Life is tough and the news cycle ain’t helping anything right now. Disaster, drama, and death sell papers and get eyeballs on the page but they don’t do much for our mental health.
If you’ve felt like simply switching off from the constant barrage of updates charting the world’s lurch from one crisis to the next, we’re here to provide you with a much-needed antidote.
Good stuff happens all the time. It just doesn’t get quite the same coverage as bad stuff. That means we end up thinking that everything that’s going on in the world is terrible when it really isn’t.
So, here are five of the best news stories from the past week that will put a spring in your step and give you a little something to smile about.
Melbourne Emerges From Sixth (and Hopefully Final) Lockdown as Australia Opens Up
We’re back, baby! Australia has hit some incredible milestone in the past week and it’s looking like we might very well have this whole pandemic thing done and dusted soon.
Melbourne has emerged from lockdown after nearly three months as Victoria hit 70% double dose vaccination in the over 16 population. Here’s everything you can do from today and what the future roadmap looks like for the state.
Sydney passed 80% double dose vaccination on Sunday, triggering ‘freedom day 2’ just a week after the first lifitng of lockdown restrictions. The state now has over 83% of its population fully vaccinated and flights are gearing up to return to pre-pandemic travel.
Queensland too has put in place its pandemic roadmap which will allow the vaccinated to travel without the need for quarantine into the state by Christmas.
While it still might take a while to fully return to normal and for the dust to settle on this whole thing, the future is looking well and truly bright.
New Zealand Becomes First Country to Force Banks to Act on Climate
While our own government dithers on climate change targets before the big Glasgow climate summit at the end of the month, it’s comforting to know that at least some nations are stepping up.
Our neighbours are leading the way on new financial regulations that will force banks, insurers, and investment managers to disclose and act on climate risks and opportunities. This means they have to take climate change into account when financing business and it could stop investment into environmentally damaging projects.
“We have an opportunity to pave the way for other countries to make climate-related disclosures mandatory,” climate change minister James Shaw said.
“New Zealand is a world-leader in this area and the first country in the world to introduce mandatory climate-related reporting for the financial sector.”
In related news, Amazon, Ikea and seven other major commercial retailers have signed a commitment to ensure their products are shipped in a zero-carbon way by 2050. It’s a huge and necessary step as shipping accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s carbon emissions.
An Ocean Clean Up Project Removed 9,000kgs of Plastic From the Ocean
You may remember the Dutch teenager, Boyan Slat, who announced nearly a decade ago that he had a plan to clean up the worlds oceans. The now 27-year-old is the founder of the company Ocean Cleanup which aims to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
The company has been plagued by failures in trying to get their cleaning equiptment to work but, last week, they debuted a new prototype they call ‘Jenny’ which has managed to pull in 9,000kgs of floating plastic from the ocean.
The team are currently using the plastic to create sunglasses but hope to partner with retailers in the future to create more recycled clothing.
They estimate that with 10 Jennys, they could clean up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years. Each of the devices can hold between 10 and 15,000kgs of plastic each.
Booster Shots Offer Almost Complete Immunity to COVID
The first full trial of booster jabs has shown that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine provides “excellent” immunity.
In the study of 10,000 people, those who received a third injection of the Pfizer vaccine almost a year after their first two saw protection against symptomatic infection soar compared with those who had had just two doses.
Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said: “These two studies show the booster jab provides excellent protection against both mild and more serious Covid-19 infections so should both reduce the infection rates in the community and the pressure on hospital services.”
In the UK, where the booster jab programme is being rolled out, there are signs that the vaccines are already having an effect, with infections in the 80+ category starting to drop off.
Sikh Hikers Save Two Men Trapped in a Waterfall Using Their Turbans
In another seriously uplifting display of the incredible benevolence of Sikh people, who are always first to show up to any natural disaster, a group of Sikh men managed to rescue two stuck hikers using their turbans.
Kuljinder Kinda and his four friends were hiking in British Columbia, Canada when they heard that two men had fallen down a cliff and couldn’t get up from the base of a waterfall.
The turban is a sacred article of clothing in Sikhi and deeply personal, but the group decided they could use their hair wraps to save the two men below and set about tying them together along with other pieces of clothing.
“In Sikhi, we are taught to help someone in any way we can with anything we have, even our turban,” Kinda said.
“We just really cared about the safety of the men.”
The rescued pair thanked their rescuers before walking on.