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.
The Grant Study ... is now the longest longitudinal study of biosocial human development ever undertaken, and is still on-going. The study’s goal was to identify the key factors to a happy and healthy life. In 2009, I delved into the Grant Study data to establish a Decathlon of Flourishing - a set of ten accomplishments that covered many different facets of success. Two of the items in the Decathlon had to do with economic success, four with mental and physical health, and four with social supports and relationships. Then I set out to see how these accomplishments correlated, or didn’t, with three gifts of nature and nurture - physical constitution, social and economic advantage, and a loving childhood. The results were as clear-cut as they were startling. In contrast with the weak and scattershot correlations among the biological and socioeconomic variables, a loving childhood - and other factors like empathic capacity and warm relationships as a young adult - predicted later success in all ten categories of the Decathlon. What’s more, success in relationships was very highly correlated with both economic success and strong mental and physical health. In short, it was a history of warm intimate relationships ... that predicted flourishing. The Grant Study finds that nurture trumps nature. And by far the most important influence on a flourishing life is love. Not early love exclusively, and not necessarily romantic love. But love early in life facilitates not only love later on, but also the other trappings of success, such as high income and prestige.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
School lunches are undergoing a big change in Marin County [CA]. In fact, one school might be making food history. This is school lunch as a fine dining experience, with fresh flowers on each table and the chef sitting down to personally explain his menu; one he's made from scratch. And everything is 100 percent organic and non-genetically modified. The Marin City School District is said to be the first in the nation to offer that. "It's literally the best we can get, that's the starting point," said Judi Shils, director of Turning Green. "That's how we can begin to start making bodies healthy and minds healthy." Turning Green is a nonprofit that launched the Conscious Kitchen at Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in 2013 and this year added a second site. Some of the produce comes from the school's own garden. Because many of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, the federal government picks up the tab for the meals. But the Conscious Kitchen also has an influential local partner. Justin Everett, the acclaimed Executive Chef at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, consults on menus and mentors some of the students. "Food speaks to everybody and that's this great way that we can connect with kids," said Everett. For some, it's a learning process. "I didn't like everything," said one student. But most like the switch from pre-packaged foods. "It's fresh, doesn't have pesticides in it," said another student. A healthy breakfast and a snack are also served and educators say they've seen improvement in behavior and grades.
Note: This article neglected to mention that teachers at the school have reported that as a result of the dietary change, they have seen increased leadership qualities exhibited by students, improved academic performance, and a huge 67% decrease in disciplinary cases.
Free Money Day, being celebrated today, is an annual event where people hand out money to strangers, two notes or coins at a time, asking them to pass half on to someone else. Using fun and intrigue, the day encourages conversations about our broken financial system and how its very design increases inequality. The Free Money Day project began in 2011 when a number of researchers at the Post Growth Institute were looking for a way to engage the broader population in a conversation on financial reform. Four years later, more than 200 Free Money Day events spanning 41 countries have been held, and more than US$10,000 (Ł6,500) has been distributed. In Moerewa, New Zealand, for example, buskers Emma and Derek handed out money to people listening to their music. In Mexico City, Axel gave his money to people living on the streets with a request that they in turn pass half on to strangers. In Utah, Roger handed out two $1 bills to each of his restaurant co-workers. Others have taken the experiment beyond money. In 2012, Gonçalo’s video store in Lisbon, Portugal, for example, offered free movie rentals. In the same year, Layne and Patcharin in Chiang Mai, Thailand, were so inspired by the Free Money Day concept that they gave away half of their 14-acre land holding to begin a land trust for permaculture farmers. By exploring the real value of money, Free Money Day encourages people to consider how they can put it to better use.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Ra Paulette ... has been scraping and shaping New Mexico's sandstone into man-made caves of art. He calls them his wilderness shrines - massive in scale, poetic in their design. "I see this as an environmental project; I'm trying to open up people's feelings," he said. He has no degree in sculpting. He's not a structural engineer, and he's not an architect. He is simply a man who found his passion. "Most of the wonder that I feel is in the actual making of the caves," he said. "Once they're made, I move on, if I want fresh wonder." He's found that fresh wonder digging about a dozen caves so far, most commissioned by nearby residents who want a piece of livable art. One cave along the Rio Grande River even has power, a wood floor, and a colorful bathtub with running water. It took Paulette two years to dig. He charged a mere $12 an hour in labor. "You don't do this for the money, you're not getting rich off making these beautiful places," said Cowan. "No, it's the process, you know? I'm having the time of my life." Recently ... documentary filmmaker heard of the caves, and spent three years following Paulette as he dug. The result was a film so unique it was nominated for an Academy Award. Suddenly, Ra Paulette was a caveman with a following. Showing us his latest project, [he said], "This is the largest thing I've ever done." At 67, he'll be well into his 70s before he shares this cave with the world. He hopes those who come here will find in its solitude what Ra Paulette already has: a sense of peace, and purpose.
Note: These caves bear some similarity to the intriguing carved caves in New Mexico allegedly created by a group called the WingMakers.
Two movies on similar missions are opening within weeks of each other this season, “Racing Extinction” and “This Changes Everything,” both exploring the devastation humanity has wrought on the natural world. Yet rather than focusing only on what is dying and lost, both films offer messages of hope, profiling people who have helped stop ... the pillaging of wildlife and land. Naomi Klein, who adapted “This Changes Everything,” based on her book of the same name, said a film salesman ... told her that he would market the movie only if there was no reference to climate change in the marketing. If you beat people over the head with shame, guilt and despair ... people turn away and try to forget about it. Cognizant of such aversion, the teams behind each film ... developed similar plans: target the people most passionate about what’s at stake, and bank on them to draw in others. “We want to make sure we approach the core audience directly,” said Richard Abramowitz, whose company, Abramorama, is distributing both films. “Racing Extinction” got a head start with its message this summer when the director and his collaborators projected images of endangered animals onto the Empire State Building. “This Changes Everything”... focuses on grass-roots movements that thwarted oil companies and communities that embraced renewable energy. It’s all part of the effort to get people to see the movie and then take an action.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Medicine Hat, a city in southern Alberta, pledged in 2009 to put an end to homelessness. Now they say they've fulfilled their promise. No one in the city spends more than 10 days in an emergency shelter or on the streets. If you've got no place to go, they'll simply provide you with housing. "We're pretty much able to meet that standard today. Even quicker, actually, sometimes," [said] Mayor Ted Clugston. Clugston admits that when the project began in 2009, when he was an alderman, he was an active opponent of the plan. "I even said some dumb things like, 'Why should they have granite countertops when I don't,'" he says. "However, I've come around to realize that this makes financial sense." Clugston says that it costs about $20,000 a year to house someone. If they're on the street, it can cost up to $100,000 a year. "This is the cheapest and the most humane way to treat people," he says. "Housing First puts everything on its head. It used to be, 'You want a home, get off the drugs or deal with your mental health issues,'" Clugston says. "If you're addicted to drugs, it's going to be pretty hard to get off them, if you're sleeping under a park bench." And the strategy has worked. In Medicine Hat, emergency room visits and interactions with police have dropped. But there was one change that initially surprised Clugston — court appearances went up. "They end up dealing with their past, atoning for their sins," he says. Clugston believes that no one on the streets is unreachable.
After decades on the fringes, impact investing is going mainstream. Though the phrase isn’t yet commonplace, the concept is familiar enough to have spawned several monikers: values-based investing, green investing, mission-driven investing, sustainable investing, socially responsible investing, principled investing. Some 3,000 investors and entrepreneurs convened at Fort Mason this week to discuss the idea at SOCAP, the leading conference for people who want to support social innovation with their money. “Social-impact investors want to make sure they are doing good in the world but as a genuine investment, not philanthropy,” said Eryc Branham, CEO of MissionHub, which produces the conference. The rapidly growing field measures returns not just in dollars and cents but in social and environmental change. On the financial side, some investors accept lower returns as a trade-off for doing good. But they don’t necessarily have to. A new report from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that pursuing a social agenda doesn’t come at a financial price. After studying 53 funds with 557 investments, Wharton found that their rate of return from 2000 to 2014 was in line with benchmarks like the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. While impact investing amounts are still small compared with the multitrillion-dollar financial market, the potential for making a difference is immense.
Note: Learn how the microcredit movement is providing investors with financial returns while empowering small business owners and lifting people out of poverty.
Caitlin Prater-Haacke of Alberta, Canada was urged by bullies to kill herself, via Facebook post. Instead of sinking into negativity she turned the situation into a positive lesson. Lee Hirsch, director of the documentary “Bully,” which aired Monday on PBS Monday, is among those lending their support to Caitlin, who was reprimanded by her school for her “Positive Post-It Day” approach to bullies. In late September, someone broke into Caitlin’s locker at George McDougall High School in Airdrie, a community just north of Calgary, and wrote a Facebook status using Caitlin’s iPad that encouraged her to die. Rather than letting the bully win, the 11th grader wrote inspiring, positive, encouraging messages on 800 Post-It notes and left them around her school - with messages like "You're beautiful," "Love yourself," and "You're awesome.” Now her campaign has also taken to Twitter with the tag #PositivePostItDay. "Bullying is not necessarily addressed, and people get really down about it, I wanted to do something positive - it was about due time," Caitlin told the Toronto Sun. Caitlin’s town, led by a mayoral proclamation, banded together to launch a new anti-bullying campaign called “Positive Post-it Day” which encourages residents to leave anonymous notes of kindness for one another each year on Oct. 9. “What I really got out of this story is the way this student chose not to be derailed by this negative experience,” said Hirsch. “She became a role model to her classmates, teachers, her mayor and her town.”
Note: Watch a short video on this inspiring news story.
The FBI says crime rates, including murder, were down last year. The report is in contrast to headlines this year. In 2014 the U.S. recorded the fewest murders since 2009. Most other violent crimes, such as robbery, burglary, theft and arson have declined, while aggravated assaults and rapes, which now includes a broader definition, were on the rise in 2014. The 2014 numbers do not reflect an increase this year in murders and other violent crimes reported in some cities. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates highlighted progress made for cities compared to decades past. "We have witnessed a remarkable drop in crime since the 1980's - both violent crime and crime overall. Entire cities have been transformed, unlocking tremendous potential and releasing a wave of prosperity," Yates said, adding that "even though crime is trending downward in most places, we are seeing pockets of rising violence in various locations across the country." While the FBI has expanded the report to include new statistics such as hate crimes and human trafficking arrests, it addressed concerns of transparency in the reporting of potential violent crimes committed by law enforcement officers on civilians.
Note: This article, like almost all media articles on the topic, fails to report the incredible news that violent crime rates have dropped to 1/3 of what they were just 20 years ago. Why are they not highlighting this incredibly inspiring news? For details on this awesome development, see this excellent webpage. See also an excellent graph on this.
Sixteen countries have alerted the European Union that they want to opt out of E.U.-approved GM crops. Members of the economic bloc have until Oct. 3 to let the E.U. know if they were requesting to opt out of growing GMO produce from major companies like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer, and according to the Food Navigator, a food trade publication, countries including Germany, Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria and Cyprus recently filed their requests and applications, increasing the number to 16. In August, Scotland publicly said it would prohibit GMO crops out of concern that they could damage the country’s “clean and green” brand. “Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said in a statement at the time. “A growing number of governments are rejecting the commission’s drive for GM crop approvals,” Greenpeace’s E.U. food policy director Franziska Achterberg told the Guardian. “They don’t trust the E.U. safety assessments and are rightly taking action to protect their agriculture and food. The only way to restore trust in the E.U. system now is for the commission to hit the pause button on GM crop approvals and to urgently reform safety testing and the approval system.”
Note: Read also an article on how the American Academy of Pediatrics has cut ties with Monsanto. To understand the serious risks and dangers of GMOs, see this excellent summary of the acclaimed book "Seeds of Deception."
Plastic, long considered nonbiodegradable and one of the biggest contributors to global pollution, might have met its match: The small, brownish, squirmy mealworm. Researchers have learned that the mealworm can live on a diet of Styrofoam and other types of plastic. Inside the mealworm's gut are microorganisms that are able to biodegrade polyethylene, a common form of plastic, according to new studies published in Environmental Science and Technology. The findings could help solve the plastic pollution problem affecting the world. The research documented 100 mealworms that consumed 34 to 39 milligrams of Styrofoam, which is about the weight of a pill, every day. Scientists also paid attention to the mealworms' overall health and saw larvae that ate a diet subsisting strictly of Styrofoam were as healthy as mealworms eating a normal diet of bran, [and] transformed the plastic they ate into carbon dioxide, worm biomass and biodegradable waste. This waste seemed safe to use in soil for plants and even crops, the studies said. Being able to find insects that can safely degrade plastic is critical to potential pollution management because other insects such as cockroaches can also consume plastic, but they have not shown biodegradation.
The sleek race car dubbed 'Blade' didn't come off an assembly line - but out of a 3D printer. Kevin Czinger of Divergent Microfactories has spent most of his career in the automotive industry. One day he realized that no matter how fuel-efficient or how few tailpipe emissions the modern car has, the business of car manufacturing is destroying the environment. "3D printing of metal radically changes that," said Czinger. Currently cars are pieced together on long assembly lines inside large factories that use massive amounts of energy. Even the most fuel-efficient car has a large carbon footprint before ever leaving the plant. Czinger and his team's approach was to take the large plant out of the equation. To accomplish this they printed the modular pieces that are used to connect carbon rods that make up the Blade's chassis. The 3D printed chassis is only 102 pounds and has the same strength and safety protection as a frame made out of steel. By using carbon fiber instead of steel or aluminum for the body, the entire vehicle only weighs 1400 pounds (635kg). The Blade ... runs on natural gas, reducing its carbon footprint even further. The core enabling technology, the ability to print out car components that can be easily assembled, is what Kevin Czinger hopes will revolutionize car manufacturing. He says electric cars are a step in the right direction, but alone they won't be enough to curb greenhouse emissions given the projected rise in demand for cars globally unless the way they are manufactured changes.
Note: Watch a five-minute video showing this exciting process.
Sweden is moving to a six-hour working day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier. Employers across the country have already made the change, according to the Science Alert website, which said the aim was to get more done in a shorter amount of time and ensure people had the energy to enjoy their private lives. Toyota centres in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, made the switch 13 years ago, with the company reporting happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits in that time. Filimundus, an app developer based in the capital Stockholm, introduced the six-hour day last year. “The eight-hour work day is not as effective as one would think," Linus Feldt, the company’s CEO told Fast Company. Mr Feldt has said staff members are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and that other distractions during the day are eliminated - but the aim is that staff will be more motivated to work more intensely while in the office. He said the new work day would ensure people have enough energy to pursue their private lives when they leave work – something which can be difficult with eight-hour days.
Everybody knows about the spread of war, the rise of AIDS and other diseases, the hopeless intractability of poverty. One survey found that two-thirds of Americans believed that the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost doubled over the last 20 years. Another 29 percent believed that the proportion had remained roughly the same. That’s 95 percent of Americans — who are utterly wrong. In fact, the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty hasn’t doubled or remained the same. It has fallen by more than half, from 35 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2011 (the most recent year for which figures are available from the World Bank). The world’s best-kept secret is that we live at a historic inflection point when extreme poverty is retreating. United Nations members have just adopted 17 new Global Goals, of which the centerpiece is the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Their goals are historic. There will still be poor people, of course, but very few who are too poor to eat or to send children to school. Inequality [remains] a huge challenge in the U.S. But globally, inequality is diminishing, because of the rise of poor countries. The challenge now is to ensure that rich donor nations are generous in supporting the Global Goals — but also that developing countries do their part, rather than succumbing to corruption and inefficiency. So let’s get down to work and, on our watch, defeat extreme poverty worldwide. We know that the challenges are surmountable — because we’ve already turned the tide of history.
Amid a massive corruption scandal which has tarnished Brazil’s political class and driven the country’s president to the brink of impeachment, the Brazilian supreme court has banned corporate donations to candidates and parties in future elections. With eight votes in favour and three against, the court declared late on Thursday that the rules allowing companies to donate to election campaigns were unconstitutional. Rosa Weber, one of the judges who ruled in favour of the ban, argued that undue economic influence comprised the legitimacy of the country’s elections. “The influence of economic power has ended up transforming the electoral process into a rigged political game, a despicable pantomime which makes the voter a puppet, simultaneously undermining citizenship, democracy and popular sovereignty.” According to “The Spoils of Victory”, a US academic study into campaign donations and government contracts in Brazil, corporate donors to the PT in the 2006 elections received between 14 to 39 times the value of their donations in government contracts. The case was brought to the supreme court around one and a half years ago by the Order of Brazilian Attorneys (OAB). On Thursday the organization’s secretary general, Cláudio Pereira de Souza Neto, celebrated the decision. “It is what Brazilian society has been hoping for, even more so in these times of crisis,” he said, adding that the court order should make future elections cheaper.
Note: What do you think might happen if the US and Europe banned corporations from making political contributions? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of Mars from time to time, NASA scientists said Monday in revealing a potential breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth and human hopes to one day travel there. While the discovery doesn't by itself offer evidence of life on Mars, either past or present, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence. "The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water. It remains unclear where the water comes from. Alfred McEwen, who heads up NASA's HiRISE high-resolution camera aboard the Mars orbiter, said he's fairly confident life will one day be found on Mars. "It's very likely, I think, that there's life somewhere in the crust of Mars, microbes," he said. Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, said the discovery announced Monday puts NASA in a perfect position to look for that life.
A record-breaking distance has been achieved in the bizarre world of quantum teleportation. Scientists teleported photons (packets of light) across a spool of fiber optics 63 miles (102 kilometers) long, four times farther than the previous record. Quantum teleportation relies on the strange nature of quantum physics, which finds that the fundamental building blocks of the universe can essentially exist in two or more places at once. Specifically, quantum teleportation relies on an odd phenomenon known as "quantum entanglement," in which subatomic particles can become linked and influence each other instantaneously, regardless of how far apart they are. Scientists cannot distinguish the state of either particle until one is directly measured, but because the particles are connected, measuring one instantly determines the state of the other. Currently, physicists can't instantly transport matter (say, a human), but they can use quantum teleportation to beam information from one place to another. "What's exciting is that we were able to carry out quantum teleportation over such a long distance," study co-author Martin Stevens, a quantum optics researcher at the NIST in Boulder, Colorado. Quantum teleportation could enable the development of a "quantum Internet" that allows messages to be sent more securely, Stevens said. The scientists detailed their findings ... in the journal Optica.
A US billionaire is hoping to boost the morale of teachers in the US by increasing their pay packets out of his own pocket. Hedge fund manager Jim Simons is to offer an extra $15,000 (Ł10,000) a year to 800 mathematics and science teachers in the US. The founder of Renaissance Technologies, a company worth $22bn, said that the number of people being paid would increase. "We give them extra money, $15,000 a year. We have 800 math and science teachers in New York City in public schools today, as part of a core," said Simons, during a Ted talk interview. "There's a great morale among them. They're staying in the field. Next year, it'll be 1,000 and that'll be 10% of the math and science teachers in New York public schools." He said he hoped the scheme would incentivise good teaching. "Yeah — instead of beating up the bad teachers, which has created morale problems all through the educational community, in particular in math and science, we focus on celebrating the good ones and giving them status," Simons said. Teachers in the US are paid approximately $56,383 (Ł37,000) a year and Simons set up the Math for America 20 years ago with his wife, Marilyn, to promote mathematics teaching in the US.
It is hard for T. A. Barron – a Colorado native, former Rhodes Scholar, and author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books – to pick the young hero that impresses him the most. They all inspire the veteran writer. In 2001, Barron founded The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a program that strives to recognize and encourage the heroic efforts of young people and, as Barron describes it, “to spread the word about their examples as young heroes, so that other young people from all backgrounds will be inspired to do something themselves to make the world better.” In the 15 years since its founding, The Barron Prize has awarded more than $540,000 to some 364 young leaders. The honorees have come from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, and have collectively raised more than $15 million for their causes. “These kids are from every conceivable background,” Barron says, adding that their stories far outweigh any that he could pen. The latest batch of honorees will be announced Sept. 21, and will include Mary-Pat. Tired of attending more funerals than school graduations, she flew from Atlanta to Chicago, determined to receive help from Burrell Communications, one of the largest mutlicultural marketing firms in the world, for her “Think Twice” ad campaign against gun violence. Barron says he hopes the ever-growing list of prize winners will serve to inspire other young people.
Note: Don't miss the video of one of these inspiring teens available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Erik de Buhr ...has found his dream job in the construction industry. He uses his skills to build huts, 6-by-10-foot dwellings. Then he gives them away. For the past three years, these small dwellings have become a home for the homeless in Eugene, [Oregon]. Teaming up with 12 local churches, de Buhr and his wife, Fay, are giving people who have been living on the streets a safe place to sleep. So far they’ve placed 49 huts in the community, serving 100-plus homeless people. [They also provide] a bridge to other programs. Whether the need is drug rehabilitation or job training, getting eyeglasses or going to a dentist, de Buhr and the churches he partners with can point the way. The emphasis is always on the next step. “We foster a culture of self-improvement,” de Buhr says. “That’s what’s rewarded in our camps.” The idea is to move homeless people from needing assistance to living on their own. “We encourage people to find ways not to be a burden on the social services,” de Buhr says. “And also for their own well-being not to become dependent on those social services.” But in some situations those services are very much needed, he agrees, such as for people with ongoing disabilities or mental health problems. “But if you have the capacity to improve your situation, and also live with a certain self-confidence, that’s what we want to see,” de Buhr says. He, Fay, and their 6-year-old son live in a 6-by-10-foot hut behind their renovated office building. Next door to them are six other huts, temporary homes for homeless people.