23 stories about solutions and progress from February 2023

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Today in our monthly recap: eight countries have eliminated tropical diseases, dozens of UK companies opted to continue with the four-day working week, and schools from London to Minnesota announced free meals.

Eight countries have stopped tropical diseases with mass treatment plans

Often ignored in most of the world, tropical diseases still affect large parts of Africa. Now eight nations have eliminated them through health initiatives and mass treatment.

Source: Nature

Four-day work week experiment successful in the UK

The world’s largest work-week overhaul is helping companies rethink working practices in the UK and beyond. Almost all companies taking part opt ​​to continue with the new pattern.

Source: The Guardian

Hawaii bans the killing of sharks in a first for the US

From the start of this year, killing or capturing sharks is now completely illegal in the state of Hawaii. It will be the first US state to implement this sort of ban.

Source: The Planetary Press

For the first time, EU solar and wind power overtake gas

A new analysis shows the EU did not rely heavily on coal last year despite the global energy crisis. The shocks of 2022 sparked a massive wave of support for renewables, according to think tank Ember.

Source: Euronews

Montpellier introduces free transport

The French city of Montpellier is implementing free public transportation, showing its commitment to social justice. The scheme is similar to those of other French territories and European cities.

Source: Euronews

London to provide free school meals to primary school children

The city is implementing a £130m emergency cost of living scheme. The program will run during the 2023-24 academic year. It has the potential to save households £440 each child over the year.

Source: BBC

Minnesota House greenlights ‘universal’ school meals bill

The Minnesota House has passed legislation that offers students free breakfast and lunch, regardless of household income. The proposal seeks to address food insecurity.

Source: CBS Minnesota

Navajo Nation selects historic female leadership

Crystalyne Curley is the first woman to be Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, among other firsts for the government.

Source: SourceNM

Portugal and Cape Verde swap debt for climate investments

Cape Verde’s debt payments to Portugal will be redirected to a climate protection fund under a new agreement.

Source: Yale Environment 360

US’s first new Black bank in 20 years established in Columbus

Adelphi Bank, whose name pays homage to a 1920s Black-owned bank, raised almost $25 million in startup capital, turning to local investors in Ohio.

Source: Next City

Australia is the first country in the world to approve psychedelics for medicinal use

Starting in July, psychiatrists in Australia will be able to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin to patients suffering from mental health issues. The government is still working out how to create a legal supply of the chemicals.

Source: WAtoday

Experimental vaccine could combat breast cancer

University of Washington researchers have seen promising results in the first phase of human trials for a DNA-based vaccine against breast cancer. The vaccine is now in phase two trials.

Source: Thread

Urine test detects prostate and pancreatic cancers with high accuracy

Researchers have developed a method to diagnose cancer using a small volume of urine. This greatly speeds up the rate of detection, which remains one of the most important factors in cancer survival.

Source: Eurekalert

Study finds link between EVs and reduced air pollution and improved health

A team of researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC has found that areas with more EVs tend to have better air quality and improved health outcomes for residents.

Source: EurekAlert

Human hair filters Belgian waterways

Clippings collected from hair dresses across the country are turned into mats that filter pollutants before they reach rivers and can be used to clean up oil spills.

Source: Euronews

Indigenous women train how to use fire to fight fire

In California, on Karuk lands, indigenous women are relearning traditional fire-fighting skills, including the process of ‘back burning,’ which limits wildfires by denying it fuel.

Source: Azcentral

Oakland affordable housing project grown from fungi

A 300-unit affordable housing complex is the first to test architect and professor David Benjamin’s mushroom buildings on a large scale.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful

Tuition-free school in Nigeria serves children through agricultural yield

The Anam New City School funds its operations through crops and livestock. Half of the yield feeds students, the rest covers admin costs.

Source: Prime Progress

White mailboxes help address child abuse in France

One in every 5 girls and one in every 13 boys report having been sexually abused before the age of 18, according to WHO. In France, mailboxes in schools and sports clubs have become a lifeline for kids.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful

Retirees move into at Arizona State University

The senior living community fosters intergenerational learning and challenges ageist stereotypes on Arizona State University’s campus.

Source: Reasons to be Cheerful

Mobilizing Assam’s ‘hargila army’: how 10,000 women saved India’s rarest stork

Greater adjutants, reviled as bad omens, were endangered until Indian conservationist Purnima Devi Barman transformed attitudes to the bird—and gave thousands of women a new identity.

Source: The Guardian

Former poachers enlisted to conserve sea turtles in the Philippines

In La Union, an initiative uses the experience of former egg thieves, improving outcomes for both turtles and reformed conservationists.

Source: Deutsche Welle

Pink dolphins and reformed Colombian rebels turn no-go zone into ecotourism hit

Former guerrillas of the Farc now work to establish ecotourism through marine conservation. They protect the at-risk pink dolphins and repair damaged ecosystems.

Source: The Guardian

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