5 Positive News Stories to Lift Your Spirits This Week

end of the pandemic

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.

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.

COVID Could Be Over in a Year

Experts are predicting that the pandemic will be pretty much completely done and dusted within the next 12 months.

Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, has claimed the coronavirus could become like a cold by as soon as next spring. There is the suggestion that previous historical outbreaks of coronaviruses have eventually ended up mutating into simple colds as our bodies adapt to having them around.

He also claimed the UK “is over the worst” of the pandemic and things “should be fine” once winter has passed.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, the co-creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, has made similar claims and said Covid-19 will become like a cold as it is unlikely to mutate into a dangerous variant.

Moderna Inc Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel has also said that he thinks the coronavirus pandemic will be over in a year because increased vaccine production will ensure a global supply.

“If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this earth can be vaccinated. Boosters should also be possible to the extent required,” Bancel said.

After 18 months of the pandemic, seeing the COVID era close out for good in just one more year would be a phenomenal achievement of science, public health, and individual determination.

Spain is Banning The Sale of Fruit and Veg in Plastic

Fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging will no longer be allowed to be sold in Spanish supermarkets from 2023 according to new measures being drafted by the Ministry for Ecological Transition.

The new regulations will also encourage the sale of other items without plastic wrapping and seek to limit the sale of water in plastic bottles. Similar legislation has already been introduced in France which will go into effect in 2022.

The announcement comes as a win for environmental groups like Greenpeace who have been campaigning for years to stop retailers wrapping fresh produce in plastic.

Australia in Bloom

This year’s wildflower season has been one of the best ever thanks to a good wet season at the end of 2020 and into 2021.

Bryce Shannon from the Alice Springs Desert Park botany section has told the ABC that the wildflowers had responded well to the recent climatic conditions.

“We’ve had self-germination, we’ve had seed scatter, and we’ve had minimal planting from the nursery,” he said.

“We’ve had good coverage. We’ve had a nice diversity of colour, getting right around sand country as well.”

Image: Australian Desert Sturt Pea flowers in Alice Springs / Getty

In Adelaide, the city is celebrating Flower Day with a huge display of flowers throughout shops, retailers, and the CBD. Thousands of flowers have been given out in Adelaide as part of a historic event that ran in Adelaide from 1938 to 1975.

This year, the City of Adelaide has decided to bring the event back to encourage people back to work and to the urban areas that have been abandoned during the pandemic.

There are floral exhibits on O’Connell, Melbourne, Gilbert and Hutt streets, as well as at the Adelaide Town Hall and Central Market.

Also, in great Aussie news, Fraser Island has officially been renamed, using the indigenous name for the island that had been used by the Butchulla people for tens of thousands of years.

The world’s largest sand island is will now be referred to as K’gari – pronounced ‘Gurri’ – which means ‘paradise’ and is derived from the Dreamtime creation story of the land.

The Queensland government is finalising the name change after an official naming ceremony took place this week.

The World is Shifting on Climate Change

The world appears to be moving rapidly in the right direction on climate change as huge announcements were made at the UN General Assembly this week.

The US announced that it would be doubling a previous commitment to help developing nations transition to renewable energy sources from US$5.7 billion to US$11.4 billion.

China has joined Japan and South Korea in announcing that it will no longer fund international coal-fired power stations. This could see the end of 90% of new coal stations planned for the future and a new study has found that 76% of those planned since 2015 have since been scrapped.

Australia too looks set to announce its commitment to net zero by 2050 as the world looks towards the November UN climate meeting in Glasgow. This could be a huge turning point for international climate policy.

The EU is Phasing Out Animal Testing

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution that calls on the European Commission to draw up an action plan to phase out animal experiments. This is a momentous political victory in a region where recent setbacks have occurred for animals in laboratories.

While not legally binding, the resolution is a strong statement that covers all animal use for research, testing and education and the European Parliament appears to be recognising that science has evolved beyond the need for animal testing.

The Humane Society has said that “hastening the transition to human-focused approaches to testing and health research is in all our interests”.

“EU parliamentarians should be applauded for their vision and leadership, and other nations are encouraged to follow suit”.

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