23 stories about solutions and progress from February 2023
Photo: Jacob Owens / Unsplash (CC0)
Today in our monthly recap: eight countries have eliminated tropical diseases, dozens of UK companies opted to continue with the four-day working week, and schools from London to Minnesota announced free meals.
Eight countries have stopped tropical diseases with mass treatment plans
Often ignored in most of the world, tropical diseases still affect large parts of Africa. Now eight nations have eliminated them through health initiatives and mass treatment.
Four-day work week experiment successful in the UK
The world’s largest work-week overhaul is helping companies rethink working practices in the UK and beyond. Nearly all companies taking part opt to continue with the new pattern.
Hawaii bans the killing of sharks in a first for the US
From the start of this year, killing or capturing sharks is now completely illegal in the state of Hawaii. It will be the first US state to implement this sort of ban.
The Planetary Press
For first time, EU solar and wind power overtake gas
A new analysis shows the EU did not rely heavily on coal last year despite the global energy crisis. The shocks of 2022 sparked a massive wave of support for renewables, according to think tank Ember.
Montpellier introduces free transport
The French city of Montpellier is implementing free public transportation, showing its commitment to social justice. The scheme is similar to those of other French territories and European cities.
London to provide free school meals to primary school children
The city is implementing a £130m emergency cost-of-living scheme. The programme will run during the 2023-24 academic year. It has the potential to save households £440 each child over the year.
Minnesota House greenlights ‘universal’ school meals bill
The Minnesota House has passed legislation that offers students free breakfast and lunch, regardless of household income. The proposal seeks to address food insecurity.
Navajo Nation selects historic female leadership
Crystalyne Curley is the first woman to be Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, among other firsts for the government.
Portugal and Cape Verde swap debt for climate investments
Cape Verde’s debt payments to Portugal will be redirected to a climate protection fund under a new agreement.
Yale Environment 360
US’s first new Black bank in 20 years established in Columbus
Adelphi Bank, whose name pays homage to a 1920s Black-owned bank, raised almost $25 million in startup capital, turning to local investors in Ohio.
Australia is the first country in the world to approve psychedelics for medicinal use
Starting in July, psychiatrists in Australia will be able to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin to patients suffering from mental health issues. The government is still working out how to create a legal supply of the chemicals.
Experimental vaccine could combat breast cancer
University of Washington researchers have seen promising results in the first phase of human trials for a DNA-based vaccine against breast cancer. The vaccine is now in phase two trials.
Urine test detects prostate and pancreatic cancers with high accuracy
Researchers have developed a method to diagnose cancer using a small volume of urine. This greatly speeds up the rate of detection, which remains one of the most important factors in cancer survival.
Study finds link between EVs and reduced air pollution and improved health
A team of researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC has found that areas with more EVs tend to have better air quality and improved health outcomes for residents.
Human hair filters Belgian waterways
Clippings collected from hair dressers across the country are turned into mats that filter pollutants before they reach rivers and can be used to clean up oil spills.
Indigenous women train how to use fire to fight fire
In California, on Karuk lands, indigenous women are relearning traditional fire-fighting skills, including the process of ‘back burning,’ which limits wildfires by denying it fuel.
Oakland affordable housing project grown from fungi
A 300-unit affordable housing complex is the first to test architect and professor David Benjamin’s mushroom buildings on a large scale.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Tuition-free school in Nigeria serves children through agricultural yield
The Anam New City School funds its operations through crops and livestock. Half of the yield feeds students, the rest covers admin costs.
White mailboxes help address child abuse in France
One in every 5 girls and one in every 13 boys report having been sexually abused before the age of 18, according to WHO. In France, mailboxes in schools and sports clubs have become a lifeline for kids.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Retirees move in at Arizona State University
The senior living community fosters intergenerational learning and challenges ageist stereotypes on Arizona State University’s campus.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Mobilising Assam’s ‘hargila army’: how 10,000 women saved India’s rarest stork
Greater adjutants, reviled as bad omens, were endangered until Indian conservationist Purnima Devi Barman transformed attitudes to the bird – and gave thousands of women a new identity.
Former poachers enlisted to conserve sea turtles in the Philippines
In La Union, an initiative uses the experience of former egg thieves, improving outcomes for both turtles and reformed conservationists.
Pink dolphins and reformed Colombian rebels turn no-go zone into ecotourism hit
Former guerrillas of the Farc now work to establish ecotourism through marine conservation. They protect the at-risk pink dolphins and repair damaged ecosystems.