This Week’s GOOD NEWS From Around The World (Nov 12/16)

Environmental Appreciation

The World Has a New Tallest Tree

The Carnegie Airborne Observatory has revealed new candidates for the world’s tallest tree. An aerial laser survey of a reserved area in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, measured 50 trees that exceed the previous record for the tallest tree on earth. The new tallest tree is an immense 94.1 meters (308.7 feet) tall. (National Geographic)

Work Crews Give Thoughtful Gift to Girl Mourning Tree

Four-year-old Shae Culley of St. Boniface, Manitoba had grown attached to the old tree that stood in the front yard of her house – so when the tree died and a crew came to remove it, the little girl was inconsolable. After her mother took Shae outside to give the tree a parting hug, the crew of men taking it down decided to give the girl a cute gift in the form of a hand-made stool and table shaped out of the wood. (Global News)

Ireland to Plant a New Grove of Giant Redwoods

An environmental organization in Ireland is working to create the largest grove of giant redwood trees outside of California. Giants Grove will be planted on the grounds of Birr Castle Gardens in the Irish county of Offaly, starting in 2017. The hope is that the grove will help to sustain the redwood population that has been dwindling in California due to climate change. (Irish Central)


Technology and Education

Donate Rice Today – For Free!

There’s no time like the present to give back to those in need. If you haven’t heard of, the website gives people across the developed world a chance to freely donate rice to families in developing countries. Free Rice takes the form of a language trivia game – for each correct answer, the website donates 10 grains of rice, paid for by the website’s advertisers. (FreeRice.Com)

Emma Watson Hides Progressive Books on the Subway

Actor Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, has been hiding books throughout the London underground train system. Thus far Watson has hidden around 100 books, some with handwritten notes. Watson’s book choices are the monthly selections from her online book club, Our Shared Self, and are often by respected progressive authors. (BBC)

Nonprofit Helps Disabled Vets Visit Their Memorials

A nonprofit organization called Honor Everywhere is helping disabled veterans to pay their respects to fellow soldiers. With the help of virtual reality, veterans like 90-year-old WWII veteran Ernest Reitzel are able to experience the sights and sounds of a public Remembrance Day celebration without leaving their homes. According to Honor Everywhere founder Sarah Hill, the program gives many veterans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel as though they’ve traveled to the memorials that were built in their honor. (Today)

Google Offers Subsidized Coding Courses to Kids in Need

Google is rolling out a new program to teach computer coding to children in less-fortunate families. The Code in the Community program, based in Singapore, will target 3,000 young children from needy homes in the region. With heavily subsidized courses in coding, Google hopes to bridge the so-called “digital divide” and help the next generation become better prepared to utilize technology for good. (Straits Times)

Scientists Cure Paralysis in Monkeys – Humans Could be Next

An international team of scientists have potentially created a cure for paralysis that could be available to humans within a decade. The key lies in a small spinal implant that would allow electrical impulses from the brain to bypass a spinal injury and enact movement in the limbs. Dr. Erwan Bezard, who oversaw the implant’s testing in primates, noted that monkeys who had been temporarily paralyzed in one leg could walk against instantly after the device was implanted – no physiotherapy required. (Telegraph)

Cambridge Team Develops an Educational Coding Robot

A startup based at Cambridge University has devised a clever new way to teach schoolchildren and adults the basics of coding. Root is a magnetic robot that is controlled via an app interface. Users interact with the app, which teaches coding language starting with simplified pictorial representations and moving into widely-used coding languages such as Python and JavaScript. (Bostinno Streetwise)


Glimmers of Political Hope

Teen Plaintiffs’ Environmental Suit is Honored by Federal Court

A United States federal court rejected the government’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by concerned citizens. A group of young plaintiffs ranging in age from 9 to 20 has called upon the government to increase its action against the growing threat of climate change. While this step will allow the group to take their complaint to the Supreme Court, they will undoubtedly be facing the added opposition of a more conservative government under Trump’s presidency. (Time)

Polish Ministry to Offer Free Self-Defence Classes for Women

From November 19th, 2016, through June 3rd, 2017, the Polish defence ministry will be offering free unarmed self-defence classes for all women. The courses will take place on 30 different military bases throughout the country and will be taught by Polish army instructors. (BBC)

Pakistan Ratifies its Signature on Paris Accord

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has taken the steps to ratify the Paris Accord, which aims to limit climate change by having signing countries pledge to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Centigrade. Pakistan itself has been hit particularly hard by climate change in recent years, with fatal heat waves and smog engulfing entire regions. (CTV News)

American Voters Pay Tribute to Susan B. Anthony

On U.S. Election Day, Tuesday, hundreds of people lined up at Susan B. Anthony’s grave – to offer up their “I Voted” stickers. Though the trend began on early voting dates in October, by the end of the day on November 8th the tombstone was covered in the small “I Voted” stickers. Anthony, who led the women’s suffrage movement in the United States but died 14 years before the 19th amendment was ratified, is still seen as an important figure for social progress. (CNN)