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5 good news stories to start your week

A round-up of the many wonderful events and initiatives making the world a better place
Blog 175 5 good news

Did you know that happiness is contagious? Finally, something we actually want to catch from the people around us! A study tracking the emotional responses of Facebook users found that reading positive posts from close ties triggers happiness in 64 per cent of people; it also helps them feel entertained and connected. So, if you feel like cheering up your teammates, family and friends, here are some happy news stories worth sharing.

  1. Drivers of London’s iconic black cabs pride themselves on their encyclopaedic knowledge of the city’s 60,000-odd streets and many (many) landmarks. Now, a team of drivers are sharing their incredible brainpower to advance research into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that taxi drivers’ brains are larger in the hippocampus region, which is linked to spatial navigation – and it’s this part of the brain that shrinks early in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The Taxi Brains project is helping researchers understand which parts of the hippocampus get bigger in relation to navigation ability, so they can develop diagnostics for early detection of the disease and treat patients sooner.
  2. There probably aren’t too many of us who like to idle away at the supermarket, but for people experiencing loneliness, interactions with staff offer a welcome opportunity to socialise. It’s for this reason that Dutch grocery chain Jumbo has introduced the ‘Kletskassa’ (‘chat checkout’), where people can head for a natter while their groceries are packed. The idea came to light as part of the Dutch government’s One Against Loneliness campaign, which encourages businesses, towns and various other groups to find solutions to the loneliness epidemic. Meanwhile, in the UK, a new ‘chatty benches’ initiative launched by TransPennine Express is encouraging people to strike up conversation while sitting on signposted benches at train stations. It all makes Australia’s designated ‘quiet’ train carriages seem a tad anti-social …
  3. The pandemic may have clouded our memory when it comes to cataclysmic events, but the Australian bushfires of 2019–20 are back on the radar, but this time in a more positive light. As the fires raged, around 715 million tonnes of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere; however, a new study suggests that around 80 per cent of this has already been absorbed by algal blooms that began growing when iron-rich ash from the fires rained down into the ocean. While it’s not yet known how long the carbon capture will last – and whether it will re-enter the atmosphere when the blooms die – it does offer a ray of hope that as the frequency of wildfires increases due to climate change, we may have a natural tool at our disposal to offset the emissions.
  4. Elsewhere in Australia, the world's oldest living rainforest – the Daintree – has been returned to its traditional Indigenous custodians in an historic handback ceremony. As part of the new agreement, four parks that encompass more than 160,000 hectares – stretching from Mossman to Cooktown and including the 180-million-year-old Daintree – will now be jointly managed by the Queensland Government and the eastern Kuku Yalanji people. Over time, the area will be run exclusively by First Nations people.
  5. A week before the far north Queensland handback ceremony (number 4 in our list), the United Nations brought together more than 20 heads of state, along with business, philanthropy and Indigenous leaders, to make conservation commitments at the Transformative Action for Nature and People event. Among many highlights, nine organisations joined forces to launch the Protecting Our Planet Challenge, pledging US$5 billion to conserve 30 per cent of the planet by 2030 and support Indigenous stewardship of native territories. This marks the largest private funding commitment ever to biodiversity. Several countries played their part too, with Costa Rica announcing it will increase its ocean protection targets; Nigeria will establish 10 new national parks; and Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia will become home to the ‘Amazon of Europe’, the world’s first five-nation biosphere reserve, which will comprise three rivers and span 700 km between the countries. That’s one productive day!

There you have it – happy stories to energise, entertain and enlighten. Be sure to spread the positivity!

– The Coach Place Global

Image @hatcreative

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