What a year it’s been! Was it really only in January that Biden was inaugurated – and the Olympics, did they actually happen?
In a final happy news round-up for 2021, we’ve collated six stories that have made us feel good this week:
- Let’s start with something wacky and wonderful: Canadian designer Luc Houle has created a shoe that becomes an apple tree once it’s no longer fit to be worn. Yes, you read that right: the ‘Johnny’ is a canvas shoe made from biodegradable materials. Like any shoe, it wears down over the years, but instead of ending up in the rubbish, it can be buried in the ground. Eighteen months later, an apple seed breaks free from the sole, giving the one-time shoe new life as a tree. Genius!
- In other environmental news, coral IVF
is the latest clever strategy being used to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here’s how it works: researchers collect coral eggs spawned from healthy reef systems and relocate them to areas where coral is sparse. Here, the ‘coral babies’ repopulate, reversing the effects of cyclones and bleaching events. Local tourism operators are even getting in on the act, lending a hand (and their boats) to gather eggs.
- Most of us complain about putting a load of washing on every few days, but for the huge number of people who don’t have access to an electric washing machine, doing the laundry not only consumes many hours, but impacts their health and livelihood. That’s why the off-grid, manual washing machine developed by Bath University student Nav Sawhney (03:04) is such a gamechanger. Reducing the time (and amount of water) it would normally take to hand wash clothes, this simple machine gives women and children in low-income and displaced communities more time, better health and control over their lives. Check out the initiative’s GoFundMe page here.
- We often share the latest updates on electric vehicle (EV) sales, but how’s this for exciting: the UK is introducing a rule that all new homes and buildings must be fitted with EV charging points from next year, along with any buildings undergoing major renovations. ‘Range anxiety’ will no longer be an excuse for EV detractors!
- Are you the kind of person who wears headphones during a flight, or do you prefer to have a chat with your neighbour? There’s good news if you belong to the latter group: researchers have found that people enjoy having deep and meaningful conversations with strangers, because they help us form connections and, in turn, feel happier. Forget chatting about your favourite show on Netflix: try asking someone what they feel most grateful for in their life. Go on, we dare you.
- And to finish on a festive note: we know giving makes us happy – and there’ll be plenty of that going around this month in Denver, US, where Giving Machines are making it easy for people to donate gifts to local charities. Just as you would with normal vending machines, people purchase items – anything from a $10 haircut to a $75 goat – which are then distributed to the groups they choose to help. It’s all part of a global initiative that gathered more than US$6 million in gifts in 2019.
We can’t wait to find out what 2022 has in store!
– The Coach Place Global
Image by @nadineshaabana
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