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Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. For the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first, click here. For a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring articles and stories, click here. 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.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Santa Clara, Stanford compete in Solar Decathlon
2013-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:29:23
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Santa-Clara-Stanford-compete-in-Solar-...

Designed by students, the small blue house wedged onto a corner of the Santa Clara University campus generates all the electricity it needs. And it needs very little. Solar cells blanket most of the roof. A separate solar array heats water. Pipes in the ceiling circulate cold water to keep the house cool. A mobile phone app controls the lights and windows. Dubbed Radiant House, the building is the university's entry in this year's Solar Decathlon, an international student competition to create energy-efficient houses that run their systems and appliances on sunlight. To win, the houses can't just be a collection of technologies. They have to feel inviting and livable. Judges grade them on comfort and curb appeal in addition to innovation. This year's decathlon culminates next month in Orange County, when 20 university teams present their homes to judges drawn from the fields of architecture, development and renewable energy. First held in 2002, the Solar Decathlon runs in two-year cycles, giving teams enough time to design, finance and build their creations. This year, students from two Bay Area schools - Santa Clara and Stanford University - will compete against teams from as far afield as Austria and the Czech Republic. The contest rules require that the houses can't be larger than 1,000 square feet and must produce at least as much energy as they consume over the course of a week. Solar panels donated by Bosch Solar Energy coat the central room's tilted roof and can generate up to 7.14 kilowatts of electricity, more than a typical home array. The panels rest on a new type of rack, made by startup company Sunplanter, that is integrated into the structure of the roof.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Jacob Barnett, 14-Year-Old With Asperger's Syndrome, May Be Smarter Than Einstein
2013-05-11, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-09-16 16:27:48
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/jacob-barnett-autistic-14-year-old-n...

When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. Today, Barnett -- now 14 -- is a Master's student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. The teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Since enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at the age of 10, Barnett has flourished -- astounding his professors, peers and family with his spectacular intelligence. The teen tutors other college students in subjects like calculus and is a published scientific researcher, with an IQ that is believed to be higher than that of Albert Einstein. In fact, according to a 2011 TIME report, Barnett, who frequently tops his college classes, has asserted that he may one day disprove Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Outside of his rigorous university commitments, Barnett, who has Asperger's Syndrome, is also an entrepreneur and aspiring author. The teen, who, with his family, runs a charity called Jacob's Place for kids on the spectrum, has used his story to raise awareness and dispel myths about autism. In April, [his mother] Kristine Barnett's memoir about her family's experience with autism, The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, was released. A movie deal is said to be in the works.

Note: For the CBS 60 Minutes piece on this child genius, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mindfulness in Politics
2013-09-06, DailyGood
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:29:18
http://www.dailygood.org/story/508/mindfulness-in-politics-michael-edwards

The movement for “mindfulness meditation” is growing, but can it break the modern political gridlock? Congressman Tim Ryan [wants] everyone to develop greater “mindfulness”, through simple forms of meditation and other practices that focus our attention and help us listen to each other. Elected to the House of Representatives at the tender age of 29, the Democrat from Ohio spoke out repeatedly against the policies of President George W. Bush on Iraq, the economy and other issues. But then so did many others. What makes Ryan stand out is his conviction that the USA can be transformed – not just “tinkered with”, as he puts it in A Mindful Nation, the book he published in 2012. Practicing mindfulness may not get everyone on the same page in detailed policy terms, he believes, but it could help to find more common ground between different views and break the political gridlock. In this sense the personal is always political. There’s an upbeat tone in Ryan’s approach that seems out of place with the realities of Washington DC: “Strip away the materialism, the marketing, the media and the technology and our fundamental nature is revealed,” he writes, “joyous, generous and courageous.” Still, given that US politics is soaked through with cynicism, “gotcha” tactics and manipulation, even admitting that you meditate, let alone publicly recommending it to others, is a courageous thing to do. And who knows, the “quiet revolution” of mindfulness might even work.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




‘Samsara,’ Ron Fricke’s Cinematic Portrait of the Globe
2012-08-17, New York Times
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:27:56
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/movies/samsara-ron-frickes-cinematic-portra...

The new film “Samsara” ranges across the globe: there are fantastical tiered temples in verdant Myanmar and glorious Japanese mohawks, the natural wonders of Namibian sand dunes and orderly production lines of modern agribusiness in China and Europe. The locations are unnamed, and a rich, varied score is heard instead of political or social commentary. One striking image flows into the next, loosely organized according to the cyclical Hindu notion of birth and destruction that gives the film its Sanskrit title. But in an era when the Internet and television overflow with eye-popping imagery from around the world, [“Samsara” ] is a twofold throwback. For one, it is shot in grand, rarely used 70 millimeter, a medium invented for [widescreen cinema]. In its mission, too, there is something old-fashioned about “Samsara.” Though touched with a certain spiritual mindfulness, the film is not intended to send a message. That’s a departure from similarly expansive, globally conscious nonfiction films in vogue now. And though [Ron Fricke, who directed and shot “Samsara,”] views the ambitious chronicles of “Samsara” as beyond documentary, audiences may approach that global tour with expectations molded by the flood of recent films that present Earth and its diversity as something in need of saving, not just gazing. The perspective of “Samsara” could instead be called cosmic, and its goals primarily aesthetic. “Our film is more about feelings and an inner journey than an intellectual experience,” Mark Magidson, who produced and co-edited the film, [said]. “We’re not trying to say anything.”

Note: Samsara was the highest grossing documentary release of 2012. To watch this hauntingly beautiful and politically poignant documentary online, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing
2009-04-10, USA Today
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:26:24
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-04-05-scrip_N.htm

A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses. Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts. Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash. Jackie Smith of South Bend, Ind., who is working to launch a local currency, [said] "It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows of the marketplace." During the Depression, local governments, businesses and individuals issued currency, known as scrip, to keep commerce flowing when bank closings led to a cash shortage. Pittsboro, N.C., is reviving the Plenty, a defunct local currency created in 2002. It is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty. "We're a wiped-out small town in America," says Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels, which accepts the Plenty. "This will strengthen the local economy. ... The nice thing about the Plenty is that it can't leave here."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Judy Wicks: In Business for Life
2006-11-30, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2013-09-10 08:24:23
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/go-local/judy-wicks-in-business-for-life

In 1983, I opened the White Dog Cafe as a coffee and muffin take-out shop on the first floor of my house, where I have now lived for 35 years. Today the White Dog is a full-service restaurant occupying three of the brownstone row-houses. Our gift shop, the Black Cat, sells local and fair-trade crafts, books, and novelties. The other row houses are home to other restaurants, a coffeeshop, real estate office, newspaper and magazine shop, and a hair salon. By living above the shop on Sansom Street, I ... grew to understand first hand how the wonderful diversity of people added to the vitality of my neighborhood and to the success of my business. Living and working in the same community has not only given me a stronger sense of place, but a different business outlook. There's a short distance between me as the business decision-maker and those affected by my decisions—a basic principle of the local living economy movement. I am more likely to make decisions from the heart, not just from the head. [For me] business is about relationships with everyone we buy from, sell to, and work with. As a society, we are taught that economic growth benefits everyone and success is measured by material gain. Yet continual growth is destroying the planet, using up more natural resources than can be regenerated. And it is the rich who are getting richer, while the share of wealth for everyone else is declining. I made a conscious decision to stay small and learned to grow in other ways besides the physical. As the Earth Charter says, “After basic needs are met, it's about being more, not having more.”

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




16-year-old finds a new way to detect cancer
2013-05-18, CBS News
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:38:25
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57585179/16-year-old-finds-a-new-way-to...

Sixteen-year-old Jack Andraka's innovative mind led him to create a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer. "I created a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer that costs three cents and takes five minutes to run," he said. After a close friend died from pancreatic cancer, this 16-year-old from Crownsville, Maryland, unleashed his hyper-drive intellect on preventing more cancer deaths. "It's 168 times faster, over 26,000 times less expensive, and over 400 times more sensitive than our current methods of diagnosis," he said. Tinkering in his room and using information readily available online, he came up with a new way to detect cancer. "85 percent of all pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late, when someone has less than a two percent chance of survival. And our current test costs $800 per test and misses 30 percent of all pancreatic cancers," he said. He won last year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The sweet validation came with $100,000 in scholarships, but Jack Andraka's got his eye on even bigger things. "The name of the competition is called the Tricorder XPRIZE," he said. "It's a $10 million prize. Essentially what you have to do is develop something the size of a smartphone that you scan over your skin and it will diagnose any disease instantly." Jack is fielding a team of other high-schoolers to compete against 300 teams of adult scientists and corporations in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. He says youth is an advantage -- that new eyes are more likely to solve old problems.

Note: Let's hope this invention gets fast tracked and makes it to market. Notice how little attention this exciting development received. To read about many potential cancer cures reported in major media which have not made it to market for financial reasons, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Mayor to take salary in Bristol pounds
2012-11-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:36:28
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/nov/20/mayor-salary-bristol-pounds

On his first day in office the new independent mayor of Bristol rebranded the Council House, scrapped a parking measure brought in only a few weeks ago and announced he would take his salary in the city's local currency. George Ferguson, who beat 14 candidates to become mayor, also revealed [that] the hole in the city council's budget was £32m – £4m greater than he had expected. Ferguson said he would work with anybody who could come up with a clever way of finding the savings needed without harming services. To applause, Ferguson said he wanted to move fast. He did not want to commission expensive surveys or report on initiatives. "Let's just do it and see how it turns out," he said. Of his salary – currently £51,000, though the figure could change – Ferguson said he would take it in Bristol pounds, a currency introduced this year and proving a success. Thanking the voters for entrusting him with the "ultimate project", Ferguson said Bristol had a minor link to London but a more important link to the rest of the world. "We are a proud provincial city," he said. "We are pretty self-contained and we are independent." Ferguson completed his speech by asking everyone present to join him as he took the oath made by young men of Athens when they became citizens: "I shall not leave this city any less but rather greater than I found it."

Note: For more on alternative and community currencies, click here and here and see a USA Today article here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Go Broke
2012-09-18, Forbes
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:35:15
http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2012/09/18/chuck-feeney-the-billion...

Chuck Feeney is the James Bond of philanthropy. Over the last 30 years he’s crisscrossed the globe conducting a clandestine operation to give away a $7.5 billion fortune derived from hawking cognac, perfume and cigarettes in his empire of duty-free shops. His foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, has funneled $6.2 billion into education, science, health care, aging and civil rights in the U.S., Australia, Vietnam, Bermuda, South Africa and Ireland. Few living people have given away more, and no one at his wealth level has ever given their fortune away so completely during their lifetime. The remaining $1.3 billion will be spent by 2016, and the foundation will be shuttered in 2020. While the business world’s titans obsess over piling up as many riches as possible, Feeney is working double time to die broke. Feeney embarked on this mission in 1984, in the middle of a decade marked by wealth creation–and conspicuous consumption–when he slyly transferred his entire 38.75% ownership stake in Duty Free Shoppers to what became the Atlantic Philanthropies. “I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself you’d always be worrying about that piece,” says Feeney, who estimates his current net worth at $2 million (with an “m”). “People used to ask me how I got my jollies, and I guess I’m happy when what I’m doing is helping people and unhappy when what I’m doing isn’t helping people.” He’s not waiting to grant gifts after he’s gone nor to set up a legacy fund that annually tosses pennies at a $10 problem. He hunts for causes where he can have dramatic impact and goes all-in.

Note: For lots more on this great philanthropist, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Heroes of the Environment - Annie Leonard
2008-09-24, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-09-03 09:33:58
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1841778_184178...

Annie Leonard [has] been relentlessly explaining the absurdity of our throwaway culture [for] decades. While her mastery of detail is impressive, it's her passionate style that transforms bleak facts into emotive stories that compel you to take action. Leonard knew her story needed to reach as many people as possible to make a real difference. So, in 2007, she made it viral through an infectious online film called "The Story of Stuff". Within six months, more than 3 million viewers from around the world watched the film. "The Story of Stuff" effectively and often humorously explains where all our stuff comes from, what resources are used to create it, whose lives are affected during its production, and where it goes when we discard it. While this all sounds familiar enough, it's Leonard's poignant questions and provocative truth-telling that help us see the profound stupidity of this system. Leonard has spent the last 20 years raising awareness of environmental health and justice issues, working with organizations such as the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance, Health Care Without Harm, Greenpeace International and the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, which brings together grant makers committed to building a more sustainable future. She has spent nearly half of her life traveling to more than 30 countries to witness the environmental impact of casual consumerism and the travails of those who make what we consume; and she has spent countless hours working to right these injustices. Which is why when Leonard talks trash, people cannot help but listen.

Note: For Annie's excellent website filled with inspiring ideas on how you can make a difference, click here. For a longer article in Yes! Magazine written by Annie, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Georgia school employee hailed as 'real hero' for talking gunman into giving up
2013-08-21, CNN
Posted: 2013-08-27 08:05:50
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/21/us/georgia-school-gunshots/index.html

A man slips behind someone else into a packed elementary school with an AK-47-type weapon. He goes into the office and shoots at the ground, then darts between there and outside to fire at approaching police. So what do you do? If you're Antoinette Tuff, who works in the front office at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy just outside Atlanta, you don't run. You talk. You divulge your personal struggles to the gunman, you tell him you love him, you even proactively offer to walk outside with him to surrender so police won't shoot. And then the nightmare ends with the suspect, later identified as Michael Brandon Hill, taken into custody and no one inside or outside the Decatur school even hurt, despite the gunfire. By the end -- with police themselves having never directly talked to him -- Tuff and the gunman were talking about where he would put his weapon, how he'd empty his pockets and where he'd lie down before authorities could get him. "It's going to be all right, sweetie," she tells Hill at one point [audible in the 911 call]. "I just want you to know I love you, though, OK? And I'm proud of you. That's a good thing that you're just giving up and don't worry about it. We all go through something in life." Tuff then let the gunman know that she'd been down before herself, but she'd picked herself up. He could, too. "I thought the same thing, you know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me," she said. "But look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK." That day, for everyone at that school, everything did turn out OK. Shots were fired, but no one got hurt. The gunman never made it to the classroom area, deciding instead to give up and lay down.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Kaiser study yields big progress for hypertension
2013-08-21, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-08-27 08:04:24
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Kaiser-study-yields-big-progress-for-hyp...

In just a decade, and using a deceptively simple approach, Kaiser Permanente doubled the percentage of Northern California patients whose blood pressures were brought down to healthy levels. The Kaiser program relied on close monitoring by a team of health care workers and the use of cheaper, more efficient drugs to treat high blood pressure. Over the course of an eight-year study, the percentage of patients with high blood pressure who had it under control increased from 44 percent in 2001 to 80 percent in 2009. The rate continued to climb after the study ended, and as of 2011, 87 percent of patients had lowered their high blood pressure to a healthy level. The results are intriguing because high blood pressure ... is treatable with medication and lifestyle changes, but has remained stubbornly difficult to control in most patients, Kaiser doctors said. During the years of the Kaiser study, the number of heart attacks and strokes fell substantially. Dr. Don Conkling, a 63-year-old Kaiser member who was part of the study, managed to get his blood pressure into a normal, healthy range for the first time since his early 40s. He lost about 60 pounds, cut out sugar and meat from his diet, and started walking several times a day, often for miles at a time, with his dog Sophie. Conkling, a veterinarian in San Bruno, also meditates every day for 45 minutes or longer to help reduce stress from his job. Not all patients have to make such drastic lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure, Conkling said.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




EDF exits US nuclear, focuses on renewables
2013-07-31, Business Spectator/Reuters
Posted: 2013-08-27 08:02:02
http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/7/31/renewable-energy/edf-exits...

French utility EDF, the world's biggest operator of nuclear plants, is pulling out of nuclear energy in the United States, bowing to the realities of a market that has been transformed by cheap shale gas. Several nuclear reactors in the US have been closed or are being shuttered as utilities baulk at the big investments needed to extend their lifetimes now that nuclear power has been so decisively undercut by electricity generated from shale gas. "The spectacular fall of the price of gas in the US, which was unimaginable a few years ago, has made this form of energy ultra competitive vis a vis all other forms of energy," EDF Chief Executive Henri Proglio told a news conference. EDF agreed with its partner Exelon on an exit from their Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG) joint venture, which operates five nuclear plants in the United States with a total capacity of 3.9 gigawatts. "Circumstances for the development of nuclear in the US are not favourable at the moment," Proglio said. International Energy Agency analyst Dennis Volk said CENG's eastern US power plants were located in some of the most competitive power markets in the country, with high price competition, growing wind capacity and cheap gas. "It is simply not easy to invest in nuclear and recover your money there," Volk said. Proglio said EDF would now focus on renewable energy in the United States. EDF employs 860 people in US solar and wind, and since 2010 its generating capacity has doubled to 2.3 gigawatts.

Note: For more on encouraging energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Why This 73-Year-Old Is a Gang's Worst Nightmare
2013-01-14, DailyGood
Posted: 2013-08-27 07:55:54
http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=5540

Watts is famous for its gangs. But it's also famous for its dreamers, like the Italian immigrant Sabato Rodia, who spent three decades building the ten-story tall Watts Towers from discarded scrap metal, broken glass, and ceramic tiles. Mix Rodia's ambition with a pragmatism about the hardships facing the neighborhood, and you get 73-year-old Milicent "Mama" Hill, a former LAUSD school teacher who's turned her living room into a makeshift community center. Kids in Watts need a safe place to go after school. They need someone who's going to ask them about their homework and give them a hug. And so, at an age when most people retire and relax, Hill opened Mama Hill's Help and started her second career as the entire block's mentor and mother. Over the last decade, nearly 3,000 kids have come through her door. And the kids seem to thrive under her watchfulness, even though they don't always smile when she orders them to clean up their trash. Mama Hill estimates she's known—or at least known of—2,000 children who've died, an impossible-sounding number that becomes believable only after hearing the matter-of-fact way she describes their shootings, many of them random and all of them senseless. "Hurt people hurt other people," is Mama Hill's mantra. She claims that if you watch a person closely, you can see what age they were wounded. Pain stunts people. The first thing she asks a new child when they sit down for their initial one-on-one conversation is, "Who hurt you?" They might not want to answer at first, but eventually they always do.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Alfredo Moser: Bottle light inventor proud to be poor
2013-08-12, BBC News
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:10:35
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23536914

Alfredo Moser's invention is lighting up the world. In 2002, the Brazilian mechanic had a light-bulb moment and came up with a way of illuminating his house during the day without electricity - using nothing more than plastic bottles filled with water and a tiny bit of bleach. In the last two years his innovation has spread throughout the world. It is expected to be in one million homes by early next year. So how does it work? Simple refraction of sunlight, explains Moser, as he fills an empty two-litre plastic bottle. "Add two capfuls of bleach to protect the water so it doesn't turn green [with algae]. The cleaner the bottle, the better," he adds. Wrapping his face in a cloth he makes a hole in a roof tile with a drill. Then, from the bottom upwards, he pushes the bottle into the newly-made hole. "An engineer came and measured the light," he says. "It depends on how strong the sun is but it's more or less 40 to 60 watts," he says. The inspiration for the "Moser lamp" came to him during one of the country's frequent electricity blackouts in 2002. "The only places that had energy were the factories - not people's houses," he says, talking about the city where he lives, Uberaba, in southern Brazil. "It's a divine light. God gave the sun to everyone, and light is for everyone. You can't get an electric shock from it, and it doesn't cost a penny." Moser has installed the bottle lamps in neighbours' houses and the local supermarket. While he does earn a few dollars installing them, it's obvious from his simple house and his 1974 car that his invention hasn't made him wealthy. What it has given him is a great sense of pride.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




“Renegade Gardener” Plots World Domination Through Home-Grown Veggies
2013-07-30, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:09:08
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/gardening-is-gangsta-an-interview-wit...

Ron Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, a "food desert" where nutritious eats are chronically unavailable. But when the fashion designer [and] father got tired of driving 45 minutes to buy an organic tomato, he decided to grow his own. In the fall of 2010, he planted a "demonstration garden" on the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk in front of his house in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood where he has lived all his life. He says he was tired of living in the "food prison"—where the lack of access to healthy foods was causing diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. "If you look at the statistics, the drive thrus literally are killing more people than the drive-bys," Finley says. Finley encouraged people to take what they needed from the garden. He shared tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant, pumpkins, and more with anyone who passed by his home, often people with few financial resources and little access to vegetables. In May of 2011, however, Finley received a citation from the city, which considered his plants "obstructions." They asked him to pay $400 for a permit or remove the garden. After getting 500 signatures on a petition posted on change.org and gaining the confidence of a city councilman, Finley received a permit for free and eventually provoked the city to relax its laws on curb strip usage. Since then, Finley has created the organization LA Green Grounds, which plants vegetable gardens in South Central yards free of charge and has installed public gardens in curb strips, homeless shelters, abandoned lots, and traffic medians. The all-volunteer organization has installed over 30 gardens.

Note: For an inspiring 10-minute TED talk given by Mr. Finley, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The Bar Keeps Going Up for Venerable Entrepreneurs
2013-07-12, Forbes
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:07:39
http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2013/07/12/the-bar-keeps-going-up-...

It’s always been tough to start a new business, even when the bottom line was just making a profit to stay alive. A few years ago, a second focus of sustainability (“green”) was added as a requirement for respectability. Now I often hear a third mandate of social responsibility. Entrepreneurs are now measured against the “triple bottom line” (TBL or 3BL) of people, planet, and profit. The real challenge with the triple bottom line is that these three separate accounts cannot be easily added up. It’s difficult to measure the planet and people accounts in any quantifiable terms, compared to profits. How does any entrepreneur define the right balance, and then measure their performance against real metrics? Lots of people are trying to help. Current examples include the Conscious Capitalism movement led by John Mackey, The B Team, led by Sir Richard Branson, the 1% for the Planet organization, and the Benefit Corporation (B Corp) now available in 14 States. The reality is that you can’t help people or the environment, or yourself, if you don’t have any money. Businesses run by ethical people create value and prosperity based on voluntary exchange, while reducing poverty. The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. The real opportunity for entrepreneurs is to provide solutions that solve a problem better than the competition, while also providing sustainability and social responsibility. Responsibility and integrity are still the key. A responsible entrepreneur promotes both loyalty and responsible consumption by educating consumers so they can make more informed decisions about their purchases, based on ecological footprints, and other sustainability criteria. That’s a win-win business for the customer and the entrepreneur.

Note: For more on the inspiring B Team, see the great three-minute video here and click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz launch the B Team challenge
2013-06-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:06:31
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/richard-branson-jochen-z...

In a sign that the corporate sustainability movement may be entering a new dynamic phase, Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, former chief executive of Puma and current director of Kering, today launched a new global collaboration to drive transformational change in the business sector. The B Team brings together an initial 14 leaders from major corporations around the world, including Unilever, Natura, Celtel, Tata and Kering, in an attempt to enlarge projects that demonstrate that long-term business success can be built only by prioritising people and planet alongside profit. The collective ... has issued a declaration that places much of the blame for the world's problems directly on the doorstep of companies. Recognising that their views will be seen by many competitors as an "affront", the declaration states: "Business is now waking up to the reality that if we carry on using the natural resources of the world unsustainably, they'll quite simply run out. With a burgeoning population, more people are still living in poverty than ever before and inequalities are increasing in many parts of the world. Unemployment rates are at frightening levels. Non-Profits alone cannot solve the tasks at hand, while many governments are unwilling or unable to act. While there are myriad reasons we've arrived at this juncture, much of the blame rests with the principles and practices of business as usual." Rather than go it alone, the B Team is forging partnerships with other organisations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Ashoka, a leading light in the social enterprise movement.

Note: For more on the inspiring B Team, see the great three-minute video here and click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A Universe Full of Planets
2013-07-26, New York Times
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:46:46
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/opinion/global/a-universe-full-of-planets.h...

Using techniques of exquisite sensitivity and technological finesse, astronomers have spent the past two decades on an astonishing voyage of cosmic discovery. They have found that the universe is full of planets: cold, small, and dark next to their large and glaring suns, these worlds have previously been hidden from us. To spot them represents a challenge that has been compared to looking across thousands of miles to see a firefly buzzing around a brilliant searchlight. They exert a gravitational pull, tugging their parent stars into a gently wobbling motion that we can now detect. We now have firm evidence for thousands of planets, around thousands of stars. We also know something about these worlds, their sizes, their orbits, often their ages. In a handful of cases ... we have even measured the temperature of their upper atmospheres and [determined] their gaseous chemistry, finding substances like sodium, methane and water. No matter how conservative or optimistic we are, the statistics tell us that something like an astonishing one out of every seven stars must harbor a planet similar in size to the Earth, and at roughly the right orbital distance to allow for the possibility of a temperate surface environment. In other words, roughly 15 percent of all suns could, in principle, be hosting a place suitable for life as we know it. Since our galaxy contains at least 200 billion stars, this implies a vast arena for the universe’s ubiquitous carbon chemistry to play in — a process that, as here on Earth, might lead to the complex machinery of life. Indeed, there is a 95-percent confidence — give or take a few percent — that one of these worlds could be within a mere 16 light years of us.

Note: For fascinating testimony from top military and government officials revealing a major cover-up of the existence of UFOs and ETs, click here. For more on the nature of reality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.




Dolphins Use Names for Each Other
2013-07-24, ABC News
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:45:27
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/dolphins-names/story?id=19751193

They escape from aquarium tanks. They locate underwater mines. Now, a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science claims that dolphins recognized their own name when called. Vincent Janik, one of the authors of the study and a biology researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said that the name is actually a specific type of dolphin vocalization that the animals respond to. "They're these high pitched whistles that have a little bit of a melody," he told ABC News. These sounds are referred to as "signature whistles." Janik and his colleague, Stephanie King, cruised along the east coast of Scotland looking for bottlenose dolphins. After spotting and identifying a dolphin in the wild, the researchers would play one of three different sounds: a modified sound clip of that dolphin's signature whistle, a signature whistle of one of its podmates, or the signature whistle of a completely foreign dolphin. They played the dolphin's own signature whistle and the animal would come up and approach the boat and whistle back. However, the dolphin didn't respond to the other two types of whistles and mostly kept about its business. It may seem odd that the dolphins don't react much to the whistles of their fellow herdmates, but Janik says that copying a dolphin's signature whistle just right is part of their social group. "This copying only occurs between closely associated animals, like between mothers and their calves," he said. Dolphins only need to respond to their own signature whistles, since any socially relevant animal will have learned how to copy it. "It says to them, 'I know that this [whistle] is a friend.'"

Note: For an abstract of this intriguing study, click here. For more on the fascinating capabilities of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.





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