Five Good News Stories (March 2021 Edition)
We're currently enduring the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years. Life on earth has undergone many dramatic changes and a return to 'normal' still feels a long way off. But we do live in profoundly progressive times, with modern humans continuing to make amazing discoveries and breakthroughs.
Here are five good news stories to provide respite from the doom and gloom of a regular news bulletin.
Eurasian cranes return to British wetlands – 400 years after UK extinction
The common crane has not lived and bred in Britain since the 1600s. While the large, stately creatures have lived on in continental Europe, their UK population died out in the 17th century as a result of hunting and wetland degradation. But thanks to an ongoing conservation effort led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust, cranes are back on our shores.
The project involves bringing common cranes (also known as Eurasian cranes) from Germany into breeding sites in UK wetlands. The translocation has been going on for over a decade and at last count, there were nearly 200 individual cranes living in the UK, chiefly in the southwest.
The idea is not simply to bring cranes back to an area where they once prospered, but to boost overall wetland biodiversity so as to take advantage of these ecosystems' ability to store more carbon than forests.
The 102-storey Empire State Building is now entirely powered by wind energy
Formerly the world's tallest building and still ranked in the global top-50, the Empire State Building is one of the most iconic person-made monoliths in existence. Its stunning art deco façade is recognised the world-over, having featured in more films, TV shows and adverts than we could possibly enumerate.
And now the 102-storey NYC skyscraper will be completely powered by renewable wind energy. That's a result of a new partnership with Green Mountain Energy, who will also provide electricity for 13 other office buildings owned by the Empire State Realty Trust.
The three-year deal with Green Mountain will rule out the production of an estimated 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide. Not only is the carbon neutrality great news for the planet, but renewable energy is also much cheaper, with the ESRT expected to save upwards of $US800,000 in the first year of its new contract.
11-year-old footballer completes 7.1 million keepy-uppies in tribute to key workers
The story of 11-year-old footballer Imogen Papworth-Heidel and her astonishing ball-skills is a real winner.
Back in April 2020, the Cambridgeshire footballer vowed to do one keepy-uppy for each of the UK's key workers. That’s a total of 7.1 million – an extravagant ask if ever there was one. And so, Imogen turned to the public for help.
This led to 2,000 sports clubs, school groups and individuals pitching in with nearly 6 million keepy-uppies, and BBC women's footballer of the year Lucy Bronze and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford also chipped in. Imogen herself wound up completing 1,123,586 keepy-uppies, with counting assistance provided by her parents – both of whom are NHS employees.
The project grew out of Imogen's desire to raise funds for charities supporting key workers and all participants made charitable donations based on how many keepy-uppies they contributed. Thanks to Imogen’s inspiring efforts, £11,500 has been raised for nine charities including Mind, The Care Workers Charity and NHS.
Burrowing wombats supply water for drought-affected fauna
If you’re yet to while away a few lockdown hours watching videos of cuddly wombats, it comes highly recommended. The short-legged marsupials, native to Australia, are renowned for digging extensive burrow systems. Their propensity for burrowing means wombats aren’t always a farmer's best friend. However, the incessant digging has recently been beneficial for many drought-parched creatures in the Australian state of New South Wales.
It's typical for wombats to dig deeper during times of drought in order to access water. This essentially creates a well, which is accessed not just by wombats but also kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos. In an unforeseen development, a local land care network in the state's Hunter Valley has observed a number of other creatures drinking from these wells – or 'wombat soak' as the phenomenon is known. Goannas, possums, echidnas, birds and even emus have joined the party, finding essential sustenance as the state recovers from several years of intense drought.
Archaeologists discover 5000 year old Egyptian brewery
The Ancient Egyptians were a remarkable bunch, but that doesn't mean they didn’t indulge in a pint of beer or two. The alcoholic drink produced from cereal grains is thought to have emerged around 4000 BC and Egyptian labourers would take solace in a tipple after a long day constructing pyramids and carrying out other such history-making tasks.
But peasants weren't the only ones who fancied a few slugs of bitter – beer was regarded with great veneration by Ancient Egyptian royals, too. And now, thanks to an archaeological mission in the ancient city of Abydos, remains of the world's oldest large-scale beer factory have been discovered.
The massive brewery is thought to have been constructed during the reign of King Narmer, who founded the First Dynasty of Egypt sometime around 3100 BC. New York University's Matthew Adams, co-head of the discovery mission, suggested the brewery would have supplied drink for royal rituals, pumping out approximately 5000 gallons (upwards of 30,000 pints) in a single batch.
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Billy has been writing blogs for Happy since 2017, covering mindfulness, stress management, confidence building and emotional intelligence as well as offering handy tips for Office 365 users. He's also an established arts, culture and lifestyle writer.
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