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.
Philip Zimbardo is understandably tired of being associated with the darker sides of human behavior. Yet the 85-year-old San Francisco psychologist, who taught at Stanford for 50 years ... knows that history has a way of flattening careers into one landmark accomplishment. For Zimbardo, that would be the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo devised a mock jail in the basement of Stanford’s Jordan Hall to study the psychology of imprisonment. All hell broke loose ... and Zimbardo, the “warden,” abruptly cut the study short. Ever since, his prison experiment has been cultural shorthand for proof [that] depersonalized circumstances [can turn] anyone temporarily into a tyrant. Embedded within Zimbardo’s findings on the “banality of evil” was the kernel of a vastly more positive and, he believes, more broadly consequential idea: heroism training. “If essentially good people are capable of evil, then can’t any of us also be inspired and trained to act heroically?” he asks. The Heroic Imagination Project was launched in 2010. “I worked with a team of academics to develop six three-hour-long lessons on transforming passive bystanders into active heroes,” [Zimbardo said]. The key to “awakening everyone’s heroic instincts,” Zimbardo said, is twofold: first, redefining who a hero is. “We must ... promote the idea that heroes are ordinary people who take extraordinary action.” Second, it’s about having a ... belief that our abilities and aptitudes aren’t static but can be developed over time.
Harriet Tubman will boot Andrew Jackson from the face of the $20. She'll become the first black woman ever to front a U.S. banknote. Tubman, who died in 1913 at the age of 91, escaped slavery in the south and eventually led hundreds of escaped slaves to freedom as a "conductor" of the Underground Railroad. After the slaves were freed, Tubman was a staunch supporter of a woman's right to vote. "What she did to free people on an individual basis and what she did afterward," [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew said. "That's a legacy of what an individual can do in a democracy." The $5 bill will keep Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, on the front. The back of the bill will depict the Lincoln Memorial along with portraits of individuals involved in historic events that took place there. That includes Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt. The African-American opera singer and former first lady held a concert at the memorial in 1939 in an effort to move the civil rights movement forward. Martin Luther King Jr. will be added the back of the bill. The Lincoln Memorial was the site of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. It's not clear when the $20 or $5 will enter circulation. Updating currency can take more than a decade.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Southern Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument has been selected as an international dark-sky sanctuary, a designation meant to recognize the area for its naturally dark skies and a cultural heritage revered by Native Americans. Encompassing 160 acres, Rainbow Bridge National Monument outside of Page, Ariz., is among the smallest areas managed by the National Park Service and is considered sacred by several regional tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Utes and Paiutes. The dark-sky designation, made in conjunction with the International Dark-Sky Association, will be marked by a series of public astronomy events. The International Dark-Sky Association launched its dark-sky places program in 2001 to encourage protection of natural dark night skies worldwide through responsible lighting, public awareness and education. The association’s executive director J. Scott Feierabend said the group was pleased to honor Rainbow Bridge. “In the span of this remarkable natural bridge,” Feierabend said in a written statement, “we see symbolically represented the arch of the Milky Way across the night sky, a reminder of the long-held value of both Rainbow Bridge and the natural night sky to native peoples of the area.” The Utah monument joins three other certified dark-sky sanctuaries worldwide, including Cosmic Campground in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest; Aortea-Great Barrier Island in New Zealand; and Gabriela Mistal in Chile.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
“The world isn’t short of water, it’s just in the wrong place, and too salty," says Charlie Paton – so he's spent the past 24 years building the technology to prove it. Paton is the founder of Seawater Greenhouse, a company that transforms two abundant resources – sunshine and seawater – into freshwater for growing crops in arid, coastal regions such as Africa’s horn. His latest project [is] in Somaliland (an autonomous but internationally unrecognised republic in Somalia). On a 25-hectare plot of desert land close to the coastline, he’s building the region’s first sustainable, drought-resistant greenhouse. Using solar power to pump in seawater from the coastline and desalinate it on site, Paton is generating freshwater to irrigate plants, and water vapour to cool and humidify the greenhouse interior. Less than a year after its launch, this improbable desert oasis produced its first harvest of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. This year he plans to build an on-site training centre to teach local farmers how to grow greenhouse vegetables. The structure’s modular design will enable farmers to adopt their own one- to five-hectare plots – the dream being a network of connected, drought-resistant farms running across the country. “One of the exciting things is that it can work all the way along our long Red Sea coastline, bringing new sources of income in arid, pastoral areas,” Shibeshi says. “If you have a greenhouse, you aren’t worried about whether there’s rain or no rain.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
He can make a two-year-old who hasn’t spent a day of his life without pain sleep like a baby. He can banish 30 years of neck pain in 30 seconds. Mobilise paralysed limbs. Zap an allergy. All without laying a hand on anyone. Melbourne energy healer Charlie Goldsmith has a gift sceptics love to dismiss, but the people he’s helped begged to differ. He’s never charged any of them a cent. If it sounds like a Hollywood script, that’s because it sort of is. US TV producers gave him his own show. The Healer premiered ... late last year. He has a gift nobody can quite explain, so many distrust it. He believes what he sees, and knows: Like the studies he’s been involved in which show he “heals” 80 per cent of those he treats. The Healer is his chance to lend a credibility ... to energy healing. He believes there are plenty of others with his “gift”, they just need that talent spotted, and developed. “I work on old 80-year-olds and I’m their first experience of this stuff. And I think ‘wow you could spend your whole life on this planet and not know that humans have this ability that’s been misunderstood and probably misrepresented a lot’.” Goldsmith partnered with New York University’s Lutheran Hospital for the first study scrutinising his talent. He treated 50 people with a 76 per cent success rate of pain-related conditions with immediate “marked improvement” and 79 per cent of conditions other than pain.
Note: See this miracle worker's website at https://www.charliegoldsmith.com.
Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles. The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug. The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process. Industrial enzymes are widely used in, for example, washing powders and biofuel production. They have been made to work up to 1,000 times faster in a few years, the same timescale [Prof John McGeehan, who led the research] envisages for the plastic-eating enzyme. Earlier work had shown that some fungi can break down PET plastic, which makes up about 20% of global plastic production. But bacteria are far easier to harness for industrial uses.
In the garden of a care home, gingernut ranger hen Ellen has just laid her second egg. Resident Ashok Patel, 64, has been pronounced “a natural” with the hens, someone who can coax them back into the henhouse when it is time for bed. “I like the hens, and the hens like me,” he says. Henpower, a project that brings hens to older people in care settings, has joined with Notting Hill Housing to introduce the hens into two of the housing association’s extra-care sites. The project is supporting some 700 residents, including those with dementia, in more than 20 care homes in north-east England. Henpower was set up by the charity Equal Arts in 2011. A 12-month study of the project by Northumbria University ... found that Henpower is improving the health and wellbeing of older people, and reducing depression, loneliness and the need for antipsychotic medication in care homes. [Northumbria University professor] Glenda Cook ... was the lead researcher on the Henpower evaluation. “Henpower is innovative because it is not just brief ‘petting’ of the hens, but also taking responsibility for them. There’s a huge range of roles with shared responsibilities, with diverse ways to interact with the project,” she says. Volunteer Jackie Copeland works with residents on “henspired” art projects. “People get a lot out of stroking [the hens]. You feel your stress levels go down. I get ‘chicken love’ – I almost expect them to start purring,” she laughs.
It’s often said you can’t make something out of nothing. Cody Friesen may have. To show me his technological sleight of hand, Friesen invites me to a hillside house. We each sample a cup of water that flows from a drinking fountain. The water is cool and delicious – and it was made out of thin air. Literally. The drinking fountain is fed by a flexible pipe that leads to the house’s roof. There sit two Friesen’s devices, called Source Hydropanels. Each looks like solar panel mounted atop a metal box. The system extracts moisture out of the air at a rate of as much as five liters per day. Friesen believes installations like this one could soon be providing clean, quality drinking water to homes, schools and businesses. Friesen ... has already installed the Source in eight countries, including Ecuador, Jordan, Mexico and the Philippines. In the U.S., his panels are collecting water at a Duke Energy facility in North Carolina, an office building in Santa Monica, Calif., some Bay Area residences, and a handful of homes and schools in Arizona, where despite the low humidity, Source produces roughly the same amount of water as in wetter climates. Source ... draws ambient air through a fan into its devices. There, special nano-materials ... absorb the water. The solar panel then helps separate the water from the material. After it is condensed, it flows ... through a mineral block that adds magnesium and calcium common in drinking water.
Last month, Portugal produced more than enough renewable energy to meet the country's entire electrical demand - a feat "unmatched in the last 40 years," according to the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, or APREN. Renewable power produced in March was equal to 103.6 percent of electrical demand on mainland Portugal. Fifty-five percent of that energy was produced through hydro power, while 42 percent came from wind. The country still used fossil fuels to balance out supply and demand. "These periods were nevertheless fully compensated by others of greater renewable production," [APREN writes]. "It is expected that by 2040 the production of renewable electricity will be able to guarantee, in a cost-effective way, the total annual electricity consumption of Mainland Portugal." For most countries in the world, a fully renewable energy supply still seems like a challenging target. Portugal has made substantial investments in renewable energy sources, as has its neighbor Spain. Some of that spending was cut in 2012, amid austerity measures, and more were scaled back in 2016. But by that point, many renewable energy projects had already been paid off and were operating cost-efficiently. And this week, coincidentally, the Portuguese government put a stop to another energy subsidy - one "worth about 20 million euros a year, most of which goes to fossil fuel plants," Reuters writes.
DanoneWave has renamed itself and says it has been certified as a B Corporation. It is now called Danone North America. To be designated a B Corp, a for-profit company must pass a set of standards regarding its social and environmental performance and change its legal structure to become a public benefit company. Danone sought to achieve this certification by 2020, but it came out two years ahead of schedule. While some stakeholders may worry that big changes to become more environmentally friendly will increase costs, Danone North America's larger suppliers have seen the opposite happen. Dairy is one the company's main ingredients and its production can be harmful to the environment due to water usage and waste. The company's largest manufacturing facility has cut its usage. While the initial research involved in reducing water usage was costly, one of the owners of the facility has already seen a huge reduction in costs. Faber said that up to 250,000 gallons of water can be saved per day due to ... new technology. Danone North America sustainable development manager Catherine Queen [said] that there has been a movement to bring the sustainability effort to global suppliers. Global suppliers have been encouraged to move toward more plant-based packaging and pay their workers living wages. Sustainable manufacturing can lower costs significantly and create more room in budgets to increase wages. Costs on the higher executive level have also been cut.
Tim Ballard's career with the CIA and Homeland Security may not be what you'd expect. With years of leading rescue efforts to free victims of human trafficking, especially those used as prostitutes, he founded Operation Underground Railroad to liberate captive slaves. Ballard explains the need for his work. "There are an estimated 27 million enslaved human beings in the world: more slaves than ever existed during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Many are sex slaves, as sex trafficking represents the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Many reputable organizations exist to disseminate information about this problem, and others function as aftercare organizations for victims. Very few, if any, dedicate themselves to the pro-active rescue and direct extraction of the victims, and to the capture and prosecution of their captors. Operation Underground Railroad fills this void." Operation Underground Railroad's work is already logging success. "In just our first two years, O.U.R. has already rescued over 350 victims of human trafficking," Ballard reports. "Foreign governments often seek out O.U.R. to assist in sting operations against child sex traffickers. We keep the respective U.S. Embassies informed of our activities, and have been fortunate to count on their support and participation in a number of our rescues.
Note: Don't miss an incredibly inspiring video interview of Tim Ballard with Tony Robbins.
As anyone who has visited Europe recently can attest, the scourge of homelessness has reached epidemic proportions. The only exception to the trend is Finland. The number of homeless people in Finland has declined from a high of 18,000 30 years ago, to approximately 7,000: the latter figure includes some 5,000 persons who are temporarily lodging with friends or relatives. At the core of this was a move away from the so-called “staircase model,” whereby a homeless person moved from one social rehabilitation level to another, with an apartment waiting for him or her at the highest step. Instead, Finland opted to give housing to the homeless from the start. The concept behind the new approach was not original. What was different, and historic, about the Finnish Housing First model was a willingness to enact the model on a nationwide basis. In 2008 the Finnish National Program to reduce long-term homelessness was drafted and put into place. One [goal] was to cut the number of long-term homeless in half by producing ... supported housing units for tenants with their own leases. The extant network of homeless shelters was phased out. This also involved phasing out the “old way” of thinking about homelessness. The program pays for itself. A case study undertaken by the Tampere University of Technology in 2011 ... showed society saved $18,500 per homeless person per year who had received a rental apartment with support, due to the medical and emergency services no longer needed to assist and respond to them.
Bill Conner suddenly lost his 20-year-old daughter, Abbey, and he felt like he had to do something to honor her short life. Conner hopped on a bike and ... decided to travel 2,600 miles - from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida - to visit Broward Health Medical Center, the hospital that recovered Abbey's organs for donation back in January. At the age of 16, as soon as she got her license, Abbey made the decision to be an organ donor. Abbey donated four organs, allowing four males, ages 20 to 60, to live. When Conner informed the Florida donation center that handled Abbey's organs about his decision to ride on her behalf, the group sent letters to every recipient, asking if they'd be interested in meeting the woman's father. "The only person who has responded at this point is Jack Jr., the heart recipient," Conner said. Conner was given Jack's contact information. They arranged to meet in Baton Rouge on Father's Day - 1,400 miles into Conner's trip. When Conner met Jack Sunday afternoon he felt like he already knew him. The pair walked toward one another with their arms outstretched. "Knowing he's alive because of Abbey," Conner said. "I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter." After sharing a minute-long hug, Jack pulled out a stethoscope so Conner could hear his daughter's heartbeat for the first time since she died in January. The family made a recording of Jack's heart so Conner could listen to it as he rides.
Note: Watch moving video of the meeting between Connor and Jack on Father's day at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When Salman Khan began posting videos on YouTube more than a decade ago, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur had no idea of the celebrity he would gain, nor the impact he would have. His online tutorials in math ... were made for friends and family struggling in school. But his audience quickly grew. Before long, Khan had quit his day job in finance to carry out a goal of delivering free Internet instruction to the world. His educational website was called Khan Academy. On Tuesday night, Khan ... was presented the fourth annual Visionary of the Year Award, an honor announced by The San Francisco Chronicle. Khan Academy today has more than 62 million registered users in nearly 200 countries. His voice, which still narrates many of the tutorials, is widely recognized, and students and parents often stop him on the street to thank him for providing an assist at school or work. Since its launch in 2008, Khan Academy has broadened its online course load to include nearly every school subject from science to art and from the kindergarten to college levels. Khan’s Mountain View nonprofit has grown from just him to more than 150 employees. Perhaps most impressive is that the schooling has remained entirely free. With the admirable mission of providing a “world-class” education to anyone anywhere, Khan has attracted financial support from well-heeled donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google and Bank of America.
Wind power in the UK set a new record today by generating 14 gigawatts for the first time – nearly 37 per cent of the the country’s electricity. The National Grid control room confirmed that 13.9 gigawatts was the highest ever metered wind output. At 10am on Saturday Wind generated 13.9GW, or 36.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity, increasing to 14GW by 11am. The previous record was 13.6GW in January this year. By contrast gas generated only 8.5GW (23 per cent), nuclear 6.5GW (17.3 per cent), coal just 4.7GW (12.5 per cent) and both solar and biomass 1.5GW (4.1 per cent). Hydro came last with 0.3GW or 0.9 per cent. Wind farms produced a record 15 per cent of Britain’s electricity in 2017, up from 10 per cent in 2016. Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College said: “The dramatic increase comes from both higher wind speeds and a jump in installed capacity. Several large offshore farms came online and onshore wind had a record year for deployment.”
A team of Japanese scientists has found a species of bacteria that eats the type of plastic found in most disposable water bottles. The discovery, published ... in the journal Science, could lead to new methods to manage the more than 50 million tons of this particular type of plastic produced globally each year. The plastic found in water bottles is known as polyethylene terephalate, or PET. It is also found in polyester clothing, frozen-dinner trays and blister packaging. Part of the appeal of PET is that it is lightweight, colorless and strong. However, it has also been notoriously resistant to being broken down by microbes - what experts call "biodegradation." Previous studies had found a few species of fungi can grow on PET, but until now, no one had found any microbes that can eat it. To find the plastic-eating bacterium described in the study, the Japanese research team ... collected 250 PET-contaminated samples including sediment, soil and wastewater from a plastic bottle recycling site. Next they screened the microbes living on the samples to see whether any of them were eating the PET and using it to grow. They eventually discovered [a] bacteria species [that] could break down a thin film of PET over the course of six weeks. The research could make it easier to identify other microbes that might have similar PET-degrading capabilities.
Most people in Ottawa have heard about our “Butterfly Child,” Jonathan Pitre, who is fighting one of the most horrific diseases anyone has ever heard of called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). It makes his skin extremely fragile, like butterfly wings. Recently, a second stem cell transplant was done. It is currently the only hope the 16-year-old has to lessen his excruciating pain. Jonathan’s story ... has inspired true change in others. That change is creating even more ripples after he threw his stone into the pond by bravely speaking out about his disease. You see, when he isn’t getting experimental treatment in the United States, Jonathan lives next door to singer-songwriter Tara Shannon. Tara ... wrote the song Butterfly Child that, together with TSN, helped propel Jonathan into the international spotlight. Across Canada and the United States, when being interviewed about her album, Tara now speaks about EB. She is doing what Jonathan wanted all along, to increase awareness about the disease and the need for research. Since releasing Butterfly Child, Tara joined the executive committee of Amazing People, which celebrates those doing great work in Ottawa while at the same time raising money for four charities. I think our Butterfly Child has created incredible change in our community simply by demonstrating what is possible when you don’t give up. Jonathan’s example has caused a ripple effect that is helping children he’s never even met, and he’s inspiring adults to do what needs to be done.
Note: Watch a touching video of this brave child and his conflicted life.
More than a billion people in the world go to sleep each night without reliable shelter. But a pair of companies working on solving that believes their model of quickly 3D-printing a one-story house could not only provide merely a roof over the head, but a genuinely great place to live. I took a walk around a demonstration house ... built by Icon, a construction firm, and New Story, a non-profit that sets up housing in the developing world. Later this year, the project will head to El Salvador to build some test homes, with the view to begin work on a community of 100 houses in 2019. "If it does work it could literally change how shelter is created," said Brett Hagler, chief executive and co-founder of New Story. Like small-scale 3D-printing, the system works by slowly adding material, layer-by-layer. In this case, that material is mortar, similar to concrete. The El Salvador project will ... aim to build 100 homes, financed by mostly Silicon Valley-based donors. The houses will not be a hand-out, however. "The families agreed to a no-interest, no-profit mortgage that they will pay over about 10 years," explained Mr Hagler. That works out at about $30 a month. According to the country's economics ministry, the average monthly wage in rural El Salvador is around $360. "That money does not come back to us," he added. "It's kept in a community fund." The fund will go on to pay for more homes in future, or maintenance on existing structures. Mr Hagler said the mortgage model will foster "respect and dignity" within the community.
According to a 2016 study, the top contributor of air pollution-related deaths in China is the burning of coal. To improve the country's air quality, the Chinese government vows to spend at least $360 billion on clean energy projects and create 13 million new renewable energy jobs by 2020. This year marks China's fourth anniversary since it started a "war on pollution," and there's reason to believe the country is making headway. Chinese cities have cut concentrations of fine particulates - often considered the deadliest type of pollution - by 32% on average since 2013. The city of Xingtai saw the largest pollution decline at 52.2%. China's latest energy megaproject - a giant floating solar farm on top of a former coal mine in Anhui - may get the country closer to that goal. The 166,000-panel array ... can generate 40 megawatts of power - enough to accommodate 15,000 homes. It's currently the world's largest floating solar project and will operate for up to 25 years. Local energy company Sungrow Power Supply developed the farm on a lake that was once the site of extensive coal mining. After an explosion caused the mine to collapse, a lake formed and flooded it. Building solar plants on top of lakes and reservoirs can protect agricultural land and wildlife on the ground. The water also cools the solar panels, helping them work more efficiently. Choosing to develop the Sungrow farm on an abandoned coal mine signals the slow decline of fossil fuels like coal in China and other countries around the world.
Kyle Maynard, 27, was born with a rare condition called congenital amputation that left him without the lower parts of his arms or legs. It’s a disability that would, understandably, all but end most people’s potential for a normal life. Yet for the determined Atlanta native, this end was only the beginning. At 11, he played American football. At high school, he switched to wrestling. Around the same time, he bench-pressed 240lbs 23 times, earning the title World’s Strongest Teen from sports supplement company GNC. Shortly after, US sports broadcaster ESPN awarded Maynard its 2004 Espy for Best Athlete With A Disability, and fame followed. He ... appeared on Oprah and Larry King Live, and took his first of many bookings as a motivational speaker, all of which drew from experiences described in his ... autobiography No Excuses. And yet, in a keynote speech published on his own website, Maynard reflects on once feeling like a fraud. He tells of how, during a speaking tour, he looked at himself ... and knew, for the first time, he had started to believe what others said about him. Perhaps that’s why, in 2011, Kyle Maynard decided to scale Mount Kilimanjaro. And why on January 15, 2012, he became the first quadruple amputee to reach the roof of Africa without assistance, crawling all 19,340 feet on specially made soles. “When we take on a big goal, it’s always going to be difficult at first,” says Maynard in his website’s Speaking Intro video. “We forget that just showing up, and continuing to try, is going to get us there.”
Note: Watch an engaging video of this inspiring man.