Inspiring News Articles
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Articles in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles from the major media. Links are provided to the original inspiring news articles on their media websites. If any link fails, read this webpage. The most inspiring news articles are listed first. You can also explore the news articles listed by order of the date posted. For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page. May these inspiring news 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.
Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai ... is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage in the face of death threats in her home country of Pakistan over her advocacy of education for girls. On Thursday, she won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Malala was shot in the head and neck one year ago on her school bus by a gunman who was sent by the Taliban, the Muslim clerical group that believes in adherence to a strict version of Islamic law. Where it can, the Taliban has imposed rules forbidding girls from going to school, listening to music or taking most jobs. Malala, who lives in England now, told Stewart that she was stunned when she was told as a 14-year-old girl that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her for her activism and for her blog on the BBC, in which she wrote about how hard it was to live under strict Muslim rule as a girl. "I just could not believe it, I said no, it's not true," she said, saying she thought the Taliban would instead come after her father, who operates a school and opened up his classes to girls. "We thought the Taliban were not that much cruel that they would kill a child." After she was shot, she was allowed to go to Britain for brain surgery. She now lives outside London with her family. Though the Taliban has threatened her life again, she says striking back at them would not help. "If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib," she said. "You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education."
Some New Yorkers mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by going to a memorial service or observing a moment of silence. For the past 10 years, Jeff Parness has been helping others. Every September, Parness brings hundreds of volunteers from New York to help another disaster-stricken community in the United States. "It was our way of saying, you know, New Yorkers will never forget what people from around the country and the world did for us in our time of need after 9/11," said Parness. "So that's how the mission started. It was just to pay forward the kindness that we experienced." Over the past decade, Parness' nonprofit, New York Says Thank You, has assisted victims of wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in the Midwest and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Many of those who receive help are so inspired that they travel across the country the next year -- often at their own expense -- to volunteer with Parness' group and help someone else. The result is a unique disaster-response organization. "All of our volunteers are survivors. They survived, whether it was 9/11 or Katrina or tornadoes. So they all share that common bond," said Parness, who quit his job as a venture capitalist to work on his nonprofit full-time. This year, Parness' mission has come full circle. Last weekend, more than 300 volunteers -- at least half of whom were from outside the New York area -- helped rebuild 13 homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October. For Parness, a native New Yorker, the work carried extra significance.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
The story of Danny and Annie Perasa — how they met, and how they've stayed in love — inspires many who hear it. Their joy in life, and in one another, was celebrated recently in New York, where a crowd gathered to honor Danny and Annie. The Perasas are a memorable couple. In person, they come off like a pair of favorite grandparents, with thoughtful wisecracks and stories that take unpredictable turns. They say their affinity for one another was always obvious. Their enthusiasm has now been honored in a tangible way. The StoryCorps oral history project has dedicated its booth in Grand Central Terminal to the Perasas. On Friday, Feb. 10, a plaque was unveiled that dedicated the booth to the Perasas. The plaque reads: "This booth is dedicated to Danny and Annie Perasa, who recorded their story here on January 6, 2004. Their humor, heart, eloquence and love will never be forgotten." The couple made the trip to the ceremony despite Danny's illness: suffering from pancreatic cancer, he is currently in hospice care. Their visit was a treat for those present, as the Perasas revisited the conversation they had that day in 2004, and the life they've shared since 1978.
Note: For a very touching six-minute NPR video on this true story of beautiful marriage, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools. Maggie Doyne epitomizes this truth, for she began her philanthropic work as an 19-year-old financed by her baby-sitting savings. Yet she has somehow figured out how to run a sophisticated aid project in a remote area of Nepal. She took a “gap year” after high-school graduation and ended up in northern India, working with needy children. “The first little girl I met was Hema,” Doyne remembers. Then 6 or 7 years old (few children know their precise age), Hema spent her time breaking rocks and scavenging garbage and had no chance to go to school. Doyne, who decided to take Hema under her wing and pay for her education: “I knew I couldn’t do anything about a million orphans, but what if I started with this girl?” So she took Hema to school and paid $7 for the girl’s school fees and another $8 for a uniform so that she could enter kindergarten. “It became addictive,” Doyne said. “I said, if I can help one girl, why not 5? Why not 10? And along with scholarships, they needed the most basic things: food, shelter, clothing.” Doyne ... telephoned her parents with a strange and urgent request: Can you wire me the money in my savings account? Doyne returned to New Jersey and began to take odd jobs and proselytize for her shelter. People in her hometown thought that she was nuts, but in a benign way — and they wrote checks. After a few months, when Doyne had raised $25,000, she moved back to Nepal to oversee construction of the shelter, called the Kopila Valley Children’s Home.
It was the om heard ’round the world. Yesterday in 108 cities—from London to Los Angeles, Hong Kong to Houston, Barcelona to Birmingham, and more—“MedMob” groups participated in large-scale displays of meditation. Playing off of the flash mob concept, in which strangers organize online, arrange to meet at a specific time and place, and then perform an unexpected public act, MedMob members delight in presenting meditation in a surprising, inclusive way, says Shambhala Sun. MedMob’s goals: 1. To create an environment for people from all walks of life to come together in meditation. 2. To expose the world to meditation through public display of meditation. 3. To come together as a global community to send positive intentions out into the world. 4. To show that leading by example is the best way to lead. Simple acts can stimulate major paradigm shifts in thinking. The MedMob movement, which began in Austin early this year, is for everyone, reports David Telfer McConaghay for elephant journal. Telfer assures us that passers-by do not need to believe in “hippy-dippy feel-goodery” to participate in meditation, whether in a group or alone. “The goal is not to attain some state of illusory bliss, then wander around all day in a disconnected daze with a silly grin,” he writes. “The goal (if meditation can be said to have a goal) is to allow the naturally arising chaos and distractions of the mind to settle and fade so that we can act and make choices with greater intention and clarity.”
About half of all Americans take a daily multivitamin as a way to improve their health and cut their risk of diseases. But experts now say that - in almost all cases - the best way to get a full dose of vitamins is from nutritious foods rather than from pills. There is a lot of scientific evidence showing diets rich in produce, nuts, whole grains and fish promote health and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, according to a new "Vitamins and Minerals" report from Harvard Medical School. On the other hand, studies involving vitamin supplements - and there have been many - show mixed results. In fact, after reviewing a large body of research in 2006, the National Institutes of Health decided not to definitively rule for or against multivitamins' ability to prevent diseases. So what are the quickest ways to boost the vitamin content in your meals? The report identifies about three dozen foods that have the most nutrients per calorie, including avocados, berries, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, eggs, yogurt, lentils, beans, almonds, fish, chicken and turkey. And although most people think of citrus as the best source of vitamin C, a red pepper has twice as much as an orange. Similarly, potatoes and white beans have more potassium than bananas. The final advice from Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the report's editor: "Spend your time and money improving your diet, which is far more likely to pay off in the long run than popping a pill."
When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. Today, Barnett -- now 14 -- is a Master's student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. The teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Since enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at the age of 10, Barnett has flourished -- astounding his professors, peers and family with his spectacular intelligence. The teen tutors other college students in subjects like calculus and is a published scientific researcher, with an IQ that is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein. In fact, according to a 2011 TIME report, Barnett, who frequently tops his college classes, has asserted that he may one day disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Outside of his rigorous university commitments, Barnett, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is also an entrepreneur and aspiring author. The teen, who, with his family, runs a charity called Jacob's Place for kids on the spectrum, has used his story to raise awareness and dispel myths about autism. In April, [his mother] Kristine Barnett's memoir about her family's experience with autism, The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, was released. A movie deal is said to be in the works.
A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses. Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts. Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash. Jackie Smith of South Bend, Ind., who is working to launch a local currency, [said] "It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace." During the Depression, local governments, businesses and individuals issued currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage. Pittsboro, N.C., is reviving the Plenty, a defunct local currency created in 2002. It is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty. "We're a wiped-out small town in America," says Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty. "This will strengthen the local economy. ... The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
In a sign that the corporate sustainability movement may be entering a new dynamic phase, Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, former chief executive of Puma and current director of Kering, today launched a new global collaboration to drive transformational change in the business sector. The B Team brings together an initial 14 leaders from major corporations around the world, including Unilever, Natura, Celtel, Tata and Kering, in an attempt to enlarge projects that demonstrate that long-term business success can be built only by prioritising people and planet alongside profit. The collective ... has issued a declaration that places much of the blame for the world's problems directly on the doorstep of companies. Recognising that their views will be seen by many competitors as an "affront", the declaration states: "Business is now waking up to the reality that if we carry on using the natural resources of the world unsustainably, they'll quite simply run out. With a burgeoning population, more people are still living in poverty than ever before and inequalities are increasing in many parts of the world. Unemployment rates are at frightening levels. Non-Profits alone cannot solve the tasks at hand, while many governments are unwilling or unable to act. While there are myriad reasons we've arrived at this juncture, much of the blame rests with the principles and practices of business as usual." Rather than go it alone, the B Team is forging partnerships with other organisations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Ashoka, a leading light in the social enterprise movement.
Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilisers. But rather than accept that this will mean farmers of the small Himalayan kingdom of around 1.2m people ... will be able to grow less food, the government expects them to be able to grow more – and to export increasing amounts of high quality niche foods to neighbouring India, China and other countries. The decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical, said [Pema Gyamtsho, Bhutan's minister of agriculture and forests]. "Ours is a mountainous terrain. When we use chemicals they don't stay where we use them, they impact the water and plants. We say that we need to consider all the environment. Most of our farm practices are traditional farming, so we are largely organic anyway. But we are Buddhists, too, and we believe in living in harmony with nature. Animals have the right to live, we like to to see plants happy and insects happy," he said. Gyamtsho, like most members of the cabinet, is a farmer himself, coming from Bumthang in central Bhutan but studying western farming methods in New Zealand and Switzerland. "Going organic will take time," he said. "We have set no deadline. We cannot do it tomorrow. Instead we will achieve it region by region and crop by crop." Gyamtsho [says] Bhutan's future depends largely on how it responds to interlinked development challenges like climate change, and food and energy security.
Note: Bhutan is also the country which has pioneered Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a more appropriate measure of economic growth than GNP. For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
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.
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.
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.
A simple vinegar test slashed cervical cancer death rates by one-third in a remarkable study of 150,000 women in the slums of India, where the disease is the top cancer killer of women. Experts called the outcome "amazing" and said this quick, cheap test could save tens of thousands of lives each year in developing countries by spotting early signs of cancer, allowing treatment before it's too late. Usha Devi, one of the women in the study, says it saved her life. "Many women refused to get screened. Some of them died of cancer later," Devi said. "Now I feel everyone should get tested. I got my life back because of these tests." Pap smears and tests for HPV, a virus that causes most cervical cancers, have slashed cases and deaths in the United States. But poor countries can't afford those screening tools. This study tried a test that costs very little and can be done by local people with just two weeks of training and no fancy lab equipment. They swab the cervix with diluted vinegar, which can make abnormal cells briefly change color. This low-tech visual exam cut the cervical cancer death rate by 31 percent, the study found. It could prevent 22,000 deaths in India and 72,600 worldwide each year, researchers estimate. "That's amazing. That's remarkable. It's a very exciting result," said Dr. Ted Trimble of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., the main sponsor of the study. India has nearly one-third of the world's cases of cervical cancer — more than 140,000 each year.
Can food be free, fresh and easily accessible? That’s the bold question that the city of Seattle is hoping to answer with a new experimental farm not far from the city’s downtown that will have fruits and vegetables for anyone to harvest this fall. On Beacon Hill, just south of central Seattle, landscape developers and a few affordable-food advocates are building an edible food forest. Everything grown in the area, from the tree canopies to the roots, will be edible. And it’ll be open around the clock to anyone who wants to come and pick some fresh blueberries or pears. In its first phase, the farm will be 1.5 acres. But if it’s successful, the public land it’ll sit on—currently owned by Seattle Public Utilities—will be able to accommodate 5.5 more acres of growth. One thing that’s striking about the idea (other than the idea in itself to have essentially a public farm that anyone can use—or abuse) is how the [crop] selection came together. Many are expected: apples, berries, row vegetables like lettuce or tomatoes. But others are pretty far out. A large Asian community in the area suggested things like Asian pears and honeyberries. A European influence led to the planting of medlar trees. The concept is modeled on permaculture, a design system and school of thought aimed at returning some land to its own devices. Offering people free, fresh food is one motivation, but making the land useful and ecologically enriched is the larger goal.
Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, reached the top of Mount Everest [on May 23], becoming the oldest man to scale the world's highest mountain. The climb marks the third time Miura has summited Everest, a successful feat in itself, but even more remarkable considering his age and his medical history. Discussing the hurdles of climbing at such an old age, the octogenarian said, it was to challenge his "ultimate limit." "It is to honor the great Mother Nature," he said on a statement posted on his website. "Hoping to raise even an inch of human possibility." Miura didn't attempt his first climb to the top of Everest until 2003, when he was 70 years old. He made that trek with his son, a former Olympian, and set a world record as the oldest climber to successfully scale the mountain. Five years later, he returned again -- at 75 years old -- to set another record. Yuichiro Miura has spent a lifetime defying the odds. In his younger years, he skied down Mount Everest's South Col, an adventure that was documented in the 1975 Academy Award winning documentary, "The Man Who Skied Down Everest." Not satisfied, Miura summited and skied down all seven summits of the world, by his 50s. Miura has already discussed his next venture -- skiing down the Himalayan mountain of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world. He hopes to take on that challenge five years from now when he is 85 years old.
International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The earliest recorded incidence of conscientious objection was in 296AD, when a Roman refused to serve as a soldier because of his religious beliefs; he was killed, but subsequently canonised as Saint Maximilian. The term 'conscientious objector', however, only gained currency during the First World War, following the implementation of conscription in 1916. In Britain, over 16,000 men refused to fight. While it is well known that many with strong religious beliefs objected, interestingly some war-resisters refused on socialist grounds: they would not fight brother workers, feeling that the average soldier was but a pawn of the ruling classes. Few were given total exemption. Many were forced to join the army or the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), to serve in a supporting role to the armed forces. Many 'conchies' refused either option, and were sent to prison as a result. The abuses they suffered for their stance make for extremely grim reading, [as] told by David Boulton, in his book Objection Overruled. But word got out about such experiences – and public feeling did move towards respect. It became recognised that to stand up and be counted as someone who would not fight required its own, very high, degree of courage.
Do you know where your money really goes? A new app aims to help consumers avoid companies and products they don't even realize they're investing in. People can create campaigns or join existing boycotts. For example, a campaign identified in the app asks consumers to avoid Koch Industries. More than 8,000 people have pledged to boycott the company, which is owned by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch. Buycott helps consumers do this by untangling a long trail of associations and relationships among companies. For example, sales of Brawny paper towels accrue to Koch Industries because Koch's subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, produces the towels. Consumers may not be aware of those connections while casually browsing supermarket shelves. The Buycott app scans barcodes and then traces products to their parent companies. The app checks that the product doesn't already run afoul of boycott campaigns the user has joined. If someone joins the Local & Sustainable Food Initiative through Buycott, for example, they can scan barcodes at the supermarket to make sure their food really is coming from a local source. The app can even tell you if a certain food product contains GMOs. One campaign pushes buyers to boycott companies, including Monsanto, that fought against putting GMO labels on food. The app isn't perfect though. As Buycott admits, "Corporate ownership structure is always changing and can sometimes be complex." The app allows users to add their own knowledge of products not yet part of the database, making Buycott more accurate as more people download and contribute to it.
[Solar Impulse HB-SIA, a] solar-powered aircraft making a landmark cross-country flight [piloted by Bertrand Piccard], successfully completed its first leg [on May 4], and will rest about a week in [Phoenix] Arizona before taking to the skies again. "It's a little bit like being in a dream," Piccard told the Associated Press. The aircraft, running off solar cells and electric batteries rather than fossil fuels, ... travels at a leisurely 43 mph and cruises at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet. Spokeswoman Alenka Zibetto [said] that the exact length of the stay would depend on weather. It is proving to be a popular attraction. Online registration for the Sunday slots -- with space for 150 people per hour -- filled up within a day, Zibetto said. The solar company SunPower [manufactured] the solar cells lining the 208-foot wingspan of Solar Impulse.
Citi has just named solar photovoltaics, which convert solar radiation into electric currents via semiconductors, to its list of 10 world-disrupting technologies. In a note this week in advance of the disruption report, Citi's Jason Channell said that in many cases, renewables are already at cost parity with established forms of electricity sources. The biggest surprise in recent years has been the speed at which the price of solar panels has reduced, resulting in cost parity being achieved in certain areas much more quickly than was ever expected; these fast ‘learning rates’ are likely to continue, meaning that the technology just keeps getting cheaper. At peak solar exposure, parts of the southwest U.S. are now already capable of meeting their electricity needs via solar panels. The rapidly expanding parity provides enormous scope for growth in the solar industry, driven by standalone economics as opposed to subsidies, which are becoming ever scarcer in an austerity-driven world. Gas isn't going away, but renewables are coming on strong.
Note: It's rather strange that most mainstream media have hardly reported on this most awesome news at all. For another article showing that solar energy cost is already near parity with other energy sources, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles on exciting new energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.