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Digital Detoxers Reconnect with Each Other, The Planetary Health Diet, Incredible Whale Communication
Inspiring News Articles
June 28, 2024

Hey wonderful friends,

Israeli-Palestinian Ceremony to Overcome Hate

Explore below key excerpts of inspiring news articles with information on an Amsterdam cafe that encourages people to unplug from their devices and reconnect with each other, the "Planetary Health Diet" that helps people live longer while minimizing their environmental impact, Denmark's shift towards plant-based diets and more.

Each inspiring excerpt is taken verbatim from the media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, click here. The key sentences are highlighted in case you just want to skim. Please spread the inspiration and have a great one!

With faith in a transforming world,
Mark Bailey and Amber Yang for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Quote of the Week: A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind. ― Grace Lee Boggs


Dutch digital detoxers unplug en masse. Will the world follow?
May 31, 2024, Positive.News
https://www.positive.news/society/dutch-digital-detoxers-unplug...

The Offline Club, which began life in Amsterdam, offers an oasis of calm and respite from the incessant digital hustle of life lived through the black glass of a smartphone. It nurtures moments of quiet introspection over vapid doomscrolling, and encourages spontaneous conversations with strangers instead of endless keyboard arguments. The concept grew organically from the ‘offline getaway’ retreats [co-founder Ilya] Kneppelhout set up with pals Valentijn Klok and Jordy van Bennekom. The trio opened their first phone-free hangout in Amsterdam’s Cafe Brecht in February this year, and to their astonishment drew 125,000 new Instagram followers in the space of a month. Customers alternate between time to themselves and time to connect. “People don’t just pay to get rid of their phones – they’re also paying to meet others,” says Kneppelhout. “We live in quite an isolated world where we’re ever more connected online, but in the physical world, it’s hard to meet people. This is a real experience: where else are you going to be in a cafe with 30 others, and read a book or draw? It’s quite unique.” His hope is that customers will take away lasting habits from their cafe visits. “Big tech companies and the biggest social media companies are really playing with our minds, and with our time and our attention,” he says. “I think that’s bad: a counter movement is really necessary, and I think it’s happening.”

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing social division.


Planetary health diet cuts early death risk, new study shows
June 10, 2024, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2024/06/10/planetary...

Can you eat a diet that’s good for your health and good for the planet? A new study suggests that it’s possible. It found that people who ate mostly minimally processed plant foods such as nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil, along with modest amounts of meat, fish, eggs and dairy, had lower rates of premature death from heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. At the same time, their diets had a smaller environmental footprint because they consisted of foods that were grown using relatively less land and water and that were produced with fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The study ... was inspired by a landmark 2019 report from the EAT-Lancet Commission, which designed a “Planetary Health Diet” capable of sustaining 10 billion people and the planet by 2050. The planetary health diet, in broad strokes, encourages people to eat more plants and whole foods alongside small portions of meat and dairy. People whose eating habits most closely adhered to the planetary health diet were 30 percent less likely to die prematurely compared to people who ate the lowest amounts of foods that form the basis of the planetary health diet. Planetary health eaters had a 10 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, a 14 percent lower likelihood of dying from cardiovascular diseases, a 47 percent reduction in the risk of dying from lung disease, and a 28 percent lower likelihood of dying of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies and healing the Earth.


Denmark’s Radical Plan for a Plant-Based Future
June 17, 2024, Reasons to be Cheerful
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/denmark-radical-plan...

Trine Krebs is sometimes called “the leek woman,” or even Miss Dry-Legume, of Denmark. The 48-year-old has for decades traveled around the country as, in her words, a “food inspirer,” proselytizing about all things vegetables. So when, in October 2023, the Danish government published the world’s first ever national action plan for shifting towards plant-based diets, Krebs was ecstatic. The Danish government has three main goals: to increase demand for plant-based foods, to develop supply for plant-based foods, and to improve how all the different stakeholders — from scientists to farmers and chefs, food sociologists, and nutrition experts — in this nascent domestic industry are working together. Danish authorities see reducing meat and dairy consumption as key to reaching the Nordic state’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 70 percent before 2030, when compared to 1990. The climate think tank Concito estimates that more than half of Denmark’s land is used for farming and that agriculture accounts for about a third of its carbon emissions. Yet a published in 2021 found that the emissions made by producing plant-based foods are roughly half the amount incurred by meat production. Denmark believes ... that the necessary shift toward plant-based eating also offers a massive economic opportunity. If the country were to gain a three percent share of the global plant-based food market, it could create up to 27,000 jobs.

Note: Explore more positive stories on healing our bodies and healing the Earth.


Scientists document remarkable sperm whale 'phonetic alphabet'
May 8, 2024, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/scientists-document...

The various species of whales inhabiting Earth’s oceans employ different types of vocalizations to communicate. Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, communicate using bursts of clicking noises — called codas — sounding a bit like Morse code. A new analysis of years of vocalizations by sperm whales in the eastern Caribbean has found that their system of communication is more sophisticated than previously known, exhibiting a complex internal structure replete with a “phonetic alphabet.” The researchers identified similarities to ... human language. “The research shows that the expressivity of sperm whale calls is much larger than previously thought,” said Pratyusha Sharma ... lead author of the study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. “Why are they exchanging these codas? What information might they be sharing?” asked study co-author Shane Gero, Project CETI’s lead biologist. “I think it’s likely that they use codas to coordinate as a family, organize babysitting, foraging and defense,” Gero said. Variations in the number, rhythm and tempo of the clicks produced different types of codas, the researchers found. The whales, among other things, altered the duration of the codas and sometimes added an extra click at the end, like a suffix in human language. “All of these different codas that we see are actually built by combining a comparatively simple set of smaller pieces,” said study co-author Jacob Andreas.

Note: Explore more stories about amazing marine mammals.


How the virtual world is inspiring gamers to become botanists
June 10, 2024, Positive.News
https://www.positive.news/society/virtual-world-inspiring-gamers...

What if computer games could facilitate a tangible, meaningful connection with nature? Now they can thanks to a new botany project that empowers gamers to cultivate plants featured in their favourite video game. The idea was that of Hannah Young and Aleks Atanasovski, two gamers who wanted to fuse their love of nature with their passion for gaming. The result is Seed Saga, a botanical pilot that allows players of Guild Wars – a popular roleplaying game renowned for its spectacular flora – to apply for seed packs so they can grow plants that feature in the game. The pair pitched the idea to the developer behind Guild Wars, Arena Net, which was “really up for it”. So much so, that the firm provided renders from the game for the seed packets and gave the project a push on its social channels. Due to the limited availability of seeds ... gamers must submit an application explaining why they want them. The responses, says Young, have been heartening. Said one applicant: “[Guild Wars] saved my life during a period of deep depression. It would be an honour to grow [crimson sunflowers] in my yard to pay homage to the game and support the surrounding insects that could benefit from these flowers.” The first seed packs went out in April. The idea now is to partner with other players in the industry and scale the concept to cultivate a new generation of botanists. Doing so could boost mental health: research shows that interacting with plants counteracts stress brought on by computers.

Note: Explore more positive stories about using technology for good.


A woman undergoing chemotherapy gets a special message from a stranger
June 11, 2024, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2024/06/11/nx-s1-4996500/chemotherapy-cancer...

In 2003, Mary Fran Lyons was going through chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. One day after a treatment session, she went to the mall to have lunch. Lyons had lost all her hair, so she was wearing a baseball cap. “You didn't have to look at me very hard to know things were not quite right,” Lyons said. As she was walking along, looking at the stores, a woman approached her. She told her something that Lyons will never forget. “She said, ‘I've been sent to tell you that you're going to be OK,’” Lyons remembered. “I stood there and looked at her and I thought, ‘Well, who sent you? I mean, who are you?’ And I did not say anything. And she said it again: 'You're going to be OK.’” Then the woman simply walked away. Lyons watched her leave, trying to understand what had just happened. But nothing about the woman stood out. "She looked like a completely normal human being,” Lyons recalled. “I never met her before, never heard of her since.” Later, Lyons told a good friend about her unusual encounter. “And she said, ‘Do you believe in angels?’" Lyons recalled. “And I said, ‘I do now.’” More than 20 years later, Lyons continues to hold the experience close. “If that woman were standing in front of me right now, I would say to her, ‘You gave me hope at a time when I really needed to hear it,’” Lyons said. “And I still think of that to this day.”

Note: Explore more positive human interest stories.


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