5 Positive News Stories to Lift Your Spirits This Week

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Positive News is an ongoing series from The Latch turning the spotlight on all the good in the world that you may have missed.

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.

Here are five of the best news stories we’ve seen this week to put a spring in your step and make the world feel just that little bit brighter.

The Earth is Greener Now Than It Was 20 Years Ago

The Earth has 5% more greenery than it did 20 years ago, according to new satellite imagery from NSASA.

For over two decades, the US space organisation has been tracking vegetation growth on the planet using something called a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer. This gives super-accurate information on how trees, plants, and forests are growing across the globe.

5% equates to about the same size as the Amazon rainforest, or two million square kilometres more trees than in 2002.

China has been at the forefront of forest growth, with 11% more coverage in the last 10 years. India has also seen gains of 7% while Australia sits at just 3%, which is still above the global average.

‘Stolen’ Charles Darwin Notebooks Returned 22 Years Later

Two notebooks written by the granddaddy of evolution, Charles Darwin, during his time at Cambridge University after returning from the Galapagos Islands, were found to have been stolen from the university in the year 2000.

These books contain some of Darwin’s earliest theories on evolution, including the famous ‘tree of life’ drawing that outlines his thinking on species development. They are considered priceless, or at least worth many millions of dollars.

This week though, the books mysteriously turned up a year after the BBC ran a special on them and their significance. The books had been carefully wrapped and placed in a bright pink gift bag outside the door of university librarian, Dr Jessica Gardner.

The books are described as being in perfect condition and came with a note that simply read “Librarian, Happy Easter, X.” Police are investigating their return but Gardner has said she is just happy to have them back.

“There have been tears,” she said. “And I think there still will be, because we are not over the emotional rollercoaster. It means so much to us to have these home.”

“I thought it might take years. My sense of relief at the notebooks’ safe return is profound and almost impossible to adequately express. I was heartbroken to learn of their loss and my joy at their return is immense.”

Frenchman Donates €200 Million Lottery Win to The Planet

In 2020, the French winner of the Euromillions jackpot said that he dreamed not of buying a luxury yacht or a mansion but instead of creating a foundation for the preservation of the planet with his winnings.

Now, two years later, almost all of the €200 million (AU $290 million) he won at the time has been donated to the Anyama Foundation by the anonymous winner who created the institution.

The foundation is named after a tower in Côte d’Ivoire where the winner is thought to have lived. In an open letter, he wrote that most of the money would be focused on preventing logging in the region and protecting forests.

“During my life, I have witnessed in Côte d’Ivoire the incessant passage of trucks loaded with trees cut in the forests of Burkina Faso. This ballet of trucks marked me a lot, outraged me,” he wrote.

He has said that he now plans to “continue to live peacefully, in the most total discretion,” while continuing to fight for the planet with his money.

Flamingo That Escaped a Zoo 17 Years Ago Found Alive and Well

An African Flamingo, named Pink Floyd, made a daring break for freedom from a zoo in Kansas in 2005 after zookeepers forgot to clip his wings.

The bird hasn’t been seen since, and it was assumed that he hadn’t survived in the wild. Then, this week, a fisherman in Texas spotted him on the Gulf Coast. The bird was identified as Pink because of the ring on his leg identifying him as flamingo No 492 – the same that escaped from the zoo in Kansas.

So far, there are no plans to capture the bird and return him to captivity. Instead, he is free to live his fugitive life in peace.

Fortnite Gamers Have Raised US $144 Million for Ukraine 

While there have been a lot of incredible stories about the support and love people have shown those fleeing the war in Ukraine, few are as big as this one.

Gamers who play the popular battle royale game Fortnite have managed to raise a collective US $144 million (AU $192.5 million) to donate to humanitarian causes in Ukraine.

The game’s developer, Epic Games, ran the fundraiser for two weeks on the platform, donating all proceeds from the game during that time to Ukraine.

Groups like Direct Relief, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Food Programme, will all receive part of the funding.

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