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.
A microbrewery in Delray Beach, Florida has devised a crafty solution to plastic six-pack rings that often wreak havoc on marine wildlife. After years of research and development, Saltwater Brewery has introduced six-pack rings made of wheat and barley. The brewery developed the rings with a start-up company called E6PR. Whereas plastic rings can become tangled in the wings of sea birds, warp the shells of growing sea turtles and choke seals, Saltwater Brewery's new rings are not only biodegradable but also perfectly edible. "E6PR hopes other breweries - both small and large - will buy into the new rings and help bring costs down," Nola.com reports. The Louisiana State University (LSU) reports that the Gulf of Mexico has one of the highest concentrations of marine plastic in the world. Every net that LSU dipped into the Gulf's water came up with some form of plastic. "We found it every time," LSU's Mark Benfield [said]. E6PR is testing the edible rings with "a select group of craft breweries," but the company is not yet ready to discuss specifics.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A debate over plant consciousness and intelligence has raged in scientific circles for well over a century - at least since Charles Darwin observed in 1880 that stressed-out flora can’t rest. Biologists believe that plants communicate with one another, fungi, and animals by releasing chemicals via their roots, branches, and leaves. Plants also send seeds that supply information, working as data packets. They even sustain weak members of their own species by providing nutrients to their peers. They also have memories, and can learn from experience. But does any of this qualify as consciousness? The answer to that question seems to depend largely on ... how humans choose to define our conceptions of the self and intelligence. We believe that our experience of life is what defines consciousness. But there is some evidence that other modes of existence are equally complex, which suggests that other living things have arguably intelligent or conscious experiences. Evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano insists that plants are intelligent, and she’s not speaking metaphorically. “My work is not about metaphors at all,” Gagliano tells Forbes. Gagliano’s behavioral experiments on plants suggest that - while plants don’t have a central nervous system or a brain - they behave like intelligent beings. Expanding definitions of consciousness and intelligence could mean admitting we’ve been limited in our worldview. What if everything around us is intelligent in its own way, and we’re just not smart enough to see it?
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Sister Mrosla [taught] junior high. She and Mark met ... in eighth-grade math class. One Friday after a tough week of algebra, she sensed that her students were struggling. She told them [to] pull out a sheet of paper. On every other line, she said, write the name of each student in class and next to the name write a kind word - a sincere compliment. That weekend she compiled the lists for each student on yellow legal-size paper, adding her own compliment at the end. She handed the papers back during the next class. On Mark's paper, among other simple compliments, somebody had written, "A great friend." On Judy Holmes Swanson's list, someone noted that she "smiles all the time." "No one ever said anything about the exercise after that class period," Sister Mrosla wrote. "It didn't matter. The exercise accomplished what I hoped it would - the students were happy with themselves and one another again." Years passed. Mark was killed in Vietnam. At Mark's funeral, [his parents] were waiting for the nun. "We want to show you something. They found this on Mark when he was killed," [James Eklund] said, gently taking out a worn piece of paper that had been refolded many times. "I knew without looking at the writing," Sister Mrosla wrote, "that the papers were the ones I had listed all of the good things each of his classmates had said about Mark." A few of Mark's school friends who were gathered around also recognized the paper, and one by one they told her they still had theirs.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Engineers have developed a turbine which has the potential to power a small town all the while being no bigger than your office desk. Designed by GE Global Research, the turbine could power 10,000 homes and according to researchers, could help to solve some of the world's growing energy challenges. But rather than steam, which is typically used to set turbines in motion, the new turbine uses carbon dioxide. 'This compact machine will allow us to do amazing things,' said Doug Hofer, lead engineer on the project. According to MIT Tech Review, the turbine is driven by 'supercritical carbon dioxide', which is kept under high pressure at temperatures of 700˚C. Under these conditions, the carbon dioxide enters a physical state between a gas and a liquid, enabling the turbine to harness its energy for super-efficient power generation - with the turbines transferring 50 per cent of the heat into electricity. It could help energy firms take waste gas and repurpose it for efficient and cleaner energy production. Waste heat produced from other power generation methods, such as solar or nuclear, could be used to melt salts, with the molten salts used to the carbon dioxide gas to a super-critical liquid - which may be much quicker than heating water for steam. Currently, the design of the turbine would enable up to 10,000 kilowatts of energy to be produced, but the turbines could be scaled up to generate 500 megawatts, enough to power a city.
Now and again you can find Nonn Panitvong floating facedown in rivers and lakes. Peering intently into the murky waters through his snorkeling mask, the Thai taxonomist is there to observe the behaviors of various freshwater fish species. At other times you can find him in limestone caves. With a flashlight in hand or strapped to his helmet, he scouts around for rare species of karst-dwelling geckos. He looks ... like a businessman, which is what he is: Nonn runs his family’s sugar-cane mill conglomerate. Yet he’s also among Thailand’s most intrepid naturalists. Recognized as a “biodiversity hero” by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ... Nonn has been a relentless popularizer of his homeland’s rich biodiversity, partly through his Siamensis.org website. A comprehensive database with some 20,000 members, the site has nurtured a form of crowdsourced ecology. It allows Thai nature lovers from all walks of life to pool their knowledge about often overlooked species, from snakes to dragonflies. Via social media Nonn has been inviting lay nature lovers and trained biologists alike to act as volunteer nature-watchers for neglected areas. The members of his platforms are also keeping an eye on the spread of invasive species. “We want to generate and spread knowledge,” Nonn says. “One of our main themes is ‘If you don’t know it, you won’t love it.’ In the end, people will conserve only what they value and love.”
Your mind may require meaning. Studies show it’s one of the key factors underlying happiness and motivation. So what is meaning in life and what does research say about how we might be able to find it? Some research indicates that to have meaning in your life you must have a story. You need to reflect on how things could have been and why they turned out the way they did. Seeing that things had a direction and a purpose provides meaning. Fundamentally, our brains may not be able to tell the difference between the real and the story. What’s even more interesting is the truth may not matter. Feeling that you know yourself creates a strong sense of meaning in life — whether or not you actually know yourself doesn’t make a difference. That may seem depressing but it also means that you can craft the stories in your life to build meaning and fulfillment. Timothy Wilson, author of Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, has talked about how the process of “story-editing” can help us improve our lives: The “do good, be good” method ... capitalizes on the tried-and-true psychological principle that our attitudes and beliefs often follow from our behaviors, rather than precede them. As Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.“ People who do volunteer work, for example, often change their narratives of who they are, coming to view themselves as caring, helpful people.
Note: Explore a concise, excellent guide to finding life purpose and intentions. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
It is claimed Charlie Goldsmith has healed people with powers no one quite understands. That’s why he’s seeking help from medical researchers and scientists to investigate what has been described as his “healing gift”. Goldsmith ... doesn’t charge fees for his treatment that he can do over the phone, on the internet or in person. He earns a living running [a] communications agency. Goldsmith was the subject of a study at New York’s NYU Lutheran Hospital, the results of which recently appeared in [the] international Journal Of Alternative And Complementary Medicine. Over three weeks, Goldsmith treated 50 different patients with a 76 per cent success rate of pain related conditions and 79 per cent of conditions other than pain with “marked improvement” and the results were often immediate. Patient illnesses varied from kidney stones to urinary tract infections and allergies. Goldsmith’s intention is to expose his work to multiple scientific studies, which will ultimately include a double blind controlled trial that directly tests outcomes. New York Lutheran Hospital doctor Ramsey Joudeh was involved in the first study and labelled Goldsmith’s healing as a “miracle”. “At first I thought his gift was something we could do at least to give patients a piece of mind and comfort,” [he said] “When I saw Charlie work, it really changed my belief and thoughts on the entire process from maybe something that could augment to something that could in and of itself heal.”
Note: See this miracle worker's website at https://www.charliegoldsmith.com.
The most successful female Everest climber said after finishing her ninth ascent of the world's highest mountain that she wants to inspire all women so they too can achieve their dreams. Lhakpa Sherpa was guiding some 50 climbers with her brother when she scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak last week, breaking her own record for the most climbs of Mount Everest by a woman. "If an uneducated woman who is a single mother can climb Everest nine times, any woman can achieve their dreams," Sherpa said. "I want be an inspiration to all the women in the world that they too can achieve their goal," she said. The 44-year-old Sherpa never got a chance for formal education because she was already working carrying climbing gear and supplies for the trekkers. She plans to climb the mountain again next year. Her recent climb was the toughest of the nine, she said, adding there was a lot of wind and snow. This successful expedition is likely to help her brother Mingma's mountaineering company grow. It would also mean that Lhakpa can continue to climb Everest. She says she is also looking forward to seeing her three children back in Connecticut, where she works as a dishwasher at the Whole Foods Market in West Hartford. At [a] ceremony in Kathmandu, [the] tourism community honored her and and the overall record-holder for successful Everest climbs, Kami Rita, who has reached the summit 22 times, for their achievement.
Costa Rica’s new president has announced a plan to ban fossil fuels and become the first fully decarbonised country in the world. Carlos Alvarado, a 38-year-old former journalist, made the announcement ... during his inauguration. "Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first," Mr Alvarado said. Symbolically, the president arrived at the ceremony in San Jose aboard a hydrogen-fuelled bus. Last month, Mr Alvarado said the Central American country would begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021 – the 200th year of Costa Rican independence. "When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate ... that we've removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he promised during a victory speech. Costa Rica already generates more than 99 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy sources. Costa Rica’s push towards clean energy faces no large-scale backlash, in part because the country has no significant oil or gas industry. But demand for cars is rising, as is use of other transport systems, and that may prove one of the biggest challenges in meeting the new goal. Transport is today the country’s main source of climate changing emissions.
Solar panels will be a required feature on virtually every new home built in California, under a policy advanced Wednesday by California regulators. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously, 5-0, to recommend energy efficiency standards that are set to be added to state building regulations later this year, effecting all construction after Jan. 1, 2020. The rules will make California the first state in the nation to require solar panels on new homes. "This will be nothing short of historic for our state and for our country," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, an industry group. The requirement will apply to single-family homes and to apartment and condominium complexes of three stories or less. Solar installations have become so cost effective that they are included in more than 15,000 homes built each year in California, even without the directive from the state. In 2020 and beyond that number promises to increase to 80,000, the number of homes built each year in the Golden State. The average estimated cost of a solar system is $9,500, or $40 a month when amortized over a 30-year mortgage. But the systems are projected to save customers an average of $80 a month on their utility bills. Another part of the new regulation ... gives energy credit to homes that employ battery storage technology.
The country's first private high-speed rail service is opening this month in Florida, promising to transform congested South Florida highways by taking as many as 3 million cars off the road. The ambitious $3 billion Brightline express project will run along the state's densest population corridor with more than 6 million residents and a regular influx of tourists. The project, funded by All Aboard Florida, represents the first test into the long-awaited U.S. move into high-speed rail, says John Renne, director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University. All Aboard Florida secured state approval in October to sell bonds to fund the project. The company has said no public money will be used. Renne says the trip from West Palm to Miami, which can take up to five hours round trip in a car, will take about 60 minutes each way on the train. Brightline trains will have their own dedicated set of tracks, built alongside 19th century lines that still carry cargo trains. The return to passenger trains will revive a line that stopped running on those old tracks in the 1960s, with the arrival of the federal highway program. "The federal highway system expanded ... and everyone got off trains and into cars," John Guitar of All Aboard Florida [said]. "And we've done a full circle now that the traffic and congestion and gas prices are so bad, people are looking for alternatives to get out of their cars and find other ways to get around the state."
Plants use an underground communication network to exchange chemical warnings, according to a new study. Work by a team of biologists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has provided new insights into the complex subterranean life of seemingly immobile corn plants. The work adds to a body of research exploring the chemical pathways that plants use to “talk” to each other. “Our study demonstrated that ... above ground mechanical contact between plants can affect below ground interactions, acting as cues in prediction of the future competitors,” said Dr Velemir Ninkovic, lead author of the study. [Plant] signaling both within their bodies and with neighbors consists of the relatively slow exchange of chemical messages. Some of this communication takes place via strands of underground fungi that plants use to share food, warning signals and even toxic chemicals – a phenomenon that some biologists have informally termed the “wood-wide web”. The study by Dr Ninkovic and his colleagues ... found that the fresh seedlings responded [to stresses] by growing more leaves and fewer roots than plants that had grown under normal conditions. [The Results] suggested that the corn seedlings, upon being exposed to the chemical signals of recently touched plants in the soil, were responding by preparing themselves for the trouble ahead posed by new neighbors or becoming something’s dinner.
Note: Read the New York Times review of a mind and heart expanding new novel about the secret life of trees. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother of two bought her first car and graduated with her high school diploma. “Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work,” she says. Going to college would have been out of reach for the 41-year-old just last year. But as a participant in the basic income pilot program launched by the Canadian province of Ontario, she and her husband, Dan, can now afford the tuition fees. “Our life has changed,” Mendowegan says. “We’re not struggling.” Ontario’s basic income program, launched in April 2017, is currently operating in three towns ― Thunder Bay, Lindsay and Hamilton. The scheme has enrolled more than 4,000 low-income people living on less than CA$34,000 ($29,500) individually. This includes those who are working, in school or living on financial assistance. For three years, single participants will receive up to CA$17,000 a year and couples will receive up to CA$24,000. Those earning any money will see their basic income amounts reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they make. Universal basic income, or the idea of giving people money without any conditions, is not new. But it is gaining fresh momentum globally as inequality worsens and swaths of jobs are at risk from automation and other factors. Ontario joins a handful of other places in the world to test out some sort of guaranteed basic income.
Note: In the US, Stockton, California recently announced plans to provide residents with a Universal Basic Income. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Four times a day, the doors of Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, fling open to let bouncy, bubbly, excited kindergarteners and first-graders pounce onto the playground. The youngest kids at this school now enjoy ... three more breaks than they used to get. Students are less fidgety and more focused. They listen more attentively, follow directions and try to solve problems on their own. There are fewer discipline issues. “We’re seeing really good results,” [noted Donna McBride, a first-grade teacher]. Eagle Mountain Elementary is ... trying out LiiNK, a new program that boosts the amount of recess for the youngest students. “It gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level,” said Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor ... who created the project. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, calling recess “a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.” LiiNK was inspired by Finland’s education system, which produces students who get some of the best scores in the world for reading, math and science. Finnish kids [enjoy] 15 minutes of “unstructured outdoor play” every hour. Children in the U.S., on the other hand, might get one 15-minute recess a day. “That’s not enough for kids. They’re not built that way,” Rhea said. “[Recess] reboots the system so that when they go back in, they’re ready to learn.” They key is “unstructured play,” which Rhea described as kids being allowed to run, play and make up their own games.
Mexico wants to produce 43% of its electricity from renewables by 2024, in only 6 years. Toward that end, in December it opened the Villanueva solar farm in the desert, with 2.3 million solar panels, generating enough juice to power 1.3 million homes. It is the largest solar project in the Western hemisphere. That’s right. The largest solar installation in the New World is not in the United States. It is in Mexico. In the first quarter of 2018, India set a record with the addition of 4.6 gigawatts of solar! That’s the name plate capacity of four small nuclear reactors, added in just one quarter. By the end of January India had 20 gigawatts of installed solar power capacity. In contrast, France only has 8 gigawatts of installed solar capacity. Dubai will tender a bid before the end of this year for a 300 megawatt solar farm, as part of its plan to get 7% of its electricity from solar by 2020. Since Dubai is one of seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates, a major oil exporter, this push for renewables may ... seem hard to explain. But look more closely. Dubai does not have its own hydrocarbons and is rather a service economy. So ... it is highly beneficial for Dubai to get its electricity from solar, the fuel of which is free down the line once installment costs are paid off. The UAE gets enormous amounts of sunshine and bids have been let there for as little as 2.5 cents a kilowatt hour, which is world-beating. Coal, one of the cheapest hydrocarbons, is typically 5 cents a kilowatt hour.
Note: Watch a promotional video for the massive Villanueva solar farm in Mexico.
In a Toronto classroom, a group of 10-year-olds sit in a circle around a green felt blanket cheering on a baby as he tries to roll over. The baby's classroom visit is part of a program designed in Canada to foster empathy among children and, in the process, reduce aggression and bullying. Founded in 1996 by Canadian educator Mary Gordon, the program, Roots of Empathy, has found receptive audiences at home and abroad. In an age of polarized politics in many democracies, where social media often is seen more as a tool of cyberbullying than a bridge to increased understanding, Roots of Empathy has expanded to the U.S. and in Western Europe by using a 20th-century technique: face-to-face interactions. "The students learn that each person has a particular disposition, that there are differences between individuals - but that we all share the same menu of feelings," Gordon says. In 2001, the government of Manitoba commissioned a three-year follow-up study of Roots of Empathy, measuring positive social behavior, physical aggression, and indirect aggression. The results showed an improvement in all three areas immediately after the program and three years later. Studies commissioned by the University of Missouri and the University of Toronto had similar findings. The program has expanded from Canada, where it is delivered in English and French, to the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland ... Costa Rica, [and the] the U.S..
Note: Read an interview with the founder of this great program.
Tennessee is about to become the first state in the nation to make community college free for all adults. Lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that will expand the Tennessee Promise program that launched in 2014. It made tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates enrolled in a community college or technical school. Now, adults who don't already have an associate's or bachelor's degree can go for free, too, starting in the 2018 fall semester. Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill into law. He proposed the legislation in his State of the State address earlier this year. It's a cornerstone of his initiative to increase the number of residents with a college education to 55% by 2025. Last year, less than 39% of residents had gone to college. "If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education," Haslam said in a statement. To be eligible, students must have been a state resident for at least a year before applying, maintain a 2.0 GPA, enroll in enough classes to be a part-time student, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Expanding the free-tuition program will cost about $10 million. It will be funded by the state's lottery account. More than 33,000 students have benefited from the Tennessee Promise program in its first two years, raising enrollment among first-time freshmen by 30%.
All villages in India now have access to electricity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced. This was achieved on Saturday when a remote village in the north-eastern state of Manipur became the last to be connected to the grid. A village is considered electrified if 10% of its homes and all public buildings are connected to the grid. World Bank figures show around 200 million people in India still lack access to electricity. Mr Modi said all of nearly 600,000 villages in India have now been given electricity connection. In August 2015, Mr Modi launched a $2.5bn (Ł1.8bn) scheme to electrify all Indian households by December 2018. As part of this scheme, all 597,464 inhabited villages in the country and more than five million households have been connected to the grid. Remote and inaccessible villages have always proved to be a major challenge in the country's electrification drive. Though most Indian villages have some electrical connection today, connecting the last remote households in the surrounding areas can be expensive. Some people may also forgo accessing electricity by choice because of the monthly bills that come with it, especially if power supply is not reliable and blackouts are frequent.
More money was invested in solar power in 2017 than in coal, gas and nuclear power combined, according to a new report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report says that global investment in solar rose 18% to $160.8 billion, driven by the Chinese market, which was responsible for more than half of the world’s 98GW of new solar capacity. Solar power made up 57% of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables, excluding large hydropower, exceeded $200 billion. The $2.7 trillion invested in clean energy from 2007 to 2017 have increased the proportion of electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro globally to more than 12%, from 5.2% in 2007 ... and has avoided the emission of about 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2, about the same as is emitted by the entire US transportation system. UN Environment head Erik Solheim said that “the extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift. Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”
Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But ... this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough. Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice. "All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism. Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date. "We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This ... opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism. "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." Carly had another message for people who don't understand autism. "Autism is hard because you want to act one way, but you can't always do that. It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would be that I don't want to be this way. But I am, so don't be mad. Be understanding."