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.
New research from around the world has begun to reveal a picture of humans today that is so different from what it was in the past that scientists say they are startled. Over the past 100 years, says one researcher ... humans in the industrialized world have undergone “a form of evolution that is unique not only to humankind, but unique among the 7,000 or so generations of humans who have ever inhabited the earth.” The difference does not involve changes in genes, as far as is known, but changes in the human form. Many chronic ailments like heart disease, lung disease and arthritis are occurring an average of 10 to 25 years later than they used to. There is also less disability among older people today. Human bodies are simply not breaking down the way they did before. Even the human mind seems improved. The average I.Q. has been increasing for decades, and at least one study found that a person’s chances of having dementia in old age appeared to have fallen in recent years. Improved medical care is only part of the explanation; studies suggest that the effects seem to have been set in motion by events early in life, even in the womb, that show up in middle and old age. Of course, there were people in previous generations who lived long and healthy lives, and there are people today whose lives are cut short by disease or who suffer for years with chronic ailments. But on average, the changes, researchers say, are huge.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
New research links county-level economic health to agriculture, and finds that organic food and crop production, along with the business activities accompanying organic agriculture, creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities. The recently completed White Paper, U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies ... finds organic hotspots - counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity - boost median household incomes by an average of $2,000 and reduce poverty levels by an average of 1.3 percentage points. It identifies 225 counties across the United States as organic hotspots, then looks at how these organic hotspots impact two key county-level economic indicators: the county poverty rate and median household income. Organic activity was found to have a greater beneficial economic effect than that of general agriculture activity, such as chemically-intensive, conventional agriculture, and even more of a positive impact than some major anti-poverty programs at the county level. Interest in organic at the production level has grown as the demand for organic has risen. Organic food is not only better for the economy, but for human health and the environment. A comprehensive review of 97 published studies comparing the nutritional quality of organic and conventional foods show that organic plant-based foods contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients. Organic foods have [also] been shown to reduce dietary pesticide exposure.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Friends tease James Brady about his devotion to urban farming, calling him a veggielante and a veggie preacher, but that doesn’t stop his proselytizing. Brady and his business partners create microscale systems that allow schoolchildren and others to grow produce in small or nontraditional spaces. They recently sold nine of their “adaptive growing modules” to Sacramento-area schools. The modules consist of raised storage bins hooked up to a recirculating water system and filled with a composted growing medium. “Part of your next meal should come from no (more) than 10-15 feet from your kitchen table,” Brady said, “so that means if you’re in an apartment building, you can put a bin like this on your patio [and] get food to feed your family, lower your carbon footprint and hopefully contribute to making your family healthier.” The growing modules from Con10u2Farm.com will show students they don’t necessarily need land to grow produce or to create a crop-based business. Reggie Brown, the principal for John Still’s elementary and middle school campuses, said his campus lies within a food desert, an urban area where it’s difficult for families to buy fresh, affordable, high-quality food. Consequently, the campus worked ... to teach children how to plant and tend gardens and why fresh produce is good for nutrition. “We’re excited because we have our kitchen right there,” said Brown, pointing to a door less than 10 feet from the school’s adaptive growing module.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
One of the world’s oldest female body builders, Ernestine Shepherd, just gained another year in what she’s called her “long happy journey” of life. Now 80, the fitness trainer, model, competitive body builder, and new author celebrated her June 16 birthday with a Facebook post declaring her continued determination, dedication, and discipline. “I am 80 years young today and I thank God for bringing me this far. I’m still determined, I’m still dedicated and I’m still disciplined to be fit!” Shepherd wrote. After being named the oldest female body builder by the Guinness Book of World Records in both 2010 and 2011, Shepherd began to publicly share the story of how she came to live a life of tenacity and perseverance beginning at the age of 56. What started as a modest curiosity about working out turned into a life-changing route to happiness once her sister died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. In an attempt to fulfill the fitness goals Shepherd had created with her late sister, she developed a following and a legacy admired by people of all ages. Shepherd celebrated her current success with the release of her book The “Ageless” Journey of Ernestine Shepherd in which she writes about the secrets to her health and well-being. The book ... details the keys to her motivation, including: “Age is nothing but a number.” In addition to her mantra, “Determined, dedicated, disciplined to be fit,” Shepherd believes that “being out of shape as we age truly is merely an option – NOT a mandate!”
In the wake of [the] massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., a man drove 1,200 miles from his Chicago home to deliver 49 wooden crosses to Orlando Regional Medical Center in honor of each of the mass shooting victims. “My message today is love your brother, love your neighbor,” Greg Zanis told reporters Thursday as he was unloading them. “Don’t judge them.” The 65-year-old carpenter used donated lumber to create the three-foot-tall crosses - each bearing a victim’s name and emblazoned with a red heart - in his garage workshop, then made the 17-hour trek from Illinois to central Florida to set up the makeshift memorial. “I’m doing this for their families,” Zanis [said]. “This individualizes it.” He also brought markers so mourners could write messages on them. Zanis’ crosses have become a familiar sight in communities reeling from tragedy - in 2012, he delivered them to Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., following those mass shootings, and to Boston after the 2013 marathon bombings. But the tribute in Orlando is Zanis’ biggest memorial to date. “When you see all these lined up, it will be like ‘Oh my God,’ and they will see the severity of what happened,” Zanis told the paper. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others wounded in the June 12 attack at Pulse nightclub - the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. “It is an act of Christian love,” Zanis said. “Even though some of these people might not be Christians, I have never been turned back.”
In recent years, cuddling - billed as therapeutic, nonsexual touch on sites like the Snuggle Buddies and Cuddlist - has become the latest thing in wellness, beyond yoga and meditation. A quasi movement that dates back more than a decade thanks to snuggle mixers sponsored by the nonprofit group Cuddle Party has morphed into a cuddle-for-hire industry of one-on-one sessions. Pro cuddlers promise a physical and psychic salve through spooning, arm tickling and deep embraces. One such practitioner, at $80 an hour, is Brianna Quijada. A manager at a vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side by day, she recently discussed her second career on the Cuddlist network, plying the world’s newest profession by night. What drew you to cuddling? "I just wanted touch. It seemed like a safe way to explore that," [said Quijada]. "It seems weird to think that if I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship and wasn’t having sex, I wasn’t getting that kind of touch." What is the value of touch? "When I experience consensual touch, I am more in my body, I’m more comfortable. It’s like a feeling of being understood. It raises your oxytocin, it calms the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, so it’s a really interesting way to connect." What do private clients ask for? "It could be hand holding, synchronized breathing, eye-gazing. I’ve done cuddling while sitting, whether it’s an embrace, holding hands, or their head in my lap, or standing and holding each other. They come to me for relaxation."
On the Monday following the Orlando massacre, 12 golden retrievers arrived in the Florida city. They had come to offer comfort to some of the victims of the attack, the families of those killed and the emergency medical workers. The animals are part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a program run by the Lutheran Church Charities. Founded in 2008, the team has comforted victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. Tim Hetzner, the president of the charity, said that the dogs in Orlando were helping to provide a feeling of safety, allowing those in distress to relax their guard and express their vulnerability during a difficult time. “We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” he said. The dogs and their 20 handlers have visited hospitals and churches, and attended vigils and memorial services. On Wednesday, they visited some of the hospitalized victims. “People couldn’t get out of their bed, so we had to bring the dog up so they could pet the dog while laying down,” Mr. Hetzner said. “They start smiling, and in a couple cases, they started talking as much as they could.” Comfort dogs ... are often employed by therapists and medical doctors to help soothe patients. Studies have shown that they can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression as well as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. There are more than 120 dogs in the K-9 Comfort Dog unit, in 23 states. All of them have received extensive training similar to that of a service dog.
The “bunker” houses the Torolab project known as La Granja Transfronteriza, or La Granja (The Farm) for short – a place brimming with the arts and more that draws community members of all ages. As Tijuana garnered a reputation as one of the most violent places in the world, Camino Verde held the inglorious title of the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. But today, Camino Verde’s story is changing. And La Granja, founded in 2010, has been no small factor. On weekday afternoons, the bunker is bustling with young kids screeching out notes on their violins under the guidance of instructors. Families gather on the weekend to grow vegetables in the nascent community garden. There’s a computer lab upstairs, and parents can pursue their GED certificates. Most strikingly, however, violence in Camino Verde has plunged, falling by 85 percent since 2010. “This was one of the most violent places in the world, where you weren’t expected to make it out,” [Torolab founder Raúl] Cárdenas says. “Now it’s common to see governments and arts schools from around the globe coming to the neighborhood to learn.” When, in 2010, a group of local leaders came together to talk about what they could do to change Tijuana’s violent trajectory, Cárdenas took charge of pinpointing where they could make the biggest difference. “What people want and what people need is to have a livable space,” he says. Already, the project has received multiple prizes and global recognition.
Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool. "Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns." Reyes believes art should address social issues like gun violence, even when they're difficult and controversial. "We have to be allowed to ask questions," he says. "If you are not allowed to ask questions, you are not free." Reyes also addresses the issue of gun violence in another way, by using guns themselves. His first project began in 2007 in the Mexican city of Culiacan. As part of a campaign to curb shootings, the city collected 1,527 guns. He used them to create art. "Those 1,527 guns were melted and made into the same number of shovels," he says. "So for every gun now, there's a shovel. And with every shovel, we planted a tree." Now Reyes is working on a new project. It is one that transforms guns into something more musical. An exhibition of the work is on display at the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum. It's called "Disarm," and consists of guns that have been turned into musical instruments." To me at least," Pedigo says, "the concept is about taking weapons that are destructive in nature and chaotic and trying to make them for something else. So, instead of objects of destruction, they become objects of creation." That's exactly Reyes' point. Art, he says, is about transformation. "It's the same metal," he says, "but it is no longer a gun. It's now a flute or a guitar."
Note: Don't miss the pictures of Reyes' latest inspiring project at the link above.
Chris Castro has an obsession - turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms. "The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says. Surprising because he's asking Floridians to hand over a good chunk of their precious yards to volunteers who plant gardens full of produce. His program is called Fleet Farming, and it's starting off small, with 10 of these yard farms. Most of them sit smack in the middle of the front yard. Lawns are a thing here. Urban farms? Not so much. But so far, no neighbors have complained. Castro makes sure every garden is meticulously maintained - including homeowner Gary Henderson's. "I just think that the whole idea of lawns, especially in a place like Florida, is absurd," says Henderson, standing amid rows of tomatoes, sweet lettuce, carrots and arugula growing smack in the middle of his front yard. All of Fleet Farming's volunteers only ride bikes, going from garden to garden to harvest the produce. Because the program is bike-powered, Castro keeps the yard gardens within a mile of the local farmers market, where Fleet Farming sells most of the produce. Henderson offers this advice to anyone thinking about replacing their lawn with a garden: "Give it a try ... and once you get to the point where you realize that you can eat your lawn, I think it makes a whole lot of sense." And so do 300 other residents of central Florida. That's how many people are on Fleet Farming's waiting list, ready to eat their lawns instead of having to mow them.
Some 9,000 people stuck with delinquent medical bills had their debts forgiven courtesy of HBO host John Oliver. Oliver, on his "Last Week Tonight" program Sunday, took the action to illustrate a story about the practices of companies that purchase the records of debtors and attempt to collect on them. The show set up its own company to acquire $15 million worth of debt owed to hospitals in Texas, paying $60,000. Oliver said it was "disturbingly easy" for his show to set up a company, which it called Central Asset Recovery Professionals, and incorporate it in Mississippi to make the purchase. Oliver's show engages in a form of investigative comedy, this week examining [how] institutions often sell their debt for pennies on the dollar to companies who then attempt to collect on the bills. These companies operate with little regulation, and sometimes employ shady and abusive collectors who try to intimidate people into paying, he said. RIPMedicaldebt.org, a nonprofit that raises money to buy debt and forgive the bills owed by people who can least afford to pay them, welcomed the attention. "It's absolutely fabulous," said Craig Antico, CEO of RIPMedicaldebt.org. "It puts a light on a problem that few people know exists. If people paid attention to (Oliver's show) and it got them upset, they should realize that we can eradicate much of this debt if we all banded together to help each other," Antico said. "People can make a donation of $50 and wipe out a $10,000 debt."
Renee Hendrix has been a NICU nurse at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia for over 30 years. In that time, she’s helped countless babies fight for their lives and been a beacon of support and comfort for their families. In honor of National Neonatal Nurses Day on Sept. 15, Kleenex put together this heartwarming video and arranged a special surprise to recognize the beloved nurse and let the families whose lives she touched say thank you. The surprise culminates in a emotional gathering of families Hendrix has aided throughout her time at the hospital. “We don’t realize what an impact we have on families until we see something like that. It was very rewarding,” the NICU nurse told The Huffington Post. “I love those babies like they were my own. I was so honored that people would stop what they were doing and come to be there for me. “It was great to see all of the kids big and healthy and thriving,” she continued. “I definitely felt appreciated and loved. I was just so proud of them. To know I had a part in that was very overwhelming and gratifying.” Hendrix said she was “shocked,” by the surprise, but she was quick to add that her impactful work is par for the course when it comes to nurses. “I do what every other nurse does,” she noted. “I just was the lucky one to get picked. It was a big honor. There are so many nurses that do the same thing.”
Note: Even though it's a Kleenex commercial, this video is incredibly touching.
As more states legalize the use of marijuana, the number of teens with cannabis-related problems is declining, new research suggests. Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the study revealed a 24% decline in marijuana-related problems—such as becoming dependent on the drug or having trouble in school and in relationships—among teenagers. The researchers additionally found an association between drops in problems related to cannabis and reductions in behavioral issues, such as fighting, property crimes and selling drugs. The report also showed that marijuana use rates in young people have been dropping over the years. When asked whether they had used marijuana in the previous 12 months, study participants reported fewer instances of pot use in 2013 than their peers had reported in 2002, a 10% decline overall. Additional research on how the decrease in rates of conduct problems relates to other behaviors is needed. “For example, adolescent crime rates have been declining for about 20 years. Teenage pregnancy rates are at an all time low. Binge drinking among high school students is dropping. (Though you wouldn’t know any of this from news coverage),” [study author Richard A. Grucza] said. “I think it is likely that all of these changes are connected to each other, and to the drop in marijuana use disorder. It’s really important to figure out why this is happening so that we can extend these trends into the future.”
Note: Read more on this Washington University webpage.
Teen pregnancies fell again last year, to another historic low, a government report shows. “The continued decline is really quite amazing,” said Brady Hamilton, the lead author of the new report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the birth rate for U.S. teens dropped 8 percent. Rates have been falling since 1991, and this marks yet another new low. Experts cite a range of factors, including less sex, positive peer influence, and more consistent use of birth control. “The credit here goes to the teens themselves,” said Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The new report is based on a review of most of the birth certificates filed last year. There were nearly 4 million births. That’s down slightly from the 2014 total, by about 4,300. Other key figures from the CDC report [include that] the birth rate was 22 live births per 1,000 females ages 15 through 19, [whereas] the rate was 24 per 1,000 the year before. Unmarried moms accounted for about 40 percent of births.
Maybe it's the 17 freezers he keeps running in his apartment, or his nodding eyes from lack of sleep. Spend a few hours with Allan Law and you start to realize a little crazy comes with his kindness. "It's stupid," Law agrees. "Last night I got no sleep out in the streets, but I slept two hours today." Next week, the Minnesotan known as the "Sandwich Man" will be honored by Minneapolis Rotary for his efforts on behalf of homeless people. Law started serving disadvantaged Minnesotans while still a teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. His efforts hit high gear when he retired 16 years ago. Working out of the van he drives through the night, last year Law handed out more than 700,000 sandwiches, 7,000 pair of socks and 75,000 bus tokens. Some of his work is funded by his teaching pension, the rest is covered by donations to his non-profit organization, Minneapolis Recreation Development. Those 17 freezers in his apartment store sandwiches made by 800 church, business, and civic groups each year. Law delivers some of the sandwiches for distribution by shelters, others he hands out by himself. "I bring sandwiches so not only will they have something to eat, but when they leave in the morning they can take a couple sandwiches with them." He also makes the rounds to gas stations during the night, collecting food that would otherwise go into dumpsters, for quick distribution to the homeless. "Sometimes I get emotional," Law says. "Somebody has to care."
Note: Watch a great, five-minute video on this caring man who makes a big difference.
It was around 7:15 on a recent Tuesday morning. We were in the middle of a partner yoga session at one of the San Francisco editions of Daybreaker, an early-morning dance party that descends, every month, on an increasing number of cities around the world. There wasn’t much time for reflection. A massage train was forming in the center of the increasingly brightening Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. People rubbed shoulders and had their shoulders rubbed. Soon, revelers were thronging the coat check. House music thumped from the main room. Near the D.J., Teresa Young ... formed a circle with 10 of her friends. “It’s hard to motivate people ... to go out to anything these days, but surprisingly the amount of people that will wake up at the crack of dawn to do yoga and dance - massive!” she exclaimed, beaming. She works in digital marketing and planned to go from the party to her office. This, its founders say, is why Daybreaker was created: to give people who genuinely enjoy dancing an outlet to do so without alcohol, drugs, cover fees, bottle service or all of the usual accouterments of night life. The emphasis at the San Francisco party was on consciousness, mindfulness, purposefulness and othernesses that generally necessitate being neither drunk nor high. By 9:30, things were winding down. Lana Baumgartner, 28, contemplated how many calories she had burned: “I’d much rather be dancing with all these people than in a gym.”
There’s a “recycling revolution” happening in Sweden. Less than one per cent of Sweden's household garbage ends up in landfills today. By Swedish law, producers are responsible for handling all costs related to collection and recycling or disposal of their products. If a beverage company sells bottles of pop at stores, the financial onus is on them to pay for bottle collection as well as related recycling or disposal costs. Rules introduced in the 1990s incentivized companies to take a more proactive, eco-conscious role about what products they take to market. It was also a clever way to alleviate taxpayers of full waste management costs. According to data collected from Swedish recycling company Returpack, Swedes collectively return 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually. What can't be reused or recycled usually heads to WTE incineration plants. WTE plants work by loading furnaces with garbage, burning it to generate steam which is used to spin generator turbines used to produce electricity. That electricity is then transferred to transmission lines and a grid distributes it across the country. In Helsingborg (population: 132,989), one plant produces enough power to satisfy 40 per cent of the city’s heating needs. Across Sweden, power produced via WTE provides approximately 950,000 homes with heating and 260,000 with electricity. Recycling and incineration have evolved into efficient garbage-management processes to help the Scandinavian country dramatically cut down the amount of household waste that ends up in landfills.
With 165.5m individual ticket sales [in the UK], film remains a medium with the capability to reach a large and wide-ranging audience. Here, we take a look at ... documentaries which thrust sustainability issues into the spotlight. Food Inc provides an in-depth focus on the 21st century food industry, contending that the major corporation 'factory-model' has scant regard for either animal welfare or consumer well-being in the pursuit of profit. The documentary investigates the meat and grain industries, highlighting the lack of transparency between major food businesses and their customers. Gasland focuses on the process of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking - the controversial method used to extract natural gas from the ground. The film looks at the major energy industry's attempts to take advantage of the potential resources of a small town, and the apparently disastrous impact on the local environment, particularly the water supply. Who Killed the Electric Car? While documenting the development of the electric car, the film brings to account the corporations and government officials responsible for undermining and legislating against this innovation. Blue Gold: World Water Wars ... looks at the corporate and political machinations surrounding the world water supply and the increasing demand for it. As well as a rebuke for those attempting to stockpile and over-charge for what is an essential to human existence, it provides stories of those fighting for more open access to water supplies.
Libraries aren’t just for books, or even e-books, anymore. In Sacramento, where people can check out sewing machines, ukuleles, GoPro cameras and board games, the new service is called the Library of Things. Services like the Library of Things and the “Stuff-brary” in Mesa, outside Phoenix, are part of a broad cultural shift in which libraries increasingly view themselves as hands-on creative hubs, places where people can learn new crafts and experiment with technology like 3-D printers. Last year, the Free Library of Philadelphia pulled together city, state and private funds to open a teaching kitchen, which is meant to teach math and literacy through recipes and to address childhood obesity. It has a 36-seat classroom and a flat-screen TV for close-ups of chefs preparing healthy dishes. “Libraries are looking for ways to become more active places,” said Kate McCaffrey of the Northern Onondaga Public Library, outside Syracuse, which lends out its garden plots and offers classes on horticulture. “People are looking for places to learn, to do and to be with other people.” The Ann Arbor District Library has been adding to its voluminous collection of circulating science equipment. It offers telescopes, portable digital microscopes and backyard bird cameras, among other things - items that many patrons cannot afford to buy. In Sacramento, each item in the Library of Things bears a bar code, since the Dewey Decimal System was not intended for sewing machines or ukuleles.
A pair of middle school classmates who met decades later on opposite sides of a courtroom reunited once again under happier circumstances. Miami-Dade Judge Mindy Glazer recognized Arthur Booth after he was arrested for burglary charges and appeared before her in bond court last summer. “Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?” the judge asks, leading her former schoolmate, now 49, to burst into tears. “This was the nicest kid in middle school, he was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened,” she said, according to NBC Miami. Video of the encounter went viral, and Booth spent 10 months in jail before a guilty plea for burglary and grand theft led to his release into a drug treatment program on Tuesday. He hugged his family after coming out of court before embracing Glazer, who was waiting for him and encouraged him to stay on the right side of the law. “She’s an inspiration and a motivation to me right now. Mindy is incredible,” Booth told CBS Miami. “Cause I know where I could’ve been, but I’m not giving up on life.”
Note: Don't miss the moving video of this at the link above.