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.
Photographer Niki Boon and her husband, Rob, decided to home-school their four children when they moved to a rural region of New Zealand. Instead of following a fixed and rigid curriculum, each child explores his or her curiosities on the family's 10-acre property in Blenheim, surrounded by waters and bushes and hills. Boon began studying photography so she could represent her children's lives better. Her photo series "Wild and Free" is a dreamy black-and-white glimpse into a childhood spent among nature and the environment. The ... decision to raise her children this way actually stems from a form of education named after Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher. Boon's eldest son, Kurt, is now 13 years old and spent a year at a Rudolf Steiner school. The school did not have computers and encouraged families not to have TVs, Boon says. "We embraced this completely and fully and we loved the idea so much," she said. "We got rid of our TV, and we haven't had one since." Kurt, Rebecca, Anton and Arwen not only don't watch TV, but they don't use any kind of modern electronic devices, either - no computers, no smartphones. Boon ... says her children haven't shown interest in using any kind of technologies yet - but if any of them were to start developing an interest, she and her husband would look into it at that stage. "They live in the minute," Boon said. "They don't want to know what happened yesterday or what happened even that morning. They just want to know what's happening now."
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Griffin Furlong is a Florida teenager who knows something about heartaches and joy. The 18-year-old is homeless, but he graduated at the top of his class from Florida Coast High School. Furlong managed to achieve a 4.65 grade point average ... making him the valedictorian. He’ll attend Florida State University in the fall. “Everyone thinks I try to make good grades because I’m smart. Not true,” he told his fellow graduates. “I perform the way that I do in the classroom because I have everything to lose.” Furlong’s mother died of leukemia when he was just 6 years old. Soon afterward, Furlong, his father, and older brother lost their home and ended up in homeless shelters. Furlong said he often went to bed hungry and there were times when he wanted to give up. He sought temporary shelter with his girlfriend’s parents then moved in with an aunt and uncle, who said Furlong had laser-like focus on his school work. “He had nothing else but to study," said his aunt, Nancy Nancarrow. “He didn’t have the things that most children have. He would go to his room when he was home and he studied. That is his entertainment. We’re proud of him.” Now, [Furlong] says he hopes his story inspires other kids who are also facing hardships. “Despite the obstacles I faced, I know that I can actually do something with education.” His only wish, he said, is that his mother could see him deliver his speech. “Don’t dwell on the past, use it as motivation for your future,” he told the graduates. “It’s amazing what you can do with your life when you have motivation, ambition and most importantly, a purpose.”
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She could easily be mistaken for someone 30 years younger but this woman is actually turning 105 tomorrow. And she looks incredible. Eileen Ash, who lives in Norwich, spends her days doing yoga and driving around in her signature yellow Mini car. And there’s no sign of her slowing down anytime soon. Her secret? Eating healthy and two glasses of red wine a day she says. The 104-year-old, who once played Test cricket for England women, told BBC Norfolk: "I’d like to know when I’m going to be old. Do you think it will be when I’m 105?" Eileen made her debut for the ladies team at The Oval in London in 1937. She then went on to play for her country until 1949 and has previously said her proudest moment was scoring a century. When asked if she suffers from aches and pains, she cheekily answered: "Not yet, when I’m older, I will apparently, but what is old?" Age is clearly just a number, Eileen. Keep doing you.
Note: Watch a great, one-minute video of this inspiring woman on this BBC webpage.
In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. Why? A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In one ... experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who did feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed. Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve. As the 13th-century Buddhist sages taught, “If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one’s own way.” Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives. In Germany, people who seek to serve society are five times likelier to say they are very happy than those who do not view service as important. Selflessness and joy are intertwined. Everyone has something valuable to share. We should start each day by consciously asking ourselves, “What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?” We need to make sure that global brotherhood and oneness with others are not just abstract ideas that we profess, but personal commitments that we mindfully put into practice.
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The world’s biggest marine reserve, almost as large as Alaska, will be established in the Ross Sea in Antarctica under an agreement reached by representatives of 24 nations and the European Union. The policy makers and scientists agreed unanimously to create a zone that will encompass 600,000 square miles of ocean. Commercial fishing will be banned from the entire area, but 28 percent of it will be designated as research zones, where scientists can catch limited amounts of fish and krill, tiny invertebrates that provide food for whales, penguins, seals and other animals. The area, which is mostly contiguous and hugs the coast off the Ross Sea ice shelf, will come under protection on Dec. 1, 2017, and remain a reserve for 35 years. The agreement was reached in Hobart, Tasmania, at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Protecting the Ross Sea, in the Southern Ocean, had been on the commission’s agenda for around six years, and conservationists had been arguing for a no-fishing zone there for a decade, said Andrea Kavanagh, a director of the Southern Oceans Sanctuaries Campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington. “This is a great result for quiet diplomacy and honest toil,” New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, said from Auckland. “The fact that an agreement like this can be reached ... when there are so many difficulties, so many other political differences happening elsewhere ... is pleasing.”
Two weeks ago, a small group of Israeli women set off on a protest march to Jerusalem from northern Israel to demand that the Israeli government restart a peace process with the Palestinians. After reaching the Palestinian city of Jericho ... the core group of 20 women were joined by more than 3,000 others, including about 1,000 Palestinian women. Although most of the Palestinians could not proceed beyond the barrier that separates the West Bank from Israel, the Israeli women headed for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s formal residence, where they held an emotional rally. The group, which calls itself Women Wage Peace, is made up of women from across the political spectrum and the religious divide. At the rally, many held banners reading, “Right, Center and Left are all calling for an agreement, Women Wage Peace.” The movement was founded two years ago after the Gaza war, when many Israeli mothers had to send their sons to fight. More than 10,000 women have registered with the group. “I came because I want to see a peace agreement with the Palestinians,” said Tanya Harkavi ... a mother and a grandmother. [Harkavi] said that women are better positioned to solve disputes because of their roles within the family and that it was time they become involved in the dispute with the Palestinians, too. “Two years ago, my son was in the army; he fought in the Gaza war. I decided then that I did not want to launder army uniforms anymore. I want peace,” said [group member] Miki Rom.
Note: Don't miss the stunning pictures of this heart warming movement 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.
Four Australian Catholic organisations have announced they are completely divesting from coal, oil and gas in what they say is the first joint Catholic divestment anywhere in the world. The move comes as prominent Jewish rabbis, Muslim clerics, Anglican bishops and other religious leaders call on the Australian government to protect the Great Barrier Reef, stop approving coalmines and remove subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, in an open letter published by the Guardian. The divestment announcement ... and letter were coordinated by the multi-faith group the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, in partnership with the environmental group 350.org. It comes a year after Pope Francis, in his second encyclical, Laudato Si’, called on all people – not just Catholics – to take “swift and unified global action” to protect the environment and stop global warming. At the time the papal intervention was labelled “explosive” and “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years”. The multi-faith open letter ... reads: “So far, the election debates have failed to assign due priority to global warming. Neither of the major parties currently plan to wind back coal and gas mining.”
Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Department of Energy lab in Tennessee, have discovered a mechanism for converting carbon dioxide into ethanol. Their method takes advantage of nanotechnology, creating a catalyst that produces ethanol from a solution of carbon dioxide in water. “We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked,” said Adam Rondinone, the lead author of a new study in the journal ChemistrySelect. “We were trying to study the first step of a proposed reaction when we realized that the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own.” The discovery may change the way we think about carbon dioxide. If it could be captured and turned into a fuel, then carbon dioxide – the earth-polluting byproduct of global dependence on fossil fuels – could help high-energy societies work toward energy independence. Repurposing carbon dioxide could be invaluable for the environment, the researchers say. Converting it into ethanol can turn a greenhouse gas into a gasoline-like fuel source. Ethanol contains one-third less energy than gasoline but produces far fewer byproducts when burned in engines, which can limit further carbon emissions. “Closing the carbon cycle by utilizing CO2 as a feedstock for currently used commodities, in order to displace a fossil feedstock, is an appropriate intermediate step towards a carbon-free future,” the researchers wrote in the study.
Life's been full of uncertainties for Reuben Nsemoh lately. Ever since he suffered a concussion in a soccer game, the suburban Atlanta teen's worried about why it's so hard for him to concentrate. He's fretted over whether he'll ever get to play his favorite sport. But the biggest stumper of all: how is it that he's suddenly speaking fluent Spanish? Nsemoh, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, ended up in [a] coma last month after another player kicked him in the head during a game. When he woke up, he did something he'd never done before: speak Spanish like a native. His parents said he could already speak some Spanish, but he was never fluent in it until his concussion. Slowly, his English is coming back, and he's starting to lose his Spanish fluency. Foreign accent syndrome is an extremely rare condition in which brain injuries change a person's speech patterns, giving them a different accent. The first known case was reported in 1941. Since then there have been a few dozen reported cases. Three years ago, police found a Navy vet unconscious in a Southern California motel. When he woke up, he had no memory of his previous life, and spoke only Swedish. In Australia, a former bus driver got in a serious car crash that left her with a broken back and jaw. When she woke up, she was left with something completely unexpected: a French accent. And earlier this year, a Texas woman who had surgery on her jaw, has sported a British accent ever since.
The president of America’s largest police management organization on Monday issued a formal apology to the nation’s minority population “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.” Terrence M. Cunningham, the chief of police in Wellesley, Mass., delivered his remarks at the convention in San Diego of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose membership includes 23,000 police officials in the United States. The statement ... comes as police executives continue to grapple with tense relationships between officers and minority groups in the wake of high-profile civilian deaths in New York, South Carolina, Minnesota and elsewhere, the sometimes violent citizen protests which have ensued as well as the ambush killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Cunningham continued, “While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future ... For our part, the first step is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.” He concluded, “It is my hope that, by working together, we can break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all.” Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, applauded Cunningham’s statement. “It seems to me that this is a very significant admission,” Robinson said.
More than a decade of research has been investigating how different types of purchases affect our well-being, and it can help us turn spending into a happiness practice in its own right. The key, it seems, is to spend money in ways that bring you closer to other people. In 2003, researchers found that buying experiences - like seeing a Broadway play or going for coffee with a friend - improves our well-being more than buying possessions. Not all experiences are created equal, though. In a 2013 study, when researchers separated out experiential purchases into social ones and solitary ones - going out to dinner with friends or alone, for example - participants reported that the solitary experiences brought just as little happiness as the material things. If you want to bond with other people, you could buy experiences to have with them - or you could spend money on them directly. In a 2008 study, researchers gave each participant up to $20 to spend on themselves or on others that same day, then called after 5 p.m. to see how they were feeling. In the end, contrary to expectations, participants reported being happier after treating others rather than treating themselves. In the end, though, the best way to cultivate happiness through spending may be not to focus on spending so much in the first place. It’s certainly misguided to stake all our hopes of happiness on our purchases.
Natalie Hampton doesn't just have memories of being bullied in middle school; she has actual scars. Now 16 and a high-school junior ... Natalie said, "Apart from the horrific attacks, the worst thing was being treated as an outcast and having to eat lunch alone every day. I believe that being isolated branded me as a target." After switching schools ... Natalie found a supportive new friend group, but she never forgot how it felt to be the outcast. "Whenever I saw someone eating alone, I would ask that person to join our table, because I knew exactly how they felt. I saw the look of relief wash over their faces," she said. Her experiences inspired Natalie to create a new app called Sit With Us. The app allows students to reach out to others and let them know they are welcome to join them at their tables in the school cafeteria. Kids can look at the list of "open lunches" in the app and know that they have an open invitation to join with no chance of rejection. "Sit With Us ambassadors take a pledge that they will welcome anyone who joins and include them in the conversation. To me, that is far better than sitting alone," said Natalie. "Even though just about every school has bullies, I believe each school has a larger number of upstanders who want to make their schools more inclusive and kind," she said.
For the past 288 days, Spain has plodded along without an elected national government. For some Spaniards, this is a wonderful thing. “No government, no thieves,” said Félix Pastor, a language teacher who, like many voters, is fed up with the corruption and scandals that tarnished the two previous governing parties. Mr. Pastor, a wiry, animated 59-year-old, said Spain could last without a government “until hell freezes over” because politicians were in no position to do more harm. More than anything, the crisis seems to have offered a glimpse of life if politicians simply stepped out of the way. For many here, it has not been all that bad. “Spain would be just fine if we got rid of most of the politicians,” Rafael Navarro, 71, said inside his tiny storefront pharmacy in Madrid. Too little government is better than too much, he said. Budget money is still flowing. Government ministries are functioning. Social service recipients and civil servants are being paid. Even if no new government has been formed when the 2016 national budget expires this fall, the old budget will simply become the new budget for 2017. But ... nobody is proposing legislation, debating international affairs or even rotating Spain’s ambassadors. Growth is forecast to be 2.9 percent this year, almost twice the 1.6 percent eurozone average. Interest and energy rates are at historic lows. Spain, a tourism superpower, expects 74 million visitors this year. But after trudging to the polls twice already in the last year, weary voters are in no mood to vote again.
Andrew Short lives with spastic cerebral palsy, which he contracted during birth. Cerebral palsy is a disorder that effects muscle tone, movement and motor skills, but despite impaired speech Andrew’s disability doesn’t impair his mind, and he learned to read early. “I speak three languages,” said Andy. “English, German, and spastic. Spastic is my mother tongue." Andrew is currently completing a Masters Degree in Disability Studies, but his most impressive achievement has been walking the Kokoda Trail, which he describes as “the toughest physical challenge of [his] life”. In Andy’s late twenties, his motor function appeared to begin deteriorating. “We were told to accept that that's what it would be,” said [Andrew's father] David. Instead, David and Andrew began researching the emerging field of neuroplasticity ... inspired by the seminal [book], “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science”. Andrew’s physical condition is due in part to his trainer, Lee Campbell, a former army trainer and Sydney Swans team member. The two have been training together for five and a half years, and in that time Lee estimates that his physical condition has risen from 2.5 to a 7 or 8. “You watch Andy pull a sled with 20 or 30 kilos of weights in it, he stands up, his posture is corrected,” said Lee. “His finer motor skills now are getting refined. He can hold things, he can cook, he can do his buttons up.” Right now, they’re training together for Andy’s next endeavour, walking the Great Wall of China.
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A Facebook post written by a white police officer who had recently pulled over a black man for texting while driving has gone viral. Garden City Lieutenant Tim McMillan writes he pulled over the man and, when he approached his vehicle, the man was visibly shaken and seemed terrified. The man asked McMillan what he wanted him to do. McMillan told the man he just didn’t want him to get hurt. The man asked if McMillan wanted him to exit the vehicle, and McMillan told him no and he didn’t want him to text and drive. He continued, saying he wanted his mother to “always have her baby boy.” McMillan also writes in the post he doesn’t care who is at fault for young black men being afraid of police officers but he wishes somebody would fix it. The post has over 1,500 likes and has been shared over 1,000 times. Many people have sounded off around the world, including Girlie Waaka in New Zealand, who commented “I live in New Zealand and your heart warming story has given me a little more faith in humanity. We only hear all of the bad things that are going on in the world, I wish there were more people like you out there Lt. Tim McMillan, you are truly a hero ... God Bless you & your family.”
Sunshine and seawater. That’s all a new, futuristic-looking greenhouse needs to produce 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year in the South Australian desert. It’s the first agricultural system of its kind in the world and uses no soil, pesticides, fossil fuels or groundwater. As the demand for fresh water and energy continues to rise, this might be the face of farming in the future. An international team of scientists have spent the last six years fine-tuning the design – first with a pilot greenhouse built in 2010; then with a commercial-scale facility that began construction in 2014 and was officially launched today. Seawater is piped ... to Sundrop Farm. A solar-powered desalination plant removes the salt, creating enough fresh water to irrigate 180,000 tomato plants inside the greenhouse. Scorching summer temperatures and dry conditions make the region unsuitable for conventional farming, but the greenhouse is lined with seawater-soaked cardboard to keep the plants cool enough to stay healthy. In winter, solar heating keeps the greenhouse warm. There is no need for pesticides as seawater cleans and sterilises the air, and plants grow in coconut husks instead of soil. The farm’s solar power is generated by 23,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight towards a 127-metre high receiver tower. On a sunny day, up to 39 megawatts of energy can be produced – enough to power the desalination plant and supply the greenhouse’s electricity needs. Tomatoes produced by the greenhouse have already started being sold in Australian supermarkets.
Two undergraduate students at the University of Washington have worked to invent a new way to communicate. Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor won a $10,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize - a nationwide search for the most inventive ... students - for their invention, SignAloud gloves, which can translate American Sign Language into speech or text. “Our purpose for developing these gloves was to provide an easy-to-use bridge between native speakers of American Sign Language and the rest of the world,” Azodi told UW Today. “The idea initially came out of our shared interest in invention and problem solving. But coupling it with our belief that communication is a fundamental human right, we set out to make it more accessible to a larger audience.” Each of the SignAloud gloves has sensors that record movement and gestures then transmit the info wirelessly to a central computer. The computer then looks at the data, and if it matches a gesture, then the associated word or phrase is spoken through a speaker. “The sign language translation devices already out there are not practical for everyday use. Some use video input, while others have sensors that cover the user’s entire arm or body,” Pryor [said]. “Our gloves are lightweight, compact and worn on the hands, but ergonomic enough to use as an everyday accessory, similar to hearing aids or contact lenses.”
As the Syrian peace accord has crumbled - even threatening to reignite the Cold War - and barrel bombs continue to fall on the rebel-held city of Aleppo, many are fleeing the death and destruction. But one group of residents has vowed to stay behind and help. They are the "White Helmets," a volunteer team of first responders who plunge head-first into crumbling buildings to save civilians trapped in the rubble of Syria's brutal civil war. Named after their iconic protective headgear, the group of about 3,000 rescue workers have reportedly saved more than 60,000 lives since the civil war began. In August, their courage garnered international attention when they rescued 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, the stunned little boy covered in dust and blood whose photo shocked the world. They have since been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The heroism of these ordinary citizens - former doctors, shopkeepers, and teachers - is profiled in a 40-minute Netflix documentary. "These are very normal, ordinary people who now do one of the most extraordinary jobs on this planet," said the film's director, Orlando von Einsiedel. "They represent the best of what humanity can be," he said. "It has given us faith in humanity and has made us want to be better people."
Note: When the media seems to want us to hate Muslims, it's so important to read about the beautiful examples of these heroes. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
There's increasing evidence to show that trees are able to communicate with each other. More than that, trees can learn. When you discover how trees talk to each other, feel pain, nurture each other, even care for their close relatives and organise themselves into communities, it's hard to be sceptical. The support they give each other is not random. Research by Professor Massimo Maffei at the University of Turin shows trees can distinguish the roots of their own species from other plants, and even pick out their own relations from other trees. Some are so tightly connected at the roots that they even die together, like a devoted married couple. Diseased or hungry individuals can be identified, supported and nourished until they recover. They can also send warnings using chemical signals and electrical impulses through the fungal networks that stretch under the soil between sets of roots. These fungi operate like fibre-optic internet cables. Their thin filaments penetrate the earth, weaving through it in almost unbelievable density. One teaspoon of forest soil contains many miles of these tendrils. Over centuries, if left undisturbed, a single fungus can cover many square miles and create a network throughout an entire forest. Through these links, trees can send signals about insects, drought and other dangers. News bulletins are transmitted by chemical compounds and also by electricity. Most of us see trees as practically inanimate. But the truth is very different. They are just as intensely alive as we are ... and for much, much longer.
Note: The above article was adapted from Peter Wohlleben's book, "The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate - Discoveries From A Secret World." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the face of a changing climate and the challenges that come with it, companies the world over have been attempting to pull solutions out of thin air - literally. There are firms turning air into fuel and others transforming it into stone. Some are even extracting clean drinking water from it. Israel’s Water-Gen has built devices that create and store drinking water by harvesting condensation from the air. It was among a group of Israeli firms that presented their technological innovations at the United Nations General Assembly last week. “Put simply, [our technology] leverages the same process as a dehumidifier, but instead captures and cleans the moisture,” said Arye Kohavi, Water-Gen’s CEO. “This ‘plug-and-drink’ technology is fully independent of existing water infrastructure. All we require is an electrical outlet and the humidity found in the air.” Water-Gen isn’t the only company to market such a technology, but it says its machines ... are far more energy-efficient than any other water production device. “Our technology takes one-fifth of the amount of energy used by other methods,” Kohavi said. Water-Gen estimates the water its machines generates would cost less than 10 cents per gallon. The smallest device can yield up to 5 gallons daily, while the largest can produce more than 800 gallons a day. “We think it’s possible to bring drinking water to all countries,” Maxim Pasik, Water-Gen’s chairman, [said] in an interview. “What’s important for us is to bring water to the people. This is a basic human right.”