings — it looks as if the secret doors and passageways were built centuries ago. In truth, the unlikely temple is no ancient wonder and was built piecemeal by 150 people over a 15-year period beginning in 1978. The work was so secret, the Italian government never knew it was going on and never gave permission for it. The handcrafted structure is full of dramatic beauty, and each apparent dead end really leads into another mysterious hall. "You have to think that we did that without any engineer or architect," Ananas said. "Everything has been excavated by hand." At least as mysterious as the temple itself is the utopian society to which it belongs, The Federation of Damanhur. Damanhur, which means city of light, comprises 800 people who live in communal homes. Founded in 1975, the Federation of Damanhur thinks of itself as the builders of a new civilization that stands for peace and human potential. It prides itself on being an eco-society based on ethical and spiritual values. Falco, as the group's founder is known, said that he always dreamed of the elaborate temples. The group wanted the temple to be "a gift to humanity" once it was completed. Visitors to the halls of the temple have expressed awe, delight and intrigue.

Note: To see photos of the stunning beauty of these temples, click here. Damanhur's visionary Falco died of cancer on June 23, 2013. For more on this great visionary, click here. To watch a one-minute ABC News video giving a glimpse of the beauty of these temples, click here. Watch an awesome video tour of Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind available here. And for an intriguing 15-minute video of experiments done at Damanhur attaching plants to synthesizers to make angelic music, click here.




Urban Homesteading Video: Growing What You Eat
2013-01-21, Urban Gardening Digest
Posted: 2013-07-01 12:42:28
http://urbangardeningdigest.com/5272/urban-homesteading-video-growing-what-yo...

Urban homesteading differs from urban gardening in that it is a way of living that endeavors to be as self reliant as is possible in our modern age. The video [available at the above link] shows one family’s commitment to urban homesteading and how they have freed themselves from the urban rat race, grow their own food, and much, much more. In Pasadena, California, is a 4,000 sq. ft. urban homestead, owned by the Dervaes family. This homestead feeds a family of four, producing about 6,000 lbs. of food annually, on just 1/10th acre [1/25th hectare]. 63 year old Jules Dervaes, started this backyard urban farm 10 years ago. It is a deliberate throw back to the story days of self reliant rural America. Jules and his children grow almost all of the food they need and everyone pitches in. At the time of this video, they were also raising eight chickens, four ducks, and two goats. The ducks and chickens lay thousands of eggs a year and keep the bugs in check. Over 400 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers are grown in this compact space. Enough [is grown] to feed themselves with plenty left over for local chefs looking for organic, pesticide-free produce. Front porch sales net the family about $20,000 a year, which they use to purchase things that they can not grow on their urban homestead, such as wheat, rice, and oats. In addition to growing their own food, Dervaes family has gone off the grid. Their ‘gizmos’ are all hand powered. What little electricity that they do use is generated by solar panels.

Note: Watch the full, nine-minute video at the link above to get a closer look at this urban homesteading lifestyle. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Chipotle labels all GM items on menu
2013-06-20, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2013-07-01 12:40:04
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-20/features/chi-gmo-news-chipotle-...

As part of its "Food With Integrity" program, Chipotle this week posted information on its website identifying which items on its menu contain genetically modified ingredients. The chain posted a chart noting that 12 out of 25 ingredients, including its rice, barbacoa, chips, chicken, vegetable fajitas, steak and flour tortillas (except in certain restaurants) use either genetically modified corn or soybean oil, the vast majority of which is derived from GM soybeans. The chain said that those ingredients are "currently unavoidable" but that it is "working hard" to eliminate them. This move comes on the heels of Ben & Jerry's announcement that all of its flavors will be GM ingredient free by the end of the year and Whole Foods pledge to phase out all foods with GM ingredients by 2018. Although GM crops ... are considered safe by federal authorities and are legal to plant and sell, some independent studies have linked them to health and environmental problems. The announcements happen amid a flurry of state bills to require mandatory labeling of food with GM ingredients. In more GM news, this afternoon the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan amendment to require labeling of GM salmon as part of a 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Overseas, where the labeling question is largely over, the GM debate rages over expanding GM crop planting approvals in the European Union. Asked [whether UK Prime Minister David] Cameron would eat GM foods or allow his children to eat them, the spokesman steadfastly declined to answer.

Note: Much of Europe labels their food for GMOs, which are even banned in many areas. Read an MSN article on the banning of GM foods from all restaurants and food in the UK's parliament at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The world is a better place than you think
2013-06-06, The Intelligent Optimist (Formerly Ode Magazine)
Posted: 2013-06-25 08:23:36
http://www.theoptimist.com/stories/society/the-world-is-a-better-place-than-y...

Since the end of the Cold War, the number of armed conflicts in the world has fallen by 40 percent, according to Simon Fraser University’s Human Security Report. And those conflicts have resulted in strikingly low numbers of fatalities. While that statement may sound odd ... the numbers are nonetheless telling. Since 1988, the number of wars killing more than 1,000 people a year has gone down by 78 percent. What explains this spectacular reduction in violence? In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard professor Steven Pinker cites a number of reasons. Nation-forming curbed people’s inclination to steal their neighbors’ land and reduced the threat of enemy invasion, allowing geopolitical stability to take root. The emergence of democracy curbed tyrannical government excesses. International trade turned countries into business partners, and peace became economically attractive. A general process of civilization brought about more and more self-control. Not every indicator shows a steadily falling line, but enough measurements do register a continuous drop in brutality. It’s human to remember grisly periods like world wars and senseless outbreaks of savagery and forget how many people died violently in past centuries. It’s a fact, though, that we experience considerably less violence today than our forebears did. You’re more likely to drown in a swimming pool than to die a brutal death. That’s a luxury no one knew in generations past. We do, indeed, live in history’s most peaceful era.

Note: One of the most under-reported positive stories is that global violent crime has dropped dramatically in the last two decades. For FBI statistics showing violent crime in the U.S. dropped to 1/3 the rate of 1993, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Christian group that sought to help gays repress same-sex attraction apologizes, closes down
2013-06-20, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-06-25 08:21:58
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/christian-group-that-helped-p...

The leader of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that worked to help people repress same-sex attraction, has apologized to the gay community for inflicting “years of undue suffering.” He plans to close the organization while launching a new effort to promote reconciliation. “The church has waged the culture war, and it’s time to put the weapons down,” Alan Chambers told The Associated Press on [June 20], hours after announcing his decision at Exodus’ annual conference and posting his apology online. “While there has been so much good at Exodus, there has also been bad,” Chambers said at the conference. “We’ve hurt people.” Based in Orlando, Fla., Exodus was founded 37 years ago and claimed 260 member ministries around the U.S. and abroad. It offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process. Last year, Chambers — who is married to a woman but has spoken openly about his own sexual attraction to men — said he was trying to distance his ministry from the idea that gays’ sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.” Chambers said the board had decided to close Exodus and form a new ministry, which he referred to as reducefear.org. He told the AP that the new initiative would seek to promote dialogue among those who’ve been on opposite sides in the debate over gay rights. “We want to see bridges built, we want peace to be at the forefront of anything we do in the future,” he said.

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




Helping 'Kliptown' kids take control of their future
2012-07-12, CNN
Posted: 2013-06-25 08:20:23
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/12/world/africa/cnnheroes-madondo-kliptown/index.html

Brian Munyai has spent nearly all of his 22 years living in a small metal shack that has never had electricity or running water. Conditions like this are typical for the nearly 40,000 people who live in the slums of Kliptown, a district in the largely black township of Soweto, South Africa. In high school, he heard about the Kliptown Youth Program. The after-school program, commonly known as KYP, provided him with intensive tutoring that helped him pass his senior exams and find funding to attend the University of Johannesburg. Stories like this motivate Thulani Madondo, the director and co-founder of KYP. A lifelong Kliptown resident, he has a goal of helping people like Munyai change their lives and their community through education. Right now, Madondo's group provides academic support, meals and after-school activities to 400 children. Every Monday through Thursday at 4 p.m. sharp, students hit the books in the tutoring program. Primary school students are tutored by the program's staff twice a week; on alternate days, professional teachers work with the high school students to prepare them for the matriculation exams required at the end of 12th grade. Books can be borrowed from the program's library -- the only one in the community -- and there are nearly 300 Internet-accessible laptops that were donated through the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child. So far, 21 members, including Munyai, have gone on to a university. [KYP provides] some financial assistance and helps members find ways to finance the rest.

Note: Check out the Kliptown Youth Program website at www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za and see how to help. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Facebook rejects rape culture. Can you?
2013-05-31, CNN
Posted: 2013-06-18 13:38:42
http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/30/opinion/chemaly-facebook/index.html

After I wrote an article about misogyny found on Facebook, people began to send me links to content that they had tried and failed to have removed by the site. Among these was a seven-minute video depicting a gang-rape of a girl by the side of the road. I began looking more deeply into the subject. I came across "humor" pages with names like "Raping Your Girlfriend." There were easily accessed pictures and videos of girls and women frightened, humiliated, bruised, beaten, raped, [and] bathed in blood. In one instance, Facebook declined to remove an image of a woman, mouth covered in tape, in which the caption read, "Don't tap her and rap her. Tape her and rape her." The photo went viral. Facebook's response ... "the photo ... did not violate our community standards." I joined [others] to launch a global campaign to confront institutionalized sexism in media. We wrote an open letter to Facebook, co-signed by more than 100 organizations, asking the company ... to train people to recognize violence against women as hateful. We encouraged users of Facebook to send messages to its advertisers encouraging them to boycott the social media network. Over seven days, men and women around the world sent more than 60,000 tweets ... and 5,000 e-mails to targeted advertisers, 16 of whom withdrew their advertising. Facebook responded, noting that its "systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively" as they would like. We are in the midst of a shifting cultural tide in which gender based violence -- historically kept private -- is better understood as a pandemic problem. Facebook's action represents an open acknowledgment that violence against women is a serious issue [that] deserves serious attention.

Note: How sad that it took facebook advertisers withdrawing their support to make this change. And how awesome that the writer of this article, Soraya Chemaly, had to the courage to stand up and do something about it by initiating this sexism campaign against facebook, and to inspire others to join her. Working together, we can make a difference.




A New Deal for Appalachia’s Forests: Growing Biofuels?
2013-05-31, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2013-06-18 13:05:55
http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/could-biofuels-mean-a-new-deal-for-app...

Using valuable food crops like corn and sugar cane to produce biofuels has been a highly controversial topic in an age of imminent food crises. But nobody is growing corn on the former strip mines of Eastern Kentucky. Surface mining left its mark on the Appalachian landscape through much of the 20th century, as large swaths of native forest were replaced with sparse, scrubby grassland. But University of Kentucky forestry professor Chris Barton sees in the compacted soil of old strip mines the possibility of using former surface mine land for short-rotation forestry—in order to produce fuel. Here's how it would work: Fast-growing, native trees like black locust could be grown and harvested every five to 10 years; then, the woodchips would be burned in an oxygen-restricted condition to produce combustible gases that in turn could be used to generate energy and heat. After a few generations of short-rotation harvests, the land could be transitioned to a long-term forest. Barton is the founder of Green Forests Work, a nonprofit spin-off of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative that seeks to reforest lands scarred by mining with native trees—all the while helping to rebuild struggling local economies. Since GFW was launched in 2008, more than 5,000 volunteers have planted nearly 1 million trees on former surface mine sites. And last year, the program received a $300,000 grant, enabling Barton to add a couple full-time staff members.

Note: 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"