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.
San Francisco passed legislation this week that will require all new buildings under 10 stories tall to be outfitted with solar panels. The California city will become the largest municipality in the U.S. with such a mandate. “By increasing our use of solar power, San Francisco is once again leading the nation in the fight against climate change and the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels,” Scott Wiener, the city supervisor who introduced the legislation, said. The legislation makes explicit references to combating climate change and expresses concern about the city’s future. Smaller California cities already have similar laws in place. Beginning in 2017, all new San Francisco buildings with 10 or fewer floors must have either solar photovoltaic or solar water panels. The measure builds on a California law that mandates new buildings have at least 15 percent of their roof space exposed to sunshine for solar panel use in the future.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Dr. Jim Withers used to dress like a homeless person. On purpose. Two to three nights a week, he rubbed dirt in his hair and muddied up his jeans and shirt before walking the dark streets of Pittsburgh. Withers wanted to connect with those who had been excluded from his care. "I was actually really shocked how ill people were on the street," he said. "Young, old, people with mental illness, runaway kids, women (who) fled domestic violence, veterans. And they all have their own story." Homelessness costs the medical system a lot of money. Individuals often end up in emergency rooms, and stay there longer, because their illnesses go untreated and can lead to complications. For 23 years, Withers has been treating the homeless - under bridges, in alleys and along riverbanks. "We realized that ... we could make 'house calls,'" he said. It's something that Withers' father, a rural doctor, often did. Withers' one-man mission became a citywide program called Operation Safety Net. Since 1992, the group has reached more than 10,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 of them transition into housing. In addition to street rounds, the program has a mobile van, drop-in centers and a primary health clinic, all where the homeless can access medical care. In the way I'd like to see things, every person who is still on the streets will have medical care that comes directly to them and says, "You matter." Having street medicine in [the] community transforms us. We begin to see that we're all in this together.
Note: Don't miss the video of Withers' inspiring "street medicine" in action at the CNN link above.
What is happiness inequality? It’s the psychological parallel to income inequality: how much individuals in a society differ in their self-reported happiness levels. Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has championed the idea that happiness is a better measure of human welfare than standard indicators like wealth, education, health, or good government. And if that’s the case, it has implications for our conversations about equality, privilege, and fairness in the world. We know that income inequality can be detrimental to happiness: According to a 2011 study, for example, the American population as a whole was less happy over the past several decades in years with greater inequality. The authors of a companion study to the World Happiness Report ... found that countries with greater inequality of well-being also tend to have lower average well-being, even after controlling for factors like GDP per capita, life expectancy, and individuals’ reports of social support and freedom to make decisions. In other words, the more happiness equality a country has, the happier it tends to be as a whole. On an individual level, the same link exists; in fact, individuals’ happiness levels were more closely tied to the level of happiness equality in their country than to its income equality. Happiness equality was also a stronger predictor of social trust than income equality - and social trust, a belief in the integrity of other people and institutions, is crucial to personal and societal well-being.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Brooklyn Andracke is a big fan of her garbage man, who always honks the truck’s horn and waves. Delvar Dopson is essentially her hero. “He is our favorite awesome smiley garbage man,” her mother, Traci Andracke, [said]. Brooklyn’s fascination with Dopson started because his truck would drive by their house, [and she] noticed Dopson driving the massive vehicle. “It became all about him after that,” Andracke said. “It wasn’t the ‘garbage truck’ anymore, but it was the ‘garbage man’ that she wanted to see.” When Brooklyn turned 3, the tot decided she wanted to share part of her big day with him. She patiently waited outside her home until Dopson pulled onto their street. When Andracke motioned for Dopson to stop the garbage truck, Brooklyn presented him with one of her birthday cupcakes. Dopson was “instantly speechless,” Andracke said. “I explained to him that he makes our day every Thursday,” she added. “After he left ... Brooklyn was unusually quiet. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, ‘Mommy, I’m so happy.’” The following week, Dopson returned for his refuse-collecting round and gave Brooklyn a belated birthday present: toys from her favorite movie, “Frozen.” In return, Brooklyn made him a thank you note, which he’s since displayed with pride in his truck. “I’d love for people to remember that a small gesture - a honk, wave, smile - doesn’t take much effort. Just do it,” the mom told HuffPost. “You never know who is on the receiving end of that smile and how it can really brighten their day.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Power plant turbines might be getting smaller. The tech is still in its early stages but GE Global Research is developing a turbine that - though only the size of the average desk - could someday power entire towns. The principle behind it could have a big effect on the future of turbine power. Instead of being pushed by steam, like most power plant turbines, the "minirotor" as [steam turbine specialist at GE Global Research Doug] Hofer calls it is pushed by CO2. Not gaseous CO2, or liquid CO2, but CO2 so hot and pressurized that it forms what is called a supercritical fluid, a state of heat and pressure so extreme that the distinctions between liquid and gas basically cease to exist. The tiny turbine's design is intended to harness the power of this specific (and weird) state of matter which could make the turbines as much as 50 percent efficient at turning heat to electricity, a significant improvement over ~45 percent efficient steam turbines. On top of that, these turbines should be relatively easy to spin up or down as demand shifts allowing power plants to more accurately tweak supply on the fly. The prototype design is a 10 MW turbine, though GE hopes to be able to scale the tech to enough to power a city, somewhere in the 500 megawatt range. The first physical tests are scheduled for later this year.
Back in 2005, Jameel McGee says he was minding his own business when a police officer accused him of - and arrested him for - dealing drugs. "It was all made up," said McGee. Of course, a lot of accused men make that claim, but not many arresting officers agree. "I falsified the report," former Benton Harbor police officer Andrew Collins admitted. "Basically, at the start of that day, I was going to make sure I had another drug arrest." And in the end, he put an innocent guy in jail. "I lost everything," McGee said. "My only goal was to seek him when I got home and to hurt him." Eventually, that crooked cop was caught, and served a year and a half for falsifying many police reports, planting drugs and stealing. Of course McGee was exonerated, but he still spent four years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Today both men are back in Benton Harbor, which is a small town. Last year, by sheer coincidence, they both ended up at faith-based employment agency Mosaic, where they now work side by side in the same café. And it was in those cramped quarters that the bad cop and the wrongfully accused had no choice but to have it out." I said, 'Honestly, I have no explanation, all I can do is say I'm sorry,'" Collins explained. McGee says that was all it took. "That was pretty much what I needed to hear." Today they're not only cordial, they're friends. Such close friends, not long ago McGee actually told Collins he loved him. "And I just started weeping because he doesn't owe me that. I don't deserve that," Collins said.
Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of this story at the link above.
After Bob Nevins, a medevac pilot for the 101st Airborne during the Vietnam War, returned home to the U.S., he found that working with horses was the thing that soothed him best. "I realized then that there was some kind of deep emotional connection that actually opened people up," said Nevins. For the last three years, Nevins has been giving veterans and victims of trauma a chance to connect with world-class racehorses - and themselves - through the Saratoga Warhorse Foundation. "We're creating an experience for the veterans that creates a very deep, emotional bond with the thoroughbred. That's a catalyst for a very traumatic transformation, healing-wise, for the veteran," Nevins said. "We teach them the horse's language. What they're able to do then is communicate in this silent language. That experience is so emotionally powerful that the walls just tumble for the veterans." Spc. TJ Hawkins, a former National Guardsman, said he'd completely shut down after watching his best friend die in action. "He meant a lot. The best brother anybody could ask for," he said. "[I] didn't want anybody to ask me about any good experiences in Iraq, any bad experiences." He said his time in the corral with a horse felt "amazing." "I'm on the top of the world," Hawkins said. "It brought back the happiness I had lost from going to Iraq. This is the first time I've truly been happy since I've been home." Nevins said his program was about helping veterans, not just talking about it.
The air quality in many cities has improved markedly thanks to improved technology in fuel-burning mechanisms, although problem areas remain, the American Lung Association announced Wednesday. The biggest improvement came as counties studied across the United States lowered the levels of particle pollution in the air. Although weather patterns change air quality, 16 US cities hit their lowest levels of particle pollution ever for the entire year. This included Los Angeles, although it remains the nation's most polluted city for ozone pollution, while Bakersfield topped the list for particle pollution. Many cities benefited from both new practices at power plants fueled by coal and better emissions and engine technology in cars and larger vehicles. Improvement came across the United States, and many areas are seeing the effects of the 1970 federal Clean Air Act. Although some still have dirty air, many of the nation's most polluted cities were slightly cleaner than last year. In Ohio, for example, particle pollution readings improved in Cleveland, making it among 16 cities that reported their lowest levels of particle pollution on record. The American Lung Association lauded the federal Clean Air Act, currently on hold by the Supreme Court, but urged states to individually evaluate their air quality to determine paths to improvement. As scientific information has become more available, cities have been able to make specific plans because they know their targets for clean air.
Note: Our older readers may remember when smog alerts in large cities were commonplace in the 1960s and many lakes that were practically devoid of life have now returned to life. We are definitely making progress in some areas.
Bay Area shoppers will soon be able to get a new kind of local produce at Whole Foods stores. Affectionately known as ugly produce, the fruits and vegetables are perfectly healthy and safe yet are usually left to rot because they don’t meet typical supermarket cosmetic standards. Bags of the aesthetically challenged produce will arrive at Northern California Whole Foods outposts later this month ... thanks to Emeryville’s Imperfect, one of several new Bay Area companies taking advantage of crops that are usually wasted in California fields. Of the estimated 62.5 million tons of food Americans waste annually, much more is generated in homes, stores and restaurants than farms, but the loss at farms is more suitable for reuse, [and is] responsible for almost 20 percent of American food waste. For some specialty California crops, such as greens, 50 percent is left in the field because it’s not worth harvesting, said Christine Moseley, founder and chief executive officer of Full Harvest, a San Francisco startup that aggregates ugly produce from Salinas Valley growers for Bay Area food and beverage companies. “I found out that there’s this massive problem with food waste, and I saw that as an opportunity,” said Moseley. She has projects in the works with larger national companies and has contracts in place to deliver 1 million pounds of imperfect and surplus produce this year. Since it launched last year, Full Harvest has rescued 15,000 pounds of previously worthless produce.
It's a case an attorney called "one of the most significant in our nation's history." Twenty-one young people (ages 8 to 19) are suing President Barack Obama and the federal government over making a mess of the planet for future generations. The government and fossil fuel groups had asked the court to toss out the federal case, but Judge Thomas Coffin on Friday denied those requests. "The nascent nature of these proceedings dictate further development of the record before the court can adjudicate whether any claims or parties should not survive for trial," Coffin wrote in the decision. "Accordingly, the court should deny the motions to dismiss." The climate kids' argument is multifaceted and nuanced, bringing in concepts of public trust doctrine as well as constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. But one of the oh-wow points they're making is this: Young people and unborn generations are being discriminated against when it comes to the U.S. propagation of climate change. They will live through an era of rising seas, heat waves, droughts, floods and extinctions that are without precedent. Yet they have little or no voice in the political system that, despite some bold steps in the right direction, continues to lease federal property for fossil fuel extraction and continues to subsidize pollution. Officials have continued to pursue harmful practices while knowing their actions would have dire future consequences. The youth plaintiffs want the feds to come up with a wholesale plan to fight climate change.
From an environmental perspective, plastic cutlery is pretty disastrous. It's often used just once before being thrown in the bin, and every year vast quantities of plastic knives, forks and spoons end up in landfill, where they release harmful substances into the soil as they decompose. However, one enterprising inventor is now hoping to make plastic cutlery obsolete by providing a viable, environmentally-friendly alternative: edible cutlery. Narayana Peesapaty is from India, where 120 billion pieces of disposable plastic cutlery are thrown away each year. His edible cutlery, branded as Bakeys, is made from millet, rice and wheat, and is available in a variety of flavours. Bakeys, founded in Hyderabad in 2011, says its products are "highly nutritious," with a shelf life of three years. If you use a Bakeys spoon and don't eat it, it'll decompose in less than a week. A video showcasing Narayana's invention has gone viral this week after it was shared online by the website The Better India, where it's been viewed more than 2.5 million times in less than a day. It isn't quite as sturdy as its metal or plastic counterparts - Bakeys suggests not using too much force if you use its cutlery to cut into hard foods, saying: "after all these are made of flours" - but its spoons are firm enough to get you through a cup of hot soup without it wilting. But could they ever become popular enough to replace plastic cutlery the world over? We'll have to wait and see.
Only a fraction of the Earth's water is drinkable - an estimate from the U.S. Geological Survey puts all of the world's freshwater at just 2.5 percent of the total global water. What if we could diversify and pull water from the air, instead? Now, a new invention does just that. Fontus is a water bottle that pulls moisture from the air, and in ideal conditions, can fills itself up in under an hour. The water bottle comes from Austrian industrial designer Kristof Retezár, who wanted to make a simple, portable tool to help people where drinkable water isn't easy to get. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs reports that 1.2 billion people, around a fifth of the world's population, live in areas where water is physically scarce. Another 1.6 live in countries where water infrastructure and storage is lacking. The Fontus uses solar energy to power a small cooler or condenser that works by the so-called Peltier effect. Air passing through the cold chamber rapidly condenses like droplets on the outside of a cold glass. In "really good" conditions, or temperatures between 86 and 104 degrees with humidity between 80 and 90 percent, the Fontus can generate half a liter of water in an hour. In the future, Retezár says the company hopes to improve that so the bottle can work in more conditions. The project was shortlisted for the 2014 James Dyson Award. Next the company hopes to launch a crowdfunding campaign and get the price of the water bottle under $100.
Note: Don't miss the video of this amazing invention at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Robina Gul has swapped her needle for a trowel. Gul is growing some 25,000 saplings of 13 different species crammed into the small courtyard of her two-room house in Najaf Pur, a village of around 8,000 people. "It gives me immense pleasure to look after the saplings as this has changed my whole life," said Gul, 35. She set up the nursery at her home in March last year under an agreement with the provincial forest department, [which] provides around a quarter of the start-up cost for poor households to set up a tree nursery, with a subsidy amounting to 150,000 rupees ($1,429.93) each over a year. "I am now getting over 12,000 rupees per month (from the subsidy), just by looking after the saplings in my home," Gul said. "I have also acquired the skills I need to grow different seedlings, and this will help me earn enough even after the project is wound up." The provincial government is planning to spend 21 billion rupees ... on a project called the "Billion Tree Tsunami." The goal is to plant 1 billion trees in degraded forest areas and on private land. The initiative aims to boost local economic development in a way that uses natural resources sustainably. Outsourcing nurseries to the private sector, including widows, poor women, and young people ... provides the government with saplings to plant, as well as green jobs. At the same time, illegal logging has been almost eliminated in the province following strict disciplinary action against some officials who were involved.
“People always say to me, ‘Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny.’ Of course, what they're really saying: ‘If you do all this running, why are you still so fat?’” Early that morning [Mirna] Valerio had led a three-mile group run around the campus of Rabun Gap-Na-coochee School in the nearby town of Rabun Gap, where she serves as Spanish teacher, choir director, and head coach of the cross-country team. She's about to start her second run of the day. Every run, every race, every traverse of a mountain trail, every gym workout, Valerio begins by taking a photo. “To prove that I was out here,” she explains. Later, she will post the photos on ... her blog, Fat Girl Running, in which she both writes of the joys of the running life and thoughtfully, humorously, and sometimes angrily rebuts her doubters, who can't believe that a self-described fat person might discover - or deserve - this kind of joy. With a BMI ... above the National Institutes of Health-established line defining obesity, Valerio, a marathoner, ultramarathoner, and trail runner, has emerged as ... a living argument that it's possible to be both fit and fat. “I'm pretty much in love with my body,” she writes. “Sometimes I get disappointed or angry with it, but like any long-term, committed relationship, it usually comes right back to love and respect.” By making peace with her obesity - or, more accurately, by fighting her disease to a kind of enduring, vigorously active truce - Valerio draws kudos from a formerly skeptical medical community.
Note: Read another great piece on this inspiring woman.
Homelessness isn’t backpacking. It’s not military marching. But there are aspects of those things that can make a big difference to a penniless drifter. [Philanthropist Ron Kaplan] had a backpack designed specifically for the homeless. He brought 400 of them to hand out for free in San Francisco ... at the the city's one-stop-aid Navigation Center on Mission Street. Earlier in the week they handed out 600 backpacks in Hayward, Oakland and Berkeley. This was the 44th city they’ve come to since the pack - called Citypak - was invented with High Sierra Sport Co. in 2012. This sturdy, waterproof, multi-pocketed and security-conscious contraption is ... dignity, acknowledgment, freedom and engagement all rolled into one black bag. “I had found that every shelter in America gives out food, clothing, toiletries and the rest, but then homeless people put them in big black trash bags and say goodbye,” Kaplan said. “So I thought, why not create something that gives them more dignity, that helps them as they try to get their lives together?” Fitting tight to the back, with well-padded straps, the pack is made for hours of comfortable carrying. In a bottom pocket is a waterproof, military-style poncho that covers the entire person and backpack. “We’re always getting suggestions to make adjustments, so it’s changed as we go,” Kaplan said. “When I first started doing this, I thought I would just make about 200 and walk around Chicago handing them out,” he said. “Now, by the end of this year we will have given out 22,500 all over the country.”
Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline has said it wants to make it easier for manufacturers in the world's poorest countries to copy its medicines. The British company said it would not file patents in these countries. GSK hopes that by removing any fear of it filing for patent protection in poorer countries it will allow independent companies to make and sell versions of its drugs in those areas, thereby widening the public access to them. Sir Andrew said he hoped Africa would benefit most from the move. In accordance with international guidelines set out by the United Nations and World Bank, the company has drawn up a list of 50 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion people, where it has said it will not file for patents. The company has said it also wants to put all its future cancer drugs into a Medicines Patent Pool in an effort to address what it described as "the increasing burden of cancer in developing countries". The patents pool was established in 2010 and has proved successful in accelerating access to treatments such as HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C through voluntary licensing arrangements, which allow generic versions of GSK's drugs to be made and distributed in poorer countries. Expanding the pool to include cancer drugs will "add to the wider contribution GSK makes to improve access to effective healthcare around the world", the company said.
The Street Store, which opened on Tuesday in Cape Town, is a charity pop-up “shop” consisting simply of cardboard posters, each hung with clothing items and accessories. Everything is free for the taking for the neighborhood’s homeless. The clothing ... is all donated, and everything is up for grabs. There are assistants on site to help “customers” select items as they browse, and anything they choose to take will be wrapped up for them before they go. It’s a true retail experience, with all the variety, leisure, freedom and dignity we love about shopping. “It makes it easy to make donations as it is hosted in a public area, but it also dignifies the receiving process,” Kayli Levitan, one of the The Street Store organizers. “Instead of feeling like they’re having old clothing thrown at them, the homeless get to have a full shopping experience. They can browse through the clothes, we’ll help them find an outfit they like, it’s wrapped up and off they go.” And it’s not only Cape Town’s homeless population that can benefit. The beauty of The Street Store’s concept is that it can be replicated anywhere. All you need to do is print out The Street Store artwork from the website to make your own posters, add your own logo and find a public space (along with proper approvals from local government). “We realized that homelessness and poverty isn’t a uniquely Capetonian problem. It isn’t even just a South African problem,” Levitan said. “It’s world-wide.” And now we all just have one more way - one very easy way - to help
Scanning a prison menu is a bleak task. Common food items range from nutraloaf - a mishmash of ingredients baked into a tasteless beige block - to, rumor has it, road kill. The substandard quality of food at some correctional facilities has led to protests and hunger strikes. But some states, along with correctional authorities and prison activists, are discovering the value of feeding prisoners nutrient-rich food grown with their own hands. Prison vegetable gardens, where inmates plant and harvest fresh produce to feed the larger prison population, are on the rise in correctional facilities from New York to Oregon. In addition to being a cost-effective food source, the gardens are seen as a way to save money on healthcare for prisoners struggling with diabetes, hypertension, and other ailments. But the gardening itself provides opportunities for personal growth, as inmates learn how to plant, raise, and harvest crops. It also functions as a method of rehabilitation in what is often a deeply stressful environment. “Inmates are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment,” says Tonya Gushard, public information officer for the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) in Salem. The OSCI has run a garden program at its facility since 2008. Between 2012 and 2015, Oregon state prisoner-gardeners raised more than 600,000 pounds of produce for nearly 14,000 inmates. The potential savings for taxpayers in health costs from providing inmates with high-quality food cannot be overstated.
Note: Watch an inspiring video on how meditation has become a path of freedom to many imprisoned for violent offenses. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Shortly after they got married six years ago, Tommy's wife Renee just started hanging out with the livestock. Tommy warned her ... "Renee, don't name those cows." But she didn't listen. Then she started singing to them, too. And before long, the rancher's wife had turned into a rancher's worst nightmare - a vegan, who couldn't stomach so much as living with a cattle rancher anymore. "He was just going to get out of the business or our marriage was going to be over," Renee explained. Tommy agreed. "It wasn't working. And I said, 'I'm going to sell the whole herd.' She goes, 'Well, if you're going to sell the whole herd anyway, why don't you just sell 'em to me?' What Tommy didn't know was that Renee had been secretly posting a blog called "Vegan Journal of a Rancher's Wife." She attracted thousands of followers. Through those contacts, Renee was able to raise $30,000 - enough for a hostile takeover. And here's where this story gets good. After his wife raised the money, Tommy did something rare for a rancher, or any man for that matter - he put aside his ego and reconsidered a core belief. He stopped eating meat, liked how he felt, and now works for his wife and the Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary. As best we can tell, it's the only cattle ranch conversion in the country. So now that he's changed for Renee, is there anything Tommy would change about his wife? "I can't think of a thing," he said. And there is everything you need to know, to stay married forever.
Note: Watch the touching video of this at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
“Playing God is simply a matter of learning a script. It didn’t require research beyond that,” Freeman deadpanned during National Geographic’s panel for “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman”. The project, a collaboration among Lori McCreary, James Younger and Freeman, who all serve as executive producers, is an exploration of religion across the globe and the function of God in any given society. The team previously collaborated on Discovery’s “Through the Wormhole.” As for why the three turned to matters of religion in their latest offering: “We were driven to make this by seeing all of the misunderstanding and difficulties centered around religion in the world today. We were motivated to say, ‘Let’s go there and see what religions have in common,” said Younger, adding, “What we found is a remarkable commonality between religions.” However, the series found itself stymied by the limitations of trying to carve such a complex subject down to six hour-long installments, ultimately being limited to focusing just on the “big five” according to Freeman, the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) as well as Buddhism and Hinduism. When asked what they would ask the Divine given the opportunity, they didn’t hesitate. McCreary wondered, “What’s the key to unifying us all as Your children?” while Freeman opted for a more pointed, “What do You think now?” But it was former scientist Younger who opted for the most universal question of all: “Why?”