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.
There is scientific evidence to suggest that life can continue after death, according to the largest ever medical study carried out on the subject. A team based in the UK has spent the last four years seeking out cardiac arrest patients to analyse their experiences, and found that almost 40 per cent of survivors described having some form of “awareness” at a time when they were declared clinically dead. Dr Sam Parnia ... who led the research, said that he previously [believed] that patients who described near-death experiences were only relating hallucinatory events. One man, however, gave a “very credible” account of what was going on while doctors and nurses tried to bring him back to life – and says that he felt he was observing his resuscitation from the corner of the room. About the evidence provided by a 57-year-old social worker ... Dr Parnia said: “We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating. “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes. “The man described everything that had happened in the room.” Dr Parnia’s study involved 2,060 patients from 15 hospitals ... and has been published in the journal Resuscitation. Of those who survived, 46 per cent experienced a broad range of mental recollections, nine per cent had experiences compatible with traditional definitions of a near-death experience and two per cent exhibited full awareness with explicit recall of “seeing” and “hearing” events – or out-of-body experiences.
Note: See our near-death experience resource center for lots more fascinating, reliable information on this vital topic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about near-death experiences.
An amazing hydrogen-powered round-the-world ocean voyage has just gotten underway, with the US$5.25-million Energy Observer setting sail from Paris. The French vessel, which is set to make 101 stopovers in 50 countries across the globe during its epic 6-year undertaking, runs on wind and solar power, plus hydrogen generated from seawater. The trip, which will self-sufficiently circumnavigate the globe with zero greenhouse gas emissions, has been described as the 'Solar Impulse of the Seas', in reference to the pioneering solar-powered aircraft that flew around the world in 2016. The Energy Observer runs on solar power harnessed from extensive panelling ... in addition to two large wind turbines at the rear of the 30.5-metre (100-foot) long catamaran. When it's night time or when there's no wind to spin the turbines, the vessel relies on its chief innovation: an electrolysis system that extracts hydrogen from sea water and stores it in an onboard tank. While it all sounds very high tech, the Energy Observer ... is actually a 34-year-old former racing vessel [modified] to now serve as a model for emissions-free transport. That new mission is also why the vessel is expected to take some six years to complete its worldwide tour. Unlike previous renewable-powered sea voyages around the world, the Energy Observer's crew is taking their time ... hoping that each stopover in ports throughout 50 countries along the way will help demonstrate that there's a viable alternative to using environment-destroying fossil fuels.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
According to the International Energy Agency, 1.2 billion people around the world do not have access to electricity, while over 2.7 billion people live without clean cooking facilities. In Africa, the lives of many people are made harder by a lack of access to reliable sources of power. Many people living off-grid use kerosene lamps for cooking and lighting. While this can be cheap, the environmental and health hazards are considerable. One piece of kit looking to push kerosene out of people's homes is the GravityLight. "GravityLight was invented by two designers looking for a safe alternative to kerosene lamps, which are used by over a billion people without electricity," Caroline Angus, co-founder of the GravityLight Foundation, said. In Kenya, [GravityLight] will cost roughly 2,500 shillings ($24.70). Once a user has set it up, it costs nothing to run. "Gravity Light is an off-grid light. It's powered by just lifting a weight, so you fill a bag with rocks or sand and winch up the weight, and as it gradually falls, it will turn a gear box which generates power," Angus added. For one villager, the Gravity Light has the potential to be life-changing. "This light will benefit me and my children, they will be able to read well, food will be cooked well in the evening, and the whole house will be well lit," they said. "The need for light is universal," Angus said. "Given there are solutions out there that can replace a kerosene lamp ... we need to urgently get those out there," she added.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Although the practice of meditation dates to ancient times, sleek, boutique for-profit mindfulness centers - outfitted with Instagram-worthy interiors, complimentary tea stations and soothing Spotify playlists - have spread like Starbucks in Los Angeles and New York. So, when three new meditation centers popped up in Washington, D.C., in a four-month span, I became intrigued. It’s not surprising that the District, filled as it is with overworked, sleep-deprived, stressed-out Type A personalities, is seeking out meditation as a form of self-care. Researchers have found that mindfulness-based programming not only helps individuals manage stress, depression and anxiety but also enhances productivity, creativity and concentration. Meditation-related physical benefits include lowered blood pressure, improved sleep and chronic pain management. Fortune 500 companies, elementary schools and sports teams are also following the trend, offering free guided sessions in an effort to boost efficiency and quality of output; basketball star Kobe Bryant, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Oprah Winfrey are outspoken practitioners. The meditation buzz in Washington began with Just Meditate in Bethesda, which opened in November, and in December was quickly followed by recharj, a meditation and power-nap center within a block of the White House. Take Five, which opened its doors in Dupont Circle on Feb. 24, prides itself on being the city’s first meditation-only studio.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
More than 120 countries approved the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons Friday at a UN meeting boycotted by all nuclear-armed nations. To loud applause, Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the UN conference that has been negotiating the legally binding treaty, announced the results of the “historic” vote — 122 nations in favour, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. “We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons,” Whyte Gomez said. “We (are) ... saying to our children that, yes, it is possible to inherit a world free from nuclear weapons. The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years,” since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War II, she said. None of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — is supporting the treaty. The treaty will be opened for signatures in September and come into force when 50 countries have ratified it, [Whyte Gomez] said, and its language leaves the door open for nuclear weapon states to become parties to the agreement. The treaty requires of all ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices - and the threat to use such weapons.
In 2002 Thom Bond was a successful environmental engineer, passionate about designing smart buildings that used alternative energy. Then he chanced upon Marshall Rosenberg's landmark book Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life. "I think Marshall Rosenberg's work may be the single most important discovery of the 20th century," [said Thom]. "His discovery that when we bring our attention to our universal human needs, it changes what we focus on, it changes how we think, and we naturally become more compassionate." Two short years after being introduced to Marshall Rosenberg's work ... Bond opened NYCNVC. His work over the past fifteen years has brought the benefits of NVC to tens of thousands of people across the world from diverse backgrounds, including the military, corporate leaders, educators, peace workers and more. "It's about changing the conversation we are having," says Bond succinctly, "The one we are in right now in most spheres is: 'Who is right and who is wrong?' And ... if we change the subject to, 'How can we meet more needs and make this situation work better?' That is the new conversation." This approach isn't about changing people - it's about seeing them in a different way. There is a difference between what I am observing and what I am telling myself about what I am observing. This is judging and it keeps us from being present and connected. When we tune into our feelings and tap into our needs -- our own or someone else's then compassion arises spontaneously.
Note: Watch an excellent 10-minute video of NVC founder Marshall Rosenberg describing this profound process. See also a great, concise guide to NVC which can help you be a more effective and compassionate communicator. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Muddy rivers snake through rolling forested hills stretching to the horizon in Colombia's southern province of Caqueta that for decades were rebel lairs and an epicentre of the civil war. A peace deal signed last year between the government and the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ended half a century of conflict. The accord has seen about 7,000 FARC fighters leave their strongholds and gather in 26 demobilization zones where so far rebels have surrendered about a third of their weapons to the United Nations. But now a new battle is on: to preserve Colombia's forests that are under threat from farmers seeking grazing land and criminal gangs cutting down trees for illegal gold mining. Colombia - in partnership with Norway - is focusing efforts to halt forest loss with a scheme that offers former fighters training and jobs as forest guardians. Norway is donating about $3.5 million over two years to the pilot project it hopes will stem deforestation by offering paid jobs to ex-FARC fighters and communities to safeguard forests. About 1,100 ex-FARC fighters ... will be trained in how to track and report illegal logging, along with sustainable farming methods and eco-tourism projects - a way of helping them integrate back into civilian society. Many former fighters have spent most of their lives fighting in the jungle and have few other skills and little education. By providing skills training and jobs, rebels are less likely to pick up a weapon again and join other criminal groups.
Only hours after the ambush that killed five Dallas law enforcement officers, mental health experts began thinking ahead, searching for ways to ease the long-term effects of the attack on the men and women who patrol the nation's ninth-largest city. As she watched the July 7, 2016, assault unfold on the news, Dallas philanthropist Lyda Hill immediately thought of research she had funded to help returning combat veterans. Maybe it could help police too. A year later, Dallas officers are still grieving, but scores of them have received or are on track to receive specialized training in "mindfulness" and other stress-management techniques that aim to teach police how to better understand and control their emotions, both on and off the job. "One of the most powerful things you can do is teach people that it's OK to be human," said Richard Goerling, a police lieutenant in Hillsboro, Oregon, who teaches the mindfulness training. Goerling, who has been a leader in mindfulness training for the last decade, said traditional stress management often does not work for police. "You aren't going to stop the stress, but you are able to change how you respond to it," he said. The training has been done on a smaller scale in Seattle; Madison, Wisconsin; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and smaller California departments, among others. It aims to help officers recalibrate their responses to emotions so when in stressful situations, they can respond instead of react, Goerling said.
Helping homeless people in Montreal reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees may seem like an unusual approach, but organizers of the Accueil Bonneau honey program say it's been a real success story. "When they get to be hands on, they see that it's all about being confident and being at peace with the bees," said Genevičve Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects. Accueil Bonneau, a local group that offers a drop-in day centre and variety of services for homeless men, partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago. Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city. "The most important thing is that it's not just a job. It's learning to do something you love and getting rewarded for it. That is something we want to teach," she said. The honey harvested from the hives is sold at various locations in the city, the proceeds of which help fund the program and provide a small fee for participants. Kieffer Després says that working with the bees teaches participants, homeless men aged 25 and up, to be calm, gentle and more comfortable with socializing. She recalls one example of a man who started out very shy interacting with the public at one of points of sale and eventually was able to come out of his shell. "We started selling honey at the beginning of October, and by November, he was the guy going up to people telling them, 'come see the stand, come try the honey.' Amazing change."
Note: Don't miss the pictures and video of this incredible program available at the link above.
Norway said that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far in 2017, as Norway continues its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries in the world. According to figures from the Road Traffic Information Council (OFV) ... sales of electric cars accounted for 17.6 per cent of new vehicle registrations in January and hybrid cars accounted for 33.8 per cent, for a combined 51.4 per cent. Norway already has the highest per capita number of all-electric cars in the world. The milestone is also particularly significant as a large proportion of Norway’s funds rely on the country’s petroleum industry "This is a milestone on Norway's road to an electric car fleet," Climate and Environment minister Vidar Helgesen [said]. Last year, the government agreed on a proposal to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered car starting in 2025. It also aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of new cars to 85 grams per kilometre by 2020 - a goal it has almost achieved: the figure stood at 88 grams in February compared to 133 grams when the decision was taken five years ago. In December, Norway registered its 100,000th electric car. Norway has also become the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation.
A small stem cell trial in which patients with severe spinal injuries appeared to make remarkable progress is still showing excellent results. One of the patients in the trial is 21-year-old Kris Boesen ... whose story we reported on last year. A car crash had left the Bakersfield, California native with three crushed vertebrae, almost no feeling below his neck, and a grim prognosis. Doctors believed he would live the rest of his life as a paraplegic. Enter stem cell therapy. Most treatments for serious spinal injuries concentrate on physical therapy to expand the range of the patient’s remaining motor skills and to limit further injury, not to reverse the actual damage. But last April ... researchers injected Boesen with 10 million stem cells. By July, he had recovered use of his hands to the point where he could use a wheelchair, a computer and a cellphone, and could take care of most of his daily living needs. Boesen is not the only patient to have improved in the trial, according to Asterias Biotherapeutics, which is conducting the research. Six patients who were experiencing various levels of paralysis and were injected with the 10 million stem cell dose. In a Jan. 24 update, the company said five of those patients had improved. On Tuesday, Asterias issued a new update, announcing that the sixth patient in the cohort has experienced a similar improvement. Last week, at 11 months post-injection, the elder Boesen said Kris has continued to improve.
Swiss Re is switching the entire $130 billion it holds in liquid assets to track ethical indices, the latest move towards principled investments by the insurance industry. The world's second-largest reinsurer ... said taking social and governance (ESG) criteria into account reduced the risk of losses especially for long term investors. "This is not only about doing good, we have done it because it makes economic sense," Swiss Re Chief Investment Officer Guido Fuerer told Reuters. Institutional investors are increasingly looking at how companies perform on environmental, social and governance-related issues, given the potential for poor behaviour to lead to a share price hit. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch Equity and Quant Strategy team last month said ESG-based investing reduced bankruptcy risks for U.S. stocks, while companies with the widest credit default swap spreads are the ones with the weakest ESG credentials, according to research by Hermes Investment Management. "The ultimate point is to put incentives to companies to become more sustainable," said Swiss Re's Fuerer. He said Swiss Re is the first insurer to base its whole portfolio on ethical principles, with portfolio managers being told to use MSCI's environmental, governance and social indices when making investment decisions. MSCI rates companies according to various ethical criteria, with the score combined with market capitalisation weight to create an index. Companies with a more ethical performance have a greater weight in the index.
An Instagram account seeks to counter misconceptions about people and countries in Africa by sharing gorgeous photos of everyday life on the continent. Everyday Africa, which started five years ago and now has about 340,000 followers, regularly publishes pictures from more than 30 photographers, most of whom are African themselves. Their work reflects a range of experiences on the continent: kids playing in a pool, young women taking selfies, people selling food at a street market. The project, largely directed at an American audience, aims to use photography to upend stereotypes about Africa ― namely that it is mainly a region of war, poverty and safaris ― and instead celebrate its rich diversity. “The way news functions is to focus on the extremes ― often it’s the very negative,” co-founder Peter DiCampo [said]. “The war and poverty parts are certainly present, but there’s so much else.” The project just released a book. Since 2013, DiCampo and others have visited more than 2,500 students in classrooms, mainly in Chicago and Washington, D.C., to teach kids about the Everyday Africa project and stereotypes in the media. Teachers then use their curriculum ― free to the public ― over several weeks to teach students about media and photography, and to have students do their own “everyday” projects. Everyday Africa is just one of many efforts ... to push back against stereotypes of the continent. The Twitter hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou ... also sought to break [these] stereotypes.
Note: Don't miss the beautiful photos at the link above.
[Dave] Rauch worked for 31 years at Trader Joe’s, the last 14 as a president. He helped grow the small retail chain in California into a grocery store with a national presence. He retired in 2008. But Rauch wasn’t really ready to call it quits. He started growing another food store – Daily Table, located in a low-income neighborhood of Boston. “I failed retirement,” says Rauch, his eyes crinkling when he smiles. Since it opened two years ago, Daily Table has been a pioneer in its approach to food waste, food deserts, hunger, and obesity. It’s a nonprofit grocery store, selling healthy food at bargain prices. The food that Daily Table sells is excess food – either donated by various organizations or bought at steep discounts from big-name companies looking to unload items that are close to their expiration dates. The items are resold at a fraction of retail prices – and yes, they still haven’t reached their expiration dates. Daily Table looks like a Trader Joe’s. [The store is filled with] stacks of organic cereal, produce piled high on display tables, and in a refrigerated section, precooked meals and fresh salads made on-site. As many as 49 million Americans are food insecure, says Rauch, citing a common statistic. The data have frustrated him. “We’re one of the richest nations in the history of food production,” he says. “It just seemed so incongruous to me.” To get excess healthy food into the hands of those in need, Rauch searched for “inefficiencies in the system.” He found them and channeled what he learned into Daily Table.
Mike Miles hadn’t had a stable job in years. This wasn’t due to a poor work ethic. Because Miles had a criminal record, he was always cut loose when it came time to let staff go. “It was like walking on eggshells. You just never knew when you’d be gone,” he recounted. After his release from prison in 2007, Miles struggled to find stability. It wasn’t until October 2015 ... that a cousin told Miles about Lancaster Food Company, a local business that ... focuses on hiring formerly incarcerated people. Miles submitted an application. He got an interview. And, soon after that, he began a new job, encompassing everything from food production to maintenance, not to mention a livable wage of $15 an hour. He says it’s the best job he’s ever had. Miles’ scenario is rare in Lancaster, where the poverty rate holds steady at 30 percent. This figure riled Charlie Crystle, Lancaster’s co-founder and CEO. He believes that food production is a key way to “meet people where they are,” referring to former offenders who may lack a high school or college degree. Lancaster produces products like bread and maple syrup, all of it USDA certified organic. Crystle says he wants to inspire other companies and entrepreneurs to rethink their current practices and ignite conversations around minimum wage and employment opportunities for everyone, including ex-offenders. Not one employee has quit. According to Mike Miles, having a steady job has given him new courage.
On Friday 27th November 2015, REI did a remarkable thing. It closed the doors of all 143 of its retail stores, its headquarters and its two distribution centres. On this day, REI paid every one of its 12,000 employees to #OptOutside – to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family – and invited all its customers and the entire American nation to join them. The most astonishing fact about the #OptOutside store closure was that it took place on Black Friday: the biggest shopping day of the year. Turning its back on millions of dollars’ worth of sales, REI went ... against a cardinal rule of traditional business. Instead of cashing in on a one-day opportunity for inflated profits, it chose to act in a way that would best support its purpose – that of ‘inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship’. Here’s how Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO, explained the decision: “As a member-owned co-op, our definition of success goes beyond money. We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.” It was a risk for sure, but the payoff has been sensational. More than 1.4 million people responded to REI’s invitation to #OptOutside, and 175 organisations – companies as well as non-profits – joined the movement. It was a response that showed not just tremendous levels of engagement, but engagement of the highest order.
In a rare move, major religious leaders ― from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama ― issued a joint appeal Wednesday asking people to follow a simple bit of advice: Make friends with people of other faiths. “Our advice is to make friends to followers of all religions,” Ayatollah Sayyid Fadhel Al-Milani, one of the U.K.’s most senior Shia Muslim clerics, said in a video recording. “Personal contact, personal friendship, then we can exchange a deeper level of experience,” the Dalai Lama said. Pope Francis chose to speak about his long friendship with the Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who also appeared in the video. “Make Friends” is an initiative of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, an interfaith organization with offices in Israel and the United States. In a press release, organizers said the project’s mission is to counter the idea that people view each others’ religions with distrust or disdain - and to potentially even reduce violence conducted in the name of religion. Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein, the Elijah Interfaith Institute’s director, said that this project ... affirms the need for friendship between faiths. The 22 leaders involved in the appeal represent a wide spectrum of religious beliefs. Each leader contributed a personal statement specifically for the purposes of this project.
Note: How strange that very few major media picked up on this important and inspiring article.
It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show. Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like wind and solar becomes cheaper. U.S. demand for coal fell by 33.4 million tons of oil equivalent last year to 358.4 million, the biggest decline in the world in absolute terms, BP data show. Global consumption dropped 1.7 percent last year compared with an average 1.9 percent yearly increase from 2005 to 2015, according to BP. Consumption of coal fell in every continent except Africa, the BP data show. Germany, Europe’s biggest user, consumed 4.3 percent less coal. U.K. demand fell 52.5 percent, the biggest percentage decline among the world’s major economies, according to BP’s data.
How do you get more people to eat their greens? Give vegetables seductive names, say US researchers. A team at Stanford tried it out on students in the university cafeteria and found veggie sales went up by 25% when indulgent labels were used. "Sizzlin' beans", "dynamite beets" and "twisted citrus-glazed carrots" tempted diners to fill their plates. Healthy labels, such as "wholesome", were a turn-off, even though the dishes were identical in every other way. The indulgent labels came out top and included "twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash wedges" and "dynamite chilli and tangy lime-seasoned beets". The researchers, Brad Turnwald and colleagues, say the findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, make sense when you consider the psychology behind food choices. "When most people are making a dining decision, they are motivated by taste. And studies show that people tend to think of healthier options as less tasty for some reason. "Labels really can influence our sensory experience, affecting how tasty and filling we think food will be. So we wanted to reframe how people view vegetables, using indulgent labels." Although most of us know that we should eat plenty of veg, too few of us do it. People are advised to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Roughly a quarter of UK adults actually achieve this, however.
Beijing was once a city of bikes, the capital of a country known as the Bicycle Kingdom for the millions of two-wheelers that dominated urban transport in a state-planned economy where cars were reserved for official business and the politically powerful. Decades of remarkable economic growth, beginning in the 1990s, led to a huge influx of cars in cities like Beijing. As the economy roared, autos pushed bikes off the roads, creating heavy pollution and miserable traffic. Now, Beijing may be returning to its roots. Thanks to about two dozen technology start-ups, brightly colored shared bikes have flooded Beijing since last year, dotting a normally drab cityscape with flashes of bumblebee yellow, kingfisher blue and tangerine. Commuters pick up the bikes and then ride and drop them off anywhere they like, locking the back wheel, with no need to find a stand or retether them. Costing as little as 7 cents a half-hour and designed to take people the last leg from public transport to their places of work or entertainment, the bikes have the potential to transform urban living and even shape people’s decisions about where to live and work. Those are vital issues in this sprawl of about 20 million people, many of whom spend hours a day commuting. “Having a bike like this might allow me to choose, say, to live a bit further out, or take another job in a place that isn’t as easy to get to,” said Ms. Cao, [an] employee at [an] advertising agency.